Jahannan’s Children, Chapter 1

So I thought I’d put up a few paragraphs from Kurt’s chapter.

Chapter 1

For the second time in less than six months, Kurt, vampire regent and Master of Seattle, was terrified.

He stood before a wall-sized, plate glass window on the fiftieth floor of an office tower in downtown Seattle. No one knew about his office here, not even Daniel, his executor, who ran the night-to-night operations of Kurt’s vampire colony. He maintained this office because it was occasionally necessary for him to attend to his many other commercial interests in Seattle in person, and he knew his more conservative associates would not appreciate conducting business in his main office beneath his Last Chance nightclub in Pioneer Square.

But that wasn’t all he used this office for. He also came here when he needed to be alone to think, to brood over the latest challenge confronting him—business or otherwise—away from the constant interruptions that running a nightclub entails.  Right now his downtown office was dark and the building deserted except for the security guards. That wasn’t surprising—not this late on a Sunday night.

This cannot be happening to me, he thought.

He was losing his powers, the ones that marked him as a regent, a prince among vampires. He’d heard about regents who’d lost their special abilities but the youngest of them had been over fifteen hundred years old. Subtracting the years he’d been alive, Kurt was just shy of five hundred and seventy years old dead. For a vampire, he wasn’t yet middle-aged.

He gazed down at the four cranes standing like skeletal sentries protecting their construction sites. His lips tightened into a disapproving frown. Those revolutionary idiots burned down nearly a quarter of my city last June. Equal rights for exotics is all well and good, but that won’t happen as long as humans outnumber us by a factor of ten. All those idiots managed to accomplish was nothing.

He looked up and saw more cranes in the distance. Like three of the four cranes below him, many of them were draped in flags bearing the logo for Smoot Construction, one of the businesses he owned. I donated it all–equipment, personnel, materials–so we could start rebuilding quickly. He smiled a little. That’s just one of the things I’ve done to help the recovery effort. And I’ve made sure everyone knows it.

His smile faltered. The reason for his largesse wasn’t just the prestige it brought him.  Centuries of experience had taught him that after a disaster, natural or otherwise, the best way for the people and the economy to recover was to put them to work. And so he had. Seattleites were repairing the damage at breakneck speed, but even so, Kurt suspected the psychological scars would remain for some time.  

Feeling hungry, the Master turned away from the window and walked over to his massive desk a few feet away. He picked up a bottle resting near the edge of the desktop and poured some of its contents into a large, heavy goblet nearby. When the goblet was full, he looked into its murky depths without expression. Then, bringing it to his lips, he upended his cup and drained it. With a grimace, he set it back on the desk and fixed it with a baleful stare. The drink had tasted terrible.

“Nothing like a pint of blood to ruin a perfectly good wine,” he muttered in disgust. Then he returned to the window, the drink’s lingering flavor still violating his taste buds. 

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