The love interest arrives! You can't have
a gothic horror tale without a love interest.
This section is proceeding slowly because
I need to introduce several previously
unrelated characters to each other
in a way that makes sense.. but
I also need to introduce several plot elements
that will drive the story forward.
As a result, this section may take a few posts
in order to get everything right. In a first draft like this,
it doesn't have to be perfect...
but it helps if I remember to put it all in from the start!
The morning came. As it wore on
And the sun neared its peak, a coach
Entered the town square of Vaxen.
Drawn by two black horses, the coach,
Bearing the symbols of the church,
Rattled along the cobblestone
Street and stopped at Vaxen Abbey.
The coachman scrambled awkwardly
From his perch atop the carriage,
Hasting to open the coach door.
A large man stepped out first, shoving
The door and the coachman aside
With scarcely a glance. His robe marked
Him as one of stature within
The church; his expression marked him
As one of great self-importance.
The coachman, used to such treatment,
Regained his dignity quickly
And offered his hand to the young
Woman stepping down behind him.
She smiled in gratitude, nodding
Before she accepted his help.
Having no station in the church,
She wore the dress of a simple
Servant – although, it must be said,
Fine robes would not have accented
Her delicate features as well.
The coachman had often wondered
What sin condemned this young woman
To serve as the man’s assistant.
The man strode to the abbey door
And pounded on it heavily –
Once, then twice, and yet a third time.
When Benedict opened the door,
The robed man said in a flat voice,
“You must be Father Benedict.”
“That I am,” he said. He smiled at
The young woman but not the man…
Nor did he invite them inside.
He stood patiently and waited.
The robed man snarled, “What kind of church
Is this, that its pastor doesn’t
Show Christian kindness to strangers?”
Benedict said, “It is a church
In a town where an unseen beast –
Whether animal or human,
We know not – murders its people,
And its pastor questions strangers
Who arrive dressed in Christian garb
But lack basic Christian manners.
The unholy may wear a robe
As easily as the holy.”
The coachman stifled a snicker
And the robed man flashed him a sneer;
The coachman feigned a coughing fit.
To Benedict the robed man said,
“I am Cardinal Jarvik, sent
By His Holiness to this God-
Forsaken part of the world, to
Investigate this strange killer
Of which you speak. This young woman
Is my assistant, Miss Devin.
His Holiness insists that she
Accompany me on these trips,
Although she is little more than
An inconvenience to my work.”
“I understand,” Benedict said.
“With such a lovely young lady
By your side, others might mistake
You for a mannered gentleman.”
Miss Devin smiled discretely, and
Benedict smiled at her once more.