M
literature

Mistake in the Making

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By Oh-Mercy-Me   |   Watch
117 49 9K (1 Today)
Published: March 26, 2012
The pride he felt was overwhelming, clouding out even the concern, concern that might have been better-founded than the hubris he displayed. But the white griffin was surely a gift worthy of her, perhaps even worthy of her praise, that tenuous thing so difficult to earn. He felt his lips give way to a small, rare smile as he considered what their princess may look like when presented with the great, proud beast.

As if on cue with his thoughts, the griffin let out a cry that echoed through the balmy night, the call wavering, long, and low-pitched, almost mournful. Had he been a man of a less stern heart he might have sympathized with it – they had, after all, taken the creature from the home it had made. But he was not that soft-hearted, and it had been such a beautiful creature, exotic for its rarity, that he could not deny himself the honor of capturing it, no more than he could deny himself the pleasure of presenting it to the princess.

Every time they rested on the journey he felt the itch to move again; every time they slept felt like an eternity. He needed to get back to the capital city immediately, this pride hungered for it.




When finally their laden cart and weary bearers pulled through the pale arch that heralded the city, he felt the pride resurface and grow, bubbling giddily in his chest. He was hard-pressed to maintain the stoic façade he had come to be known for with such a prize in tow, but maintain he did. The creature, too, maintained, though less willingly than he – they had wrapped a leather binding around its beak, something to keep the cries contained until his men finished fashioning the harness for it. But now he could be patient, could wait until all was perfect before bowing and showing the princess his find, her new trophy.

He bade the men find a cheap place to bunk down for the night, sketching the punishments he would mete out if the harness were not finished by the morrow, lest his men forget his nature. Yet the way these men – hardened, rough-and-tumble, some even soldiers – were all but cowed by his very presence proved that perhaps the explanation was unnecessary. But it gave him a thrill of pleasure to watch these men bow to his will, almost as much pleasure as he took in watching hands that would rather wield a blade or reins work heavy needles through thick leather, little better than women.

But everything needed to be perfection when the gift was presented, as much perfection as the beast itself was. He left his men to their meager rooms and menial tasks to go himself to his long-standing home, the graceful arches and pale, sun-lit rooms reminiscent of the city he was in, that he had craved returning to for the last fortnight. He pushed aside one of the clinging drapes that separated the rooms, a sign of wealth as much as a way to limit or encourage the air flow in this temperate climate, and entered the room where he had bade the beast be kept, tethered to a large, iron hook he had installed in the wall for this purpose exactly.

He was wary, had learned that wariness well when the griffin had slashed open the thigh of one of his men, and so kept a comfortable distance between him and the creature. But he could no sooner stop wanting to stare at it than he could empty out his coffers and hand the coins to the wretches who prowled the streets. The griffin's feathers were gloriously white, darkening to a deep grey near the end of the wings and around the face, adding solemnity where their might otherwise have been frivolity. But the eyes were what captured his attention, were what had captured his attention so many nights running, had prompted him out of his comfortable furs to brave the chill night and stare at the beast.

As it had then, it stared back, one brilliant, blue-green eye gazing balefully at him.  It was a willful creature, true, but he knew the princess had those at her disposal who could train it, break the streak of wilderness that made those eyes sanguine instead of complacent, so he had little fear. He would have to request that she not approach it, of course, and get one or two of his men, the stronger and stouter of heart to hold it, but the presentation he planned and the speech he was still preparing would make up for the reservations that were necessary.

He smiled again, a grimly pleasured twist of his lips that did not move the Griffin at all, those powerful eyes still staring at him, too proud to beg, too proud to submit.




It was time, and his heart thrilled with it. His serving woman had bound his hair in the court fashion, wrapping it with thin streaks of golden wire, the dark strands a powerful contrast. He ran a hand over the design appreciatively, the soft, pliable gold reminding him, as it ever did, of how hard he had worked to be where he was. Only now he had something else to be reminded of – how he was no longer going to have to work hard.

His pride had grown tenfold when they harnessed the griffin, the soft, pliable leather paired with the gilded iron work complimenting the creature perfectly, neither too soft and pampered-looking nor too hard and dangerous. He was sure now that the princess would rejoice, and any potential concern he might have indulged in had disappeared like the fog before the sun.

His woman helped him don the rich robes of his station and he took some pleasure in admiring his appearance in the mirror, another sign of his hard-won wealth showing in that he could even possess such a luxurious tool as a mirror. He made a turn, adjusted the heavy drape of gold around his neck, and then set off, face set in its natural, severe lines even while an indulgent smile built within.

The walk threatened his fine clothing with its heat, but his wealth had earned him more than a mirror and gold wraps – he was close enough to the outskirt of the palace, where he would host the presentation, that the walk was over almost before it had begun. The princess had not yet arrived but the room itself was full of admirers, hanger-ons, and the multifarious parasites that tried to attach themselves to her, as if her royalty, steadfast loyalty to her country, and general wonder might rub off on them. He felt a stab of irritation that such fools would be present for his glorious unveiling, determined that they should not be able to witness such a wonderful beast at the same time as their princess, but conceded that there was nothing to be done for it.

So he waited patiently, the room cooler than outside without the sun that beat down. The crowd oohed and ahhed and tried so hard to crane and see what the cage just outside contained, but it had been shut up tight, the beast harnessed so as to not voice any ill-timed complaints. When her advisor came he felt a curl of unease that he quickly stamped out – the man was known for his hard nature, something much belied by the obvious pleasure he took in life, his great belly and the rumors of the luxuries he gave himself well-heard by all. But one of his keenest pleasures, so it was said, was denouncing any who might appear before the princess, pointing out all that was wrong and insufficient with whatever they may be presenting, be it gift or plea. He knew the creature was dangerous, and feared the advisor would not cease pointing it out, but even such new-found concern could not stop his heart from hammering when she finally appeared.

Looking more out of a novel than something made of flesh and blood she stepped onto the dais, her garments plain and light for the heated afternoon, putting her advisor to shame with his heavy ornamentation. He swallowed uneasily, wondering if she was putting him to shame in the same manner, but then dismissed the thought – he was appearing before her, and etiquette implied that he look his best, so he had done so. It would have to suffice.

He did not, of course, dare to look her in the eyes as he began his speech, but the blue of her well-cut robes caught his eye, and when she shifted and he saw the outline of her flank he tried to blink the image away. The princess was not a woman one might ogle like a street-rat, she was promised only to the man who might unite her country, and sworn to innocence until that day. That innocence pervaded her people as much as it controlled her, and to look upon her with lust was considered a capital crime, though one that was rarely able to be punished. Still, the message was clear, and it was as habitual as making the sign of god on your chest to forget that she was a beautiful woman in her prime, such as he forced himself to do now.

When his words were finished and the advisor had leaned over to whisper something in her ear was when he gestured his man forward. They all heard the crash as the wooden sides of the cage fell down, held together by some clever structure within, and there was a general intake of breath when his man wheeled the stunning griffin forward. It was being petulant and uncooperative, but he felt no unease at the sight – it merely displayed the great strength of itself. And when it reared back and spread its wings as if to take flight he felt dizzy with joy, joy at the show it was unintentionally putting on, the perfect counterpoint, something even the advisor could not negate with his cold words and hard demeanor!

Even now he dared not meet the princess' eyes, but his heart continued to hammer in his chest, and sweat broke uncomfortably against his skin. He was caught in a half-bowing position as the griffin thrashed and writhed behind him, pride and fear at her silence mixing within him, producing a dark, churning thing that he fervently wished would stop.

When it did, he wished it could start again, for it was far better than the bleakness he felt.

It was some time later that he arrived at his home, methodically taking off his heavy garments and requesting a bath, followed by a change of clothes. His serving-woman followed his orders exactly, apparently not yet knowing the outcome of his foolish venture.

When he was clean and clad as he wished he smiled at the old woman, thoroughly shocking her, and told his tale. From the way her eyes betrayed neither surprise nor sorrow it had been as much a pleasure to work for him as it had been for him to have her for so long, and he felt no regret at leaving her. She would find more work, or she would not, and she was not on his list of concerns when he had found himself in the same position.

Why the princess had not taken kindly to the beast he still could not understand, despite the way her final words rang in his head, taunting him with their inscrutability.

"I would not have such a proud creature bound."
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© 2012 - 2019 Oh-Mercy-Me
Completely and entirely inspired by :iconsandara:'s 'the white griffin', I saw it and this storyline immediately popped into my head, so I just went ahead and wrote it. It's a really amazing piece, you should check it out!
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I grasp Fate by his throat, scold him for walking uninvited into my home. I empty the pockets of his worn out coat and the happiness of a city, scatters across my kitchen's floor. "Aren't you ashamed? You steal our dreams, our long awaited goals, the hope, the memories, the fleeting I love you's, and a newborn's first yawn. Give it back to the people! That's not what they had planned at all!" He's old and weary, yet he smiles, words form in a soft tone, a total contrast to my screaming voice. "Oh, but I am a servant of Time, I can't bring back what's lost, some dreams are meant to be stolen, they're too grand to come true." He twitches
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From Part 7:     Jesse's attention snapped back to the present when she touched his cheek so gently that for a moment he thought he might have imagined it.     "Come on, darlin', I don't want to force feed you, but I will if you make me."     With nothing more than a resigned sigh, he faced her again and opened his mouth. She placed the first spoonful in his mouth. He chewed thoughtfully, recognizing the almost forgotten flavors of chicken noodle soup. All too soon, the bowl was empty but the spoon was replaced by a glass of water which he quickly downed. "Thank you," he said softly as she put the cup down on the tray.     She smiled
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Comments (49)
Wildfire4o4's avatar
Wildfire4o4|Hobbyist General Artist
Ooohh! I love it! Those last words are perfect in how she refers to herself through them as well. Goes perfectly with the painting.
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firestar541's avatar
firestar541|Hobbyist General Artist
O.0 perfect 
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RyuDragon-derp's avatar
This is really, really impressive--I couldn't point out a flaw if I tried. I love Sandara's painting, and now I love it even more because of this story! :D
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Falfal2000's avatar
Falfal2000|Professional Photographer
this is great have you ever thought of writing a book.
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a-Phoenix-in-Avalon's avatar
a-Phoenix-in-Avalon|Student General Artist
Whoa, this was fantastic! It was short but it contained so much detail and characterization (I found the main character very compelling, especially his thoughts toward the princess) and I finished it wanting to read more. It feels like the beginning to an enthralling story.
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Oh-Mercy-Me's avatar
Oh-Mercy-Me|Hobbyist Writer
Wow, thank you so much! Unfortunately I don't check my dA very much, but this was an absolutely lovely comment to come back to. I'm really flattered, and happy that it affected you so much. <3
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RiverSpirit456's avatar
RiverSpirit456|Student General Artist
I thoroughly enjoyed your writing. The characters were developed, even when mentioned so briefly. Great descriptions. I would not have been surprised if the picture were made for the story, instead of vise versa!
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Oh-Mercy-Me's avatar
Oh-Mercy-Me|Hobbyist Writer
Ah, wow - thank you, so much. Really. That's such a huge compliment, I don't even know what to say!
But I'm also really happy to hear you enjoyed yourself - that's definitely the point of writing, so that's the best kind of comment I can get. c:
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cheenot's avatar
cheenot|Professional Digital Artist
:D I have to say I love how you wove the tale behind this picture the most. Great work!
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Oh-Mercy-Me's avatar
Oh-Mercy-Me|Hobbyist Writer
I have a feeling I'm very, very late on responding here - so sorry about that! But this was a lovely comment to see, so thank you very much. There was so much potential and depth behind the picture, it was too fascinating to leave alone!
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cheenot's avatar
cheenot|Professional Digital Artist
XD Not too worry about the late responce, keep up the good work!
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Rovelae's avatar
Rovelae|Hobbyist Writer
Amazing work! The flow and voice of this piece is terrific, and the characters are very believable. Great job! :D
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Oh-Mercy-Me's avatar
Oh-Mercy-Me|Hobbyist Writer
Oh, thank you very much! It's always huge to hear the characters are believable, especially when they're born off of inspiration like this, I really appreciate it. <3
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Shanyume's avatar
Shanyume|Hobbyist General Artist
You have such an amazing way with words, everything flows together perfectly. I know it has honestly been years since I read a short story let alone one that I liked. I can truthfully say that if you were to write a novel or if you have a novel out I would love to read it.
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Oh-Mercy-Me's avatar
Oh-Mercy-Me|Hobbyist Writer
Wow, this kind of comment... I never exactly know what to say. Thank you, of course! I'm hugely flattered, and hugely grateful, too. These are the kinds of things that spur me on a lot, so really, thank you for taking the time to tell me. <3
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Inghelene's avatar
Inghelene|Hobbyist Digital Artist
What lovely story for such a great piece.
The story is short, but manage to pull the reader in from the start and allow exploration between the lines like all good short stories.
I also love how you get to know his personality and therefore get to understand his reasoning before it collide with the views of the princess, reminding you that they are still wrong. Leaving the reader speechless in awe when they finish the story, with the next events continuing in their minds.
Thank you so much for letting me experience this story, it was truly beautifully written.
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Oh-Mercy-Me's avatar
Oh-Mercy-Me|Hobbyist Writer
Oh, thank you so, so much! Wow, this comment is... amazing, I don't know what to say. You offered me so much and so kindly and just... ah, thank you, once again, this is brilliant.
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Inghelene's avatar
Inghelene|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, with such lovely writing it would be a shame with a comment such as "nice" or anything less.
I mean, you held me entertained for a long while, so why shouldn't I at least use a while on showing my appreciation? ^^
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talonofjustice's avatar
The exponential display of talent that you have shown provides great promise in your future. Whatever you do, do not lose that wonderful element that I was blessesd to behold in your writing. Fantastic job. :)
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Oh-Mercy-Me's avatar
Oh-Mercy-Me|Hobbyist Writer
Ah, wow, I hadn't thought to check my dA in a long time because it's been so quiet, but... to come back to this kind of compliment is absolutely amazing. And humbling.
Thank you so much, this means a lot to me. I'm really grateful that you took the time to tell me. <3
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talonofjustice's avatar
I know it's been a LONG time since my last comment, but upon re-reading, I was graced with such a treat, it was like expecting delectable cake and receiving ambrosia. :) I hope you are writing for publishers, mate, because it would be a shame not to see a title under your name in a library (Well, maybe not under Oh-Mercy-Me. :) )
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Sevahj's avatar
AHA!!! I knew it!!!!
Like half way through, I was sooooo hoping that she would shun him his arrogance.
I accidentally scrolled down -honestly, it was an accident- and I almost read that last line but THANK GOODNESS I didn't.
It's a little bit sad, knowing that she sorta let them both go in the end, but still, you have most i/definitely/i done that [fantastic] painting a wealth of justice. The story is short I know but it's still quite wonderfully and skillfully done.

VERY well done. Much kudos and soooo much jealousy at your obvious bloody talent with a pen/keyboard
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Oh-Mercy-Me's avatar
Oh-Mercy-Me|Hobbyist Writer
Thank you, really, so much. I was kind of a ridiculous little bundle of grins and blushes when reading this, because you're being really so very kind, and I appreciate that you took the time to leave a comment at all, even more with such a nice one!
I'm more than a little blown away whenever people say my words did the painting justice, because it's absolutely stunning, so thank you for that, too, specifically.
But I'm glad you didn't get spoiled for it! I've done that on stories by accident and, ah, no way to get around having seen the ending! :D
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Sevahj's avatar
That's totally fine, I meant every word, honest.
I actually decided while I was reading 'Mistake in the Making' that I would like totally plunder your gallery. So you could probably expect more comments like the one I've already left.
And you're so right, there is absolutely NO way to get around it, no matter how much you try and make yourself forget, it just ain't never gonna happen -.^
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anonymous's avatar
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