A few days ago, I put up a post on my Facebook page (Connie Suttle Author) saying I'd been invited to do a guest post for a blog this month. I asked for suggestions from fans on what subject they'd like to see me write a guest post about. The suggestions ran from Merrill to Kifirin, with a few others in between. I wrote three things--two concerning Merrill, one with Kifirin. All three contain little slices of their past, and none of the three will make it to the guest post. So, I'm publishing them here. The first concerns Merrill and how he became vampire. The second is Kifirin's last conversation with Lendevik Lith, then King of the High Demons. the last involves a visit with Griffin, and an unusual Christmas gift. Here they are:
September—C.E. 9. That's when I left my human life behind. As a centurion for the Nineteenth Roman legion, under the leadership of Publius Quintilius Varus, I and my troops were led straight into a trap. Teutoburg Forest will remain forever burned in my memory, as we were surrounded by Arminius' troops and slaughtered. The battle is often called the clades Variana—the defeat of the Roman General Varus.
Varus committed suicide after the defeat, and I, being the sole remaining survivor of that battle, still hold some anger against Varus. I still think him a fool, too, for his treatment of the people and for his blind trust in Arminius.
I was left for dead in a swampy, forested area. I would have died there, too, had night not fallen. My heartbeat, faint as it was, drew him. My sire. My maker. Had he known at the time what he was making, he may have turned away. Nevertheless, he has expressed his gratitude on more than one occasion that he did not know when he offered his blood and a chance at immortality.
I and one other stood until the last, until Nepos fell, hacked across the throat by an enemy blade. I had the choice, then, of falling on my knees and accepting the beheading, but I refused, eventually taking a sword through the gut. And then they walked away, leaving me to die a painful death.
"My name is Aniketos," he said softly, leaning over me. As full dark had fallen and there was no moon, I could not make out his features. He spoke fluent Latin, but with an accent. As I was dying and in too much pain, I failed to notice or attempt to unravel its origins. Instead, I expected him to deliver a death blow. And I would have welcomed it, as an escape from my suffering.
"Do you wish to live?" he asked. I must have blinked in weary astonishment, as he repeated the question. "Do you wish to live?"
"Not in pain," I whispered. My throat was dry as dust and my lips were cracking—hours had passed since I'd been left to breathe my last.
"There will be no pain, my child," he whispered, before bending his head to my throat.*****
Lendevik Lith regarded me warily. They all did. Seldom did I come to them, and they worried and were distrustful at my appearance. Every time. I knew of their guilt and innocence. It mattered not to me, as I'd promised from the beginning not to interfere with their lives. Now, I merely expected this one to keep his word.
"What is your desire, Dark Lord?" Lendevik inclined his head respectfully. I knew a part of that respect was false—the High Demons had grown too confident in their power.
"I desire that you keep your promise to me," I said. "I grow weary and wish to rest. The Dragon's Teeth are the way to wake me. Use them if there is need." I turned to go.
"But the Dragon's Teeth requires willingly offered blood," Lendevik murmured behind my back.
"Then only offer if there is great need." I leveled my gaze upon the High Demon King before disappearing. I intended to sleep. For a very long time.
"Griffin?" Merrill should be used to Griffin's sudden appearances by now—he just wasn't. They'd known one another for more than eight hundred years and Griffin often brought wine to Merrill, some of a quality Merrill couldn't hope to get anywhere else.
He'd given up, too, on attempting to read labels affixed to some of the bottles. Griffin explained often enough that the worlds they came from were so far away the suns couldn't be seen from Earth, but Merrill just shook his head. He understood that Earth had catching up to do—they were far behind what Griffin referred to as other star systems.
"Case of wine," Griffin grinned and produced a crate of bottles from nothing, handing it to Merrill.
"Is this?" Merrill examined the bottles—he recognized the labels, although the language evaded him. This was his favorite of all the wines Griffin brought.
"Glish, from Refizan," Griffin nodded.
"A midwinter gift?" Merrill lifted an eyebrow at his friend.
"Start calling it a Christmas gift, brother," Griffin smiled crookedly.
Merrill snorted. "Never let it be said that humans were accurate in their keeping of the time or the seasons."
"A fallacy common to many worlds, not just this one," Griffin slapped Merrill on the back. "Where are your wine cups and your manners?"
* * *
"You know," Griffin waved his sixth cup of wine later, "I have a better gift for you. But you have to come with me."
"Come where?" Merrill lifted an eyebrow—he didn't often see Griffin in a near-drunken state.
"Oh, it's a private planet. It belongs to someone I know. Don't worry, I'll shield us. The owner will never know we're there," Griffin said.
"Are you sure?" Merrill had only drank three cups to Griffin's six, and watched his friend skeptically. They sat before a roaring fire in Merrill's study, inside his expansive Italian villa. Griffin had helped in the construction of the villa, and many envied it and copied its spires and vaulted entry. Merrill seldom allowed anyone inside, however, preferring to send them away with compulsion to never return.
"A private planet?" Merrill sipped more wine. This was an excellent vintage and he raised his glass to Griffin.
"A small planet, with only one inhabitant. We'll pay a brief visit and come back quickly."
"I fail to see the point in this, brother," Merrill observed.
"Just bear with me. Come on, get off your posterior and come with me."
"Are you sure you should be folding space in your condition?" Merrill had his doubts whether they'd arrive where Griffin intended. Or, once there, they'd get back again.
"Come on, where's that adventurous vampire spirit?"
"I've never had that. Neither has my sire."
"Your sire wouldn't recognize adventure if it bit him on the ass," Griffin chuckled.
"Come now, he turned Radomir on a whim," Merrill defended Wlodek.
"A very good decision on Wlodek's part," Griffin admitted, pouring out more wine. "Even if he did complain that the cottage smelled like fish when he walked into it."
"I wouldn't mention that to him, if you ever have the opportunity," Merrill offered dryly. "Come. If we don't leave soon, I have my doubts you'll land us where you intend."
"Oh, yes. We'll go," Griffin downed his wine in only a few swallows, forcing Merrill to shake his head. In a blink they were gone.
"I knew this would happen," Griffin slurred his last two words. Merrill had taken one look at the woman and fallen to his knees, a stunned expression on his face.
"Who is she?" Merrill was breathless and still staring. She was everything. His world, his desires. He would give everything for her; there was no doubt.
"Kiarra," Griffin whispered. "Someday, that will be yours, brother. But there is much time and distance between you."
"I will wait forever," Merrill vowed.
"It may seem that long," Griffin replied and before Merrill could protest, he'd folded Merrill home.*****
My guest post is scheduled for December 21st on Rabid Reads (www.rabidreads.com). Carmel, who runs the site, is amazing, and if you haven't checked out the site, I urge you to do so! The guest post I intend to submit is on another subject, and one that was eventually edited out of Blood Queen. It involves an explanation on how Larentii prefer to have sex :)