Hi, folks. I missed you guys last week while I was a bit under the weather. But, I’m back now, none the worse for wear, and ready to continue with Claire Deerfoot’s last visit to The Dragon.
But first, let’s check the old TBR list…
What I’m Currently Reading…
…is nothing. Well, not nothing. I’ve been reading over my first novel, The Draculata Nest, in preparation for a re-edit, which may include an additional story line and even a re-release under a different title. At any rate, I don’t know if that counts as reading. (I did enjoy it, though. It’s a good book. J )
I finished Devyn Dawson’s The Legacy of Kilkenny. I’m only giving it three stars. I honestly liked the story, its characters and pace, but I can’t recommend it due to some major flaws, all of which could have been corrected with a bit of editing.
The novel is written from the first person, present tense, point of view. So (so, so, sooooo) many writers are using this POV these days. It has to be difficult to have a story unfold before the reader’s eyes as it happens while still providing background information or looking through a different character’s eyes. Dawson stumbles with it, often changing tenses, sometimes within the same sentence. She flips back and forth between the two main characters by titling each chapter with the character’s name, but since both characters have such a similar voice, I found myself regularly turning back a few pages to figure out who was doing the narration.
The author also came up with her own rules of punctuation, or often abandoned them altogether. Sentences were separated by commas or simply run together. I got used to it after a while, because the story grabbed my interest, but I had to stop regularly to puzzle out who was saying what and how.
Here’s an interesting footnote to the above criticisms. There’s a sneak peak chapter or two of the sequel at the end of the Kindle version. With the second book, the author has abandoned the present tense, although she still uses a first person POV, and the punctuation problems have been completely erased. I even found –low and behold – a semicolon in one of the first few pages!
Next up on my TBR list is Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s Brimstone. It came highly recommended by my know-it-all-friend David, but I haven’t started it yet.
When we left off
last week two weeks ago, Claire Deerfoot had
found the entrance to The Dragon’s lair, and Sethmus The Smith was about to
lead her within…
Claire Visits The Dragon, Part 3…
The lair was mostly as she’d remembered. A maze of tunnels connected small rooms and cavernous halls for miles under what was today Doughton Park, a favorite recreation area along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“You’re lucky,” Sethmus informed her as he led the way through enough twists and turns to thoroughly destroy her sense of direction, “since we didn’t know you were coming. Pieter’s hardly ever here these days, but it just so happens he dropped in this week to use the lab.”
“Yeah, it’s new since you were here last. Really something, too. Dr. Pet… I mean, Pieter…” He stopped in mid-sentence. His expression suggested he’d said more than he should. “Uh, he probably ought to be the one to fill you in on the details. Suffice it to say, you’ll be impressed.”
And impressed she was, when she found herself there a short time later, wrapped in a too-large robe Sethmus had hastily pulled from a storeroom along the way. She sat at a long work table, surrounded by banks of computers and laboratory equipment that looked like it might be intended for some kind of medical research.
Pieter had chosen to receive her in his true form instead of the Doctor Pet-something persona Sethmus had almost let slip before. The huge green dragon sat folded comfortably on the floor across the table from her and spoke in a rich baritone. His voice made a strange echo. She heard it both in her ears and in her mind.
“This is an unexpected pleasure, Claws-On-The-Foot. I had given up hope of ever seeing you again. You look well.”
“Thanks,” she said. “You can call me Claire. It’s easier. Sorry to show up un-announced, but… well, I wouldn’t know how to go about announcing it anyway.”
The Dragon nodded. “It’s not a problem. You seem to have chosen a serendipitous time, what with the moon and stars aligned correctly to reveal the trail and myself having dropped by on a whim. Perhaps,” he spread his wings in an odd shrugging gesture, “it was meant to be.”
“Like, part of the Prophecy?”
Again the shrug. “Whatever the reasons, it is good to see you. Ah, he’s back.”
Sethmus entered the room carrying a small tray, from which he took a steaming cup of soup and placed it in front of her. She wrapped her still-cold fingers around it gratefully. “Thanks,” she said. Sethmus nodded and took a seat at the far end of the table with a cup of his own.
“So you believe you’ve found the Red Wolf of Prophecy,” said The Dragon, raising a scaly brow ridge.
She nodded, taking a sip of the soup and sighing appreciatively. “You sound skeptical,” she said.
“It is a bit of a surprise, at this late date.” He sighed. “I want to believe you. But, I’m afraid to get my hopes up.”
“Then we’re kind of on the same page. It’s why I came here.”
The Dragon slowly nodded his huge head. “Please, go on.”
“I left here last time, after you gave me the prophecy, assuming the white omega was me, that Swifter-Than-Deer and I would bring a son into the world who would be the male omega. That’s what you led me to believe.” She looked to him for confirmation.
The Dragon shifted his position, took a deep breath, and exhaled slowly through his nostrils. The temperature of the room rose slightly, and Claire detected an odor of sulfur. “That’s how I interpreted the Prophecy, too… at the time.”
Claire waited for him to elaborate, but he didn’t. “Okay,” she continued. “Uh… so I knew the two boys I already had weren’t omega wolves. I expected to get pregnant again soon, but I… never got the chance… after…” Unexpected emotion closed her throat. She tried to dismiss it with a wave of her hand. “Sorry.”
“Don’t be,” said The Dragon. “Our tears are the purest eulogy.”
His kind, gentle tone invited a flood. But she blinked back the tears and cleared her throat. “When I lost my husband and sons, I believed, in time, I would find another mate.” She shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough? Anyway, it never happened, and eventually I figured I wasn’t the one, after all. I accepted it, but I thought… maybe one of my descendants?”
The Dragon nodded. “Yes, I followed that same line of thought. And when other omega females were born I wondered if the chosen one was not to be Uwharrie after all. Then I wondered if the white part in the prophecy referred to purity instead of color. To this day, after a thousand years, you are still the only omega with white fur.”
“And the only Uwharrie omega,” she added. “But I have a niece - or, rather, a great-great-great grand niece – who I suspect may be omega. She’s only sixteen, and her wolf has not yet emerged. At least I don’t think so. She ran away from home a few years ago. I was trying to find her when I ran across Clifford Crane.
“It was completely by accident. I was out hunting along a greenway in Charlotte, just before dawn. He was out jogging. I was drawn to him…”
A snigger came from the end of the table.
“It wasn’t like that, Sethmus,” she glared. “I thought I explained that before. Why do you assume I have the hots for this guy?”
“Whoa, easy now.” Sethmus threw his huge hands up like a shield, chuckling. He grinned at The Dragon. “Pieter, me thinks she doth protest too much!”
The Dragon’s expression might have been one of amusement. It was hard to tell. Nevertheless, he admonished his companion, “Sethmus, please. Let her tell us what she’s found.”
Sethmus gave a what-did-I-do shrug. He started to say something, thought better of it, clamped his mouth shut, and folded his arms across his massive chest.
Claire cleared her throat. “Anyway,” she continued, “once I met him in person, it was obvious he was a wolf.”
“Ah,” interjected The Dragon, “you are able to see that in someone before the wolf comes out? That’s a rare gift, isn’t it?”
“It’s unusual,” she confirmed. “I do know a few others who have the talent.”
“Are you a hundred percent accurate?”
“Noooo… not always. I mean, I don’t always see it. It’s more obvious in some than others. When I see it, I’m never wrong. With Cliff, it’s very obvious, like his wolf is trapped and screaming to come out.”
“Hmm,” he rumbled, “interesting. Remind me to get a blood sample from you before you leave. I’d love to run some tests. But… go on.”
Claire frowned. Blood sample? Tests? The way he said it was incongruent for a dragon, such a quintessential creature of magic. She glanced around at all the modern laboratory equipment, and a thousand questions popped into her head.
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