Walking the Blade will be a series of urban fantasy novels based on the life and relationships of a dragon who can shift into human form. The stories you see here are snippets and scenes that I wanted to share with you – things we wrote to further develop and fill in the history of our cast of characters.
You’ll be seeing the cultures and lives of demons, vampires, dragons, lycan or werewolves, along with mages and magic users. There is a trigger warning, in that slavery and indentured servitude are mentioned. There are adult themes, including sexual content and violence. But all in all, most of our readers love these stories. We hope you enjoy it and come back for more…Rachel Adams and Dawn McClellan
Her gaze moved over him again as she lifted a brow in critical judgment.
“What?” He looked down at himself. He didn’t look bad, did he? Sebastian hadn’t complained… His green-blue eyes lifted back to meet Katherine Kennedy’s assessing gaze. “These clothes. They’re not exactly fitting me. I just threw on what I could since I was to move things covered in dust.”
“You need a new outfit for my party. I turn seventeen and mama demands I have a debutante ball. You need better than that to be present.”
“And I need to be at a young woman’s coming out ball, why?” It sounded in no way fun to the dragon. If those attending were her age, no thank you. He’d been around enough lycan her age to do him well for some time.
Katherine took in a slow breath, “Of course you have to be there. All the eligible gentlemen from the area are attending. You’ll need to see them in order to give me your opinion on them.”
“I see.” Well, now this was unexpected. He continued to listen, his eyes remaining on her as they stood facing one another.
“I’m particular in what I want in a husband. My parents aren’t choosing for me. I’d poison my father in his sleep if he dared accept an offer for my hand without my consent.” Her hazel eyes glittered dangerously right then.
“Well,” He looked around. “Shall we go somewhere and discuss what the plans are? I have a few moments to spare.” He offered her an arm. “You just lead and pretend I know where I’m going?” he chuckled, hoping to at least get a bit of the frigidity from her.
Slipping her arm through his, Katherine attempted just a hint of a smile. She listened as he spoke along the way to the parlor.
“So, before we do this, let me tell you that as a human, I will need to be drunk or drinking to get the full capacity of my aura reading to come through. I don’t want you to think I’m less for it and I can behave, but it makes things easier.” Give a little and hopefully, she thinks you’re being completely open. That was his play here.
“I’m sure drink will be on hand. Just don’t lose your faculties and become an embarrassment. I won’t take that well at all.” Once in the parlor she closed the door and took a seat across from him.
“Now, what kind of husband are you looking for? Who’s in the game?”
“I want a husband I can control. I won’t have someone who’s stronger or smarter than me.” Katherine was very serious about this and yet she didn’t think the dragon was taking her very seriously from the way he was looking at her. “I won’t be bullied or forced into certain roles by my husband.”
“Yes, but what do you want? Not smart isn’t very fun – moldable… sure. Not stronger… I understand that. But you have the choice of many. Many races – unless you want human. Many styles.”
“What I really want is to be left alone and not have to choose a suitor right now, but that isn’t an option. And if it’s anything other than human there’s the possibility of ending up in my father’s office.”
“Is your father pushing it, too?”
“The threat of war has him worried that all the eligible, worthy men will be shipped off and I’ll end up a spinster.” She couldn’t help the curl of her lips when she said it out loud.
“That’s a good possibility. But, if they die in war, at least you won’t have to deal with them. That’s a bonus. So someone who already plans on going?”
“Yes, that would be fortuitous wouldn’t it? Enlisted would be acceptable.” Katherine relaxed and lost some of the stern exterious as she got into the topic at hand. “A good fortune would do well too.”
“That goes without saying. Of course, the reason your father wanted me was that I help out with the Kennedy coffers.” Senias sighed as he thought about it. “This estate couldn’t have been inexpensive. And there is war at hand soon, from what I hear. Even if it’s not here, people of your father’s standing will be asked to contribute.”
“The foolish man will give away everything we possess if not watched carefully. You need to make sure he doesn’t leave us homeless paupers.” Katherine muttered low and scowled at the thought of it.
“Note taken.” He tapped his temple.
“Speaking of the upcoming war, I do have a job for you.” She waved off his opinion before he’d even made one. “It’s not for me personally. I need you to help some gypsies create wards around the estate. I’d rather not have this place destroyed if possible to prevent such and keep those within safe at the same time.”
“I doubt the war is coming here, but I’m sure that can be handled. I’ve worked with Traveller magic before. It’s actually quite dazzling.” He leaned forward in his seat and thought about it. “Of course, it’s proper to be introduced beforehand so that they accept the help.” That would need to be handled by her.
“That can be arranged. Will you be available this evening after everyone has turned in?” Katherine was planning it out in her head. The gypsies were deep in the woods and so she had to wait for nightfall to go to them. Less chance of discovery that way.
“Perhaps tomorrow night? I’ve made arrangements for this night. Your father should still be gone tomorrow night as well. If that’s part of the reason you wish to do this at night, that is. I’m not sure all of the ins and outs of the relationships in your household yet. I’m still learning.”
“The relationship is that I help my father with the running of the estate and my mother keeps to her rooms. My father has no idea the gypsies are on the land and I want it kept that way. They are useful when I require them to be.” One eyebrow raised as if she were challenging him with her words.
“Is there a reason you work to keep things going and your mother doesn’t? And which rooms so that I avoid them. I don’t want to disturb whatever it is that’s the order around here.”
“She takes ill rather easily and my father has enmeshed her in the black arts to the point that she’s become touched in the head. She swears the house talks to her. So it’s for the best.” Rubbing her eye she sighed, “Her rooms are the first two at the top right of the stairs. She scares my siblings so they won’t go near those rooms.”
“Dark magic…” he sat back a bit.
“I’d caution you not to go there, but something tells me you wouldn’t listen.”
“Oh, you’d be incorrect, my dear. I do not touch dark magic if I can help it. We all have enough natural darkness within us capable and ready. No need to add more to it. Only on occasion have I seen others use more than their natural share. It’s addictive and resource-laden. And there’s really very little need to use it. So, if your mother has used it that much? No. I won’t go near her.”
“My father isn’t far behind her. He just knows how to maintain control over it better.”
“I’m glad to see someone among you with common sense not to use it.” Jean took a deep breath. The daylight had drifted beyond noon. He was a bit anxious to get back to his lover. He wanted to keep his promise. At least, just once, he wanted to keep it. So, he began making his exit early. Just in case something came up or Katherine decided to keep him a bit longer.
“Was there anything else, mademoiselle?”
“Yes, there is. I want to see you.” Her gaze moved over him and she smiled, “I mean really see you.”
His green-blue eyes regarded her with a bit more interest than he had before. Not even her father had cared to inspect him.
“I’ve not yet laid any wards area above ground.” He was trying to get out of it. He wasn’t sure he liked the thought of someone other than Sebastian or Devon touching him.
“So take me someplace that is out of view.” Katherine gave him a look that said he wasn’t going to get out of this.
“Yes, I understand.” Choose your battles, Senias, he reminded himself. “Shall we go to the cavern, then?”
She waited for Jean to take her arm as he had before. It took him an extra few seconds – as if it had become an afterthought. He didn’t seem quite too congenial now, did he? It was obvious that he was uncomfortable and didn’t like this.
The walk to the cavern was quiet and she stopped not far in and let him continue on. Her gaze moved over the inside of the cavern with a hint of interest.
Removing his waistcoat, the Celt walked out to the open expanse of the room. It was only lit by torches, set on lofty heights above them. They were magical for the things lit when someone was nearby. He had seen to that first. Taking a deep breath, Senias let the magical energy hidden inside of him rush forward. There was a flash, as if lightning had crashed at his feet. From that point, his body simply dissipated, reforming into something much larger.
Shiny scales reflected the light of the torches as he turned his massive head toward Katherine. His eyes were even deeper in color but the same green-blue. The hardened beak-like structure at the tip of his snout hid the teeth within his mouth.
“That mouth can’t make it easy to form words.” She approached and looked him over with a critical eye.
~ It’s why we can mentally speak to others. Though, we do have a language of our own, filled with stances and gestures and natural growls, clicks, and etcetera. ~
“Say something and let me hear it,” She walked the length of Senias and paused as something caught her eye. “What happened here that left you scarred?”
~ It’s from a modified harpoon. I was in a war on the other side. I’ve not been able to heal it yet. That, a sword puncture at my left shoulder joint, and the brand that your ancestors gave me with the human body are the only things that mar my true form. ~
Reaching out Katherine smoothed her hand over the damaged patch of scaling. She seemed to have forgotten the original request. “Want help healing this?”
~ If you could be so generous to help it along without the use of anything that might corrupt me… ~ he replied.
“No, I’m not being generous. I’m being pragmatic. This is a weak spot on you and if I can see then others could. It’d make you a horrible guardian to my siblings if you were seen as an easy target.”
~ Good point. ~ He considered what she had requested before and he thought on it.
~ The language, our language… as I was saying, it’s full of stance and our natural voices. Sometimes, when we’re in human form, we may take a stance without thinking about it. ~ He tilted his head and made a clicking noise deep in his throat as he moved closer to her. ~ That would be me asking you what you’re doing or what you’re up to or similar. Our language assumes that we are speaking of something that is happening in the now. ~
Her look was one of keen interest. “Go on show me something else.” She found everything about this dragon fascinating, not that she’d tell him that. Just the fact that she was looking at a real dragon was nearly beyond her own mind’s ability to comprehend. However, she presented herself as calm as she had when she had first laid eyes upon him.
Backing up, he lifted onto his back legs and brought his wings together before making a light whine in his chest that ended in punctuated clicking sounds. He went back down to all fours before explaining, ~ That was a well met – a greeting for when we’re on the ground. ~
Katherine smiled, “Like a bow for humans, monsieur Senias?” Her eyes roamed first him and then the room all around him. “You haven’t moved much over here. Where’s all the big stuff?”
~ I didn’t have time to go through it all. I’ve a list in my head of the tapestries I want for the walls and the furnishings I want for the upper floor space. For… ~ he shifted to his human form before her. “For when I want to be like this and maybe have guests when I …if I get the opportunity.” His eyes were friendlier toward her. “At any rate, I really have made arrangements with someone, Katherine. And I was promised a week. So, if you will excuse me.” he picked up his waistcoat again.
“Look whoever it is that you wanted the time for is not going to find it easier to let you go after getting these few days with you. All you’re doing is making it harder on both of you.” Her voice was softer than he’d heard before. “They’ll end up on the front step if you keep up and I don’t think you want that. You’ve heard and you know it’s true what my father will do or make you do to them.”
“That’s my burden to bare until I figure out a way to ensure it doesn’t happen to anyone I know. I don’t want any of my business contacts to be lost to me, as your family may need me to get something for you from one of them. So, I am insuring they know not to reach out to me. I don’t want your father getting the wrong idea.” He would neither confirm nor deny what she was inferring. He still needed to figure this Sebastian situation out.
“Fine suit yourself, don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Katherine turned to start her way out.
“When should I be prepared for getting measurements taken? And when is your ball?” He asked.
“My ball is in three weeks. The tailor will be here in four days, you’ll need to be present along with my father and my brothers.”
“Would you like me to take you through a portal to the upstairs? Is that possible with your little sigil?”
“No portalling inside the house. This house has a strong aversion to certain magic.”
“What a shame.” He smirked, the twinkle in his eye showing her that he was still fine with everything that had been said, including her warning. “It should have a strong aversion to me,” he muttered a bit of dank humor released as he held his arm out to take her back up those stairs.
“Well, I tend to carry a good amount of bad luck everywhere I go. At least a quarter as much as the good luck. It is, what it is.” Her words made him chuckle as they came out of the doorway and into the parlor once again. This time, he made sure to lock the door again. Turning back around, he smiled graciously, took Katherine’s hand, and kissed the top of it, his lips lingering just a bit longer as he took in her scent.
Taking a step back, he whispered, “Have a good evening, Mademoiselle.”
“Enjoy your evening Mr. Raudine.” She watched the man walk away and decided that one day he’d kiss more than her hand.
“Young Woman” Artist: Ema Spencer.Artist Bio: American, 1857 – 1941.Creation Date: c. 1900.Process: gelatin silver print.Credit Line: Gift of Warren and Margot Coville.Accession Number: 2000.030.003