[Amber Side note: during this takeover, there are times when more than one person is talking.
This is your handy guide to figure out who.
Reid Asher [Amber]
It won’t really let me change the font at all, so this is how we decided it looked. Anything that’s just bold, is probably questions, which are also technically from me. Also, this version of Reid is from the end of Blood Song, Book 1 of The Bluebird Chronicles due out July 20, 2023. Thanks!]
Hello. My name is Reid and I guess I’m taking over today.
I’m not exactly sure what that means, but Amber let me have full reign, with some guidelines. First, I have some questions I have to answer, then I had to provide her with some pictures, and apparently there’s a brief one-shot at the bottom of all of this about me and the first time I met the Territory Four Crone, Freesia Wolfendale. First, let’s get some basics out of the way shall we?
Full Name: Christian Reid Walker
Nickname(s)/Alias: Reid, I guess. Prince of Paris, Papa, and, my favorite, Crow.
DOB: October 28th.
[What year Reid?]
Depends, when I was born as a human? Or when I was turned into a vampire?
[Both I guess]
Fine. October 28, 1876 was the day I was born to my Ma and Da in Galway.
I was turned into a vampire on July 22, 1896 in Paris. My maker is Akina Rue, the sage in Territory Two of the European Arkane Alliance.
I hate her.
[Yes. Thank you.]
*rolls eyes and mumbles under breath* …creators…
Sexuality: Mostly straight. I’m old. I’ve experimented. Didn’t hate it. Deal.
Zodiac Sign: Scorpio
Eye Color: Blue
Hair color: Like a dark auburn? It looks brown most of the time unless I’m in the sun. And yes. I have a few freckles. On my face. On my arms. They’re there. Do not attempt to play connect the dots or I’ll introduce you to the lovely daggers I got as a birthday gift.
Location: Territory Three of the North American Arkane Alliance.
Southern Illinois. Are you happy? I thought I was taking over, go away.
Profession (if any): Executioner for Territory Three; Working for Sage Rivers
Family: Daughter, Emma Walker (20); Sister (through my maker), Echo Kingston (339); Niece, Aria Kingston (21); Grand-mère (don’t ask); and I guess Akina qualifies as she is my maker but I’d rather not count her.
I guess I should explain these pictures right?
#1 – My favorite picture is of Penelope laughing. Do I really need to explain why?
#10 – My dream vacation – the beach again with Penelope. I’d like to do it right this time though.
#11 – Coolest thing I own is a vintage Indian Motorcycle. I restored it myself and am quite proud of it. I don’t ride it much though, the parts are hard to come by.
#16 – My next adventure would be children. I want more of them. I don’t have plans for that currently, but that’s the next adventure I’d like to be on. Fatherhood where I’m not running and hiding is probably different. I want to experience that.
#17 – My best friend is Asher Jameson.
Of course it is.
There are others as well, like Annistyn, Shiloh, Becks, but Asher is the one I’m closest to. Despite his annoying personality.
#27 – My Grandmother is the person I miss. She died before I went to Paris. I was her favorite.
#29 – The person I’d like to see everyday is Penelope. I thought maybe Emma too, but my daughter wants her space and that’s fine. I think. I don’t like it but I can’t do much about it either.
Answer these questions:
What is one thing you regret doing?
Not checking on my family sooner.
What celebrity do you want to be best friends with?
I’m not sure, but it isn’t Pretty Boy Noah Meade. Hate him almost as much as Akina.
What strange habit do you have?
I don’t know, ask Asher.
He pretends he doesn’t give a fuck, but we all know he does.
He also likes to play the martyr.
Fuck off Ash.
Love you too Reid.
When did you and Asher become friends?
Too long ago. I need new friends now.
Fine. The 1950’s. I killed his maker as they were passing through the EUAA. Ash hadn’t done anything wrong, so I took him back to Paris with me. He was a fairly new vampire and he needed a mentor. I introduced him to Shiloh when Akina sent him away six months later.
Yeah, when she figured out she couldn’t manipulate me like she could you.
Yeah, yeah. Shut up.
What makes you feel better?
A good bottle of bourbon.
He takes baths.
Go the fuck away Asher or I will put Nair in your shampoo again.
Did you have a mentor?
Sort of. I was trained by my maker, but Shiloh would qualify as my mentor if pressed.
What’s your relationship status?
It’s fucking complicated is what it is.
Thoughts on love at first sight?
A year ago, it didn’t exist and was made up nonsense from fairy tales.
Despite knowing multiple people with Twin Flames…..
I swear to the gods Asher, if you do not get the fuck out of here….
Now I believe in instant connections. Love comes later.
Do you have a Twin Flame?
[you wanna elaborate on that?]
Do you consider yourself to be a good person?
Yes I do. Most of the time. More Chaotic Good if I’m being completely honest.
What’s the coolest moment in history that you’ve been alive for?
The big Vampire Reveal back in 1903. I’d apologize again but it seems to have worked out in our favor if I’m being completely honest.
[How did that happen anyway?]
That is a story for another day.
Have you ever gotten high?
There are ways for vampires to get high. Arkane drugs are potent sometimes. So yes, I have been. But not since I left Paris.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
One summer day, my ma took me, Cian, Muirne, and Meealla all down to the creek to play. She was supposed to be doing the wash, but she ended up splashing in the water with us and helping us find different creepy crawlies. Cian and I were 8 I think. It was a good day.
Are you scared of heights?
I am not afraid of anything.
If you don’t go away I will tell Bailey about that one time in Germany….
Actually leaving now…bye
What Vampire Rank are you?
Everyone assumes I’m an Astrum who’s never applied to be a Dominum, but I’ve been a Dominum level for longer than I should have been.
Why do they call you the Prince of Paris?
It just kind of stuck. I’m the last of the Princes in the Arkane Royal Family, and for just over a century I was based in Paris. No matter where I go in life, Paris will always be my city.
Do you remember your dreams?
No. I’m not even really sure that I do dream.
What is your most used swear word?
Some version of Damn or Fuck. Especially in reference to Asher.
What’s the first app you check when you wake up?
Weather. I don’t always feel the temperature like a human would, so I need to know how to dress to blend in.
What is the coolest piece of technology you’ve come across?
A tablet or smartphone. It amazes me the things you can carry in your pocket these days.
What’s the strangest thing you believed as a child?
Cian once convinced me that I was a changeling child that my parents kept. Believed it for almost two years. Was too afraid to ask my ma. I got in trouble at church one sunday and was convinced they were going to send me away. Da was not happy with Cian, I’m not sure what happened in the shed that afternoon, but Cian wouldn’t look me in the eye for hours.
Describe yourself in one sentence.
Prince of Paris.
No. that’s my answer.
No more questions.
[Fine. Say goodbye to the nice people and I’ll share the story of you and Flower.]
Well, it’s been fun, but I have to leave now. I’ll be back to annoy Asher when it’s his turn because turnabout is fair play. Enjoy the story of how I met Flower back in the 80’s when she first became the Territory Four Crone. I was in New York City at the time, because I had done something to irritate Akina. It was a turning point for me. She helped me see that maybe there was another way, that I didn’t have to be exactly what Akina wanted me to be, that I could be more. When I fled with Emma, she was the first person I went to. I can never repay her. So now, thirty-four years later, when she asks me for things, I always do everything I can to help her.
Enjoy the story. I’d say it’s been a pleasure, but at best it wasn’t horrible. Sorry, I’m kind of a solitary vampire and I prefer to be in my garage or reading in my room. Good day.
An Excerpt from the (so far unpublished) Flower Novella
Prince Reid Walker drained the last of the blood from the bottle he was currently drinking, and tossed it into the backseat of the Jeep. His supply was getting low and he’d have to remember to pick up more if he could find some in Coldwynne. If he couldn’t, well he’d just have to Drift home while Freesia was in meetings. He glanced next to him to find the woman in question sleeping peacefully as he drove through the night. He still didn’t understand why she insisted that they drive between the smaller Arkane cities instead of drifting, but he wasn’t one to question the assignment he’d been given.
Freesia Wolfendale was the youngest crone in Territory Four history, having been awarded the title at just thirty-one. She still had small children at home, but here she was gladly accepting one of the most notable titles in the Arkane world. Reid was no idiot, he’d done some research when he’d been assigned the job by Damon Dethantos, one of the territory sage’s. The one he’d been assigned to after his latest exploit in France had angered his maker. He couldn’t wait to be done with this and hopefully beg Akina’s forgiveness and get to go home. He missed Paris and his privileged existence.
It wasn’t that Freesia hadn’t become delightful company, it was just that she was starting to poke holes in the role he played and he wasn’t sure he liked the churning feeling in his stomach that it often caused. He shook his head and concentrated on the road. Driving through the backcountry in Canada wasn’t something one should lose focus on.
They arrived in Coldwynne about an hour after the sun came up and he was more than ready for a warm bed and a chance to rest. They’d left after she’d had dinner the night before with some dignitary or other, they were all starting to run together in his mind. These small minded Arkane, some of them didn’t seem to see the vision Freesia held for the future, and he was annoyed, even if he didn’t personally see it. He hoped that the two day visit with Galvan Asherock would prove more fruitful for her. It made her better company at the very least. After this it was off to Newfoundland to visit the other Territory Four Sage and the last school on the trip.
Reid woke sometime in the early afternoon, feeling groggy and a little disoriented. He got up, showered and went to find Freesia. They’d both been given rooms in Asherock’s home and Reid had wasted no time getting some rest. He wandered down the stairs, subtly listening for the sound of Freesia’s voice. He didn’t hear her at all on his way out to the Jeep for a bottle of blood, which he’d kept there. While he downed his first bottle, he looked around the area a little better. It was beautiful here, and he would have liked a couple of days to just relax and enjoy it, maybe have Annistyn up to visit, he hadn’t seen her in a few months. Tossing the empty bottle with the others, he grabbed a second and went in search of his charge.
Freesia Wolfendale had been surprised to find out that her name had been in the running for crone when the latter had decided to vacate. She’d met him a number of times and thought he was interesting enough, but stuck in the past. He’d been crone for almost forty years. So when she’d been called to appear before the council, she’d been taken aback to find she’d been his choice. She’d done as best she could with the council and then waited to hear back, thinking they would never pick her. Once they had, she’d immediately dived into a plan to get Territory Four moving into the future. The new century was on the horizon and she wanted them to be ready. The first part of this plan was to go out and meet with as many people as possible. That included the sages, of course, but also included the lords, ladies, and those running the smaller communities. Helping the Arkane keep quiet in cities full of Karhu. To visit the schools, to ensure their children were receiving the best education. She wanted to know what she could do to help achieve the smaller goals these places had.
She hadn’t been overjoyed at the appointment of a bodyguard and chaperone in the form of Reid Walker, vampire and the Prince of Paris. How was she supposed to get to know the territory she represented for what it truly was if she had a member of the Arkane Royal Family following her around? She’d been pleasantly surprised to find him not as stuffy or arrogant as she thought he’d be. Though he did have some very backward thinking about some things. She hoped she could get him to think for himself a little more, if nothing else. They’d been on this trip for two weeks and were almost done with the Canadian portion and only had a couple more stops before they toured the American side.
So far Freesia had found the leaders to be a frustrating mix of old school, and forward thinkers. She was hoping to inspire those that weren’t convinced of her vision to at least give it a try. She wasn’t sure she was successful yet. Reid seemed to think she was, then again, she wasn’t sure she could trust his opinion just yet. He still seemed very young in a lot of ways, especially for an eighty-eight year old vampire.
“Freesia, I have to tell you, that although some of your plans seem like they will indeed help send us into the next century on the right foot, I’m not sure how you’re going to garner the support to do so.” Galvan Asherock told her, leaning forward in the chair he was sitting in on the dock near the water. Freesia was near him in a similar chair, looking out over the horizon. She wished Calkin and the children were here, they’d absolutely love this.
“Lord Asherock, while I’m sure that garnering support will sometimes be difficult, make no mistake, as crone it is well within my rights to enact change without the approval of any council.” She told him, lifting her drink to her lips, grateful that her voice had remained steady.
“Now, that isn’t necessarily true. There are many things that have to be approved by the council, and I know the members on this one. Many of them are going to argue that too much change too fast isn’t good for the Arkane or the Elentori.”
“I think you’ll find more people will agree than they won’t. I would like to work together and find ways that work for everyone. Karhu technology is changing rapidly, who knows where we will be in twenty years. We need to be prepared for that before it becomes a problem.”
“Now that is something we can agree on.” He said nodding and leaning back in his chair, seemingly content to dismiss the conversation for now. Freesia took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She hoped Reid would be awake soon, she desperately needed intelligent conversation. As if summoned, she heard his voice a few moments later.
“Everything okay, flower?” He asked, making his way down onto the dock, a half empty bottle of blood in his hand. Freesia had been disgusted at first, but very quickly had gotten used to this way of feeding for him. It’s what he seemed to prefer and had made it clear he wasn’t going to change that, and she agreed it was better than the alternative.
“I’m good, Reid. Did you get enough sleep?” She asked as he nodded to their host and took the seat closest to her.
“It was adequate. I’m headed into town for a supply run,” he shook his bottle back and forth a little so she’d know exactly what he meant. “Would you like to come along?”
“That would be nice. I’d like to get to know some of the people, see their daily life.” She said standing, leaving her half empty glass of beer on the small stand between where she and Lord Asherock sat. “Would you mind dearly if I took my leave?” She asked, looking at the man in question, old fashioned or not, it was rude to be disrespectful to her host. She may need his help one day and it wouldn’t do to make enemies only a few months into her run as crone.
“Go ahead.” Galvan told her with a wide grin. “I have some paperwork I need to attend to before the dinner tonight anyway. May I recommend lunch at Backlane, and a coffee at Jackie’s. They’re the most popular places in town and you would have a chance to really get to know the people here in Coldwynne there.” He offered. Freesia smiled before she turned and took the arm Reid had offered to help her up the hill.
“I’m not sure I’m going to like that man.” She confided as they walked through the little village. So far it was quaint, but she hadn’t seen a lot of diversity here. Mostly water and wood Arkane. A few earth, but almost zero Elentori seemed to live in these parts.
Reid shook his head, but smiled. “Well, hopefully you can count on him as an ally, whether or not you like him.”
“He seems ambivalent. He wants to sound supportive but also to warn me that I will have a lot of trouble with the council.” Freesia scoffed. “As if they have to approve every decision. Major policy changes, yes, need to be run through the council, but not every decision.”
“Then don’t worry so much, flower, you’ll be fine.” She smiled up at him. He was so much taller than her. He was over six foot and Freesia was lucky if she made five five in heels. She liked that he’d started calling her flower, two days into the trip. When she’d asked about it, he’d just shrugged and smiled. She noticed he assigned nicknames to almost everyone though, especially if he seemed to like them.
“I’ll try. Now, let’s find this restaurant and see if we can find someone who can tell us where to get the supplies you need.” She smiled and took his arm again as they made their way further down the main drag.
The dinner was nice, and Reid felt himself melting into the background as much as possible so he could watch Freesia work the room. She may be young, but she had an aura that demanded the respect of not only her title, but of her other accomplishments as well. She seemed to know intrinsically when to be the devoted mother, when to be the steely crone, and when to be something in between. It was like watching his maker work, but with softer edges. His maker always seemed to have an agenda, but Freesia seemed to just genuinely be able to handle the pressures.
Everyone seemed to be waiting to see if she would rise to the challenge that being crone brought, or if she’d buckle under the pressure. Reid was starting to understand that this woman, whether they ever spoke again, was going to change the face of Territory Four, and he wouldn’t be surprised if the other territories didn’t follow suit. He’d listened to her speak, asked probing questions and really listened to the answers. If only others would do the same.
“You know flower, I thought you did a great job.” He told her later, when she’d stepped out onto the back deck for some air and a chance to clear her head.
“But do they believe I can do the things I promised?” She asked, glancing at him. He inhaled deeply off of the cigarette he was smoking and let the smoke out slowly from his lungs.
“Most of them want to believe you, all that’s left is for you to prove you mean the things you say.” He told her slowly as he did a quick scan of the minds still inside the house. She smiled up at him again.
“I honestly hope I can too. I don’t want to let them down.” She confided, leaning against the railing and looking out at the moonlight reflected on the water.
“Can I give you a piece of advice?” He asked carefully. He’d been quiet on the topic of leadership, but after their conversation earlier in the day, there was something he wanted to tell her.
“Sure.” She turned her attention to him as he joined her at the railing, his cigarette put out in the ashtray by where he’d been standing.
“You are the Crone of Territory Four. The youngest ever.” She nodded, but waited silently for him to continue. “When I want something to be done, I don’t pander and try to convince those I want to do it. I tell them it needs to be done, and then wait for my orders to be carried out. I outline the plan if need be, but I don’t let them question me. I am in charge.” He paused and looked at her. “Now obviously I listen to my maker, my sage, and my crone and of course my Grand-mère, but I don’t let others question it. You need to do that. Obviously our positions are slightly different.” Freesia chuckled and nodded her head. Reid couldn’t help the smile on his face. “But don’t let them feel like you have to convince them of anything. You’re their leader. So lead. Let them figure out how to do as you say.”
“Reid, that’s all well and good, but I need the council on my side.” She told him with a sigh.
“I know that you do. So answer their questions, but make sure you leave no doubt that these are things you will accomplish with or without them. You’re the crone. You can replace them as you see fit, remember? And that is a completely different council, is it not?”
“It is.” She said with a grin.
“Then they need to know they either get on your side, or you’ll find someone that will.”
“That is helpful. Now let me give you a piece of advice.” Reid raised an eyebrow and turned to face her, leaning his back on the rail and glancing at the party still happening inside. “You need to find someone that can question you. That can make you think about things in a slightly different way. That can do that, and hold you responsible without overstepping their place in your life.”
“Isn’t that why you’re married?” He asked with a grin.
“While Calkin is great for that in our personal life, I’m still searching for someone with a slightly different perspective that can keep me balanced for work. You need to find both I think.”
“Akina keeps me balanced.” He said confidently, though he couldn’t ignore the small kernel of doubt that was starting to bloom in his heart.
“Does she? Or does she punish you for not doing the things she wants you to do just like she tells you?” With that Freesia turned and walked back into the party.
Reid stood there thinking about what she said, and what she hadn’t. When this was all over, he thought he might go see his sister for a long weekend. See if she could shed some light on some of the feelings Freesia was bringing to light. He watched her mingle for a few more minutes before he shook his head. The woman was amazing, and every bit as commanding as he himself was, even without the crown.
[That’s all for this month’s character takeover. I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to leave questions in the comments and I’ll make sure Reid answers them. Have a great new year my loves. Be safe, make good choices, and don’t eat yellow snow. Happy New Year.]