Curve of Her Claw

A Dark Fantasy Short Story


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Overview

Fall into a world where beauty is a facade, and one elf is pushed beyond reason to rid herself of the smooth-skinned curse.

Originally appearing in the Cloaked in Shadow: Dark Tales of Elves anthology from Fantasist Enterprises, Curve of Her Claw is now available as an illustrated eBook with the added bonus of a Story Behind the Story section. It tells the tale of a young elf trying to earn a place in the tribal memory. The elves in this dark fantasy, however, have little in common with the tall, beautiful faerie kind who often condemn humanity for brutal natures. These elves make up for their lack of the traditional virtues with a desire to improve themselves, to make their tribes stronger and more wise. A pretty goal, you might think, until you learn just how this can be accomplished.


Excerpt

“He had best be as you say.”

The councilor shoved with her elbows and the creature rolled forward to bump against Tiriel’s feet. Blood dripped down between her toes and a weak, animal moan came from the lump. She forced herself not to look down or brush her feet against the dirt. A fly transferred from the creature to her own flesh, tickling her as it sucked up the sticky fluid.

“This is your last chance; your last chance to be marked in memory. You have until the next dark of the moon. If you don’t provide the feast in the clearing of twisted pine, you’ll remain unmarked forever, forced to scrounge among the tribe’s leavings. You’ll have no status even among the smooth, and in this, you’ll be lucky.”

Tiriel hid her grimace in a deep bow as she backed away, careful to remain in the corridor between standing elves that seemed to have shrunken since she walked up it. If she touched a scarred one, even one newly made, they’d beat her to a bloody pulp without retribution as long as no one marked her smooth skin.

One moon cycle. She had only one moon cycle to bring him to the council.

She slipped away to make plans, ignoring the revelry once the council finished laying its judgments on the others, lucky or unlucky. Tiriel couldn’t tell which they considered her.

One moon cycle.

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