Paranormal Mystery Thriller/26,000 Words

Snow Blood (Season 4)

Continuing the paranormal adventures of Brogio, the First Vampire, and his kindred dog, Snow Blood…

Just as Snow Blood secures Nova’s love, a dark stranger in the forest warns of impending danger. The vampire clan is forewarned of new approaching threats. This time two daunting enemies return for blood, threatening both Brogio and his beloved children.

A Kresnick hunter, out for revenge, is dead-set on Brogio’s destruction and places Snow Blood’s pack in the crosshairs. All the while, another familiar force of evil threatens Brogio’s kindred.

As the family comes together to strategize ways on how to overcome this new menacing threat, Snow Blood is led to another intriguing path. He discovers a heavenly interest in the continuing evil that haunts his loved ones.

Trying to discover secrets to help in the defeat of the new foes unravels the role of Kane’s friend, Seth. What part does he play in the returning evil? Along the way of these new journeys, he is surprised to discover the white witch’s true nature.

Relentless and merciless enemies plague our favorite vampire family at every turn. Snow Blood again fights to protect all of those he loves against destruction. A dangerous plot to draw out the elusive enemy could save innocent lives, as well as their own. All the while, the future of mankind hangs in the balance.

Other Books by Carol



Excerpt

EPISODE ONE: Foreboding

She was finally mine, in body and soulless soul. Bound together, eternal. Nova pressed her silken fur along my side. Her downy hair tickling my ribs had me almost purring like a cat. Born a domestic Siberian Husky made my fur soft, but Nova’s had the extra fluff of being born a full-blooded wolf. Now we walked together forever as kindred. Her pillow-soft hairs reminding me she was all mine.

Snowflakes fell across her salt and pepper coat, making the love of my life glisten with radiance. The tiny jewels hung to her coat as though she wore the finest of diamonds. If I were human, I would bring her any type of gift she wished. She need only ask. But, we were not human. We weren’t even canine anymore. Not really. We were hellhounds, kindred, vampire demons. But love is found in the oddest places, and even the devil has a cherished love of his own. Had she rejected me, I would have wanted the true death. Instead, she gave me her love and devotion.

We combed the dark forest, running alongside each other, as we headed homeward after our mating. Taking in the deep forest, I smelled frightened quail and ducked under the evergreen brush housing the birds. They took flight. I did not chase. Though we were looking for prey along the way, Nova provided all the nourishment I needed.

Too caught up in the afterglow of our mating, I missed the tell-tale signs of swaying branches and the soft crunch of snow Nova instantly sensed.

Something watches us… follows us. Her telepathic message jarred me into alertness. We both circled each other, she-wolf to husky, eyes outward, looking for the intruder. I felt the presence of something… not of this world. Searching the trees with my keen vampire vision, I glimpsed the shadowy outline of a… horse? I sprang in its direction with Nova on my heels only to discover nothing.

Our noses to the ground, we searched for a scent around trees, shrubs, and underneath the loosely fallen Nova Scotia snow. Small animals scattered about us, but we remained focused on ferreting out the intruder. After many minutes passed with nothing to show for our investigation, the tension and anticipation of being watched dissipated, and we turned south toward my master’s wine estate a mile away.

No signs remained of the hearty celebration of the Titan witch goddess, Hecate’s, defeat from the night before. Brogio’s ever-present but rarely seen servants carted away the last of the multitude of barrels filled with precious blood. But the large Victorian estate surrounded by my master’s extensive vineyards and winery blazed with light and music inside.

Only Ian and Leslie remained of the ten thousand kindred children of Brogio that came to rescue me from the witch.  Nova and I watched as we approached them. They crossed the entryway leaving its massive ten-foot-tall mahogany front door hanging open invitingly. Ian’s green eyes glowed into Leslie’s dark ones. He placed his arm around her small waist and stepped into the courtyard, calling back over his shoulder, “We will be here whenever you need us next.”

Ian pushed back a strand of dark hair from his eyes and spied us approaching. He raised his free hand and waved and smiled. Leslie gave us a dazzling, dimpled smile that spread across her brown skin. Nova and I barked our thanks to them, and they turned and disappeared into the woods with vampire speed.

We crossed the threshold to the estate. The fireplace in the den crackled with its ever-present blaze, and Selene’s tinkling laughter floated through the air, enveloping us with joy.

She curled next to her sire and mate, Brogio, my master, in front of the fireplace. Heads together, their long, blonde-silver hair almost intertwined. His deep, purple eyes glowed as they gazed adoringly into her intense blue ones. Both unusually tall, she was dressed in a long, silver dress, and he in his constant black pants, shirt, and jacket. I imagined when humans see them together Brogio and Selene take their breath away.

Kane, my human blood brother, sat with his legs draped over one of the plush chairs to one side of the fireplace. His black hair hid part of his sardonic face as he peered into his drink. Spotting us, his dark-brown eyes smiled as he raised his wine glass to us. Tonight he wore the navy-blue tuxedo Brogio and Selene had gifted him. 

Selene and Brogio glided to our side, knelt down, and greeted us warmly.

“It’s about time the two of you drug in.” Brogio tweaked my left ear while Selene rubbed Nova’s head. “We’ve been waiting to celebrate your new union.”

Kane leaped to his feet. “Yes, remember, he’s Italian. His heritage demands rituals to celebrate your union.” He bowed from the waist, grinning at his blood father, who ignored his remark.

Their relationship combined Kane’s devotion to his sire with his need to apply his intellect to taunt Brogio, while his master could read his every thought or gesture. Brogio more often than not ignored Kane’s barbs just to irritate his first-born blood son.

My wolf pack waited until Brogio and Selene stood up and then swarmed us, bombarding me with questions. How’s it feel to wear a ball and chain? You know this is a life sentence; no wait, it’s an eternal sentence. Scrawny, my second- in-command, and Joker interjected unwanted humor that I ignored. Thor, Chase, and Gaspar rolled around on the floor like a bunch of spastic dorks.

Only Fergus, the wise, imparted a welcoming comment. It is now as it should be, Snow Blood. May your life together be only joyful.

Nova reached out and licked the side of Fergus’ face, and he turned, almost in embarrassment. I thought all my wolf progeny were a little bit in lust with my mate.

Striding to the wine bar, Brogio opened a bottle. Only the best for the newlyweds. He poured the golden liquid into champagne flutes. This is Prosecco, an Italian version of champagne.

Selene disappeared into the kitchen but returned quickly carrying white porcelain bowls she placed on the floor for us. Opening several more bottles, Brogio poured the yellow liquid and motioned to Nova and me, along with our pack, to taste. He raised his glass. Per cent’anni. It means a century of good luck for the both of you.

We communicated on a telepathic level only because we have discovered our enemies – often comprised of gods, goddesses, and Titans - could overhear our conversations. Our silent connection assured us some sense of privacy.

Nova and I cautiously approached the bowls and lapped the liquid. Its bubbles tickled our noses, and I shook my head in disgust. Nova paused and then finished the bowl. Joker scurried around behind us sniffing and checking all the untouched bowls the rest of my pack preferred not to taste.

After draining his glass, Brogio returned to the wine bar and picked up something that sparkled green in his hands. He held it out in presentation style as he approached Nova and then clasped a green collar with emeralds studded into it around her neck. Italian brides long ago wore green on the eve of their weddings to bring good luck.

Nova preened and stretched her neck to show off her sparkling new collar. Thank you for this beautiful gift, Brogio. I will wear it with pride.

I sat and scratched at my own collar, a similar gift from my master, and wished hers was red like mine so we matched better. It had become obvious after Brogio turned me that being a vampire meant not having the color limitations I used to have as a dog. In fact, being a vampire had few drawbacks and presented me with numerous “gifts” such as speed, shape-shifting and a protective venom to defend myself.

My master turned to his mate and reached into his jacket pocket. To make up for not having a wedding celebration of our own, I want you to have this.

She gasped as he started to place the large emerald hanging from a silver-like chain around Selene’s long, white neck.

Before he could, Kane scooped it up. My gods, father, that’s got to be five carats! Kane rolled the chain through his long fingers and took a closer look at the square-cut gem. This stainless steel chain looks almost like authentic silver.

Nudging Kane’s arm, Brogio took the jewel from his son’s hands and placed it around Selene’s neck.

Before she could thank him, Brogio swept Selene into his arms and recited out loud part of the vampire marriage vows:

 

“I will stand by your side, hunt at your back, and fly within your Soul.
I will stand between you and all which would harm you.
I will shield you from the Light of Day with my flesh.
I will never betray you, for you are my Heart, my Soul, and my Life.”

 

I repeated the vows telepathically to Nova, leaving out the light of day because my wolf pack progeny and I are day walkers.

Kane guzzled his champagne and put on a CD of “La Tarantella” or “The Tarantula,” a frenzied dance. My pack played the fools and did a wolf version of the dance. Joker was the first to snatch onto Scrawny’s tail. Scrawny, in turn, tried to snap at Joker but couldn’t catch his nimble-footed pack mate. Gaspar caught Joker’s tail, and Chase did the same to Gaspar. Not to be left out, Thor hooked on to Gaspar. Fergus latched on to Gaspar while Scrawny completed the circle by picking up the wise one’s tail.

They ran in a circle faster and faster as the speed of the music increased until Fergus slipped, tripping over a bowl of the wine. The liquid sloshed on the mahogany plank floors. As they ran, each pack member started to slide on the wet surface, losing their balance. They ended up in a dog pile and scattered the empty bowls everywhere.

Everyone exploded in laughter, and Nova and I jumped into the pile and rolled around on the floor.

The merriment ceased for me when my spine began to tingle with Brogio’s agitation. He and Kane stood as if bolted to the floor. The preternatural bond between Brogio and me linked me to his every thought and feeling. It developed over time and had reached its zenith with us.

Wait! Brogio’s command surged through my mind and invaded all of our thoughts. Kane? Who calls to you? Brogio knew every thought and sensed anything his progeny experienced.

Nova jumped up from the dog pile and trotted to one of the front windows, gazing out. I followed her, and she moved to a side window, leaping on the sill. Her body shivered with concern. I peered out the window, searching the surroundings, ready to spring into action. The trees swayed in the soft breeze.  The courtyard lights provided no clue. Only our keen vampire senses alerted us to the unseen intruder on our property. The pack surrounded us at the windows, and I alerted them to follow me outside through the open door.

Kane’s hand on my collar stopped me in my tracks. No danger awaits us. It’s Seth. He needs my help and has sent a friend. I need to meet him now.

Seth? Who is Seth? I had not heard the name before.

Seth is Kane’s white-witch friend who helped locate you in Limbo when Hecate kidnapped you, Scrawny interjected.

Brogio arrested Kane’s departure by placing a hand on his blood son’s arm. Take Snow Blood and Scrawny with you in case you need reinforcements. Let us know if you need the rest of us.

One telepathic message would send everyone to our side.

A nod of his head was Kane’s only reply, and Scrawny and I followed on his heels as he headed out the front door and toward the forest to the west. I commanded my pack to stay on guard at the estate.

Looking back over my shoulder as we trotted off outside, I spied Nova slinking into the woods east of the house. I stopped short, and Scrawny halted with me. Why would she leave when I gave her a direct order?

She has a mind of her own, that one, Scrawny snorted.

We sensed a presence in the forest on our way home, and she’s been spooked since then.

My gray wolf son turned to me. Perhaps you should scan her mind?

No, that isn’t the way to begin our relationship. Perhaps she thinks she is protecting me? I must trust her instead.

My mind whirled with misgivings. Our link allowed me to read her if I wished. It would grow stronger over time. I hoped she wouldn’t struggle against my will like Selene did to Brogio in the beginning. Wanting to free his soul from hell, she had secretly made a deal with the devil Hades that brought us to war with the gods once more. Neither Selene nor I realized Brogio, as the father of all vampires, knew our every thought and movement. Her deception might have been the end of their relationship if Brogio hadn’t let Selene play it out and then come clean to him in the end. Their relationship had lasted for millennia. Ours was just beginning. I didn’t want secrets or mistrust between Nova and me. Ever.

I shook my head to push Nova out of my mind and turned and ran faster to catch Kane. Scrawny dogged behind me.

The three of us pulled up short about a quarter of a mile west of the estate. I recognized the field where Brogio confronted Artemis and Zeus. Zeus’ presence there had burned the field. No grass would ever grow in it again. The field had become a landmark of sorts to mark our war with the gods. That all seemed long ago, when in reality it had only been a little more than six months.

I gawked at the winged horse standing in the middle of the field. He was a magnificent black horse with a long, flowing mane and tail. His hoofs were covered in black feathers, and his black wings spanned what appeared to be ten or more feet each when he spread them out to his side. I realized this had been the “horse” I had seen in the forest earlier.

Kane stopped in his tracks and marveled at the creature. He sent a mental message to Scrawny and me as he strode up to the creature. My gods, have you ever seen anything this magnificent?

The horse raised its head and almost appeared to preen.

He stopped close enough in front of the animal to touch him. “You are a relative of Pegasus, no doubt?”

Scrawny and I sniffed the ground and approached cautiously.

You may speak to me telepathically so all can participate. The horse tossed his head in Scrawny’s and my direction.

Who or what are you?

I am Mathias, friend to Seth.

Kane’s insatiable curiosity got the better of him. Your breed carried knights into battle, didn't it? What is your origin?

Mathias stomped his right foot. I am Friesian. I am guardian for Seth. I told you, I am his friend. He is in trouble. He needs you now.

Kane pressed for more information. What has happened?

Mathias flung his head irritated by Kane’s questions. Helping you with the aspecting ritual to connect with Hades to locate where Hecate had taken the vampire dog got Seth in trouble with the other white witches in his coven. They strictly forbid the use of dark magic, and Seth has broken that rule. They threaten to take Seth’s abilities from him. They are passing judgment on Seth at his home now. Follow me.

Mathias spread his magnificent wings and took flight. Because vampires have the ability to move from one point to the next with lightning speed, we covered the eighteen miles from the estate to Seth’s cottage outside the north end of Wolfville in a matter of minutes.

Scrawny and I scampered after Kane, dodging trees, shrubs and even prey we startled as we whisked by them. My memory took me to numerous prey kills at various spots along the way – bear, moose and mountain lion. My mouth watered at the thought of slitting a jugular and drinking in my prey’s sweet nectar. Brogio rarely allowed us to partake of humans, the sweetest of vessels.

We skirted the town so as not to draw human attention.

Mathias landed just as we arrived next to a cluster of trees in front of a cottage with a vibrant blue door. Smoke curled from the brick chimney, and angry voices tried to shout each other down from inside.

“I tell you, if I hadn’t shown Kane the aspecting spell, his friend would have been destroyed.” A strong male voice argued. “What choice did I have but to save an innocent? I…”

“Not acceptable.” A strident female voice interrupted Seth’s plea. “You deserve to be stripped of your abilities.”

“Yes.” Several other women voiced their agreement.

The lengths to which Kane had gone to save me from Hecate became more apparent.

“Wait,” a soft-spoken female voice melted through the din of dissatisfaction. “Seth was trying to help save a life. Isn’t that what we do? Granted, he showed another how to aspect Hades, but he didn’t do the ritual himself.”

Another husky, unpleasant voice attacked. “Shush, Glenna. You’re being too soft. We have standards for ethical behavior that guides the use of our magic.”

Kane waited no longer. He pushed open the door and made his presence known in the sitting room of the cottage. Scrawny followed, but I could not cross the threshold. This was Seth’s home. To enter, I’d need an invitation. I stood outside and watched.

Kane and Scrawny found themselves in the midst of a large circle of some twenty witches of all ages – young, old, and in-between. In the circle with them stood a tall, blonde man with the most angelic face I had ever seen. The word good sprang to mind when I looked into his pure, pale-blue eyes. Dressed in a white shirt, slacks and shoes, his fair hair spread out around his wide shoulders.

“Ah, Kane, this isn’t a good time,” Seth said.

Before the beautiful man could finish, the tallest of the witches took one look at Kane and shrieked. “Demon! Vampire!” With a wave of her hand, she threw Kane and Scrawny against the wall next to the fireplace.

I growled and ran forward to the door only to be knocked back by the invisible barrier preventing vampires from entering without invitation. I rose and shook my head in frustration.

Kane sprang to his feet as four other witches rushed forward and, with a wave of their arms, levitated him into the air and tried to choke the life out of him. Unfortunately for them, it had little effect since vampires don’t breathe. While I turned into my demon self, I was still unable to enter and could do nothing.

Scrawny transformed and jumped on the backs of two of them but was tossed back and sent crashing to the floor. I snarled my anger and paced back and forth looking through the doorway.

Seth jumped in front of the four witches and shouted, “Stop!” Using his power, he froze everyone in place.

Kane slid down the wall to the floor and appeared free of the strangle hold the witches had placed on him.

Once the fighting stopped, Seth released his hold on him, and the tallest witch erupted in protest. “How have you entered this sacred space?”

“They are my friends, Chancellor,” Seth said.

“You’re friends with devils and demons? Is this the company you keep, Seth?”

“Is this how you treat guests, white witch?” Kane glared at her.

“You’re not a guest. You’re an abomination.”

“Well, this abomination is going to kick your…”

“Kane.” Seth smiled.

“No, I won’t stand here while these white witches condemn you.”

“Seth,” another of the white council said. “Would it be possible to release our four sisters from their immobile state?

“Do you promise to not attack my friends?”

“I do.” She looked around. “I can’t speak for anyone else.”

Seth looked at his friend. “Kane? Do you promise not to attach the white council?”

“I’m here to defend you, but I thought these people were reasonable.”

“Kane…” Seth sighed.

“I won’t attack if they don’t.”

“This is preposterous.” Chancellor said. “He’s a demon.”

“He has always kept his word.” Seth’s challenging words sliced through the air and hung there.

Silence.

I wasn’t sure what was going on, but Seth seemed the most level-headed of all of us. I seethed with rage wanting only to protect Kane and Scrawny. Had I been inside, I doubt I could have contained my impulses.

“Chancellor, this is my home. The rules of the meeting hall do not apply here.”

Chancellor looked at Kane, me, and Scrawny and then addressed Seth. “Why are they here?”

Kane huffed. “I have a mouth, a mind, and I speak English.”

The Chancellor ignored Kane.

Seth looked at Kane.

“A few days ago I came to Seth to save my friend who had been kidnapped by Hecate to become her familiar.”

“Hecate? Nobody’s seen or heard from Hecate for…”

“Two hundred years.” A beautiful, young witch wearing jeans and a greentee-shirt matching her eyes interrupted the Chancellor.

“Yes. She sought to enslave the entire vampire nation to do her bidding and take back the underworld from Hades and gods knows, probably the human race.”

“So you used black magic to aspect the devil.” I watched the Chancellor look into Seth’s eyes.

“Seth did not perform the ritual.” Kane interjected. “He only showed me how. Because he did, I was able to locate and connect with Hades and save my friend.”

“So you’ve brought down Hecate upon us.”

“No.” Kane said. “Together, my family, including this dog,” Kane pointed to me standing outside the door, “and his pack of wolves, were able to defeat the goddess of all dark witches and save this planet from her destruction. What Seth did was in the name of goodness, not evil.”

The same young witch with green eyes stepped forward. “I propose we overlook this transgression as long as Seth agrees not to use or teach others black magic.” She looked at her fellow witches for confirmation.

The witch Seth called Chancellor, who was older with long, frizzy gray hair and a wrinkled face, stepped into the circle. Her blue-gray eyes held a leadership quality. “We all know you are Seth’s friend, Glenna. But, you have brought forth a proposal. We should vote on it. Too much has been made of this all ready.”

“If we let this slide, who is to say he won’t do it again?” A short, rotund witch said.

“Is my word not enough, Chancellor?” Seth’s blue eyes searched the old woman’s face.

The chancellor turned beet red. “You… Enough. All in favor of forgiving this transgression?”

There were fourteen ayes versus six nays.

“Seth, we will forgive this transgression, but know this. If you use or illustrate black magic again, it will not be tolerated.” She stepped back out of the circle along with Glenna. “We will leave you to your friends.”

As they filed past me, they displayed all sorts of power. Two, locked arm-in-arm, disappeared into thin air. Another ten lifted into the air and flew away. Seven more twirled and turned into butterflies and floated away. Only the young witch Glenna remained behind.

Seth then turned to me. “Please, enter my home, Kane’s friend.”

The cottage appeared much larger inside than it did from the outside. I stepped onto a blue patterned rug. To the left a coo-coo clock struck the time. It was half-past nine. To the right I recognized a few of the same books as Kane’s on a floor to ceiling bookshelf. I passed a blue upholstered couch that matched the rugs and a cozy fireplace blending the room into an inviting picture perfect home.  A large kitchen expanded to the left. All sorts of pots and pans, hanging herbs, test tubes, and the smell of freshly made stew filled the air with a musty aroma.

Glenna stood next to Seth. Her hands clutched each opposite wrist, and she gave an awkward glance around the room. She fidgeted as she turned to smile at Seth, and he took her left hand, gently uncurled her fingers and kissed it. “Thank you for supporting me, Glenna.”

She blushed a deep red and backed out of the door into the night.

Seth sighed as he watched her go. “It’s a shame she is so humble. She has more power in her little finger than all the other witches here tonight.” Seth turned to Kane as he shut the door. “Thank you for coming.”

“I’m not sure I helped, but I owed you, Seth. It was what I needed to do.” Kane slapped Seth on the back. “But really, why bother with them? You don’t need them, and they can’t do anything to you.”

“True, but without acceptance in the coven, I would be unduly isolated.” Seth walked to the cluttered kitchen and brought Kane a large glass of red wine in an ornate, crystal glass.

Kane sipped the wine and sat next to the fire. Scrawny and I moved closer to him.

“Seth, this is Snow Blood. It is his life you saved. And you know Scrawny.” Kane took another sip of wine.

Tell Seth how much I appreciate his help and I am sorry for the trouble it has caused. Tell him it was his action that allowed me to return to my family.

Kane repeated my thoughts. He watched his friend over his glass for a moment.

Seth turned to me. “You are welcome, Snow Blood. I am glad I could help all of you.” Turning back to Kane, Seth leaned toward his friend. “Not that I’m ungrateful, but how did you know I needed help?”

“It seems your god still watches over you.”

“Ah, Mathias. I should have known.”

Which is his god, Kane?

He speaks of what he considers to be the true God, Snow Blood. Not the gods and goddesses with whom we have had to contend.

Kane drained his glass of wine and leaned forward toward Seth. “And Mathias? What an incredible creature. He says he is your guardian?”

Seth sat back and sighed deeply. “Mathias is my loyal friend and protector. I call upon him in times of need, and he appears whenever he senses I need help. We have a heavenly… connection.

Kane stared at Seth and then at Snow Blood. “Mathias is there for you, much like Snow Blood is for Brogio… for all of us.”

“Yes, ever since Emma…” Seth paused and wiped at his eyes. “Ever since Emma was killed in that horrible car accident, Mathias seems to have been even more connected.

Scrawny abruptly changed the subject. Ask him about his new lady friend.

Kane winked at my gray wolf son. “Yes, Seth. Scrawny wants to know how it goes with the new woman in your life.”

Seth immediately smiled at the question. “She is amazing, Kane,” he sighed.

“But?” Kane leaned forward and peered into his friend’s eyes. “Is something else bothering you about her?

Seth scratched his chin and looked down at his hands. His fingernails glistened like pearls. The man sighed and stared at Kane. “She is so mysterious. I have no idea where she lives. She never invites me to her house but always insists we meet here.”

“Well, that’s not all that unusual,” Kane responded. “Some ladies just prefer not to have men visit them where they live. Is there more?”

“Yes. You see, I don’t know if I am fascinated with her because of her looks.” Seth took Kane’s glass and went to the kitchen. This time he returned with glasses for both of them.

Scrawny and I sat next to Kane and waited for it to play out.

Kane smirked. “Well, I have to admit I am always fascinated by most women… for their looks.”

“No. It’s not that. It’s just she looks amazingly like… like Emma. In fact, she looks more and more like her every time I see her. I can’t seem to get enough of her.” He sighed again and sipped his wine.

“Interesting. Look, over time you’ll be able to decide whether it is because she looks like Emma or if it runs deeper.” Kane stretched his legs out in front of him.

“That’s just it. She’s pushing me hard for marriage, like now.”

Kane sat up with Seth’s latest revelation. “Do you mean, right now? In the next month?”

“No, like in the next few weeks. And, honestly, when I saw her last night, she not only looked just like Emma, she even had her mannerisms. It’s almost too good for me to resist.” Seth looked at his fingers and rubbed them on his knee. “You know how much I loved Emma.”

Kane drained his wine and looked over at Scrawny and me. Scrawny’s tail moved too quickly and his eyes grew larger. I knew the same red flags exploded in his head as they did mine.

Mathias sent a telepathic warning to Kane, Scrawny, and me. The woman is not right. I sense grave danger in her. Seth is too besotted to listen. You must intervene.

Kane sat down his glass on the small table next to him and stood. “Let me suggest you introduce your new lady to me. I will be more able to advise you once I have met her. What do you think?”

“Excellent idea, my friend. I will set it up with her, and the three of you could come and meet her.” He sat down his wine and stood. “From what I understand, Snow Blood and Scrawny here are very good judges of character as well.” Seth leaned down and petted each of us on the head and embraced his friend.

As we walked to the door, Kane pushed his thoughts into our heads. Who do we know with the ability to take the form of others and also wants to be married to such a decent, kind man of good means? Potentially, Seth is in trouble.