Welcome! This month I’m writing a small story each day to try to brainstorm a future full-length novel, a sequel to my current WIP Memories and Magic.
Today’s prompt is: Mayhem.
It took days to reach the capital of Racharan. Clara hadn’t had to travel like this ever since her powers developed and she could transport herself at will. It had only been a few months, but that was long enough for her to forget the tedium of proper travel.
She hadn’t expected the welcome they received as their ship pulled into the port. She knew that the Racharan government wasn’t happy that she and the Mages had infiltrated their borders, using magic, however unintentionally, in a country that expressly forbade its use. But she didn’t expect this news to have filtered down to the general public.
There they were, though. An enormous crowd lined the docks. There were so many people that a temporary fence had been erected and men in black clothes were standing along it every few feet, their chins jutting out and their hands behind their backs. The crowds didn’t seem to be trying to get past, but Clara could hear their shouts and jeers from the deck of the ship.
She turned away and found Max approaching her from further down the deck. The Mages had agreed it was better not to wear their purple robes in deference to the Racharan laws, and now Clara saw what a wise decision that had been. Max was dressed in tidy black pants and a white shirt, with a grey coat over the top. Clara hadn’t seen him in such regular clothing since their time in Racharan the previous year, back before she had realised her true identity.
“I didn’t realise they were sending us a welcoming committee,” Max remarked and Clara chuckled despite her apprehension. “No need for you to watch any of this,” Max added, and tilted his head back down towards the keel of the ship. The two of them made their way further down the deck and then leaned out, watching the open ocean. The ship was essentially moored now, but after seeing the waiting crowd, Clara was more than happy to delay disembarkation.
Finally, there were no more excuses. Mr Voidsun approached them, indicating it was time to move off the ship. Clara and Max followed him, and were met by Reiner and some of the other Mages at the top of the gangplank. At the bottom, four of the men in black were waiting to escort them. One of the self-driving carriages Clara had been so fond of during her first stay here was waiting nearby.
It was when they reached the bottom of the gangplank that Clara realised the crowd had just been biding its time until she was closer. Those at the front began straining against the fence and the guards, jeering louder and making rude gestures at Clara and the other Mages. Clara took a deep breath and lifted her head. She wasn’t going to let them get to her. She wasn’t ashamed of her power and what she had been able to use it for, and she wanted this crowd to know that.
She didn’t realise that the barrier had been broken until she felt Max slam in to her from behind. He kept one arm around her as she turned and saw one of the black-clad guards wrestling with a man who had made for their group, brandishing a knife. Clara’s heart sped up. Insults were one thing, but no she realised there were some people here who wanted to hurt her for her alleged slight on the country.
This was just the catalyst. Clara spotted at least two more people jumping the fence, too quickly for the guards to react. The group of Mages pressed in around her. Clara looked around. If the guards along the fence had to deal with a few fence-jumpers, then there would be no one to reign in the crowd. She needed to do something. She looked further down the road in the gap between Max, Reiner, and Derek. At a bend in the road, there was a large building with the outline of a fish painted on it in black.
Max’s arm was still around her shoulders, so with her two spare hands she grabbed onto Reiner and Derek.
“Your Majesty, are you –”
Clara closed her eyes, visualising the building with the fish painting up close. Derek was cut off as the four of them were transported up the road and away from the crowd.
She had done it without thinking. She had done it to keep them safe. To get them away from the people who wanted to hurt them. In that moment, it hadn’t occurred to her that in doing so, she would make everything worse.
But when the crowds up near the docks realised she and the three Mages had disappeared, that someone among them had used magic… that was when all hell broke loose.