2 February, 2014 by katelaity
A winged lion.
“Oh yes, you must remember it,” his brother went on heedless of any reply. “Napoleon brought it to Paris and then they took it back when he died or was exiled or something. Maybe that’s why it’s back now.” He looked questioningly at his brother as if he might have the answer.
Edgar had only just arrived at the notion of the creature his brother spoke of. “Why it’s back now?” he echoed, feeling utterly lost in the mind of his brother.
“Back in Paris,” Israel added with an encouraging smile.
“The winged lion?”
“Yes!” Israel practically clapped his hands together in delight to see they were of an accord.
Edgar squinted at him. “What lion?”
Israel looked at him with evident surprise, turned and pointed to the other airship with a kind of triumph. “That one!”
Edgar turned his head to look at the other airship. Now that they had come closer together he could see that his brother was right. As peculiar as it was to see an animal of that nature riding aloft in a ship, he could make out the wings on the large cat where it sat next to the horrid raven that woman always had with her.
Not to mention her rather intimidating father—who, he saw, stood on the other side of the creature. Rochester had a penchant for large and rather intimidating animals. Edgar had chanced to be menaced on several occasions by the fearsome beast alleged to be a dog that resided upon their estate, one that would make Conan Doyle’s hound tremble in fear.
Why did they have a lion in their gondola—
Especially one with wings?
“Do you suppose they have it for protection? Or some kind of a threat?”
“Threat?” Israel frowned. “Who would threaten them up here?”
“We would.” Edgar’s expression became very grim indeed. If they wanted to play that kind of game, he would see what he could find in Paris. There were all manner of things one might acquire in the City of Lights if one knew where to look. He had no idea where one might look for monsters, but he was certain he could find out.
“Surely not,” his brother said, breaking into Edgar’s thoughts. “We didn’t even know they would be about.”
“We can’t leave this challenge unmet. It is crucial not to leave a gap in weaponry.”
Israel’s brow furrowed. “Weaponry?”
Edgar sighed. “The lion. It must be some kind of weapon. They’re using it to protect the ship, surely. We have to be prepared for any kind of retaliatory move.”
“Isn’t it retaliatory only if we attack them? We’re not attacking them. Are we?” Israel’s look of concern grew.
“Not unless we need to do so,” Edgar admitted somewhat grudgingly. He had worked up a certain amount of steam toward self-righteous indignation and did not want to let go of it for a placid reasonableness quite so soon.
“We should keep everything reasonably amicable if we can,” Israel said and it was evident from the chiding tone of his words that he did not approve of thoughts of weapons or retaliation. “Why not get closer and then we can make further plans instead of assumptions.” He hid his face away so he would not have to look at his brother’s scowl.
Edgar scowled anyway. “Yes, yes, all right.” Nonetheless he nursed thoughts of the rather magnificent beast they might arrange to have join their menagerie. Perhaps a hippogriff might be impressive, though he wondered if that were simply a mythical beast. Then again, he had though winged lions to be only fancy, so who knew what might be obtainable in this foreign capital?
As he turned on the speed, it became apparent that the people in the other ship’s gondola had noticed them and had also turned in their direction now. The two ships were coming together now and it was becoming easier to make out the folks on board.
However, apart from the lovely captain, the Italian pilot and the ever-intimidating Mr Rochester, none of the others seemed to be familiar. There was one, however, whose appearance gave Edgar a chill, though he could not say why. The man was tall, bearded and reasonably affable of expression, but he looked at Miss Rochester with such affection that Edgar felt stung by the wasp of jealousy.