As promised earlier in the A to Z Challenge, I’m including some backstories that I wrote originally for Unveiled, but which later had to be cut. Since my stories involve characters who can potentially live for millennia, there’s an awful lot of backstory for each of them, most of which takes place well before the contemporary setting of my novels. I don’t have the time to do the research required to write historical fiction, but I had some fun writing a few scenes from when the coven was still in Ireland. This one explains how Markus and Darian met Sage when they were all still relatively young and inexperienced.
Markus and Darian had been following the trail of two Vengatti for two nights. The bastards had drained three humans in a nearby village, leaving them worse than dead.
“Damn it.” Darian was sloshing along the banks of the creek the two attackers had used to elude their pursuers.
“Nothing?” Markus asked.
Darian stopped and sniffed the air. He held a finger to his lips to silence Markus, then pointed to a thick cluster of shrubs a hundred yards to the left.
Markus nodded and silently circled around behind. When he caught the scent that had alerted Darian, he stood from his crouch and sighed at the young future Regan. Darian’s grin grew as he approached the hiding spot that held not an enemy, but a member of their own coven.
“Darian,” he reprimanded. It was this type of behavior from which Markus was supposed to restrain him. Though how Ardellus, the Regan, or his own father, the lead warrior, thought Markus, a young warrior only a few years Darian’s senior, could do what neither had been successful accomplishing himself, was beyond him. But Darian threw down the long branch he had picked up, no doubt with the intention of poking the sleeping vampire. His frustration was evident by the hand on his hip. Markus was sure Darian was cursing him for spoiling his fun, but he was more concerned with the young male who had awoken and leapt from the bushes. He held a small hunting knife in a shaky left hand as his eyes darted between Darian and Markus. Looking at his lanky build, Markus would have guessed he wasn’t matured if, in his fear, his fangs hadn’t sprung.
“Easy, boy,” Markus called. “We’re Rectinatti, same as you.”
“I’m not your boy,” the young blond responded, pushing his long hair from his eyes.
Markus gasped. Darian smiled.
“I guess not, Knower, but if you were smart, you’d still drop the weapon,” he said, approaching. The young male made no move to attack, nor to lower the knife. Markus examined him as Darian did. His face was bruised; his lip swollen.
“What happened to you?” Darian asked.
The male tried to scoff. “Don’t worry about it. The other male looks worse.”
Darian looked at Markus with a raised brow. “Where have you heard that before?”
Markus grinned. “From you, every time your father beats your arse for doing something stupid.”
Darian shrugged and nodded. “Next time,” he teased the blond, “rough up your knuckles on a tree. Makes it a bit more believable.”
“Piss off,” he returned, finally lowering his hand and turning away.
“Hey.” Markus flashed in front of him and spun him around by the scruff of his neck to face Darian. “You have any idea who you’re saying that to? Look closely.”
Darian reached his right hand to scratch at his nose, making the silver and sapphire ring evident.
“Oh, shite,” the blond answered, his jaw dropping.
“The proper response is usually to bow.” Darian waited for a reaction. When none came, Markus knocked the back of the young male’s knees to push him to the forest floor. The blond shook him off. “He’s not the Regan yet.”
“True,” Darian said, striding forward until he was directly in front of the boy, looking down his nose at him. “But I still have the power to have you strung up and beaten. Or taken in and trained. From the smell of you, you’re young and need food, essence—and a bath. So which will it be, Sage Matthew?”
Sage’s eyes widened. “How do you know my name?”
Darian laughed. “You don’t think my father keeps track of all gifted members born into the coven? You were supposed to be presented to my father as soon as you matured,” Darian said staring down at him. “I guess your father forgot that while he was beating you senseless.”
Sage actually grinned. “And you were supposed to be home three days ago and are hoping showing up with me will make your own father forget that,” he said, wagging his marked brows.
Darian cursed and looked away from Sage’s eye contact. He had forgotten how Knowers work.
“If I refuse you, I’ll have good company as I’m being whipped in the stocks, won’t I?”
Sage continued mocking Darian’s earlier words. “You don’t think the coven keeps track of our future Regan? It wouldn’t be the first time according to the tales I’ve heard.”
Markus couldn’t keep from howling.
“Laugh all you want, Markus. As my guard, your father will have you right there beside me.”
Markus’s smile faded. Darian was right. As was the young male: it wouldn’t be the first time he was punished for not being able to tame Darian’s reckless behavior.
“We’ll owe you one.” Markus offered Sage a hand to help him to his feet. “You could ask for two worse males to owe you a debt, trust me.” Markus held his gaze, though it meant the young vampire would have free range of his thoughts. The trust paid off. Sage took his hand and stood.
Before sunrise that night, Markus and Darian realized just how much they and the coven would owe Sage over time. They had caught up with one of the two Vengatti they had been pursuing. He was injured and his partner had left him for dead. Darian had been ready to finish him off, but Sage had stepped in, reading him first.
“They discovered our nearest safe house and were headed there,” he told Darian. “They planned to ambush you, to kill Markus and take you captive.” His face looked young, but his blue-grey eyes knew the gravity of what he forewarned.