The Rose Shield – Vianne


The Rose Shield is my WIP targeted for release in March-ish.

You’ve met Raker, the man who hears voices in the fog
Catling, a six-year-old with a rose birthmark around her eye
Whitt, the boy battling crajeks in the swamp
Gannon, captive in the belly of the Wandering Swan

What of Vianne, an Influencer capable to manipulating love and fear, pain and pleasure, life and death with a mere thought? Is she a villain or hero?


When Vianne returned to his cell, her face wore a frown of reluctance, green eyes heavy with regret. The weariness in her countenance added years. The ivory clothes, flawless skin, and silver in her cinnamon hair deceived the eye. Upon first glance, she appeared innocent, gentle and graceful, her voice touched with kindness. Yet, the set of her jaw told him he’d find no quarter with her. She planned to torture him.

The latch clicked as the guards locked her in, and she assumed her seat by his cot. “I’ve returned for the truth, Gannon, and I have little time. Tell me how you blocked Qeyon’s influence. He has assured me, beyond question, of your gui…power.”

“You were about to say ‘guilt.’” He caught her eyes as her back stiffened. “Do you execute the guilty?”

The woman sighed. “Only if your pigheadedness forces my hand.”

“Torture away,” he said, turning his face to the wall and shutting his mouth. Fear wormed into his consciousness, the muscles and sinews of his body contracting.

Rising from her chair, she strode to the door and knocked. Two guards entered, carrying a strip of cloth with a bulky knot in the middle. Gannon clenched his teeth as the guards descended on him. One held his head while the other tried to force the gag into his mouth. A sharp blast of pain ripped through his chest, and he gasped. The guard crammed the balled knot into his mouth. He cried out as they twisted his head and secured the cloth. Glaring at the woman, he shouted, his oaths muffled by the gag.

The guards rose and stood by the door. “Anything else, Vianne-Ava?”

“Ignore us,” she replied. They nodded and left.

Vianne strode to the foot of his cot, her voice soft. “Block me.”

He shook his head, steeling himself. Pain flared as an invisible vise closed on his chest. His hands wrenched against his restraints as he squeezed his eyes shut and bit on the gag. The agony expanded, thrusting spears of steel into his arms and legs. As quickly, she released him, and his breath shuddered from his lungs.

“It’s going to get worse, Gannon,” she said. “Block me.”

The pressure returned, the sensation mounting. He screamed into the gag, writhed against the pain of his cracking ribs, his heart exploding in his chest. Torment scoured his veins, shooting into his joints. “Aaah. Naah. Aaaah.” He heard his own muffled bawling.

“Block me!” Vianne demanded.

“Aaaah cahn’t. Aaaah,” he howled. His head pounded, nerves sparking, skin on fire. Needled daggers ground into this bones. “Naaah. Cahn’t.”

“Block me!” she shouted.

She flayed the skin from his body. His joints twisted, bones crushed. Fear exploded in his head, smashing into the fragile barriers of sanity, incinerating the shredded remains of any resistance. The woman’s commands barked, unintelligible. All he could do was scream.

Then the pain vanished.

He panted, shaking, the muscles in his body rigid. The memory of pain bathed him in sweat, quaking through him like a virulent fever. He gulped air, body heaving and trembling.

“You couldn’t block me,” she said, her voice bewildered.

He shook his head, eyes closed. The terrible fear subsided. “Sick,” he mumbled through the gag. He heard the rustle of her jacket and felt her fingers worry the knot behind his head. When it fell away, he vomited on his shoulder and hair. He dropped his head back and groaned, uncaring.

“You couldn’t block me,” she repeated. “No one could endure… It’s not you.”

Gannon shook his head. “No.”

“But you know who it is.” She grimaced at the miasma of smells permeating the small room. “Don’t make me do that again, Gannon. Don’t force me. You must realize I haven’t a choice.”

“Who’s your master?” he asked, turning to read her face.

“The realm.” She paced between the dim walls. “You must have an inkling of how this power might be wielded in the wrong hands. Or why else would you resist me.” She pivoted on her heel to face him. “Yet, in the right hands, it can cut through subversive agendas. It might prevent influence from being used to usurp authority, incite war, and harm the future of Ellegeance.”

“I thought the influencers’ oath was to the realm.”

“It is.” She paused to study him. “Yet, we are human beings and subject to temptation after all.”

“You could just let me go,” he whispered. “It’s over anyway.”

“Tell me who it is, and I swear to you that I’ll spare your life.”

“No, you won’t. I know too much.”

“I want the name.” She resumed her pacing and then halted. “It’s the girl, isn’t it? Qeyon said she was with you in the alley.”

When he didn’t answer, ripples of pain danced behind his eyes. His stomach knotted and fear engulfed him, whether his own or influenced, he couldn’t say and it scarcely mattered. She knew. “Yes.”

She sat beside him, green eyes eager. Her hand touched his wrist, and his body began to warm and relax. The lingering pain of his previous injuries eased, replaced with sensations of physical pleasure and relief. An awareness of gratitude for his torturer tickled his thoughts. It was subtle and would have been imperceptible if it hadn’t felt so illogical.

Vianne leaned toward him. “That little girl is in grave danger, Gannon. You understand, don’t you? Algar’s no fool, and from what Qeyon said, she made a spectacle of herself in the market. I can protect her, here in Ava-Grea. You must tell me who she is and where to find her before she and everyone she knows is dead.”

Due out in Marchish

106 thoughts on “The Rose Shield – Vianne

  1. Ooh… I like her. Complex. ❤ So much here. I am loving these character intros!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. From this excerpt, it sounds like a winner, Diana. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Joanne Sisco says:

    I’m not a fan of torture. She’s on my naughty list!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nurse Kelly says:

    Wow. Definitely sounds like she is a force to be reckoned with! Picked up tons of depth and layers with this excerpt. Brilliant writing as always, Diana. Blown away. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Khaya Ronkainen says:

    Intriguing excerpt! Looking forward to the release. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Widdershins says:

    Phew! … that was a great, and enticing, excerpt. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. confabler says:

    The details in this are wonderful. You brought all the characters to life.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wowzie. I’m not sure if I like her. Well, actually, I DO like her, and I’m ashamed of myself! Why? Maybe you know why. She’s a powerful force. I hope it’s for good.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. adeleulnais says:

    Oh, she is a cunning one. A mistress of torture. I`m intrigued about her back history. Wonderful excerpt thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Steph McCoy says:

    Intense and gripping scene. Where does this book fall in your series? This definitely left me wanting more.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow, Vianne’s quite the character! I wonder how much of you’s in her 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is so wonderful. I like and dislike her at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I can’t wait. A four-book series–that’s just what I like. There’s never enough in one book. I’ll be looking to join your blog hop if you do that.


  14. Bernadette says:

    Dianne, When I saw this post I purposely stashed it away for a time when I could fully read it and appreciate it. I have no idea at all of what to think of this character but her cruelty, even if she is working for good, marks her as a fallen soul. I look forward to the publication of this book. You are quite a wordsmith.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Diana,my books arrived yesterday!!! Thank you so much for all the different thoughtful inscriptions. I cannot wait to delve into them, wooohooo! I am sure looking forward to your “Marchish” book too. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ali Isaac says:

    Gripping and gruesome stuff, Diana! Looking forward to Marchish! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  17. reocochran says:

    “Vianne” was changed by the spell check crew. Sorry, D! I hope you knew this. I thought her name was cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I figured. My spell check sometimes completely changes words – like not even close! Ha ha.

      Liked by 1 person

      • reocochran says:

        D~ I have had the weirdest words come from the evil mind of the computer on my cell phone, which isn’t really a spell check! This is almost like an oxymoron.
        Hope your writing like crazy (writing furiously) is fruitful and fun. Like helping someone “come (back) to life!”
        Have a great start to your week! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks, Robin. I can’t type on phones. My fingers are too big! And the way they guess words… too funny sometimes. Happy election day tomorrow. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that sanity will prevail. 🙂


  18. reocochran says:

    Oh my, Diana. I just had to skim and hope for Gannon’s survival. Dianne is quite powerful and dangerous. Is the answer to the question of his “blocking” her beatings and vise-like grasp within the story? Like a mind control ability?
    Great, powerful and evocative descriptions, as always. I could not help but cringe!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Annika Perry says:

    That has to be some of the most powerful and intense writing I have read in a long while. I’m in shock – and awe – Vianne and her contradiction so strongly portrayed, I feel I’ve gone through the wringer myself. This morning read an article about a newly cleaned torutre room discovered in a city liberated in Iraq and reading this I just had that image in my mind too. You’re onto a winner here, Diana.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much for the great comment. Vianne’s “influence” was a challenge in the book. She’s incredibly powerful but has strong boundaries that keep her in check… most of the time. I’m not a fan of torture under any circumstances, except with my poor characters. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Purpleanais says:

    Yay! Not very dignified but couldn’t help that – loved it 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Antonia says:

    She seems to be a little hero and a little villain. Vianne is such an interesting and strong character. You had me on the edge of my seat. Loved it Diana!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Christy B says:

    A powerful excerpt! Vianne has is one heck of a strong woman!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. dgkaye says:

    Holy Moly, now that’s a gripping scene. I’ll be truthful and tell you I can’t watch, or even hear about torturous things so it was difficult for me to read, and yet, I couldn’t help but read. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  24. That is a riveting scene for sure! She is a powerful woman, I wouldn’t want to mess with her, ha ha. Nice work, my friend 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  25. “Due Marchish,”… it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Ooh, super dark–and awesome!!

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Such wonderful characters and amazing writing! Love this

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Morgan says:

    That was Intense and thoroughly intrigues!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Allie P. says:

    Wow – this one looks right up my alley. Looking forward to it!

    Liked by 2 people

  30. davidprosser says:

    Stunning characters Diana.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  31. The V Pub says:

    Riveting! I’m in agreement, Diana. March can’t get here fast enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. balroop2013 says:

    I like powerful females…this one is scary too! All the best Diana. Happy writing. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Steven Baird says:

    Wow, powerful stuff. I’m looking forward to this, Diana. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Very good. I think you’ll have a good few people hoping March-ish comes along soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Wow! Great scene, D. The descriptions are so vivid I cringed for Gannon. Well done! I know what I’ll be reading next spring 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Wow. That was intense, D. I’ve been busy, still haven’t started Bone Walls…one book at a time ??? ☺☺☺

    Liked by 1 person

  37. babbitman says:

    Oooh, love where this is going.
    Can’t wait!
    Oh. I’m going to have to. Roll on March, let’s get Winter over and done with!

    Liked by 3 people

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