It’s time again for Blogophilia, the fun blog group where martien gives participants prompts to use in their weekly blog. This week’s prompts are:
All I wanna do is finish this story, but between internet issues and needing to get to bed, I didn’t make it. Plus, I don;t know where to end it. If you’ve read Shades of Gray you know which battle this is leading to. How much of it do I want to rewrite from a different PoV? I mean, how boring would it be for people who’ve read the book? Anyway, I guess I have another week to decide. Meantime, here is what we have for this week:
Franklin listened to the first three interviews, but the sameness bored him. It was almost as if they were rehearsed; even going so far as to use the same phrase: “Michael betrayed the coven to help Jorick and his fledgling.” What might have been interesting – such as why he betrayed them, or why Oren and the Hand of Death had suddenly decided to take Claudius’ mate over an “old disagreement”, or even a some clue about Kateesha’s involvement – were topics that Senya and Bren ignored.
I suppose they’re not interested in it.
Claudius skulked in the background, looking angrier and angrier with each passing minute. When Franklin abandoned the interviews, he made a point to walk past the irate vampire and caught a snarled comment to Troy.
“-stop all of this time wasting! If they mean to begin, begin!”
Franklin kept his reply to himself and headed outside. Zuri leaned against the building, arms crossed, eyes closed. He didn’t open them, but still nodded as Franklin stopped next to him.
“The Hand of Death,” he said finally.
Franklin sucked air through his teeth and looked up to the star strewn sky. “And Kateesha, the Tormenter in the same fight.”
“Did you work with them?” Zuri turned reddish-brown eyes on him.
“I was a guard while he was there, though I never worked an assignment with him. I was prompted to Executioner after her revolt.”
Zuri nodded. “I worked with both as a guard, and was made Executioner when she left the first time.”
“You served under her command, then?”
Zuri nodded. “She makes Senya seem sweet. They say women’s tongues are as sharp as two edged swords…everything about Kateesha was deadly.”
“I know. And him…”
They fell silent, and Franklin knew they were both thinking the same thing: five Executioners wasn’t enough.
Not to fight both of them.
Senya and Bren finished their interviews, then Senya took time to threaten Claudius one more time before they climbed back in the vehicles. A short trip later and they were at the airfield again.
“The flight should be just over an hour,” Senya told them as they took seats on the plane. “We’ll meet the others and take shelter for the day. Tomorrow night we’ll retrieve his prize, assuming she’s even there.”
“You think he’s lying?” Greneth asked with surprise.
“Claudius? No, though I’m sure he’s withholding plenty about this so-called hostilities. He’s been in trouble several times recently for unlawful wars.” She brandished the folder. “His accounts have even been frozen until it can be sorted out. I imagine that has something to do with taking a month to report the kidnapping. No doubt he’s just as guilty as they are. Why else would there be a sudden escalation in a war that’s dragged on for more than twenty years?”
Franklin cocked an eyebrow. “So we’re not going to get involved?”
Senya scoffed. “We’ll follow our orders. We’ll attack Oren’s den, deal with the occupants, and if Claudius’ mate is there, we’ll take her. If not, it won’t be time wasted – not if the rumors are true.”
“What rumors?” Greneth asked.
“Haven’t you heard?” Senya asked, a hint of mocking in her tone. “They say Jorick’s fledgling keeps a secret.”
“What secret?” Greneth asked impatiently.
She rolled her eyes. “If that was known, it wouldn’t be a secret!”
Bren snickered, and with a huff Greneth turned back to his little red book.
They landed in Virginia, where vehicles were waiting for them. They were driven to a local den, where they met up with the other guards.
After a quick call to the Guild, Bren informed them that the Execution Council would meet them tomorrow. “At Oren’s den,” he added with a glance to Senya.
“They’re too spineless to even travel with the warriors,” she said. “It’s a waste of time. It would be better if Malick just gave us permission to kill everyone.”
If we can, Franklin thought.
They bedded down in room with covered windows. Franklin called Migina with a quick update, and promised to be home soon. “It’s just a battle with two legends. How could it go wrong?”
Though it was a joke, he heard the fear echoed in Migina’s voice, “Don’t engage them. There will be plenty of smaller fish.”
“You doubt my abilities now?” he teased.
It took her a moment too long to answer. “No.”
“Then you doubt my word? I promised you I’d return.”
It was another moment before she said, “Just be careful.”
“I will.” He smiled into the phone. “I promise.”
Franklin woke just before sunset. In a strange place, he had nowhere to go, so he waited until the others woke to climb to his feet and dust off his coat.
Bren gave one of their hosts a hard look. “Where do you feed?”
“In-in the trees. There’s animals.”
“There are,” Greneth murmured.
Franklin shot him a questioning look, and Greneth repeated, “There are. There are animals. Never mind. Writers are sensitive to poor grammar.”
And so are bad poets, apparently.
Senya checked the app, then told them to feed quickly. “We want to get there early so we have plenty of time.”
Franklin trooped outside and through the trees. He found a fox quickly and used his abilities to freeze it in place. Unlike a whisperer, who could soothe and calm their victims, a puppet master’s target remained completely aware, just unable to control their body, even as their brain screamed in terror.
He emptied the animal quickly and sat back on his haunches, the smell of dead leaves and undergrowth heavy in his nose. With the smell always came the memory of that night. By the time they’d dragged him from under the bed, his family was already dead. He couldn’t remember exactly what was said, but Kelly had announced something to the effect that they could use a slave. Instead of killing him, they’d taken him with them. He’d escaped once on the way through the dark woods. He clearly remembered running, stumbling, falling face first among the dead leaves. Even now, so many years later, that smell brought back a shadow of the terror he’d felt; a stab of blood scented fear.
Fear Kelly taught him to hide with the lash of a belt.
Or several lashes is more like it.
Franklin pushed away the past and met the others near the house. Senya, phone pressed to her ear, motioned them into the vehicles.
She hung up and swung into the passenger seat. “The Execution Council is en route.” She looked over her shoulder. “We’ll park just down from the den and arrive on foot to prevent a surprise attack from them.”
Franklin pulled his bag into his lap and dug out a set of daggers and something that looked like a machete in a leather sheath. He tugged it out, double checking that the three square cut notches were clean. They were what gave it the ability to grab a vampire’s heart and rip it out a single move, and what had earned it the title, “heart breaker”.
He jammed it back in the sheath. We’re going to break some hearts tonight, sweetheart.
- elements 2. water bending 3. fire and water 4. set fire to the rain 5. burning ice 6. ice candle 7. I bet Jonathan guesses this one. 8. His voodoo skills are strong. 9. If he doesn’t guess it then I’ll know he’s holding back on purpose. 10. or else he ran out of rubber chickens. 11. frozen fire 12. burning cold 13. cold as fire 14. blue light 15. I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. 16. cold flame 17. a song of ice and fire 18. freezing in the dark 19. cold comfort 20. drip