Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
×

:iconthornyenglishrose: More from ThornyEnglishRose


Featured in Collections

Great Writting Pieces by h2ogirl98

DDs I've Featured by wreckling

Brilliant Prose by QuiEstInLiteris


More from DeviantArt



Details

Submitted on
May 21, 2011
File Size
8.1 KB
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
8,146
Favourites
105 (who?)
Comments
52
×
Edgar stepped into a clearing and found a centaur suckling her child.  He threw his hands over his eyes.

'I am terribly sorry, madam!'

'It's all right.'

Her tone was scornful, but with better things to worry about, Edgar did not take it to heart.  He uncovered his eyes.  She was feeding the child like a mare, not a woman, so he felt no need for embarrassment.  He stooped down a little, trying to determine the gender of the young one.  As with foals, it was easy enough to tell.

'What a delightful little boy,' he said.

The mother smiled.  'Thank you.'

'Do you mind if I sit down here for a few minutes?'

'No.'

'I am very tired.'

The centaur made no reply.  She stood with arms folded and her back legs slightly apart, gazing out into the forest.  Edgar was disappointed.  The significance of the situation had not escaped him, and he hoped she would talk to him.

The first thing to do was find somewhere to sit.  There was no handy log nearby, so he had to settle himself under a tree.  The ground seemed a lot further away than it had as little as ten years ago.  He felt the strain in his bones as he lowered himself down, and puffed and panted with the effort.  The centaur swung her head round to look at him.

'Are you all right?' she asked.

'Yes, I'm fine.  Just feeling my age.'

'Well, there's water not far in that direction if you need it.'  She indicated with a tilt of her head, and then continued to ignore him.

Edgar wondered whether he ought to have exaggerated his discomfort.  Maybe she would have offered to help him, or at least been willing to engage him in conversation to distract him from his pain.  But it was too late for that now, so Edgar turned his attention to the little one.  He had already made the mother smile with his compliment towards the child.

The young centaur seemed steady enough on his stick-like legs.  He had to stretch his neck to feed, and his arms flailed uncertainly at his sides, unable to reach and rest upon any part of the mother.

'Excuse me, madam,' Edgar said.  'I hope you don't mind my asking.  How old is your child?'

'I'm not sure precisely,' said the centaur.  'Not much more than a day.'

'Really?'  The fascination in his voice was genuine.  'A human that age cannot even support his own head - not until he is some months old.  A horse, on the other hand, gives birth to young considerably larger than your boy.  How very fascinating.'

'Well,' said the centaur, 'he is neither a human nor a horse.'

Edgar's heart sank.  He had heard that centaurs were highly strung, and now this one was clearly offended.

'I'm sorry.  I didn't mean…'

'Never mind, old man.  Humans and centaurs have never really understood each other, I know.'

'Indeed,' said Edgar.  'As it happens, we humans don't take very kindly to being called "old man".'

'But you are one.'

'I know.'

She stared at him for a moment.  Then she said, 'I'm sorry.'

'That's quite all right.'

Edgar knew already that the centaur was not going to ask him his business.  He also knew it would be folly to ask her directly what he wanted to know, but perhaps he could bring up the subject of his predicament in a casual sort of way.

'I suppose I shouldn't stay,' he said.  'But I don't quite dare go back home, you see.  I've come from Victory Keep.'

The centaur raised her eyebrows.  'Have you indeed?  Let me guess.  You're on some mission for the human king.'

'Indeed I am.'

'Are you a servant?'

'Not exactly.  I'm the king's chief advisor.'

The centaur laughed.  'I'll never understand you humans.  Kings… servants… advisors!  Why bother living under a dictator if he can't even make his own decisions?'

'Now then,' said Edgar, 'you don't know our king, young lady.'

'Would you call a human "young lady"?'

'I might.'

'And it isn't an insult?'

'What?  Oh,' said Edgar, 'you mean like "old man".  Well, no.  It doesn't make any sense, really, does it?'

The centaur smiled, and shook her head.

Encouraged by the smile, Edgar asked, 'What is your name, my dear?'

'Xorie,' she said.  'And yours?'

'Edgar.'

'Well, Edgar, if your king isn't as bad as all that, why are you afraid to go back to him?'

'I'm on a very important mission,' said Edgar.  'The king would be very nice about it, I'm sure, but even so I don't like to go back empty-handed.  A child's life is at stake.'

'What child?'

'The daughter of a friend of the king's, barely even as old as your boy.  Her mother died in childbirth, and the father died of grief.'

'Died of grief?' said Xorie.  'Can that happen?'

'Well, there may have been poison involved.'

'Selfish brute!  What about his child?'

'Indeed,' said Edgar.  He took a deep breath.  Now was the time.  'The king has charged me with finding her a wet nurse.  But they're just not that easy to find, you see, at short notice.  Normally we'd have months of warning.'

'You could feed her on other animals' milk,' said Xorie.  'Cows, goats…  You humans do that, don't you?  I'm sure it wouldn't harm her.'

'You are quite right,' said Edgar, 'but she is the king's ward now.  He will insist upon her being fed by the, um… the…'

'Breast?'

'Well… yes.'

Xorie laughed.  'How funny.  Our men have no difficulty in talking about such things.  If you were after a human mother, why did you come all the way out here?'

'I'm not sure,' said Edgar.  'I didn't expect to find a wet nurse in the woods, of course, but having searched every town and village I am starting to feel rather desperate.'

'Well, I suppose it's occurred to you that I could do it.'

'Could you?'  Edgar's eyes dropped to her breasts, covered by a pretty garment fashioned from leaves and flowers.

She folded her arms across her chest.  'Yes.'

Edgar looked away.  'I'm sorry.  I just wasn't sure if, um…'

'He has a choice.'

'I see.'

'I do find this more comfortable,' said Xorie.  'But a human child I could cradle in my arms, couldn't I?  You say she's smaller than Fipp?  And she can't even support her own head?  How utterly pathetic human babies must be.'

'Fipp,' said Edgar.  'What a delightful name.  The young girl's name is Katrina.'

'Silly name.'

'Don't say that to anyone at the castle, whatever you do.  That is… if you're coming.'

'Will it be quite all right?' Xorie asked.  'A centaur suckling a princess, I mean?'

'Oh, she isn't a princess.  That is… the king and queen would be most grateful to you, madam.  And… it is an agreeable arrangement to you, is it?'

'I suggested it.'

'Indeed, but I have heard that centaurs don't like working for humans.'

Xorie sighed, and said, 'What choice do I have?'

'Um… I don't know.'

'Of course you don't.  What about Fipp?  I trust he will be treated well?'

Edgar glanced down at the child, who was still suckling.  'He will be made most welcome, madam, and you will both be quite comfortable.  Shall I return to the castle and arrange transportation for him?'

'It's all right.  He'll follow me on foot.'

'Are you sure?'

'He can stand, hold his head up and walk,' said Xorie, 'and I happen to know your Victory Keep isn't far from here.  We'll go now, shall we?  I think you have had enough, my darling.'

She reached behind her and pulled Fipp gently by the tail.  He licked his lips, tottered round on shaky legs and shot his mother a resentful look.

'We're moving on now, Fipp,' she said.  'Edgar, do please lead the way.'
Victory Keep Folder

First of all, I must credit ~Batri for the original inspiration for this story, with this adorable picture: [link] Do stop by and give her some love and praise. :)

I am asking for critique on this piece, please. :please: Now here's what I'm not going to do. I'm not going to ask about anything specific. I'm new to this kind of classic fantasy writing (if indeed that's what it is), so I don't really know what does and doesn't concern me, and anyway when I express concern about certain areas of writing I'm normally told it's fine, but I need to worry about something else. So, just general what do I need to do to make this better (or, indeed, any good at all)?

I'm also not going to walk you through the choices of names for my characters. I went through quite some processes, especially to come up with Xorie and Fipp, but it's probably not very interesting for the rest of you. :P

I don't know how often I'm going to add new chapters to this piece. At the moment I'm pretty certain I'll be writing at least one more, which isn't saying much, I know. And that's assuming it isn't hated by everyone. :paranoid: But yes, I do want to get these characters back to Victory Keep (possibly a terrible name, but it needs to be something like that - following some sound advice from `Memnalar I've decided to name it after its history and try and work it into the plot), and get some things happening there.

Okay, enough. Bye for now.
Add a Comment:
 

Daily Deviation

Given 2011-11-21
Victory Keep: Chapter 1 by *ThornyEnglishRose is a great opening to a longer work. ( Featured by wreckling )
:iconleonca:
First of all- that is a great hook in those first few sentences! If you plan to give the story a slightly humorous theme, that sets the tone very well.

Edgar’s awkwardness was amusing to read. You can tell he’s trying to be gentlemanly about the whole thing, but is drawn into uncomfortable territory with having the job to do. I also like how he tries to be both polite, and stand up for himself with the things that she says that annoy him as a human.

Xorie sighed, and said, 'What choice do I have?'
Xorie’s reaction does seem a bit odd. Is she drawn to help the human child, or is she worried that there may be repercussions to not helping the king? I would imagine her mothering instincts would have her wanting to protect her own child at all costs. Nonetheless, I can see how you could easily address this in future chapters as you reveal more about her.

I’m not too familiar with centaurs outside of the version out of Greek mythology, but I’m very curious about where you plan to take this.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
3 out of 3 deviants thought this was fair.

:iconshodai24:
Critique by Shodai24 May 21, 2011, 10:25:08 PM
Ah, good fiction, good fiction. Before I delve into what I found particularly great, let me first say that this reminds me of reading C.S Lewis (ie. you totally wrote this chapter to awesomeness). The characters seem to have a depth to them, and I've only ever read such fantastically written character when I find something awesome on dA or at the bookstore. Now this may not be relevant to how well you wrote your story, but a name like Victory Keep is sort of cliché, but your writing works it into an interesting element. Rather than an obvious cliché. :bucktooth: The technique with which this was written is flawless; good grammar, properly written dialogue and nicely brought out character. Short, simple, but nonetheless a brilliant piece of writing.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
11 out of 11 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

Please sign up or login to post a critique.

:icondoloriferousfrost:
DoloriferousFrost Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer

I liked the narrative and the speech was very realistic. This was a great pleasure to read. There were four bits in particular that I especially liked. The first one is because of its context, whereas the others are brilliant in their own right.

#1 ‘ “Of course you don’t.” ’

#2 ‘ “Why bother living under a dictator if he can't even make his own decisions?” '

#3 ' ”Well, there may have been poison involved.” ‘

#4 ‘his arms flailed uncertainly at his sides’

Reply
:iconthornyenglishrose:
ThornyEnglishRose Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you very much. :) (I see you also left a critique - I'll get to that later, so I can read it in detail.)
Reply
:icondoloriferousfrost:
DoloriferousFrost Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
My pleasure! It truly was a great read.
Reply
:iconamber-rose-creations:
amber-rose-creations Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
WOw! You are an amazing writer! I have only read a bit but I'm FAVing you so I can read more! Thanks!
Reply
:iconthornyenglishrose:
ThornyEnglishRose Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! :aww: I'm forever emphasising that this is not my usual genre, and asking for pointers to make it better - I'm glad some people are enjoying it despite that.
Reply
:iconamber-rose-creations:
amber-rose-creations Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Well it's very well done, I look forward to reading your other work too! :)
Reply
:iconellestril:
ellestril Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This is a very nice piece, I do hope you'll wrote more!
Reply
:iconthornyenglishrose:
ThornyEnglishRose Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Just keep an eye on the folder I link to in my comments. ;)
Reply
:iconraindropsonroses21:
RaindropsOnRoses21 Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I love how polite they are :D :XD:
Reply
:iconthornyenglishrose:
ThornyEnglishRose Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Glad you're enjoying it so far. :)
Reply
Add a Comment: