My Scorpio Races, Chapter 2– Beach Training

I entered a roleplaying/fanfic version of the Scorpio Races. This is based on the book by Maggie Stiefvater, The Scorpio Races. It’s  on Tumblr, but I’m posting the fanfic stuff here for you guys, too.  Here is the link to the info and the account hosting if anyone is interested. Enjoy!

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I found out today that Miraculous likes to eat fingers.

I made my choice. I am going to race Miraculous and I am going to get over my fear. I told Sean Kendrick this. And then he told me that he didn’t have time to train me.

But he said he would send someone to the beach to help me.

So, here I was, not quite on the beach because I have better things to do this morning than get maimed by any other cappall. I get a few weird looks. Even though it’s more socially acceptable for girls to enter the Scorpio Races (Kate Connolly’s fault), there still aren’t many girls here on the beach and I don’t think anyone expected a timid church-mouse like me to be there at all.

I try to ignore the looks. I’m just standing here, holding three bags, and trying to look normal while I wait for whoever Sean is sending and Miraculous.

I get a strange surge thinking about the water horse. I don’t know if it’s excitement or nerves or both. Either way… I might throw up.

Before I get too nauseated, I hear someone call my name. I see a man coming this way, leading a gray cappall behind him. My cappall. My Miraculous.

The man was about my age, maybe a bit older. He smiles and holds out his free hand. “I’m Mal.”

I shake his hand. “Beth. Which I guess you know. Um…” I look at Miraculous. He actually seemed a lot smaller yesterday. He’s very still right now and he’s staring at the ocean.

Mal clucks, “We’ll have to train that out of him. Or at least try to.”

“Looking at the sea?” I ask.

Mal gives me a look that is almost condescending. “You don’t want him longing for the sea during the Races. Or any time, really, but especially not during the Races. Today’s training is all about getting you used to him and making sure that charms work. You brought the things Kendrick told you to bring?”

I nod and hold up the three bags I brought. One bag had daisies, bells, red ribbon, a chunk of iron, and, though heaven forbid we need it, holly berries. Basically all the charms any rider might need. Another bag had some raw meat I’d bought from the Grattons, which was trying to leak. And the third bad held my lunch.

I feel not quite confident, but I would have to get this over with sooner or later. “Can I touch him?”

Mal nods. “He’s your mount. Get that chunk of iron and hold it. I just want you to hold it, just in case. And if I were you, I’d rub his shoulder, not his nose.”

I have no intention whatsoever of rubbing Miraculous’s nose. That is just a little too close to his mouth for my comfort.

Miraculous’s grey coat feels like wet sand, the kind of sand that gets pulled out from under your toes as the sea comes in and out in waves. I feel the sea in him and how he wants it. And then I want it, too. I want the sea and to go into the briny water. It is calling me.

Suddenly, Miraculous rears and screams. That scream is something out of my deepest memories that I didn’t want to ever think about. I see his teeth. I stifle a scream of my own and trip over my own feet trying to get away.

I scramble to get off the ground before Miraculous decides I am a snack, tears streaming down my face. I keep tripping.

            Oh God, why? Why did You send this monster to me?

A minute later, I realize the screaming has stopped. Miraculous is calmly eating a brown paper bag. He’s very still again.

I realize that someone’s arms are around me, holding me tight to settle me. I turn and see Mal. He looks awkward and lets me go.

“Why are you not holding him?” is the first thing I ask.

Mal glances at Miraculous. “You trace a circle in the ground and spit in it. It confines them somehow.” He takes a deep breath. “And I’m glad it works on Miraculous. And the iron works, too, thankfully. He makes me nervous. I’ve never seen a cappall that can be so very still like yours.”

Like yours. Miraculous is mine. And he makes a person who works with cappail uisce everyday nervous.

And somehow, I still want him.

I stand up. Mal stands up, too. People are staring at us.

I think I need a break. For lunch and prayer. Lots of prayer.

I look around for my lunch bag. It’s not where I left it. Only the bag of meat and the bag of charms are left. Where is the third…

I look at Miraculous. That brown paper bag he was eating was my lunch.

Mal seems to have realized what happened. He’s grinning, trying not to laugh. “What was in that bag?” he asked, rubbing Miraculous’s flank.

I take a breath and grin at the appropriateness at my lunch choice, or rather, my water horse’s lunch choice.

“Chicken and cookies.”

More specifically, chicken fingers and lady fingers.

My Scorpio Races, Chapter 1– Beth and Miraculous

I entered a roleplaying/fanfic version of the Scorpio Races. This is based on the book by Maggie Stiefvater, The Scorpio Races. It’s  on Tumblr, but I’m posting the fanfic stuff here for you guys, too.  Here is the link to the info and the account hosting if anyone is interested. Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~

I am terrified of horses.

When I was little, I had a nightmare about a horse eating me. It stuck with me for the rest of my life, because around here people get eaten by horses a lot. That’s the trouble with Thisby.

My name is Beth. I don’t know my last name. The story goes that I was found on the beach when I was a baby. My parents were most likely eaten by one of the cappall uisce.

Most people say it was a miracle I wasn’t eaten.

No. I just got eaten later in a dream, which made living here a nightmare. I stay away from the stables. I stay away from the beach. The only places that feel safe are the little shop called Fathom & Sons and the church.

At least, they used to feel safe.

I spend a lot of time at the church. I’m not forced to, I just like praying. Especially around the time of the Scorpio Races. And besides, it’s not as if I have many other ways to spend my time. I don’t really have any friends who are under the age of twenty.

I must have felt really lonely that cold October morning when I went to the church. I had somehow gotten it into my head to pray for a friend who was close to my age. And I also prayed for something to do besides pray and help out at the shop. I felt a little bad for this, but God understood what I meant, right?

The church was pretty much empty. Since it wasn’t Sunday, this was understandable. But not even Father Mooneyham was around.

But someone must have been around. After I’d been on my knees with my eyes closed for a few minutes, I heard someone loudly breathing and I heard footsteps of at least two people coming into the church.

If I hadn’t stayed up so late the previous night (it was a good book) and if I hadn’t been so engrossed in talking to God, I probably would have noticed how wrong the breathing and the footsteps sounded.

I wasn’t aware anything was going on until I felt hot breath on my face and my shoulder was nudged and the air suddenly smelled strongly like the ocean and dead fish.

I opened my eyes and found myself face to face with a cappall.

I almost screamed. But the last thing I needed was this thing startling and deciding to eat me. I bit my lip and tried to think clearly.

I couldn’t think.

I forget about the charms I always carry with me just in case. I’m a religious person and believe God will protect me, yes, but I also believe in common sense and I know that these things are sometimes calmed by the red ribbons and stuff. Sometimes.

But the cappall doesn’t do anything. It just stands there, staring at me.

I stare back because I really don’t know what else to do.

I hear a quiet gasp. I hear a whisper, “Go get Sean Kendrick.” I don’t take my gaze away from the big grey water horse.

I hear footsteps. Father Mooneyham is suddenly standing beside me. He whispers, “Just what have you been praying for, Elizabeth?”

Sean Kendrick comes to get the cappall out of the church. No one knows how it got inside in the first place.

While he’s taking care of it, I tell Father Mooneyham how I prayed for a friend and something to do.

He raises his eyebrows, looks at the water horse then back to me. “The Lord works in mysterious ways. Elizabeth, I believe God sent this creature. And that He wants you to be in the Scorpio Races.”

A million protests come to mind. Why would God want me to do something so dangerous?

Sean Kendrick interrupts my thoughts. “What do you want me to do with this cappall?” he asked.

He’s looking at me. I open my mouth but before I can say anything he adds, “He’s really gentle. And he did just come up to you.”

The words are out of my mouth before I can think about them. “I want to race. I want to race him.”

Sean smiles and nods like a proud older brother. “You sure?”

I nod again. I stand up and slowly walk forward. I reach out a hand then pull it back. What if the horse just snapped it off? Isn’t there some kind of ritual or something before you can pet a cappall?

Sean’s smile fades. “We’re going to have to work on that fear of yours. If you aren’t confident, you are pretty much dead already.” I duck my head and he adds, “I’ll take him to my stables. Take a day and think about this.”

I nod then watch as Sean leads the stallion away.

Thinking the word ‘stallion’ gives me chills.

I’m thinking about naming him Miraculous.