“Relax Jealous, you're being far too tense. She's just a little bird.”
“Just a bird, Val? She's enormous. What do you see in these beasts?”
Valdowyn gasped, affronted. “How dare you Jealous. Beasts? They are beautiful animals full of predatory guile. They are majestic raptors and they
hunt for me. I tell them what to kill and they bring it back to me before they sate themselves on the blood and flesh of the weak little animal whose
life they have taken, Jealous. They do this for me. Because I have raised them from hatchlings, by the hand. I am the closest thing they have ever
known to a mother. If they could speak they would call me Mistress.
“Why, Jealous, do not look so demure. You seem almost reviled for me to speak of them so but we both know the truth of what I say. These birds are
killers, Jealous. They were born for nothing more. They hunt and feed on the lives of lesser beings. This is why my father gave them to me. To teach
me the ways of Nature. The Food Chain, Jealous. Do you know what that is?”
“No.” The tiefling said with a stern expression. Truth be told he hated these creatures. They were beautiful, that much was true, but the way she
spoke of them did revolt him.
She went on, “The food chain is when stronger, quicker and more prime animals use their superior cunning and instinct to capture, kill and devour
weaker creatures.” She paused, presumably to punctuate her words, “Its horrible, isn't it, Jealous?” She looked at him as Tempest preened
himself while perched upon her outstretched arm, she whispered something to the raptor and launched him from her arm. “It's beautiful too, though,
at the same time, don't you think?”
He nodded, “Sure, Val.”
“My father taught me all this, Jealous. He is intensely studious when it comes to this subject matter. He seems to thrive on it, actually. He says
that in the world of the sentient races, man, dwarf, elf,” She flipped her hand as though to enunciate the others left unspoken, “the Porias are
second only to Chromatic Dragons and just as ancient. That he, in particular, is above us all. I think, my dear, he may be quite mad. But I love him
fiercely.” She gestured toward the female falcon, “Launch her then, Jealous.”
Jealous stared dumbly for a moment then remembered the bird perched upon his own rigidly extended arm. He had been held in such attention at what she
was saying that he had, somehow, forgotten. He let his arm drop, stiffly, and quickly brought it up again the way she had taught him but again failed
in trying to remain flaccid. It was hard to relax with such a large creature gripping it's razor-like talons into his forearm. Even through the thick
leather sleeve he wore for protection. The sleeve felt awkward on his arm and Jealous felt half a fool each time he wore it. Lucy launched nervously
from the tiefling's arm and flew off after her brother in search of whatever game her larger sibling was after.
Valdowyn turned to him and said, “We shall let them fly a moment while we enjoy our picnic. I had Simon make us a wonderful lunch. I think he may
have skimped on the bacon again though. I hear he has been having trouble with his hogs. They keep dying, I understand. It's quite the curious…”
she paused as she caught him watching the birds circle about a small flock of sparrows. “Ah,” she cooed, “The Food Chain. Hungry, Jealous?”
“Actually, yes, I am.” He grinned.
“Well, as I said we have fried bacon, biscuits and honey, some almond crusted trout fresh from the stream, dragon cakes, wine and chilled cow's milk
to wash it all down. Let us save the wine for last though, shall we?” She gave him a look, “We wouldn't want a repeat of last Greensky would
Jealous blushed fiercely as he recalled how last week she had fetched him to accompany her falconing and gotten far too drunk on sweet wine. “You
promised never to speak of that mummer's farce again, Val!” It was his turn to sound affronted.
“Did I,” She began with a flirtatious grin and a light touch of her chest, “It seems I have forgotten.”
“You did not, you just want to embarrass me.” He said giving her nose a soft flick.
“Why, you scoundrel! That's no way to treat a lady!”
“Neither is this.” Jealous whispered as he wrapped his smith's arms around the dainty noblewoman. He planted a soft kiss on her neck, feeling his
horns brush through her honey colored locks.
She murmured, “Jealous, the servants are watching.” She softly pushed him away holding the tiefling at arms length, “another time.” She leaned
in closer once more, “Promise.” She said. “Besides, I thought you said you were hungry?”
“I am.” He said with a coy smile. “I didn't say for what.”
“You dog!” She gasped. “Down, boy. Not in front of the falcons. They'll think you're hurting me.”
“I thought it was the servants that worried you?”
“My servants won't shred your eyelids if they think you are threatening me. You'll just have to settle for bacon, my dear.”
“Bacon it is then.” He sighed, “Dragon cakes, did you say? Those are expensive, Val.”
“Nothing, is too expensive for a Poria, dear Jealous.”
“So they say.”
edit on Cpm3Tuesday5520153831Tue, 18 Aug 2015 15:55:38 -05002015 by CagliostroTheGreat because: format