In a Kingdom by the Sea

In the darkness it was hard to tell where the night began and his body ended, but with the warm lantern light on pale skin it felt like a thousand years since he had known the sun. The midnight hour was there in his dark eyes without forgiveness and without any of the forgiveness that came with the unknown and yet as the waters around them carried the boat from port to port he could not help the way it felt like taking away a wild spirit from her master.

It was many and many a year ago,
   In a kingdom by the sea,

Somewhere South of France
Over 10 years ago

The heavy rains had started, pounding life into the streets and washing away each sin. Blood had stained the cobblestone streets of a dream for the last time, and this he was certain. Too long had this land been in turmoil, would it not be time for peace? As polished boots moved over the watery ways, Jean-Luc could not help but feel soaked not only from the rain but as well the night. Always did the darkness pool around him like a veil, protecting the him from a world that would not understand..he was different.

A mind far advanced could often be mistaken for witchcraft in light one would walk carefully over the beaten path, and find comfort in what kept him safe. Down once more the Under Dark welcomed him with its embrace. The cool damp air of the labyrinth always swelled with so much character when it rained. A river ran through it, over lines drawn by his steps, hiding away any trace that there was in fact a man living in such a place.

Stolen science, from a dreamer’s heart lifted away a stone door hidden to the naked eye. Wheels and cogs turned back the path and the warm welcome feel of a fire burning in the hearth would be the only thing to greet him. Welcome home, the flames spoke out as he shed away his overcoat, the water pooling below the hook that would be then covered by the silk brim of his hat.

No amount of fine wool could keep that storm out, and it would take only a matter of moments before the fabric of his shirt would be pulled away from skin as pale as the full moon. Porcelain flesh well toned like fine marble carried very little imperfections seeming like a vision—why would he want to hide it? Why did he not show it? Why did the sun never touch it? As the water dampened his skin, the fire would dry it revealing then his reason. Closer, the smoothness would fall away and the marks of scars branding his skin came to life. Burns..horrid burns that looked just as much painted as any of his work.

“He’s mad..Mad….”

There words tore back into his mind, any time he did not keep it busy. Idle hands would rattle thinking of how the ropes held him out upon the cross. Like the savior he was being judged for having a mind of the future.

“Witch! Warlock! Lunatic! Burn and Die!”

“He’s mad..”

Many times while Jean-Luc slept he relived that moment, over and over in his nightmares it always ended the same..just as it did then. An arrow pierced the hands that were bound, the only way to free the ropes, and for this he was certain. In horror the mob would turn upon the town hall a man with hair that glowed like a halo around his head, could easily be mistaken for a halo—if he did not grin like the devil himself.

“We’re all mad here..”

All of them ran, ran for the lives, and fled the town that would burn then through the night. However, when the fires died there was not a body there upon the cross or ashes of any remains. Long gone was he from that little village in France.

Somewhere along his life he had learned to forget that past, to move on but it was now here with his work did he find time to think back on the what-if’s and whenever. What would have happened should he have not survived? Would they all be dead? His work countless times had proven his skill, from everyday trinkets to works of great art, but it was now he worked upon a cure. Skilled hands that took up the brush more then the sword, who pressed red paints not blood worked through formulas for what? A question that should be…

For who?
His mind drew a blank for a name, or where he had ever seen her. However, she was real he had known her, but no matter how many times he tried to paint her never could he see her face—no matter how many times her eyes haunted his dreams. She had a sadness in her eyes, that only fate could touch, and he knew well that fate played it's hand here.


Venice started to slip away, the glittering lights like distant stars as now they all seemed as silly a memory as the party. Here, it was just the two of them as even the man that moved their boat seemed at careless a thought as before. He was taking her away from the world that she knew, and to an island of the dead. Would she be so brave?

"Your parties are always such wonders. I am surprised that the Doge has not insisted that you entertain the Russian Prince yet?" All knew of the arrival of Nicholas, and it amused the older man to no end. Ah to be that young again and have nothing to fear.
word count: 975

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