I set the shattered bomb down. It rocked slowly, like an empty cradle.

A clatter at the door broke the silence. Two men appeared, a heavy trunk suspended between them. One of the men, I noticed, was Garma, the northerner who had helped take the dead steward’s body from my room. He still looked pale. The Captain’s aide followed them in, carrying the small chest I had hidden under my bed.

Jax darted around the men. Garma flinched and averted his eyes. The Saguin hopped to the table by way of a chair back and clambered up onto my shoulder.

“There’s something off about that one,” he murmured. I thought he meant the northerner, but he was looking at the Captain’s aide. Surprised, I searched the man’s face, but he appeared completely innocuous.

The stewards set the trunk down. With grave courtesy the Captain gestured for me to open it. Did she think it was trapped, or was she just being polite? I had no way to tell.

I lifted the lid. Despite the seriousness of the situation, my heart lifted at the sight of my beautiful treasures nestled in their cushions of cotton batting and silk. I had brought twelve of my very best bagatelles to bolster my application to the Academy, and for that reason, each was more precious to me than the jewels that adorned them.

I glanced at the Captain, and she nodded.

“Do not activate them,” she warned. “I’m in no mood to put out another fire.”

I lifted the devices out one by one, describing their functions. “The pomander you’ve already seen – it sprays a perfume as it blooms.” I set it on the table next to the device that had killed four men. “This is a fire-flower. This is a flash-bang.” Unease settled into my bones with each name.

When I was done, my bagatelles lay on the table, glinting and winking in the shifting sunlight, and all the more sinister for their elegance.

<< Previous Installment || Beginning || Next Installment >>

This post is part of the Jade Dragon series. Though I try to make these installments enjoyable as individual pieces, I highly recommend that you read the series from the beginning to really get what’s going on.

This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge weekly prompt:

You should write a creative response using the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:


1 archaic : unfavorable, unlucky
2 archaic : fraudulent
3: singularly evil or productive of evil

10 thoughts on “Bagatelles

    • Christine says:

      Isn’t it a beautiful word? Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the compliment. I’ve been swamped at work and home, so haven’t had the chance to write the next bit yet. Hopefully this week…


  1. David Wiley says:

    I just read from the beginning all the way through to this post and I am hooked. You have a wonderful way of telling a story in these short chunks, and your writing makes mine look unpolished. I’ll be reading this on a regular basis.


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