(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Marcus was written by Grace Snoke.)
Marcus was not used to feeling uncomfortable—he was the one who made people uncomfortable and squirm in their chairs. Yet, when the Creator told him he had to speak with “The Muse,” he dreaded it. He dreaded it even more when the Creator told him, in no uncertain terms, to “Play nice” and “No, she will not ask you to bite her. Ugh.” He couldn’t help but chuckle. His Creator often argued with him and referred to him as “her pain in the ass antagonist.” It was his nature after all.
He paced the floor of the dimly lit office lobby. Everybody, at least on this floor, was gone and there was no need for more than the dim lobby lights illuminating the cushy waiting area his clients frequented. He paused to look out over the city below. Even though it wasn’t visible from here, he knew where, in the sea of lights, streets and buildings, The Blues Siren was and at night he’d often stare in that direction, wondering about the possibilities if things had been different.
But things weren’t different and here he was, a successful, if ruthless, entertainment lawyer. It was definitely a unique cover for being a werewolf—at least he wasn’t a construction worker or bouncer or mercenary—and the pay was good enough that he could easily afford not just this office suite on the top most, twelfth floor, of the building, but several private estates as well.
With a sigh, he walked over to the bar and poured himself a double whiskey on the rocks. If he was going to do this interview, he figured he should be comfortable. Undoing the buttons on the designer suit jacket, he left it open as he settled onto one of the leather couches and reached for the downstairs intercom.
“Yes Mr. Diehl?” security asked from the ground floor.
“A Misses Kelly Blanchard will be arriving soon. Please let her through and give her a key to the elevator so she can arrive unhindered,” Marcus instructed.
“Yes sir. Shall I tell her where to meet you at?”
“Of course. The lobby.” The security guard would know to explain to Kelly that the lobby to Diehl’s offices were behind the elevator columns behind the double wood doors and the security key card would open the doors if she pressed it against the sensor.
The intercom clicked off. Now to nurse his whiskey and consider the potential questions he might be answering.
Kelly listened to the instructions the security guard gave her and accepted the key from him, and she went on her way, musing over whom she was about to meet.
Marcus—that was what his Author had told her. Kelly also had a character named Marcus in a story of hers, but that guy had a terrible habit of not keeping his mouth shut and always ending up getting punched out, generally by the same person. The reminder of this caused a smile to upturn her lips, but Kelly dismissed it as she pressed the key against the sensor and opened the door.
Stepping into the lobby, Kelly gazed around the spacious office before finally noting the man lounging on the couch with a drink in his hand. At least he was comfortable.
She approached him and smiled. “Hello, you must be Marcus. I’m Kelly Blanchard.” She offered her hand for him to shake. “Thank you for meeting with me. I trust you are doing well today?” She raised her brows.
He smelled her when she came through the lobby doors. Scent—it was the first sense every werewolf used in identifying an individual and she had a uniquely, otherworldly scent to her. It was the best he could describe it and he would have to ponder the implications of that later. He rose to his feet as Kelly made her way into the lobby, placing the drink on the table and brushing the moisture from the sweat on the glass off on his pants.
“In the flesh,” he answered smoothly, accepting her hand in a friendly, but firm shake. His hand was surprisingly calloused for a businessman and unusually warm. “Marcus Diehl of Diehl and Associates, at your service,” he offered, bowing slightly when he released her hand. “You must be Misses Blanchard? Or is it Miss?” He motioned to the sofa across from him. “Please, take a seat. May I offer you something to drink? Or something to eat? Perhaps chocolates?” Chocolates were a good way to butter someone up, right?
“No thank you, and please call me Kelly.” She took the offered seat on the couch aware she had dodged one of his questions, but that wasn’t important right now. Instead, she decided to be direct with her questions. “So, how does a werewolf before a lawyer?” She watched him as she sat back in her seat, observing what reaction he may give.
He blinked and chuckled at her direct question, noting she had avoided at least one of his questions, perhaps two… Perhaps she was a lawyer as well. Most women weren’t quite that direct unless they were lawyers as well. He’d have to tread carefully with this young lady.
“The same way humans become lawyers, Kelly,” he answered smoothly, picking up his glass and settling back onto the sofa, studying her with his dark brown eyes. “I attended college, then the university, progressed through my courses, passed the bar exam and here I am.” He chuckled. “It’s harder than it sounds, but to suffice to say, I earned it the hard way.”
“Well, congratulations on your accomplishments. However, most werewolf stories I’m familiar with, the werewolf was originally human but was turned into a werewolf at one point in their life.” She locked eyes with him. “Was that the case for you? Or have you been a werewolf all your life?”
Marcus actually laughed at that and raised his glass to her as if in compliment of making him laugh. “Ahhh my dear Kelly, there is a difference in mythos and reality. Mythological creatures often live amongst humans and humans seldom know the difference,” he motioned to the offices. “Three-quarters of my staff are human. They have no idea myself or others here are of a dual nature. But, to answer your question. I was born a werewolf. My mother and father were werewolves as well,” he paused, taking a sip of his whiskey, “But let me elaborate a bit. While a human can become a werewolf from being bitten, it is extremely rare and has to be intentional and, for the most part, willing. So no. Most of us were not turned by being bitten. I take it, you know nothing of our lore?”
Kelly just have him a look but then smiled. “It’s a traditional question I must ask when I encounter werewolves or vampires because it’s done differently in different realms. I am unfamiliar with your specific lore, but if you wish to enlighten me…” She nodded then gestured with her hand, “By all means, please do so.”
He arched her eyebrows at her explanation. That made sense, he supposed. He did ask questions of his clients when the answers should be obvious and many times the answers were the opposite of what he had expected. Then again, that’s the entertainment industry in a nutshell – nothing was as it seemed to be.
“I am not a loremaster, so while I know the basics of the story, I cannot really delve or give you an animated light show like they can of our past,” he put his glass down and rose to his feet, pacing as he explained as best he could. His nose wrinkled as he thought about how to explain this to a human. It wasn’t as easy as he thought—which is why he needed a loremaster.
“You are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve from the Christians and Jewish Bible, yes?” He assumed she would be, so he didn’t wait for confirmation. “Our origins are much like that. The gods created werewolves to be the protectors of humans from other supernatural creatures. So they created The Mother and The Father, as we call them. As it comes to pass, they eventually had children—seven boys, three girls, who would grow up to be the leaders of the ten tribes. Tribes were a mix of wolves and humans and eventually spread through the world and divided as most tribes did.” he paused. “Kind of like the Native American tribes throughout the United States, except smaller.”
He took another drink. “The tribes don’t encompass the whole of werewolves though. There are some, for whatever reasons, were Banished from their tribes. Outcast. Each tribe is vastly different with the exception of their feelings towards the Banished. As far as they are concerned, they should not be just outcast but put down…and that is true for some of them,” he admitted.
Kelly watched him pace but knew her next question had the potential to draw his ire—depending how his personality. Still, she asked, “Are you one of these Banished?”
He stopped his pacing, staring out the window at a fixed location in the distance before turning to her and nodding.
It was the only answer he offered. It was still a sore subject for him, twenty years later.
Sensing him tense, Kelly leaned forward and watched him, but she spoke softly, “What happened?”
He sighed and moved with his glass to the bar to pour himself more whiskey.
“Stupidity. Teenage angst. Hormones. Death…” he offered before chucklingly. “I think it ultimately boils down to what one of the girls in the office refers to as ‘testosterone poisoning’,” he said, making quote marks in the air with his fingers when he said the words.
He moved back to the sofa, setting himself back down. “I had lost my mother a year before and things were…rough. I was a teenager, nearing 18. You start learning how to shift when you’re a pre-teen. You know how to fully shift when you’re a teenager but even as an adult, when you lose your temper you can start to shift. There are few humans who know we exist. Those that do are often part of our packs or are hunters of our kind.”
He took another drink. “The long and short of it was—I broke the rules. Rules that had been handed down for thousands of years but there was no clause in those rules for “heat of passion” or hormonal driven stupidity. I was the unusual nerd—a jock nerd. Those just don’t exist, you understand?” he asked before continuing. “Even though I was a star athlete or the MVP football player and attractive, I was also a nerd and that meant I wouldn’t get the girl. Period.”
He took another sip and was silent for a couple of moments. “I was egged on after a game. We had been drinking—I knew better—and finally after several things were said about my mother…” He looked up at her a distinct look of foreboding sadness in his eyes “You know how teenage boys can be. We can say some really mean shit to each other. Well, I lost my cool. I shifted in front of humans and killed several before fleeing.”
Kelly nodded as she understood how anger. “And do you think it was unjust for them to cast you out then and never accept you back?” She tilted her head to a side regarding him. “But you’re not the kind of person to simply sit back and let fate happen. You have plans.
She was astute, this Muse the Creator had sent to talk with him. Marcus nodded at her question and following statement of fact.
“The whole process is barbaric,” he chuckled at his choice of words. “Perhaps poorly chosen words considering that I just admitted to killing several teenage colleagues almost 20 years ago, but yes. It was barbaric and unjust. There was no consideration to what had caused my reaction—I wasn’t even asked why. I was put on trial and allowed no defense of myself. I was tried based on the rules broken and that alone and banished at the age of 18 to fend for myself.”
He shook his head. “Few banished become as successful in their lives as I have. Most are rovers, wanderers, spending more time in their wolf form because that is the only way the can survive in this world, some banished for far lesser crimes. I think…” he paused, considering whether he should continue. “I think the only way to change the rules is to change the world and to start that change I have to create a new tribe.”
“Tell me of your endeavors.” Kelly nodded as she say back resting her arm on the armrest of the couch. “How do you plan to go about this?” Then she cocked her head to a side, furrowing her brows. “And I can’t imagine the other tribes would be very pleased with a new tribe being formed.”
“Carefully. I plan to go about this very carefully,” he answered sardonically. “Unfortunately, not everyone that agrees with the idea are as careful and agree with the plans. Some of them are, quite truthfully, causing more problems than good in the situation.”
He pondered the thought of whether the other tribes would be pleased with a new tribe.
“A tribe of outcasts? I imagine not. As far as they would be concerned, we are a threat to their lives and livelihoods,” he answered. “And yes, in some cases, some Banished are a threat to the rest of the us because their feeling is they’ve already been banished, they can set the world on fire and not care if the world knows that there are wolves in human clothing amongst them.” He finished off his drink, settling the glass back down on the glass table, the ice cubes clinking inside.
“Many werewolves are loath to put down another of their kind outside of battle. It’s why we’re banished instead of killed,” he explained. “But cause enough of a ruckus, kill too many people, attack the tribes repeatedly and then the story changes. You attack a wolf, expect to be killed. Plain and simple.”
Kelly nodded. This made sense, but she’d figured they’d talked about his future plans enough. She wanted to know of his past. “I’m assuming you know Evangeline then? Does she mean anything to you?” Kelly knew who she was in the Author’s story, but wondered how she tied in with Marcus.
His eyes took on a cautious look at her question, wondering where this would lead, but he had nothing to hide where Evangeline was concerned. “Yes. She is a few years younger than me—the daughter of the loremasters on the tribunal that sentenced me,” he answered. “Technically, we were in the same pack.”
He rose to his feet and moved to the window, motioning Kelly to join him before he pointed out, to the south. “You can’t see it from here, not really, but I know it’s there. Her bar, The Blues Siren is on the far south side of town. She has a beautiful voice, beautiful face. She is…different…” he offered in explanation.
Kelly rose to her feet and joined him near the window, saw her reflection in the window but then looked beyond the glass to the city below, However, Marcus’ last words caught her attention, and she cast him a glance. “What do you mean?”
“Both of her parents were loremasters—which is relatively uncommon. Likely all of her children will be loremasters and they, in turn will be like the first packs—traveling till they find the pack they settle with. Certain things run in families. The magics of loremasters, shamans and witches are passed down. It’s genetic,” he explained. “Factor in that her father was full-blood Native American and her mother a mulatto and you can understand why she’s unique.” He paused before moving away from the window. “She is too much of a loremaster, too much in control of herself to ever become Banished, but I hope to convince her to stay with us at least for a while.”
“Why? Do you need a loremaster in your tribe?” Kelly turned from the window and watched him meander around the room.
A grin crossed his features at her question. “Something like that,” he answered honestly. “As far as I can tell, she does not have a mate. She is not bound to anyone. The same is true for me. And while I know she’s not my mate, I have not found mine yet either. If she were willing…” he didn’t explain it any further. “Her child…our child…would be well cared for. I would see to that.”
“Ah.” Kelly had to smile. “So you merely want her to have your child.” Then Kelly shook her head. “Not exactly the way to win a girl. You’d have better luck with chocolate.” She jutted her chin to the chocolate he had offered her earlier but then smiled at him. “Well it sounds like you certainly have your hands full, and unfortunately my time is coming to a close here now. However, is there anything further you’d like to share with me? Perhaps something you’d like to get off your chest?” She raised her brows. “No one here will ever hear a word of this conversation, so you may speak freely if you wish.”
“Perhaps something more than a child if she were willing, but we’re not each other’s mates and when we find the one that is…well it would be interesting,” he answered. “She’s attractive enough and intelligent. I’m sure many wolves hoped she was their mate. I have always wondered what the implications would be if a Banished’s mate was in a tribe…” he let that thought go.
“Ultimately…every choice I make, every order I give is for the betterment of those of us that have been Banished. I take ultimate responsibility for acts done by my order, not for those done at the orders of others—and there are others who think the demise of the tribes would be better than a new tribe, “ he snorted “Can you imagine the chaos there? But really…not every Banished is bad. Not every Tribe member is good. Someone has to find a middle ground to move forward with.”
He turned back to Kelly. “You were an absolute delight to chat with, almost better than some of my clients.”
Kelly smiled. “Well, of course. After all, I didn’t come here requiring your lawyer services. However, I do appreciate your time. It was quite insightful. I would warn you against any actions toward Evangeline if she is not your mate. The ramifications could be dire for all tribes…including the Banished, and you yourself said everything you do is for the betterment of them. Now though, I must go. Thank you again.” Kelly bowed her head then headed for the door. However, before she reached the door, she opened a portal directly before her and stepped in, closing it behind her without missing a step.
He arched his eyebrows at his words. She was likely right about that as certain things had already gone…awry. But until you tried to talk with someone and convince them of what needed to happen…
His eyes grew wide in surprise as the portal opened and disappeared.
She was definitely another woman he’d label as unique.
Grace Snoke’s story ‘The Wolf Siren’ has no release date set yet, but be sure to follow her on social media for updates!