Prologue 1: Cyprus

With the release of Heart of the Raven looming, it’s time to meet the characters! But why just read a stale bio, when you can have a flash-fiction introduction? These take place the day before Heart of the Raven begins. Think of them as mini prologues. They will not appear in the book and this is the only place you can read them. Enjoy!

cyprus

January 10th
The Guards’ Office
The Vampire Citadel
Iowa

Cyprus sat at a table in the guard’s office, a miniature stack of paperwork in front of him. He held the ink pen over the paper, poised to record the answer to yet another inane question. “What special skills do you possess that would make you an asset to the team?”

He couldn’t take any more. “This is ridiculous!”

A brunette vampiress glared at him from the next chair. “Shhhhhh!”

“Well it is,” he whispered back. “We’re filling out applications, for Christ’s sake!”

“And how else should we do it?” she asked.

He leaned closer to her. “Malick lined up all the eligible candidates, peered into our minds, and made a choice – just like that.” He snapped his fingers. “None of this bureaucratic, red tape nonsense. I miss him already.”

“Malick was insane!” she cried, and then quickly lowered her voice. “That’s why I never tried out before. Now be quiet before they throw us out!”

Cyprus glanced to the main desk where a gray clad guard leaned on his hand, his expression one of boredom. “He doesn’t get paid enough to throw us out. Besides, we’re his superiors.”

“Only just.” She turned back to her application. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m trying to get a promotion.”

He fell silent and gave her a long, calculating once-over. If she was a good representation of his competition he should be okay. Her words had no trace of an accent, which meant she was probably born in the US and had lived there her whole life. She couldn’t be more than a couple hundred years old, and she probably didn’t speak any other languages or have as much experience as he did.

That’s right, he told himself. Not to mention that several of the greater guard had disappeared when Malick did, though no one was sure whether they were some of the unidentifiable remains scattered around, or if they’d gone with him. Either way, they were out of the running and, thanks to the confirmed casualties, there were even fewer left to put in for the three vacant Executioner positions.

Cyprus turned back to the paper and reread the question. “What special skills do you possess that would make you an asset to the team?”  What special skills were they looking for? He’d already listed that he was a demon eye on page one, and he’d written about his multilingual abilities under “What languages are you fluent in?”. What else was there? Unless they meant combat skills…

He rubbed his forehead. His guard training in Munich had been more intensive than the American version. Maybe he could use that? But did he really want to bring up his time in Germany?

He brushed aside the memories before they could surface and scribbled in an answer. The rest of the application was equally painful to finish, and by the time he filled in the last space he was alone in the office.  He scrawled his name at the bottom, swearing by signature that all his statements were true, and then strode to the desk.

The guard eyed Cyprus’ black greater guard uniform and took the papers. “Executioner application?”

Cyprus bit back a sarcastic remark. “Obviously.”

“Don’t take it out on me. It wasn’t my idea.” The guard flipped through the pages, as if checking to see that everything was filled out, then he tossed it onto a stack of papers. “They’ll look it over and if you qualify as a candidate you’ll get a message telling you to show up in the audience chamber tomorrow.”

An interview in the audience chamber? What more could they possibly want from him? They had everything except a blood sample! “Who decides whether I ‘qualify’ or not?”

The guard straightened just a little and his eyes shifted nervously. “Ark.”

“I see.” There was nothing else to say. No doubt the head of the Executioners already had his favorites chosen, and Cyprus wouldn’t be one of them. He’d  been on only one assignment with Ark, and it had been over a year ago and so routine that he couldn’t  recall any details from it. If only Migina or Griselda had been in charge, then he might have had a chance.

Except that Griselda left with Malick, remember?

“Is there anything else?”

Cyprus’ spine snapped straight. He smoothed his black uniform and lifted his chin a notch. “No, that will be all.”

He turned on his heel and strode from the office, head high. It looked like he’d be passed over again, but he might have a chance next time. Migina was the fourth one in line to take over and at the rate the Executioners were dying lately, it might not be too long before she was in charge.

Right. Next time.

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Next Big Thing Revisited – Hijacked by Oren

I am taking over this blog

Hello, Oren here. Joleene has been tagged again on the Next Big Thing by Paige Addams and I thought what the heck, everyone else has stolen a day on her blog, so I might as well. Speaking of Paige, if you haven’t checked her blog, you should. It’s paranormal, so you paranormal people will love it.

1) What is the title of your book?

Heart of the Raven – the unfinished saga. I made the last part up, but it seems to fit. Seriously, our author has dragged this out for months.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

It’s a series, so she had to write the next one, I guess. But she doesn’t plan things out, or make those professional outlines, she just hacks at the keyboard and plays on FaceSpace or TwitBook or whatever it is. Then she’ll hack a bit more and then wander away again. I think she may be stealing ideas from those sites, then when she’s coasted as far as she can on them, she has to go back and steal more. She’s even been so pathetic that she’s asked us for ideas and we’re supposed to be her characters.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Sickeningly, I imagine it’s a paranormal romance, just like the others. There’s too much of Jorick and Katelina oozing all over one another for it to be anything of substance.

4) Which actors/actresses would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

I believe this has been done before with the main characters, so I am going to take a moment to introduce you to some of the new ones – as if we needed more! Also, since we all know that the best our author could hope for is hack animation, I am instead choosing “Which animated characters could play the characters in a movie”. Not being a fan of such things, I base this on looks alone.

Cyprus (He’s a new Executioner) played by Cheshire Cat from Are You Alice (we’d have to lob off his ears, though)

Wolfe (He’s one of the German Executioners. I don’t like him.) Socom from Scrapped Princess

Sadihra/Zadihra (Another German Executioner whose name is up for debate) Beatrice ‘Bice’ Castiglioni from Umineko no Naku Koro ni (though she’d have to put a few pounds on)

Maeko (She’s, erm… well… she’s too enthusiastic for my taste) Yuuki Hankusu from Memoria

Hikaru (I’m not entirely sure what he does or who he is except that he’s attached to Maeko) played by  Haji from Blood + 

Etsuko (She’s a human that… well, let’s say she’s bothersome) Beniwo Nanatsuki from Caucasus ~Nanatsuki no Nie~

All right, I’m bored with this.

5) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

She is (supposedly) still plugging away.

6) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I don’t know. It isn’t the sort of thing I read. you’d have to ask Jorick, or Katelina. I imagine she reads trashy vampire books.

7) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Our illustrious author claims that her “fans” are “dying” for it, but I can’t really imagine her having any, so that leaves it down to Verchiel’s petition. Yes, the annoying lunatic actually managed to get a handful of signatures from characters begging for the series to continue. Mainly it’s those she hasn’t tortured enough, yet. Personally, I’ve had my fill and I’m ready to drop out now. I suspect from the looks of things she intends to drag out my torment for some time. Oh joy.

And with that I have completed my amazingly lazy author’s tag. Since I have no idea which of her friends would be suitable targets – I mean, suitable tagees, I shall simply say, If you’re interested then please join in. It’s a lot of… erm… fun. Now If you’ll excuse me, I believe she may actually need me for a scene. (Miracles do happen!)

  • Tales of the Executioners

    Short stories from the world of Amaranthine; a universe of blood and darkness where vampires don't sparkle and night is eternal. Each is about a member of the Executioners squad; the special vampire "police" force. Members both past and present share stories of assignments, origins, and more.

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    Joleene Naylor

    An independent author, freelance artist, and photographer for fun who loves anime, music, and writing. Check out my vampire series Amaranthine at http://JoleeneNaylor.com or drop me a line at Joleene@JoleeneNaylor.com

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