Story content warnings: suicidal ideation, self-harm.
“A Start to Judgment” is a full-scale epic fantasy: preparation for the Final Battle against the malevolent god, the two-pronged waging of the Final Battle, and the face-to-face confrontation between hero and god. All packed into 1500 words (3-5 pages)!
Epic fantasy confrontation is a familiar trope. But how will it unfold differently if the Chosen One knows that her power comes from the very thing she is trying to overthrow?
Arsha plays the role expected of her, though she’s known for years how their rebellion will end. She thought she could endure one last survey of her knights and archers and footmen before the final battle, but the guilt still cracks her insides like a pickaxe. The free people of the world have placed their faith in her, the Chosen One. Tomorrow she’ll face the Flensed Lord and betray them all.
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Spoilery notes below the fold. Go read the story first, it won’t take you long!
This story was inspired by a Facebook conversation with a friend of mine, long ago. Here was his initial post:
And here was my reply:
From there, a story was born! I knew “A Start to Judgment” wouldn’t work well as a full-length short story, but it took me a little while to realize that flash was the right length. The story hinges on a single twist/gimmick, after all.
The evil god’s self-destructive guilt is an awful burden, but it still contains the seeds of the Flensed Lord’s undoing. Guilt can be a good thing.
Big thanks to Summer Fletcher for helping revise this.