• Published 3rd Oct 2012
  • 4,412 Views, 1,089 Comments

The Album - Peregrine Caged

A collection of 'snapshots', short stories that represent Moments in the lives of various ponies

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Fleur de Lis -- Artist

Written by: DawnFade
Rated Everyone

She awoke amongst a tangle of velvet sheets, her light-blush mane splayed around her head; the background to a plain portrait. Her skin felt dry and cracked against such soft material, and disgust raised its ugly head and glared with a look of untempered disdain at her mind’s eye. She mentally pleaded with it to give her another few minutes of uncaring bliss, but it was unrelenting.

With an ungraceful groan, she slid from her place of slumber and stood unsteadily on four unkempt plastic-white hooves. How they sickened her.

She averted her eyes and threw back her mane. It settled messily against the back of her neck, an untamed pink growth complete with jutting strands of twig-like hair that served only to remind her how much work there was to be done.

Her abode was spacious, a veritable treasure trove of expensive tastes and impeccable feng shui, designed by artists, built by sculptors. Her furniture was sleek, sharp, an intended analogy for the lifestyle of one such as her. Residing on the ceiling, a delightfully ironic classical painting observed the beginning of her day with an amused yet condescending gaze. She did not return it, for she was incomplete and it was not her place to grace beauty with ugly eyes.

On heavy, trudging hooves she crossed the room, hating the feel of the magically softened carpet against the calloused edges of her limbs. She was not worthy to walk, no, to even stand upon such simple elegance. Shame burned through her veins as no alcohol ever could, that she was less than the ground upon which she walked.

She was a disgrace to such a beautiful home. Truly, she deserved to be cast out and made to live in the dank and shallow streets that befit her. Only among the dirt and rainwater did she belong, for such inelegance was not to be tolerated in a place like this.

Outside, the sounds of Canterlot slowly awakening made her heart beat faster. Time was of the essence, despite how relaxing the noise might be. Whereas most ponies might take the moment to step back and simply exist in an effort to appreciate the sublime beauty of a Canterlot sunrise, she did not have the moment to waste.

There was much work to be done, and just as a painter must work quickly to capture an ever-changing landscape, she too needed to begin her piece before the moment could pass.

Into the cavernous bathroom she ventured and on came the mirrored lights. She likened herself to a writer carving her quill in preparation for a grand new work, or perhaps a painter waking up early to mix the colours he knew he would need. She liked that one the most. It was not a far stretch to class her own art as painting. It always seemed like such a delicate form of expression, which was exactly what she sought.

Small silver cases were opened and containers and tools were brought out. With practiced ease, they circled her, bathing her imperfections in a white magical haze. For the briefest second, she closed her eyes and watched the light dance behind them.

The writer had dipped his quill and was lowering it to paper.

The painter had dabbed at a colour and was taking it to easel with practiced flair.

“I am dead,” she whispered to herself, the mantra of a thousand mornings. “I am buried and forgotten. I am nameless and disgusting. And I must be reborn.”

And so she began her art.

Her skin, once dry and cracked, was the first to be renewed. Creams, foreign in both origin and texture began to apply themselves to her cheeks. The scent of lilies made her gasp in delight, as a painter would gasp at the just-so placement of a bird in the sky. The smell inspired her, created new avenues of artistry to explore. It gave her art direction, for which she was ever grateful. Her skin soon glowed with an almost ethereal shade of silver.

Some might question the value of such a shade under more powerful tones, such as gold or red, but the artist found it to possess a subtler nature about it that was impossible with darker colours. And subtlety was the key to any good art.

Her hooves, which had disgusted her so intensely upon their first use this morning, were the next targets for her talent. New liquids and ointments separated themselves from the floating array and were applied with the speed and skill that only countless years of experience could provide. In her mind’s eye, she saw the writer feverishly crafting words at the behest of inspiration, weaving sentences together on instinct rather than with any conscious direction. That was the sign of a true artist, she thought approvingly. When the reality of details were left behind and only the pure, unadulterated power of imagination and creation remained; that was what gave art its meaning.

The four limbs upon which she stood now shared the perfection first attained by her visage, causing her chest to swell with pride. They gave her posture the strength of pulchritude without sacrificing their delicate nature. After all, she thought, fragility and beauty go together quite well, like when the painter mixes two colours to create a third.

Alas, the final chapter, the final strokes, were approaching. A lightness grew behind her eyes, the elation of nearing completion almost overwhelming her. But she calmed herself, knowing that if she were to make a mistake now, her joy would turn to anguish; a raindrop on the easel.

The catastrophe that pretended to be her mane was besieged by the violent ministrations of three brushes, each working in synch with the others to carve through the mess of knots and restore order to chaos.

But order is not art, not on its own, and soon they began to flick and twirl her mane into impassioned patterns, spinning each hair into a sensual pose reminiscent of a gently wilting flower. Yet it was not of death that her mane held resemblance, only of life. Pink, weightless, at ease, it flowed as easily as a newborn foal’s laughter.

Her tail did not escape such attention, and with the success of her mane still shining, she found the inspiration to give it the full treatment. Once more, she saw the artist spotting a mountain on the horizon and grinning at the challenge it presented. A similar grin split her lips as the brushes dug themselves into her tail without hesitation. They tore through every imperfection without breaking a hair, continuing until it was a coifed masterpiece, matching her mane in every aspect.

At last, her work was complete!

The painter stumbled back from his easel, eyes wide and hooves shaking at the raw emotion his piece evoked.

She raised her head high, looking in the mirrors from every angle. If it was wrong to admire her own art, she did not wish to be right. After all, what purpose did it serve if not to be enjoyed?

Her eyelids lowered in a sultry manner, and a sensuous smile quirked at her lips.

“I am Fleur De Lis,” she hissed sharply, sleekly. “And I am beautiful.”

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