Taking a page from Susan Dennard‘s book and RISING TO HER CHALLENGE. Forthwith, I give you the two opening POVs for Maxwell (Mila’s chara) and Rosaline (my Chara) in the Nanowrimo draft of Cynosure.
ly Awful Summary: When an eerie otherworld descends to hunt the youth of Manhattan’s Gilded Age society, a young debutante and a nouveau riche criminal find themselves tangled in a struggle to retain their humanity – and each other. YA Gaslamp Fantasy/Historical Fantasy.
And so we go~
She watched him from the edge of the forest. Her dress was in tatters. Her knees were skinned, her hair knotted from root to tip, and bloodied dirt caked uncomfortably under her fingernails. She felt wild from the weeks she’d spent free from corsets and society. Vale had sunk itself into her secrets, captured her, taken her alive.
Rosaline took a deep breath. Now it was time to go home.
He waited by the pond, staring up at the cliff that towered over it. He’d appeared not two moments before, and she’d come to meet him when she’d felt the world shiver. Vale always shivered at new life, the trees rustling and the ground stretching when an old blood chose to visit.
Almost as soon as she sank her first footstep out of the forest, Maxwell Harbrough turned from the cliffs to stare into her. Rosaline grinned. Her feet sped until she was running and skipping over the grass, down the hills and into the valley, to him, catching his hands and spinning them both around in the cool Valian night.
A hunger rumbled in her chest. She gripped his hands hard, pulling him closer than she ought, matching his gaze. Stayed there.
“And?” she whispered.
He watched her, his eyes searching her. Then Maxwell nodded, dark curls falling over his forehead.
“It is done.”
Done. Done, done, done. She let go of his hands so her fingers could smooth over his cheeks, thumbs brushing just beneath his eyes. Beautiful boy. She craved to know the hows, the whats, the whens, but that would not do if she was to return to who she’d been. Instead she pushed herself onto her toes and kissed him once between his brows.
“Thank you.” She stepped away. “I owe you everything.”
She extended her hand, as if to let him kiss it. He took it strangely in his own, as though he was not used to holding ladies’ – as though he could still consider her a lady – hands.
“Would you do the honours?” She smiled a low, slow smile. Again, he searched her, eyes running over her, and her smile widened. Then he slipped the ring from her finger, and all at once there was no more Vale, no more valley, no more forest. Just the cold, hard floorboards of an earthly bedchamber beneath her feet.
Time to go home. Time to wash the blood from her hands. Time to slip back into Rosaline Dukes; the one who had no secrets.
Two Years Later…
He could taste blood on the air.
The streetlamp overhead cast a circle of light on the old cobblestone road, catching in his eyes as his face tilted skyward. Maxwell breathed in, closing his eyes; it was the one scent distinguishable above all others against the smell of rain. The pang of it tasted thick on the back of his tongue, sweet and metallic in the darkness of full night. He rolled it across his taste buds like fine wine, luxuriating in its richness before exhaling in a white curl of breath. A flick of the wrist, and he replaced the taste with the cigarette that had been balanced delicately between his fingers. The smoke hovered over the street in thin clouds. It obscured him from the world, and the world from him.
Lionel Richmond had begun the evening a classically handsome blonde of only enough status to be pompous and arrogant (which was less than Maxwell himself, if not by a great deal) but was at that moment feeling neither, curled into a neat ball at Maxwell’s feet. Mr. Richmond was bleeding moderately, for the most part from gashes and split skin, and was also now the proud owner a swollen black eye and a broken nose that would forever mar the harmony of his masculine face.