He saw her at dusk, standing at the Blood Fountain.Â He had only just arisen for the night, and she must have known that, must have been waiting.Â She was brave, or reckless, perhaps thoughtless, certainly foolish–but, however mildly curious he might be, in the end he knew it was of no importance.Â She was there; that was all that mattered.Â She could not possibly have made herself more an offering, no matter if she had tried for an eternity.Â She was beautiful, which was pleasing if unnecessary, and she was daringly attired, which was unsurprising.Â Her bared neck and shoulders amused him, her prayerful stance struck him as forceful if unoriginal, but her rosary necklace pushed him almost to the brink of laughter.Â It was not that the Christian cross had no power–no, not at all.Â But it was after all only a symbol, and meant little in the absence of belief, however limited.Â And he did not sense from her anything like belief.Â From her he sensed only anticipation, expectation…resignation?Â Was it?Â With most it would have been, but not with her.Â Interesting.
He knew she was his when she deigned to noticeÂ his presence.
He followed her into the library–it seemed she wished for him to pursue her.Â How sweet!Â He was of course only too glad to oblige.Â He shed his coat and allowed his wings to unfurl.Â Not bat wings, certainly not, although it seemed that was almost always expected.Â Well, people would talk, and legends were peculiar things.Â No, these were something far more delicate and graceful.Â He flattered himself by imaginingÂ they both increased his allure and made him even more imposing, and in this he was quite often correct.Â Although it was not a requirement by any means, heÂ awaited her invitation.Â The so-slight tip of her head, exposing her bare neck, was all he needed.Â Â It seemed that, in spite of her coy facade, she was open to his advances, and to receiving his mark.
Sometimes at this point they ran.Â He had known she would not.Â It was pointless,Â a waste of time better spent in other pursuits, and in any case her own motives and desires, whatever they were, placed her firmly in his thrall.Â Although some preferred the challenge of the chase, he found it all the sweeter when they gave themselves willingly, as this one had.
Truth be told andÂ appearances aside, there was little of romance in the Final Kiss.Â In his time, he had brought it to many.Â He did not delude himself that he knew or even guessed at their hopes, which after all were of little importance.Â But he could not imagine other than that their expectations were, at one and the same time, both wildly wrong and exceeded beyond all dreaming.Â It could hardly be otherwise.Â The romance of fairy tale and myth brought them to him; the inescapable reality of the change wrought by the Dark Gift bound them to him forever.
Afterward, there was usually no lingering, no idle conversation, no fond good-byes.Â This one, though–she was different.Â She seemed to have true interest in him as a man, not as a means to her own ends alone.Â Could that possibly be?Â Against his better judgment, he allowed her to extract from him a promise to meet her again, at the next dusk.Â In life he had been a man of his word, and even in un-life he knew that on no account would he fail to honor his promise to her.Â He found himself wondering at this unexpected turn of events.Â It was to his own cold and careful control that he credited his richly comfortable and safe existence, in spite of years upon years of pursuit by torch-bearing villagers.Â How, whyÂ had he allowed her such control?Â What was the nature of her hold on him?Â How had he fallen, and so quickly,Â under her sway?
He could not wait to find out.
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“Verne” is billed by designer Darwin Mizser as a “Gothic / Neo Victorian” ensemble.Â The blend of styles is subtle and entirely effective.Â The set includes a full-length coatÂ with flexi tails and prim collar, loose-collared dressÂ shirtÂ , vestÂ and striped pants.Â Accessories include glossy padded-leather glovesÂ with prim extensions (you can almost hear the leather creak),Â decorative prim pocketwatch and Death’s-head belt.Â The coat can be worn openÂ or closed, and the fabric is richly textured, both front and back.Â You can wear the collar withÂ or withoutÂ the dangling goggles, which definitely add a subtle Victorian touch.Â I love them myself (“I have crossed oceans of time to be with you”), and I like to think thatÂ either Jules or GaryÂ might have worn them.Â Permissions are M C T.Â L$780 for the set at AVid (Gothic Clothing 42, 177, 56).
The “Verne” set also includes simple platform boots, but here I’ve chosen Thomus Keen’s Steampunk Gothic Black Boots.Â All of Keen’s boot designs are fantastically detailed and scripted with a variety of features and effects.Â I’ve reviewed some of his other boots in greater detail, but I will say here that these boots are scripted for particle steam exhaust and sound effects when in flight…perhaps not entirely in keeping with the dignified undead persona I’ve tried to establish here.Â The set also includes a version that poofs hearts when you walk (although I did not, ah, actually try these out).Â Permissions are M C T.Â L$350 for the pair at the beautifully redesigned Steam Powered Nuts (FairChang Steam Isle 130, 123, 31).
The “Ash” Twilight skins I’m wearing throughout are also by Darwin Mizser.Â These are, in my humble opinion, easily among the finer goth skins I’ve seen, perfect for but most certainly not limited to HalloweenÂ wear.Â The torso is tightly muscled, the faceÂ strong and noble.Â In addition to a clean-shaven skin, four different facial hairÂ variations are available.Â A “base” scalp with black hair is included, and in an interesting twist you also get two bald scalps with different expressions (one “edgy,” the other peaceful), accomplished via eyebrow tweaks.Â You also get matching prim genitalia.Â L$1250 for a single skin, or L$3900 for a pack containing all five facial variations.Â The pack also includes Blue Mist eyes and moddable “Ash” body shape, both of which I’m wearing here.Â The eyes are also available separately in a pack of three variations for L$90.Â TheÂ body shapeÂ can be purchased individuallyÂ in moddable (L$720) and no-mod (L$420) versions.
Darwin’s “Ash” vampire skins are stylized variations on the Twilight skins, with smooth, pale faces devoid of hair, dark lips and fingernails, visible traceries of blue veins suggesting greater translucency of the skin, and blood effects ranging from subtle to horrific.Â The set includes three different skins: Bites (shown at right), FeederÂ and Victim.Â L$1250 for the set, which also includesÂ bald scalps with peaceful and edgy expressions and prim vampire genitalia.Â Permissions on skins are M C T.
Although I couldn’t wear them for the “story” photo shoot on location, Darwin’s “Furian” eyes (L$150), with their vertical-slitÂ pupils and unearthly red glow,Â will lend a distinctly supernatural aspect to your appearance.Â The set includes bothÂ standard eyes, which can be worn as a base or when glow is not desired, and glowing prim eyes.Â Unfortunately, my older PC’s graphics card doesn’t support the glow effect.Â Thanks again to Sean and his superior graphics hardware for photographing the glowing eyes!
All of Darwin’s designs are available at AVid (Gothic Clothing 42, 177, 56).