Free Write Friday #18: Giants/Luck

Free Write Friday is back with two more entries from Theme Thursdays over on the Writing Prompts subreddit. First up is Giants, a sort of stealth sequel to an earlier Image Prompt I did awhile back, The Quest for the Elder Tree. Then, there's Luck, which is my first time meeting a character I've sort of got drawn up in my head, Ricky Salewitz. Hope you like them!


Giants
The palace was deserted and she paced the hallways, feeling the weight of history bearing down on her. Portraits of Kings and Queens of centuries past stared down at her, judging her, their eyes seeming to question her fitness for the throne she was about to ascend to.

"How am I going to be able to do this?"

"You'll be fine."

Shaleena whirled around and relaxed at the sight of Deanna, who had been her mother's Vizier until her death the week before. Deanna didn't want her job back. The office was now vacat and would be until Shaleena's coronation had been made official- which would be in just a few moments when she walked down the length of the hallway and stepped out onto the balcony where she would be formally presented to the people of the Kingdom of Cormant- Shaleena's kingdom now.

"It doesn't feel like I'm going to be fine," Shaleena said. "I mean, look at all of th em! They're giants! And who the hell am I?"

Deanna chuckled. She moved toward Shaleena, leaning heavily on her cane. "Princess, you found the Elder tree. You cured the Sorcerer's blight. You became a hero of hte Kingdom of Cormant before you ever ascended to the throne."

"But compared to-" Shaleena turned wildly before pointing at a portrait- "Her! Queen Nesri! She led the charge at the Siege of Baltena and broke hte knights of Great Malantium single handedly." She turned again and pointed at another. "Him! King Artan! He built the northern fortresses that guard the frontier against the Helventians!"

"But what about Queen Morgana?" Deanna asked.

"Who?" Shaleena turned back around to face Deanna.

Deanna smiled. "Everyone always overlooks Queen Morgana," she began walking down the hallway toward the balcony. "Come with me." Bewildered, Shaleena followed her down the hall, trying to remember Queen Morgana from her many history lessons, but she couldn't recall the name. As they walked toward the balcony, the faint roar of the cheering crowds became lounder and lounder and finally, Deanna stopped at the base of a portrait.

"This is Queen Morgana," Deanna said. "She was the third daughter of King Steppan and when she ascended to the throe, Cormant was a mess. The Great Schism with the church of Malantium was tearing the Kingdom apart. Nobles took bets on how long she'd be Queen."

"How long was she Queen?"

"Forty-five years," Deanna replied. "People forget about her, because after she settled down the schism and restored peace to the kingdom you know what happened?"

"What?"

"A whole lot of nothing," Deanna replied. "The harvests were good. The Kingdom prospered. The land was at peace."

"So, what's your point?"

"No one thought she could do it and she did just fine. Not all the giants get remembered." Deanna said. "Just do your best. That's all you can do."

"All right," Shaleena said. She turned to the balcony, set her shoulders, and walked up to the doors, flung them open and stepped out.


Luck
Ricky Salewitz didn't believe in luck. Nevertheless, he was walking in a very straight line through the deep woods. Jean-Jacques was a few paces behind him, carrying the camera equipment. This had to be the right place. No, he knew it was the right place. Every piece of research they had done, every clue they had found had led them here.

Unfortunately, 'here' was deep in the Forest of the Ardennes. It was a scenic enough forest, beautiful, old trees and sun-dappled glades and leftover armaments from not one, but two World Wars. That last part was why Jean-Jacques was so nervous and why Ricky was walking in a very straight line. Leftover ordinance had been killing at least one person a year in both France and Belgium for nearly a century now.

The tracker in his hand vibrated and Ricky held up a hand and stopped walking. He looked down at the tracker and watched as a blinking black dot began flashing frantically. He turned to his left and the dot began flashing even faster and Ricky smiled.

"We're here."

He swung the shovel off of his shoulder and out of the corner of his eye saw Jean-Jacques take a few steps carefully back. He took a deep breath and stepped forward.

Jean-Jacques retreated further. "Faites attention, Monsieur!"

"Oui, oui, I'll be careful," Ricky said. He took the shovel and extended it forward, jabbing gingerly at the ground as he made his way forward. The tracker emitted a high-pitched noise indicating that he was standing more or less over his coordinates. He jabbed the shovel into the ground and then slipped the tracker into his pocket and, gripping the shovel tightly, he pushed it into the ground.  He glanced over at Jean-Jacques, who had set up the camera equipment. "Es-tu pret?" Ricky called over to him.

Jean-Jacques nodded. "Bonne chance, Monsieur."

"I don't believe in luck," Ricky said. Then he began to dig in earnest. If their hard work and research was correct, somewhere down here would be the legendary Golden Owl of France, hidden by an eccentric billionaire decades before and searched for ever since. If their hard work and research were incorrect, however, Ricky knew he had stood a decent chance of hitting an unexploded shell or bomb and blowing himself and even potentially Jean-Jacques to bits.

After ten minutes of digging, Ricky began to slow down. The hole he had dug out was getting to be deeper and he knew the deeper the hole, the more danger he would be in. He pushed the shovel into the dirt slowly again and was rewarded with a faint sound of metal scraping on metal. He set the shovel to one side and went down to his hands and knees, removing the dirt as best he could, until he had uncovered something long and metal and-

Ricky smiled. It was the lid of a chest. And carved on it was a figure of a large golden owl.

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