Saturday, July 10, 2010

Absolute Write July Blog Chain - Saddies for the Baddies

July's AbsoluteWrite blog chain prompt was to: Cast your antagonist in a sympathetic light (suggested by CScottMorris). The posts I've read so far have been fantastic, and I highly recommend that you peruse the blogs of the writers listed at the end of this post. Shout out to Aheila for again administrating this thing to perfection!

For this exercise, I've chosen Nora, who playfully popped into a short story I wrote a few months ago and subsequently scored herself a larger role in the urban fantasy I'm about to embark upon. I hope you enjoy.

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The last to fall was a woman. The blonde, her eyes rolled back in ecstasy, had opened herself willingly to the pleasure Nora offered. Sweat had run over her skin in shimmering rivulets as she sucked in the air, thick with smoke and the overripe fruit scent of a working succubus. She had taken and taken, drinking pleasure in great, heaving gulps, and then responding with a heady flood of sensual energy. Rapture, almost.

Nora walked down the hall, the lights flickering overhead as she passed. Her legs were firm and taut and she could almost feel the rush of heat and strength through her veins from the feeding. A servant opened the door to her sitting room, the boy’s eyes widening as he looked at her. He turned away to shield his obvious reaction, and Nora laughed.

“Don’t you know, my dear, that I consider it a compliment?” she asked. “Now, go help the others. Get our guests back on their feet and out before someone thinks they’ve gone missing.”

The boy hastened away, and Nora walked slowly toward the full-length mirror affixed to the door, a smile lifting her plump, red lips. She ran her hands from her full breasts to the slight curvature of her waist, and over smooth, rounded hips. She should eat something, she thought absently, or call the boy back and allow him to pleasure her.

Nora reached up, watching her soft white hands working the small, pearl buttons of her gown. It had been a good night. Eight guests, a fine catch for a small town, each sticking in the honey of her magic, each emitting a spark for her to consume. The blond had generated a full flame.

Nora shrugged out of the gown, listening to shuffling footsteps passing her door, her guests being escorted from the house. She strode into the bathroom in high heels and nothing else, the cool air kissing sensitive skin. Maybe she could stay another few nights, partake of the blond again. Such delicious abandon.

The bathroom was lit with candles, the dancing light reflected in the big mirror over the sink. The boy had drawn a bath and the water still steamed. Maybe she wouldn’t need its comfort tonight. Something twitched in the reflection and Nora’s smile faded. Her gaze dropped, inevitably, to her stomach. A dull, familiar ache rose up from her center. Her reflection looked calm, almost bored. The ache turned into pain and, before her eyes, her skin began to wrinkle. Nora looked down at her hands, watching matte brown spots blossom beneath her skin, the nails growing brittle.

Eight. She’d eaten from eight humans in the prime of their lives, and the energy was fading already. She lifted her chin, refusing to look away as the skin beneath her eyes went bruise-dark, and thick, black streaks radiated toward her temples, climbed for her hairline. She used to drink from dozens at a time, feeders given to her as gifts. And now she was reduced to this, stealing from town to town with an entourage of stupid, besotted young people hoping she would teach them her gift, not understanding that her magic had to be fed. Her legs buckled, one ankle cracking sharply as the bones settled in the joint, and she grabbed onto the edge of the sink to hold herself upright. A knock sounded softly on the door.

“Madame,” the boy’s voice sounded thin and high. “As soon as you are ready, it is time to move on.” She closed her eyes.

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July Blog Chain Participants
hillaryjacques: YOU ARE HERE
M.R.J. Le Blanc:
Fokker Aeroplanbau:
Amb The Creative:
Alpha Echo:


  1. Wow, if you hadn't said she was an antagonist, I'd have thought her the heroine...definitely made me feel sympathy for her and hope she could find a way to better her situation.

  2. Collectonian,
    I just wrapped up her introductory scene in my WIP and have decided that she is one of the most despicable characters I've ever written. Perspective and self-justification are funny things.

  3. Well done. Methinks it is interesting how we tend to judge characters in context. Case in point--this person we perceive as sympathetic in no small part because she does nothing that feels particularly "evil" (i.e. cruelty, arrogance, self-righteousness, breaking her word) in this snippet. Coupled with the fact we don't see anyone else's POV, so to some extent we view her in a vacuum.

  4. I would agree, she doesn't come across as most despicable at all. Tragic perhaps, and maybe even sympathetic. Intriguing how perspectives can differ. :)

  5. "Nora looked down at her hands, watching matte brown spots blossom beneath her skin, the nails growing brittle."
    The age-old battle with aging. I see those little signs and I want to scream! Makes me feel for her. :)

  6. I too am struggling to see how she is an antagonist. A succubus, yes. But more or less, she's coming across as definitely a strong main character. Antagonist...not quite. I want to see more, a LOT, though.

  7. Ah, perhaps I ought to have posted a longer scene or shown the effects of her feedings on others. I do not like bad guys in black and white. In Nora's case, I don't even condemn her for having to feed, though it was not originally in her nature to do so. She made choices that require her to take from others to sustain herself.

  8. I get her. She made choices to keep herself alive but the constant reminder that she is not young and that she is out of touch with the times makes her sympathetic. Well done!

  9. I really enjoyed reading this and want to read more. I'm hooked on Nora.


  10. What a great reaction to Nora! Now, all I have to do is go sell a series, at which time you will find her prowling and scheming in book #2. Hmm... *ponders this*

  11. Wow, a really well-written succubus for ME to feast upon. I really like how you portrayed her, especially the part where you reveal her horrific underbelly. Definitely sympathetic in this piece.

  12. This was great. I really do feel for her. She knows it's a sad existence, and you can sense the regret she harbours. Very nice.

  13. I do like to make characters tasty enough to eat, claire.

  14. I thought this was great. Such rough matters to go through, just to feed.