Sunday Vignettes, for Lady and Honor by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

Sunday Vignettes, for Lady and Honor by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: chivalrous.

42 responses to “Sunday Vignettes, for Lady and Honor by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

  1. She sat sprawled on the ground with a shocked look on her face. A small trickle of blood running from the corner of her mouth. “You hit me!”
    He snarled at her, “Of course I did. If you are going to attack me, don’t expect me to act chivalrous because you are just a woman.”

    • “Thou varlet!” a passerby stopped and yelled, adjusting pristine white armor that had never seen use. “I shall defend milady’s honor!” the white knight closed his visor over his scraggly-bearded face, raised gauntleted fists and charged.

  2. They walked up, holding hands, however awkward it was. The door loomed up before them, as high as a door in a church or a library, and then, abruptly, it swept open in silence. No one was visible.
    “No need for me to be chivalrous and open it!” carolled Hobert.

  3. The cloud still looked like a thunderhead as well as a dragon, but it shifted its head, and she would not have been surprised to see it breath out fire.
    She gulped some more cider. Or lightning, more likely.
    It flapped its great wings. And moved as if in flight.
    She put down her cup before she knocked it over. This called for some cloudy knight to charge to their rescue, dispatching the dragon with a cloudy lance.
    Except if it was some magical stunt, meaning no harm.
    Then she shook her head. Such a cruel stunt should be punished.

  4. Someone called for Angela, and a pale, grubby woman stood up. Liliya blinked. Gelya? She hadn’t even noticed her coming in.
    “I think,” said Magnus, “that I am glad that you gave your name before mine. One, in minutes we’ve been here?”
    She felt unsteady for a moment. “How chivalrous.”

  5. “It’s hard to be a chivalrous man these days.”

    “No more than it’s always been.”

    “If you hold a door for a lady or pick up her bag she’s as likely to smack you as thank you.”

    “So? Chivalry doesn’t act for thanks or admiration but just because it’s right.”

  6. He’d been trying for chivalrous. Alas, all that had earned him was blaster bolt in the gut.

  7. “It’s cute that you want to earn some money for to buy a pretty for yer nice lady,” the stable boss said. “But we only got the one job what we need done, so if you want to make some cash you need to grab a spade and shovel this.”

  8. “Get lost, bastard”, she snarled, “I can get the door myself”.
    “Rude”, he observed, “to repay a courtesy with an insult”.
    She blinked. “What era are you from? Chivalry is dead. Feminism killed it”.
    “You err. As long as one man holds honor in his heart, it can never die”.

  9. Dorothy Grant

    “Come to find your fate?” The apprentice norn who greeted him inside the temple was clearly bored, and attentive only to his brazier. “Or come to ask a working?”

    Jorgson ignored the gatekeeper to look around the temple. “They’re one and much the same, aren’t they? You can’t change the future without knowing it.” Even though he’d barely stepped through a wall that was open to the same sky, the snow-laden limbs of the ash trees over the frozen central pool stirred to a different wind, and the quality of the light was… purer.

    “Workings are through the doorway to your right, make sure you’ve brought an appropriate sacrifice.” The youth looked up, then, and his voice rose and broke. “Sir! Ah…”

    “And knowings are the doorway on the left? I shall find the future first, before I decide if I want to alter it.” He nodded, and took the less-trodden path.

    “We all change the future, one second at a time.” A silver-haired norn with the sash of Verdandi stepped from behind a tree to join him, walking the same path. She radiated warmth, as though she’d just been at a fire – he could feel it on his cheeks, as he turned toward her. Behind her was a solid column – there was no space for a woman to stand in ambush, waiting for this conversation.

    The hair stood up on the back of his neck, and he murmured, “Yes, madame.”

    She waved him through a doorway, the runes on the lintels seemingly flickering like a creek bed under the noonday sun, and on the other side, a wave of heat enveloped him. He stamped the quickly melting snow from his boots, joining the muddy tracks of many others, and looked up as she waved him to a smaller room, with a private door. Once assured of no prying eyes or ears, she turned. “You did not bring the daughter of Urd?”

    “I left her where I knew she’d be cared for. No point in hauling her through the cold and damp when she can be safe and warm.” Jorgson tucked his hands in his pockets, and leaned back on his feet, watching the norn carefully.

    “Chivalrous of you. Many a man would dump her at our doorstep, trusting her destiny to keep her alive.” She raised a silver eyebrow, elegant and accusing.

    “I guard this city, madame, and all its people. My work is to clean up when others dump bodies, not to dump them myself.” He kept the bite of offended honor from his voice, but she caught it anyway, and laughed.

    “Indeed!” The merriment faded to a sober expression, grave and urgent. “You guard more than you know. The message she bears is not for mortal ears – you both must travel Yggdrasil to reach its destination.”

    “I must… madame?” He took a step back, shaking his head.

    “You must. Or the dragon that gnaws at the roots will eat a hole so large the nine worlds will fall, and these lands become as dead as the south.”

    • This from a story?

      • Dorothy Grant

        It’s a seed of a story Sarah inspired via writing prompt last Sunday. I got about a thousand words further in, and then blocked on it. Then she throws me another prompt today, and my brain goes “Hey, this took a sudden right turn!”

        …Since I’m at work without access to email, figured I might as well write it in the comment box (since it does have the prompt!) and I’ll copy it over to the WIP tonight. See if I can get another thousand words on it before next week!

        …and if it turns out to get written one Sunday Vignettes at a time, I’m going to thank her and blame her when it gets finished!

        • tehehehehehehehe. . .

          I suppose I should work on getting “Sorcery in Stone and Roses” out before you finish yours.

  10. ‘My lady,’ he said, ‘You shiver in the cold.’ Sweeping off his cloak, he laid it over her shoulders and pulled up its hood as she closed its front.
    ‘That was chivalrous,’ she exclaimed, ‘but now you will be cold instead.’ ‘This mail armour is hot to wear,’ he replied.

  11. Herman the Wrecker snarled as he slid the piece of metal that Sam Walker had managed to liberate from the shop back and forth across the concrete wall of his cell, thinking of the insult he had suffered. Tonight, before supper, Herman the Wrecker was going to shiv Al Rous.

  12. “I will slay every one of his peasants and torch his estate!” exclaimed the Baron.
    “You’ll do no such thing.” answered his wife.
    “What? You gainsay your husband and lord?”
    “I most certainly will. Killing Geoffrey’s peasants for his aggressions against you isn’t chivalrous behavior and you well know it.”

  13. He reached the intersection ahead of me, but with a wave of his hand, he indicated that I should drive through first. Later, I saw him at the market, and he smiled. “You look just like your mother; she was a great beauty.” I thanked him with my mother’s smile.

  14. Lighting crackled from Ser Cavril’s technolance as he whirled the magitek weapon like a maelstrom, slicing through the kudzu that reached for him like thorn-bedecked tentacles or serpents. All about him, the invasive, magically-fueled plants coiled about the sickly trees and drained the natural creatures of their life, birthing blight and creatures of blight in their stead.

    Ser Cavril fought deeper into the forest, through the thorny vines even as they closed around him to cut off any escape, finally reaching the slim form who stood at the center. The Lady of Thorns smirked, her hair whipping wildly about her. Both knew the code of chivalrous behavior forbade him from striking at a woman.

    Then a friendly hand tapped his shoulder. The knight turned to see a dryad stepping from a tree liberated from the constricting, thorny vines by his magitek lance.

    “I’ll take it from here,” the dryad’s smile widened as she advanced on the Lady of Thorns, who swallowed in sudden apprehension.

    Ser Cavril reflected that the Code of chivalry was a strange and demanding thing, as he pulled the dryad off the sorceress in answer to her pleas for aid. When he snapped magic-dampening binders about her wrists to take her to face justice, she seemed relieved.

    The dryad and her friends, after all, did not follow the code of chivalry.

  15. “Darren wants you to what?!” Sean burst out.

    “Shh! Keep it down, Sean!” Becky hissed, glancing over her shoulder at her parents, who were setting up the barbie for the weekend lunch in the yard.

    Her childhood friend glowered, then noticed someone come in through the front gate. “That him?”

    Becky didn’t dare reply, but her expression was answer enough.

    “Right then,” Sean got up from the bench they’d been sitting on. “Excuse me, Mr. Whitman,” he called to Becky’s father. “I’m about to commit an act of violence on your property.” With that, he stalked up to Becky’s boyfriend and punched him so hard that the other man fell to the ground.

    “What the f-” Darren pushed himself back up to his feet, holding his bleeding nose.

    “You dickless shitfaced scumbag!” Sean snarled. “Becky doesn’t need a boob job, her body is fine the way it is! And you’re an asshole for saying that she needs one!” He punctuated the point with an uppercut and a left hook that had Darren spinning to the sidewalk. “Don’t ever come near her again, cunt!”

    Becky’s mother eyed her daughter as she sidled up to them, cringing at her friend’s rage. “Shame Sean’s not interested in any romantic relationships, or he’d be a treasure for some woman lucky enough to have him.” She took a drink of her cola. “Chivalrous bloke.”

    Becky shook her head as she watched her father take out the coldest beer and offer it to Sean. “He’s not interested in any woman, or any man for that matter. It’s why all us girls were able to talk to him about anything.”

    “Mmmhm.” Mrs. Whitman sipped again. “Still, that’s the kind of man you should be looking for.”

  16. Dang it. I’ve got the end of a story, sort of, but not the middle or the beginning! Bad muse, quit. Down, shoo, shoo, go away muse, go away! *exit stage right, pursued by a plot fragment*

  17. When I saw the situation she was in, I had to take action.
    They are called the formative years for a reason. I had plenty of time to contemplate this while chained to the slab.

  18. “The telkari say your Church’s magic is a gift of the Corruptor,” said Rashid, holding his scimitar steady at the young deacon’s throat. The man swallowed, but didn’t move, his hands held high and fingers still. Behind him, the girl wept hysterically in the lap of his fat friend. “Can you give me a reason I shouldn’t strike your head from your shoulders this instant?”

    “From your point of view, well . . . none, I suppose,” the man said in a thin voice. The fat man behind him opened his mouth to speak but stopped when the deacon shook his head. “But if you’re going to kill me, let my friend take the girl to a safe place, first.”

    Rashid snorted. “And the telkari also say that the Corrupt know how to quote the Prophets to their own ends. But — ” Without warning, he spun the scimitar backwards and sheathed it at his belt. The young man blinked. ” — if I followed every word the telkari said, I’d never know the taste of good wine again in my life. Nor have I ever known a telkar who knew what it was to spill their own blood in defending the helpless.” He held out his hand. “You may call them demons, a telkar calls them djinn — in either case we both want them gone from this land. Your name, Deacon?”

    “Andric,” said the young man at last. “My friend is Frater Carilos.” He extended his hand hesitantly. Rashid shook it firmly.

  19. There was a mouse sitting on his horse. As it seemed to be the day for odd happenings, Holm did not, as was his first instinct, shoo it away.

    The rodent was staring at him. Intently, if such a thing could be ascribed to a rodent. Thus it was not a complete surprise when it spoke.

    “Just where do you think you are going? Do not think his lordship will be pleased. Your errand is not complete.”

    It had a moderate tenor voice. Not squeaky at all, in fact. And his horse, a battle-bred charger named Volney, was letting it just sit there. Odd. The knight decided to respond. Just in case. Wizards, you know. They did odd things sometimes.

    “To Froglevel. And thence to Tynning.”

    The little brown mouse reared up on its hind legs, looking indignant. Astonished, even. Spoiled ever so slightly by washing his paws, though. Perhaps not a wizard after all. Or maybe so. Oddness. Wizards practically oozed it.

    “That is no answer!”

    “Indeed it is. There was one question. And two statements. I answered the former.”

    “Well! Answer me this, then. Why have you left the situation of the witch in Old Ost unfinished?”

    Holm pondered. Watched the road. Late fall had come, yet the frost was late. Green grass grew, and snakeroot bloomed in defiance of the coming freeze.

    “Lady Anne is no witch.”

    The answers were slow coming. Holm knew they would not convince his lordship. Yet no answer else would serve justice.

    “The dead sleep still beneath the stones. No plague afflicts the townsfolk, other than the usual fevers and coughs the colder night air brings. The crows do not gather, and the children are all accounted for and safe.

    “Two boggarts and a young creek-spirit remain in the wilds. Tame, practically civilized. The well-water is sweet. The crops this past harvest were full, not much more or less than the last two. Old Ost is as quiet and peaceable a place as one might find, this near the border.”

    “And the lady herself, sir knight? All of this is very well, but the code demands obedience. Surely you read your charge.”

    He had. A curse, upon no less a personage than the Underpriest Gald himself, effected shortly after Old Ost’s contribution arrived at the local parish. Gald remained afflicted, to the best of his knowledge. And yet. And yet…

    “What does the holy book say of witches, sir knight,” the mouse cajoled. “Does Saint Michael tell us to swaddle them in rushes? To anoint their brow in oil?”

    “He tells us to slay them, oh mouse,” responded Holm sharply. “ ‘Suffer not their taint to remain. Dispatch them swiftly, mercifully.’ ”

    “And yet the witch doth live.”

    “Lady Anne is no witch, I say again. To imply otherwise is to incite a murder.”

    “And to defy your lord is against the code.”

    “The code makes demands of us greater than normal men must bear. If one can no longer in good conscience follow his lord, he must immediately return to be released from service. There is no other option.”

    “And so-”

    “Yes.”

    Volney plodded onward, unperturbed. He was a good horse. The next knight he bore would take good care of him, Holm was sure. He would have to tell him how much the greedy grey-back liked sour apples. And to keep an eye on that healing hamstring. It still gave him a twinge on cold mornings, he knew.

    “Is it worth it?” The mouse twitched its nose at him, curiously. “Giving it all up, I mean.”

    “It is not a question of worth, oh mouse. It is a question of what is right.”

  20. They picked their way between the mutilated corpses. Lucian paused at the bodies of a woman holding a toddler. “Whatever happen to chivalrous behavior?”

    Pete walked past. “It never existed. Come on.”

    Lucian hurried “It was a lie?”

    “It was a church effort, an ideal. It worked – some.”

    Lucian shuddered.

  21. Sheesh! Kids these days, with their rocking role music, alla time tryin’ to get ff, amiright?

    Why Get Off This Rock?
    By Sarah Hoyt
    I’ve known Jeff Greason for years, and we might or might not be plotting to take the sun hostage every night for some hours and not let you have it back until the morning unless you pay us one billion dollars.

    Okay, that’s the joke, but Jeff and I share one very strong influence in the works of Robert A. Heinlein which molded our juvenile minds in dramatically different, but in the end complementary ways.

    Both of us are, needless to say, interested in space. This might be true or not of all Children of Heinlein™, but in our case, it guaranteed we’d eventually run into each other.

    Our most recent moment of “running into each other” happened at Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop in Huntsville, Alabama last month. I was there in my own interest, as a science fiction author (and I brought home a notebook of ideas mostly for short stories) and at the encouragement of my editor at PJMedia to cover the event, the people, and the technological ideas for the site.

    Jeff Greason was there in his role as Chairman of the Board of Tau Zero.

    While I’ve already written an article about the conference (and I should warn you there is another on the way. Everything was delayed by an attack of the common cold due to the fact the hotel was excessively air conditioned) it occurs to me that I can explain things from the point of view of the layperson, but not the point of view of a technician thoroughly immersed in the field and in what is and isn’t within the realm of current technology. Hence a two-part interview with Jeff, on his perspective on the field right now, and the reasons for his interest in interstellar travel.

    So, to begin with:

  22. Professor Badness

    The dark, dirty alley was at odds with her stylish dress and expensive jewelry. Her knock echoed hollowly on the shadowed door.
    Creaking on old hinges, a black clad youth bowed as she stepped through.
    “How gallant,” she observed acidly.
    “I prefer chivalrous,” he smiled back, light glinting from sharpened canines.

    • The youth had old hinges which he used to bow? I’ve creaked once or twice bowing, but not when I was young……