The concept for this one is pretty simple: Tenebella is a stereotypical Fantasy Dark Lord(‘s daughter and heir), who also happens to be a teenage girl while her mother is a normal, completely mundane and rather overprotective Mom or a teenage daughter.
This is another example of a scene arising from a character I’ve had a vague notion of for a while, but haven’t been able to turn into a full story I’ve been satisfied with. At one point, Tenebella was going to be the girlfriend of the originally male character that eventually became Kat Darkstone. But she hasn’t got much attention since I’ve been debating whether I want Realmgard to even have a Dark Lord figure. Seems like it would force me into writing “World is Doomed” stories and the World is always doomed in the Fantasy genre.
On the other hand, writing about the daily problems of the Dark Lord and his family seems like it could be a good approach. As evidenced by the fact that this one was pretty fun to write. I really tried to amp up the overwrought, Conan-esque prose to make the transition from ‘Witch-Princess’ to ‘Teenage Daughter’ as unsubtle as possible.
Final sidebar: I didn’t initially realise that Tenebella was a real Latin word (though appearing almost exclusively as a plural) that translates to “darkness” and etymologically means something like “little shadows”. I arrived at the name by making a combination of Tenebra and Bella to get a name meant to invoke something like either “Dark Beauty” or “Beautiful Shadow.”
Witch-Princess Tenebella stands tall before the fire burning in the centre of the chamber, flickering bright with unearthly hues and moaning with bodiless voices from beyond the boundaries of the world of Terrace.
The great stone chamber, dark and grim and secret, is where she comes to work the secret forms of magic and work the darksome runes and staves that she has learned from of old, passed done generation to generation down the long line of the sorcerous dynasty of which she is the latest scion, beloved daughter and only child of a mighty Sorceror-King.
And much as her father rules over a vast domain with an iron fist and an iron law, this room is her own kingdom. It is her sanctum, inviolable and—
—The door groans open.
Tenebella turns away from the eldritch fires and stands blinking in the light streaming into her dark chamber, shielding her eyes from the unwelcome intrusion. Like her father, she is a creature darkness.
Her mother Sharon, on the other hand, is very much not.
“Mom!” Tenebella exclaims. “I’m intoning paeans of dread before an altar of sacred fire! You cannot just barge into my room like that!”
“I’m making pudding for dessert, honey,” Sharon says, ignoring her daughter’s protestations. “Do you want chocolate or vanilla?”
Tenebella stares at her mother in disbelief. “You interrupted me for that? By the Powers, Mom! I’m trying to commune with the uncanny gods of the Sublunar Realm!”
“Well,” Sharon notes, “the sooner you decide on dessert, the sooner you can go back to talking to your little friends.”
Tenebella heaves an exasperated sigh. “…Vanilla,” she murmurs.
Her mother clears her throat.
“Thank you, dear,” Sharon says. She begins looking around the dark and lofty chamber. “You’re always cooped up in here. This room is so cold and drafty. We really should redecorate in here, honey.”
Tenebella rolls her eyes.
“New curtains, maybe,” Sharon continues. “Some nice rugs. Or we could hang up some cute quilts on the walls.”
“I’m a Witch-Princess, Mom,” Tenebella protests. “Hanging up quilts would ruin my mystique! No Sublunar Deity will want to commune with me!”
“Mystique isn’t going to do you any good when you catch a nasty head cold from all this cold and damp,” Sharon notes. “You need to think about your health, honey. At least try to get some fresh air every day.”
“We live in a volcano in the middle of frozen wasteland, Mom,” Tenebella counters.
“Right,” her mother says. “Think of all the nice, long walks you could be taking instead of locking yourself up in here to talk to your Moon Ghosts. Just make sure you wear a warm sweater.”
Tenebella groans. “They’re not ghosts, Mom. They’re Sub. Lunar. Deities. Powers, Mom, you are so lame.”
“Don’t use that tone with me, young lady,” Sharon scolds. “I may not understand much about all this scary magic you and your father do, but I’m still your mother.”
“Sorry,” Tenebella mutters, acutely aware that ‘Witch-Princess’ is outranked by ‘Mom’. “By the way, Mom, after dinner, Dad wants me to lead the hordes to—”
“You’re not leading anyone anywhere dressed like that!”
Also, shout out to band I quite enjoy The Sword, from whom I borrowed the phrase “before an altar of sacred fire”:
Incidentally, this was a bit of a high-concept, or at least rather thematically specific, piece to find a good stock photo to use for a header image, but I think the one I found reads “altar of sacred fire/communing with Sublunar deities” well enough…
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