Verburary Prompts 3: Portrait

Creed shuffled uncomfortably, his shirt itched and restrained his chest and his trousers were too tight. The shoes were new and the leather hadn’t yet broken into his foot shape. He paced across the changing room a couple of times, smoothing the shirt with his hand. Breathing deeply he pulled on the waistcoat and moved to the mirror to make sure that the cravat was in the right place. Taking another deep breath he left the room and tapped lightly on the door to the neighbouring changing area where Sybil was preparing.

“Just a moment dear” she answered from inside, and he heard her set down a brush on the counter. Creed paced the corridor a few times, tempted to see how much he could really move in these fancy clothes… or how fast he could get away from an uncomfortable situation. Almost sensing his discomfort, Sybil’s door swung open and she joined him in the corridor, wearing an almost identical outfit, except she wore a long billowing skirt where his uncomfortable trousers were. She crossed the gap to her husband and smoothed his shirt collar with her hand.

“Stay calm, Creed,” She said reassuringly, “It will all be over soon. And Poe is so excited to have her first official portrait”

“I still don’t understand the importance of all this… “ Creed had been grumbling about this day since Caelynn had first suggested it, but, as Sybil said, Poetry was excited, and Creed could see that it was important to her and to his wife and he was there to support them both. 

“It’s proper. We are a noble family, and you have written a book, and this is a moment to celebrate our survival of that awful place.” Sybil reminded him… for what felt like the hundredth time. Creed instinctively looked down at his right hand when Sybil mentioned… that place. The mark of a dark sorcerer was burnt into his flesh… and he knew the mark still branded Sybil too… a lasting mark of the pain and torment that they had both endured while in… that place even after a couple of years… some parts of it still felt fresh.

“I suppose it will look good over the fireplace in the mansion… “ Creed accepted, “Were we supposed to be helping Poetry?”

“Caelynn’s maid was helping her get ready while we were changing. She should be ready any minute” Sybil took Creed’s arm and led him into the studio space. “Now this will be hard dear, but you are going to have to stand still for a long time.” Creed winced. Behind them both, a door flew open, and their daughter exploded into the room, a small bundle of energy. She almost dragged the maid into the room with her, who appeared to be still trying to clip something in Poetry’s hair.

“Look, Dad, I got my hair done, and it looks just like you,” Poetry said with a huge smile. She came to a halt in front of her parents, wearing a long dress, with a frilly lace top and matching cuffs, a bow tied around her neck. The maid caught up with her, and finally smoothed out some of the loose hair, tying it back with a clip that she had been chasing Poetry with. Creed smiled and looked warmly at his daughter. When she was younger, she complained that Daddy had horns and that she didn’t and she felt this was very unfair. She used to tie her hair up in two ponytails and argue that she also had horns. The innocence of youth. Now, for her first official portrait… for the first Prideblossom Portrait of them as a family, Poetry had managed to convince the maid to give her two sweeping ponytails that curved around like Creed’s swirling horns. Creed placed his hand on his daughter’s shoulder and he placed a tender kiss on his wife’s cheek. Sybil indicated where in the room they were supposed to be standing and led the family to face the artist. Creed placed his right hand around his wife’s waist, and his left on his daughter’s shoulder, while Sybil took up a mirroring pose on the other side of Poetry. In between them, Poetry clasped her parents’ hands and faced the artist. With these two by his side, Creed could face anything.

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