I’m going to start posting profiles of all my original characters from my Edifice series. I’ll try to post one or two a week. But I’m going to be doing sketches myself, which takes me some time so I’ll do my best but I make no promises! Some things to keep in mind about my characters: they are a work in progress, things can change later on, all the names have a meaning but some are chosen for that reason and some are irrelevant, demons will not have loves or hates because they all hate everything! Not everyone will have a quote yet as some characters come late in the first book and don’t get much conversation but are still important. Please be delicate with comments. I’m not a very good artist but still enjoy it. I don’t share my art very often so go easy on me! That’s it! I plan on starting Friday and I hope you like them all!
I said I was rewriting my Amara story a while back. I’ve made some progress. This is now the opening paragraph!… for now… We’ll see if it stays that way. I’ll post more of the new draft later. Today, enjoy this little teaser!
He pushed her against the wall and smiled at the gasp he forced from her. Her blonde hair fell in her face as he pushed tight against her. Pressing her wrists up, he became distracted by her heavy breathing, her chest heaving. She shoved off the wall and they spun around the room like a pair of dancers. They were light on their feet and precise with their movements. To him, there was no greater ballet, no better thrill, than fighting Amara.
Hello there! This is a little exercise I did for my book, Edifice. The intro is in the book, but the rest is not. It’s a little snippet of Lenci’s past. Thought you might enjoy it too. It’s only for fun so I won’t be revising, editing, or expanding on it. It’s rough and that’s alright. Have a read and let me know what you think!
“The 1920’s were an interesting time,” Lenci told him. “So much happened, so much changed.”
Beck laughed. “Looks interesting. Looks like you’re happy.” He ran his fingers over a picture of her and another woman. It was black and white and they were in tasseled dresses with curled hair, elegant headbands, and dark lips.
“I was happy. That’s Bridget, my Keeper before Fredrick. She stayed with me the longest out of all my Keepers. We snuck into a speakeasy even though we didn’t drink. The dancing was to die for!”
“How long was she your Keeper?”
“One hundred and five years. We were close.” Lenci’s face showed the fondness for her gone friend.
Lenci and Bridget: A short tale of a long friendship
The piano player tinkled away at the keys as everyone bopped around to his fast-paced tune. Lenci and Bridget made their way off the dance floor, beads of sweat starting to form along their perfectly manicured hairlines.
“Two waters, please,” Lenci requested at the bar. Bridget took a seat on the barstool next to her.
“How about I buy you a drink?” A surly man leaned around Bridget to ask her.
Bridget’s bubbly personality always led men to her and it never surprised Lenci when they approached her. Lenci apparently put out a ‘leave me alone vibe’ that kept most men away. But that was exactly how she wanted it.
“Sorry, sugar, not tonight.” Bridget flashed him a kind smile and turned back to Lenci, where their waters had been delivered. The man shrugged and resumed his search for company around the dance floor.
“You sure?” Lenci asked as she hastily gulped down some hydration. “It’s been a while since you went on a date. And you are allowed to drink even if I’m not.”
“I’m aware of the rules, Miss Lenci.” She gave her a criticizing glance. “But I haven’t had any hooch in all our thirty two years and I’m not going to start now! As for men, I think I’m taking a little break from gentlemen callers. It’s not like it can actually go anywhere. I would much rather dance the night away with my best doll!” She nudged Lenci’s shoulder.
“Alright, Bridge,” Lenci chuckled. She knew why Bridget wanted to take a break from dating. But now wasn’t the time to bring it up. Instead, she would take her mind off it for a few hours. “Then we better get hoppin’!” She grabbed Bridget’s hand and yanked her away.
They danced like they always did, like the best of friends that they were. Lenci held Bridget at arm’s length as they shimmied, wearing the soles of their lovely shoes and making the fringe on their dresses whip back and forth. Midnight came quickly and brought danger with it.
Lenci twirled and spun as she kept any men from trying to cut in with Bridget. Normally they would allow dance partners to join in on the fun. Not tonight. One particularly persistent man attempted to whisk Bridget away against her protest. Lenci rolled her eyes and followed as he whirled her off the dance floor and into the surrounding crowd.
“I said, let go,” Bridget’s stern voice came from a back room. Lenci headed that direction.
“Not until you give me what I want,” the man told Bridget.
Great, Lenci thought. One of those guys.
“And what I want is your demon,” he continued.
Not one of those guys. Lenci paused outside the door and listened. She heard Bridget laugh and couldn’t restrain a smile.
“You dizzy dewdropper,” Bridget said amusedly. “You took the wrong woman.”
“You’re not an Edifice?” He asked in confusion.
“Are you a Keeper?”
“Bring me to your Edifice,” he commanded.
“You think it’s that easy? This isn’t the Bible. Those who ask, don’t receive.”
Lenci peeked around the corner and smiled. Bridget looked completely bored. She didn’t need any help. She could easily take this guy and so felt no danger and looked relaxed as she stood in the middle of the room. She didn’t so much as flinch when the man put a hand around her neck to threaten her. But there was no way Lenci was going to let anyone treat her best friend like that.
“Give me your Edifice or I’ll—“ he grunted as Lenci threw her elbow into the back of his head.
His head lurched forward towards Bridget who grabbed his head, kneed him in the face, and threw him to the floor, unconscious.
“Time to find a new place?” Bridget stared down at the large man.
“Time to find a new place.”
They walked home together, confident that if anyone else did attack, they would be able to defend themselves. Bridget was Lenci’s second Keeper. She was a great conversationalist, wonderful to live across the hall from, and certainly knew how to handle herself in a fight. Lenci watched Bridget’s blonde curls sway around her headband.
“Was it that bad leaving him?” Lenci asked. “Is that why you’re taking a break?”
Bridget didn’t falter in her leisurely stride, but did loop her arm through Lenci’s before answering. “It was hard. But it was for the best.”
Lenci noticed Bridget wasn’t looking at her on purpose, keeping her eyes set straight ahead with her head held high. She knew if she could see her eyes there would be tears there. “You know, you could have married him. That’s not against the rules.”
“It is if you don’t want to be a Keeper any more. And I’m not ready to give this up yet.” Bridget finally turned to Lenci. She was right about the tears, which seemed to be passing quickly. Her red lips smiled as she patted Lenci’s arm.
“Good.” Lenci returned the smile. “I’m not ready to lose you yet.”
“Excuse me, ladies,” a man in the door of a building called out. “Would you like to have your photograph taken?”
“We would!” They both replied at the same time.
“What happened to your last Keeper?” He stared at her seriously.
Lenci paused. She set down her fork slowly and looked over at him. “Did Braithe tell you?”
“You don’t see what happens?”
“Well, she said to ask you.”
Lenci nodded. “That’s umm…” She pushed her plate away, put her elbows on the table, and ran her hands through her long hair, pulling it back.
“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”
“You deserve to know. If you’re going to take on his role, you should know what you’re getting into. My last Keeper was named Fredrick. He was my friend.”
“What happened to him?”
“He fell for the demon. I don’t know how long it had been going on. But last month I found him. Fredrick had gotten too close. Braithe killed him and took the heart she’d won.”
“Phew,” Beck let out a long breath. “That’s… that’s… uh…”
“Yeah. Not great. That’s why you can’t ever go in that room on a transformation night. That is, if you decide to stay. I would understand if you don’t.” She looked down at the table.
“Are you kidding? After last night?” He took a bite of sausage. “I’m never leaving you alone again. That thing can never get out. We need to get you ten Keepers! You can never be left alone. Ever.”
Lenci laughed. “She really scared you, huh?”
“Terrified. It wasn’t anything she did or said, although those were disturbing. There’s just something wrong with her, a feeling.”
“That’s a Keeper’s intuition. You’ll get it any time there’s a demon around. Some people, like you, are born with the ability.”
“I have a demon sense? Awesome.”
“It is. Use it. It’ll keep you safe.” She pulled her plate back to her and resumed calorie loading.
“Didn’t Fredrick have a demon sense?”
Lenci chuckled. “We call it intuition. And yes, he did.”
“How could anyone fall in love with something that causes that sense of disgust, terror? I had to keep myself from running or throwing up.”
“Some people have a stronger intuition than others. From the sound of it, yours is much stronger than most. Fredrick had a weaker intuition than most. He felt fear enough to know she was a demon but he must have grown accustomed to it and moved past it.”
“Why take that creature if he could have someone else, anyone else? He was here with you, why would he tolerate her?”
“Mm – another thing to talk about. That’s not allowed.” She took a bite of yogurt.
“What’s not allowed?”
“Edifices and Keepers.” She waved her spoon at him. “We’re not allowed to date. It’s too risky. But consider yourself lucky. Keepers can date as long as it’s not their Edifice. Or the demon, of course. Fredrick.” She shook her head sadly.
“It’s alright.” She wiped a tear from her cheek. It was a risk everyone involved in this took. She almost knew the day would come. Fredrick was her third Keeper. Braithe was the most deadly of all the demons. Keepers were meant to be a lifelong partner to their Edifice and yet she couldn’t hang onto one.
“You said Keepers can date and to count myself lucky. What does that mean?”
“It means that, as an Edifice, I can’t date. No Edifice is allowed to date. And we’re especially not allowed to have sex.”
Beck choked on his milk. “I’m sorry. What?” He leaned forward.
“I’m not allowed to have sex. Not under any circumstance. Ever.” She leaned in, looked over to him with her most sultry eyes, and wrapped her lips around a strawberry. “So don’t think about it. Ever.”
He swallowed hard and she noticed he was trying not to look down her shirt as she leaned forward. He cleared his throat and looked her in the eyes. “You mean you’ve never…”
“Felt the touch of a man?” She sucked on a straw. “No. I’m completely untouched. Completely innocent.” She batted her lashes at him and noticed him shift in his chair. She laughed. “Sorry. I couldn’t help it.”
“You were messing with me?” He let out a nervous chuckle.
“A little bit.”
“So… you’re not a virgin?”
“I’ll never tell,” she teased. “But for real, no sex for me. It isn’t allowed. Or alcohol for obvious loss of control issues.”
Suddenly all the lights started flashing red and the house made a loud beeping noise.
Beck stood at the viewing window of the control room. He had locked Lenci up according to her instructions and was waiting for dark. He waited and waited.
It should have been dark outside and nothing was happening. His stomach became upset and he felt a sudden sense of fear for no apparent reason. Lenci moaned and rolled over in her sleep on the floor, but nothing interesting happened for three hours. He sighed and turned his back to the window. If nothing happened in another hour, he would go to sleep and let her out in the morning before he went back to his cheap, crappy motel.
“Beck?” Lenci called sweetly; way more sweetly than he’d heard her speak so far.
He turned slowly and said, “Lenci?”
She sat on the floor looking him over. “Of course it’s me. Who else would it be, silly?” She giggled.
“Well, you said it would be a demon. So there’s that.”
“I know. I wasn’t thinking clearly. You can let me out now. There’s no demon.” She smiled at him.
Beck stared at her. She batted her long lashes at him. This didn’t seem like the same Lenci he had spent last night and today with. But that wasn’t a lot of time. It wasn’t like he knew her well.
“Sorry,” he told her. “I swore I wouldn’t let you out until dawn. I’m a man of my word.”
“And what a man you are. Why don’t you come in here and show me your manliness?” She leaned forward on her arms. ”You don’t have to take the chains off to kiss me.”
Beck watched her. It wasn’t that he hadn’t thought about kissing her. She was a beautiful woman and he was definitely attracted to her. But at this point he was almost worried she might have some sort of mental disorder.
“Sorry,” he said again. “I also said that I wouldn’t go past this door. Looks like we’re stuck where we are until dawn. So get cozy crazy lady.”
Lenci stood and laughed loudly. She lifted her arms and blue light engulfed her. Beck watched in shock. When the blue fell he couldn’t believe what he was looking at. It was Lenci, or at least the shape of her. But her colors were all wrong. Her normally warm, barely sun kissed skin was now powdered sugar white. Her adorable freckles were erased. Her autumn orange hair was now bright blue with purple underneath. The maple syrup eyes of Lenci were replaced with calculating crystal blue ones. Purple lips smiled eerily at him.
Lenci, her normal self, was the embodiment of warmth. She radiated sunshine and light. Her other half, however, was not. She was the polar opposite. She ebbed an icy coldness that gave Beck chills. Her pale skin reminded him of cool mist, where anything could lurk. He froze in terror as he took in her features.
“Braithe,” he breathed out in disbelief.
“Yes.” Her misty fingers reached out slowly as she spoke, trying to call him to her. “Come now, Beck. Come in and meet your new obsession.”
But instead of attraction he felt an intense repulsion pushing him from her. He backed away from the window as frost crowded in the edges.
“Never,” he whispered. Lenci wasn’t crazy. What stood before him now was definitely not human, it certainly was not the bossy, strange, but kind woman he’d met.
“Don’t worry, love.” She moved slowly and sensually to the edge of the chains’ reach. “You’ll learn to enjoy the forbidden fruit. It’s disturbing at first. Soon, you’ll tolerate it. Eventually, you’ll crave it.”
Beck couldn’t even think of what to say. He shook his empty feeling head and backed into the wall of chains behind him. The chains rattled and he jumped. Braithe laughed again, a grating, unnatural sound. He didn’t know if he could stand a whole night with this devilish being. But on the other hand, now he knew the demon was real. He couldn’t leave it here without anyone to watch it.
“I’ll never crave… whatever you are.” He approached the window again.
“You know what I am.” She glared at him. Frost spread from the cuffs around her wrists down the chains.
“Demon,” Beck growled.
“Your demon now. I’m yours, Beck.” She dragged a sharp fingernail down the front of Lenci’s hoodie, tearing the top open. She pulled on the neckline, exposing a good amount and showing light blue shading around her collar bone and chest. “I’m all yours. Come through the door and take me.”
Normally, that would have been a delicious amount of cleavage for Beck. On Lenci it would have been very enticing. But looking at this savage, evil thing, he could only feel horror. Braithe was beautiful but something was wrong. It was as though Beck could feel in his heart all the lives this demon had taken. The thought of it made him sick. It showed on his face.
Braithe frowned. “Fine. I wish you would change your mind though.” Her frown turned up wickedly. “You do look yummy.” She licked her lips. “Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you to get you through that door… or to you… mmmm… The things I would love to do to you…”
A shiver worked down Beck’s spine at the thought of her doing what she wanted with him. He didn’t want to imagine what her idea of pleasure would be. “There’s nothing you could ever do to get me through that door,” he told her.
“Let me out of here!” She tore her hoodie and shirt off in frustration as she screamed again. Icy mist flowed along the floor. Standing in her bra and sweatpants she growled at Beck, “Let me out or I’ll kill you.”
“I think you have that backward. If I let you out you’ll kill me; and whoever you can get your hands on.”
“Let me rephrase then,” she said in a low voice. “Let me out and I’ll kill you quickly. Otherwise, I’ll take my sweet time and savor every moment.”
“I’m not letting you out, Braithe.”
“Fine,” she relented with a pout. “If you’re not going to let me play with you, what are we going to do?”
“Come on. I’ll show you to your room.” Lenci walked away.
Beck reluctantly followed her. They reached the last set of doors facing each other. At the end of the hall, a few yards away, was a lone black door. It was much bigger than the other doors with rivets around the edges and a thick bolt.
Lenci motioned to the white door on the right. “This is your room.”
“What’s behind the black door of doom?” Beck looked over.
“The Chamber of Secrets. No muggles allowed.” She winked.
“Ha ha ha. Seriously. What is it?”
“It’s a secure room. It’s where I succumb to the demon. It’s safer for everyone if I do it in there.”
“Okay. So you’re like a werewolf? You transform every full moon?” He opened his door and walked in with Lenci following only to the doorway, which she leaned against.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she scoffed. “A full moon casts way too much light. I transform under the new moon, when there’s no light to help you escape.”
I’m currently rewriting my Amara series. It has a huge lack of plot that I’m trying to fix. If you have any tips for me drop a comment. I don’t want to work on my new one until I polish up the old one. So I’m not going to have a lot of new stuff to post. But maybe when I’m done I’ll start posting whole chapters instead of small scenes! Good idea? Bad idea? Let me know what you think!
Amara made her way through the forest. She found a large rock to sit on and pulled her legs to her chest. Resting her head on her knees, she let the tears flow. They came abundantly and she didn’t hold them back. It was like she could feel her heart ripping in two.
She tried to catch her breath and pull herself together. A breeze brushed her cheek. She inhaled sharply. A familiar scent was carried on that wind. Then she heard him. She kept her head down, not bothering to look at him while he spoke.
“What’s wrong, darling?” Tucian whispered. His lips brushed against her ear, sending an awful shiver through her.
“None of your business. Go away.” Her stomached knotted. She didn’t want to deal with this today. She didn’t want to fight. She just wanted to be left alone.
“Come now, Amara. I could hear your sobbing from the other side of this forest.”
She peeked out to see him walking in slow circles around her. He moved behind her and stayed there.
“I’m not in the mood for these games. Go. Away,” she demanded.
“There was a time when you loved these games; loved me.” He breathed in the smell of her hair and started to walk around her, his finger running down her arm.
She couldn’t stand it. She stood up to face him and looked into his eyes. Her eyes shifted from turquoise to black. Tucian’s love was about possession, jealousy, and power. For the moment her fear was overwhelmed by her anger. Now she was ready for a fight.
“That time is long gone, Tucian. Now get out of here!” She shouted. But he didn’t leave. Instead he took her hands in his, which only fueled her frustration.
“Come, Amara. We both know that’s not completely true.”
“It’s thoroughly, absolutely true.” She pulled her hands out of his.
They stared each other down. She would end this. She went to use her powers. But as she raised her free hand, Tucian pulled both her hands together and wrapped a wire tightly around her wrists. Nothing happened. Tucian laughed.
“Something wrong?” He pulled the wire and yanked her close. The wire dug into her wrists. “Maybe you’ve lost your touch,” he said intimidatingly close to her face.
Amara looked down at her hands, terrified. She looked back up at him with a face full of fear. “What have you done?!” It was the first time in her 26 years she didn’t have her powers. But not having her powers didn’t mean she was powerless.
She choked back her fear, dropped down, and swung herself between his legs. The wire cut into her more until he lost his grip. Blood began to ooze around the wires, but she knew she had to keep going. She stood and kicked him in the back, pushing him forward.
“There’s no point,” he said as he turned to face her. “Without your powers you—“
Amara jumped and swung both fists into the side of his head. “Without my powers, I can still fight!” She shouted angrily.
She turned and kicked him in the torso. As her foot landed the blow, white powder exploded from his suit jacket. He stumbled back a few steps out of the white cloud.
Amara coughed as the floury substance entered her mouth and nose. Her lungs seized up and stole her breath. Everything got blurry. Dizziness filled her world as the powder dispersed and disappeared. Her legs gave out. Tucian caught and lifted her. She couldn’t make out his face any more. She fought to stay awake but soon slipped into unconsciousness.
Amara stayed outside the crowd, near the walls. She watched everyone enjoying themselves. They were all so happy, so carefree. She knew better though. Monsters lurked inside people and she couldn’t be so trusting. Drinking, dancing, flirting with strangers. She would never be so blissfully ignorant.
As she was caught up in her thoughts, her stomach churned suddenly. Something was wrong with Avery. Then a voice straight from her nightmares whispered into her ear, “Dance with me.” She turned and plowed Tucian into the wall. She held her arm across his neck. He was wearing a red leather mask with etchings on it. His grey eyes were unafraid.
“How did you find me?” Amara asked. She put on a hard face and didn’t let the terror in her heart show. Tonight would not be the escape she had wished for. She could only hope Tucian hadn’t been watching her all night.
“Well, it wasn’t easy. I think I’ve earned a dance.” He smiled suavely.
“What you’ve earned is a slow and painful death.” Amara pushed harder on his throat.
Tucian grabbed her arm, spun her around, and put his arm around her throat. He watched her chest rise and fall as her breathing sped up. His grip tightened. He hadn’t been this close to Amara in far too long. He needed to focus. “Dance with me,” he said forcefully, “or everyone in here will be dead by morning.”
Amara broke free of his grip and shoved him. Her black eyes glared at him but she didn’t say anything else as Tucian took her hand and led her to dance. She knew well enough that he had no problem with murder if it served his needs. But it was still difficult to make her feet follow him. Her body fought her, hesitating, itching to run. Her hand gripped his tightly, keeping herself from leaving.
A new song started and Tucian twirled Amara around the floor as her eyes faded back to their usual green. He looked like the picture of sophistication. Every girl in the room watched him, wishing to be Amara. He wore a black shirt, black tie, and black and red brocade vest and suit coat. His stark white hair was in soft, short waves going up and over to one side. If Amara didn’t know what he was capable of, she would be swooning too. Instead, she was resisting her fight or flight instincts. She kept as much distance between them as possible. It made them look like a couple of high school kids who didn’t want to touch.
“Why here? You could try to kill me anywhere. Why bother with these people?” Amara asked. Her plum gown swept the floor in elegant circles.
“Because, Amara.” Tucian pulled her into him, holding her tight, “I didn’t want to miss this dance. I would have missed you in this dress.” He spun her in a circle away from him, looking her over, and yanked her back. She slammed into his solid chest with a soft groan. “You look positively enchanting. Silver suits you.” He stroked her cheek, referring to her mask and his silver powers.
Amara pulled her face away from his hand. His touch had sent chills of fright through her. Her insides twisted and wrenched. “Enough, Tucian. What are you doing here? Is Jett with you?”
“What I’m doing here, is dancing. Yes, Jett is here. If he’s been successful he’s with your sister right now.”
Amara turned to run. Jett would kill Avery. She had to find her. Tucian grabbed her hand and pulled her back.
“Not quite yet, sweetest.” He pressed his hand down her back, pulling her hips against him.
Amara cringed at his body pressed so tightly against her own. “I’ll make this simple for you. Let me go or I’ll kill you,” she threatened.
“In front of all these people? I don’t think so. Besides, if you kill me, they all die. But don’t worry. Jett won’t kill Avery. He’s keeping her busy to give us a few minutes alone.” He bit her ear lobe, making Amara’s face scrunch in disgust. He lowered his voice, and whispered in her ear, “So if you want everyone here to live, you’ll stay and finish dancing with me.”
“What did you do?” Amara asked. She pushed him back a little and reluctantly resumed allowing him to guide her. But the darkness of her again black eyes conveyed the anger boiling within her.
“Jett and I may have poured a little something into the champagne. A potion. On its own, harmless. When combined with its other half, deadly. I know you don’t drink but everyone else here does. If things don’t go our way tonight, in any way, we have a friend ready to pour the other half of the potion into the drinks. As soon as they take a sip they’ll all drop dead.”
“Only you would do something so horrible. And for what? To torment me?” Her heart raced. The blackness drained from her eyes and her body started shaking.
“Why, Amara. Is that fear I detect?” Tucian dipped her low and kissed her neck.
Amara turned away and squeezed her eyes shut. His lips against her skin was unbearable. But lives were at risk. She wouldn’t chance running again knowing that.
Tucian glanced across the dance floor. Jett nodded to him. He pulled Amara up and spun her for a minute longer. “I would love to explain why but I can’t. Not right now. I had hoped to have longer. But it seems our time has run out.” He released her from his grip. “Goodbye, lovely.” He kissed her hand, bowed, and disappeared. Jett followed.
“I told you, I need your help.” Lenci stood and walked past Beck. She made her way to the kitchen and looked in the fridge until he joined her.
“Right,” he looked over the fridge door at her, “with demons.”
“Not demons plural. Demon singular. Just one.” Lenci took the milk from the fridge. She gathered a few other ingredients on the counter and got a pan out.
“Because that makes it sound less crazy.” Beck rolled his eyes and leaned against the counter she was using.
“Oh no,” Lenci reached around Beck to grab the milk, “nothing makes it sound less crazy. But it is more accurate, which I think is important.” She poured the milk in the pan and put it back in the fridge. She continued reaching around Beck to get to her ingredients, paying him no mind as she cooked. Chocolate chips, salt, and peanut butter followed into the pan.
“You’re crazy,” he commented.
“I know.” She stirred her ingredients as he watched her. “Mind putting those back in the cupboard?”
Beck shook his head in disbelief and turned to put her ingredients away. She reached into another cupboard for two white mugs and poured the contents of the pan into them. She topped the drinks with whipped cream and mini Reese’s candies.
“So where’s this demon?”
Lenci stood close to him, handed him a mug, looked him right in the eye, and said, “You’re looking at her.”
Beck stared at her silently as his hands warmed around the mug. He looked at her curled red hair, her brown eyes, her coral lips, her freckle dusted cheeks and nose. She didn’t look like a demon to him. But he could tell she was serious. She meant it. She backed away a little and clinked her cup to his before taking a big gulp of her drink.
“You?” He asked with noticeable skepticism.
“No, not me, silly.” She continued drinking as she walked away.