Category Archives: urban fantasy

Aeternum Amor

Lover’s Requiem is finally published at Smaswords for those that are interested in having their own copy.  It has been renamed as “Aeternum Amor”.  Once again, I seem to have a thing for Latin.  It’s free to download and you can read it either on your computer or pretty much any e-reading device.  I’m not completely happy with the cover, but it was what I was able to create with my limited graphical design skills.

Maybe one of these days I will buckle down and learn how to work with Adobe programs besides my Photoshop Elements.  Still, not bad for someone who can really only manipulate photos somewhat.

You can download the ebook here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/149329 and if all goes well, it’ll be avalible on iTunes and Barnes and Noble soon enough.  You can also click up on the Published Works tab at the top if you want to get a hold of it.

It is longer than Vatican Vamps by a lot, so hopefully the people who have complained about my short stories being too short will be happy with this length.

In non-related news, I’m heading back to my family’s home in about, oh…a half an hour. And there will be the Sister. Which means the promised Q&A with her regarding Hunger Games will be happening while we eat our Cadbury Eggs.

Have a happy Easter.  And watch out for Zombies.


Rhiannon of Air

One of my favorite topics to write about is mythology, and how it might affect us if the stories were true.  Especially in terms of Elves.  This is a short story I wrote two years ago on a plot idea from S, and it remains one of my favorites. I’m currently working on editing Lover’s Requiem, so it might be a while until a new serial shows up.

RHIANNON OF AIR

He heard the noise from the basement again.  Thinking that it was one of the cats that had gotten trapped down there again—that had been happening a lot lately—he rose from his bed and made his way to the stairs that lead down.  Others in his family were somewhat afraid of the basement.  It was made when the old farmhouse had been constructed, and was little more than a space under the house that was there to hold up said house with a few wood beams here and there and walls made out of field stone.  There was only one light down there, and it hung from its wire at the end of the wooden stairs that were crooked, deep, and threatening to fall apart every time someone went down them.

Grabbing a flashlight from the counter on his way past it, he carefully went down the stairs and into the basement.  He pulled the chain attached to the light bulb when he reached the dirt floor of the basement and waiting for it to flicker to life before venturing further.  It flickered once, twice, and then flared brightly before going completely dark.  With a sigh, he gripped the flashlight and flipped the switch to turn it on.  A yellowish light crept over the basement as he ventured forward, intent on finding the cat and shooing it back upstairs.

He rounded the stairs and immediately had to blink away the tears that had formed in his eyes away.  Something was causing an awful lot of light down here.  What he wasn’t sure of was the source of said light.  Was it a fire?  A light from outside that somehow managed to get past the dirty windows?  Or perhaps a burglar with a flashlight of his own?

His flashlight was heavy enough for a weapon if it was a burglar, he thought as he hefted it in his hands.  He grabbed hold of it with both hands and ran forward into the light, ready to hit anything that he found there.

And he ran straight into a meadow that he was quite sure hadn’t been there earlier in the day.

He wasn’t sure where he was.  On the bright side, he no longer needed his flashlight, as the sun was very nicely lighting up the meadow the sky and the line of trees he could see that were standing there at the horizon.  He flicked the switch with his thumb again and turned off the light that couldn’t be seen in day anyways.  Adjusting his glasses with his left hand, and then running that same hand through his hair, he set off towards the horizon and the trees.

“Who are you?” a voice called out to him as he was walking.  He stopped and turned around in a circle, trying to see where it was coming from.  It sounded female for sure, but there was nothing around him save air.  “Who are you?” he was asked again?  The voice sounded closer this time, though still soft and almost sparkling.  It reminded him of silver bells.

“Um…my family calls me Kev.”

“Kev,” the voice said softly, enunciating every part of it.  It was almost as if she was trying to learn how to say it.  “No,” she continued on.  “That is not who you are.” She sounded very thoughtful.

“Who are you?”  Kev paused.  “Where are you, I think is the better question.”

“I am all around you.  I am called Rhiannon of Air.”

Kev knew that name well from all of his readings.  Rhiannon was one of the Elven ladies of the Seelie, connected most with air, hence her name.  She might as well have been called one of the princesses.  “My lady Rhiannon,” he said, bowing low.”

There was a dainty laugh. “There is no reason to bow here, mortal.  Only those worthy of the Elven blood in their veins are able to even enter the realm of the Fey in this time of disbelief.  You were found worthy and have been welcomed back to the Seelie court, if you would have this position.”

His eyes grew wide. “My lady, I don’t quite know what to say to such a wonderful gift.”

The air around him swirled until it drew up dirt and began to take the form of a woman in a flowing gown.  Her hair was dark brown and her robes were of a light yellow color and moved around her as they would in wind, only there was no more wind once she appeared before him.  Her face was flawless, as all of the Seelie court were.  “Speak from your heart, young one.  What does it desire?”

“To stay here,” he responded immediately.

“Then drop your mortal items and join me in court.”

The flashlight dropped to the ground and he stepped forward with the lady Rhiannon of Air.

“You shall need a better name than Kev for me to introduce you to King Auberon and Queen Titania.”

“Do you have a suggestion, lady?”

“What about…Kell?”

The newest member of the Seelie court, Kell nodded.  “It suits.”

The rest of their conversation grew dim as they walked into the forest.

~~~

There was grief in the home of Kev the next morning.  It seemed he had gone downstairs during the night to do something.  The flashlight had been turned off somehow, the family decided, and he tripped over something on the ground—likely the cat he had been trying to find—and fell to hit his head on the field stone wall.

Only his younger sister was not completely struck with grief.  She had grabbed the leaf made out of gold and emerald that had lain next to his body before anyone else could see it.  She envied her brother, being taken in by the Seelie court.   Oh, how she hoped that Kev might come for her one day as well.


Gearing Up: Week Two

By this point, you should have your characters, or at least have thought about them enough that you think you know what kind of people they are going to be.  Chances are, this has also led you into thoughts on how they are going to fit into your story, and what type of world they are going to be living in.

Is there magic?

Are there dragons?

Does anyone ever leave the coffee shop that the two characters have met in?

These are just a few of the questions you’ll find yourself asking as you being to create your setting. I have gone over a bit about setting before during Dexter Week (Read it here), but this will be focused more on how you create one than how to decide where it’s going to be.

The first step is to decide if this is going to take place in a fantastical world of make-believe or in our real world, or some combination of the two. Each  of them has their own pros and cons.  A fantastical world frees you of limitations that our world has, such as gravity, or gaining faster-than-light space travel to go to other planets.  The problem comes when it starts getting too out there, and your reader will have a hard time getting into the book because they will constantly be reminded of just how far away they are from home they are unless you give them concrete things to hold onto.

A great example of these fantastical worlds are found in Lord of the Rings and Chasm CityIn these worlds, humans are the standards, an object of familiarity that we can hold onto. In Lord of the Rings, we are also slowly introduced to the more fantastical aspects, which makes them easier to swallow and gain understanding of before moving to the next.

Having a setting take place in our world means that you don’t need to worry about the audience connecting with it. They know our world, the rules therein, and how they would expect people to react within certain situations. The cons are appearing for that same reason: the world is known and you can not stray from it lest people stop to believe, or get angry about details that you forgot or are untrue.  It’s reasons like this that people who write historical fiction with years of research behind it are truly some of the best authors in my mind. They can keep track of so many different aspects at once.

The final choice, having a fantastical normal world, is one that more and more authors are going down.  Just look at the amount of books that are appearing in the “urban fiction” settings at the local bookstore.  The pros and cons here are mixed.  Yes, you can have a pre-made setting that you find out of the books on a city, but you also make it yours by twisting a few things around in it.  Care still needs to be cautioned though so that you don’t make it too fantastical and risk alienating your audience by taking it too far away from reality.

So, make your choice. What is your setting?

Once this has been decided, you can start to create your world: make cities, villages.  In gaming terms, create some NPCs to populate your world that your characters can interact with on their quest for something.  Maybe there’s some strange quirk about this world (man eating Fog is one quirk I’ve been kicking around for a while) that is a fact of life for everyone.  Perhaps the people of one city live their lives backwards, or can only speak in rhyme.

Whatever your setting is, flesh it out!  Build a world as if you were the god of it, create, create, create!  You can always edit things out later, but why limit yourself at the beginning!?  You never know what you might come up with that will fuel another story.

 

ETA: Featured on Writers Weekly on October 13th, 2011.  http://paper.li/paultlowe/1307471907


Lover’s Requiem: Chapter Six

It’s Friday, so you know what that means!  Chapter Six is up, and only 4 more to go before we reach the end.

CHAPTER SIX- LOVER’S REQUEIM

He was being shaken into consciousness from a sleep that was deeper than he had known in a long time.  Hunger gnawed at his gut, seeking substance so that it might be sated.  His body craved the blood that he lived by.  Never before had he faced hunger such as this, nor might he again.  There was no way that he could move to find a human that he might take from.  This was the debilitating hunger that the Elders and the Codex spoke of; that they warned against.  If one of the vampire kin were ever in such a position, it was unlikely they would survive.

Every thought of his was consumed with blood lust.  He did not know who he was.  Names held no meaning.  They did not matter.

An eye opened and stared up at a blonde haired woman above him.  She was talking to him, though the words did not make sense to him.  Shadows all around him and her; the shadows were lessened by the light that she gave off.  Wings…no.  It was a trick of the light.  Wings did not exist.  Only the blood that was beneath her skin was real.

His head jerked up as her felt the familiar tingle at the back of his neck.  Morning was approaching and soon.  He was going to die again.  There was no blood for him to take so he could run.  The woman before him was all there was and she was too bright to drink from.  She hurt his eyes to look at, even though he didn’t want to take his eyes off of her.  There was beauty there.  And she looked familiar.  Another vampire perhaps?

That would mean that he was in her hunting grounds.  Which meant that he was about to be killed anyway.  There was no point in getting up.  He was either going to Greet the Mane or be killed for violating hunting rights of an older vampire.  Sagging back to the ground, he closed eyes that had barely begun to open.

Noises again.  The woman was speaking.  He tried to focus on them, to make out what the noises meant to form them into sounds.  The sounds into words.  The words into sentences.  The sentences into thoughts.  The thoughts into meaning.  “Dammit,” he heard her say.  She was swearing.  He remembered swearing.  It always meant that something bad had happened or was about to.  Why would she be swearing over him though.  Unless she felt the sun coming as well and would need to have the sun do her work in killing him for her.  Yes.  That was it.

There was something at his mouth.  A liquid.  He darted out a tongue to taste it and the blood lust grew.  His eyes opened and everything was tinged with red.   Blood.  There was blood at his mouth.

His hands flew forward with a strength he didn’t know he still possessed to hold the source of the blood in place so it didn’t fall away and leave him in hunger again.  Life, pure life and the energy that it held, poured into his mouth at long last.  It sated the monster that lived inside his skin and let him begin to move again.  He lost his attention on the world around him and all that existed was the blood that flowed from the wound and into his body.

Koios.

He had a name.

It was Koios.

That was his first thought when he could think past blood again.  As soon as it came, other memories and thoughts rushed into his mind and threatened to drown him.  He built a dam and quickly sifted through them all as they entered.   Church.  Anahita.  Dream.  Brigett.  Dream.  Diu.  Death.  Stake.  Running.  Falling.  Blood.  Now.

His eyes snapped open when his thoughts reached the here and now to look at who he was drinking from.  It was a woman.  Even in blood lust, he could tell that much.  Koios was able to look past the light and the hair this time to see that it was Anahita that he was taking from.

Jumping back as though burned, he brought a hand to his mouth, touching the blood that had managed to leak past his mouth and down onto his face.  Angel blood, he thought, touching it.

“Brigett?”

“Yes.  I heard you call.”

“I…I took your blood.  After I said that I wouldn’t.  I took it…”  He fell backwards so that he was facing the ever lightening sky to the east.  “I am truly damned now…”

“No, you are not.  It was freely offered.”

Koios sat up to stare at her.  “What?”

“I heard you call.  I came.  I saw.  And I did what was right.”

“Angel blood is in me.  I don’t think that I can ever forgive myself for taking from you like that.  What’s more is that I can not return to Diu’s Court with it in me.  Even if I wanted to.”

Anahita walked over to him and knelt down.  “You saw.”  He nodded.  “I’m sorry that you needed to see it that way.  I’m sorry that your illusions about him have been shattered.”

He pushed her away.  “It doesn’t matter now.  I have just prolonged death a little longer.  There is no shelter that I can get to in time before the sun rises.  I will die, just the same as if Diu had staked me before or if you had not heard.”  He turned so that he no longer needed to look at her.

She looked about the clearing.  Her eyes fell on the rose that he had brought her just the night before.  It had already sprouted again, three tiny rose buds appearing off of the main stem.  It was then that she knew it had not been stolen.

Where an angel stands, certain magics and powers seep into the ground to change things that are there.  Those powers cause small miracles to happen.  But only if the things there have lived before and were placed there by those pure of heart.

Reaching down to pluck the flower from the ground, she brought it over to the vampire and held her hand over his shoulder.  “For you.”

He turned, holding onto both it and her hand as he did.  He said nothing, no words were needed.  Koios leaned forward and kissed Anahita on the lips, feeling her power, her light, and refusing to be burned by it.  He was a part of her.  Light in his dark so that he could not be fully dark ever again.

Her wings spread out behind them and wrapped the two in order to create a light proof place.  “Trust me,” she whispered by his ear.

“Always,” he replied.

The ground fell away beneath them as Anahita took to the skies.  She flew away from the sun, keeping Koios in her shadow the entire way so he would not burn.  Through the trees, over streets, uncaring of who or what might see them in the wee hours of the morning.  They landed outside of the church they had first met at and Anahita brought him inside.

“You saved me.”  She raised an eyebrow.  Koios relented.  “Again.”

This time she smiled.  “What else could I do.  I save pure souls.  There was no way that I could ignore yours. Besides, I needed to save you.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re the one I love.”  She leaned forward and the two embraced again.  “This is the last peace we will have for a while.”

“We fight Diu tomorrow, don’t we?”

“I’m afraid so, yes.  We need to strike before he can muster all those that he has sired.”

Koios laughed.  “I don’t believe it.  I just started a war.  A war between heaven and hell.”

She hushed him with another kiss. “Just for today, forget about the war.  Forget about the ten years that have passed.  Just be James.”

“I can’t be James,” he told her firmly, “Just as you can’t be Brigett.”  His voice softened as he continued on.  “I can be Koios for you though.”

“And I can be Anahita.”

The angel and the vampire fell asleep in the choir loft that morning.  The organist who came by later never saw them as he practiced playing a requiem mass that he would be playing on the weekend.  It served a triple purpose that morning, though he never knew about the others.  He played for practice. But he also played for the loss of a love that once was there between two humans. It was a Lover’s Requiem.

And it celebrated the fact that two supernatural beings, who thought themselves to be doomed to loneliness, had found love once again.

°°°°

TRIVIA: this was, I think, the shortest chapter I wrote.  And I remember that, when typing it up, Word failed on me and I lost the entire beginning part when Koios is remembering who he is.  There was a lot of cursing after that.


Lover’s Requiem: Chapter Five

Another Friday, another chapter.  Please feel free to give feedback on what you think of it!

CHAPTER FIVE- OF MASQUES AND MARTYRS

When Koios made it make to his home, he found that the sun was near rising.  If he had been out even ten minutes more, he never would have made it back in time to reach the safety of his room before passing out.  As it was though, he barely managed to tumble into his bed before he lost consciousness when the sun broke over the horizon.  His dreams that morning were unlike those that he had been having for the past ten years.  He did not dream of Bridgett and of that night.  Nor did he dream that he was at the carnival and seeing the freak show again.

In this dream, he was surrounded by light and warmth and clouds.  He had an idea of what he was dreaming of, naturally.  When he saw a pair of golden gates in the distance though, he knew for sure that his dreams had taken him to Heaven.  Almost under their own violation, he felt himself begin to walk towards the gates, where there was a figure waiting for him.  It ended up being Anahita.

“Hello, angel,” he told her.

“Hello vampire,” came her reply.

“Might I come in?”

“Here?  No.  But I can come out to you.”  And she proceeded to do just that.  There was peace in Koios for a moment as he watched her come towards him.  However, as soon as Anahita had walked past the gates, the scene transformed and the two of them were in the alleyway that the killings had occurred in.  Anahita transformed to Diu before his eyes and leered at him.  He seemed to be taller than Koios remembered him being and was defiantly darker looking.  Clouds rolled over the full moon above them as Diu looked down at him.  With a snarl, he turned away, disappearing in the night as he became one with it.

“Where are you going?” Koios called after him.

“To hunt.  To kill.  To turn.”  The reply seemed to come from the dark that was threatening to close in on him.  Just as the darkness reached his body and was beginning to enter into him, the scene shifted again and he was standing in the graveyard that he had talked with Anahita in.  He walked through it, not really thinking of anything.  At one point, he passed by a highly polished tombstone and caught sight of something that troubled him to no end: his reflection.

There was the hint of the creature that the strong man in the carnival had possessed completely.  It was closer to being a true part of him, unlike the demon that he had seen in Emaline.  He bit his lip and turned away; this was not something that he wanted to see.  No matter where he turned though, he found himself looking at his visage in the tombstones again.   As he moved onward though, eyes straight ahead, he found that the images he saw from the corner of his eye were changing.  No longer did they show a man and a demon melded together.  Instead, they showed what looked like a human body that was rotting away before him. Koios stopped before one of them to looked closer at it and felt his body seize up.  It was his body.

He awoke with a start as the sun went down.  He had forgotten that he had no need of breath and was currently breathing heavily like he had done when human after a nightmare.  At least the nightmare had been helpful, he found himself thinking with a wry smile.  He had been banned from entering Heaven and Anahita had disappeared to be replaced with Diu.  It was obvious what was being told to him: there was no way he could be with an angel, even if she did look like Brigett.  Diu was his creator and it was Diu who he would stay with.

It was time to tell Diu what was happening to him.

Koios rose late that night, long after the other members of the court had departed for their hunts.  He felt that Diu was still at home though, which helped him to finally come out of his room.  “Diu?” he called out softly.  He knew that the older vampire would be able to hear his voice with no problem.  It was all down to whether or not he cared to answer Koios that night.

“Yes?” The response came almost instantly as Diu seemed to appear out of the shadows that were behind Koios.  “What’s wrong?”

“I have something to tell you.”

There was silence after Koios had finished his story of what had happened to him in the past few nights.  “An angel, you say?” Diu finally asked him.  There was a nod from the younger vampire.  Diu sighed, looking more human than he ever had in the past.  He rose from his place on the couch and began to pace back and forth as he talked.  “I have not needed to deal with things such as this in the past.  You are a strange one, Koios.  You are sure that you have not imagined this entire thing?”

“Yes.  It’s hard to say how I know, but I just…”

“You know.  I understand perfectly.  It’s how I knew that you were going to be in the alley ten years ago.”  There was a pause.  “No, eleven years ago tonight.  Damn, has it really been that long…”  There was silence once again as Diu stopped to think.  He shook his head after a moment and resumed pacing.  “I think that perhaps the best thing to do is to bring you out on a hunt with me.  Reclaim your title as a creature of the night and forget about this angel.  Heaven is a place of purity, yes?  If you are covered in blood once again, the blood that you need to survive, then this angel should leave you be.”

“A hunt?  With you?”

Diu smiled at him.  “Why not.  The night is still young enough.”

Koios nodded and stood.  “Let’s go hunt then.”  He didn’t bother to voice his next thought, of how perhaps hunting with his sire would finally let him be rid of this love that was holding him to earth, allowing him to decay, after all these years without it.

The two vampires left the building with hardly any noise.  The moon was almost dark, but the sliver that was left was more than enough for them to see by where the street lights had gone out or where there weren’t any.  Their search for the perfect prey that night hardly took any time at all.  Not even five minutes after they left did Diu hold out his hand and point to a couple. “It’s time you learn how to make your own childe, Koios.”

“That’s your job.  This is your Court.”

“You’re strong enough now to form a Court of your own.”  Diu looked around and then smiled.  “I’ll provide the distraction to get them parted from one another.  Who do you want?”

“The girl,” Koios said at once.

The elder vampire nodded and then was gone in a flutter of wings and duster.  Koios stood and watched from his place in the shadow of the building he was next to for the right moment to come and strike.  He glanced up a moment as he waited and saw the stars above once again.  Was Anahita up there watching him now?  No, best not to dwell on such ideas.  With a start, he came back to himself and focused on the hunt once more.

Seemingly out of nowhere, a street person appeared before the couple.  A human would not have been able to hear the words that were being exchanged, and Koios barely could.  There were some words and sentences here and there that stuck him, though he couldn’t place his finger on it.  It was only when he saw the street person pull a gun and the man shout out “Run!” that Koios froze.

This was how his own death would have played out had he been an observer in it.

“Are you planning on going after her at any point in the future?” asked a voice from behind him.  Koios spun around, seeing Diu standing there.  “She’s getting away.”

“What the hell did you do.”

“A thrall on a person that dead inside isn’t that hard to pull off.  I simply suggested to him that he might go and see if those two had any money on them.”

“You bastard. They’re both going to end up dead.”

“I didn’t hear you complaining before,” Diu spat at him.

“That was before I knew that you were the one responsible for killing me and Brigett.”  Koios’ eyes were ice cold as the bore into Diu’s.

“Ah yes.  Your precious Brigett.  You know Koios, most vampires give up on their human lives and forget about them after a year.  Those that don’t are considered weak and are taken to Greet the Mane.  I kept you safe from the Elders of the vampires because you amused me.  It was interesting to see how long a vampire could hold onto his humanity.  Your times of amusement have come to an end, however.”  Diu reached into the pocket of his duster and pulled out a piece of carved wood.  It was ornate, the end whittled to look like a fang and the handle of it carved with different pictures that, on a closer look, showed human bodies twined around the vampires, either dead in their arms or just about dead.  “It’s time for you to meet with death one last time.  And I will not save you this time.”

Diu brought up the stake and started it on its downward descent in lightening fast speed. Koios somehow responded with speed that was near equal to Diu’s and dodged out of the way.  The stake still came into contact with his body, but it was no where near his heart and was more of a graze that anything.  Blood oozed out of the wound a bit, slow as the pressure was nowhere near what it would have been had he fed that night.  “I would not ask you to,” he told his sire.  Before the stake could come up and threaten his life again, he took off down the streets.

With a bit of the energy he had swimming around in him, he formed wings and rapidly took to air, flying until he was back near the cemetery that he had meet Anahita at last night.  Landing, he fell to earth, energy depleted.  He could barely walk, let alone attempt to go feed.

“Bridgett,” he called out.  “Anahita, whoever you are…I need you.   I believe you.”

He passed out soon afterwards, not knowing if his plea for help had been heard nor if he would be Greeting the Mane in a few hours time.

°°°°

TRIVIA: It was this chapter here that I realized I had a rather awesome villain in Diu, and I really began to enjoy writing his scenes.  Diu nearly killing Koios here was not something I had originally planned for, but the more I read it, the more it fits and drives the story in a way the original scene I had planned never would.


Lover’s Requiem: Chapter Four

Posting this quick before I go off to work, so no suspense waiting for it while I wait to get off of work.  Have a good day all, and please tell me what you think of it so far!

 

CHAPTER FOUR- PRETTY PEOPLE NEVER LIE, VAMPIRES NEVER REALLY DIE

Koios was the first awake.  Unlike every other time that it happened though, he did not wait around for the others of Diu’s Court to wake and join him in the communal room.  He was dressed in black and was out of the door into the twilight of the near set sun just as the others were beginning to stir.

His hunt was quick this time.  In his rush to make it to the church, he did not think of his own limitations for once.  He grabbed at the first person that he came across and drained them to near death.  Blood still on his lips and too much spilt on the ground around him, his hunger was not yet sated.  He left the alley quick enough to appear to be nothing more than a moving shadow to anyone watching and immediately tracked down another prey.  He was letting his vampiric nature take control of his body for once and it was reveling in it.

After one more near death and one feeding that resulted in not only a large blood loss, but also a loss of life, Koios was on his way to the church.  With power and energy in excess from all that he had done that night, he had no problem in quickly getting to it.  His running was so quick that the landscape blurred even to his own enhanced eyesight.  Any jumps that he made propelled him high into the air and across the little light that the moon gave off so that he was nothing more than a sudden silhouette against it.  He was truly a stalker and a hunter in the night for once in his ten year tenure of being a vampire.

And it was fun.

When he reached the entrance to the church, he finally slowed to a walk.  As he approached the steps that led inside, he found that he was unable to get any closer than just the doors.  Even getting that close was something that was hard to do.  Confused and knowing that he had gone inside just the night before, he pushed himself forward until he touched the doors in order to push them open.  Just like that, he was in sudden pain.  It was as though he was looking back on the crosses that were inside the way he had the night before.  Only a hundred times more painful.

He slowly backed away, hissing slightly as he bared his blood spattered teeth to it.

Something wrong?” asked a voice from behind him.

He twirled around and found himself facing Anahita again.  This time, she wasn’t glowing and had no wings.  She looked only a bit like Bridgett though, which was always a good thing in his book.  Although he had been sure it was her in his dream last night, he wasn’t positive now that he was faced with the real thing.  “Anahita,” he said curtly in way of greeting.

“Something wrong?”

“No.  Everything’s fine,” came his quick reply.

“Then shall we go inside?”  She walked to the doors of the church and pushed them over before going inside.  Once across the threshold, she stopped and turned back to look at him.  “You coming?”

“I…I can’t get inside.”

She nodded.  “I see.”  There was a pause and then, “How much blood did you take tonight?”

“No more than usual.”

“How much more than usual was spilt?”

Koios looked away from her and up to the stars.  “Enough,” he replied after a moment.  “I can’t get in because of that, can I?  It’s because I let the demon in me take control.”  Anahita nodded to him from her place inside the church.  “So, now what?” he asked.  “It’s not like I can walk inside and we can talk there.”

“There is another place,” she said after a moment.”

“Where?”

“Graveyard.  About ten minutes walking at human speed away from here.  Vampires of any court won’t go there after dark.  After all, there’s no fresh blood there, is there?”

He looked at her.  “Meet you there then?”   Before she could truly reply, he was off and running in the direction that she had just motioned in.  He reached it in about three minutes, spending a great deal of the energy that he had gained that night.  Which was probably for the best, he determined, if he was going to spend the night talking to an angel.  Considering what had happened at the church with his demon aspect at the front of his being, he wasn’t really sure he want to know what would happen if he spent any large amount of time with an angel while his demon was still in control.

Not knowing where they were going to meet once there, he paused just outside of the gates, searching for any sign of Anahita.  He saw a brighter area towards the left and through some trees and moved towards it.  Pushing through the branches, he saw Anahita sitting on a rock, waiting for him.

She was as bright as a full moon reflecting on freshly fallen snow and was full of grace even though she was just sitting.  When he stepped into her circle of light, it dimmed a bit.  Was it her own choice or was it from the darkness that he found himself consumed in?  He wasn’t sure, nor was he sure if he really wanted to know.

“Do you remember your dream from last night?” she asked in way of greeting.

He moved to take a seat next to her on the rock.  “Yes.  And, before you ask, yes, I believe it truly happened as well.  You are Bridgett.  However, you are more Anahita now than the girl that I…that James loved.”  He swallowed hard at his error.  It had been years since he had even considered himself as James.  Koios was who he was and who he was going to stay.  He looked at her.  “Who is it?” he asked, repeating the same question he had asked in the dream

“The-One-Who-Takes,” she replied with a small smile.

“The-One-Who-Takes?” An eyebrow was raised.  “Does he have a name that is more name like and less of a description?”

Anahita licked her lips nervously.  “He does.  But I’m not sure if I should tell you.  You won’t like it.”

“Who is it?” he demanded to know through clenched teeth.

“Diu.”

There was complete silence in the graveyard.  Only the sounds of the night could be heard.  Somewhere nearby, an owl hooted and then swooped down to capture some poor unlucky mouse.  The quiet wings were deafening in comparison to the silence that was found in the clearing between the angel and the vampire.

“No.  There’s no way it’s Diu,” Koios said forcefully.

“How can you be sure?  He’s the one who has turned every single person who is in his Court.  Young and old.  And every one of them has had something tragic happen to the other people they were with.”  Anahita looked down at the grass below her feet before drawing in a quiet breath.  “He was the one who killed me.”

“There’s no way he could have killed you!” he shouted at her.  “He was with me the entire time after I was shot.”   He leapt up from the rock and began pacing about.  “He turned me and was with me until I found your broken body and the body of the thief.  There was no way that he could have gotten away, killed you and then have returned to walk beside me and me not notice that he was gone.”

“I didn’t mean him directly,” she spat at him, standing as well.  “Some of his Court actually killed me.  But it was on his order.  They killed the thief too.”

“Who cares about a damn beggar?  He was going to go the hell anyway!”

“Are you so sure of that?” she asked.  The sudden softness of her voice was such a contrast to Koios shouting that it made him stop cold in his walking.  “He wasn’t trying to kill us.  Just get money so that his children could eat that night.”

“It doesn’t matter,” he spat out at her.  “It was his fault that it all happened anyways.”  He walked to the edge of the clearing before turning to look over his shoulder at her.  “I’m leaving.  Going back to the Court.”

“Koios,” Anahita spoke.  It was the first time that she had ever called him by any other name but James.  It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough to keep him from leaving as he turned completely around to look at her.  “Please.  Don’t block off your mind.  You were open-minded in life.  Why are you boxing yourself in now in death?”

“Vampires never really die,” he responded wryly.  “Humans do, but when we turn to dust, we are just that, dust.”  A sardonic grin graced his features and it made him look even more ghoulish in the pale light that was around the two of them.  “Ashes to ashes.”

“Will you at least think about what I have said?” she asked him as she approached.  A hand was gently placed on his shoulder as she looked him straight in the eyes.  She knew that she could see the hurt and confusion that he held and wondered, briefly, just what he was able to see in her.

“Yes,” Koios said softly, before leaning down and brushing her lips with his.  “I can promise that much.  There will be no way that I can not.”

“Then can I ask one more thing?”

“What?”

“Is there a way that I might be able to be connected with you?  In case you change your mind about Diu and want to talk about it with me?”

He stepped away from her, running a hand through his hair.  “There is a way,” he began slowly.  “But I doubt that you’re going to like it.  Plus, I haven’t a clue on if it’s allowed or not.  Especially with you.”

“I…I don’t understand.  What—“

He licked his lips in apprehension before interrupting her sentence.  “Biting.  Blood exchange.  I’m connected with you and you are connected with me.”

She blinked at him for a moment.  “Are you insane?”

He shrugged and laughed slightly.  “More than likely.  Was in life, can’t see why that should be different now.”

“You’d turn an angel?”

“Not turn,” he said quickly.  “Never turn.  I wouldn’t force this existence on anyone who didn’t want it.  Sure, it’s great to live forever, but not when you have to live off blood.”  Koios looked at her.  “I believe you said the same thing last night in the dream.”

This time, it was Anahita who flinched.  “Then never mind.  I will not take blood.”

“Good, because I wasn’t exactly offering.  I was just saying that was the only option that we had.”  He stalked back to the shadows of the trees and stood there for a moment.  “How will I know?”

“Know what?”

“If you need to see me again.  Or what if I decide that I need to see you?”

She gave him a sad smile.  “No blood exchange means no contact outside of dreams.”

He just stared at her before disappearing into the shadows of the trees.  A moment later, he came back with a single red rose the color of the blood he had been drinking that night.  With a mock bow, he handed it to her.  “For you, angel.”  She took it, thinking that he had taken it from one of the graves and planned on dropping it as soon as he was gone.  She did not steal from the dead.

What she would never know was that Koios had used the last of the excess energy he had gained that night into asking the small flower for faster growth and bloom so that he might give it to her.

No response came to him from her lips, so he simply nodded his goodbye and became one with the night.  Anahita waited until she was sure that he was gone before putting the rose on the rock and disappearing in a silent, but blinding, flash of light.

Unseen by all, the rose took root.

°°°°
Trivia: It was in this chapter that I really started to create what the “vampire mythos” was for this story. I took other ideas out there, and then played with them until they became my own. I think it ended up working really well.


For your enjoyment

Talking with Liz of Green Eye Editing tonight, we discussed some of our earliest writings and how we have improved since then.  My first story was that of a vampire named Drake Coldheart.  And while writing it, I fell into every single writing pitfall and cliche that there is. The vampire was GOOD because…because…he was.  And EPICLY POWERED EVIL bad guys that want to RULE THE WORLD MWAHAHAHAHAH even though they have no reason to aside from the fact they can.  And character names that make NO SENSE, but sound epic, like Millennium, Rane, Xzior and Shayde.  Drake and Evan seemed normal compared to those. And Rane had a pet panther.

Yeah, I don’t know about that one either….

My writing was…atrocious and the dialogue wasn’t much better.

I still have it all.

So here, have an excerpt of the first (because all good fantasy books come in threes, thought 14/15 year old me, and mine is going to be AMAZING!) of Drake’s novels.  By the time I got around to writing the third, it was painful for me to go back and read this. So I like to think I got a lot better.  Tomorrow, I plan to go through this excerpt line by line and discuss what makes it work–and, more likely, what doesn’t.

Please, enjoy my humiliation. :)

Xzior awoke a few hours before dawn from a knock at the front door.
“Come in.” She said, her head still groggy.
Drake walk in a moment later and  closed the door quietly behind him.  Xzior looked over and saw him in the coat with a shirt draped over his arm.
“Nice coat.  Who’d you rob?”
            “Surprisingly enough, no one.”  Drake responded.”  Person named Evan gave it to me after he and I faced down a mage that tried to kill me.”
Any clue why he tried to?”
“Not one, except he said his ‘master’ had told him to.”
“Did you try to get more information about this master of his?”
            “It’s kind of hard to talk to a dead person you know.  He killed himself after he said that.”
 “I would’ve liked to learn more.”
           
“Funny, that’s the exact same thing I said.”  he looked around the room, and seeing no one around he asked hesitantly, “Mind if I crash here again tonight?  Or rather, today?”
           
“No, your room is still open.  It can be yours to keep if you want it.”
           
Thanks.”  he said, going down the hallway.  A moment later, Xzior heard the door close.
            
 “No problem.”  she muttered to herself.
            Xzior laid back down on the couch and tried to get back too sleep.  She couldn’t do it though.  Finally, she got up and started pacing about the living room, trying to make sense of here feelings and problems.  When that didn’t work, she went into the kitchen to make herself some hot tea.
           
She put water in an old, battered, copper kettle and turned on the stove.  Then she went over to the table and sat down, placing her head in her hands.
             
She awoke later to the sound of the kettle whistling.  She sighed and got up to turn off the stove.  Then se got out a coffee cup and waited for the tea to steep.  Then, with out bothering to add sugar, she drank it all down in three large gulps.
           
It seemed to calm here stomach enough so that she could get some sleep.  She went back to her couch to lay down again.  Little by little, she finally drifted into a dreamless sleep.
             
When she awoke the next morning, the sun was shinning directly into here eyes through the large, boy window behind her.  She got up and rubbed here eyes to try and wake up.
           
Eventually, she was able to get together a semblance of awareness and stumbled down the hall into here room.  There, she went to her closet to pick out here clothes for the day.  She finally decided on a black shirt with blue jeans and proceeded to change here clothes.
           
When she came out of her room, she went over to the bathroom to get here hairbrush, but the door was closed Xzior knocked on the door loudly.
           
What?”, sounded a voice form inside. Xzior recognized it as Millennium’s.
            
 “Millennium, it’s Xzior. Can I have my hairbrush and a ponytail?”
             
“Sure.”  Millennium responded. There was an opening of draws and a shuffling noise before the door opened a crack and Millennium hand appeared holding a hairbrush with a pony tail wrapped around it.
           
Xzior took it, and Millennium closed the door as soon as both of their hands were out of the way.
           
“Thanks girl.”  She said through the door.  Wandering down he hall, Xzior brushed here hair until all of the knots were out of it.  Then, as she entered the kitchen, she put up here hair to prepare to face the day.  “Millennium, she yelled over here shoulder,”  what do you want to eat for breakfast?”
           
How about a bagel?”  Millennium responded, walking into the kitchen, drying her hair.
           
“Want cream cheese on it?”
            
 “No thanks.  I’ll just have it plain and toasted.”
           
“How about just plain and not toasted.  The toaster’s busted.”
           
“Fine.  Your toaster burnt everything anyway.”
             
Xzior rolled here eyes and got out the bag of bagels from the fridge.  “catch.”  she said, throwing a bagel to Millennium.
           
She made a dive, but missed.  She quickly picked it up and dusted it off. “five second rule.”  she explained, biting into it.
           
“Ah.”  Xzior said, nodding. Then she got one out of the bag and bit into it. “Not bad.  I like them better toasted though.”
             
“Different strokes for different folks, I guess.”
           
Xzior nodded. “True.”
            
 A little later, when they were done with their breakfast, there was a knock on the door.
“I’ll get it.”  said Millennium, getting up.  She opened up the front door and Evan was standing there.
           
“Excuse my bluntness, but who the hell are you?”
          
  “I’m Evan McCloud!  I wandered into that alley back there and next thing I knew I was here.”
           
“Like hell you did.  How long did you practice that speech?”
           
“Not once.”
           
“It shows.” Millennium turned towards Xzior. “Can I kill him?  Please?!”
           
“What did you say his name was again?” said Xzior, getting up off the couch.
             
“I’m Evan McCloud.  I said that before.”
            
 “Would you by chance know a Drake?”
             
“Yeah, met him last night, why?”
           
Xzior turned to Millennium,  “Sorry, no killing him today.  Can’t win or rather…kill them all.”
           
Xzior laughed then turned back to Evan.  “What are doing here?”
           
“Would you believe I just stumbled in?”
           
“No.”
           
“Didn’t think so.”
          
  “Then why’d you try?”
          
  “It was worth a shot.”
           
“I’ll give you brownie points for that.  Now tell me, why are you really here?”
             
“Alright. Last night, Drake told me that he was hopefully going to be staying with you.  I ended up following him and saw him disappear into the alleyway.  I hung out there until this morning when I went through and came here. I had a hell of a time trying to find your house.  You should put up maps that have a little star on them saying ‘You are here’ or something”
            
 “That makes things to easy for unwanted visitors.  At least I know they have to work in order to find their way to my house.”  Xzior said,  wandering back into the living room.  Millennium followed her a moment later with Evan directly behind her.
          
  “So, can I stay here?”  He asked hopefully.
           
“What do you think Millennium?  Do we keep ‘em or turn him away?”
           
“I think we give him a trial run.  You know, see if he knows how to clean up after him self and not burn the macaroni and cheese.”
           
“You did that?” asked Xzior.
            
 “Off topic, but yes I did a long time ago.  I’ve become a much better cook since then.”
           
“I’m not anxious to test that theory if you don’t mind me saying so.”
           
“I don’t care.”
           
“Alright then Evan,”  started Xzior, “you can stay.  There’s a room up the stairs behind you there that you can stay in.”
           
Evan turned around and didn’t see any stairs.  “What stairs?”
           
Millennium waved here right hand about and abruptly, a set of stairs with rooms at the end of it appeared.  “Those stairs.  Now Get!”  she said, pushing Evan towards the stairs.
             
“I’m going.  Relax.” he said, shaking here off.
           
Xzior and Millennium plopped down on the couch together and sighed.  Xzior turned to Millennium and said.  “I need a bigger house.”
           
“Yea, “ she replied, “ that you do.”