The young illuminator lifted his quill from the parchment and watched his creation dry. He wasn’t entirely sure what it was that he had just doodled on the 147th page of the manuscript. He had given up making up sensible illustrations seven folios ago. Every plant, animal, tool and person known to him had already featured in the book’s ample margins.
The tree cradled the egg in the outer bottom corner of the page, artfully skirting the intricate script. A storm lashed down the horizontal margin, while a roiling flame licked along the bottom.
The boy stared at the scaled claw he had allowed to escape the shell and wondered what sort of creature it might be. A cockatrice? A griffin? A dragon? An ordinary hen just to surprise everybody?
The blank margins of the facing page caught his eye. He could find out what lurked in that egg. He had the inks, the charcoal, the final few margins to fill. It could grow from chick to beast to corpse over a flick of the final pages.
The ink had set. He took up his pen again.