Wednesday, October 15, 2014


The Last Laugh
By Linda M. Crate

Iridescent pearls of light danced in the scarlet of her hair brighter crimson than the wings of a cardinal. Her obsidian eyes somehow seemed less sharp and dark as usual in this light and the gold on her wings danced with life, the same ribbons of life that left her lips in a surprised gasp.

He didn't think she had anticipated he'd sing to her.

It was something he had always loathed when people asked him to, for his father was a singer, but his father was also a manwhore of the worst design. He didn't know how his mother put up with it, but he didn't want to think about that. Not now. She was there before him.

The part-fae who had loved him since she was twelve. He didn't know why, he never did understand it. She had explained it to him, but he still didn't understand how a creature as beautiful as she could even stand being in his presence.

He laughed when he finished his song.

"Why are you laughing? You're not teasing me are you?" she pouted, folding her arms.

Even pouting, her beauty could not be diminished. He laughed. The fae could turn into a dragon, but right now she was behaving more like her title: Lady. Lady Syn. The woman who hoisted young children upon her shoulders and told them it was not nobility but character and the size of heart that made a person. The same woman that destroyed other dragons in battle, defended the poor and weak, and was relentless in her loyalty to friends and family even if it put herself in danger. Brave, powerful, and strong she never batted an eye even when looking death in the eyes. She had never acted much of a lady in his presence so he couldn't help but grin, all these years later, she was pouting like a young girl.

"I wasn't," he grinned. "But now I may be. I've never seen you act so much like a lady in my life."

"You are so your father's child, sometimes! You brat!" she insisted, swatting him on the arm. "You just had to ruin that beautiful song you sang to me."

"I meant it."

She blinked, caught off guard. "Morgan d'Ernos, I love you, but you are the most frustrating man in all the history of Atriel, sometimes!" she insisted, waggling her finger.

"My dear, Syn, I just sang you a beautiful, loving heartfelt song and this is how you repay me?"

He grinned as her cheeks usually pale as snow flushed a healthy magenta that not even a sunset could psalm into being.

"I'm sorry, you are right," she apologized. "And it was beautiful," she smiled. "You have a lovely voice."

"And to think you're the singer," he jested. She punched him for that one. He laughed as she hitched her skirts up and ran from him, her wings fluttering in annoyance. "Oh, Syn, you know I love your singing. The whole of Atriel can't be wrong. My fair lady, they all love to hear your voice, and so do I. Won't you sing something to me, my love?"

"Not when I'm this annoyed with you," she retorted, pausing at the rose garden. She bent to use healing magic to restore life to an ailing rose, giggling softly when the plant bent in the wind as if giving her a kiss. "You're welcome, you're sweet, always, unlike my husband who can be mercilessly cruel as a winter's wind."


She grinned mischeviously. "But I love him, anyway," she remarked, running unexpectedly at him, throwing herself into his arms, snorting when he fell over at the unanticipated weight. "I thought part vampires were strong," she smirked.

"You're paying for that one," he snorted, laughing hard, running a hand through her long crimson locks. "Why are you so beautiful?"


"I mean it."

"I'm not as pretty as you."

"You are so, you're prettier than any star glowing their light in a night's sky or the sun dancing upon the dew."

Syn snorted. "It's only because you hate the sun."

"No, I mean it."

"Thank you, but you're beautiful, too. Even if you act like your mischevious father a little too often for my liking," she remarked, sticking her tongue out.

He kissed her fondly on the mouth. "Aren't you forgetting something?"


"I want my song."

"Later," Syn insisted, pulling herself quickly to her feet, walking away from him.

He had every intention of running after her, but as if on cue one of their children ran up to her, interrupting the romantic interlude. She gave him an apologetic smile that was very unapologetic in nature, as she scooped the young boy into her arms, and she carried him inside the castle and likely to his room. Queen Orchid had been quite generous when giving them their own residence far away from the other subjects.

"You'll pay for that later, m'dear," he shouted after her, his voice carrying on the wind.

"I'm sure I will," she retorted from inside, but there was no fear in her voice. She then shut the window and proceeded to do whatever it was she had taken upon herself to do.

Morgan snorted, smirking after her. "What a woman, and a bigger brat than I, if I can say so; myself." He stood to his feet, brushing himself off. "I think the term exists for her alone." He smirked as she threw open the window like he knew she would.

"That is not smart to say to someone than can breathe fire if she so decides to."

"It is most impolite to eavesdrop, Lady Syn," Morgan grinned, taking a bite out of an apple. He allowed the juice to run down his gloves as he looked at her suggestively. He laughed as she let out a loud, exasperated sigh before shutting the window again. Sometimes he couldn't help himself, he had to have the last laugh.

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Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. She currently resides in Meadville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. Recently her two chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January 2014) were published. Her fantasy novel Amethyst Epiphany is forthcoming from Assent Publishing.


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