Friday, December 16, 2011

Muse Calliope Week 82: Mermaid Shoes

Muse Calliope

Picture 1

Picture 2

Muse Calliope's Choice: Picture 1

Mermaid Shoes

Dumitru waited until Croix had teleported away with the Shade before approaching his mate, his loving mate who was right then casting a not-so-loving glare in his direction.

"I am so mad at you right now," she informed him coldly, "I could scream! How could you do that? And then to go and blame me! If I wasn't moments from passing out I would kill you so dead even skeletons would be impressed."

Dumitru snorted and crouched down in front of her, gently tracing her jaw with the pad of one finger. "Come now, lumina mea, is that truly what has you so fiery? You were upset with me even before we went to that castle and I would think you would be pleased we now have a Shade in our...acquaintance."

"I'm fine, Tru," Savannah asserted, jerking her head out of his grasp. "Just tired from Jes. And the Shade in our acquaintance was your doing, not mine; I wouldn't have cared one way or the other what she did."

"Ah, but now we have someone who can fetch your mask, does that not please you?"

"What would please me," she said coolly, "is Aoife's head on a platter. What would please me is my father alive and well and still on his throne. What would please me is not having to run and hide and cower like a field mouse before Aoife's owl. Needing set up this elaborate hoax just to trick a Shade into our service so she can run this suicide mission for me...well, that most certainly, most absolutely, most positively does NOT please me."

Savannah, like most Noble Fae, had a specific type of animal she connected and identified with, sort of like a witch's familiar except that it pertained to the whole species rather than a single beast. Savannah was one of the few Noble Fae that actually had more than one such animal; she had three, only one of which she made common knowledge. The significance of this tidbit, however, was that whenever Savannah got angry or upset or whatever, the quartet of such animals she kept around her nearly constantly got themselves riled up in her defence. This meant that while Dumitru was crouching there in front of his mate one moment, in the next he was sprawled on his back shoved there by the tiger-sized black cat that had come charging in and inserted itself between him and her.

Dumitru, unlike Savannah, was most decidedly not a cat person.

"It's okay, Oz," Savannah cooed soothingly, wrapping her arms around the cat's massive neck and buried her face in the soft fur around his ruff. If Dumitru hadn't known cat and woman had been together for the past seven hundred years or so he may have been just a tinge unsettled by how close they were.

Actually, even knowing that he was still unsettled. And before you get the wrong idea; Oz, short for Osiris, was a Fae cat and as such was about as personified as a cartoon character, minus the walking on two-feet and talking bit - communication was more telepathic. Anyway, Oz and Savannah had been best friends since she was a child; it was hard to compete with that sort of bond. Not that Dumitru thought of it as a competition.

Which was entirely besides the point. Right then Dumitru was simply annoyed that the furball got the hugs while he got the cold shoulder. After all, the cat had stayed home, nice and warm.

"Don't be upset with Oz," Savannah chastised. "He would have come if he were able."

"What would you like me to say, lumina mea? That I am sorry? It would be a lie; I am not, nor will I ever be. This has gained us a valuable ally and allowed us to finally set in motion plans to regain some of your artifacts."

When Savannah refused to acknowledge him, Dumitru sighed. Clearly it was time to bring out his secret weapon. Sighing, he got to his feet and went to fetch the box.

"I have a gift for you, lumina mea," he told her, holding it out.

She eyed the box as though it might bite her. "You're trying to buy my forgiveness now?"

"No, I am trying to give you a gift. Will you just accept it, lumina mea? I promise it will not bite."

Savannah sighed and tugged halfheartedly on the box's oversized green bow.

"Lumina mea, please."

With obviously forced enthusiasm, Savannah tore off the box's wrapping and lifted its lid. With much more geniune enthusiasm she smiled and lifted one of the open toe, platform pumps with metallic stiletto heels from within. The shoe was encrusted with crushed sapphires and glittered like the ocean in the moonlight, somehow managing to stay just this side of gaudy. Savannah stared at the shoe, that smile tugging at her lips even as tears brimmed in her eyes and spilled down her cheeks.

"Lumina mea? Why are you crying?" Dumitru gently ran the pad of his thumb over her cheek, wiping her tears. "Do you not like the shoes?"

"They're...they're the mermaid shoes," she murmured, her hands trembling as she handled them like treasure. " found the mermaid shoes."

Dumitru smiled. "Once upon a time," he began the old story, "there was a beautiful princess whose father offered to give her a gift. He told her to ask for whatever her heart most desired and vowed to move heaven and earth to retrieve it for her. 'I want to be a mermaid,' she told him. When her father asked her why, she answered, 'Because the ocean is freedom more so than anything else. Birds can fall from the sky, horses can only run so far, ants can dig only so deep but the ocean does not have any limits. I want to be free, Da.'

"Bound by his promise to his daughter, the king scoured the land looking for some way to grant her desire. He had every magic user that could be found brought before him, but none could give an answer. The princess had all but despaired when, finally, a shoemaker stepped forth and proclaimed he had the answer. Kneeling before the throne, he offered the princess a pair of shoes that glimmered with the captured power of the oceans. Hesitantly, the princess slipped the shoes unto her feet and, for the first time, was truly free. The king rewarded the shoemaker handsomely and everyone lived happily ever after.”

" remember my fairy tale?" Savannah sounded incredulous. Dumitru tried not to be hurt by that.

"When I was recovering from your stepmother's poison, lumina mea, you told me fairy tales all the time," he reminded her. "The Mermaid Shoes and Snow White were the only ones you ever told more than once."

"Oh. Those...those are my favourites. Snow White...she defeats her stepmother and lives happily ever after in the end. The princess with the mermaid shoes..."

"She gets to be free," Dumitru finished for her. Smiling just a bit he reached out and gently brushed her hair from her face, careful to keep his touch as light as possible.

"Why?" Savannah asked suddenly, her head snapping up to pin him with a killer glare. "Why are you giving me the mermaid shoes?"

Sighing, Dumitru sat back. "Lumina mea, it is our anniversary tomorrow. That is what the shoes are for."

"Oh. I forgot."

"It is alright, lumina mea," Dumitru assured her. He stood and in a single fluid motion hoisted Savennah, shoes and all, into his arms. "I am sure you will find a way to make it up to me."

"Will I?" Savannah asked, her tone teasing and light, all of her earlier mistrust and confusion suddenly, almost instantly, gone. Dumitru doubted she'd even remember anything but the shoes and what was about to happen. The thought sent a flash of sorrow through him, but he ignored it. He loved her, she loved him, nothing else mattered. Simple as that.

"Yes," he told her. "You will."