This week's prompt from Write on Edge included the picture below. I decided to carry on the Steve Adderson story, to see where it goes. I would be grateful if you feel able to comment and let me know if it stands alone. It is drawing from a world background I am exploring in other places, but I think it's unfair to write something that assumes prior knowledge and don't want to cheat. Actually, I'm really grateful if you comment at all.
Image from Unsplash
The cold leeching out of the picture burned Steve's hands. "I thought deserts were hot." he said, putting the picture down and rubbing his hands together.
"When I was at Acre I found the heat of the day and the cold of the night difficult contrasts." Lord Marius looked thoughtfully at the picture. "You could refuse this request, you know. Taking a package from one faerie lord to another has its risks."
Steve carefully wrapped the picture in its layers of silk. "Do I understand this correctly. Lord Ragnar in York is gifting this picture to Lord Justinian in Rochester. Lord Justinian will not be sending anything in return."
Lord Marius seemed lost in his memories as he gazed at the silk wrapped picture. "It is such a remarkable picture, made many centuries before I went to Jerusalem." He returned to the present. "Lord Justinian is having problems with a salamander which the picture will solve and Lord Ragnar is in a weak position at the moment. He will rely on magical aid from Lord Justinian before long, I am sure. How is Elaine?"
Steve had wanted to avoid this part of the conversation. "She's fine."
"And you are still not married?"
"She didn't think that a proposal in a magical land counted." Steve held the picture lightly in his hands. Even the silk wrappings were icy. "She thought I had just got carried away. She says we need to wait a bit."
"Is she performing wifely duties?" Lord Marius asked with helpful innocence.
"Why can't one of the elfen take this package?" Steve changed the subject.
"Distrust and paranoia." Lord Marius waved a hand. "A werewolf will give you the letter from Lord Ragnar to accompany the gift. You will meet him in the tea shop on Micklegate, near the bridge, on Monday at 11am sharp. Here is an image of him so that you are not mistaken. Another werewolf will collect the package in Rochester Cathedral tea rooms, once you have confirmed you have arrived. Their image is here."
Steve nodded. Werewolves were usually trustworthy in this situation. "It's not a bad journey. It's motorway all the way."
"Lord Ragnar is not popular." Lord Marius warned. "He is only sending this treasure under great need. You are at risk of interception."
"How great is the risk?" The cold stung Steve's fingers as they clenched on the picture.
"Do not take unnecessary risks." Lord Marius said carefully. "Be careful where you pause your journey, and be particularly careful of strange weather."
"I've taken precautions." Steve shoved his hands into his pockets to try and warm them.
"I know I can no longer approach your car." Lord Marius shrugged then changed the subject back. "How do you propose to make Elaine wed you?"
Steve concentrated on sliding the picture into its thick, insulated bag. "I don't know." He carefully buttoned the cover. "But it will be without elfen help, no matter how well meant. I'm already in enough trouble."