The Rogue Prophetess, by Lisa Ankrah

Prophetesses filed into the circular hall and into the rows, chattering nervously amongst themselves.

Laila sat in the row farthest up and close to the doors, hoping that this meeting wasn’t about what they feared it was about.

Finally, the Head Prophetess, Daze, entered the stage below, shooting a lightning bolt into the air to get everyone’s attention.

“Good evening, ladies,” she greeted. Laila huffed at the word ‘ladies’.

“I’m afraid I have some bad news tonight,” Daze continued, “The rumors about the Rogue Prophetess are true.”

A collective gasp rang through the hall. Laila clenched their fists. Dammit, Cassandra!

“This heretic has been running across the land, killing our supporters, abducting people, stealing our weapons unseen…until tonight.”

With a grin, Daze presented a transparent orb to the audience. As if on cue, the orb cast a holographic projection of a girl no older than seventeen wearing a red and white short dress with matching boots, a hooded cloak concealing most of her features. The projection then zoomed out to show her fleeing a burning house with a young boy in tow.

“Tonight, this wretch burned down Pastor Williams’ home and kidnapped his son. Officers on the scene found Williams’ and his wife’s charred bodies. There is no word on the whereabouts of their daughter.”

The hall flew into an uproar.

“Enough is enough!”

“We must find this bitch immediately!”

Daze waved her hands soothingly. “Now, now. This isn’t the time for anger; it’s the time for strategy.

Does anyone have any suggestions for locating the Rogue Prophetess?”

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Laila sat in the living room, their fingers tapping furiously against the armrest of their loveseat, upon Cassandra’s return home.

“Did you take care of it?” Laila asked.

The tan-skinned girl hung her jacket on the coat rack. “Yeah…” she said warily. Laila was never this jittery. “Is everything—”

“The Council’s caught on to you.” Laila turned to face her, glaring. “How many times have I told you to be careful?”

“I’m sorry! I didn’t sense anyone when I was getting Thomas out of there!” Cassandra hissed, alarmed.

How…?

“Daze sent out a new version of the Record Orbs, one that can’t be picked up by magic,” the other replied, “Not that it matters since you burned the place down—”

“By accident! Thomas’s bastard of a dad tried to counter my fire magic with wind magic. Not exactly the smartest thing to do.”

“…and Thomas’s mother and sister got caught in the flames…” Laila slumped in their seat, suddenly feeling cold.

“Oh, his sister wasn’t there.”

Laila looked back up. “What?”

“She hasn’t been home in days, and Thomas didn’t know where she had gone, either. The True Religion’s sending some of its members to look for her.”

“And Thomas?”

“In a safe house two towns away.”

Silence. Cassandra wringed her hands. “I-I’m really sorry—”

“I know, I know.” It wasn’t until recently that Laila had learned that their roommate was the infamous Rogue Prophetess, a heretic that openly defied the Council of Prophetesses. As a member of the latter, they never understood why they never reported Cassandra or fully grasped the reason for joining her cause.

Oh, that’s not true. You know why, a voice in the back of Laila’s head teased. The person willed the warmth away from their cheeks.

“Just…be more careful, okay?”

Cassandra nodded, grinning. “No problem! So, what do you want for dinner?”

-Lisa Ankrah

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