Note: This is not the beginning of the story; it will be told somewhere in the middle of the narrative. To bring you up to speed, the main character is Tristessa Kayne. She is an immortal being who was once human, but her duty for the last 4000 years (since about 2000 BC) has been to protect the earth from...something ominous. (I have not gotten all the details worked out yet, but I do not think it’s going to be that important in this part of the story.) Tristessa appears as a tall, slender young woman of about sixteen or seventeen with long black hair and bright green eyes. This section of the story opens in 1836 on a road outside Paris, France. PS - This is not as cheesy and comic book-ish as the summary makes it sound.
Tristessa limped grimly up the main road, focusing every spare thought on the spires just forming on the horizon. The spires were Paris, and Paris was her city. She had been away for a long time (more than forty years, since she had fled the Revolution), but she did not doubt that the city, the great monstrosity of stone, would welcome her back. They were to much alike, Paris and herself, old, proud, unconquerable, and strong. They were survivors.
Despite her triumphant return, Tristessa felt absolutely wretched. She had lived the life of a Duchess for far too long, and gradually she had let herself become soft. Her head pounded from the hot sun, and her muscles ached with the effort of travel. Her boots were full of blood; they were two or three sizes too big for her and rubbed the flesh from her feet with every step. A twisted ankle caused her to heavily favor her left leg, and this, coupled with her shabby, ill-fitting clothes and disheveled hair painted her as a rather pitiful picture. However, there was nothing pitiful about the way she carried herself, nor about the stoic determination upon her face.
Well, he couldn’t function now at any rate, Tristessa thought, and a thin eel of a smile crossed her lips. She swallowed it quickly, almost guiltily, and her face resumed its expressionless stance.
So, here she was, a fugitive in England for castrating a nobleman with his own dagger. She could distance herself enough from that fact to find it rather amusing, but not enough to shrug off the cloud of frustration and anger that lay over her. There were bounty hunters on her trail, probably not far behind, but she worried about them only a little. She would certainly be in Paris before they caught up to her, and inside those city walls she would be safe.
It was a smell Tristessa knew much better than she would have liked to: the unmistakable stench of despair. It didn’t surprise her, it was an odor that had hung in the air above Paris for almost as long as she could remember; it was always there, sometimes less intense, but always there. She remembered how surprised she had been during her first visit to Paris that people could live with such an oppressive atmosphere all around them. Soon, however, she learned the only two ways to deal with the stench of the city; one could either ignore it, or be driven mad by it. Some might say that one could also try to stop it, but Tristessa knew better than that; it was just too huge, too massive, too ingrained in everyone's being to be stopped by men alone. Not even the Revolution had stopped it, although there were those who claimed it had. No, the Revolution had merely masked the smell of poverty with the smell of death.
Tristessa chose to ignore it, whatever that might entail, for, in her opinion, it was far better to ignore it than to become a part of it.
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