Today’s writing was another story fragment. I lucked out and got to see I, Frankenstein before work today, and there was one scene where the demons were storming the church, where the gargoyles had Adam chained up. Adam convinced his guards to release him so he cold fight beside them. And I just saw a group of warriors (or whatever) bursting into a secured room, looking for an archetypal Trickster, who just happens to be loose in the room and ready to play as only a demented Trickster can.
So that’s what I played with. There’s not much in the way of background for the character types (I fell back on the Seelie fae and djinni, with a reference to a third court that’s not directly called the Unseelie court.) Maybe I’ll take the fragment and build from it, maybe not.
The language bothers me a bit. The Seelie guard, Dannik, has much more proper/old-fashioned language, whereas the Trickster uses language more typical of our modern world. I suppose if I do run with this idea, I can play around with the idea that the Trickster travels between worlds. He could have visited our world and had some fun, picked up a little of our lingo. But I like the idea of the Trickster having a slightly different vocabulary from other characters in this situation.
Anyway, here’s what came out of today’s hour:
“Let me go.”
But the floor trembled, wiping away his confident smirk.
“I can take care of myself, Dannik. Let me go.”
He tried to ignore me, but I saw his brow tighten just a smidge. The fighting was getting closer. And it didn’t sound like his side was winning.
“I can help.”
He snorted. “I would question your sanity, but I already know the answer.”
I grinned and danced around in my chair. “Oh, come now, Dannik. I want to play.” I put on the most reassuring face I could muster.
He stared down at me. He was a big, big guy. What most people would consider intimidating. Maybe I was just a little too insane because I wasn’t intimidated. And maybe I need to work on my “reassuring” smile, because Dannik didn’t seem reassured.
“Aw. Don’t you trust me, Dannik?”
“Not in the slightest.”
“I’m taking that personally.”
“You can trust me, Dannik.”
“Like how the Queen trusted you to spend a quiet afternoon lounging in the garden, as you promised?”
“Now that. That was a misunderstanding. I promised nothing.” And the garden would recover. Eventually. The gardener’s wits, well…those were gone. “I will make you a promise now.”
“I don’t want anything from you. Especially not a promise.”
“No, no, no, listen. Listen, listen, listen to me. I know you have that handy little escape tunnel on the back wall. Protected by a spell activated by your tattoo, I assume.” His face remained stony. I assumed that was code for yes. “You go through that tunnel and…I don’t care, save your Queen. Dance along the beach. Whichever you prefer. But unlock my chains, and I will take care of our guests.”
“They’re coming here.”
“They’re coming for you. For all I know, you’re in league with them.”
“Oh. Oh, but I thought we were having fun, Dannik. I thought we were friends.”
I like to think that if the door hadn’t jerked, Dannik and I would have reconciled our differences. Unfortunately for me, Dannik caressed his battle axe.
“I will give you my true name.”
That caught his attention. Even though the door shuddered under another assault. “You’re mad.”
“Well, yes. We’ve already established that. I will give you my true name, and you will unlock my chains. You can go through your tunnel, and I will stay here to take care of our guests here.” I nodded at the door as it buckled and creaked. “I’m sure your Queen needs help by now.”
“Done. Say it.”
“D’jyelish Tyra,” Dannik repeated.
Millions of super-heated pins wedged themselves under my skin. I writhed against the chains.
“All right.” Dannik pressed the back of his wrist, marked with part of his elaborate spell-tattoo, to the spell-lock on my chains. The chains fell away with a jangle.
I slumped in the chair, rubbing my wrists. Pieces of the door splintered free. “You might want to go now.”
Dannik glanced from me to the door. No doubt regretting his choice. But he had my true name.
Not that he would survive the day to use it against me. There were too many djinni swarming the Seelie palace.
And then Dannik fled. I was right. The spell-tunnel flared to life from a touch of the burly guard’s tattoo. He ducked into the tunnel, and it snapped closed behind him, leaving me alone in a bare stone room with nothing but a chair and some chains.
So I sat and waited.
It didn’t take long. In a flurry of sparkly magic and enthusiastic grunts, the djinni shattered what was left of the door and tumbled into the room. The buggers might be more colourful that even the Seelie Court in full summer splendor, but they sure were clumsy. The fell all over each other, one sliding across the floor on his chin. My foot on his forehead stopped his slide. He snorted and looked up at me.
The djinni quickly realized there was no one in the room with me. They stopped and gathered themselves, standing and adjusting their weapons. They looked around, then at one another, then at me.
I didn’t get up. I’d realized my nails had gotten rather grimy. Perhaps from my romp in the garden?
The djinn with the loudest tunic cleared his throat. “Trickster?”
The djinni shuffled again. The gold decorating their armour shivered.
“Our mighty King has a proposal for you. One of mutual benefits.”
I inspected my nails one last time before looking up at the leader. I set my feet flat on the floor. My grin started small and grew. “Does he?” I purred. Aw, my smile was upsetting the mighty djinni warriors. “And if I refuse?”
I shot to my feet, catching the djinn by his shimmery blue throat before he could react. My nails cut into his skin. Hot golden blood welled around my fingers. The djinn gagged and clawed at my hand. His men made the most feeble protests.
I let my glamour fall away. My black skin gleamed against his. His men shrank back, and the ones still in the corridor started to run. The growl started deep in my gut, where my magic was uncoiling. The trapped djinn squealed and kicked at my shins, as if that would work. His gold eyes were wet with fearful tears.
“I have only one King.”