Here's the latest installment of Scorpius' boyhood back story. For the first twelve scenes I've posted for the Weekend Writer's Retreat, we've followed him as a seven-year-old, when he outgrew the nursery where he'd been brought up with the other children of the blood.
But when no one from his family came to claim him, Scorpius was released to serve a falcon master as an apprentice. We rejoin him at age ten.
You can follow the progress of this dark fantasy story arc by clicking on the Works in Progress link just under the blog header.
Richolf motioned for the hunt to continue. Signaling message received, Scorpius waited for the lord to stand aside, unable to continue his duties without causing offense. The burning welt along the back of his head still cautioned him to beware. So far, the noble had proven to be painfully unpredictable.
However, the remainder of the hunt proceeded with no further hitches. The red-tail bagged an impressive brace of game for the nobles, and the four of them returned to Richolf’s cottage as though nothing out of the ordinary had surfaced.
When the noble who’d stayed with his master leaned in close and spoke privately with Richolf, Scorpius saw the falconer’s hands freeze momentarily as he tied the brace to the horse’s saddle. Busy with the other lord’s supplies, he didn’t notice exactly when it was that the color drained from his master’s face.
But when he turned to find Richolf approaching, Scorpius’ breath caught in his chest at the haunted look on his master’s face.
“I’ll be going to the estate with their lordships,” Richolf said in a normal tone of voice. “You must look after the birds and the dog until I return.”
“Yes, sir.” Scorpius watched as the nobles climbed astride their mounts, exchanging their own glances with one another. He looked up into Richolf’s eyes.
The same dread Scorpius had seen in those guards’ eyes now belonged to his master. “I may be gone for a while. If anyone comes for a hunt, you know what to do.”
Scorpius nodded, his chest hollowing out beneath his ribs. He noticed his master packed nothing of his own, merely set out on foot behind the two nobles.
The dog started following but halted in its tracks at a signal from Richolf. Scorpius called it back, but it ignored him for a long moment.
Two nights passed before he heard the longed-for steps in the gravel outside the window. Scorpius leaped to his feet to burst through the door.
A stranger stood there, a servant in the plainest of tunics. He nearly removed his cap until he saw that it was a boy come to greet him. “This the falconer’s cottage?” he asked.
Scorpius forced his head to nod.
“You’re to come with me, then,” the young man said, already turning and striding away.
© Julia Smith, 2010
Nikita Banerjee says I want to know more!
Travis Cody says I knew at some point Scorpius would be moving on, since his adventure lies beyond the falconer's cottage. But this still caught me a little by surprise.
Naquillity says Oh, how I love your story and how it's developing. As the others have said... I want to know more. You know just how to draw a reader's attention to the very last word.