The following is an excerpt from my short story collection She Sees in Her Sleep, now available on Amazon Kindle for $0.99. The collection serves to provide some background knowledge about your favorite characters from She Dies at the End, as well as to ease your November Snow withdrawal as I finish up the sequel. Enjoy!
She entered the tent alone, her dozen guards waiting warily outside with their vampire counterparts. That had been the agreement. Her fellow monarch was to enter similarly unprotected, but he had little need for guards in the dead of night. There were no creatures of the dark who could challenge his strength, unless they came in great numbers, and great numbers would lack the necessary stealth. Of course, all knew that a betrayal at this juncture would mean destruction on an epic scale. No one wanted that, not any longer.
She was sanguine. She knew this peace would hold for centuries and more. She'd had glimpses of the future, a future in which vampire and fairy fortunes were interwoven, a future in which the old wars would be, if not exactly forgotten, put aside in the pursuit of prosperity as well as safety from the lycanthropes.
In truth, it was the fairy who needed the peace more urgently, which fact they had taken great pains to conceal. It was easy to make new vampires. A single sire could make a dozen in one night if he wished. Not that that would be wise, but it could be done. Fairies took time to grow, far too much time at the rate they had been dying of late.
Weakened though they were, they did have much to offer the vampires. Daytime protection would be a boon, especially in those lands rife with wolves and human witch-hunters. Fairy magic was their other currency. Some vampires had abilities, of course. Queen Marisha was a gifted empath, and the Scourge could all but move mountains without raising more than an eyebrow.
But gifts were rare among their people, and abundant among Lilje's. Every fairy could do something amazing. And some fairies . . . some fairies could cast spells affecting hundreds, or thousands . . . or maybe just one very crucial person at a very crucial moment. Her husband, Gul, could hide whole armies. That gift, along with her own clairvoyance, was the only thing that had allowed them to hold out long enough to broker this accord, which promised peace in most of Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. Lilje had seen that the rest of the world would follow their lead, once they saw these lands bloom with the prosperity that would come with peace.
It helped that Marisha was a reasonable creature, herself weary of constant warfare. Lilje wondered how the vampire queen had convinced her husband. The Scourge seemed to thrive on leading men and women to their doom. Perhaps that was an act, meant to sow fear in his enemies. Either way, Ilyn's reputation was such that Lilje felt a little shiver of apprehension as he pulled back the fabric and entered the tent from the opposite side.
"Ilyn," she greeted him with squinting eyes. His sprinkling of silver hair amidst the black glittered in the candlelight as he bent to offer her a shallow bow. The scar across his cheek twitched as he unfolded back to his full, imposing height. She had heard a number of tales of how that mark had been made. The only commonality between the legends was that a fairy had been the culprit."Lilje," he replied blandly.