Here's the latest 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.
Panic nearly drove him to scramble away.
Unnatural stillness gripped the forest as the dragon reappeared above the tips of the trees. Scorpius lay immobile, as did whomever lay beside him under the rock ledge.
There was nothing to do but hold his breath, flattening himself till he matched the rock, staring in horrified fascination as the creature glided closer. Scorpius shook, though his trembling made his teeth chatter. Surely the dragon would hear such a racket.
Two strong hands settled over his shoulders. One touch and Scorpius knew who it was under this ledge with him. He quieted as the enormous wingspan blocked everything from view, then left only clear sky in its wake.
His master held him steady. From a skewed vantage point he could see the pillar rock, recoiling in his mind from images of himself trying to reach it as he’d been ordered to do. When the dragon swooped low to settle itself upon the pillar, a gasp lodged painfully in Scorpius' throat.
Leathery wings stretched and retracted. The long, narrow head shook back and forth. Then a blood-curdling screech sliced through the valley.
Richolf held him tighter, as though his master knew the terror of his memories, though Scorpius had never told him any of it. Sharp stones dug into his hip, but there was no question of adjusting position. The dragon’s perch atop the rock gave it a perfect view, its exceptional sight geared toward detecting motion.
All morning and well past noon, the dragon kept them hostage under their ledge. It finally dove in a spectacular rush upon a forest titan, spearing the unfortunate animal with its sword-like claws. With three flaps of those hideous wings, the dragon with its writhing meal finally flew out of sight.
Richolf held Scorpius there as they waited for any sign that the creature would return. He felt safe with his master’s hands grounding him. The strength that flowed into Scorpius kept the remembered screams of his nightmares from bubbling to the surface.
Late afternoon sun carved shadows across the valley when Richolf nudged Scorpius out from beneath the ledge. Shouldering his hunting bag, his master inhaled carefully, searching for any signs of the dragon that might carry on the wind.
With a quick jerk of the head, Richolf gave the order to strike out for their cottage. Scorpius filed in behind him, using every ounce of self control to refrain from reaching for his master’s hand.
© Julia Smith, 2010
Janet says Wow, Julia - there's so much in this instalment. Scorpius' desire to hold his master's hand (a very nice touch to an already amazing scene)
Travis says I know that this is background for Scorpius, and you have created a rich and full character. But Richolf's presence is also not to be ignored.
Calico Crazy says Great installment, I really felt like I was there under the ledge with them.