Photo credit: Pete Birkinshaw
Taen Tarrantae followed Hial outside. The gardens featured the “natural” look that was so popular now. Another demerit against this aesor. True, Hial had retaken the city and quashed two major rebellions, but the modern design of his rebuilt castle was hideous. Young people had no respect for Pyanni traditions. How could she allow her grandson to marry this half-foreigner? What a terrible influence he’d be!
A guard whispered to Hial, who nodded. “No, let them slip through. They’ll provide an excellent demonstration.” Hial returned, smiling broadly. “It seems some rebels are… visiting.”
Soon after, three black-masked figures jumped out, screaming epithets. A shimmering shield appeared before Tarrantae could ready her own.
Hial shouted, “Capture!”
Statues ground to life on all sides. Bears and tigers blocked the exits. Eagles swept from rooftops, flying implausibly on too-slow wings. Claws grabbed the intruders with a crunch of breaking bones, carrying them off to the song of screams.
Tarrantae hadn’t seen stone guards since she was a child. “Such a classic touch. I’m surprised.”
Hial grinned. “The old ways are often the best, don’t you agree?”
Tarrantae reconsidered the garden. Sufferable, on second glance. Perhaps she would approve her grandson’s request after all.
Word count: 200. Written for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge. Click the link to read the other entries or to write your own! Big thanks to Al Forbes for hosting, and for providing the inspirational prompt photo, below — which I would have used except for that little modern light poking up from the bottom. I realize that the photo I chose to feature instead is actually a vulture, but I chose it for the scary claws.
Eneana culture note: Taen is a Pyanni title for the ruler of a large area, and an Aesor is the level below the Taen. Think: King/Queen and Duke/Duchess.
Photo © Al Forbes