The picture above is only vaguely related to this piece. Or perhaps this tiny guy is the source of the name of The Dancing Dragon tavern. I haven’t decided yet.
Either way, welcome to my post for Day 10 of the Author Up Challenge! There’s something exciting about hitting double digits and a nice round number like 10.
Today’s prompt was:
Day 10: Write From the Perspective of a Vain Man.
Particularly, it asked to illustrate this man’s vanity through his description of and actions with another.
When I started brainstorming about vanity, of course dragons came to mind. One dragon in particular–Cernunnos, from my previous piece, Captivated. That, and I’m always fascinated with seeing the same exact scene through different eyes. My all-time favorite Ender’s Game did it with the follow-up Ender’s Shadow, and I’ve done it a few times with my own work.
Let me preface this with the fact that I’m still not entirely sure myself what Cern’s intentions are. I only know he’s not evil, only vain and curious and always causing trouble/chaos. I also haven’t decided how important Leilae’s purpose in Farnx is.
I’ve realized over the past week and a half, that it is driving me nuts to post such unpolished work. There have been a few rewrites, but most of these are first drafts–eek! Since I’m posting everyday, it’s hard to get these to a level I would normally work towards. Granted, I’m editing, but not to the depths I usually do before anyone sees anything. It’s kind of scary and exciting all at once. I hope they don’t come across as too disjointed or rough.
There’s my inner critic trying to get the best of me. Down, you.
Cernunnos saw the awkward, out of place young woman and knew immediately he would approach her. Her confusion proved almost painful to look upon and from the cut and design of her plain, faded dress he figured her to be an outlander who’d never stepped foot into a city like Farnx before. She was nondescript, so much so that even her distressed look would not have caught the attention of another.
Cern sought out such opportunities. Never had one so perfect presented itself like this–her plight, her discomfort, her plainness.
Cern detached from the shadows of a side street and swept his dark hair back from his face with one hand, letting that simple movement give him away and catch her attention. Then, he met her gaze with his and smoothed his goatee with his fingers.
She stared, mesmerized. Humans were so easily captivated. He grinned, more to himself than her, but she saw it and a swoon weakened her further.
“Are you lost, my dear? You look lost.”
She looked incapable of forming words, and had Cern not been putting on his full charm, he might have thought her mute.
He continued on, composed and drinking in every moment. “It would please me greatly if you would allow me to buy you dinner, lovely miss.” He made a grandiose bow and an exaggerated flourish of his hands, his cloak billowing around him. He kept her eyes locked on him with his own.
“I-I…” the young woman stammered.
“Ahh, but I have left you speechless.” Cern grinned and watched her as she focused on the movements of his mouth. ”Forgive me and my rudeness. I have not even introduced myself. I am Cern.” His name came out as more of a hiss than he intended, so deeply he played his role, but he realized it had a pleasant affect as she formed his name on her lips.
He reached his hand out to her, requesting her own.
“Leilae,” she finally said, her voice breathy like she could not intake enough air.
Cern eased his charm, just enough. He didn’t want her to faint, after all. How bothersome that would be. She took one deep breath and her eyes fluttered as she put her hand into his. Cern kissed it, a light brushing with his lips, still watching her over the top of her delicate knuckles.
Her skin was softer than he’d expected, her being from the outlands of the Bracklin Reach and probably a farmer. From this close, he could smell the subtle flowery scent that surrounded her. It was not overly strong like that of many of his previous human women, all city women.
“Beautiful,” he purred.
Her face flushed deep scarlet.
When Leilae had no words, Cern deftly filled silence. “I saw you from across the way, and knew I had to become acquainted with you. I am always surprised and delighted by the workings of… women… but never so much as I am with you. So you must forgive me for being so forward.”
He gave a coy, embarrassed look that melted her further.
“Say ‘yes’ to dining with me. You must,” Cern implored. His eyes searched hers for any remaining shreds of resistance.
“Yes.” The word tumbled out of her mouth almost before Cern had finished.
He gave her his most dazzling smile, then took her arm and tucked it within his own.
Cern would prompt more conversation from her after they reached The Dancing Dragon. He had the inclination that she might be more interesting than he’d previously given her credit for. For now, he continued to hold her in his gaze.
Her eyes never left his face and she barely breathed, but he had hold of her now and did not let her stumble.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.