Meeting the Family

Walking the Blade will be a series of 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. We hope you enjoy it and come back for more…

~ Rach and Dawn

After a few hours of sleep, Senias walked back through the corridors to the other side of the decorated cave to find the cavern Andrew was talking about. While he had the chance, he shifted into his dragon form here. There was enough room in the cavern for three of him and there were crystals in the walls that made them sparkle. He moved to the area he liked most and listened to the sound of running water beneath. It would make for a good sleeping area and so he laid down to allow the first pulling of energy to coalesce on the floor. Aurumn – the pool of gold that the dragons used to energize themselves, would begin growing there within the next few months. That done, he shifted to his human form and made his way back out of the downstairs and through the house. 

It was lovely. The outside was most likely colonial in style, but the interior was beautiful and was beginning to be well-appointed. There were crates here and there. The rich always took their best with them.  The furnishings here were no exceptions. He walked to the windows overlooking a massive garden. The windows were set in squares and continued through a pair of French doors.  As he walked toward them, Senias heard a bit of a skittering and a gasp. His brows knit as he moved beyond a piece of furniture to see a set of hazel-colored eyes looking up at him from her hiding spot in the curtains. She couldn’t have been more than maybe 9. Possibly younger? It had been so very long since he’d been around children it was hard for him to tell anymore. 

Squatting in front of her, he smiled.  

“Bonjour, Je m’appelle Jean. Et tu?” he asked, speaking his normal language. He was still sleepy and it showed. 

“What did you just say?” she asked, still clutching the curtains around her precocious face.  

“I said, my name is Jean. What’s yours?” he waited. 

“Annabelle!” A woman’s voice called out in a sing-song way, “I’m going to find you.”

Jean chuckled, “I bet your name is Annabelle,” he winked for the little girl before rising. He turned to stand in front of her to hide her a bit more from the woman looking for her. 

The nanny was wiping her hands off on her apron as she called out the girl’s name again. She stepped into the room and was startled by the stranger standing in. Her hand went to her chest and she sucked in a sharp breath while coming to stop. “Who..who are you? Where’d you come from?” She glanced behind her as if looking for someone else to be with him.

The pretty nanny couldn’t have been more than twenty. She was young and still in the young girl qualities to her with the fresh bloom of pink to her cheeks.

“I’m Jean-Michel. I am a friend of Andrew’s. Came in very late last night, or early this morning, whichever you prefer.” He never really knew how to describe himself. He pointed toward the little girl with his left hand close to his chest.  “Who’s this Annabelle you’re looking for? Maybe I can help you find her?” 

There was a little relaxing to her pose she gave a small smile to the Master’s friend, “She’s a wild little heathen that didn’t finish breakfast.” Sure to get a rise out of the child, she added, “Can’t miss her, she has a big wart on her nose and scraggly hair.”

With a quick gasp the girl popped out from behind Jean-Michel, “Not true Emily, I don’t have a wart and my hair is beautiful!”

“Ahha there you are! Now back to the table and finish your breakfast before your mother comes down. Your father said no playing until your plate is empty, young lady. Now scoot.” The sweet voice was playful yet commanding as she pointed towards the dining room with one brow slightly lifted, “Hurry up, Henry and Lily don’t want to sit at the table all day waiting on you.”

There was a soft huff of frustration from the girl as she started to walk only to stop and reach for Jean-Michel’s hand. “He can come and join us. He’s a guest of papa’s and needs to eat.” The little chin went up a notch in challenge to her nanny.

“You should ask if he’s hungry first and properly invite him to breakfast not simply drag him along like a pet.” Emily corrected the child and waited.

There was another huff of a sigh as she let Jean’s hand go and turned to look up at him with a bright smile, “Sir, would you like to join us for breakfast?” She held her hand out to him in offering. This pleased her nanny a great deal.

“I believe breakfast would be delightful with you for company, mademoiselle…”  he cleared his throat and added, “That is a word that means young lady.” he took her hand. There were things that could be considered his weaknesses. One was much more innocuous than the others. And it was leading him to a table full of others… an innocent child. Either Kennedy realized that or he didn’t realize it and this was Fate’s way of nudging Senias back to a life in service.  He wasn’t sure. To be honest, he wasn’t sure what to think of anything.  

When he took her hand Annabelle’s smile brightened and she led her new friend to breakfast. 

At the table sat another girl of maybe 5 years with lovely hazel eyes and big brown ringlets who was currently playing with her eggs. Across the table from her was a boy that looked a great deal like Annabelle right up to the age. He had a more serious look about him as he ate his food. There was Annabelle’s plate waiting and another set up as well.

As Emily rang to get a servant for another place setting, Annabelle made introductions. 

“Jean-Michel is father’s friend that arrived last night. He’s joining us for breakfast. Jean that’s Lily making a mess and that’s my twin Henry looking sour. We have an older brother that’s at West Point. He left three months ago for service. And we have our older sister…” Annabelle rolled her eyes, “Katherine but she won’t be down for another hour. We’d starve waiting on her.”

“Annabelle don’t be rude.” Emily directed a new place setting to be beside her young ward as the girl seemed very keen on the gentleman. “Sit down and eat, you’ll miss playtime and have to run straight to lessons at this rate.” To their guest, she added, “Do help yourself, sir, there is plenty.” Emily then took her seat and helped Lily finish her food.

He looked at the plate and thought of other breakfasts and dinners. No. He took a quick moment to scold himself and wipe the memories off his mind. “Thank you, uh… Emily.” He was trying to remember all of the names. 

“And what’s your older brother’s name, Annabelle? The one at the academy?” That was probably the heir to the Kennedy – everything, so he best get to knowing the boy.  As he asked and listened, he began building his plate.

There was a note of sadness that went around the room and then Henry spoke up, “Andy.. he’s actually Andrew William Kennedy the third, but he goes by Andy. It irritates father, but then so did his leaving. They had a big fight and then Andy left.” It was obvious his siblings missed him right then.

 Grits. Now he’d tried them once or twice and enjoyed them. He looked about the table for some dairy product to go with it. Butter? Sweet milk? He crumbled some bacon and spooned some eggs in. Keeping his biscuit to the side, he took the honey and drizzled it atop the concoction. He almost purred at the thought of taking a good bite of this. Looking up at the silent place, the dragon realized they probably never ate things like this. 

“Pardon, it is how I like my breakfast. Easy and it tastes good together. All ends up in the same place, anyway.” He cleared his throat and commenced to enjoying the very well-made fare.  Maybe he’d been around lycan for too long? He knew his vampire used to comment on his manners with food, but that… he’d gotten used to it. And now it didn’t matter. He once again tucked away any thoughts of that life in case someone around here could look through his thoughts.

Clearing her throat Emily looked to their guest, “It’s horrible table manners for this house, but my father does the same thing.” She smiled for him and nipped a piece of bacon. “You speak French sometimes. Where are you from originally sir, if you don’t mind me asking? The children are learning about Rome and next they’ll be discussing the British Isles. Maybe after that, they can study your home country.”

“Sorry, it’s not my home country. The isles were. But I lived most recently in France and the accent stuck. Rome is lovely. Lots of old buildings to look at. Venice is even more lovely if you ask me. Should you get the chance to travel, take it.” He smiled before dipping his biscuit into the honey’d grits and taking a good bite. He didn’t mention anywhere else, because he wasn’t sure how far to take it with Emily. And he definitely knew better than to entice children with things they might repeat – unless you made it into a story. Being around lycan on the other side,  he had learned a few things at least.  

“I am going to see it all one day!” Annabelle exclaimed as she mixed her food as Jean had. Her brother followed suit as he wasn’t one to be left behind by his rambunctious sister.

Well – at least they were eating, right? So, the eldest was not pleased with papa. Good. That was always a good start, right? If one was an asshole, maybe the other wasn’t? Senias could hope. 

“Is there someone who could show me the property? I was tasked with helping be sure things are safe here. I wasn’t sure who to ask? Or if Mr. Kennedy will be available…?” He looked to the young woman not far from him. 

She didn’t say a word as the twins repeated their guest’s eating arrangement. At the question Emily glanced at the window with a longing look of her own that was gone in but a flash, “Mr.Kennedy won’t be back for three days. He’s gone on business.” It struck Emily odd that he hadn’t accompanied Mr. Andrew on the trip if he was the Master’s guest. Her green eyes held that questioning look as she went on, “The houseman can show you around or any of the field masters. I can show you around the house, the gardens, and the front patio to introduce you to everyone, but that’s as far as I can go I’m afraid. Unless I accompany the children for an outing, but that I must clear with their mother Mrs. Margret.”

“Well, don’t you go home? Or do you have a room here? I – I don’t mean to be intrusive, but Andrew never told me how things were set up here. It was a rough night of travel for me and then he had to welcome me and be gone. I guess I forgot the reasons. Too much,” He lifted his hand a couple of times in a drinking manner and allowed his face to blush for her. He was nothing if not an expert liar.  

“I have a room here close to the children.” Emily didn’t mention home.. she hadn’t seen it in so long. “During their studies, I can show you around as the tutor will be responsible for them. That’s right after breakfast.” Emily was cleaning Lily as the other two finished their food.

Jean continued to eat until he was finished. Then, he reached over for a glass and got up to walk to the stand at the side of the room where the water pitcher was.

“I have business later in the afternoon to handle. So, I suppose it’s best to be on with the day.” He had to collect his things. Damn, he didn’t want to do that. But having to wear these second-hand clothes he was in – that wouldn’t do. He drank from the glass and waited for Emily to take the hint.

“Oh, well don’t let us keep you. Alright, children bid Mr. Jean-Michel a good day and go grab your books for Mr. Charles.” She helped Lily out of the chair as the other two rose from theirs. 

He smiled for them and waved before taking another drink. When Annabelle paused, he put the drink down and watched her. 

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