Daughter of the Fencing Grand Master

My friend, Steve Ogden, whipped up another character ink, this time it's Mercede Dominici, the daughter of the protagonist, Lazzaro. The events in Iron Will Rust are ruthless to her, taking her to dark places no one should endure. Steve captured that struggle in her eyes perfectly.

Before all the darkness arrives in the wake of our villain, Alessandro Dumaine, she's full of life and playfulness. In the below excerpt, Mercede returns from her ride in the mountains only to find her brother, Vico, lounging around on the terrace. Having just spent the afternoon fencing with his father, Vico feels a bottle of wine is his reward and his alone. I think Mercede has other plans.

Outside, Vico reached grabbed the bottle of wine. He watched Mercede ride in and knew she would head straight over.

“So, drinking and playing pretend sword fighter again eh? You better not drain that bottle until I have a sip.” Mercede clomped onto the stone terrace in her riding boots and halted. Leaning on one leg, she twirled a gold figure of a prancing horse between her fingers, tugging on the chord that held it around her neck.

Vico smirked and slouched in his chair, a blanket tossed over his legs.

Her cabernet hair, tousled and wind-blown from her ride, framed her determined look. She advanced on him, her gloves held menacingly. Mercede had a presence about her that could command nations, a charismatic forcefulness that caught most boys off guard, but not her overconfident brother.

“Ah. You’re back just in time to watch me finish the rest of this for myself.” Vico feigned placing the entire bottle to his lips like a drunkard.

“Give me that, you fool.” She lunged forward, her forest green eyes squinting in admonishment as she made a grab for the bottle, knowing he had no intentions of sharing.

Vico just laughed, turning his shoulder and keeping it at arm’s length away from her.

Frustrated, she swatted him on the head with her gloves hard enough to sting.

“Ow! Damn you, I’m not your horse!” Vico’s breath puffed out like smoke.

She snatched the bottle out of his hand and leapt away like a lithe deer.

Vico scowled.

“Ha-ha! To the victor go the spoils!” She laughed, raised the one-quarter full bottle to her lips, and took a long slow and deliberate swig of the wine. As she finished, she smirked at her older brother, still rubbing his head and one eye closed like a pirate missing his eye patch.

He gave her a mean look.


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