It's the weekend, and that means a new installment of Scorpius' back story.
For the Weekend Writer's Retreat, I'm following the boyhood back story of an adult character I'm writing for a dark fantasy.
You can follow the progress of this story arc by clicking on the Works in Progress link just under the blog header.
The first time they arrived on their mounts, Richolf told Scorpius to stay put with a quick motion of his hand. His master walked out to meet them, his customary stride replaced by bowed head and averted glances.
Scorpius couldn’t help himself. He stole to the window, peering through the beveled glass till he could catch glimpses of the visitors.
Something squeezed in his chest when Richolf laced his fingers together and stooped, making a stirrup for the lord to dismount. His master hastened to help the others down and whistled sharply for the dog, who came at a bound. Richolf took hold of two halters and tied the beasts to hitching posts as the gentlemen stood talking and gesturing. Scorpius was glad Richolf hadn’t called for him to help with the other two mounts. He’d never been this close to such animals before.
There was something about the assured manner his master used, even while hurrying to secure the mounts by himself, even while avoiding direct speech to the visitors. Richolf somehow managed to be the host to these noble strangers. He loosened a pair of saddlebags, balancing them over one shoulder, while the gentleman chuckled over a joke. He signaled to the dog and bowed to the men, sweeping an elegant hand toward the field where he’d brought Scorpius to train in the hunt.
In a few moments the hunting party disappeared down the lane between the falcon mews. Scorpius’ heart beat quickened as he contemplated following them. The silence in the empty cottage unnerved him until the feeling in his gut was unbearable.
He stole from the cottage, slipping along the wall with the stealth he’d learned back at the manor house, always careful never to wake the babies. Slipping past the long buildings with their captive birds of prey, Scorpius kept Richolf and the gentlemen in sight. When he got to the corner of the last building, he crouched and watched with one eye past the rough shingles.
The hunters and his master walked through the grasses along the edge of the woods, until Scorpius was certain they’d move past his sight line. He rose from his crouch, just about to slink after them, when the gentlemen stopped and Richolf turned to put the saddlebags down.
One of his master's arms remained extended, a dark hawk perched upon the heavy leather gauntlet. Scorpius ducked back behind the corner of the mews, but not quickly enough.
When he peeked again, both the dog and Richolf stared at his hiding place.
Scorpius’ stomach seized with dread.
© Julia Smith
Alice Audrey says Oh, the poor kid. I know that sense of panic well.
Ann (bunnygirl) says I like the way this is developing. Scorpius is seeing that there's status to be gained if he does well, but he's keenly aware of how fragile his position is.
Julie says Yes, he is keen to do well for obvious reasons. He is getting possessive to some extent. I wonder where this trait is going to take him! I like the pace of this piece.