Saturday, November 9, 2013

Claire Visits The Dragon, Part 2

Monday, 11/18/13
        My apologies to those of you who visited this weekend, only to find nothing new. I've been a bit under the weather and was unable to post on my blog this past week. I'm recovering nicely, though, and you can expect more on Friday or Saturday. In the meantime, happy reading!

Hi, folks. Wow, it’s hard to believe another week has flown by. Hope yours was as productive as mine. I’m happy to report I’m on somewhat of a roll with Red Wolf Rising. It really feels good when a character breaks from their ennui, and I had several do that this week.
Of course, the downside of that is I’ve neglected my social media presence and my blog, because work on my novel has been just too damn much fun! Oh, well. It’s a First World problem. I’m not complaining.
And I’ve planned ahead a little anyway. In the next few weeks you’ll get the rest of Claire’s meeting with The Dragon, followed by a character profile of Pieter and some history of the dragons in general. I’m going to share some stuff that won’t be revealed in the Red Wolf series until the fourth or fifth book, so don’t miss out.

But first, let’s check the old TBR list…

What I’m Currently Reading…

I finished Skye Callahan’s Fractured Legacy a few days ago. I found it a good start to a promising paranormal series. I liked the female protagonist, the pace was great, with plenty of action, and the understated sexual tension between Kaylyn and her boss made me hunger for the next in the series. I gave it four-out-of-five stars, and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the second Darkness Bound book.
 
Unfortunately, I’m finding Devyn Dawson’s The Legacy of Kilkenny, which rose to the top of my TBR list, a bit of a letdown. I’m a little put off with the author’s writing style, which features a first person POV, primarily in present tense, but with enough random tense changes to make you wonder. Incorrect use of words and punctuation suggest the work was never edited, which I find irritating. However…
 
The story shows a great deal of promise. It’s about werewolves-as-protectors-of-mankind and has an element of prophecy. I have a weakness for such things… obviously. J

Okay, now…

Claire Deerfoot, known then as Claws-On-The-Foot, was given the prophecy of the red wolf, the male omega, long ago. Five hundred years later, she has again sought out the secret lair of The Dragon, looking for answers. She finds herself out on a limb… literally.

Claire Visits The Dragon, Part 2…

“Well, I’ll be damned,” he said. “Claws-On-The-Foot! Is that you?”
“Yeah, it’s me. Hi, Sethmus.”
“Gods, woman, what have you gotten yourself into?”
“I was trying to get to the damn door, but…” She spread her arms and shrugged. The pine trunk wobbled. “Oh, shit,” she muttered, grabbing it again to steady herself.
Sethmus held out a cautionary hand. “Whoa. Careful, now. Just hang on a sec. Let me get some rope. I’ll be right back.” He disappeared.

He returned a few minutes later with a thick coil of rope over one shoulder and dragging an elaborate tangle of pulleys. “Hold still,” he called. He uncoiled half the rope and slung the remainder towards her. It followed a graceful arc through the air and landed on the tree trunk within easy reach. “Tie that end around you. Make sure it’s good and tight. I’ll have you out of there in no time.”

He disappeared again, and she could hear the metal pulleys clacking together while she engaged herself in making a noose, slipping it over her shoulders, and tightening it up under her arms. Sethmus reappeared at the ledge holding the other end of the rope. “How’s it going?” he asked.
“All secure,” she called. She held up the knot she’d made for his inspection.
He nodded his approval. He pulled in the slack on the rope. “Can you stand up?”
“Maybe.”
“Try it.”

Gingerly, she brought her feet up onto the fallen trunk and tried to stand. She’d gotten into a wobbly crouch when Sethmus called her to a halt.
“Okay,” he called, “That’s good enough. Keep those knees bent. I’ll count ‘one-two-three-jump.’ On jump, you push off hard as you can and I’ll pull on this end. Ready? One, two…”

“Wait!” she yelled. “I don’t like the angle here. I’m either gonna end up down there…” She pointed at the dangerous-looking tangle below. “… or smashed into the rock there.” She pointed at the face of the cliff.

“Really?” Sethmus screwed up his face as if he was considering this for the first time. “Nah, I don’t think so.”
“You don’t think so?”
“Well, I’ve never done this before, but… hey, what could happen?”
“I already told you what could happen. Weren’t you listening?”
“It’s just an expression. Don’t worry. You’ll be fine. I got it all figured out. Trust me. One, two…”
“Oh, shit,” she muttered.
“…three, jump!

She pushed down with her legs as hard as she could. The pressure was too much for the already damaged tree trunk. It cracked in two.
She was falling. She looked up helplessly to see Sethmus leap off the ledge clutching the end of the rope. Suddenly she was jerked skyward. She heard him shout, “Bend your knees!” She barely managed to do so before she made a perfectly soft two-point landing on the ledge, none the worse for wear.

She exhaled a shaky breath.
“Told ya it’d be okay,” gloated Sethmus as he pulled himself up by the rope and climbed over the edge of the cliff. He unfolded himself to his full height and beamed down at her. “Wow. Claws-On-The-Foot. Ya look good for an o…” He cut himself off. Emotion clouded his face. “I heard about Swifter-Than-Deer.”
“He never got a chance to use the armor you made for him, Sethmus. I think it would have saved him.”
“I’m sorry.”
Claire shrugged. “It was a long time ago.”
Sethmus shook his head. “Doesn’t seem so long to me, but… Hey, you must be freezin’.”

As if on cue, she shivered. “Kind of,” she admitted, hugging herself.
He walked over to the face of the cliff and pressed his palm against the rock. A hidden door rose smoothly on silent hinges. He ducked through the entrance and reappeared with a bundle of furs. “Put these around you while I clean up my mess. Can’t leave any telltale signs around.”
The furs were warm and provided immediate relief. She watched him disassemble the rope-and-pulley rig, marveling at the dexterity of his huge fingers. This man, or demigod, or whatever he was, was as much of an enigma as the dragon he’d allied himself with. Not for the first time, she wished to know his story. But she doubted she ever would.

He paused in the middle of re-coiling the rope and frowned at her. “Come to think of it, five hundred years would be a long time for you. In fact, you oughta be…” He hesitated.
“…dead by now?” she finished for him.
He grinned, his blush deepening. “I was gonna put it another way. But, yeah, that’s the gist of it. You must be pushin’ a thousand by now.” He leaned closer and peered at her face. “You don’t look it.”

“Thanks… I guess,” she said, “but I did look it a few months ago. That’s one of the things I wanted to talk to The Dragon about. I met someone…”
“Ahhhh, you’re in love. That explains it.” He went back to coiling the rope. “Some of the most powerful magic in the world.”
It was her turn to blush. “No, it’s not that. I mean… I don’t know. He’s special. Not like other men.”
Sethmus rolled his eyes. “I’m sure.”
“I think he might be the one foretold in prophecy.”

Sethmus stopped. “The male omega?”
She shrugged. “Maybe.”
“What do you mean, maybe? Is he a red wolf?”
“His wolf hasn’t come out yet.”
“But he was, you know, ‘born of the white omega,’ and all that? Who’s the bitch… I mean, his mother?”
She shrugged again. “I don’t know.”
“Father?”

She shook her head. “I know nothing of his parentage. He’s not one of our pack, Sethmus. In fact, he didn’t know he was a werewolf until I told him. He’s lived his whole life not even knowing we existed.”
“His whole life? How long is that?”
“He’s over fifty. Middle aged, for a human.”
“So, this is some random guy you just met? Some random, old guy?”

“There’s some powerful magic in him, Sethmus,” she said. “Look what it’s done for me, just being near him for a while.”
Sethmus muttered, half to himself, “And you figure, if you turn him…”
“It would fit the prophecy, wouldn’t it? The prophecy in ancient Uwharrie used the word, maktukt, literally sprung from the mind of, but also used as created or given birth to, just like how we use born today. I mean, it translates, right? “

Sethmus scowled. “Yeah, it translates, but…” He resumed coiling the rope. “Hey, what the hell. Prophecy’s a funny thing.” He tossed the coil of rope and the pulley assembly over his shoulder. “Come on. Let’s get inside where it’s warm. I’ll let Pieter know you’re here.”

 
         More to come next week in part 3. Until then… Happy Reading!

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The Draculata Nest -----------------------------------------------------------------------

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The Dragon of Doughton Park ----------------------------------------------------------


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