Amanuensis (amanuensis1) wrote,
Amanuensis
amanuensis1

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FICLET: (Temeraire-verse) "Immortal" (Angst, ~500 words)

Title: Immortal
Author: amanuensis1
Category: Angst
Temeraire (His Majesty's Dragon) fandom. SPOILERS up to and including Empire of Ivory. I needed to write this before the next book arrives--I don't believe this will happen in canon, which is why I want to feel the experience.

****

The two dragons were speaking French.

"It doesn't look a thing like a swan," said the dragonet, uncrossing its eyes at last.

The older dragon had been hard-pressed not to chuckle at its eager young charge. Such a comical expression in one so earnest. "No, you must use your imagination, not your eyes, my young one." He raised a foreclaw to point at the night sky. "If you imagine lines between that star, and that star, and so forth--see?"

The dragonet put its nose up again as if distance were the barrier to understanding. "Oh, I think I see what you mean. I see a great 'x' if I do that."

"Turn it on its side a little. The wings, there, and the head and tail--"

"It still does not look like a swan to me." The dragonet looked no longer puzzled but disappointed. "Swans have curved necks. Besides, I would not name the stars for one, even if swans are good to eat. I see a dragon, wings spread in flight." The dragonet hopped once, flung up its wings so that they clapped together. "A Flamme-de-Gloire, like myself!"

Now the older dragon did allow the chuckle. "Well you may, young one. Constellations are not given the same names by all. Indeed, the English have only one named for a dragon, which they call 'Dragon.' We think that is highly unimaginative of them." He pointed at a different spot in the sky. "Do you see that bright star a little distance from the Swan? Now follow it to those three others, and to the more distant one to form the tail--that is one constellation we have named for a dragon. It is called 'The Wrath of Temeraire.'"

"Temeraire?" The dragonet cocked its head at its instructor, then looked back at the sky. "I do not know that name. Why was he wrathful?"

The dragon stroked its necklet in unconscious affinity. "Temeraire was a great hero. He was English, which was unfortunate, and a Celestial, which was providential. But for him and for his captain there would likely be no Flammes-de-Gloire today, nor Chansons-de Guerre, nor many a French breed." He turned his gaze back to the dragonet. "They saved France and much of the world from a terrible sickness that the English would have inflicted upon her Dragons. They returned to England to pay the penalty for disobedience, where Temeraire's captain was put to death." A stillness fell over the young dragonet. "Temeraire's grief became violence, and he raged war against the men who had commanded his captain to die. The Englishmen were forced to subdue him with cannonfire, for none of their dragons would fly against him."

"Subdue?" The dragonet's voice was small.

"Yes, they killed Temeraire. One of the bitterest losses of that war on either side. On any side," he amended. "The Chinese mourn him even more than we." The dragonet remained silent--no doubt thinking about what it would be like to lose its own captain, and unable to comprehend a loss so great. "The bright star of the constellation, at the head--the Chinese call that the Pearl, after the jewel Temeraire wore upon his breast, while we call it Laurence after his captain."

"But the English--" the dragonet said, in plaintive tones-- "do not call it that?"

"Not most Englishmen." The older dragon brought his head closer to the young one's. "But English dragons do."
Tags: fic, temeraire
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