O Muse

This little scene was inspired by a word prompt (the title) from the WriYe DreamWidth.  Thinking of muses immediately made me think of Quinten.

**

Quinten frowned speculatively at Charity.  Then he drew out his sketchbook and began drawing.  When he looked up at her again, she was frowning at him.  “Don’t mind me, my dear,” he said, shaking his head.  “Just go about your business.”

“I’m embroidering,” Charity said, scowling.  When Quinten nodded, she blinked.  “Are you drawing me… while I embroider?”

Shrugging, Quentin said, “All the greats drew and painted people while they were doing normal, mundane things, Charity.  Why shouldn’t I make a piece of you embroidering?”  He grinned suddenly and waved at her to continue her embroidering.  “I’ll call it ‘Wolf at Work’.”

Charity rolled her eyes.  “You’re crazy,” she said, turning back to her work.

Looking back at his sketchbook, he said, “You can never tell what will inspire you, my dear.”

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Gently Now

This little vignette was inspired by a photo prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.  The scene in the picture is just mentioned as a comparison to what’s happening in the scene.

**

Felicity watched the scene with a bemused smile on her face.  Her expression was mirrored by Quinten as he held the tiny kitten in his lap.

“It’s funny,” Charity said, shaking her head.  “Nearly every living creature in the world is terrified of both werewolves and vampires.  Cats, though… they seem to like vampires.”

“Maybe they sense a kinship,” Felicity said.  When Charity frowned at her, she shrugged.  Her eyes twinkled with mirth as she said, “The fangs?  The animosity towards… dogs.”

“I’ve got nothing against werewolves, Mistress,” Quinten protested without taking his eyes off the kitten that was rubbing affectionately against his hand.

81d934d61ead312752cb81c4e137903f“It reminds me of this picture I saw,” Charity said, smiling.  “This huge gorilla with a tiny butterfly perched on its finger.  The gorilla could crush that butterfly, but… it just stares at it with this almost human expression.”

“The same expression that Quinten’s got right now,” Felicity said, nodding.  She chuckled when Quinten looked up at her with wide eyes.

He shrugged.  He might have blushed, if he still had the ability.  Instead, he just grinned.  “I can keep her.  Aye?”

“Of course,” Felicity said.  She chuckled when Charity made a disgusted noise.  “She’ll get used to you, Charity.”

“Cats hate werewolves,” Charity grumbled.  Then she heaved a sigh and shook her head.  “Still, they’re so cute together.”

“Thank you,” Quinten said, grinning.  He flashed his fangs at the kitten.  “Yay,” he said.  He chuckled when the kitten gave a chirping mew, flashing her fangs in reply.

Reflections in the Mist

This scene was inspired by a picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.  The moment I saw this picture, I thought of Quinten and Charity.

**

Charity gasped as Quinten stepped forward and nearly fell off the ledge and into the water.  She caught him and pulled him back just in time.  “Please watch where you step,” she said.

“It’s all so… beautiful,” he breathed.  He looked around them and Charity knew that he was admiring the way the mist seemed to cling to the trees.  To her, it looked rather spooky, but she already knew that Quinten didn’t see things the way she did.

“Are you two coming?” Felicity called them from further up the trail.

Quinten flushed.  Then, together with Charity, he called, “Coming, Mistress.”  They hurried up the path until they came to a bridge made of ropes and wooden planks.  Quinten gasped at the sight.  Charity knew he didn’t like being over water, few of his kind did.  However, she was surprised when that wasn’t what at elicited the gasp from her mate.3d4710a6409b21b99fc95e4806f9506b

“It’s breath-taking,” he rasped.  Tears stood in his eyes as he caught Felicity by the elbow.  “Please, Mistress, might we have a break, so that I can sketch it?  It won’t take but a few moments!”

Felicity frowned.  “You wouldn’t be delaying because the idea of crossing water bothers you,” she said, meeting his gaze.  “Would you, my dear?”

“Because of that stream, Mistress?” Quinten said, looking surprised and somewhat offended.  “What sort of coward do you think I am, Mistress?”

“The vampiric sort,” Felicity replied, shrugging.

“Well, I like that,” he huffed.  Then he sat down on a nearby rock and pulled out his sketchbook.  “Go ahead,” he invited.  “I’ll cross all on my own and show I’m no coward.  You see if I don’t!”

Charity covered a laugh and crouched beside him.  “It’s really just because you’re so taken by the beauty of it all?” she asked.

“It is,” he replied, nodding.  He waved ahead of them.  “The rustic appeal of the bridge, the haunting misty background, the trees reflected in the water… it’s not something I’ve encountered in Ireland, and no mistake!”

“We’ll break here for lunch,” Felicity said, as she settled down on a nearby stone.  She met Quinten’s gaze.  “Forgive me for teasing you, if you can,” she said, giving him a weak smile.

“Of course, Mistress,” Quinten said, shaking his head.  “It’s already forgotten.  I knew your words were meant in jest, after all.”  He gave Charity a sidelong glance and murmured, “You’ll hold me hand when we cross that wee bridge, aye?”

“Every step of the way,” Charity promised, patting his shoulder gently.

Like A Ship on the Ocean

This is the last of the picture prompts from the WritYe DreamWidth that I had to use in order to be current.  Technically, there’s one more (from this past Wednesday), but otherwise, I’m caught up.

**

15-db59ec0a40Quentin frowned at the image.  It was odd, yet imaginative.  “Reminds me of Noah’s ark, a bit,” he said, tilting his head one way and then the other.

Felicity scowled at him and then looked back at the picture.  “It looks like it’s sinking,” she said, shaking her head.  “Noah’s ark didn’t sink.”

“I was home to all those creatures,” Quentin said.  He waved at the picture.  “It’s a house bobbing in the waves, like a ship on the ocean.”

“It’s sinking,” Felicity argued.

Quentin turned to face her.  Folding his arms behind his back, he smiled.  “It’s a stationary image, Mistress,” he said.  He lifted one shoulder and then looked back at the picture.  Tilting his head slightly, so that the house appeared level, he added, “I say it’s bobbing in the waves, like a ship and you can’t say me nay.”

Charity stifled a laugh.  “Technically, he’s right,” she said, nodding.

Felicity scowled.  “Houses don’t float,” she said, crossing her arms over her chest.  “They get washed away or they sink.  The entire image is absurd.”

“I rather like it,” Quentin said, smirking.  He turned and walked on through the gallery whistling to himself, so that he couldn’t hear Felicity’s grumblings.  He did, however, hear Charity’s laughter.

Who’s In Charge Around Here?

This little scene was inspired by a word prompt from WriYe DreamWidth (captain).

**

Captain Stanley Smith had never met anyone so infuriating in his entire life.  The man ignored every word that came out of his mouth.  Whatever Captain Smith said, he went and did the exact opposite.  “Mr. O’Conner,” he said, his voice strained, “what are doing back on deck?”

Quinten whirled around to face him.  “Mistress sent me up to ask when we would arrive, Captain,” he said, his voice soft.  The man gave him a smile and he resisted the urge to flinch at the sight of sharp-pointed teeth.  “Would you happen to know, sir?”

Captain Smith could swear that the man was well aware how unnerving the view was.  He was probably enjoying it.  “We’ll dock with the morning tide, Mr. O’Connor,” he said, scowling.  “I’ll thank you to remain below, as ordered.”

Bowing politely, Quinten said, “I appreciate your position, Captain.”  Then, the man straightened and met his eyes.  “I’ll thank you to remember that I am not in your chain of command.”

“This is my ship, Mr. O’Connor,” Captain Smith snapped.

Quinten flashed the sharp teeth again.  “Your ship, aye,” he said, spreading his arms.  Setting a hand against his own chest, he added, “Not your vampire, though.  I take my orders from only one soul and that soul is not you, sir.”  He folded his arms behind his back and bowed politely.  “Good day, Captain.”

“Good day,” Captain Smith said, glaring as the man retreated below once again.  He heaved a sigh and shook his head.  Looking at the boatswain, he said, “Never again.”

“Duly noted, sir,” the boatswain agreed, nodding.  At least someone was content to obey his orders.

Juxtaposed Views

This little scene was inspired by a picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.  I had a bit of a tough time figuring out what to write for such an amazing image.

**

Charity stared at the dark clouds in the distance with a confused frown.  She’d never, in her life, seen something so strange.

Quinten grabbed her by the arm and tugged at her.  “Would you come on already?” he said, his voice strained.  “That – that thing’s dangerous, Char!”

22-58fd2f4238She let him draw her back towards the cellar of the house, where Felicity had already taken shelter.  “There’s a rainbow,” she said.  “Isn’t that supposed to be the symbol of a promise from God?”

“A promise not to destroy the earth in a great flood, aye,” Quinten said, as he shoved her into the cellar. As he followed her below and secured the door, he added, “That promise says nothing about not ripping over-curious werepups into the air with cyclones!”

“It was rather pretty,” Felicity said, patting Charity on the arm.

Quinten sat down on the box beside Felicity and hurumphed.  “In rather a terrifying way, I suppose,” he said.

Fields of Gold

This scene was inspired by a picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth and… the fact that most of my current characters (particularly in this universe) are vampires or werewolves, neither of which like bright sunshine (both can survive it in this world, though).  Vampires combusting in sunlight is a Hollywood invention.

**

21-e514a7a2a0“You have to admit,” Charity said, as she twirled her parasol, “it’s really rather pretty.”

Quinten yawned hugely and shook his head.  Rubbing at his eyes, he said “Only thing that I must admit, is that I’d rather be anywhere besides an open field the middle of the day.”

“Would you like my parasol?” Charity offered, smiling.

“What I’d like,” Quinten snapped, “is to have been left asleep, in my bed.”

“Come along,” Felicity called to them.  She turned to face them and set her hands on her hips.  “If we want to be in position before moonrise, we need to get going, Quinten.”

“Sure and it’s a cruel master you are,” Quinten said, but he pulled his hood up a little higher and hurried after Charity, who was already rushing to join her.  At least she’d let him wear the cloak.  Prudence would have told him it wasn’t that bad and that he should stop acting like a baby.

A Field of Flowers

This scene picks up directly where the previous left off.  It was inspired by a picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.

**

Oliver waited until they were outside to explain their assignment to her. “There are two loners,” he said, “as well as one small pack with whom we have recently lost contact. We’ve been tasked with checking on them.”

“I see,” Charity said, nodding. She listened attentively as he outlined what they knew so far, including the home of the pack. Her brows furrowed for a moment as she considered what their best course of action was. “Since it’s difficult to even say where the loners last were, we should start by going to the home of the pack.”

As Oliver nodded his agreement, they reached a field that lay just outside the town. Even as close to the town as they were, the place seemed to be utterly deserted. Charity’s gaze went to the derelict building that stood nearby. It was supposedly the most haunted building in all of Britain. That explained why the place was avoided by the locals.

“This seems as good a place as any,” Oliver said. He gave her a weak smile. “My magic has never been strong enough for me to work magic. Would you mind?”

“Not at all,” Charity said. She knew where the pack lived and that was enough. She closed her eyes and, taking firm hold of Oliver, she turned in place. There was the familiar tightness that accompanied the spell, followed by a moment of dizziness. When she opened her eyes, they were standing by a field of flowers.

13-d465359a16“Their home is just at the edge of those trees,” Oliver said, pointing off, beyond the flowers.

Charity nodded and then she stepped away from him. It felt odd and, somehow, wrong, to hold him so close. She set out across the field and frowned at the eerie quiet.

“This… is rather creepy somehow,” Oliver said, his voice soft. “Even as beautiful as it is here, it seems like there’s something very, very wrong.”

Charity nodded silently. It was nice to know that she wasn’t the only one who was feeling it. “I wonder why that might be,” she said.

Just a Package

This is another little scene from the same story as the others ones I’ve written this week.  This one was inspired by the word prompt of “package” from the WriYe DreamWidth.  In this scene, Charity has grown so that she looks about eighteen years old.

**

Charity looked at the package on the table and her brows furrowed in consternation. She could hardly believe that the time had come. She had graduated just a month ago. In two years, Felicity would do the same. Then, they would move out into the wider world once again. She looked at the mirror on the wall and frowned. Was it really only five years ago that she’d looked like a little girl?

It seemed odd to her that she could have spent over a hundred years looking like a child and, with just a tiny change, she’d grown in just a few years. She felt a tremor of fear sweep through her. She would be spending the next two years apart from Quentin. It was the first time they’d been separated in more than sixty years and she was frightened. What if she couldn’t do this without him?

She shook her head and crossed to the table. She unwrapped the package that had sat on the table since the night before. Inside, there was a shield of silver-toned metal. Enameled on it was the seal of the Peace Keepers. With the badge, there was an identification card that bore her name and the name of the person who held her contract.

“A peace officer,” she said, her voice soft. She tucked both items into her bag and headed out of the room. As soon as she reached the bottom landing, Oliver was on his feet and smiling at her.

He stepped forward to offer her his arm. “Ready to go, partner?” he asked, looking into her eyes.

Charity nodded. After so long of looking up to all the adults around her, she found it strange that she only needed to tip her chin slightly to meet his steady gaze. “Ready,” she said, her voice soft. It was strange, the confidence the items in that small package had given her.

A Dark and Stormy Day

Here is another excerpt from the same story – set a bit earlier, when Felicity is still a child of about five year.  It was inspired by a picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.

**

12-3c3457d86cQuentin sat up quickly when he heard his ward scream.  A moment later, he knew what had scared her: thunder rolled so loudly that the inn seemed to shake with the sound.  Her mother, he knew, would be busy tending to customers.

He threw back the covers.  The storm clouds were so thick that it had turned the day to night.  At least he didn’t have to fear the sun.  He sighed as he peered into the playroom.  Charity was kneeling in front of Felicity, who was sobbing uncontrollably.

“Young Mistress?” Quentin said, his voice soft.  “Are you all right?”

Charity heaved a sigh and nodded.  “The thunder startled her,” she said.  She patted young Felicity on the shoulder.  “See?  I told you that he’d come.”

“Make it stop,” Felicity said, as she left Charity and threw her arms around Quentin’s waist.  “I don’t like it, Quentin.”

“I know you don’t care for the thunder, Mistress,” he said, as he crouched down.  The only problem with her mother signing their contract over to her child was that Felicity was prone to giving them impossible orders.  There was simply no way to explain to a five year old that she couldn’t order them to make the thunder stop.

He closed his eyes and tried to think of some way to comfort her.  “I cannot make it stop, Mistress.  The rain makes the plants grow,” he said, his voice soft.  “People need the rain.”

“Why must it thunder, though?” Felicity asked, her brows furrowing.  “Can’t you make that stop?”

Shaking his head, Quentin said, “If I could, believe that I would do so, Young Mistress.”  He lifted her into his arms and brought her to the nursery, where she slept.  Sitting on her bed, he said, “What I can do, is distract you from it.”

He began telling her a story that his mother had told him when he’d been young and frightened by something.  He was certain that he made a few mistakes in the telling.  However, it did the trick.  Slowly, but surely, Felicity’s attention became more and more focused on what he was saying and her fear of the storm faded to the background.

By the time he was finished, the thunder had passed, although it was still dark and raining.  He smiled when she hopped off the bed.  “Play with me,” she said, hurrying back to the playroom.

Chuckling softly, Quentin followed her into the next room.  One day, his young mistress would be a grown woman.  Until then, he would enjoy serving her as a playmate and storyteller.  “I like much better being a nanny than I did a peace officer, I think,” he said to Charity.

Charity shrugged and then nodded.  “It’s definitely more fun,” she agreed.  Then, she settled down beside their young mistress on the floor beside the doll house.  Quentin joined them and, soon, they were playing house with Felicity’s collection of dolls.

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