"Once upon a time, a devastatingly handsome Duke resided on the outskirts of London in the biggest castle of all the land. His eyes were said to be as bright as the sun and his hair was as dark and flowing as the midnight sky.
However, appearances are not everything and his good looks did little to hide the fact that he was a selfish and spoiled young man. That is, except to one special woman-his soon-to-be duchess. She was as beautiful as he was handsome. Her heart, however, was much larger than his and it pained her to see him treat others so miserably, even his own brother.
On the night he was to propose to his lovely and kind lady, he held a grand ball in her honor. Although a storm was brewing, no one would dare turn down an invitation issued by a Duke, especially one that was infamous for being a recluse. This ball was to be the first he had held in all his Dukedom.
He had spent weeks hiring extra help to make sure the night would go smoothly, to make sure everything would be perfect. He wanted his proposal to be as flawless as the woman he loved.
The night of the ball arrived and the evening went off without a hitch. All the famous and prestigious families he invited had arrived as planned. The band was wonderful and the dance floor was always full with happy and lively couples. Even the cold-hearted Duke was finding himself having fun.
It was just before midnight and the Duke was beginning to prepare for his proposal. He silenced the band with a grand flourish of his hand and took his place at the top of his grand staircase. As the clock chimed out twelve long, steady tolls and all eyes found him, there was a sudden knock at the door behind him.
He ignored the knock and dropped to one knee, ready to recite the lavish speech he had prepared to honor his love's beauty. The knock persisted again, and in a loud, howling wind, it flew open. In stepped a cloaked stranger.
The Duke was not happy for this intrusion. And now all the gasps from his guests were beginning to distract him. This night was supposed to be about him and his beloved. He stood and turned to the cloaked stranger and yelled for them to leave at once.
The replying voice was low and feminine. The stranger begged for shelter since the storm had begun and she had no where else to go. The Duke refused outright, showing no concern for the weary traveler. The stranger persisted, compromising that she would leave as soon as the storm died down. The Duke was blind in his rage and continued to refuse admittance. He was signaling for his footmen to escort the stranger out when she fell to her knees, in one last attempt to play on his mercy.
The footmen hauled the stranger to her feet. The Duke's callous snicker could be heard over the crescendo of the storm. Mentally dismissing the stranger, he turned back to his audience. Before the Duke could continue where he had been interrupted he felt something hit his shoe. He looked down and saw a bright, pink, spherical jewel.
It was the most beautiful shade of pink and incredibly sparkly. He was drawn to it immediately; he picked it up.
He realized this would make a much better token of his love than the diamond he had bought for his love. He vaguely wondered if it belonged to the cloaked stranger but his greed quickly overtook him; it was no matter. This token would be the forfeit for the stranger's audacity at disturbing his ball. He looked up to see all the crowd was watching him with mixed looks of dismay, confusion, and interest.
He didn't once think it was because of his cruelty to the cloaked stranger. He smiled down at the people he felt were beneath his usual notice and called for his love to join him at the top of the staircase.
His beloved's voice sounded behind him. He turned expectantly and stared in mute horror as the stranger drew back her cloak to reveal his beloved. The footmen dropped her arms and stepped away as the crowd gasped as one.
The fair lady's eyes were round with sorrow as she calmly approached her Duke. Her hand stole to her heart as she came to face him, anguish radiating from her.
The Duke grew pale and asked why she would play such an awful trick on him. Didn't she know that tonight was to honor her?
Tears slipped down her cheeks as she explained to the man she thought she loved, that her trick was the final test of his love. She explained she couldn't possibly marry someone as selfish and thoughtless as he. She would have to decline his kind offer of marriage.
Ferocious anger gripped the Duke and he yelled for her to leave his castle, forever. He never wanted to see her face ever again.
With an acknowledging nod, she left his castle without looking back.
Flushed with embarrassment and heartbreak, the Duke retired to his bed chambers without returning to his guests and party. He was in a fit of rage and spent a long time pacing his floor wondering what he should do. He went back and forth between different courses of action until finally, early the next morning when the storm had receded, he fell into the chair beside his fire in exhaustion.
The embers were only faintly glowing now and as he stared into them he remembered the jewel still clasped in his fist. His long fingers uncurled around it and he stared into it deeply. He thought he could see a silvery mist twirling inside it.
Compelled by the odd yet magnificent jewel, he made a wish.
Some say he wished for his love to forgive him and come back to him. Supposedly, she did and they lived happily ever after.
Others say he wished for immense power to impress his love so she would come back to him. The darkness in his heart, however, turned the once pink jewel, black and his wish was tainted, turning him into a fearful monster for all eternity... the only way for the curse to be broken is for someone to fall in love with him despite his demonic appearance, and dark heart.
It is believed this curse has been passed down from generation to generation to the current Duke of Saxon.
And that is why, my dear children, he is called the Dark Duke."
This story will be loosely based off the Disney version of the Beauty and the Beast. It will have changes to it to accommodate the cast of Inuyasha. I'm sure this storyline has been used and played with a million times, so I'll be thinking of creative ways to reinvent it. I'm really excited about this story. I hope you can find it enjoyable :)
This story will take place in 19th century London, England. It will have masquerades, romance, and sexy, intriguing dukes!
Let me know what you think!