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Unfinished and Incomplete: La Belle Dame Sans Merci (A Piacer Vostro)

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

This is the first in a series that examines my thoughts and plans for the story fragments showcased in Unfinished and Incomplete.

Through Line: Two ancient forces, both alike in hunger. In fair New Orleans, we lay our scene. A vampire sets his sights on a beautiful woman, but is she all that she seems? A gargoyle takes advantage of the one night available to her to shed her stone skin and take part in the forbidden humanity she normally watches in silence. One night, one unforgettable meeting, one chance at a love they'd both been denied for centuries.

This is a story that takes place adjacent to my Winged Guardian Universe, in the same way No Good Deed is. The title is based of the poem by John Keats that has themes of love, death, and seduction as well as the conflict of illusion versus reality. It also happens to be one of my favorite John William Waterhouse paintings (and we don't have enough time to get into my abundant love of the Pre-Raphaelite movement right now but may very well later). It translates to The Beautiful Woman Without Mercy.

Antony Benedetto is an ancient immortal. A vampire of time immemorial, he's used to satisfying his every desire with the snap of his fingers, commanding untold power and beholden to no one. And then he meets Risha.

Risha Belledame is not who she appears to be. She's lived with and loved Antony from afar as a gargoyle statuary he rescued from San Benedetto da Norcia cathedral in Monte Cassino, named for him and pretty well destroyed by bombs in the 1940's. For one night only, she sheds her stone skin to wander amongst the fragile seeking fun and entertainment at Anthony Benedict's annual Carnevale di Venezia ball. Costumed as a countess from a bygone age, she meets a mysterious rogue whose interest in her won't be denied.

Antony sees in her a sensuality that calls to his soul and inspires his hunger. Risha sees in him a chance to indulge the fantasy she's had about him for centuries. Together their secrets will be reveals and in this tug of war, the victor is anything but certain.

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Next Up: Paper Dolls

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