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Soooo… about Camp NaNo this summer.  It’s not going so well for me so far.  In my defense, I’ve had A LOT going on this month.  I turned 30 on the 10th, and my future MiL had double knee replacement on the 11th.  I’d taken a full week off work to enjoy the summer and it turned out to be an awesome thing.  I’m not sure how I’d have managed to juggle everything from this past week if I’d had to work as well!

Last night I was at the do or die point. I either needed to recommit myself to trying my best to complete NaNo, or bow out gracefully and try again in August.  I opened up my novel and surprisingly, I found my muse.  I knocked out about 2500 words last night, and am up to 2700 today.  I’m hoping to put in at least another 1000 this evening. I may not make 50k, but I’m still in the fight, and I’m not giving up until the end!  So far I’m at 13k… should be around 30. I need to write 3000 or so words per day for the rest of the month to win.  We’ll see how that works out!!!  For now, here’s an excerpt from what I’ve written thus far, enjoy!

To say the Searle was an imposing man would be like saying English sheepdogs are a bit hairy. He was tall, easily topping six feet in height, which by itself wouldn’t have made me bat an eye. Shifters, especially male wolf shifters tend to be of the burly sort. The Searle just looked, well, like a vampire. It was a good thing he didn’t go out among humans much, because he certainly could no longer pass as one. He was extremely pale, thin, not the the point of being gaunt, but close. He had dark hair, I couldn’t tell if it was black or simply an extremely dark brown, and he was wearing a similarly dark suit, in a style that looked more reminiscent of Edwardian England than anything that had recently been seen on a French runway. And then there were his eyes. I’d only allowed myself the briefest of glances into them, but I knew I’d never forget what they looked like. His irises were so black it would have been impossible to tell where the iris ended and the pupil began, if it had not been for the blood red streaks that marred their inky blackness. This was something that you only saw in the oldest of vamps, and truly, not many lived to be even close to the age of the Searle. I had heard stories around the court that he had been made vampire in ancient Egypt, fed upon while serving as a slave to one of the pharoah kings. He was only the third Searle to ever fill the vampire seat on the council, so that story may have not been such a tall tale.

The thing with vampires, is that you can tell a lot about how old they are by their outward appearance, up to a point. The young ones could pass as human easily for the first few hundred years. When they were first turned they needed to feed nightly, if not more, and the constant influx of new blood kept them pink and whole-looking. As they aged past a few hundred the need to feed waned, and the effects of their feedings grew. As such, they gained power faster, and became more reckless, just as they were beginning to look less than human. This was the point at which most would meet the true death, as they either made a fatal mistake and went after bigger prey than they could handle, or did something to make the council fear that they’d be outed. If the incident was severe enough to draw the attention of the council, the Hunt would be sent out to deal with the vamp, which was the primary reason I knew so much about the topic. Vampires that survived to the thousand year mark started to show more advanced outward signs. Most prevalent among them were the red-streaked irises evidenced by the Searle, and the inability to ever again fully retract their fangs. Along with these signs, they also gained even more advanced physical and mental abilities. It was said that the Searle could steal one’s mind away with the slightest glance, and turn anyone he wished into a mindless slave, eager to do his every bidding. Hence my fear to meet his eyes.

Settling my gaze firmly on the bridge of his nose, I forced myself to smile in greeting. “M’lord, you honor me with your presence.”

“Yesss,” the Searle said slowly, drawing out the word like a snake hissing toward me through the tall grass. I felt the tiny hairs on the back of my neck rise as my wolf growled from her resting place in my subconscious mind. Seems neither of us liked this man overly much. “I have come child,” the Searle continued, “to offer my deepest condolences for the loss of your mother. I admit to being truly aggrieved to hear she had met the true death. She was a magnificent predator, and it was my honor to have known her.”

My wolf was growing decidedly more agitated, I could almost see her pacing in my mind as I extricated my hand from the Searle’s grip, struggling to keep the pleasant smile on my face. “Thank you m’lord, she is sorely missed. Life soldiers on though, does it not?”

“Indeed it does child. And perhaps a bit of your mother’s warrior spirit lives on in you, we shall see.” With that, the Searle swished his long coat more securely about himself and left.

“Well that was disturbing.” Wellie, per usual, was the first of us to find his voice. I was still working on not shifting before I was able to finish my coffee, something about the vampire had my wolf highly unsettled.

“The Searle has had many years to practice being disturbing. In truth, his words do concern me. The way he spoke of your mother as a predator, and then expressed his belief that you may be as well…” Tyr trailed off.

“And why was that the creepy part, exactly?” I asked.

“The Searle is known for certain, erm, proclivities. He only feeds upon predators. Apparently in his very long life, an easy meal has become something of a bore. He once told your mother that to hunt one such as her would be one of the finest moments of his life.”

“So wait, are you saying?” I asked.

“No, I don’t believe the Searle had anything to do with your mother’s death. Firstly, she was not exsanguinated, which is typically a pretty solid clue. Also, the Searle’s idea of a hunt wouldn’t include sneaking up on your mother and killing her in her bath. He’d have her stolen away and released at one of his compounds, so that he could chase her down in his own good time, having given her plenty of time to fight back,” Tyr explained.

“Sounds like a lovely fellow, Dad,” Rox said.

“Of all the creatures you will meet at court, my daughter, the Searle is at once the most dangerous and the least. He could bespell you with a glance and kill you before anyone had a chance to react, but he would find that boring. His honor would prevent him from kidnapping you away to hunt at his leisure.” Turning to me, Tyr continued, “Embry, it is possible that he will become one of your greatest allies. Having been denied the chance to ever hunt your mother he may look forward to the opportunity to hunt and kill what took her, and he is a powerful being to have on your side.”

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