Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 150

On every repetition of the word burn they took a step closer, tightening the circle about Rosleen as she began to crack, to struggle in her bonds. like flaming butterflies, frantic, some even throwing themselves into the stream to escape their fate. But there was no escape for Hawn. “Mother! Mother, help me!” Sensing his death, he flung himself towards Rosleen, throwing his arms around her as the flames burst through his chest. He slid down her, a twisted lover’s embrace that forced him to his knees on the ash at Rosleens’s feet. Onelle did not falter, but her lament took on a desperate, keening edge. The people around her were backing away, holding their ears in pain, but the sound did not seem to reach the white-clad maids as they continued their deadly dance. “She who loves true will not burn.” Elvienne’s sharp eyes saw the heat rising against Rosleen’s face, the tiny yellow flames licking at the white of her robes. Rosleen broke, fighting against her bonds, screaming for the first time. Elvienne closed her eyes, not wanting to witness the magic fail. There was another scream, closer, and a man’s howl of pain. Onelle struck a false note, and Elvienne opened her eyes. “Don’t stop now!” she cried. “It’s working!” Hawn the cooper had been watching eagerly from the viewing platform. He stumbled away from her down the steps, clutching his wrist. His right hand was wreathed in a ball of fire, and as he looked up at Elvienne she sent the knowledge of what she had done down to him, and was rewarded with the terrible understanding in his eyes. “Stop!” he yelled, stumbling towards Rosleen and her tormentors. “Stop it, you don’t know what you’re doing! The witch -” He almost fell in his struggle to &VB