This week I have gone with a face. It was a struggle to find the creator of this incredible image because their current page on Deviant Art is empty. But two sources confirmed that it is indeed called 'Dragon Incarnate' and was created/copyrighted by LuckyWolf13 (Lauren from the US).
The story I imagined coming out of this picture turned into something else, and refused to change to what I wanted - as stories are often wont to do. And it pushed the Word Count too. But I do rather like it. Hope you do too.
The General Guidelines can be found here.
Avilijn sat in front of the mirror watching the tracer work on the intricate design on the left side of her face. She remained stock still as the heat of the needle left behind its black ink creating a depiction of her latest conquest for all to see.
This latest scrollwork made it clear that she wasn’t to be trifled with. It made it clear she was a woman of strength and means. She felt a flush of pride, her mind turning to what she needed to do to have designs on the right side.
Her musing was interrupted by Finnella, who fluttered in behind her in awe and anxiety.
“Calm your wings Finnella, and tell me what news?”
“Word has spread my lady, more will come to try and defeat you.”
Avilijn smiled, her eyes flashing. “Good. I need more.”
“There is talk of Falcroon showing up.”
Avilijn’s mouth opened as her eyes sparkled. “Oh yes, taking him would be my pleasure.”
Avilijn pictured Falcroon and his oversized wings. The way he would always flex them whenever a pretty fledgling would go by while still in conversation with another. He thought he was such a hot shot. Would he really dare to come and take her on? She wondered. Would he be vain enough to risk his life? Would pride be his downfall?
The pecking order was strong, and she had to keep them all in place now. Since her father’s demise many had tried to usurp her and turn the skies into chaos, but she was responsible for maintaining peace at all costs – something Hawkseye had found out to his detriment ... and death.
Falcroon was coming to defend his honour. They had always had an intimate alliance: brothers in blood. She’d heard of their comradeship during the War of the Kestrel Marshes, but he had to understand that compliance was going to be the only way, and if that meant bloodshed then so be it. She wasn’t afraid.
A messenger arrived and she waited for Finnella to speak to them. When Finnella turned, the fearful bright eyes that met hers in the mirror told her all she needed to know.
“When is he coming?”
“At evening song.”
Avilijn glanced at the artist who had lifted the needle from her face. “Time to prepare for the right side decoration.”
The artist gave her a bob of the head as Avilijn rose to take on her next contender.
Avilijn stretched her turquoise and black wings, the magnificent glint causing gasps from the crowd, who had begun to gather in the archaic atrium since word had spread of the challenge.
Falcroon was more subdued than Avilijn expected. Was he nervous? Or was this something he didn’t want to do? But he was the one who had requested the duel, so it was his choice. She waited for his move.
But he didn’t swoop, instead he spoke.
“Princess, I am deeply hurt by the loss of my blood brother. Some believe I come to avenge his death, but I am not foolish enough to try. Instead I ask you to take my life too, so I can rejoin with him in eternity.”
Avilijn struggled to hide her annoyance. This wasn’t what she wanted. She wasn’t here to grant wishes, or be some kind of public executioner. What game was he playing?
“Falcroon we are known to each other. If you aren’t here to challenge me, then you pledge fealty. I offer nothing else.”
He surprised her by flying low and bowing his head, offering the back of his neck; an act of submission. And one she had to acknowledge.
She flew over him in acceptance, but rather than remaining in position, Falcroon twisted just as her talons crossed over him, stretching his head back and up, exposing his neck. Before Avilijn could react a claw sliced through his skin, sweeping across it – deep. Blood gushed, as his body fell limp to the ground below.
Avilijn circled in shocked dismay. He had manipulated her into granting his wish, but this also placed her in a precarious position of an unwarranted kill, something which could upset the balance of power.
Damn him! He had not only avenged Hawkseye’s death, but achieved Hawkseye’s original intent.