Mama’s Girl

Mama’s Girl

Writing stories for other people is one of my favorite things to do. A little while, back I wrote a story for a member of my Dark Space RPG group which centered around a pivotal character development moment for her character. The group loved it so much, I decided to keep an ear out for scenes I could write about other characters. It didn’t take long for another to present itself! This time the character is Pantriss, our resident Dranfel (think dragon person) and leader in training. She and her mate, Ruhk, recently ran into problems when someone put a bounty on his head. Pantriss called her mother to get some details, and I was so intrigued by the scene that played out between her player and the GM, I asked them both if I could write it. I spent a lot of time on the details of the character’s speech and behavior patterns, trying to get them just right. I’m pleased to announce this scene was also well-received. I hope you enjoy it as much as my game group did!

Pantriss belongs to The Art Fox who draws the fantastic Terror Drive comic – check it out!
. . .

Pantriss Goldwing paused with her hand hovering just above the communications panel keypad. She hadn’t even bothered to wipe the creature’s blood off of her claws before she stalked over here. Oh well; what was one more blood spatter on her already smudged chest plate? And if she couldn’t quite get it all off, she’d just have to hope the next person to use this room didn’t mind the mild mess. After all, she had more important things to worry about at the moment.

Like the fact that she was going to rend whoever sent that thing after Ruhk limb from limb when she finally got her claws on them. How dare they threaten the life of the man she had chosen as her own. There’d be no more of this nonsense, and she’d put a swift stop to it, that was certain.

Claws clicking against the edge of the keypad, she took a moment to compose herself. She hadn’t even decided what she was going to say yet. She only knew that she was angry. Angrier than she had been in a long time. Ruhk cooked fantastic food for her. He liked her jokes, never asked her to be anything other than she was. He listened to her music. He made her happy. She wasn’t going to let someone take that away.

“Pantriss!” The gratification in the woman’s voice turned to surprise as her eyes flickered across the digital projection of Pantriss’s upper body, no doubt noting the bloody smears.

“Greetings, mightiest of mothers,” Pantriss replied somewhat primly.

“What seems to be the trouble, dear?” her mother’s voice had that underlying edge, that current of expectation warning that she wanted the missing details of Pantriss’s situation, and she wanted them quickly. It wasn’t impatience, not really, she just liked to keep her fingers in these things, liked to know what was going on, especially where her daughter was concerned.

But this was a question Pantriss was all too willing to answer. It was why she had called, after all. “Someone has taken it upon themselves to attack Ruhk.” The first word was accompanied by a slight hiss as her tongue flicked briefly through her lips. “If you know any details, Mother, I need them.”

“Ruhk?” It was hard to tell if her mother’s confusion was genuine or feigned, but Pantriss was leaning toward the latter. “Oh… You mean, Vahlok, the traitor who got his claws into my little girl.”

It was hard not to wince over that little slip. If she had just been able to hold her tongue for the length of a party, she would be able to skip this part of the conversation. Or maybe the Council wouldn’t be causing her friend so much trouble in the first place. Or if it was inevitable, at least it wouldn’t have been her fault.

But if this was her mess, then she was going to clean it up.

“I don’t care what you call him, but he is not a traitor just because he proved members of the Council colluded to start the last war with the Arcturans. And need I remind you that he helped defeat the Nakanth. If he hadn’t, I might not be here. You might not be here. Maybe none of us would be here.”

“Well, it seems Gabranth Hardtooth, the fire in the star, disagrees. His mother was arrested when news of these activities surfaced. He’s using all his power to force the issue, probably on his mother’s orders.” The elder Dranfel snorted. “Even from prison she orders him around like her puppet. She intends to see Vahlok pay for his crimes, so her son will not relent.”

“Gabranth Hardtooth?” Pantriss spit the name like the most vile of curses. “I’ll tear his wings off!”

“Pantriss,” her mother chided, as if she were lecturing a brand new hatchling, “I understand how you feel-“

“Do you?”

“But this is not a matter to be taken lightly. This is a Council matter. It’s best that you let them tend it.”

Pantriss bit back a bitter retort. Because I’m too young? Hadn’t she proven by now that was far from the case? They had named a space station after her, and a training course, and maybe a few ships; she should check into that.

“I don’t think you do understand, Mother. Ruhk is the one I have chosen. I’m not going to stand by while people try to hurt him.”

“Clearly he isn’t going to be your forever mate,” her mother replied, her tone both derisive and dismissive – so much for understanding her daughter’s feelings. “Have you forgotten about the last time? Because that worked out so well, didn’t it?”

“That was different.” Again the hiss accompanied her words, a clear indication of her agitation. “Grr sacrificed himself to delay the Nakanth.” Not that they had ever actually been mates to begin with. That had merely been a ruse to gain access to forbidden territory. “If you really understand how I feel, then you know I’m not going to simply allow this matter to drop. If you want me to handle it ‘properly,’ then offer some useful advice.” It was her turn to flash her mother an expectant glance. After all, this was the exact reason she called.

In the moment of silence that followed, many things passed between the two Dranfel women. Some might have called it a battle of wills, but Pantriss preferred to think of it as mutual understanding. Her will was set; her mother finally saw that. And, at last, she relented.

“My advice is to allow events to run their full course. If Vah- Ruhk were to stand trial for his crimes, the Council would have to ensure his safety for the duration of the proceedings. And if he were found innocent, the Council would be forced to abide by that ruling. Even Gabranth Hardtooth.”

Pantriss’s tongue snaked free of her lips as she considered this. It was not her first choice – which was still the mutilation of the imbecile who set the price on her partner’s head – but it did make a certain amount of sense. Clear the charges, clear his name, and the problem should disappear.

“Thank you, Mother.”

The older Dranfel flicked a wrist in dismissal. “There’s no need to thank me, dear. You know that I will always do whatever is in my power to help you. Because you will always be my darling daughter. Even if circumstances should change, and I was forced to pretend to hate you, please know I would always love you.”

“I know, Mother. And I understand.” It was simply how things were for ambitious women like themselves. But she had no more time for chatter; it was best if she tended this matter before it had a chance to get any further out of hand.

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