Photo by BlueLilly
The little dragon bleated with increasing urgency. It was fiery-eyed Feyrdú, the pixie king’s ward, who suggested, “The dragon whelp must eat, your majesty. He must have shrennel or—”
“Yes! By Uol, you are right!” The king turned to B’frona: “We trust, Friend of Pÿthziés, that you will lead the Dragonmeer and her precious charge to the shrennel fields?”
“Yes, your majesty,” said B’frona, his respect for the king forming a thin veneer over his loathing for… “What are you called, girl?”
“What? Oh, you mean…my name is Gina.”
There was a brief silence, and then a hearty laugh shook the gathering, as if Gina had just delivered a terrific punch line.
“What’s so funny?”
“Your joke about your name.”
“But it wasn’t a joke. That’s my name.”
“It can’t be. J’nah’ is a man’s name, a warrior’s name.”
“No, it’s not, and it’s not ‘Jeh-NAH,’ it’s ‘JEE-nuh’. Hear the diff?”
Apparently they didn’t.
“Pay attention, dragonmeer.” B’frona explained slowly, using the tone one employs when addressing a very young or very stupid person, “’J’nah’ is a man’s name because it ends with an ‘ah,’ and all names that end with ‘ah’ are man’s names. Like mine. Besides, ‘J’nah’ means ‘he who fights.’ It is a warrior’s name, and you are just a girl, so it can’t—”
“Well, it is! It’s Italian, and it means ‘queen!’ I was named after my Aunt Gina.”
The crowd’s eyes grew larger.
“She is destined to be a queen?” said Feyrdú, her nose wrinkling in disgust. The pixie queen traded appalled glances with her.
“It is also a warrior’s name!” added one of Prince Jenblevó’s cronies.
“Because she is willing to fight any man to prove she is worthy to be queen!” said another, with a look of lusty admiration.
“Only a misunderstanding,” said the pixie king. “We enjoin the Dragonmeer J’nah to attend to the Dragon of Rennou!” The crowd applauded.
“Wait!” Gina interjected. “Has anybody seen a boy about his size?” She pointed at B’frona. “My brother fell out of a map, um, I mean a tree…yesterday, or last night, and…”
The little king offered his regrets. No human boy but B’frona had been seen in the Light Forest for many seasons, he told her.
B’frona left the clearing without another word. Realizing she had no choice but to follow…
Gina stumbled after him into the thicket.
Thoughts: Have you ever found yourself winning friends–and enemies–without really trying?
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