Since his turning in 1022 young spy, François, has hated all humans. And yet, in 1347, he falls in love with one, only to be betrayed by Giles who tells his liege lord that François is a vampire. The lord blackmails François into spying for him. Years later, François gains his revenge on Giles through his son.
In 1876 New Orleans, François joins forces with Vasile, a master of the city, to take on human vampire hunters. Then Vasile’s human lover dies and Vasile turns to François for comfort. Will love ensue, or is François destined to always be alone?
“François, no. Not again.” Arlette pouted as she watched his servant start to pack what François would take with him on his journey.
“I am sorry, Maman, but I have no choice,” François replied. “I have been ordered away by Le Duc himself.”
That was about as close as he could come to the truth, since he didn’t want to tell her an outright lie. The order had come not from the duke but from one of his emissaries. François’s skills were needed yet again, ones that not even his family knew of. But then there was much about him of which they were unaware and never would be.
One mission and his life had changed. If it had not been for the duke, François would be… He closed his mind to that thought.
“Where are you off to then, and when shall you return home?” Arlette inquired.
“To Paris, and then…” François gave a slight but expressive shrug that said he was not at liberty to tell her more. Just to get to Paris from Troyes would take him four days if he ran into no problems. After that… “I cannot predict when I shall return, Maman. I am sorry.”
“I shall pray for you, my son.” She stood, kissed his cheek, and then left the room.
Immediately after she was gone, François dismissed his servant. It would not do for the man to see what else François put into his travel bags—peasant clothing far different from his everyday wear. Clothing that he took from a well concealed hiding place beneath his bed.
When everything was as he wanted it, he carried his bags out to the stable where the stable hand had his horse already saddled for him. With a nod to the lad, François hung his bags on the cantle, mounted, and the horse ambled through the late evening moonlight onto the narrow dirt lane that led to the road to Paris.
Two days after he had left Troyes, François was no longer the young noble who had bade his mother good-bye. In fact, had she seen him, she probably would not have recognized him. It was just how he needed it to be. His horse had been stabled at one of the monasteries that allowed travelers to spend the nights within their confines. He had left there soon after midnight, on foot, dressed as a peasant with one battered bag slung over his shoulder.
Three weeks later, he returned the same way he had left, in the dark of night, his mission accomplished. If he limped through the back gates of the monastery, it was hardly surprising as he had barely escaped with his life and carried the resulting wounds to remind him of the inhumanity of humans. Wounds that were almost healed, despite their severity. The physical wounds, that is. The mental ones would remain with him for longer than the humans who had inflicted them on him—and their children and their children’s children—would live.
It was his own stupidity that led to his capture. He had let down his guard once he had discovered the information he was sent for, which had been an easy task in and of itself. For two days thereafter, he had been tortured, in a vain attempt by his captors, to discover who had sent him. Ignorant of what he was, they did not understand that he could not die and therefore had to suffer through all that they inflicted on him. In the end, they had left him alone because they believed he was too weak, too close to death, to do more than hang in his chains. Thus, he had been able to free himself, and with inhuman fortitude, he had crawled, then crept, then staggered from the prison. He had found a vacant stall in a nearby stable, covered himself with straw, and slept the day away undiscovered.
As he was a mere fledgling, his sleep did not completely heal him. He was however able to make his way out of the town the following evening.
“My son,” one of the monks exclaimed as François appeared before him. “What has happened to you?”
With a wan smile pasted on his face, François replied, “I was waylaid by heathens who thought I was ripe for the robbing. Fortune smiled on me when a peasant found me half beaten to death. He nursed me back to health and lent me these clothes.” He looked down at the well-worn shirt and britches he wore that he had stolen soon after his escape from the prison.
“Come, you must be hungry.”
“Thank you, but no. I am however in desperate need of sleep if my room still awaits.”
“Indeed, it does.” The monk walked with François down the long, dark hallway. “Your possessions should be just as you left them.” He smiled slightly. “It was two days before we were aware that you had left them behind, but with what you donated when you first arrived, we were willing to leave them as they were.”
“My thanks to you,” François replied with a small bow.
Once he was safely in the tiny room with the door firmly closed behind him, François set to work by the light of the single thin taper the monk had given him. He took a tightly stoppered bottle of iron gall ink and a dip pen from his bag, as well as a small rolled sheet of velum. Carefully, in words coded to be intelligible only to the man who had sent him on this mission, he wrote down what he had learned. After he had finished, he returned his tools to his bag and changed out of his ragged clothes into his normal daywear while he waited for the ink to dry.
When it had, he picked up his bag, put the velum into it, and slipped silently from the room. He found his horse in the stable, saddled it, and walked it from there back to the road before mounting. Then he began his journey back to Troyes.
As François rode, he considered what he would do next. He had already decided that it would be a foolhardy move to return home except to gather up what he would need for the immediate future. Already, within the last few months, his parents had begun to comment on the fact that he was gone too much of an evening and thus slept away the day.
He would say his good-byes, explain, although it was not the truth, that the duke had requested he live at his manor house, and leave. After which he would take his message to the duke’s emissary and receive the payment he was due. Then one more stop and he would see the last of the city, which had been his home for almost twenty-three years.
His thoughts flew back to the day his life had changed forever…
Born and bred Cleveland, I earned a degree in technical theater, later switched to costuming, and headed to NYC. Finally seeing the futility of trying to become rich and famous in the Big Apple, I joined VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), ending up in Chicago for three years. Then it was on to Denver where I put down roots and worked as a costume designer until just recently.
I began writing a few years ago after joining an on-line fanfic group. Two friends and I then started a group for writers where they may post any story they wish no matter the genre or content. Since then, for the last three years, I’ve been writing for publication. Most, but not all, of my work is m/m, either mildly erotic or purely ‘romantic’, and more often than not it involves a mystery or action/adventure.