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       Heart of the Raven: Mini Prologue Collection, p.1

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Heart of the Raven: Mini Prologue Collection
Heart of the Raven:

  The Mini-Prologue Collection

  Free Flash Fiction

  By Joleene Naylor


  Author’s Note: This is a collection of nine flash fiction “prologues” for the book Heart of the Raven, the fifth novel in the Amaranthine vampire series. These stories are not intended to stand on their own, but as a supplement to the novel.




  Copyright 2012 by Joleene Naylor

  Cover art and interior illustrations copyright Joleene Naylor 2013. All rights reserved.

  Ramblings from the Darkness at https://www.joleenenaylor.com

  You never know what you’ll find in the shadows…..


  Children of Shadows: The newest in the Amaranthine Series

  The sixth installment of the Amaranthine series pulsates with the dark blood of vampire lore.

  The Children of Shadows, a vampire cult not seen for hundreds of years, resurfaces to wage war on the vampire guilds. Led by a familiar face, the cult wreaks havoc while Katelina and Jorick are trapped in Munich’s stronghold. Ume, a mysterious vampiress, who claims to know Verchiel, offers the help of her secret organization. But how are she and Verchiel connected, and can they trust her?

  As mysteries are solved, new ones appear. Why have the Children of Shadows returned, and is it really a former ally that leads them, or a look-alike? Jorick and Katelina will have to team up with past companions and new allies if they want to find out the truth.

  Legends rise and secrets are revealed in a world where vampires walk, drenched in blood and shadows.

  Order Your Copy Today

  at most e-book retailors!


  Other books by Joleene Naylor:


  0: Brothers of Darkness

  1: Shades of Gray

  2: Legacy of Ghosts

  3: Ties of Blood

  4: Ashes of Deceit

  5: Heart of the Raven

  6: Children of Shadows

  7. Clash of Legends

  8. Masque of the Vampire

  9: Goddess of Night


  Vampire Morsels Collection: 17 Short Stories

  101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire by Joleene Naylor

  Heart of the Raven Mini Prologue Collection

  Tales from the Island: Six Short Stories

  Thirteen Guests: A Masque of the Vampire companion

  Road to Darkness: A short story companion to Brothers of Darkness


  Tales of the Executioners


  January 10th

  The Guards’ Office

  The Vampire Citadel


  Cyprus sat at a table in the guard’s office, a miniature stack of paperwork in front of him. He held the ink pen over the paper, poised to record the answer to yet another inane question. “What special skills do you possess that would make you an asset to the team?”

  He couldn’t take any more. “This is ridiculous!”

  A brunette vampiress glared at him from the next chair. “Shhhhhh!”

  “Well it is,” he whispered back. “We’re filling out applications, for Christ’s sake!”

  “And how else should we do it?” she asked.

  He leaned closer to her. “Malick lined up all the eligible candidates, peered into our minds, and made a choice – just like that.” He snapped his fingers. “None of this bureaucratic, red tape nonsense. I miss him already.”

  “Malick was insane!” she cried, and then quickly lowered her voice. “That’s why I never tried out before. Now be quiet before they throw us out!”

  Cyprus glanced to the main desk where a gray clad guard leaned on his hand, his expression one of boredom. “He doesn’t get paid enough to throw us out. Besides, we’re his superiors.”

  “Only just.” She turned back to her application. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m trying to get a promotion.”

  He fell silent and gave her a long, calculating once-over. If she was a good representation of his competition he should be okay. Her words had no trace of an accent, which meant she was probably born in the US and had lived there her whole life. She couldn’t be more than a couple hundred years old, and she probably didn’t speak any other languages or have as much experience as he did.

  That’s right, he told himself. Not to mention that several of the greater guard had disappeared when Malick did, though no one was sure whether they were some of the unidentifiable remains scattered around, or if they’d gone with him. Either way, they were out of the running and, thanks to the confirmed casualties, there were even fewer left to put in for the three vacant Executioner positions.

  Cyprus turned back to the paper and reread the question. “What special skills do you possess that would make you an asset to the team?” What special skills were they looking for? He’d already listed that he was a demon eye on page one, and he’d written about his multilingual abilities under “What languages are you fluent in?”. What else was there? Unless they meant combat skills…

  He rubbed his forehead. His guard training in Munich had been more intensive than the American version. Maybe he could use that? But did he really want to bring up his time in Germany?

  He brushed aside the memories before they could surface and scribbled in an answer. The rest of the application was equally painful to finish, and by the time he filled in the last space he was alone in the office. He scrawled his name at the bottom, swearing by signature that all his statements were true, and then strode to the desk.

  The guard eyed Cyprus’ black greater guard uniform and took the papers. “Executioner application?”

  Cyprus bit back a sarcastic remark. “Obviously.”

  “Don’t take it out on me. It wasn’t my idea.” The guard flipped through the pages, as if checking to see that everything was filled out, then he tossed it onto a stack of papers. “They’ll look it over and if you qualify as a candidate you’ll get a message telling you to show up in the audience chamber tomorrow.”

  An interview in the audience chamber? What more could they possibly want from him? They had everything except a blood sample! “Who decides whether I ‘qualify’ or not?”

  The guard straightened just a little and his eyes shifted nervously. “Ark.”

  “I see.” There was nothing else to say. No doubt the head of the Executioners already had his favorites chosen, and Cyprus wouldn’t be one of them. He’d only been on one assignment with Ark, and it had been over a year ago and so routine that he couldn’t even recall any details from it. If only Migina or Griselda had been in charge, then he might have had a chance.

  Except that Griselda left with Malick, remember?

  “Is there anything else?”

  Cyprus’ spine snapped straight. He smoothed his black uniform and lifted his chin a notch. “No, that will be all.”

  He turned on his heel and strode from the office, head high. It looked like he’d be passed over again, but he might have a chance next time. Migina was the fourth one in line to take over and at the rate the Executioners were dying lately, it might not be too long before she was in charge.

  Right. Next time.


  January 10th

  The Scharfrichter Office

  The Vampire Stronghold

  Munich, Germany

  (Scharfrichter = German Executioner)

  Wolfe flicked through the screens of information with no enthusiasm. Photos flashed past, coupled with tidbits of i
nformation and old reports, most of which were scans of sloppy paperwork. He clucked his tongue and turned his attention to the caller on the other end of the phone. “The database shows that he’s on a watch list, but nothing else.” Wolfe’s fingers hovered over the touch screen as he skimmed the newest report, one that detailed an attempted rebellion. “I can send you the most recent reports on him, if you like.”

  The reply came in a French accent, “No, no, that will not be necessary. At least not yet. He may only be passing through. So long as he is not a fugitive…”

  “It doesn’t appear so.” Wolfe closed the reports and moved away from the display. “Is there anything else?”

  “No, no, that should do. Merci.”

  “You’re welcome. Good day.” Wolfe ended the call before the other could comment further. His mind wandered back to the old days, before he was even born, when each small country had had their own Sodalitas. There had been wars then, of course, and much unrest but they had all taken care of themselves. Surely that would be worth it?

  He shook the thoughts off as Hethin walked through the door.
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