Okay, in all honesty, I have no idea when the novel contest was or why I felt inclined to enter it. Or if I even did enter it. The ol’ cracker barrel ain’t what it used to be, as Uncle Karl might say. Regardless, I saw this as I was re-opening my files for the weekend’s work, so here’s what amounts for a Canned Goods entry when I’m shoulder-charging my way through the last 30k of the biggest fiction project I’ve tackled since I finished Fortnight years and years ago. I might post the second half of my last Canned Goods bit tomorrow, but I’d like to see if I can’t put something else together since Circle of Hellfire is, well, kind of crap.
A debt is nothing to be taken lightly. Not when lives are involved, and especially not when the debt is centuries old. Kara Fiore has been dealing with such a debt. A tall woman with stunning looks and a quick wit, her sire, a crafty Mekhet, observed her after she returned home from war to Denver, finding work as a historian at the local museum, leaving her Ranger training behind. Her sire had other plans, and arranged for her ‘disappearance’ and Embrace, putting her to work for him. After years of trial, he revealed a secret to her: long ago, he was spared destruction by the intervention of a Uratha, working against the Kindred in Denver. He struck a bargain with the Uratha, and was lending secret assistance to their packs until recently, when all communication with him was lost.
Kara’s sire has disappeared. Max Roman, descendant of the Uratha that saved her sire, tasks Kara with locating him. The oracle Doomwise sends along one of her students, having predicted disaster should Kara Fiore venture forth alone. The student, a whelp named Redscent, is inexperienced and untested, but Doomwise puts her trust in him. Kara also is forced to trust him, as it becomes imperative to find her sire for more than just the debt. Her sire had put many plans into motion that kept Denver at relative peace for many years – with him gone, Max Roman’s family hobby of defending against Kindred may become defense against an all-out siege.
The first thing I hear is chains rattling. I’m wondering where I am that I hear chains rattling – I don’t have chains at home. I open my eyes. I’m outside, on something hard like pavement. And heavy chains, like the chains they use for anchors on boats, are wrapped around both my wrists, stretching into the night.
My head hurts, really badly, like somebody clobbered the back of my face with a bowling ball. It’s why I’m having a hard time remembering things. But I remember I was good at jigsaw puzzles when I was a kid. I just take my time, breathe, and let the pieces snap into place on their own. It’s the middle of the night, but I remember being used to that.
My name is Kara Fiore, and I’m a vampire.
Those two pieces snap into place and a lot more comes back to me.
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