Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Truth of Shadows Part 1.2

Where have I been?

Where the hell have you all been?
I have been right here waiting for all of you people. It is just rude to keep a woman waiting.

Alright!

Fine, it was all my fault... Life has been a little busy for me. I was just foolish to think summer might actually be less work for me.

However; I do come baring a peace offering. The next installment of my little story. Hope you all enjoy it, and if you haven't read Part 1.1 you can find it here.


            Protests from the gate guards faded behind Andrea. The valley, a grassy field that stretched for miles connecting the kingdom's various districts, was the only thing that lay before her. Waves of moon lit blue grass swayed in the late summer breeze. It was beautiful on the valley paths at night, but not safe. Since the time of the great war it had been infested with nasty nocturnal creatures. Lost souls that wander about, devouring whatever they come across. Andrea hoped one day the peace of the kingdom and its districts could spread into the valley.

            Pushing her brilliant white stallion harder, Andrea raced to the west mountains. Called the metal district for the precious metals they mined. Redd lived in a small house at the base of the mountains. A large volcano looming over the south side of the village, while the rock cliffs blocked in all but the north entrance. A path that weaved and dipped in strange places. It was hard to maneuver, and it was there around one turn Andrea found Redd. Laying face down under the gentle nuzzling of his loyal horse. 

            Andrea's cold stone face fell into panic. Her heart leapt forwards into erratic beats as she raced to his side. Jumping from her own speeding stallion, and onto the dirt path. The elegant cream and blue gown symbolizing her royal status soiled by the red dust cloud that rose from her harsh descent. None of it mattered, not like it would have to all those nobles in court, Redd was what mattered now. His limp lifeless body face down in the dirt, a young life slowly slipping away before her eyes.



"Redd?" she called out shaking at his shoulders. It was just to difficult to tell if he was breathing from this position.

            There was no response, Andrea's heart sank farther into panic. Tugging at his shoulders she tried to roll him. Pulling at his shirt so hard it ripped as she fought with his heavy muscled body with little success.



"By the Great Goddess, answer Me!" she yelled now pulling with everything she had.

            A small groan called out from Redd's fallen body. It was faint and small, but it brought a sense of hope. At least he had not fallen completely to the poison that was rushing through his body.

             Foot falls echoed off the hard rock walls that surrounded the path. Someone or something was coming. That was enough to throw Andrea into alarm, drawing a dagger that she kept safely in the heavy folds of her dress. It would do little against the demons that roamed the valley at night, but it was something.

            Andrea's heart jumped to life as the sound grew closer. Her hand gripping the dagger, sweating with eager anticipation. This was not fear, this was a thrill. That thrill warriors get just before battle. Knowing that their life is on the line, and training is a happy fairytale compared to what was about transpire.

            Heart racing, knuckles white from gripping the dagger, and blue eyes fixed on the bend just a few feet ahead. She was ready for it. Ready to rush whatever it was, even in her heavy gown, she was ready.

            First it was just a small portion of shadow that emerged from the sharp turn, then more and more shadow appeared. Gripping the dagger tightly, Andrea readied to attack. Anything to defend Redd in his weak state. The shadow grew to a full sized man, as it took another step closer Andrea's breath rushed out in relief. She knew that form, knew that shadow.



"Andrea?" Erin asked seeing the dagger in Andrea's hands. "Is everything alright?"



"No," she huffed tucking her weapon away and turning back to Redd. "he has grown far worse. We must get him to a safer place."

            Erin's strides increased as Andrea motioned to the fallen Redd. He was slipping away right in front of them. Dieing from some unseen enemy that none of them could fight.



"The village is only up the next incline," Erin replied, tugging at Redd's arm to lift him. "he will be safe inside the barrier."

            Each district of the kingdom had their own way of fending off the creatures from the valley. Some constructed walls and fences such as the capital. Others used traps and guards to keep watch at night, and still others relied on magical barriers. The barrier for this district was crafted by the Willows who resided deep in the mountain range. Deeper then anyone as ever admitted going. Their magic filtered down to the Rock dwellers which lived inside the mountains closer to the Redd's village. There the crystal catalyst for the barrier was under guard. Without the scared Ruby the barrier would not blanket the district or Redd's village.

            Redd's arms draped over Erin and Andrea's shoulders as they carried him toward the village. A small well established place nestled into the base of the rocky cliffs. It felt cozy and safe despite the looming danger of the volcano. They approached the boundary of the barrier, and Andrea had to jerk back.



"Erin," she called to him. "I must be invited."

            The barrier kept those with ill intentions, dark hearts, demon blood, and anyone else it felt was a threat to the region at bay. Without a spoken invitation a person rejected by the barrier could not enter. Andrea was one of the rejected, a secret Erin had kept for since their first diplomatic trip to the village. Whispering the words "I extend the protection of the Willows," each time they had business in this district. It was no different this time as he raddled off the swift invitation allowing her passage.

            They would be safe now, protected from whatever might wander up the path or even the person responsible to Redd's condition. Their ill intent would trigger the barrier, forting any other attempts at Redd's life. Andrea had her doubts that even now Redd could be saved, dropping his limp body onto the small wooden bed.

            Skin pale white, sweat soaking his clothing, and his body in violent shivers none of which were good signs.



"Get some water from the well," Andrea barked at Erin ripping at Redd's shirt. His built chest glistening with fevered sweat.



"We must keep his body temperature from raising any farther." Andrea said again reaching for a cloth at the bedside table, running across his forehead.

            The poison racing through his system had entered the most critical point. This type of rare poison was crafted from an herb grown under special conditions. It was unique, it fooled the body into thinking it was cold. A sensation of heat was how it started, dizziness, and then cold. The feeling of your whole body being submerged into frigid artic water. When in reality the poison caused the body's internal temperature to soar. Boiling the victim from the inside out.



"Your efforts are in vein." Nika said in her clam chilling voice.



"Where have you been?" Andrea growled to the figure of Nika standing in the doorway.

            Nika ignored the panicked Andrea, waving her hand at the princess to leave Redd's bedside. Andrea took a step back, and watched with concern as Nika looked over the afflicted Redd. She raised his eyelids, opened his mouth, checked his chest, and neck before standing straight again.



"Is there nothing you can do for him?" Andrea finally asked seeing that Nika had completed her exam.

            Silence reminded as Nika pulled a small wooden tub with a cork in the top form her vest. The air in the room had grown so still despite the raspy breath of Redd, and typical night sounds outside. It was like the world stopped moving, then rushed forward to catch up as the sound of a cork popped. A faint smell of sweet mint and tangy blood fruit filled the small one room house.

            Nika's hand lifted Redd's head by the back of his neck, forcing his head to fall back and mouth to open. Pouring the contents of the tub down his throat.



"We will know more in the morning." Nika announced, pulling one of two small wooden chairs to the bedside. From here it was a simple waiting game, still it looked grim. Andrea could see it in Nika's face. Her typical stone mask was cracking slightly. Nika's red eyes shined with a mother's concern like she had only seen once or twice before.



"I could do it," Andrea finally spoke up. The words no sooner left her mouth, then Nika turned swiftly and barked a "No".

            The noble blood lines contained the ability of magic. There were able to call upon the elements to perform a variety of spells, some far more skilled then others. As years passed and the blood lines became more diluted, the magical abilities diminished. There was hardly any left with actual ability to study in the magical arts. Violet was one of the few that had a great deal of potential in the magical realm.

            Andrea was something completely different. Her abilities touched a plane that Nika had never witnessed, and because of that they had kept it hidden. Not even the King new about her abilities or strength. Even now for her to use her magic it was dangerous.



"I do not think even you could pull him back now." Erin added to put Andrea a little more at ease.

            Silence fell between then once again. The night started to grow later, Redd's ragged breathing and violent fits were the only sounds. Filling the room with more and more tension. Aggravation, worry, doubt, and the mystery of who or why this was happening worked over Andrea's mind. This was not typical, things like this did not happen in the kingdom, not anymore.



"Why?" Andrea finally asked. They had all been thinking it.

"Why Redd?"

            That was the most troubling question, next to the outcome of his condition. It would have been so easy to use twice as much poison to kill him instantly. Instead this new enemy choose a slow death.



"Perhaps to get to Violet?" Erin's reply unsure.

            Even that made little sense. Violet was venerable outside of the palace, even with Redd. This attack was deliberate as well as brutal. It also sent a very chilling message.



"What is this Nika?" Andrea asked out right, seeing the strained look of thought on her face.



"It is rather unsettling" Nika said rubbing her chin with two fingers. "This assassination technique has not been used since the Great War."

            A very unsettling truth, but what spoke that loudest about this attack was the poison. It took years to create and a skilled person to deliver a dose that managed to inflect a prolonged effect. The worst of all the facts, was only a Mia had access to the herb required. 

            Andrea glanced from Erin to Nika. Even if the evidence pointed to a Mia she trusted them. Trusted their abilities, their honor, and their word. Neither one could have done such a thing, and betray their people, oath, and life's quest.



"Perhaps Erin should return you to the palace." Nika said with a glance over to Andrea. "It will be safer there."



"I am not leaving. Both you and Erin are here. The barrier is in place." Andrea argued back "This place is just as safe as the palace."

            The King would be in a rage at this, but Andrea did not care. The only thing on her mind was Redd, and making certain this would not be his last night alive. Toying nervously with the ends of her brown hair, Andrea watched as Redd's head tossed from side to side. Wondering what nightmarish images plagued his fevered sleep. Redd had seen so much danger and hardships in his young life. There was no telling the events that were replaying in his mind.



"Not to seem rude," Erin whispered to Andrea. Resting against the wall beside her, he leaned in closer. "When did you start showing concern for Redd?"



"Do not be shallow."



"I am simply wondering at what point your extreme dislike of him turned to actual affection?" Erin added.

            The implication was just appalling. Andrea's concern came from the knowledge that a resident of the kingdom was near death. That a life was fading from the world, and in a manner most disturbing.

Or was it?

            Andrea let the strand of hair she was twisting in her fingers fall. Her blue gaze fixed on Erin's red eyes. Searching for any reason for his revelation. Their gazes, fire and ice staring at each other held for a long moment.



"Do not tell me you are jealous?" Andrea finally concluded.

            It was no surprise, the whole kingdom practically knew. At least all the palace staff did. Erin had been Andrea's guardian for the last ten years. He was still considered young in his clan, but Mia's aged slower. When he took the post Erin was already in his late twenties, but in the Mia clan he was still just a child.

            Since then the relationship between Andrea and Erin turned into more than just a simple duty. Erin protected Andrea with a type of passion and resolve like no other before him. As they grew older, he had started to use her first name. Talking more informally with her, and despite all the cold bitterness that seemed to follow the princess. Erin remained at her side. Now whispers of his eligibility to be Andrea's husband had started to spread around the palace. As much as Erin tried to deny the allegations, they were more then true, at least for him.



"That is ridiculous." he growled finally pulling his gaze from her.

            His body hunched over as he folded his arms across his chest. Putting a little more distance between him and Andrea, Erin looked back to Redd. Andrea didn't say another word as they waited. Time seemed to pass so slow, inching by as the full moon rose high, and then sank into the distance.

            Glancing to the window pass Erin, the sky had started to lighten. The dark blue of the night becoming more lively. Dawn was only moments away, and Redd's condition had not changed.



“It is nearly morning and his fever is only getting worse.” She stated looking for comfort and reassurance from Nika.



“Maybe we were too late.” Erin jumped in with a short almost crude reply.



“Show a little compassion.” Andrea snapped.



“It is true," Nika's voice catching Andrea's attention. "We might have arrived too late. My serum is only prolonging his pain.”
            Mia's were noble, honorable people that lived by a code all their own. In some regard they were members of this kingdom, but they still lived by their own rules. Their beliefs were not to prolong pain and suffering. For a warrior like Redd it was to honor him by ending it as swiftly as possible. That was what Nika was suggesting, that was want she wanted. To stop the fever fueled nightmares, and lay a noble warrior down for his final rest.
 ~~~~~~~~~To be Continued~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yeah did you really think I was going to end it with a nice neat little break. You all must not know me to well.

Keep an eye out for more soon.
Till next time My Sexy Demon Minions!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Taking it Easy

So today I am being lazy, mainly because I can. Redirecting everyone over to Two Fantasy Floozies.

Yesterday I spent most of my day designing a mock cover for my friend Kenya, and her new book Flirting with Chaos.

I also talk a little about my process without showing any my secrets really. Then again most people who know a fraction of what I am talking about. Will know my secrets anyways. So head on over to read a little about the book and also how I make magic happen.


Also here is the cover I liked the best, but after being out voted another design took it over. Then my husband came home and told me he liked the one that was picked, and the one I liked look like bird poop. Thanks lover!

So check out my fave that didn't make it, and then head over to Two Fantasy Floozies to see the final. 


Till Next time My Sexy Demon Minions!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Happy Hump Day!!

Here is a little laugh to get you through the day. My gift to you, and just so you know this is based on a true story. My boss was a little challenged. Enjoy!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Unprofessional Work, Shame Shame!

I promised everyone a rant today. Now I don't like to rant, unless it is to my husband, because I get a little carried away. I will try to keep it in line today, but I am not making any promises.

Also I have to say first off, Kenya I am so sorry. So so so so sorry, but I can not hold my tongue any longer on the matter.

My brillaint and talent author friend Kenya has a blog, and everytime I go there I see this.







The cover of her last book in the Vampire King series, and when I do I see red. I am not talking about the hair wrapped around a rather narrow females head, that appears to be some type of male genital.

First off, who does work like this? It is such a bad photo manipulation job, and the fact this person is getting paid and works for a publisher just makes it all the worst. I mean WTF!? WTF?! is this world coming to when something like this with a red penis in the foreground can make money.

Now I understand that this publisher turns out a lot of books, that the cover artist has a lot on their plate. But there is no effort in this at all, none, not an ounce. If that was me in this artist position I would have never in all the seven circles of hell put this out with my name behind it. I could put something better together in an hour. It is such a simple cover there is no reason for the lack of effort.

Not only does this lack of caring piss me off, but I hate that all these authors (my friend included) are reduced to having a sub-par cover that does not do their talented work justice.

I would rather be living in the gutter, licking trash cans for food before I would sell myself out. To reduce myself to putting something like this out in the world for everyone to see. It is an offense to the eyes and artist out there that give everything their all, all the time.

I work for next to nothing, hand out my talents for fire sale prices, but I still put every bit of effort in a highly discounted job that I do a high paying one. It isn't about the money, it is about professional respect for the client, and respect for yourself as an artist.

People like this, that charge unfair prices (or anything for that matter) and product shitty work just get under my skin! You should be so ashamed of yourself. Go crawl back from the depths you came form before my demon soul sucking cat finds you, and sucks what is left of a soul out of you, if there even is one.

Now let me be clear in this last part. I am not pissed at people who's skills are not as sharp as professionals. Because there are some people that don't have the experience as professionals but still put their heart and soul into their work. They give it everything they got. Myself included in this.

But this person clearly did not try here, because I saw the other two covers form the same publisher. The first was good, the second was alright, and this one. Give up your job to someone that could use it.

Ok I am done, sorry I got so worked up, but I hate people who tarnish my field with their crap. It is not fair to everyone that actually cares about what they do, and work everyday to excel.

Check in tomorrow for a mid week laugh with the return of Customer Service Inc.


Till then My Sexy Demon Minions!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Who or What do you want to Be?

Happy MONDAY everyone!

Ok raise your hand if someone at your work says that, and you fantasize about something out of Hell Raisers happening to them. *Raises Hand*

Let's face it Monday has the stigma of being one of the worst days of the week. Even if your work week starts on a Thursday or Wednesday, do you not still say "This is my Monday." Because Monday sucks, no one wants to start work.

Unless you have your dream job, in that case I hate you, and so does most of the world.

Since it is Monday, I will save you all from the rant I had boiling inside of me over the weekend, and just dish it out tomorrow.

Instead lets talk about something a little more enjoyable.

Cosplaying. Come on we all do it some way, at least once a year. Which I happen to think it is the best time of the year, not just because my colleagues get to run around free, but who doesn't want to dress up and act like someone else?

I would like to introduce to you probably the greatest costume designer out there who won't charge you an arm and leg. Maybe just the leg.



I stumbled up FireflyPath years ago and was just amazed at what this woman can do, and how awesome a models she is.



Now don't laugh and judge, creating customs, especially with this much detail is not easy, nor is the jewelry.



How do I know?
Well, I used to help my mom make stuff all the time, and I was board one summer so I got into jewelry making. It never went anywhere though.



So Today, on this awful start to the work week. I would like share some of the woman's awesome work, and if you need something for any reason. Like Halloween, a convention, or just for some strange game you play in your grandma's basement, send her a request. There will be no disappointment here.



Now that you have bared witness to greatness, Check out her Facebook, Homepage, and the Etsy store, and buy buy buy.

Till next time My Sexy Demon Minions!!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Truth of Shadows

I came up with this super cool idea. Ok so I have been thinking about it for awhile.

And just so everyone is thinking of me over the weekend I wanted to do something a little special for your Friday.

Every Friday I will be posting a portion of a story, written by me.

Now, it is unedited and rough so be gentle with comments. It is not meant to be the greatest thing in a world, but it is my gift to my wonderful viewers. So enough the story and come back next Friday to find out what happens next!


            Sharp numbing pain tickled at the back of Redd's neck. So quick and sharp he hardly felt it at first, but now he was a lot more aware of the pain. Reaching back Redd rubbed the area in an attempt to stifle the annoyance. 



"Looks as if even the bees think you should be moving along." Violet laughed at him directing her white stallion back toward the path which lead to the capital city, where the grand white palace stood.

            Princess Violet was the youngest of the two daughters of the Alivordian King. Long golden blond hair, with bright blue eyes, soft frame and an elegance all her own. Violet was an enchanting sight to anyone able to catch a view of the younger princess. Redd could only agree with on lookers comment when they walked through the market, or traveled to distance districts of the kingdom for inspections. She was a beauty, but again Redd had is own group of admirers. Being young, strong, and handsome.

            Dirty blond hair crowned his head in a messy disarrayed fashion, accenting bright blue eyes, and a charming smile that made the women faint at his feet. If it wasn't for Violet's father being the king they could have easily passed as siblings.

            Pulling his hand back into view a rich red crimson covered his fingertips.

Blood?!

Whatever hit his neck was not a bee, or any other insect. Nothing he knew anyways, because they would not draw blood. A steady uneasy feeling built within his gut. That same feeling that told Redd danger was near. Learning along ago to trust that feeling his hand went for his sword at his side. It was his task to protect the princess, and it was a job he took seriously. Maybe the only thing he ever took seriously.



"Redd!" Violet called out again part way of the path already. "Father does not approve of tardiness!"

            Redd's hand eased off his sword scanning the area for any offenders. There was nothing, not a single thing out of place at the small lake that sat a few miles outside of town. Even if the feeling of danger hadn't completely left him, Redd followed Violet. Running toward his brilliantly red and burnt orange horse. Planting his hands firmly upon Diana's back end, and leaping onto the her back. Commanding the animal forward with a few swift kicks in the side.

            It had been three years since he took the job as Violet's guardian. Even in peace times the king did not allow his daughters to be without protection. He had made far to many powerful enemies in the great war. Even with the goddess's protection, darkness still loomed in the far reaches of the kingdom. Redd remembered it so well, the day the king himself came to his small metal working village.

"Boy, my kingdom whispers rumors of your skills.." the noble King exclaimed looking down at Redd.

            He was easily over six feet and towered over Redd. Brilliant white hair sprouted from his head and face, giving a grandfatherly appearance to the King. Despite his older appearance and often times kind hearted nature. Redd knew better. He once heard his uncle say the King brought down the southern War Lord. A man that possessed powerful magic, and employed nightmarish beasts. The King was not to be taken lightly.

"Yes, My King." Redd responded.

            Word had spread like wildfire about Redd's heroic act. Conquering the demon that had made camp in the once dormant volcano that loomed over his village. Those were dark times for the people, and the threat of fiery death was ever present. Redd had wandered up the mountain side in search of his uncle who had went to investigate. It was only by luck it ended in him being a hero.

            Despite his achievements since then Erin still thought lowly of Redd. Glaring at him from across the small kitchen dinner table. Erin was part of the Mia clan, a group of shadow walkers that roamed the lands. Long ago they had made a contract with the former rulers of Alivordia. They would guard the royal blood line, and in return. Well Redd wasn't really sure what they got in return, but the Mia's never did anything without getting something in return. Erin's snow white hair flopped to one side as he took a spoon full of stew into his mouth. The right side of jaw length hair wrapped in a series of red string that tapered off into a purple gem. His deep rich complexion brought out the grayish tattoo that extended from his left eye. A sharp slash like mark that curved with the start of his cheek. Just under the curve a solid circle of gray. On the right the same circle at the outer corner of his eye only slightly smaller. The boy was built for only being nineteen and skilled in the traditional form of Mia combat. Those trademark Mia red eyes glaring up at Redd as Erin shot him another look.

              It was like this every night since the King extended the guardians duty from the time the princesses leave their room in the morning, till they return for the night. Erin didn't care what Redd did to get this place of honor. The task of protecting the royal family was his kin's scared duty. In his mind only Nika and him were able to fulfill the duty of guarding the royal family. Erin even suggested sending away to his nomadic tribe for another guardian after Nika was appointed the head of security at the castle. The King refused and then employed Redd, which shocked everyone in the royal court.



"So, who is tonight's victim?" Redd asked lifting his eyebrow toward the ever silent Erin and Nika.



"The Count Eliot." Nika replied back. Her formal posture and slow motions as she ate never faltering.

            Nika was tall for a woman, and very thin with slight muscle definition, but she was a force to be reckoned with. No white hair adored her head like Erin because she took great care to shave it to the skin. If Redd understood correctly when Nika came to the kingdom no one took her seriously because she was a female. Shaving her head helped her look more male, but there was no hiding that soft defined female bone structure. The same red eyes as Erin's looking out from the deep golden complexion that set them apart form everyone else in the kingdom. A pure white line, much like a slash mark started at her forehead above Nika's right eye and extended down to her cheek.



"The name alone insures his doom." Redd couldn't help but laugh as Erin joined into the conversation with a joke. He never knew Erin had a sense of humor.



"Why does the King put her Highness through this?" Redd asked moving the remains of his stew around. "She clearly has no intention on taking a husband."



            Every night the King had another wondrous plan to draw the attention of his oldest daughter toward a young gentleman. The numerous suitors was endless, but the eldest daughter, Andrea, never entertained them for long. Redd didn’t blame the men when they swarmed to the King's proposal. Andrea was a rare beauty with long silk like brown hair and deep blue eyes that offered a great deal of mystery. Her face was enough to end wars or start them, set  on a sinful body. Redd could see why the line of suitors was endless. Even if Andrea had the reputation of being cold and critical.



"It is the custom for a woman of royal birth to marry young." Nika chimed in. "Our people live off tradition, you more then anyone should respect that Erin."

            Her tone harsher toward the end. Scolding Erin for suggesting even the hint of disrespect to anyone of higher rank. It must have worked, because Erin's gazed return to his bowl swiftly and he said nothing else. Law stated that a woman of royal birth was to wed by her sixteenth birth day. Andrea would be eighteen this year, she had been avoiding the topic of marriage for nearly two years. The King's leniency was clearly running thin as he filed suitor after suitor in for her to view.



"Well, outdated traditions are made to be broken, or at least adjusted." Redd added. To him no one should be forced into anything. Redd was a free spirit and Nika often called him a Raven Wolf. Not a typical creature since the Raven Wolf was a myth said to wander and guard the realm between realities. It was a solitary creature and abided by no rules. It could never be tamed or chained.



"Yes, perhaps you are correct." Nika added.

            Shock flashed over Redd's face. Was this not the woman who just stressed the importance of tradition? It was an odd thing to agree to, but it was often he found Nika to be a contradiction.



"Excuse me, but I think it is about time Redd and I be moving along." Erin interrupted. "Our charges will be awaiting us."



"And the new guest has no doubt stormed out." Redd laughed taking a few more quick bits from his bowl.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



            The dinner had not gone as planned. The King more enraged than either Erin or Redd could remember. Violet had been trying to stifled her laugh as the insulted count rushed out of the dinning hall just past Redd and Erin.



"I doubt he will be returning." Erin said just avoiding the swinging dinning room door. Redd laughed as door closed once again.



"I do believe our dear Princess Andrea is setting a record." Redd joked again just before the commanding and violent tone of the King sent a shiver of fear through is body.



"Andrea!" the King yelled to his daughter. "I am shamed by your manners. Eliot was a gentleman and very respectful to you." The noble King's voice raising with every word. His pitch and tone edging toward murderous.

"You had no reason to turn him away like that." he yelled, but Andrea was not phased by any of it. She simply laid her fork and knife down and brought her napkin up to her mouth. Dabbing at that corners of her mouth like one of the snotty nobles she so hated, and then returned it back to the table.



"A gentleman after a crown, a kingdom, money, and a beautiful prize to show off." Andrea's way of speaking filled with underlying sarcasm. " Pick a reason, because that boy was a shallow clod!" Andrea yelled now slamming her fists on the table as she stood.

            A violent growl echoed out for the dinning hall, sending waves of fear through Redd's body. The King never lost his temper or growled, or raised his voice to his daughters. This simply was not going to end well.



"You will NEVER be Queen!!" he yelled to the unruly princess. "Never! Do you understand ME!!"



"I never said I wanted to be queen." Andrea's reply coming in a clam, collected manner, only enraged her father more. A tense silence fell between the two of them. Violet huddled in fear against the cushioned chair she was sitting in. This ordeal would forever been burned into her mind. Showing the young princess just how frightful her father could be when pushed.

            Andrea was fearless, as she walked to the door and gently pushed it open. Glancing at the fearful and shocked expression of the two guardians. Gathering what composure she had felt. She commanded for Erin to follow her as she disappeared down the long dark hallway.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



            Nights at the palace were the best. They were peaceful and very uneventful. Locked away in the Library with Erin and their two charges. Yes, the nights were what Redd considered an easy job. Andrea sitting in her large cushioned chair, Violet on the smaller across from her. A heated game of chest set between them. Erin sitting beside Andrea, like every night. Drinking in the piles of books in the library. Usually Redd would have joined him, but not tonight. After dinner and the show, Redd had started to feel warm. Hot even despite the chilly nature of the stone palace. By the second game of chests the back of Redd's neck had started to tense and burn.

            It wasn't until the room started to spin that he knew this was something serious. Leaning forward, Redd reached for the back of his neck. Trying to rub away the tension.



"Are you alright Redd?" Erin's voice echoed far away in his ears. "You are not looking your best."



"He is right, you do not look healthy at all." Violet chimed in with concern in her voice.

            Ignoring the sweat that raced down his face Redd shook his head. The spinning had stopped for the moment.



"Just feeling a little tired." he admitted leaning back into the chair. "It has been a long day."

            A complete and utter lie. Today was easy in comparison. A nice warm day at the lake watching Violet practice her spells. He even got in a nap while she was busy trying to create ice on top of the lake.



"Maybe you should start heading home." Violet suggested and to Redd's surprise Erin did not disagree. He only nodded in agreement to Violet's suggestion.



"No, no I am fine." Redd protested. "I will walk you to your room then be off."



"Erin can walk her," Andrea's voice rang out for the first time since the argument. "You best take off while your health is still fair."

            Shocked expressions crossed their faces. Andrea was never compassionate to Redd. In fact she often went out of her way to increase the difficult nature of his life. To say she was a bully to him, would be putting it lightly. They all stared as Andrea started to pack away the chest pieces.

            Redd moved slowly to leave not sure if this would result in some form of punishment later. It was his duty to ensure Violet returned to her room each night. But with Erin's reassuring nod he took off along side Violet and Erin.

            Andrea finished returning the books and game to their place. It was an odd thing for a princess to do. Clean after herself, but Andrea was strange like that. She hated people fusing over her, and walking behind to clean her mess. It was silly when she could do things for herself just fine. Placing the last book into place she headed to the door. A small flash catching her eye as she passed the chair Redd had been sitting in.

            Laying on the red cushion was a small arrow with a metal tip. A tiny yellow feather suck out from the back. Cautiously she picked up the item, studying it with narrowed eyes. This item was very troubling. Bringing it under her nose she took in a familiarly alarming scent.



"Andrea?" Erin called out from the doorway. "What is it?" he asked knowing that look on her face. It was one of alert, worry, and panic.

            She tossed him the item and hurried pass him. She had to hurry there could not be much time left. Redd would die if they did not get to him in time.



"Wait?!" Erin yelled. His face littered with that same panic. "I will come with you."



"No, find Nika." she instructed. Gathering her long blue dress in her hands to move faster. "She will be able to stop it!" Yelling the last part as she disappeared into the dark hallway.

Until next week My Sexy Demon Minions!!