Z is for Zenobia

Crafter of chains and culture

Empress opposed to Imperatrix

Allies in imperial opposition to the Serpent

Wise enough not to rust your ally in all her guide

Hungry for her power, land, and Serpent-Born

Keen on chaining them and one in particular

Seeking to seize a Jasior prince as yourself

Your empire is powerful, yet fragile

Qualities you share with your rival in her deceptive eternal glory

You’re more than willing to accept A Suitor’s Challenge

Determined to be the suitor who shall take it all

The prince and the chained Serpent-Born will both be yours

Even if you have defy Dragons and Serpents alike to claim them. 

Y is for Yuri

Finding the pattern in streaks of graphite

Streaks of chalk, swirls of pastel

Bringing form and character within the paint

Searching for meaning beyond most concepts

Beyond gender, beyond what’s accepted

Beyond everything that’s considered real

A Portrait Is Worth a Thousand Words

Your ancestor’s portrait spoke volumes

Becoming so much more than paint on canvas

More than a ghost, a wily enchantress

Betwitching her wide-eyed, adoring descendants

You worry about what Judith Cross may have awakened

You worry about what you yourself could awaken

Kindling passion and madness, adoring obsession

All the things you see in Westerleigh’s eyes

Devotion to an unworthy ghost

Devotion akin to what your ancestor felt

There may be envy mingled with your concern

Envy of a dead woman capable of taking ‘Leigh’s breath away

Awareness of this envy makes you comply with ‘Leigh’s wish

You help him transform into the heiress Fiona Hartford believes him to be

Westerleigh makes a prettier Gothic heroine than many a girl

Such heroines always end up in dire peril

You’re not sure if you can be the hero who’ll save him

‘Leigh has to face his demanding ghost

Even if means embracing her before letting her go

You’re trying not to notice Elizabeth’s pale face at your window

Her greed to increase the ranks of worshippers is endless

You’re hardly the devotee Westerleigh is

Why is she stalking you, watching you?

Is it love for your dead ancestor?

Perhaps she can’t see your face

Obscured by the memory of Judith

Or maybe she wishes to punish you for your illusion

The guise you help ‘Leigh to assume

Helping him enter her home, encounter her ghost

You wish Elizabeth far from your life

You’re haunted enough without ghosts. 

X is for Xian

Keeping up a veneer of courtesy and respect

Scheming and plotting your way to the Serpent’s side

Stealing Her power and Her secrets to don yet another mask

Too majestic for any to see behind

Scheming your way to the other Serpent-Born

Young, powerful, malleable

Only too easy to manipulate

Getting them to accept A Suitor’s Challenge

Your heart isn’t nearly as detached as you think

Keeping it close, fearing it will be devoured

In a dualistic, ladylike game of deception

Only you know what all the rules are

As you keep trudging to lofty heights

Never allowing yourself to be cowed

Sensing an inevitable fall awaits you

Trying to accomplish as much as you can

While you continue the journey up. 

W is for Westerleigh

Fixated upon your ancestor

Elizabeth Hartford’s life, deeds, and face

A legendary legacy you can’t live up to

You can only worship and enshrine it

Shyly touching upon it in any way you can

Becoming a person worthy of being her descendant

Dressing and embodying what she would want

No matter how much you defy convention

You live, breathe, and taste her spirit

Allowing that spirit to devour your devotion

How much of your mask is what you want?

How much is what she wants? 

Yuri’s questions beat within my mind

Flickering your conscience into thought

Just what did Elizabeth accomplish?

How many people did her accomplishment hurt?

You allow her will and spirit to overwhelm you

Letting her dominate your thoughts

Moving you to achieve her goals

Her thoughtless arrogance is like a blow

You ignored the hints, the clues suggesting this

In her painting, in her letters, in her journal

So enamoured with her boldness

You overlooked her disregard for others

A trait her spirit fails to overcome

You learn to please her, to have her look at you with pride

Does she even see you from her painted prison

Or are you simply an impefect vessel for herself

How far will you let her schemes play?

A Portrait Is Worth a Thousand Words

The lift of her chin tells a tale of stubbornness

A stubbornness you always admired

Not realizing it hurts too many people

Not the least yourself. 

V is for Vanessa

Coveting power you wear with awkward flair

Showing off all your extra arms

Flashing your additional eyes

Intent on being better than Duessa

Painfully aware you can’t touch her

Coveting Duessa’s beautiful nephew

Flaunting your Marriage Feasts 

Wearing tradition like an armour

Letting the briars of the Gardens of Arachne bind you

Never realizing you’ve stirred another’s hunger

Laughing at all the signs of her forbidden passion

Ladies never feed upon each other

Certainly not arachnocratic ones

Part of you wonders what it would be like

Taking Duessa’s power directly from the source

She’s spinning a Web of Inspiration

One you long to be at the center of of

Never dreaming you might be a dupe

Of a past victim you never took seriously

You’ve made the Gardens less tranquil

Stirred the mists with your discontent

Threatening a fragile peace

You arrogantly took for granted. 

#RainbowSnippets: At Her Service

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday, those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction. It can be your own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To read a variety of samples from LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

Have you ever begun the process of rewriting something, reach the middle, and think, “Oh, the beginning would fit with the rest of the story if I changed this!”

Yes, it happened to me. 🙂 Here’s the revised beginning of At Her Service…it’s a little longer than six sentences, forgive me. (bows)

I’ll never forget the first time my mistress offered me her hand. 

“Every woman should dance once.” She wasn’t my mistress yet. She was just Ariella, the bewitching girl with sapphire blue eyes and a husky voice I could feel caressing the inside of my ear, gliding down my spine, raising the hairs of my neck. “Shall I show you how?” 

Shy, uncertain, I dared to raise my hand to touch hers. 

“Ariella, stay away from that girl.” The coldness of those words sucked all the joy out of the room. 

U is for Una

Crouching, fawning at your conqueror’s feet

Pitiful remnant of a once-proud fae lady

You hang your head in your mistress’s presence

Tattered wings, sharp teeth hidden

Sneaking glances at the cocoon dangling in the conservatory

One of many hanging from the Lady Duessa’s ceiling

Within lies the remains of a poor, pitiful knight

Once precious to you, not even worthy of a Marriage Feast

Is he even part of your lady’s Web of Inspiration?

Or is that honor reserved for the tender male beauties

Blooming amidst the sheltered alcoves of the garden

To look upon their fate frozen in stone

You hear their laughter, you see their stillness

Before and after the Marriage Feast

While your knight is slowly drained of life

You are forced to walk in tatters

Unable to take flight from your fate

She should have killed you, your spider lady

Such merciless mercy she showed you

Keeping you as a ruined trophy

Secure in the love of her spider goddess

Arrogant enough to leave her enemies breathing

Capable of plotting and whispering in the right ears

Haunted by the memory of the lady you once were

Never forgetting you still have a mouth filled with sharp teeth

Along with all your other appetites. 

T is for Troile

A golden youth amongst dark Trojan beauties

Child of the sun, smitten with an enemy hero

Seduced by a glance in a lost prince’s chalice

You, your home, and the man you desire are doomed

Destined for adversity, destruction, and death

As Aissa and Polyxena you seek transformation

To become someone free from doomed destiny

Slipping away from the conflict in skirts

Daring the enemy camp, the very underworld itself

You’re risking everything for your forbidden passion

A love which invites treason and a loss of honor

You tread the path between duty and love

Hoping to save the souls drawn into your path. 

S is for Shelley

Drawn to the name of a rebel poet from a lost world

Joining your voice with Byron’s in song

You raise a rebel tune to the heavens in Paradise

Frightening the timid flock of fawning human sheep

Lowering their heads for fear of the Goddess

And her chosen agents, the pale lords

You spark one particular lord’s hunger

Inciting curiousity amongst the ranks 

He takes you into his personal cage

You and Byron become his trapped songbirds

Beating your wings frantically against the bars

Trying to take flight in fearful awareness

You’re sensing what’s On the Other Side of the Mask

What lies within Lord Ruthvyn’s surreal maze

The opulence, art, and treasures tucked away in corners

Hanging on the walls you cannot find twice

Even as you fumble your way towards the exit

Coming closer to the monster at the center of the maze. 

R is for Rhodry

Surrounding yourself with stone walls

Sheltered by row after row of books

Living in the shadow of your sorcerer

Serpent-Born, carrying secrets 

You stumble over one amidst the tower’s treasures

A lost kinswoman in the form of a tiny dragon

Another visits in the guise of a vampire lover

Would any of this be happening

If there wasn’t Trouble at Caerac Keep?

Making your sorcerer disappear

Allowing unrest within his walls

Disturbing your quiet life

Peeking down at the Keep from the battlements

Feeding the gargoyles coal and brimstone

You venture outside from your walls

To find yourself in the company of your lord

Thrust together with three companions

A Unicorn acolyte, filled with wrathful faith

Fearing you for an abomination

A foreign hunter of cursed creatures

Peculiar in her values, mocking your ways

Last is the pale protegé of your mentor’s friend

Slyly bearing secrets, older than he looks

Stirring confusing passions with you

It’s an uneasy alliance but you’re bound by loss

Each of you have lost someone

Each of you is searching for that someone

Your talents can unlock Caerac Keep

Uncover truths others have buried

Within sarcophagi, with ancient bones

Who or what has taken your loved ones?

Why are so many falling to sleeping sickness

Bearing what seems like a vampire’s kiss

A legendary vampire may have risen

You don’t think he’s the one causing trouble

A trouble which cries and wails in your dream

Pleading for help, pleading for rescue

Villain and victim may be one

Monsters come in far too many forms 

Weaving a web far too close to home.