Image-induced fic… These three short pieces were inspired by one piece of art in my Facebook group MM Rainbow Rebels:
The first is by auhor I.J. Downey, from her holiday novella Deadly Little Christmas…part of the Deadly Little Toy series. While the image did not inspire the novella, it spurred a cocky little memory:
“Master Armand, so good to see you again.” The footman bowed. He opened the sleigh door, and held out a hand to help them step down.
“You too, John. How have you been?” Armand clapped a hand on his shoulder as he stepped aside to let Philip ascend.
“Very well, We are all excited that you are back home for a visit!” He preceded them down the steps to the huge entry way, and threw open the door to the great hall. An older gentleman in a black butler’s uniform waited for them in the hall. Armand smiled, and gripped the man’s shoulders.
“Sebastian! It wouldn’t be home without you! How’s Cook? Is she still as bossy as ever?” He turned and pulled Philip into the warmth of the hall. “I’ve brought her someone who could use some of her cooking. This is M. Philip Von Ritter, heir of Baron Von Ritter, he’s a bit under the weather, and would be glad of some tea and biscuits.”
“Of course, sir.” He then bowed to Philip. “We were informed of your condition, and have the Peacock Room next to Master Armand’s, ready for you. Tea will be served in the parlor while the baggage is carried up to your rooms.”
Philip raised an eyebrow at Armand, and mouthed, ‘The Peacock Room?’
Armand leaned down, and with a twinkle in his eyes, whispered. “Of course, you are my little peacock after all.”
This second piece by Erin O’Quinn presupposes a time when the mighty saurus gave way to tweetie bird in the evolution of the world’s endangered species…
The one named Crrk stuttered a call to his mother, somewhere ahead in the sucking mud, all traces of her covered now with the ooze sinking back into her frantic tracks. He could still smell her comfort through the nose slits. Even filmed over with the second membrane, his only protection against the clouds of tiny biters, his eyes cried for her.
He felt his limbs cracking, spreading from his useless body, reaching high…while millions of soft scales aligned and realigned and lifted him above the tarpit and into an impossible blue forever.
And what can I say about the story weaver, who always sees much in little?
By Susan Wylie Wilson (author Suzana Wylie)
“Infinitesimal. How do they do it?” He turned this way and that, seeking confirmation in the mirrors that he was still the handsomest of them all.“This embroidery is impressive, the way each tiny thread lies down next to its neighbors and yet remains separate. These women must be amply rewarded, Morton. See to it, will you? Oh, I do mean amply rewarded. A year’s income or….”
His brows knotted together while his gaze turned to iron as he caught the look on his manservant’s face. “What is that look on your face for, man? I’ve seen it before, when you were struggling to avoid calling my brother the absolute fool he was. Am I being a fool, eh, Morton?”
“Oh, Your Highness, I would never say such a thing to you. You are anything but a fool. Indeed, I have often said to Jacob down in the stables when preparing to go riding with you, ‘Don’t think that because His Highness is a prince that he’s dense or doesn’t grasp things well.’”
A small chunk of amusement settled in the dimples near the corners of his mouth. “Come, come, Morton. There is something. Just say it, man! I shan’t bite your head off.”
“‘Tisn’t your teeth which concern me. Your Highness is known for the sharpness of your sword, you know.”
“Hmmmm. I do spend quite a lot of time honing and oiling it. A shame I shan’t be allowed to use it in battle. I hear I am quite good. But then they have to say that to me, don’t they, Morton? ‘Tisn’t permitted to correct one’s liege.”
Despite his smile, Morton knew better than to take this too far. He could be somewhat familiar with the prince, thanks to long acquaintance, but only somewhat. “Not truly a correction, Your Highness, for I made the same … mis-speaking when first I saw this self-same cloak and knew it would suit you. It is not embroidery.”
“Don’t be foolish, Morton! I can see the threads! If it isn’t embroidered, what could it be?”
“They are scales, young sire.”
“Scales? Don’t be daft, man! Who ever heard of scales looking like this?” He shook the cloak in Morton’s face.
“Scales as a fish would have, or a snake.”
“This is no fish or snake, nor even many skins sewn together. Nothing could be this large.” He turned again, surveying his backside in the mirror.
“Nothing save an arach,” Morton whispered, dropping into the Old Tongue.
“An arach? You can’t be serious! Dragons are myths, Morton. You taught me that when I was only a lad.”
“So we thought then, young sire.”
“And what is so different about now?”
“Our border patrols have seen them. You’ve heard the reports.”
“Heard? Aye, but believed? Nay. Tales to keep disobedient children in bed.”
“Am I a child, then?”
The prince stumbled and only Morton’s quick reflexes saved him from being trampled by the restive horses stamping along behind them. “You? You have seen an arach?”
“Aye, Your Highness, aye.”
[Dragon image from flightrisingwikia.com]