badass_tiger: Charles Dance as Lord Vetinari (Default)
rufus ([personal profile] badass_tiger) wrote2015-09-29 08:10 am
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The Queen of

I'm helping out my friend Shaiha to flesh out some of her characters, and she presented me with these two to write. Because she had only just begun writing her plot herself, she didn't give me many details of the story setting, so I came up with some stuff you will probably not see or outright contradict things in her novel. But its purpose stands.

Look to more of these two in the future ^_^ This series will hereby be known as 'The Kings Series' until Shaiha decides on a title.

Title: The Queen of

Series: The Kings Series

Length: 2k

Summary: Takes place in a modern setting. Vladimir Eisenberg, future King of the Undead, meets Reina Blumstein, a commoner.


Vladimir observed the puppies ambling around his ankles almost critically. He was really more of a cat person. To him, dogs had the tendency to grow up harsh and noisy. Yet, he could not help observing, these puppies were really rather cute. Almost as good as kittens. They really did seem to have some magic in them too, and he bent down to hold them and inspect them.

‘What are you doing with those puppies?!’ a voice cried in alarm, and Vladimir almost dropped the whole litter. One or two of them did fall out of his hands, but as he was still crouched down, they tumbled harmlessly to the grass, where they wagged their tails and implied with enthused barks that they really rather enjoyed that and would like another go.

‘I was only,’ he said timidly, slowly shuffling around to look at the newcomer, ‘t-taking a look.’ He looked up, and, realising he was in danger of looking up a woman’s skirt, hastily scrambled to his feet.

‘At the puppies?’ the woman said, and Vladimir blushed to the roots of his hair before he could notice that she sounded more amused than offended. ‘Well, would you like to buy one?’

‘I … don’t think so … I was just looking, f-for a friend.’

‘What does he want one for then? Some of these will make mighty guard dogs, I reckon.’

He suppressed an internal shudder at the thought of such placid baby creatures being trained to bark and bite. ‘More like … a sheepdog …’ It was a good way of describing the duties of a Companion dog. It was what Raizel had told him to say, at any rate.

‘Will this breed make good sheepdogs?’ she asked, arching a golden eyebrow. Vladimir noticed that she had really lovely blonde hair, bunching up in thick curls around her shoulders, her fringe artfully held back with a red bow.

‘It’s a … special breed of sheep …’

‘More like goats, I expect.’ Vladimir hoped desperately that she wasn't teasing him. She looked at him rather closely for a moment before she smiled, much to his relief. ‘You needn't be so nervous,’ she said cheerfully, ‘I was only startled when I saw someone in here without having knocked on the door, but I know Marie doesn't mind people walking in and out. You can see the gate from the kitchen window, you see.’

Vladimir nodded, though he did not see. Raizel had simply told him where she'd seen a litter of puppies she wanted to choose a Companion from, and shoved Vladimir off to do it for her. Vladimir hadn't realised they'd belonged to somebody.

The bulldog that had been lying on her side idly watching her puppies suddenly sat bolt upright, and then began scooping puppies up in her mouth and trotting off with them into her kennel. Before Vladimir could begin worrying if he had done something, the sky darkened and a droplet of water fell onto his hair. It had hardly started tracing a path down his face before it was joined by more rain.

Marie’s friend laughed and turned to him. ‘Did you tell me your name?’ she asked.

‘It’s Vladimir,’ he answered somewhat doubtfully.

‘I’m Reina. Why don't you come in for a bit, Vladimir?’

Though relieved she had given him her real name – and he could tell from the way her bright, distinctly human aura pulsed with real energy as she said it that it truly was her name – he was scared of coming inside for an entirely different reason from the magical. He tried to open his mouth to say something along those lines, and found that fear had effectively paralysed him. Seldom was he in the company of a woman he had not been closely familiar with for a very long time.

‘A bit of a shy one, I see,’ Reina said insightfully. ‘Don't worry, it happens with animals as often as it does with humans. Come along.’ She took his unresisting hand and towed him to the farmhouse.

It was only once they were inside did Vladimir feel that he was wet from rain. There was a fire burning in the kitchen, and Reina led him to it without ceremony.

‘Are you cold?’ Reina said. ‘I'll make us some tea. Feel free to shake some of the rain off onto the rug.’

There was a comfortable armchair on the hearth, its colour worn from use. Vladimir wondered how he was supposed to shake himself off, as if he were a dog, and if he dared used magic to dry himself instead. He decided against it – rain would not make him ill as it would humans – and magicked himself so as to not drip too much and pulled up a stool from a corner of the kitchen.

‘Well, I'm honoured by your humbleness, Vladimir,’ Reina said when she came back with a tray. ‘Let me put this on that stool, and you can grab a kitchen chair if you won't sit on the armchair.’

He obeyed meekly, trying to tell himself that he had been invited to do so by his host and shouldn't worry about disturbing anything. Unfortunately, this notion was soon dashed when he tripped over a cat while carrying the chair. The cat yowled in protest and shot off while Reina tried to stifle her laughter in a dignified manner.

‘I told you to calm down,’ she said sunnily, watching while Vladimir stood up again and tried not to look like he was crawling away as he picked up the chair and brought it to her. ‘I don't bite, honest.’

At the word ‘bite’, Vladimir’s toes curled in his shoes and he swallowed. He chided himself for being so self-conscious, but Reina seemed to think it was only his natural anxiety. She shook her head with a smile and poured the tea.

She stood up and said, ‘Sit.’ He sat, and she gave him a cup before picking one up herself and backing into the armchair.

‘May I tell you about myself?’ she asked, and Vladimir nodded. He took a sip of the tea, which felt as if it was warming him up and drying him off from the inside.

‘My name is Reina Blumstein,’ she began pleasantly. ‘I was born in a far off land, where magic is real and technology was not far advanced because we had everything at our fingertips already. It was just like a village out of a fairy tale, and indeed, perhaps we were where fairy tales come from.’ Her expression became sombre. ‘However, I don't remember much of it. Cruel fate tore me from my warm childhood home and I was displaced here, to live among humans lesser than myself. Ever since, I have toiled on the earth, with hopes of finding some magic that can bring me back to where I belong.’

Vladimir was left speechless, his jaw hanging open. He had felt Reina’s human aura, and was awed by the magic it must take to disguise one’s magic, particularly to the future King of the Undead. He wondered if she was telling him this because she had sensed his species and wanted his help –

Reina clasped her hand over her mouth and burst into laughter.

‘Oh, I'm so sorry!’ she spluttered. ‘I'm a horrid creature. How could I tease you so?’

He looked at her with realisation and p a sinking heart as he thought of what a easily deceived fool he must be to have taken her seriously. But Reina’s mirth was contagious, and as he saw the funny side of things, he began to chuckle too.

‘There now, that was a real laugh,’ she said. ‘I'm glad you have a sense of humour. I wouldn't have liked you anymore if you hadn't.’

‘Thank you, miss,’ he said, finding himself disproportionately happy at her words.

‘”Miss”? No, I don't think so. I'm just Reina. You're not a sir or anything are you?’ He shook his head. He was not even a Highness yet. ‘I'm only from this village and I've never been anything other than Reina.’

‘This isn't your house,’ he said.

‘No, I'm house sitting. I must say, I'm glad I volunteered today, though Marie is a good friend.’ It was impossible for Vladimir to not smile at her. ‘And that's about all there is to know about me. Tell me about you, Vladimir.’

‘There isn't much to know about me, either,’ he said uncertainly.

‘Are you from the city?’

He nodded. For a given value of ‘city’.

‘But you're looking for a sheepdog for a friend.’

‘Er…’ Vladimir hesitated. But he found Reina far too friendly to hold back very much, and said, ‘She wanted me to practice going out more.’

‘Is that so?’ Her large smile betrayed her desire to laugh, but he was quite grateful that she did not. ‘Is she right?’

‘Oh … yes.’

‘And how are you finding the great outdoors?’

‘It’s very beautiful,’ he said rather boldly, and then ruining the effect by turning scarlet.

Reina stared for a moment that felt like an hour, and then she buried her face in her hands. Vladimir could only just see that her smile had turned shy.

‘Your friend doesn't give you enough credit,’ she said. She giggled and lowered her hands. ‘But I see why she might think as much. Thank you, Vladimir. I can see that we are going to be friends.’

Vladimir couldn't quite express how pleased he felt. He could only smile back. The silence stretched on, awkward because Vladimir was afraid that he needed to say something; but Reina looked happy enough, as if it were comfortable for her, and Vladimir tried to relax. Reina sipped her tea and dropped her gaze with a happy sigh.

‘This is nice,’ she said. ‘But I'm afraid I've kept you unduly. It's cleared up now, and you look drier.’

He looked down at himself, then out the window, and noted with regret that she was right. Vladimir was suddenly afraid of losing this newfound acquaintance – never before had he so wanted to be friends with someone, human as they were – and he did not know how to say so.

‘I realise this may be forward of me,’ she said, standing up and extending her hand, ‘but then, you were quite forward yourself for a moment there –‘ she smiled, ‘- let me help you pick out a dog, and then, perhaps, could we exchange numbers?’

A thrill shot up Vladimir’s spine, and a grin blossomed on his face, even as the blush returned.

‘Yes,’ he said, ‘I would like that.’