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LJ Idol Season 9 Week 22 - Sweep The Leg

And Her Name Shall Be

Jalon was pleased with Mara’s progress so far.  It had taken the girl a while to recognize her powers, and there was the brief period where she had run, thinking that she could escape her fate.  Her return was to both of their advantages and had been accomplished easily enough with the fortuitous placement of a few of his most talented associates.  She had skulked back to the protection of the castle, jittery and looking over her shoulder.  Not only had his minions forced her return, but they had given him the added boon in that Mara actually felt a sense of safety and belonging while inside the walls.

Removing her fear of the castle, and to some extent Jalon himself, if only by proxy, made her training much easier.  Her power had revealed itself exponentially since she had escaped the tower room.  He sensed she was receiving additional instruction from another entity, but had been unable to break through the cloaking spell being used to hide their identity.  He was sure it was Ellisandria.  No one in any of the realms had the power to block him out.  Besides Mara, but she wasn’t aware of it yet.

He had recently given her a rutecat to train.  The smallish feline was a moderate to difficult creature to manipulate and he was enjoying the challenge.  Fairly docile, the beast could become deadly with proper coaxing.  The girl had even named the ball of fur.  He scoffed and called her foolish.  Mara had turned her golden eyes on him, blazing, and told him that she hadn’t named the animal, only called her by the name the cat wished.  Imelda, or Imogene, or some such nonsense.  He couldn’t remember.  He didn’t care to remember.  Minion were minion.  They did not have names.

He was waiting for them now, in the arena.  Historically used to pit foes against each other, he had often used it to amuse the hordes that surrounded him by staging fights between various creatures and servants who had displeased him.  He turned as he heard the soft footsteps of Mara’s slippers cross the floor.

“Jalon,” she greeted him.  She had stopped calling him “My Lord” shortly after her return.

“Mara,” he nodded.  “I see you have brought your rutecat.  Good.  We will continue with our training.  Something a little different today, I think.”

Imelda, the cat, for that was her name, followed loyally behind Mara, head and tail held regally high.  She sniffed at Jalon and her hackles raised as she haughtily passed by.

“We are ready,” Mara looked him in the eye.  “What will it be today?”

“Show me the new commands you have taught her.  Begin with the verbal ones, finish with the silent ones.”

“Very well.”

Mara and Imelda ran through the latest commands they had been working on.  The litany began with simple things, such as sitting, coming, and standing and moved to more difficult commands such as routing a complicated pattern, clawing, and biting.

“Very good,” Jalon praised them when they finished.  “Now, have her defend you,” he said as he gracefully moved off the arena floor and into the spectator seats.

A door rose across the arena and a large, ferocious, dog-like creature emerged.  Its immense shoulders were almost as wide as the length of its body.  Its snout was flat, almost pig-like, and it had sharp bristles that protruded from its face.  Large fangs appeared as it sneered and growled at Mara and Imelda.

“It’s called a pageareon,” Jalon called from his safe perch.  “He has no name,” Jalon smirked.  “He’s a wretched beast.  The crowds enjoy watching it tear into the flesh of its opponents.”

Mara and Imelda took a defensive stance facing the beast.  Looking around wildly for a weapon and finding none, Mara used her telekinetic powers to collect loose rocks into a pile at her feet.  She and Imelda were mentally connected and she warned the cat to hold her ground and wait for an opening before attacking.  The pageareon moved slowly toward them and Mara forced herself to stand her ground.  Then the beast lunged.  Imelda leapt on its back as Mara fired a rock at it.  The rock connected with its snout, serving only to make the animal angrier.  It pawed the ground like a bull, readying a charge.  Mara flung more rocks, hitting it in the eye this time and causing it to squeal in pain.  Imelda held on, clawing and biting at the neck and back of the beast.  The beast roared and charged at Mara, only slightly distracted by Imelda.

“It’s belly,” Mara screamed silently.  “There’s weakness in its belly!”

As if in slow motion, Mara watched as the beast came closer, Imelda clawing her way around to its underbelly and ripping it open.  The pageareon reared back, its front paws clawing the air.  One of them came down and ripped a hole in Mara’s leg down the length of her shin.  The scent of blood, both its own and Mara’s, drove it and Imelda into a frenzy of teeth, nails and ferocity.

Mara tore her skirt and wrapped her wound to staunch the bleeding.  Dust from the arena floor cleared as the death match in front of her finished.  Imelda, limping badly, scratched and battered, emerged from the battle and moved to Mara’s side.

“Kill her,” came from the spectator seats.

Mara’s head snapped up at the command.  “But, she won,” she stated in disbelief.  “The beast is dead.”

“You are injured.  She did not win.  She failed to defend you.  Kill her,” Jalon spoke, compassionless eyes glaring down.  “Kill her or I will.”

Mara knew he would and that he would be ruthless about it.  Imelda was in pain.  They were still connected and she could feel it.  She could feel the burst organ inside the small feline’s body that would fester and eventually kill her anyway.  There was no saving her companion.  She reached down and stroked the cat, tears falling from her eyes.  Without using words, she let the cat know that she would help her, just as Imelda had saved her.  The cat closed her eyes and nodded her head.  A hard turn of her head was all it took and Mara snapped the cat’s neck.  It was quick.

“We don’t name our minion,” Jalon said and left the arena.

This is my entry for therealljidol Season 9, Week 22.  It's a return to Mara and Jalon's story, but should stand alone.  Constructive criticism is welcome.  Please read the many other fine entries that can be found here.  If you're interested in joining this LJ Idol thing-a-ma-jig, Last Chance Idol has been posted.  It's the last full season to participate in, and I would recommend it to anyone looking to work on their writing.  I know i've learned a lot, both about my own writing and about creative writing in general. That said, I could really use votes.  I don't like begging for them, it just doesn't feel right, but if you have an inclination, please vote for my entry. I'll post a link as soon as it's available. Alas, it is a contestant only vote this week.  However, if you sign up for Last Chance Idol and post your first entry before the voting deadline on Monday, you can submit votes.  So, SIGN UP!  :)

Comments

( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
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adoptedwriter
Sep. 25th, 2014 03:59 pm (UTC)
Brutal. Poor kitty, but very engaging. AW
tatdatcm
Sep. 25th, 2014 09:50 pm (UTC)
I hope it wasn't too off-putting. I wanted brutal because Jalon's methods are brutal, and I needed Mara to "sink to his level" so to speak.
theun4givables
Sep. 26th, 2014 03:46 pm (UTC)
"We don't name our minion," indeed. A hard lesson for Mara to learn -- growing too attached can sometimes be considered a weakness, especially with a creature -- but poor kitty, even still. =/ I'm glad Mara gave Imelda a merciful death.
tatdatcm
Sep. 27th, 2014 10:07 pm (UTC)
Jalon intended it as a lesson, and he truly believes that it is a weakness to be attached to someone or something. Mara disagrees. She feels there's more power in the attachment. It's a major difference between them and how they control those who are under their power.
(no subject) - cheshire23 - Sep. 29th, 2014 03:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tatdatcm - Sep. 29th, 2014 06:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
i_17bingo
Sep. 26th, 2014 10:00 pm (UTC)
No one in any of the realms had the power to block him out. Besides Mara, but she wasn’t aware of it yet.

I can't help but think that what's coming is kind of his own damned fault. Also...

Minion were minion. They did not have names.

God! What a freaking douchebag!
tatdatcm
Sep. 27th, 2014 10:09 pm (UTC)
What's coming for Jalon is his own fault, but his arrogance will let her blindside him. Muwhahahaha!
rayaso
Sep. 26th, 2014 10:34 pm (UTC)
I especially enjoyed the details here, such as the names of the animals (pageareon, rutecat). The ending was fairly brutal, but totally in keeping with the character.
tatdatcm
Sep. 27th, 2014 10:12 pm (UTC)
http://tatdatcm.livejournal.com/74268.html?replyto=583708
I almost put in a note that, yes, I did make up creature names. :)

It had to be brutal, because Jalon is evil. Mara isn't intended to be the nicest of people either, she just hasn't gotten there yet. After all, I am attempting to practice writing villains.
karmasoup
Sep. 27th, 2014 02:04 am (UTC)
Grrr. As if I didn't already have enough reasons to hate him! Well done.
tatdatcm
Sep. 27th, 2014 10:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm loving that people hate him. :)
mamas_minion
Sep. 27th, 2014 02:36 am (UTC)
I like the story, Jalon seems like a cruel and sadistic person. If Mara truly is more powerful than him he should be careful he is not authoring his own demise.
tatdatcm
Sep. 27th, 2014 10:14 pm (UTC)
She will cause his demise and his arrogance will help her pull it off. Mara is more powerful than him, but largely untrained, and not necessarily nicer than he is.
halfshellvenus
Sep. 27th, 2014 03:11 am (UTC)
she hadn’t named the animal, only called her by the name the cat wished.
Hah! So there!

The fact that Jalon thinks this entire idea is a joke is a sign of how much more powerful Mara is than he.

Poor kitty, though. What a sad and unfair end. :(
tatdatcm
Sep. 27th, 2014 10:16 pm (UTC)
Mara's powers are a lot more intuitive than Jalon's and she understands that connections to other creatures are more powerful than Jalon's intimidation. Jalon rules with fear, but once that fear is gone, so is his power.
gratefuladdict
Sep. 28th, 2014 05:23 am (UTC)
Poor Imelda. :( I'm glad Jalon gets his comeuppance eventually.
tatdatcm
Sep. 29th, 2014 06:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, he will. :)
jem0000000
Sep. 28th, 2014 06:59 am (UTC)
Poor Mara and Imelda.
tatdatcm
Sep. 29th, 2014 06:30 pm (UTC)
Yeah, poor Imelda especially. She truly was the innocent in this.
eternal_ot
Sep. 28th, 2014 07:49 am (UTC)
Ah! Good to see Mara back...what a tragic end but a lesson well learnt..I liked the compassion weaved into the brutality though..so it worked for me well..Good Job!
tatdatcm
Sep. 29th, 2014 06:31 pm (UTC)
I just couldn't see Mara brutally killing her outright, so I'm glad that it worked.
xo_kizzy_xo
Sep. 28th, 2014 01:29 pm (UTC)
She did indeed sink to his level with the kitty :(
tatdatcm
Sep. 29th, 2014 06:32 pm (UTC)
She did. She's on that decline, but it's so gradual that I'm not sure she'll realize it.
uncawes
Sep. 28th, 2014 01:49 pm (UTC)
Jalon should be someone's minion. With no name.
I'm told there are under 18's who read these entries, so using the words I'd like to aim at him would be inappropriate.

But I love this world of yours, and all the characters in it. Except Jalon.
tatdatcm
Sep. 29th, 2014 06:33 pm (UTC)
Jalon probably was someone's minion at one time. It could be part of what has made him who he is.

Now I have to explore that a bit more in my head. :)
beeker121
Sep. 28th, 2014 05:57 pm (UTC)
Jalon pointing out that the pageareon has no name is a subtle bit of assholery that is just in his wheelhouse. I wonder if he shouldn't be a little careful, when Mara realizes she is stronger than him this will be remembered.

Your battle scene was scary and easy to follow.
tatdatcm
Sep. 29th, 2014 06:34 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that part seemed true to his character. He should be careful, but his arrogance won't allow it.

Thank you.
alycewilson
Sep. 28th, 2014 11:54 pm (UTC)
Awwww. What a brave, loyal kitty. I has a sad.
tatdatcm
Sep. 29th, 2014 06:34 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry. :( It had to be done though.
tonithegreat
Sep. 29th, 2014 02:20 am (UTC)
Awww. I feel for the ladies. Jalon did indeed sweep the leg here.
tatdatcm
Sep. 29th, 2014 06:35 pm (UTC)
He did indeed. He's really not a nice guy. His whole M.O. is to hit 'em when they're down.
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