Old Guard

Vulture Pete Birkinshaw flickr

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.

203 06 June 18th 2017

Photo © Al Forbes


14 thoughts on “Old Guard

    • They’re great guards, aren’t they? But he’s hoping the word doesn’t get out quite yet — the less any intruders know about the defenses, the less they can prepare for it. And those rebels are heading straight off to the dungeon, so they won’t be telling anyone! Thanks for reading, Suzanne!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What an exciting scene, which says a lot about the two characters. Statue guards are a great idea, and i really like the way Hial orchestrates the demonstration. (I must get a few of those statues around our garden. 😀 )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, if rebels are going to try to sneak into your castle, you may as well take advantage of the timing! Hial is a smart one. I’m not sure whether I’d trust those statues in my yard, but in an emergency, they’d sure be handy to have.


  2. I knew what a Taen was intantly as I have played a game where the ruler over the area is a Teyrn.

    Those statues could be useful, although I don’t think I would trust them implicitly. Especially if they have free thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting connection, since I’ve never heard of a Teyrn, so the similarity in words is completely coincidental! It’s another example of the challenge of making up words for an alternate world: there are really only so many combinations of sounds that are reasonably easy to read / pronounce and remember, so no matter what you try, they’re going to remind people of real words.

      That’s a good point with the stone guards; I hadn’t worked out whether they’re intelligent or merely animated (both would be possible in this world)..

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aha, but that is actually not true! I have a pretty detailed magic system that, for instance, makes the D20 sorcerer class and several types of spells (e.g., time travel) impossible, and there are several “races” (like half-elf, or dragon-blood) that also cannot exist in Eneana. I like the limitations, though; it makes it feel more realistic to me, and can be a challenge.


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