Blog Chain - Sympathy for the Antagonist

This is my first time doing a blog chain from AbsoluteWrite, but it sounded like fun so I went for it. The topic for this chain is: Cast your antagonist in a sympathetic light. This was a bit of a hard pick for me; I can't choose from The Dragon King, since the antagonist is a bit of a mystery until The Dragon Queen. So I went with my as-yet-untitled historical fantasy. I'm kind of shocked myself that I'm even writing a historical anything, but it should be fun. I'm taking a page from IrishAnnie and ad-libbing, hopefully I've managed to inspire some sympathy for Kieran. I'll let you decide:

Some men have all the luck.

That was what Kieran thought every time he had the misfortune of being reminded of Byrne. Though both gentlemen and thus of equal class, it always seemed to him that Byrne had more. More wealth, more company, more everything. True Kieran was no country gent; at three thousand pounds a year he lived rather comfortably and wanted for nothing. But it seemed measly compared to Byrne’s four thousand pounds, even though it was only a slight difference. And while Kieran’s lands were well enough Byrne’s were far more fertile. Even the ladies seemed to favour the shy but pleasant Byrne over Kieran, and he had no shortage of admirers. It wasn’t until Kieran met Caelie that he finally felt like he was beginning to get on top.

Caelie was the daughter of a rather wealthy gentleman, but even without her thirty thousand pounds Kieran still would have pursued her. With her warm smile, refined beauty and hair like sunlight Caelie was a worthy catch, and he had fallen completely in love with her. For weeks he would court her, though she was shy and reserved he was certain of her affections for him. However in the back of his mind he was always wary about Byrne coming around and stealing Caelie from him, so when Lady Anne announced yet another ball Kieran knew he had to find a way to stop Byrne from attending. It took a great deal of convincing but Byrne was trusting enough and took Kieran at his words, so by the time the night arrived he was sure that there would be no interference.

The night started well enough. Caelie arrived shortly after him and he spent all his time by her side. He tried to make sure everyone could see them together, though getting her on the dance floor was a challenge. She didn’t seem particularly interested; he thought perhaps the talk she was surely hearing floating through the room about their romance had probably made her nervous. But everything seemed to change in an instant the minute Byrne showed up in the ballroom. Kieran fumed, and not just because of the warm reception Byrne was receiving. How dare he show up here, after he had worked so hard to ensure that his rival didn’t attend at all! He should have been at home, at his estate in the country, anywhere but here! The man seemed oblivious to his glare as he made his way slowly through the ballroom and, unfortunately, towards Kieran and Caelie. Quickly his anger turned to desperation as he tried to subtly steer both himself and Caelie away from Byrne’s approach but there was no where to go. Right then he caught sight of the couple and the moment Byrne’s eyes met Caelie’s Kieran ceased to exist. He seethed as he watched the new couple converse as easily as if they had known each other for months, watched as Caelie smiled and laughed like she had never done with him. And when Byrne managed to whisk her out on the dance floor it was all Kieran could do not to break something and cause a scene. He left that night in a fit of anger with the bitter realization that no one had noticed and the gossip of an impending engagement between Byrne and Caelie ringing in his mind. He had lost out to Byrne for the last time.

When Caelie died not long after Byrne had withdrawn almost completely from good society. It had crushed him to his core, and for the next few years no one saw much of him at all. Finally Kieran was on top; he began attracting some of the company and admirers that had once been Byrne’s, and a handsome inheritance from a distant relative saw him with more wealth as well. He had grown so confident in his new status in town that even when Byrne emerged back into society he didn’t feel the least bit threatened. He was sure that things wouldn’t be the same for Byrne, but he was more than shocked to be proven wrong. Not only had Byrne been welcomed by society, and not only had many of his old admirers, whom Kieran thought had forgotten or lost interest in favour of him, resumed their interests…the man had fallen in love! Again! What right did he have to any sort of happiness after what he had done to him? Was it not bad enough that Kieran had to work so hard for what came so easily to Byrne, that Byrne would come back to bring ruin upon him once again?

He wasn’t going to have it this time. This time it would be different. When Byrne went down, Kieran would make sure he stayed there for good.

Did I succeed? I'm not sure, I liked the original better. Unfortunately blogger ate it. Yeah I was pretty miffed.

Check out these other links in the blog chain:

CScottMorris: and direct link to his post
Aheïla: and direct link to her post
AuburnAssassin: and direct link to her post
DavidZahir: and direct link to his post
IrishAnnie: and direct link to her post
Anarchicq: and direct link to her post
Proach: and direct link to her post
devero: and direct link to his post
hillaryjacques: and direct link to her post
LadyMage: and direct link to her post
M.R.J. Le Blanc: You are here
Fokker Aeroplanbau:
Amb The Creative:
Alpha Echo:


Anonymous said...

Me thinks Kieran needs a bit of counseling ;-) How did she die I wonder...hmmm...

Marieke said...

That is one troubled guy. Counseling sounds like a very good plan! ;-)

Aimee Laine said...

" always seemed to him that Byrne had more."
Isn't that the 'keeping up with the Jones'' mentality? :) Someone always has more and usually the bad guy wants it. :) If only they accepted their lot maybe they wouldn't be so bad. :)

Katherine said...

This sounds very high-society pre-Civil War South, which I do like. Kieran's ambition is fully unchecked and I see that it will be his undoing easily enough. The how intrigues me.

devero said...

I like how grief and ambition counteract each other here. And ground up in the south, I can say counseling is not an option.

De's Stories said...

I really really like this. I am loning to read more, what happens next. This scene just shows how truly evil jealousy really is.

Hillary Jacques said...

I like how "keeping up with the (specific) Jones" becomes a bitter obsession...aren't those always the best kind?

tavia (defyalllogic) said...

very interesting and well written. He seems petty/jealous to me. but I get his motivation.

Keep up the good work!

Claire Gillian said...

Dang, blogger doesn't like my openID this AM.

Ah..jealousy, the great corrupter, but utterly understandable.


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