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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro: Moving On & Rebuilding

In Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's historical novel A Flame in Byzantium, Olivia waits in her home in Constantinople. She has delayed her escape from the city to hear from her lover Drosos, who Emperor Justinian has recently recalled from Alexandria. Frantic with worry, she sends her servants out to find him. 

Eventually, Drosos ends up in her house. Instead of rejoicing in their reunion, he repeatedly asks her to send him away. He asserts that she must not be seen with him, or associate with him in any way, lest his disgrace (and accompanying suspicion) also fall upon her. She refuses to send him away, pledges to remain by his side always, and takes him to her bed to comfort him. 

Sadly, something deeper and darker than a concern for her well being lies behind Drosos' protests. In the act of their lovemaking, she attempts to bite him as usual, in order to draw strength and sustenance from his blood. This proves the final straw that breaks Drosos' regard for her, someone who never embraced his idealist view of the emperor. Drosos shoves her away, and proclaims her secret nature as a vampire to her entire household. 

The riches of ancient Egypt are celebrated
in the British Museum.

She realizes then that Drosos is irrevocably broken. The ideals and philosophies he treasured were shattered by the Emperor's orders to destroy the libraries of Alexandria, and so he despises everything around him, including her, the woman who--despite her different, supernatural nature--he once loved. So she allows him to go his own way, still hoping he can find a means of repairing his broken nature. As for herself, she must carry on, and find a means of surviving the threats posed by her enemies in Emperor Justinian's court. She has centuries more of life to look forward to, and she is determined to forge a new future for herself somewhere else.

We can all learn a lot from Olivia's determination to move on and rebuild her life. Even if she is a vampire

Dragon Dave

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