Catherine could feel the anger radiating off of her daughter long before Antoinette slammed the front door open. It was nearly enough to break the charm that was hiding her true form but her darling had managed to leash it that long.
Behind her, at a much more subdued pace, came in her son. A prodigy of their kind, Jacques made her so proud. Unfortunately, he also had a knack for annoying his little sister.
“Nette? Darling, what’s wrong?” Trying not to sigh at the amusement plain on Jacques’ face, she closed her book and held out her arms for her daughter. They were supposed to have guests for dinner so she couldn’t allow her babies to remove their charms yet but she could play the mediator again.
“He did it again!” Antoinette only resisted going to her mother for a few moments. As much as the girl tried to prove her independence and her growth, she was still but a hatchling without her flight feathers. “I was trying to have some fun and he ruined it!”
Catherine was proud of both her children but their squabbles were beginning to happen more and more. She could only assume that it was the confusion of their growing power and maturing bodies paired with the continuous frustration of their hiding.
“Jacques, you can’t go and ruin your sister’s dates every time she has one.” Running her fingers through her daughter’s hair, Catherine pinned her eldest with a dry look. As sweet as his overprotectiveness was, Antoinette was never going to develop proper hunting skills if he allowed a few overly touchy humans to bother him that much. “You are supposed to be her backup, not her protector.”
“Didn’t you tell me that it was my job to watch out for my baby sister?” Jacques was hitting the age where he liked to push his limits a little, attempting to assert his dominance. So when he pulled out that card, Catherine only sighed and pinned him with a look that sent his posturing packing. Antoinette’s accusing stare was deflected with the same look.
“You know full well what I meant when I said that.” Returning to the mission of calming down Antoinette, Catherine broke the hard stare with her son and shook her head. Even she could feel the charm weakening with all the emotion in the house. “As the male in the house, you should be helping her learn her gifts and not stunting her growth.”
“Then tell her to stop choosing the horniest prey out there! Do you know how awkward it is to watch your sister being felt up while waiting for her to make a move?”
Catherine’s brow arched high as her gaze moved towards her daughter. All of that fury had dissipated in an instant and now Antoinette was avoiding her. She had thought all of these botched hunts were because her little Nette was not being allowed proper room to try out her powers. Instead it was because her daughter was letting the effects of the human charm get to her and influence.
Hissing out a breath, she motioned for her son to sit down next to his sister before her. Once he had, her free hand ran through his hair as well. Young cockatrices were always such a handful. She was lucky to have only two hatchlings, any more and it would be bloodshed in the household over dominance and her affections.
“Antoinette,” though her affections were gentle, her tone was sharp and earned immediate attention. “You will stop making these hunts uncomfortable for your brother. I cannot punish him for what his instincts tell him to do to humans touching a family member. Seduction comes naturally but your poisons and stares do not.”
Catherine waited until her daughter nodded and murmured her apologies before shooing her off to get ready. She was going to have to start looking for eligible males sooner than she thought for her. Pushing that aside, she focused on her eldest.
“You should have told me sooner.” He nodded slowly and she hummed. The hunts shouldn’t go so badly anymore. Her word was law until such a time that her dominance was usurped. Jacques had a long way to go, prodigy or not, before he could challenge her. “Go now, get into something nice. We’re having guests for dinner.”
Picking her book back up, she flicked his forehead with a small smile and sent him off. Human disguises or not, they still responded beautifully to the same kind of actions as they would perform in their true forms. She wished for the day that they could be free of these charms and live as they were meant to. For now though, she’d have to settle for the upper class of human hierarchy and trying to control two budding cockatrices while campaigning for mayor.
“Tell Nette that if you two behave, you can use the basement for practice later tonight.” She called after him, licking her finger and flipping a page. The smile on her face was met by an excited one from her dear boy. “My opposition’s campaign manager has a pretty little girl; she’d be perfect for practicing that poisonous breath of yours.”
I pulled a bit of cockatrice legends from here and there for this. Magic charms to hide their bodies, poisonous breath (akin to that of a dragon’s flames), a stare that can kill, etc. Basically, they’re heartless killing machines looking for ways to control the human population. :3
Next Creature: Griffin