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Title: The Parrot
Characters: Tristan Staghorn, Emperor Ozorne, the grey parrot
Rating: G
Word Count: 900+
Summary: Prior to leaving for Fief Dunlath, Tristan goes to find his glorious emperor in the aviary.




"Seems a bit drab for your birds." Tristan Staghorn leaned in the doorway of Ozorne's aviary. Birds flitted about freely in the elegant marble room, roosting in great potted plants and perching on the edges of ornately carved drinking fountains. It had suited the previous emperor's needs, Tristan knew, but a new aviary was almost complete. It would be complete within a few months, or Ozorne would nail people's hides to walls.

Perhaps not literally.

Perhaps.

His emperor was simply dressed this morning, wearing only a cloth-of-gold tunic and a scarlet wrap. His jewelry was minimal; ruby beads dangled from his myriad braids, six rows of black opals guarded his throat, rings of plain gold with no settings ran up his ear and covered his hands. Perched on his arm, in contrast to all of his finery, was a parrot with grey feathers. The tail was a bright red, but Tristan had never known Ozorne to handle such an otherwise dull bird. It seemed more in keeping with Lindhall Reed than the Emperor of Carthak.

The parrot sidled along Ozorne's arm. It croaked, "Are you trying for the antiquarian fashion look today?"

Tristan blinked.

"Fop," the parrot added, before reaching out to take one of the emperor's braids in its beak.

Ozorne chuckled and gently ran his fingers over the curve of its head. "You shouldn't call him drab, Tristan. He doesn't like it."

"He talks," Tristan said, flummoxed. He barely remembered to use a gendered pronoun to refer to the bird, despite knowing how badly his emperor reacted to people calling his pets its.

"Grey parrots are very intelligent birds," Ozorne said fondly as the parrot let go of his braid. "It's rather like having a small child, only without all the unpleasantness. This one has been with me since I was a child myself." He turned to bestow a smile on the parrot. "You'll have to forgive Tristan. He's one of my university friends, and you know what they're like."

"If that is a comment on Arram," Tristan said through gritted teeth, "then I must remind my emperor that I am nothing like that traitor."

Anyone else who compared him to Draper would have been met with violence, and even the brilliance of his emperor faded with that comment. But he held his temper in check, because losing it would be far worse.

Ozorne tilted his head slightly, and the parrot began to rearrange the layering of his braids. As the silence stretched on, Tristan noticed the parrot was in fact arranging Ozorne's braids by the shade of the ruby beads.

Focusing on that was better than bracing himself for the emperor's wrath. Mentioning Arram at all was a risk, but hopefully the presence of his parrot and the rest of the aviary put Ozorne in a good enough mood not to lash out.

"You are going to Tortall soon," his emperor said finally. "The fief of Dunlath, yes?"

"Yes," Tristan said, bowing his head. "Along the northeastern border, within the aura of the City of the Gods."

Ozorne knew full well where he was going - the emperor had commanded him to go there in the first place. But it served as a distraction, and while there were few people in his life Tristan doubted his abilities against, this man was one of them.

"Secure the black opals," Ozorne reiterated, for perhaps the seventh time. "All of them. Do not let any Tortallans outside of Dunlath discover your presence, and do not let any but the nobles know of your allegiance. Bring those opals back to me, Tristan."

"Of course." He bowed. "I will do everything in my power to increase your glory."

The parrot dropped Ozorne's braids and fixed him with a hard, black stare. It was rather disconcerting. But Ozorne didn't seem to notice or pay attention to either him or the bird.

"I know you will, Tristan. That's why I chose you for this."

Tristan bowed again, murmuring a formal thank you for the emperor's compliment. He raised his head to meet dark amber eyes, and pride filled his chest. Arram had fled like a dog, Varice was a mere serving woman, but he was Ozorne's favored mage. He was the one who would bring Ozorne glory and power enough to fight the cursed Dominion Jewel. "If there are any problems, my emperor, do you wish me to consult you or should I use my own judgment?"

"If there are any problems, use your own judgment," Ozorne commanded. "But I do not expect you will allow any significant problems to occur."

The thread of steel in the emperor's voice made his mouth go dry. "Of course not. The fief is easily blockaded and defended. I can shut it up tighter than the Treasury if it's called for. It won't be, of course, because the aura will prevent any scrying for hundreds of miles around. If anyone has to die who will be missed, there's far too much territory to search over for the Tortallans to look."

"Good." Ozorne bestowed a smile on him. "I leave the matter in your hands then. Everything is arranged?"

"Everything is arranged. Our ship leaves in two weeks."

"Good," Ozorne said again as the parrot rubbed its head against his cheek. "Join me for breakfast, Tristan. I have little interest in eating alone. My parrot is not quite so fine a conversationalist as another human is."

"Of course, my emperor," Tristan murmured. "You know I will serve you however you desire."

The parrot fixed him with a hard stare once more.

-End-
Title: The Parrot
Characters: Tristan Staghorn, Emperor Ozorne, the grey parrot
Rating: G
Word Count: 900+
Summary: Prior to leaving for Fief Dunlath, Tristan goes to find his glorious emperor in the aviary.
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Bright-Circle Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
Oh, the villain with his parrot. Makes me think of Iron Man 2.
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:icondeusluxmea:
Deusluxmea Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2010  Student General Artist
I like the parott lol
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:iconchaos2112:
Chaos2112 Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2010
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the story.
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:iconspyridona:
spyridona Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2010
Crazy-pretty fic with Tristan!

I was very amused what's considered simple dress for our dear Emperor; after al, no make up. I like how he is with his parrot, the mentions of how he treats his birds in contrast to how he treats his servants, the implication of his displeasure when people call his birds 'its' contrast to if he's going to pin someone's hide to the wall or not. I also enjoy Tristan's jealousy of Numair and his devotion to his terrible and wondrous emperor. (Oh, the slash goggles work beautifully, darling, on this.)

Also, I adore the parrot, his obvious love for his boy, and his annoyance with the pervert.
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:iconchaos2112:
Chaos2112 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2010
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

Yeah, writing that bit was a lot of fun. Simple is relative with people like Ozorne, oh yes. Though I imagine the first time Tristan ever saw Ozorne bare-faced was shocking, and not at all shocking for the same reasons it was for Arram. (Slash goggles should, bb.)

The parrot disapproves of all of Ozorne's university friends. Except maybe Varice.
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:iconspyridona:
spyridona Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2010
I really should ask more about what shocked Tristan about Ozorne being bared-faced. (I remember why it is for Arram.) Also reminds me to ask about the evil scenario you had in mind for the Emperor Mage on AIM...
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:iconchaos2112:
Chaos2112 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2010
The one with Tristan surviving to report his failure?
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