Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A to Z Blog Challenge - T

Welcome to Day 20 of the  A to Z Blog Challenge. Today:


is for


Tanwen is the main female character in my Dark Ages vampire novel, SAINT SANGUINUS

The daughter of the local chieftain, she was betrothed to warrior Peredur until he fell to a spear upon the battlefield.

For today's post, meet Tanwen in this excerpt:

Tanwen clapped both hands over her mouth. Her shaky breathing filled the hut as she realized Peredur truly lay at her father’s front door.
                “Tanwen,” he whispered. He regained his feet then reached a hand to her. “Come away.”
She looked back toward her sisters, at her brother curled by the fire, at her parents under the covers. So odd that none had awakened. Plucking a cloak from a peg on the wall, Tanwen wrapped it about herself, pushing aside the door flap to stride outside into the cold night.
                Her Peredur swept her up in his arms, running easily for a spell until he brought them far into the woods and out of the numbing wind. She clung to him, marveling at his solidness.
                How it hurt to be separated as he set her down on an overturned tree. He knelt before her on the thin powdering of snow. Tanwen clutched the woolen cloak tightly, her breath frosting white in the air between them.
                “I was told...” she tried. Reaching forward to touch his cheek, a part of her recoiled at the whisper of death she found there.
                Her beloved brought his hand up to cover hers. “Here I am,” he said at last.
                “But Cynfelyn,” she said. “He saw you fall. To a spear.”
                Peredur looked away.
                “How did you survive it?” she said, a tinge of fear underneath her words. She pulled her hand back, away from his face.
                “I didn’t,” he said simply, lifting his head to look her straight in the eye.
What could he mean? He was right here, solid and in front of her.
                “I did fall to a spear.” He lifted his tunic but there was no scar from the wound. His flesh was white as a corpse. She covered her mouth with her hand, but the shriek of pure panic escaped her.
                “I am no longer a man, Tanwen.”
                 Tears poured down her face. Why stop them?
                “I did not survive that battle. Cynfelyn was right to tell you what he did. I am no longer the Peredur who grew up here in this village.”
                “Why have you taken me here?” she asked, noticing the remoteness surrounding them as if for the first time.
                “I wanted to tell you I love you.”
                What he had never actually said to her in his life as an ordinary man, he said to her now as if that would help their plight. It just made her angry.
                “Why did you go off to fight, Peredur?” She no longer felt the need to hide her pain at being second-best after the adventure of war.
                He looked away from her. “I wanted to make a proper home. For you.”
                Tears dripped from her nose and chin. He held his arms out and she fell into them. It felt good to sob, Peredur caressing her hair, nuzzling her face.
                “I was visited upon the battlefield as I lay dying,” he said at last. “My curses brought him, Tanwen. I knew I’d never get a chance to do what we’re doing right now.” He could barely form the words. “So I cursed God.”
                She pushed back from his embrace. “What are you saying, Peredur?” An unbearable pit of dread formed in her chest.
                “I cursed Him as I lay dying,” he said. “I should have prayed and asked for forgiveness, but I didn’t.”
                “What do you mean?”
                “I am doomed.”
                “Doomed? What do you mean?” she asked, hearing the lunatic edge to her voice. “Tell me!” She let go of him, and the loss of him even for a moment took her breath away.
                He sat down heavily, seeming faint all of a sudden. “I live by drinking the living blood of people, Tanwen.” He bared his teeth, exposing two long fangs like wolf’s teeth.
                She couldn’t stop her gasp that seemed to pierce him. “I use them to get to the blood,” he said, a look of despair clouding his beautiful face. “I must feed soon. I must leave you or I will feed upon your family. And I won’t be able to stop myself.”

Copyright - Julia Phillips Smith - 2011


Cathrina Constantine said...

That was really fascinating, and I'd like to read more....