Princess Maëlle left that next morning, so early that the rest of the palace was asleep so that a fuss wouldn’t be raised on her departure.
Elric couldn’t sleep that night. The spot on his cheek radiated in warmth where she had kissed him and it made him restless. He raised just soon enough to watch her enter her carriage and pull away. Sottises whimpered sadly as he watched her leave the palace gates and was aggravated for days afterward.
He refused food for the first few days, and in those days he seemed to beg to sleep beside Elric and even though he was getting too big he allowed him to.
Elric attempted to get the beast to leave the stable and go to the spot that Mae would take him but he refused. So Elric sat and read to him for long periods of time in the morning, then left the poor beast to sleep the rest of the day. He would whine and cry at night, whimper helplessly. He was inconsolable.
15 days after the princess left, Elric climbed down to the stable below and stood beside Sabina, who watched her offspring sadly pace back and forth in a restless manner. His sleep pattern was so off that the creature seemed exhausted and near collapse but his nervous fidgeting did not allow him to sleep long.
On the 16th day Elric climbed back down to the stable during the early morning, where Sottises laid perfectly still staring at the door, surely begging for the princess to burst through like she normally would. But she didn’t of course. Elric sighed as he watched Sottises and then worked on cleaning the stables around him while his father took Sabina out for some leisure time. Elric threw the big doors open to the stable and allowed fresh air and the early fall sun to shine into the stuffy stable.
The dragon let out an irritated huff but moved into a sun beam and laid back down, allowing the warmth to engulf him. Elric then sat beside him and opened his drawing pad, and began sketching. Sottises lifted his head and placed his snout inside the book.
“Sottises, Stop! I’m trying to draw…” Elric scolded, but the dragon sniffed and pressed his nose into the book. He raised his face and peered silvery eyes into Elric and puffed his nose up at him then looked back at the book. “Do you want to see?” Elric asked tentatively.
The beast shifted to sit and leaned his head over Elrics lap slightly and watched as he flipped to the first page of his book which was a sketch of the countryside they passed when they traveled here at a young age. The next was a sketch of days later, Sabina wrapped carefully around her egg and the next was of the egg hatching. Elric flipped through many drawings of the dragons, the palace, the village, and surrounding areas. He saved this book for especially important drawings that he wanted to keep together and a chest of other books and loose papers with random drawings stayed in his loft above the dragons.
Elric flipped to the drawing of The princess and Sottises the day before she left, she leaned back on the dragon's body with a book held over her head. Her perfect form was beautifully captured in the realistic drawing and Sottises began to chirp and chatter excitedly as he saw the page.
“Is this what you want Sottises? You want to see her?” Elric asked and the dragon jumped excitedly he pressed his nose hard into the book trying to push it from Elrics hands. “You can’t keep my book Sottises…” he said softly as he pulled the book away from his nose. The dragon gave him sad eyes as he looked down on him and gave a whimpering noise as he dropped his head. Then Elric thought a moment before standing and folding the book closed. “Hold on Sottises. I know what I can do.” He said excitedly as he turned toward the palace. Inside he found Carter diligently coaching new butlers.
“Elric, my boy! What’s got you in the palace this early.”
“Carter…” Elric began, “I hate to disturb you during work but would you be able to obtain a large piece of canvas and paints?”
“Of course, but why?”
“Sottises has refused care since the princess left, I feel he really misses her and I believe a drawing of her may ease his pained heart.”
Carter nodded, “Very well. I’ll have someone gather the supplies and deliver them to you here shortly…”
“Thank you Carter.” Elric smiled then returned to the forlorn Sottises in the stable. The reptile was finally napping peacefully for once. Elric felt like it had been days since the animal truly closed his eyes and rested without shifting and turning. Elric believed that the small drawing of him and the princess had eased his broken heart long enough for him to come down from his anxious state.
When a butler returned with a long roll of canvas and paints Elric thanked him and began scratching a rough line down the canvas.
He worked diligently throughout the late morning and then used paint to carefully outline and emphasize the drawing. As he worked his father approached and led Sabina back into the building.
“What are you working on Elric?” He asked him as he knelt down, a hint of alcohol wafted off his breath as he spoke.
“A drawing of the Princess.”
“For Sottises. He has been so miserable but when I showed him a drawing of her it eased his pain some. So I believe a drawing on the wall may help ease his mind more.”
“Wonderful work Elric. Your skills have increased exponentially.” Augustin patted him on the back “Would you like to take a break and come with me to the village? Your mother and siblings would love to see you…”
Elric shook his head, “I will visit them tomorrow. I think Sottises really needs this…”
“Very well, I’ll let them know to expect you tomorrow…” Augustin said with a nod, then he left him to finish.
The paint dried in the midday sun then, while Sottises still napped in the dwindling sun, Elric hung the painting on the wall of the stable opposite of the hay piles that Sabina rested on. He stepped back to admire his work, a life sized, beautifully painted rendition of the Princess. The likeness was uncanny, and for a moment it even fooled him and he forgot she was so far away. It pinched his heart slightly to see the canvas now hung on the wall, but he knew it would bring Sottises so much joy.
He walked to Sottises and patted the dragons head gently. His silver eyes looked up to him and he let out an agitated noise.
“Wake up, you big child.” Elric urged but the dragon turned his head and shifted his body to look away. “Please, Sottises, I know you miss Maëlle, but I have a surprise for you, to have until she returns…” the dragon turned his face back and gave a timid eye to him. Elric pointed into the stable and Sottises turned his head, rousing slowly from his slumber and stretching. Then he turned his body and walked slowly into the stable and Eric followed. “Here.” Elric urges gesturing and leading the animal to the drawing.
His eyes widened as he looked at it and he sat straight facing it. He stared longingly into the canvas of the Princess, his comb suddenly raised and he chirped and cooed loudly at it like an excited bird. Elric watched Sottises’ eyes immediately brighten and as he padded his paws from side to side, gleefully dancing in front of the drawing. The animal let out a long, gleeful whistle.
Elric's hand hurt from the long day spent drawing and painting the likeness of the princess but the happiness filling the dragons eyes made the pain worth it. He tilted his head and watched the animal happily stare into her eyes and admitted, he too enjoyed the painting of her. It seemed to bring a lightness to the area that had gone missing when she set off to her studies.
Elric grabbed his drawing book and sat on a hay bale beneath his loft while he admired the dragon sitting regally with his comb raised for the first time in over two weeks and began sketching the scene. He put in every piece, the stable background, the dragon and a smaller rendition of his own painting so that he could show her the scene when she returned.
As he drew he heard someone approach the stable. Carter smiled at him, a folded letter held carefully in his hand.
“Elric…” he began, “A letter.”
“A letter?” Elric asked, “Who from?”
Elrics heart leaped excitedly in his chest and Sottises took notice, sniffing the air as the scent of the princess wafted from the folded paper.
“T-thank you Carter…”
Carter nodded and returned to the castle to attend to his duties.
Elric peeled the letter open as Sottises sat beside him sniffing eagerly at the paper while he read it allowed:
I hope this letter finds you in good health. I arrived in the kingdom of Callen a day ago, and have been settling in with my new master, a scholar of medicine Christofer. The baroness here has a rose dragon baby similar to Sabina, and watching the infant run around the grounds has made my trip here a small bit better. However my heart rips when I think of my beautiful Sottises, and even more so, when I think of you. The keeper here seems much less accepting of harmless pranks as you are. I don’t believe my pranks will bode well for me here and my mischievous reputation will soon dwindle.
I pray my Sottises is treating you well, Elric, I know how hard headed and awful he can be when he is in one of his moods. And I have laughed imagining you trying to move the beast when he’s planted himself in the dirt and refused. Be patient with my tarragon. I know how stubborn he can be. But I’m sure you of all people can control him in my absence.
I hope I hear from you soon Elric, I admit the days I’ve spent traveling have made me long for a quiet morning in the garden with you and Sottises. The idea of three years from home has been weighing heavy on my heart. I wonder some days if I should have focused more on enjoying life than allowing schooling to rule my every move. I hope when I return we can begin where we left off, spend more of our free time in the garden, and maybe fill in the lost years we will miss by then. I feel perhaps that small kiss on your cheek the night I left was not enough to satisfy my want to spend more of my time with you and I find myself deeply missing you when I think of it...
Elrics heart raced, but he smiled and read over the letter again, then he looked down at the drawing below him and smiled at it. He tore the page carefully from his book and closed the stable doors then climbed up the ladder to his loft and began writing carefully on a piece of letter paper. When he was done with the letter he folded it and placed it beside his bed. He’d send the letter out with the next day's courier.
When Elric rose to check on Sottises. He saw him curled, pressed against the wall where the canvas was hung and sighed as he watched him shiver and shake while he dreamed restlessly. Elric climbed down the ladder to the dragon and pulled a blanket with him. He sat and leaned his body against Sottises’ side and the animal stirred then curled his neck around and placed it beside Elric's leg. Elric laid his hand over his wide head and gently massaged the comb that was now tucked back against his head again. The tarragon gave a soft chirping noise followed by a calming purr as he relaxed into his keepers body.
“I miss her too, So…” he said softly to him.
Need help With easy pronunciation, Lost on who is who? Wondering what a word is meant to mean? (Many words and names from the story are French, Gaelic, and otherwise European, Translations are often rough and generalized per the use of the word/name in the story.)
Callen- Cal En- A Gaelic name meaning Rock or Powerful Battler. Sometimes referred to as “The Southern Sister” Kingdom. The Callen and Canaille kingdoms have been allies for the last 100 years. While Callen is significantly older than the Canaille Kingdom, it has a much smaller region and was, at one time, considered a traitor and enemy of Canaille during the great wars. Now the Callen Kingdom prides itself in its peaceful ways of living and is home to the most famous Doctor and Scholar Christofer, who spends his time schooling elite students in the ways of medicine.