by Queen of Sarab

Author's note: This is something I wrote awhile back, and I'm trying to writing a prequel involving the main character's brother Darion, so I could really use some commentary on this...anything's great, except just telling me I suck...if you must tell me that, at least be constructive about it...*grin* Enjoy...

Part 1

London, 1803

"I must thank you for this dinner invitation, Mr. Thomason."
The man speaking, a distinguished, slightly eccentric looking man of about 40, spoke with a heavy french accent, slightly weighed with drink. HIs eyes looked clouded and groggy, and the girl of about 16 sitting at his side- his daughter- glanced at him disapprovingly. His son merely smirked- he wasn't in much of a better condition, himself.
Their English host smiled condescendingly. "Call me James And it was my pleasure."
"I'm sure the pleasure is ours," the daughter smiled sweetly. Mr. Thomason's eyes lingered on her neck- her pretty, slender, white neck, accented with a jasmine blue ribbon, the startling color of her eyes. Her silky black hair was curled and piled on her head seemingly haphazardly, making her neck look even more graceful and tempting.
He smiled graciously. "If you have finished your drinks,Jacques, Darion," he nodded to the father and son, "I would love to give you a tour of my home. I've received some lovely pieces of art recently that I find quite exquisite."
"Lead on, sir, lead on," Jacques swept his hand extravagantly forward.
The woman lurking in the shadows beside the door into the hall watched the french family walk by, then stopped the Englishman. "Jamie," she breathed in a half-starved whisper. "I want the boy. He's a pretty one."
"You shall have him, Chastity dear," James smirked. " Soon."

America, present

Briar found drawing took his mind off home.
When he was running a pencil across paper, he could forget his father was an abusive drunk bastard, could forget that his mother lived in constant fear. He could forget the bruise on his collarbone, the one on his arm, and all the previous painful marks that had left few physical, but many mental, scars.
It was so hard to forget.
Briar ran a hand lightly over the rough paper of his sketchbook, envisioning in his mind all that could possibly be put down there. Across the park, a grove of trees surrounded a carved dolphin fountain. Briar studied it for a moment, then turned away. Not unique enough. Would he ever find something? Frustrated, he kicked at a discarded paper cup, knocking it well into the street.
With a resigned sigh, Briar began to pack his supplies. Besides, even with the streetlight above his bench, it was too dark to draw any....
He spotted her just as he was swinging his bag over his shoulder. He wasn't the type to just go up to strange girls on the street, but this girl...she was...exquisite.
That was the only word he could find to describe it. It wasn't that she was beautiful- she was, but that wasn't it. There were plenty of beautiful girls. There was just a feeling, a feeling that was ripping his heart apart, pulling, drawing him towards her, until he was standing directly in front of her, blocking her path.
She stared at him expectantly. Ice-blue eyes, eyes boring into him, killing him inch by inch. Oh god... he was falling, falling, he would never get out, ohmygod let me GO!
"Are you planning on moving?"
Briar stared at her stupidly, the world zooming back to meet him. "I...What?"
She raised one perfectly arched eyebrow. "You're kind of in my way."
"Oh. Right."
"Are you going to move?" She was getting impatient now, moving her hand in a way that made her silky black hair ripple.
Briar moved, babbling impulsively as he did. "I'm Briar."
Those cool blue eyes turned to stare at him. "That's nice," she turned and began walking away again.
"Do you have a name?" He felt like an idiot even as he yelled it, but it was over and said, and he couldn't exactly take it back, now could he?
She stopped and stared once more, but a smile tugged at her lips. "Raven."
Briar's eyes followed her until she was out of sight.