The Lair by the Sea: Artemis

artemis sicklekamai

Artemis creeps over the rise and peers down it, slicking her crest down to keep her orange feathers from revealing her. “There,” she whispers. “That thing. That’s the thing I want.”

Gennadios snakes his head over the ledge; his eyes flare wider. “That thing? That weasely thing? You want that for a pet?”

Artemis sniffs. “What’s wrong with it? I think it’s quite elegant. Everyone else chose their pets… but I got saddled with the dryad, and she’s always too busy to pay attention to me. I want someone to preen my feathers for me, the way Iphigenia’s naga brushes her hair.”

“That thing has claws the length of your face on its paws,” Gennadios observes. “How on the worlds is it going to be able to preen your feathers with those things?”

Artemis wrinkles her nose and eyes the male who is vying to be her mate next. “I want it, Gennadios.”

He sighs. “Fine. Whatever my female desires.”

***

Several days later, Artemis struts from the lair with the grinning kamaitachi clinging to her sinuous back. She pauses before her clanmates for a dramatic moment, then flares her crest and wings to display her punk do. Where her feathers haven’t been artistically shredded, they’re missing entirely. She is a frightful sight, but strangely the look becomes her.

“I am now cooler than thee,” she declares, and saunters off with her weasel companion, well-content.

“And you get to mate with that,” Argos murmurs to Gennadios, who covers his face with a paw.

***

Amusingly, I won Artemis this familiar in a contest where the familiar went to the person with the best story about how they met. And yes, Gennadios did go to the nest with Artemis afterward!


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