This is a repost of the Character Spotlight Author Roari Benjamin did for Richard Ankers on his marvelous character JEAN in his Vampire/Dystopian Trilogy – The Eternals. Posted here in its entirety for your reading pleasure.
In this Character Spotlight, I’m excited to introduce you to another wonderful, fellow author, Richard M. Ankers, and his new series, The Eternals. He’s taking over the stage to shine the Spotlight on Jean – the last Eternal Lord – and to give us a glimpse of a future where vampires have evolved, and outlasted humankind. However, they are bound to a dying world, so, it seems even eternity has an end. Unless someone does something. Soon. But, who among these Eternals, waltzing their way into oblivion, might take action?
Let me just put on a little Strauss to set the mood…. There, that’s better. Now, without futher ado, Richard, the spotlight is yours!
An Introduction to Jean – the last Eternal Lord – from Author Richard M. Ankers
Jean is the lead character and main protagonist in the first book of The Eternals trilogy. The Eternals are an ancient race evolved, at least in their opinion, from the vampires of old. They live at the end of time where humanity are extinct, their sun is soon to die, and them along with it. Most dispute or ignore this salient detail. They would waltz into a decadent death instead of fighting to prevent it.
Jean is an orphan and the last born Eternal. Since the suicides of his parents and their ridiculing by The Hierarchy, the planet’s elite, he has grown increasingly melancholy. Jean hates everything and everyone except for the new love of his life, Princess Linka. If only he’d not gone and killed her sister! Aided and abetted by his incompetent friend-cum-nemesis, Sir Walter Merryweather of Britannia, he deems it is time to do what nobody else will: something.
A Taster (From Chapter One of The Eternals)
Chantelle’s cold, dead hand slipped into my own like velvet ice. “The balcony, Monsieur?”
“Please, Jean. You know formality makes me feel old, Princess.”
“Are you not?” she giggled.
I gave her a narrow-eyed glare.
In sashaying majesty, she led me out onto the moonlit balcony, a slight breeze stirring the purple silks of her gowns and tousling those flowing, raven locks. Neither the orchestra, nor revellers, noticed our absence, all far too absorbed with their petty pleasures.
Scattered geranium bushes emitted a faint pomade into the night in wafts of delicious perfume. The fragrance circulated in the evening’s air currents mixing with Chantelle’s own exquisite scents. She was everything a man could have desired, perfection personified.
“Come here.” I pulled her close, uncaring of prying eyes. I cared for nothing else, so why should that have mattered.
“Come here Princess,” she corrected, pressing hidden curves against my body.
If I could have remembered what happiness felt like, then that moment would have come close, her demure eyelash batting only adding to the allure.
“Beautiful, is it not, Jean?”
“Not as beautiful as you,” I said and leaned out over the balustrade. The red waters of the Danube looped their turgid way around the palace perimeter forming a natural barrier to uninvited guests. That was the exact purpose of their design. Nature had never had a say in it.
“Shall we?” Chantelle purred, as the reinvigorated orchestra drew my attention back from the river. There was only one kind of music for such occasions: Strauss.
We waltzed in slow circles to the ironic notes of the Blue Danube. I doubted the composer would have generated the same response to his masterpiece if titled red. A searchlight moon shone down from amongst a twinkling eternity, as we twirled across the polished, ebony floor. Could there have been anything better? I very much doubted it. Just because one was dead did not preclude them from appreciating the finer things in life.
I’d been experiencing the best of life for the last five hundred or so years and unlike some, I’d enjoyed every second. What was there not to have liked? To have wined and dined with those of undeniable breeding, shared tailors with kings and queens, walked along gothic promenades without fear, that was the life, or death, I’d dreamed of. I’d never missed the sunlight and felt it terribly overrated. The sun had given such a false sense of wellbeing to the living. Only in the crystal clarity of a sparkling moon did the true reality of an object shine. The snake was not a slithering, ugly beast, but a sensual, seductive coil of a creature. The bat far outshone the bird for it required none of the adulation that the avian so craved. And the wolf, ah, the wolf, what could one say? To see the grey wolves of old backlit by a hunter’s moon was a thing of surreal majesty. In a world of sculpted pleasures; toned to compliment the night; crafted for exuberance, I had walked unhindered. Who was I trying to convince, I hated it all! How I envied the wolves their freedom the one thing I would never possess.
“Shall we remain out here under the stars, Monsieur?”
The beautiful French accent of my partner snapped me from my musings. “Tell me, Jean, what is your wish?”
“To be with you.”
“You can be with me anytime, but in this moment only once.”
“I can close my eyes and imagine this moment anytime I require.”
“That is not the same thing and you know it,” she berated. Another batting of those dark lashes caused a brief disturbance in her sparkling, amethyst eyes.
“No, probably not, but I shall still enjoy doing so.”
She tilted her head to one side as if it helped her think. “You know, Jean,” she whispered. “With your long, dark hair and those brooding, black eyes, you really are to die for.” Chantelle flicked her hair back and grinned, her elegant, porcelain neck beckoning.
It was a momentary thing, an uncontrollable urge, as I plunged dagger fangs into flesh, and sucked, and savoured, and drank.
How long I sated, I did not know, but it was too long. By the time I’d finished, the metallic tang of her blood saturated my tongue, and she was gone. I had taken her past the point of no return where Eternal lust and immortality merged. My lapse shattered the one sacrosanct law of Eternal life, the original sin, the forbidden link to a shameful past: I’d killed Princess Chantelle of The New Europa Alliance, sole daughter of King Rudolph and for the first time in an age, panicked!
As a rule, I was quite unflappable, after all, what was there to get in a flap about when you were already dead? But killing a princess certainly qualified. So, I kept on dancing, holding Chantelle close, and edged my way past the double doors to the balcony’s edge. Twisting our conjoined forms around, I surveyed the merriment within the ballroom: revellers swayed to the orchestration ignorant of all but themselves. A smirk escaped the confines of my lips. Once sure of our privacy, I leapt the rails with my burden. It was a drop of about thirty feet, nothing to such as I, and quickly made my way to the tree-lined riverbank. Clutching Chantelle tight, as a lover might, I again made certain of our solitude. Where my Eternal eyes could not see my senses, scent and hearing, took charge. They all confirmed that there was nobody present but me and my corpse. I waited for an opportune cloud to obscure the moon and then flung her departed form far into the claret waters. Chantelle’s limp form hit the surface with an undignified plop, and then slipped away in stages, her raven hair the last to depart as kelp in a wavering sea. I’d have liked to say I was sorry to see her go, but to be honest, I was at best indifferent.
Retracing my steps to beneath the balcony, I had a sudden epiphany: I could not go back the same way. People were bound to have seen us both step onto the balcony. No, another escape route was required.
Not wishing to be found outside alone, I spotted some sturdy looking climbing ivy and, in a reversal of parasitic behaviour, scaled it to the top of the palace. I felt no lethargy as I hauled myself up and over a particularly hideous gargoyle to the palace roof, Chantelle’s blood had quite reinvigorated me.
Having always enjoyed a spectacular view, I took a moment to savour my surroundings. It was incredible! Class told, and that most opulent of pleasure domes dripped with it. Positioned with a full view of both mountains and river, the Comte de Burgundy, a clever play on colour as he was certainly of no royal heritage, could keep his vampiric eye on all and sundry. Not that there was anyone to keep an eye on anymore, but I suspected him a tad insecure and it probably aided his sleep. I envied him his home though. If he’d built it for himself, I could neither remember, nor recall witnessing, but it showed him in a finer light than he warranted. I could not stand the little runt, otherwise.
I meandered across the inclined roof looking for somewhere to gain access to the main halls, when I realised, I’d been revealed.
“Good evening, Jean,” came the whining voice of Sir Walter Merryweather.
“Good evening,” I responded with a casual air.
“Taking a stroll?”
“No, I am in fact lost. I was looking for the latrine and somehow found myself in front of the wrong kind of pot.”
“Tee-hee, yes, quite.”
“Boredom, as always.”
Continued in The Eternals…….
SWM: “It’s me, I’m here to interview you.”
JEAN: “Oh, God, not you, Merryweather.”
JEAN: “What do you want?”
SWM: “The clue was in the opening.”
JEAN: “I don’t like talking to you at the best of times.”
SWM: “You don’t like talking to anyone. That’s why I’m the ideal host, we both want it over with.”
JEAN: “So what?”
SWM: “What’s your answer?”
JEAN: “You haven’t asked me a question yet.”
SWM: “Touché. Well, I suppose we might as well get straight down to the nitty gritty. Why did you bite old Princess Charlotte?”
JEAN: “I couldn’t help it.”
SWM: “One cannot help stumbling, forgetting to clean one’s teeth, even to eat, but murdering a lover by draining their blood is another thing altogether.”
JEAN: “I don’t know what else to say. At that moment, it was inevitable.”
SWM: “As inevitable as ditching her in the Danube?”
JEAN: “No, that was just practical.”
SWM: “I see.”
JEAN: “Do you?”
SWM: “Not really. So what’s for Jeany-boy, the Vagabond Prince, next.”
JEAN: “Jean, if you don’t mind. And, I don’t know why people keep calling me that.”
SWM: “Ah, so young. So very young.”
JEAN: “I’ll so very young you!”
SWM: “Always resorting to violence, an outlet for the dimwitted, and you, my friend, may be many things but never that.”
JEAN: “Thanks, I think?”
SWM: “You’re welcome. So, what next? What are you going to do now everyone wants you dead?”
JEAN: “I don’t know.”
SWM: “We’re not really getting very far.”
JEAN: “Ask me something else then.”
SWM: “All right, I will. You seem to have gone through hell lately what with murderlising one princess and falling in love with her sister. It is love, isn’t it, Jean?”
JEAN: “That’s my business.”
SWM: “Not now. Anyhoo, what would you, an Eternal Lord, do to keep her now that old Crown Prince Vladivar has whisked her away to that rust bucket of a castle of his?”
JEAN: “Oh, only one thing, Walter.”
SWM: “Ooh, you called me by my first name, you must mean business.”
JEAN: “Oh, indeed.”
JEAN: “I’m going to kill him and every other person who gets in my way.”
SWM: “I wish I hadn’t asked that now.”
(Merryweather’s laughter fades away as he exists stage left leaving Jean as lonely and alone as he was, is, and always has been.)
Now, I admit to sinking my teeth into a number of vampire novels over the years, though, none quite like this, I think. I don’t know about you, but, this “taster” leaves me thirsting for more!
To read on, get your copy of The Eternals by Richard M. Ankers at Amazon now!
Amazon US: amazon.com/Richard-M.-Ankers
Amazon UK: amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01GEM7690
For more of Richard’s writing, visit his WordPressBlog: richardankers.com.
Or, to follow him via social media:
Facebook Author Page: facebook.com/richardmankers
Interested in having YOUR character interviewed or spotlighted? Contact Roari here: http://roaribenjamin.blogspot.com/