If you happened to walk by our office last Thursday, you might have thought that we had gone insane. Here we are, sitting in front of the computer cackling, cursing, and then cackling some more. In this scene one of the most composed characters in Hidden Legacy loses it. The scene called for a torrent of obscenities, which we delivered. It’s a spectacular meltdown and it was hilarious to write.
This will forever be a favorite moment for the two of us, so I thought I’d share some of the other favorites with you. These are the ones we remember. There are others, but I’ll limit it to three or we will be here all day.
The Necromancer Caravaggio
“My night is brighter,” my father said.
Rowena froze, completely still like a statue. Julie pulled a piece of chalk out of her pocket, drew a protective circle on the floor, and sat in it. At the other end of the room, Ghastek clenched his teeth, probably trying to mitigate the effect of Roland’s voice. Yeah, good luck with that.
“How have you been?” my father asked.
Say something diplomatic . . . something . . . “If you build a tower in Lawrenceville, I will smash it, set it on fire, and salt the ground it stood on.”
Ghastek put his hands over his eyes and pressed them into his face. I couldn’t tell if it was from frustration or terror.
“We should have this conversation in person. I know, why don’t we go out to dinner?”
“When I first awakened, a few years before the Shift, I used to frequent this low-key chain of restaurants, with a wide variety on the menu. I can’t quite recall the name but it had a fruit and an insect.”
Ghastek mouthed something at me. I shook my head. I was distracted enough already trying to keep my magic shields up. Talking to him during tech was a lot easier.
“I consider the tower to be a declaration of war. You are preventing me from expanding my domain. That specifically violates our agreement.”
Ghastek grabbed a piece of paper off his desk and drew furiously.
“I would love to see you.”
Ghastek held up his drawing. It was a butt with a bee flying over it. What?
“I haven’t spoken to you in over one hundred days.”
“That’s wasn’t an oversight on my part.”
I must’ve made a face, because Ghastek scribbled on the paper and held it up. He had drawn a leaf on the butt. Well, yes, that explains everything. Thank you, Mr. Helpful. I waved him off.
Rowena got up, tiptoed over to Ghastek, and took the paper away from him.
“I’m free tomorrow at five,” he said. “Bring the family.”
Rowena held up the paper. On it in large letters was written APPLEBEE’S. Oh.
“I’m not having dinner with you at Applebee’s.”
“Tomorrow at five. Thank you for inviting me into your domain. I am so glad we could do this. It will give me a chance to stop by our local office as well. I look forward to catching up.”
Andrews, Ilona. Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels Book 8) (pp. 237-238). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
We took our seats at the table. Orro had gone the traditional American Breakfast route: stacks of light as a feather pancakes with butter melting at the top; paper-thin crepes filled with strawberries; tiny, muffin-sized apple pies with delicate dough lattices on top; hash browns; heaps of bacon and sausage; and three types of eggs, over easy, sunny side up, and scrambled. He swept by giving me the Look of Death, and retreated into the kitchen. Later I would get a lecture about not letting him know in advance that extra guests would be arriving.
“Her Grace, Caldenia ka ret Magren,” I said. “My sister Maud and her daughter Helen.”
“Letere Olivione.” My sister inclined her head. “We’re honored by your presence.”
“Honored is such a serious word, my dear.” Caldenia flashed her sharp teeth. “I’m but a quiet, country recluse now, no one important.”
Maud put eggs, a crepe, a sausage link, and a piece of bacon on Helen’s plate.
“Your regal presence elevates all surroundings with its magnificence,” Arland said. “A diamond in the rough shines ever brighter.”
“My dear boy, I did miss you.” Caldenia sipped her tea.
Helen bit a piece of bacon. Her eyes got big again and she scarfed it down and reached for the platter. Arland had reached for the bacon at the same time. They stared at each other across the table. A vampire standoff.
Helen wrinkled her face, showing him her tiny fangs.
Arland bared his scary fangs, his eyes laughing.
A low, tiny sound came from my niece. “Awrawrrawrawr.”
“Helen!” Maud turned to her. “Don’t growl at the table.”
Arland leaned back, pretending to be scared. “So fierce.”
Helen laughed, her giggles bubbling up. “Awrawrawr.”
Helen giggled again, grabbed her mug, and hurled it at the wall. The mug shattered. I looked back. Helen’s seat was empty. The platter of bacon had vanished.
Sean lost it and laughed.
“What a delightful little girl,” Caldenia said, her eyes sparkling.
Maud looked lost. “I… She never…”
“The child has an inborn grasp of tactics.” Arland grinned.
Andrews, Ilona. One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles Book 3) (pp. 60-61). NYLA. Kindle Edition.
Hold My Beer
I turned around. He stood by the door, wrapped in a plain brown cloak that reminded me of a monk’s habit. The hood was drawn over his head. He held a walking stick in his hand.
“You look like a traveling wizard from some old book,” I told him.
“Mm-hm. Or an incognito god.”
“Odin the Wanderer,” he said. “But I’d need a wide-brimmed hat and a raven.”
“And only one eye.”
“I’ve tried that look before,” he said. “It isn’t flattering.”
We’d been talking for a whole minute and he wasn’t screaming at me about resurrecting his sister. Maybe he really couldn’t feel Erra.
“Why are you here, Father?”
“I thought we’d talk.”
I sighed, went to the back, and got two bottles of beer from the fridge. He followed me to where a rope hung from the ceiling, attached to the attic’s pull-down ladder. I handed him the beer.
“Here, hold my beer.”
“Famous last words,” he said.
I pulled the rope. The attic ladder dropped down. I took one of the beers from him and climbed up the steps. He followed me.
We crossed the finished attic, where we kept our supplies, to a heavy steel door. I unlocked the two bars securing it and stepped out onto the side balcony. It was only three feet wide and five feet long, big enough to comfortably put two chairs. From this point we could see the city, the hustle and bustle of the street below, the traffic on Ponce de Leon, and beyond it, the burned-out husks of skyscrapers, falling apart a little more with each magic wave. I took one chair; he took the other.
“Nice,” he said, and drank the beer.
“I like it. I like to watch the city.”
I’d had the balcony and the attic ladder installed two months ago. When Jim found out, he had called me. He worried it was a security risk. Jim wouldn’t worry about anything related to me anymore. When a ten-year-old friendship shattered, the edges cut you.
My father drank his beer.
“What was Shinar like?”
He put his beer on the wooden railing and held out his hand. I touched it. A golden light rolled over the city below. I had expected crude, simple buildings the color of sand and clay. Instead beautiful white towers rose before me, drenched in greenery. Textured walkways led up terraces supporting a riot of flowers and trees. Sparkling ponds and creeks interrupted open spaces. In the distance a massive building, a pyramid or temple, rose, the first tier white, the second blue, the third green, topped with a shining gold sun symbol. People of every color and age strode through the streets. Women in colorful flowing dresses, in plain tunics, in military garb, carrying weapons and leading children by the hand. Older kids running, waving canvas bags at each other. Men in leather and metal armor, in robes like the one my father wore, in finery and a couple nude in bright swirls of red and blue body paint, some clean-shaven, some with a few days of scruff.
“No beards?” I said.
Sumerian civilization was the oldest on record, and men on the few artifacts that survived always had full, curly beards.
“It came into fashion much later,” he said.
“It’s not what I expected.”
“It was called the jewel of Eden for a reason. I remember the night it fell. That tower with the red roof was the first. I ran out in the street and tried to hold it up and couldn’t. The magic simply wasn’t there. One by one, the buildings collapsed in front of me. Thousands died.”
“Father, what you are doing is wrong. What you have done for these past years, what you will do after you have restored Shinar, is wrong. You bring pain and suffering. You want to resurrect the old kingdom, but the world has moved on. Shinar doesn’t belong here. It is lost. It will never be again. And if you somehow forced this world to obey your will, it would fall the way the old world of magic fell. Stay in the city, Father. Live a normal life for a little while. Come to my wedding, figure out what it is to be a grandfather. Enjoy the small things in life. Live, Father. Live for a little while without ruling anyone.”
“You would forgive me all my past transgressions if I stayed?” he asked.
“Yes. You are my father.”
If it meant that the city would survive, I would. I would take the look on Andrea’s face as she held Baby B, Julie’s tears, Jim’s flat stare, the knife in Dali’s chest, and everything I went through, and I would put it away so they could all go on living.
He patted my hand gently. “I cannot. It is against my nature. Decades ago when I had awoken, maybe. But now it’s too late. I am walking this path.”
“I’m right. Deep down inside, you know I’m right. This is a onetime offer. I won’t let you murder the man I love. I sure as hell won’t let you murder my son. You have no idea to what depths I’ll go to stop you. I won’t let you impose your will on those people you see on the street.”
“People must be led.”
“People must be free.”
He shook his head and sighed. “What am I going to do with you, Blossom?”
“Think about it, Father.”
“We are going to war, my daughter. I love you very much, my Blossom.”
“I love you too, Father.”
We sat together and looked at the city until finally he rose, drew his cloak over his head, and left, melting into the traffic.
Erra appeared next to me, her form so thin it was a mere shadow. “Good-bye, brother,” she whispered.
Andrews, Ilona. Magic Binds (Kate Daniels) (pp. 259-266). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.