Sharing is caring!

Stealing an artifact is easy enough. However, Sonbri finds some unexpected trouble trying to sell the old magical item.


| One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten | Eleven | Twelve |


My heart beat fast, dancing quickly against my ribs. It was dim, shapes filling my vision as I crept along, but I dared not light my torch. Stepping lightly, my footsteps still echoed heavily in the damp cavern.

From out of the corner of my eye, something glinted. A coin or hilt of a sword catching the light just right. I headed in that direction, something putrid filling my nostrils. I avoided what looked like bones and moved past the pile of forgotten treasures.

What I sought lay behind, tucked between rocks and nearly hidden away. Cradling the object, I marveled at it a moment. It was light and milky and perfectly spherical. There were lines etched into the surface that my fingers couldn’t quite feel, patterns I couldn’t make sense of.

Tucking the object away, I crept back the way I had come, careful not to touch anything else.


“It sure is a rock.”

I snatched back the sphere, clutching it with white knuckles. “You promised if I found it, you’d pay me well.”

“That was before I knew it was just a rock.” The man at the stall stuck his pinky finger up his nose and dug around, flicking away his findings and wiping his fingers on his apron. I recoiled when he held out his hand for the object again, saying, “But I can take it off your hands if you don’t want it.”

“No,” tucking it back in my coin purse, I straightened up. “I’ll find someone else to buy it.”

Turning away, I frowned. I felt cheated. That man had promised me good coin for sneaking into that cave. It was a haunted cave, and I had risked a lot to get this – what? A rock?

I could only hope for better luck next time.


My face was haggard, sullenly staring back at me from the shop window. This place was my last hope, no one wanted to part with their coin for such a tiny, etched rock. Moonstone, one of them had called it. But the lines damaged it. No one wanted it.

The peeling letters above me read ‘Curios and Curiosities’ in red and gold. It must have been a very old shop, because while at one time it might have been a vibrant and welcoming sign, it was faded and creepy now.

Steeling myself, I entered. Inside was yellow and bright, air thick with dust motes dancing in shafts of light from the big shop window. Strange carvings and odd sculptures took up most of the shelves, a section dedicated to hand-bound books of all sort. One looked quilted along the spine, but I didn’t get much of an opportunity to look.


A tall, mysterious woman appeared in front of me as I surveyed the shop, coming from between the shelves. She greeted me with a warm smile that made my stomach do somersaults.

“Hello,” she said, curtsying to me. “How may I help you?”

Her perfume wafted toward me, an airy scent. I blushed, fumbling with my coin purse to retrieve the moonstone. Clearing my throat, I presented the sphere to the lady and stammered, “This, it’s a rock.”

Her smile deepened and I cursed my fluttering bisexual heart. She was so beautiful! And I was such a bumbling fool around other women! She flicked dark curls away from her face and leaned in to look at the moonstone with beautiful, brown eyes. Her mouth twisted in a frown after a moment and she grabbed my wrist in a surprising flash.

She hissed some words and darkness crept into my vision.


A trap!

I sat up quickly and hit my head sharply against something wooden and hard, bouncing back to the cot below. My forehead throbbed in pain as I rolled out of the enclave my cot was stuck in and I yelped in surprise when the floor was further away than expected.

Rubbing at my face, I surveyed the room. There were neat little cots stuffed into holes in the walls, stacked three high, and two doors across from them. Nothing else was in the small, dim room. I ventured a guess at the doors and stepped through one. It led to a closet. I quickly backtracked and opened the other door – and what greeted me was that beautiful face.

“You!” I said sharply, pointing at the lady.

Surprised, she answered, “Me?” She looked cheeky as she stood with one hand on her hip, the other pressed to her chest.


“You tricked me!” I would not let her charm disarm me again.

“I did no such thing. You fainted.”

“You used magic,” I hissed, reaching for the blades I always kept on me. They weren’t there. Panicked, my fingers scrabbled along my now-empty belt. Everything was gone!

“Your coins are safe,” she said with a giggle, “And your knives.”

I glared, feeling vulnerable. “But you still used magic.”

“I never said I didn’t.”

“Then it was an attack!”

“It was not,” she sighed. “Honestly! I wouldn’t harm a fly.”

I stared hard and she held out her fist. “What’s this?” I asked, distrusting her.

“Your rock.” When I snatched it from her when she turned her palm to me, she smiled. “Now, what’s so special about it, again?”

Frowning, I surveyed at the moonstone. It appeared the same as before, no new dents or scratches. Just the same etched lines.


“You’re the one that tried to take it from me,” I said defensively, clutching the stone close to my heart. “I just wanted to sell it.”

“Sell it!” She gave a startled laugh. “You couldn’t get money for that!”

For some reason, her mirth made me clutch the moonstone closer. “Then what is it? And why use magic on me?”

Putting her finger to her lips, she looked me in the eye and said, “Patience.”

I quieted. Something about the way she spoke commanded me to calm. More magic?

“Come, you need to eat.”

Nodding, I followed her when she turned. Her dark curls bounced around her shoulders and down her back as she walked. She led me down a hall and into another room beside a set of stairs. Peeking down, I saw the shop below.

“Are you coming?”

I turned back to her and nodded. I was enraptured.


“What’s it for?”

I stared down at the food in front of me. She had said her name was Midon, but I wasn’t sure if I trusted it. She had also told me about how the shop had been passed to her by her father when he’d fallen ill, and that at one time, Midon, her mother, and her father had slept in that one room.

But I was finished listening to pleasantries. Something about her was so enchanting that it was almost impossible to tear away from her silk-spun stories.

Midon sighed. “It’s a catalyst.”

“What’s that mean?”

She traced patterns into the wooden table with a long nail. It took a long moment of silence before she sat forward and met my eyes. “It means it’s useless except to the witch who made it.”

I slumped. “So no one will ever buy it?”

“Well…” She bit her lip.