The Fiction Writers Group Facebook group posts a 300-word flash fiction picture as a prompt every week. Here is this week's:
The crystal orb lay nestled in its bed of whale fur. Most of those who came to her with their questions thought Amelissa drew her power from it. But she knew the orb merely focused her power and magnified the clarity of her visions.
The gauntlet of testing and training she had endured to become the Oracle had lasted years and had winnowed out those without her level of talent and skill. Most of these failed oracles now served her as priestesses and acolytes. As a young girl, she was the first of her group to respond to the vision-inducing vapors and the first to no longer need them. When she was first allowed to hold the orb, the old crone who was the current Oracle breathed a deep sigh and slumped dead on the throne.
Now, the great General Thearsus of the city-state Sparthens stood before her. He, like all the others whom had come seeking justification for their bloody campaigns, waited for her to proclaim his upcoming victory.
With ponderous gravity, the Oracle Amelissa lifted her right hand from where it rested in her lap and slowly lowered it to the orb resting on its pedestal next to her throne. She opened her awareness to the many branching possible futures and commanded the orb to find General Thearsus among the millions of threads laid before her.
Instead of the General though, the orb brought into focus an image of a wizard straddling thousands of time threads staring back at her, eyes burning with hatred. A leather-clad warrior appeared behind him, broadsword raised, then disappeared with a flick of the wizard’s wrist.
Amelissa, shook her head violently and cried out as the vision faded and she returned to her throne. Seeing her stricken, sweat-streaked face, General Thearsus bowed deeply and, not waiting for her pronouncement, backed from the candle-lit chamber.