(Sorry, best size I could find of the pic that worked best for him.)
** We can learn history and background via the IC.
I'm thinking something such as the following:
Part I - Her death and transformation (Background and set up)
Part II - Building a life together and trying to figure one another out (Character building)
Part III - The drama... we'll create a vamp council that has issue with him/her or wants something. (Plot pusher)
Let's put the initial opening in 1869 in London. Good?
- - - The Characters - - -
Eleanor (Elle) Whittington - 19 (Appears)
(Sorry, best size I could find of the pic that worked best for him.)
Her cough was rather insignificant, but crimson staining the white cloth she held to her colorless lips spoke volumes of the unseen. She cringed at the sight of it, but wadded up the napkin and continued walking into the foggy winter night, her fingers wrapping around the collar of her wool jacket, pulling it in as close as possible to gleam some semblance of warmth to her shivering petite frame. Cholera had swept the nation, its icy cold reprieve not a respecter of person nor wealth, age nor status. She shook her head and reached quickly into her pocket as the small cough echoed around her, the taste of metal stinging her tongue.
She contracted the disease a few weeks earlier when her older brother, Jamison took her with him on a mission of sorts. He was a man of the cloth, as was her father and as such, their family often times were to be found with the poor, the hungry, the least and the sick. They’d taken vaccines put out by the Roman Catholic Church, but hers had obviously been less than effective. Her family knew not of her condition and she did her best to hide it from them, staying away until late in the evening and rising early in the morning.
Her situation was quite without resolution and yet she couldn’t help but carry on each day as if nothing were wrong. There was very little time left now that she was coughing the color of death with every other painful breath, but she had a few things left to do. She shivered again as the bellman held the door for her, the quaint bed and breakfast one that her father used to bring them too when she was a little girl, the courtyard filled with small birds each morning that they’d all take turns terrorizing. A smile touched her lips, yet didn’t reach her sea-green gaze.
“Evening, Miss.” The bellman moved to open the door further, a smile on his portly face, the warmth of the inn rushing out to greet her.
She smiled back and licked at her lip, worried of the evidence that would have her turned away for good from anyone trying to remain present in the folds of humanity. She shouldn’t have been there anyways. This disease was one that traveled via the molecules of air that slipped from her lips and into someone else’s waiting unawareness. She turned her face from him and tucked it further into the protection of her coat, her shivers giving him a sense that she was just chilled to the bone. Elle walked to the small room, last door on the left at the end of the hall and slipped her small silver key from her pocket, opening the door and locking it behind herself.
She shrugged off her coat, her long chestnut locks swinging around her as she moved, dancing as if trying to gain her attention. She brushed her cold, bony fingers through the silky locks and pulled them from her face, stopping to stare into the mirror, a frown touching her once beautiful face. She’d yet to reach twenty and looked forty because of the disease eating her very essence deep in the pit of her chest. Her once rosy cheeks were sunken in, dark circles raced around her eyes, dimming the dulled picture of a life once lived. She licked her lips again and reached for the cloth, bending over a little as the next cough racked her small frame, a whimper rushing from her bloody mouth. Her white satin gown hung around her shoulders and concaved in places it shouldn’t, on parts of her that used to be full and curvaceous, but that time had passed.
“No,” she whispered, knowing that she needed to leave them letters, to tell them how much she loved them and what they meant to her. She needed to leave him a letter telling him the truth that he deserved to know, the answers he’d always waited patiently for. She wiped her mouth and steeled her resolved. She would not slip into death’s strong embrace until she’d finished accomplishing all that was left to accomplish.
She opened a large window near the kitchen table letting the coolness of night flood the room, her eyes moving across the shadows and wishing for only a moment that she were one of them. If she could be anyone but herself… Something moved in the distance, but she brushed it off, turned and walked to her small desk. Tonight would be the last night of her existence and she didn’t want to leave without a word uttered endlessly in the human experience – goodbye.
A pale man stepped out into the wintry night from his home at No. 9 Thornton Square. He fussed with the cuffs of his overfrock, double-breasted with a velvet collar and pointed lapels, set his top hat aright, then went forth with poise, silent but for the tapping of his cane on the flagstone. A coach sat at the end of the footpath, its door already opened for him by a grizzled man wearing threadbare clothes and a flat cap who blew into his half-gloved hands for warmth. When he saw his customer approaching, he quickly stood at attention.
"Evenin', sir," he greeted with a puff of air and a curt nod. He forced a brown smile onto his flushed face, but there was the unmistakable glint of fear in his eyes. The pale man said nothing in reply, his own face stony as he moved past the man and stepped onto the footplate that hung below the door. Concurrent to this, one of the horses up front suddenly neighed and reared a bit, shaking the carriage. The pale man turned his gaze upon the ragged jarvey and his pale eyes bore into him like daggers.
"B-Beggin' yer pardon, sir," the coachman stuttered and chuckled uneasily. "That's me new gal, Philomena. But don'tcha worry none, sir, Heloise'll get 'er in line."
The pale man's eyes remained fixed a moment — an eternity — longer before looking away as he entered the carriage. The coachman hastily shut the door behind him and climbed up onto the frontside box.
"I have business in the City tonight, Mr. Yardley," came an icy, clipped voice from inside the cab.
"Aye, sir, very good, sir," the driver replied, taking the reins. "As fer you," he leaned down and whispered to his troublesome horse, "ye'd best comport yerself properlike or it's a float down th' Thames fer ol' Bill, innit, luv?" The other mare, Heloise, whickered in agreement. And with a sharp crack of the whip, the coach wheeled its way down the slushy cobblestone streets of London.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
With a stern look like that of some ancient Roman bust, Urban Lindqvist watched the mortal world pass him by from behind the carriage's glass windows. The whole spectrum of human existence lay just outside; vagrants huddled around a burning rubbish bin in front of an abandoned townhouse, urchins giggling carefree as they chased one another down the streets they called home, a lonely whore under a gas lamp waiting to entreat some john, a haggard fishwife rudely hawking her wares at uninterested passers-by, factory workers knocking back drinks after a long day of dangerous and unappreciated work, a young professional off to some career-making soiree, a priest standing vigil outside his church to usher in beggars and confessors alike, a widow mourning over her husband's freshly dug grave, newlyweds holding hands while out for an evening's gad. He saw it all and yet was moved not a whit by any of it. Not anymore. Life's dramas and concerns had a way of losing substance when one was no longer part of the realm of the living.
He hardly thought about those days anymore, when he had been young and stupid and optimistic and alive. That man was long dead and what dwelled in his place and walked about in his skin was something else entirely; a cold, calculating and callous creature with little else to move it anymore beyond the desire to feed. Gone were faith and friends and lost causes and love. There was only the endless night and the countless warm bodies it harbored. Yet even that, the sweet thrill and comfort of blood, was slowly losing its potency and purpose. But for the fact that it kept him alive, such as he was, feeding had become mechanical, just another action to pantomime, another mockery of mortal existence. Sometimes Urban wondered why he remained a part of it. Could Hell truly be so much worse than this inconstant world he recognized less and less?
But no, he didn't believe in such things any longer. Perhaps that was why he continued on; if there was no Hell for him to bear punishment in, then...
Suddenly, his thoughts were interrupted. On the chill February wind, he caught the scent of something. Blood. The smell of it tickled at his nostrils and, in a rush, the pangs of hunger, the yearning of an addict, came back to him like old love renewed. As with hunting dogs on the chase, he could follow that single distinct whiff of the life-giving fluid to the beating heart that pumped it without fail. Urban violently rapped his cane against the partition separating himself and his driver. In a moment, the coach came to an abrupt halt.
"Somethin' th' matter, sir?' he heard the jarvey ask him nervously.
Pale Mr. Lindqvist opened the door of the carriage and stepped out, surveying his surroundings. They were somewhere on Borough High Street en route to New London Bridge, which he could see in the distance. Craning his neck, he determined that the source of the airborne aroma was one of the coaching inns to the east.
Mr. Yardley jumped down. "What is it, sir? We han't crossed the bridge yet, see?" He pointed north.
Urban raised the top of his cane to just under the coachman's nose. "I'm getting off here, Mr. Yardley. Mind you keep an eye out for the constabulary and any other inquisitive folk in the meanwhile. I do not want a repeat of our last excursion. I do not have to tell you what the consequences of that would be."
Mr. Yardley swallowed hard. "Y-yes, sir - I mean, no, sir! T'won't 'appen again, sir."
"Good," the pale man said and, for the first time that night, he smiled. It was not comforting — it was sharp. "There are countless coachmen in London, after all," he added before his smile suddenly fell away. "And you evoke as much affection from me as do fleas from a dog. Now begone until I return to you."
Mr. Yardley did not need to be told twice. "Awright, sir. I-I'll just drive 'round till yer ready to bugger off back home then, eh?" Glancing over each shoulder, he was back atop his box and snapping his horses' reins within seconds.
As the carriage disappeared into the night, Urban closed his pale eyes and lustily breathed in the cold air. Like most of his actions, this, too, seemed measured, a prelude to what might be long hours spent in absolute meditation like a slanty-eyed mystic out of the Orient. When he opened his eyes again, each iris had been consumed by the pitch-black maws that were the pupils, open far wider than they had right to be. His appetite was now burgeoning on voracious.
Following the scent to where it seemed the strongest, he came upon The Catherine Wheel, a small inn with a sort of pauper's charm. He was no stranger to such establishments and often took rooms throughout the city; it was preferable to leading a trail back home for Scotland Yard to pick up. Though a well-dressed man of wealth would be a rarity in a place such as this, he would attract little attention to himself and could easily fabricate a story of inconvenience on the road that necessitated a night's stay. At most, the employees would go off vaguely about "that pasty dapper bloke," but otherwise fail to provide the exacting descriptions today's rigorous criminal investigators would demand. With the additional precaution of some banal alias like "Mr. Lyme" or "Mr. Wood," he would become a ghost, untraceable.
Urban approached a bellman standing idle at the front entrance. The man seemed put off at first, no doubt by the demoniacal eyes, but a haze seemed to fall on him as his face went slack and his own eyes glassed over.
"Any injured in tonight, my friend?" Urban asked congenially. "I caught the scent of blood and it's led me here."
"Injured?" the bellman inquired lazily. "No, sir. No grievous wounds o' no sort."
"Perhaps something more... subtle. I smelled sickness, also. Death."
The bellman shook his head, jowls undulating. "Not much traffic at all tonight, sir. Was a young thing came in not too long ago, but she looked a mite chilled is all, not dying."
The pale man snapped his jaws in a flash of anger, revealing fangs. "I tell you death is in this place. Think, man! What else do you remember?"
Even in his stupor, the bellman trembled in terror. "W-Well, uh... she did have a handkerchief. And she tucked 'er face into her coat like she was tryin' ta hide it almost."
Urban nodded. "Coughing up blood, I'd wager. Which right now almost certainly means cholera. She can't have very long left."
"Would you like me to do anything, sir?"
"Yes." Urban reached out to the man, laying a colorless hand on his round shoulder. "Forget this conversation ever took place. You never saw me, you've been mulling over — Are you married, my good man?"
The bellman beamed suddenly, like a child. "Yes, sir! Near sixteen years now. Best years o' me life."
"Fine. You were mulling over what lovely gift you should surprise your wife with. Nothing else."
"Yes, sir. I think I'll buy her that nice bottle o' perfume she saw in the window at Harrods, I will."
But Urban heard nothing, already circling his way around the inn, pursuing a perfume of his own that led him to the Wheel's lefthand side. It continued to rise up into the air toward a window several storeys up. It was open.
Urban glanced around casually, taking heed of any possible bystanders. Discovering none, he eased himself off the soles of his feet. Then he was suddenly free of any bonds to the earth, appearing like a man taking one of those new-fangled lifts as he ascended higher and higher. He stopped waist-high to the balcony and stared into the room beyond.
Inside, he glimpsed the waifish figure of a young woman. Right away he could see that the Reaper was almost upon her; it would be like a kindness to take her. Urban lifted his eyes up toward the heavens and wondered if Providence did not exist after all. He drew closer, gliding to the side and into the shadows briefly when he thought he had been discovered, then finding that was not the case, observed the dying girl as she sat at her desk and wrote.
Her farewells, perhaps? he wondered. Oh, very well. I suppose I am not yet such a monster as to sate myself on her before she can complete them. But you had best hurry, child, I am hungrier than I had thought to be tonight.
Last edited by dreamshell; 02-28-2013 at 10:50 AM.
Elle moved back slightly, letting the heavy wool curtain sweep in front of her, dust blowing up and causing her to sneeze, the pain of the action convulsing her chest to release more blood. She hit her knees and doubled over, her child-like hands shaking violently as the cupped her small mouth, blood splattering into her hands and dripping from between her fingers as she coughed and sobbed. Fear gripped her and yet she knew the God that sat above her awaiting her return to the heavens. Her afterlife was locked into the books of life and yet she felt such a loss at the moments to come where the world would no longer know her touch - her compassion - her beauty.
She never married and never birthed children and those were her greatest regrets, but living a life that bled philanthropy and assistance to the poverty stricken meant that your own vitality was given as a gift to the less than deserving. Her coughing stopped as tears washed a small portion of the sticky crimson fluid from her fingers.
"Why, God?" she whispered as her chest burned, heat pressing from deep inside her veins to coat her skin in sweat as the fever started. "Why?"
She sat up and wiped her hands on her pretty dress, her motions pulling it from her shoulders, but she paid it no heed, her mind swimming as she reached up to wipe the stickiness from her lips, stumbling toward the desk, her dress left in a red and white heap behind her, the remnants of a life once lived. Her breathing was labored and memories of her childhood, of her brother and father - her mother before she died pressed against the back of her eyes and showed like a kaleidoscope of joy and sorrow.
She reached for paper and a small quill, her hand shaking as she continued to cry softly, pain eating at her from every possible angle, heartbreak adding to the darkness that beckoned her to just rest in its false comfort.
"One moment, lover..." she whispered, the room spinning as she pressed the sharpness to the white sheet of paper, the ink bleeding out quickly as she scribed her last words. The time needed to write them each a remembrance was over and she only had strength for a few sentences...
Father - Brother -
I am sorry for my departure, this life has been everything I dreamed it would. I shall miss you more than words could ever declare. Do not claim blame for what has become of me. My life was to be what it was and I was to help where I could. The article that we discovered a few years back is in the crimson cedar chest - it proves their existence. Guard it with your life as I did.
I love you -
She coughed again, folding the paper and sealing it with horrid shakes. Elle breathed in deeply, a cough tickling her as she stood and walked to the closet. She gathered a soft white silk robe left for guests and slipped it on her bony shoulders. She stumbled to the balcony and moved out into the cold air of the night knowing this moment was her last. So many regrets washed over her and tears followed their badgering.
Never to know love.
Never to hold a man close and pour passion into him.
Never to mother a child.
Never to drink in the joy of growing old.
She smiled at the sadness and climbed up on the balcony, her window more than five stories up. She turned carefully to face the warmth of the window as someone began to bang at her door. She never had the opportunity to see who walked in as she released the ledge and let the wind take her from the heights of the saints to the ground of the sinner.
She never felt a thing as she slipped into death's grip, a release that lasted forever.
Still as marble and silent as death, Urban observed the girl's hysterics from where he hovered under cover of night. Once, he might have been moved by her tears and convulsions and pleas to God, but his compassion had left him ages ago and her blood was everywhere. She was making rather a mess of herself in her throes of pain and self-pity, but Urban knew from experience that dignity in death was only a myth. He tensed his body in predatory anticipation, knowing he would have to act quickly if he was to feed on her before she died and was of no value to him.
She stumbled about half-dead and half-naked and Urban admired her corset, garter belts and stockings and the lissome, lily-white flesh beneath them. Had he been a younger member of his undead kin, or less in control of his baser self, he might have taken her biblically before gorging himself on her precious life's blood. But instead he contented himself to watch as she slipped into a silk robe and...
Moving quietly and fluidly, Urban lowered himself out of sight and pressed his body against the cool stone surface of the Wheel as the girl approached the balcony. As she stepped out into the night, she shivered a little and clutched at her robe. She seemed somewhere else entirely, gazing out into the snow-powdered world with half-lidded eyes set in a thousand-yard stare. Then a small smile appeared on her face and her small hands found purchase on the balustrade as she raised herself up onto it.
She's going to jump, Urban realized.
The girl turned around to face the room. Inside, Urban heard the harsh pounding of fists against the room door. Someone knew she was here. Someone was trying to get in.
She fell back.
Urban flew toward the ground like lightning, catching her meager weight in his arms mere yards from contact. Staring down at her, he saw that she had passed out, likely from the psychological strain of jumping to her intended doom. She was already so close to the end, why had she sought to finish the deed herself? Memories and emotions nigh a century dormant stirred in him and he fought to suppress them.
Above, he heard someone storm into the room. There was no time to dawdle. Holding the unconscious girl close to his lifeless chest, Urban descended slowly back onto solid ground and made for somewhere secluded to feed.
Darkness engulfed her senses, blackness reaching up to swallow her whole as the cold icy wind of winter sucked the air from her lungs and removed consciousness from her mind. Her body landed not in the snow as intended, but in the strong arms of a creature not as foreign to her as he should've been. His movements were quick and meditated - a predator at its finest when something came-a-calling to take its prey from its vivacious grip. Her dress slipped from her shoulder as the letter to her family slipped from her cold fingers and landing in the snow, face down.
The emblem on the back of the white envelope was a symbol created when the world spun itself into motion, the mark of the living death. Her family protected secrets that were best left just that and she was chosen as marksman for the coven living just a few countries over, her eyes and ears still present there in the shadows – watching and waiting to make a move. They needed to know who the master vampire was in order to complete their assignment and take the others out in one fatal move, but they’d yet to determine who he might be.
Blood dripped from her chalky white mouth, her lips having lost all color, eyes closed in finality as her breathing labored softly, slowing ever so slightly. Her locket swung between her breasts, the mark of a hunter tattooed on her left shoulder in deep crimson hues. She’d worked with the church to put away the beasts for so long and to think that God might allow something as simple as Cholera to take her from the world seemed almost petty in her humble opinion, but it was what it was and perhaps it was mercy at its finest.
Her dark hair lifted a bit as the wind blew, the sweat from her fever causing it to move only with consorted effort as her eyes opened a little, her gaze settling on the man above her as colors swam around her and a smile touched her mouth. She knew the man was no man at all, but a monster of sorts and she coughed up blood, the bubbles gurgling from her lungs as her eyes dimmed with death.
“Vampire…” she whispered and turned away from him, a trail of blood racing behind him as he moved. She hoped it would be enough to help her loved ones find her or at least give the cops that busted into her small room a bit of a lead. Her body wouldn’t be where it ought to be and yet to disappear with nothing more than the whispers of the grave – unacceptable. Her brother would come for her and when he did she prayed that he’d find this vamp eating at her corpse and kill him – just for her.