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.
Scrambling away, Scorpius ran back to the cottage as swiftly and silently as he could.
He burst into the empty house, turning this way and that, not knowing how long he must wait before his master returned. What were they doing now, those noblemen? Oh why, why had he revealed himself? He so longed to see what transpired at the hunt, needing to know what to do when Richolf ordered him to assist.
To that end, he found a spot where he could sit and watch the massive beasts hitched to the post at the far side of the yard. His gaze roamed over the halters laced intricately over their heads. Such workmanship in the glossy saddles, even on the blankets beneath them, glinting ornaments proclaiming the worth of the absent riders.
It took most of the day for the party to return. By then, Scorpius had scavenged for a few bites from Richolf’s cupboard, though he had not been given leave to do so. The cottage grew dark, yet he did not know how to light the lamps.
Unease ran through his gut. The gentlemen were loud with drink, yet his master served them all with practiced patience. Finally mounted with their braces of game tied to their saddles, the guests cantered off in a blast of triumph.
Richolf turned towards the cottage, his face drawn and weary. Scorpius stood up from his place at the table.
The door opened and his master entered. His expression was masked by the gloom until he lit the lamps and turned to his new apprentice. But Scorpius bowed his head, not wishing to see.
Cupboard doors opened and shut. A dish was set down before Scorpius, roasted hen upon it, a hastily torn hunk of bread beside it. Risking a glance, he watched Richolf collapse onto his chair and dig into his own simple meal.
Sliding back to sit, Scorpius ate with perplexed relief. Richolf did not speak, merely chewed and swallowed, so tired his eyes closed as he sat there smudged with dust. The dog lay at the master’s feet, waiting for scraps which Richolf tossed now and then.
Once the food was gone, his master sat at the table, head propped on one hand till Scorpius thought he must be asleep. Taking up his dish and reaching for the other one, Scorpius froze when his master’s eyes opened to pin him with his gaze.
“What did you think I meant when I motioned for you to stay?” Richolf asked.
Whisking the dishes across the room to the sideboard, Scorpius turned to face the question with the solid cabinet behind him for support. “I thought you meant to keep out of sight, sir.”
Richolf thought for a moment before he straightened. “And how long do you suppose you were out there, watching us?”
“Don't know, sir.”
“Long enough.” Richolf rose from the table, undoing the clasps on his heavy doublet. Stumbling towards bed, he shrugged out of it, saying, “If you could track me at all, that’s no small thing.”
© Julia Smith, 2010
Alice Audrey says So... it's a good thing; Scorpius having followed? No punishment? I'm looking forward to next week.
Ann (bunnygirl) says Interesting. It sounds like Scorpius has a master who is good at sizing up a person's abilities. I hope this bodes well for him.
Heather says Boyhood back story, very good, how the boy becomes the man.