As the bright light faded, the first men entered the room, pistols drawn. They were dressed in black suits, none of them unusual, but seen all together, they were obviously the same design.
She didn’t see them for long.
A bolt of reddish tinged lightning surged forward from Giles Hardwick’s hands, and the men fell forward, unconscious, or dead.
“Careful with that,” Joe turned away from the dimensional gateway’s control panel to give Giles a look. “They’re not going anywhere if you short out the system.”
The next man stepped over the bodies, pistol in hand, and a web of red floating in front of him. Continue reading Bloodmaiden: Part 15
Moments later, three more people came through the door. The first two were teenagers—a boy and a girl, holding hands. The boy wore a sporty blue jacket made of wyvern leather in a style that had been popular at Court last year. He was short—only a little taller than the girl who came in with him—and his brown hair went down to his shoulders, a style that was still popular.
His eyes darted from one spot to another in the room, and he grinned as he took it all in.
A low murmuring came from the voices in her head when she saw the girl. Blonde, blue eyed and pale skinned, the girl wore a brown leather coat and pants—the kind Amy had seen in illustrations of colonists and frontiersmen. From her clothes alone, it was obvious to Amy that this person didn’t care about fashion at all, but that was the least of it.
The girl’s ears had a slight point, and her walk hinted at a physical strength that didn’t fit with her slim frame. Continue reading Bloodmaiden: Part 14
Amy gave a small smile. “I’ll see you and your grandfather both then. Maybe I’ll send your greetings.”
Nick grinned. “Yeah, that would be neat. ‘Another you told me to say hello?’ I’d want to know how much he was like me, and how. Of course, whoever that Nick is, he wouldn’t be me. It’s anyone’s guess what he’d think.”
She raised an eyebrow. “How different could he be?” Continue reading Bloodmaiden: Part 13
Amy turned toward the door, leaving the suitcase open on her bed. “I’m dressed. You may come in.”
The closet door opened, and Nick walked out, brushing against her coats where they hung in the back, and shutting the door.
Amy considered stepping around him and opening the door, but didn’t. “How did you get in there? I looked in that closet.”
Nick glanced back at the door and then back to her. “The wall on the left side opens into a hidden passageway. You press on a panel a third of the way up the wall. It’s no big deal.”
“Wait,” she said. “Can you spy on people in their rooms?” Continue reading Bloodmaiden: Part 12
The women in her head agreed. He wasn’t descended from the Elders. He’d existed before they’d come through the portal to Earth. The first Bloodmaiden knew him then. Her voice echoed in Amy’s mind. “We only thought he was a mercenary, but when the gilfangs of Korandur’s Deep crawled up to the surface, it became obvious that he was more than simply a man. He didn’t wear his current shape then, but he liked those swords.”
The other Bloodmaidens whispered, and Amy caught glimpses of their memories. Whatever he was, he was dangerous and so powerfully magical that he didn’t even appear to be connected to magic.
In his favor, he terrified the Harcourts. This was someone she needed to know better. Continue reading Bloodmaiden: Part 11
They walked back to the gyrocopter landing area hand in hand. She wasn’t precisely sure how that had happened. Their hands had bumped a couple times, and then, if she was honest with herself, she had to admit that she’d taken his hand. On the other hand, he didn’t have to walk next to her, and she was fairly sure that he’d bumped her hand first. So, they’d had the same mutually bad idea.
And it was a bad idea. She was literally leaving tomorrow, possibly for ten years. Plus, if everything went well, and her parents brought her home next year… Well, if any hint of this reached the tabloids, it would be the royal scandal of the season. Continue reading Bloodmaiden: Part 10
Nick glanced back toward the lake. “What’s the Bloodlords’ Guard?”
Amy pulled her arms to her chest and looked him in the eye. “You know that there’s the old line of Bloodmaidens and the new one.”
“The Bloodlords’ Council advised the emperor in the bad old days, and after the last of the old line killed the royal family, it became the Lords’ Council—officially. It’s still the same families. They’re the most powerful users of blood magic. The Guard never changed their name, and it’s loyal to the Council. It’s officially loyal to our family too as we’re members of the Council, but we bring our own guards to sessions. We know where their loyalty lies.
“I knew they were nervous about me, but I thought the Harcourts were their only agents.”
Nick stared at her. “You knew that and you’re still traveling with them?” Continue reading Bloodmaiden: Part 9
The man pointed his revolver at them, saying, “Don’t move!”
In the time that it took him to speak, four men had stepped away from the group, all of them in dark suits, all of them pulling pistols out from under their jackets.
A woman standing near them covered her mouth with her hand while the man holding her other hand said, “God in heaven!”
Next to Amy, Nick barely moved his mouth, saying, “This isn’t as bad as it looks–”
But she barely listened. The sound of wailing voices filled her head. They shrieked danger and told her to change and to do it now. She didn’t hesitate. She let the voices have their way. The shrill screaming turned to music, and red light surrounded her as her limbs felt lighter. Continue reading Bloodmaiden: Part 8
Amy shouted back, “I’ve never been to New Amsterdam before. If it’s not in a penny dreadful, I’ve never heard of it.”
Barely understandable between the wind and the gyrocopter’s blades, Nick shouted, “Right! Penny dreadfuls!”
The propeller behind the passenger compartment roared and the gyrocopter flew upward, leaving the area above the street, and reaching an altitude higher than most of the buildings.
Avoiding the factories’ billowing smokestacks, Nick flew the gyrocopter across the city until they reached a wide green area. A lake stood in the middle of it, but the land around it was large enough that the lake didn’t dominate the place. Amy guessed that the land could hold several small towns.
Continue reading Bloodmaiden: Part 7
“Somewhere that’s not in the building?” Nicholas frowned, and glanced around the room.
Amy nodded. “I’d feel safer.”
Nicholas paused, but then said, “Well, at least you’re dressed for it. Have you ever ridden in a gyrocopter before? It’s a little cold.”
She hadn’t taken off her overcoat. If that counted as “dressed for it,” she was. “Don’t people wear goggles on those things?”
He shrugged. “We’ve got goggles, but you’ll have to leave your hat.”
She turned back toward the stairway. “It’s just a hat. Which way?” Continue reading Bloodmaiden: Part 6