Every Thursday a group of writers show short excerpts of their awesome work. All genres permitted and a comment on each others work will encourage everyone to keep going with WIP's Our blog is http://thursdaytasters.blogspot.com
This week's taste comes again from Satin and Steel, sequel to Lotus Petals. In preparing to submit Rhiannon's latest adventure to my editor, I'm having to cut and polish quite a lot. The following is a scene between representatives of two demon nations--vampires and shadiil--searching London for a thrall: a demon gone mad from drinking the blood of its own kind.
This scene had to go through some heavy cutting to align it with the new direction I'm taking Satin and Steel, so it makes for a good Taster this week. I'm interested in knowing if the scene survived the surgery, or if the scars are still visible.
"No one has discovered the resting place of the thrall itself, then?" Feste asked. Orlanna shook her head.
"The shadiil cannot find a trail," she said. "Even more remarkable, neither can Andreas or his wolves."
"I thought wolves were supposed to be able to track anything," Rhiannon muttered.
"Indeed, they are," the pride-mother agreed.
"We met with Andreas and two of his wolves tonight, Basi," Vivienne said. "It looks as though we have yet more cause to suspect a gravespawn. The dead werewolf had been drained."
"Drained..." Orlanna repeated, tapping a finger to her chin. "You are sure of it, of course?"
"So Andreas tells us," Bastian said. "Which means the vampires have to admit the thrall is one of theirs. They'll have to make reparations, and that's assuming our Councilmen don't demand revenge."
Orlanna mused, idly tapping her claws against the stone floor. There was silence around the circle as she considered it. Finally, she shook her head.
"We can't be sure of it yet, Bastian," she said. "This wolf may have been drained, but other victims have been dismembered. Some, eaten."
"Like a shadow-walker's prey," Rhiannon mused. "Ja?"
"Shut your ugly mouth, bitch," Bastian snapped. His manner pivoted so quickly it actually stunned her.
"Don't you see what it means, though?" She shot. "It is one of us. A vampire, shadiil, or a wolf. But it knows what it's doing. It has planned this. I would lay my life on it."
"How can you say so, mon beau cherie?" Vivienne purred. "It is an abomination. It is crazed, non?"
"Yes. Crazed...but not entirely gone," she muttered. A theory slowly began to take shape in her mind.
"It's hiding its real nature...masking how it feeds. It's covering its own trail, from werewolves. It can't be a mindless monster, it would be an impossible amount of coincidence."
"Why would any sentient demon do such a thing?" Orlanna asked in a dangerous tone. "There would be no end to the torment the Nations would dole out to such an insolent traitor."
"He would have to be insane, ja," Rhiannon pointed out. "But insane...and intelligent. He knows exactly what he is doing."
"You cannot possibly know such a thing, ma cherie," Vivienne rumbled."I absolutely can," she replied, turning her cold golden eyes back on the assassin. "Because as you said, shadow-walker… I have been a thrall, once, myself."
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