This is the first story in my Chronicles of Morshan short story series. You can read the first part of the story here, or the full story at Kingdom Pen.
Serena could change the future.
Most days it wasn’t all that interesting. She’d see a potential future in her dreams where she’d break a pitcher or lose a button and, upon waking, simply take a different set of actions to avert the mishap. A far cry from the days of her youth when a warlord had tried to use her powers to win conquests. But Serena didn’t mind the slower pace. It was better when people’s lives didn’t rest on her ability to alter the future. She’d become accustomed to leisurely visions of village life.
But then she foresaw her son’s death.
Serena sat on the edge of her bed, the battered wood rough against her stout thighs. Bells rang in the distance as she rubbed her cheeks. She’d went through this routine of sitting on her cot and rubbing her face every morning when she was in the warlord’s employ. It helped her focus on changing the future. But she hadn’t needed to concentrate this hard for a while, and the circumstances were different. Wrinkles etched her cheeks after many years of living on the earth. Her hands had toughened from being a washwoman since her husband’s death.
And now the stakes were much more personal.
That night, a hostile warband would discover and raid their small village. Her son Terence would be at the front line of defenses, holding his own. Amid the chaos and clamor, he would face off against the warlord chief amongst glistening flames. In a rare stroke of luck, the warlord chief would slip on a pile of debris. Terence would pierce him with his sword and, by killing the warband’s leader, save the village.
But as he impaled the warlord, the warlord would tear open Terence’s stomach. Serena would stay by his side the whole night, clutching Terence’s hand as he gasped in agony. The village healer would desperately try to stitch together his internal organs, but the efforts would be to no avail. As the sun began to rise, Terence would clasp her hands in his and tell her that he loved her. That he was sorry to leave her behind. Then his soul would pass into the great beyond. And Serena would be alone.
Beams of early morning light broke through the cracks in the shutters, illuminating the small upper room. Serena inhaled. Then exhaled. Then inhaled again. She still felt dizzy. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
For years, her dreams had predicted that Terence would marry Greta, a local village girl, within the next six months. He had already fallen in love with her, and thanks to Serena’s prodding, the betrothal was fast approaching. He would propose to her late one evening in the damp fields outside the village after a cool summer’s rain. She would gasp in astonishment, then cry, then laugh, then say yes.
Now that entire future was in doubt unless she could save it.