Here we are, the weekend already, and time for a second installment of my Scorpius tale. You'll be able to follow the whole story arc by clicking on my Works in Progress page, just under my blog header.
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In some ways the falconer’s home was not much different from the one Scorpius had left behind. Another form of nursery, its fledglings would serve the nobility.
His new master showed him where he would eat, where he would sleep, where he would wash up. Scorpius nodded as he would have nodded to Nurse, acutely aware of Richolf’s strength, of the scar that ran across the still face.
Richolf led him behind the house, a shy look of pride softening his features as they neared several long buildings. A dog loped up to the master who patted him absently.
Scorpius saw the hunched form of a hawk through a screen as it perched. Bells tingled from the shadows. The hawk screeched as the dog caught up to Scorpius and sniffed his hand insistently.
Richolf moved past him, opening the door to enter the bird’s domain. With smooth, assured movements, the falconer slipped a heavy leather gauntlet onto his left hand, holding it out until the bird stepped upon it. A few motions later, the hawk was secured to his master with long leather ties.
Scorpius followed Richolf past the line of buildings, each housing a single falcon. The dog pranced with growing excitement as they made their way to the meadow just beyond.
The master bid Scorpius to find a stick and hit the bushes framing the field. Scorpius couldn’t imagine why he should do such a thing. Nor could he imagine questioning the order of a man who calmly held a ferocious bird at his command. He ran to the tree line, scrambled about for a stick, then glanced back at Richolf.
His master stood watching him, watching with the same piercing gaze as the hawk. The dog half sat, half stood, ready to spring.
Scorpius turned back to the bushes, his skin crawling with shame that he didn’t know how to please this new master. He’d known everything that Nurse wanted or needed. He’d been able to anticipate what she’d want, so that she’d smile so sweetly at him. Sometimes she’d even kissed the top of his head, or scooped him onto her lap and gave him a squeeze, so that he’d melted into all her soft curves for a delicious instant.
Thwacking the stick against the leaves like a ridiculous, overgrown babe, Scorpius’ panic rose as he realized nothing whatsoever was happening. Richolf would be furious with him, he was sure of it.
Something flew directly at his face. His arms went up to shield himself as he turned away.
© Julia Smith, 2010
Janet says A wonderful cliffhanger. I'll be counting down the days until next Friday's instalment!!
Calico Crazy says I really feel for Scorpius as he adjusts to his new life, I always hate those moments when I'm forced to act without knowing the why or what comes next.
Ann (Bunnygirl) says Poor guy - given instructions without explanation. Nicely written. I'm looking forward to next week!