La Repubblica di Fiorenze, Italia • Luglio, 1462 Anno Domini
If she can’t be their angel, then she’ll be their devil.
That’s what they decided, huddled in Piero’s room, as the plan to rescue Kilyan.
Shards of multi-colored glass fly everywhere, catching and reflecting the light as it hangs momentarily in the air in front of what remains of the stained-glass window. Francesca unfurls her limbs and lands with a definite thud on the wooden altar of her family church, glass raining around her, coating her in crystal dust.
The faces from the people sitting in the twin sides of the pews, at first shocked, transform into something worse. They scrunch, distort, their eyes widening, lips parting. Francesca smiles with her newly sharpened teeth, letting the discomfort spread. The priest, last seen a few months ago with her father, stands still like a rabbit off to the side.
After some discussion, Francesca, Piero, and Ciano agreed they couldn’t break into the prison where Kilyan was being kept—it was too big, too secure. But they could break out. It just required some theatrics to get caught.
And God, could Francesca do theatrics.
Francesca leans down and grips the edge of the altar with the tips of her fingers, black wings spread wide, blood bubbling from little cuts across across her face. She just needs to be the Francesca from the pond—capture that intoxicating absolute power, that terrifying absolute lack of power. She needs to strike fear, awe. Strands of her black hair cascade over her shoulders as she eyes the crowd. A man near the back dressed in nice, newer fabrics stands up and backs away, the soles of his shoes sliding against the floor. The first to break.
Francesca tilts her head and lifts her index finger, waving it back and forth, tsking.
* = This is not the story’s final title