Preview of The Veiled Monarch, Chapter 1
Humans always tell me they think it's easier to be Non Human. They don't know what it's like to be one of us. How difficult it is to keep your head above water. We always faced ridicule, dealt with unnecessary regulations, and the Iron Oath has always been a thorn in our side. That all came crumbling down the day I met two people who changed everything.
This is the account of how we did it. All of us. Together.
It started like any other day. I walked into the department half asleep, somehow managing to put my badge on straight. While I pawed around for the coffee pot, Sergeant Darius Peck walked into my office.
"Morning Darius." I yawned.
"Raina I..." Darius trailed off once my hand flew in front of me.
"Nope. Not until I have coffee. It's six thirty. I won't talk until I have coffee."
A cheerful voice piped up behind me, "I just made some!"
A bright eyed young blond handed me a clean mug. I looked her over once before pouring the excuse for coffee night shift serves everyone. Plain clothes, new badge and wide awake at six-thirty in the morning. Everything about her screamed ‘new hire.’
After the first sip, I could halfway function. "Bless you, dear woman."
Darius chuckled, "I'm glad you like her."
I blinked from behind my mug. "Hm? Why?"
"This is Catherine Kleyman." Darius waved towards her, "Detective Kleyman? The new Detective we hired. The one I tried to tell you about last week. Twice."
Did I ignore Darius again? I did. I must have been too busy looking at my phone to care what he said. As usual.
"Oh! Hey, great to meet you." I had enough caffeine to smile, "Raina Escobar. Are we working together?"
Darius rolled his eyes at me, "Yes, you're working together. Let’s make her first day boring."
"Boring?" I pointed towards the door with a grin, "Last night had to be fairly active. Three Werewolves in cuffs at intake. What happened this time?"
I recognized two of the guys at intake as Werewolves. The third I didn't recognize, but I knew he was one of them. All Werewolves had the same smell. Like the raw earth after a rain and a cool, crisp night. Every Non Human could detect it.
Darius glanced towards the men at intake, "Same thing as usual. They did donuts in a parking lot, and they tried to outrun the squad cars."
Catherine snickered, "Wait! I saw three Harleys being towed. Don't tell me they're on Harleys? They can't outrun a squad car like that!"
"You like bikes, Catherine?" I asked.
She gave me a sheepish smile, "I...own one, yeah."
"I thought you are Human?" At least Darius said what we were both thinking.
"I am." Catherine laughed at us, "When did Humans stop riding motorcycles? Werewolves aren't the only people who ride."
"Most of the time you see a Werewolf on a bike.” Darius tapped his laptop, “Anyway, your morning visit is in your email. Drink your coffee and get out of my hair.”
A standard Non Human check blinked on my schedule. I frowned while reading the form, trying to hide my disdain for a job better suited for rookie officers. This was busy work, and beyond boring. Our new Detective needed more than this.
"Darius, why are we doing this?" I inquired.
"He's an older Vampire. Read the form. I don’t have time to explain." Darius disappeared behind his monitor, pretending to work.
I scanned the form telling us that a Non Human had moved to our jurisdiction. Police Departments across the world saw these forms fifty times a week. Every time a Non Human moves in, the NHR needs to be updated. This requires a standard check-in from the Police to ensure the information is correct. I wouldn’t have to ask too many questions with this guy. I knew his name. So did most Non Humans in the United States..
"Vincenzo Moretti?!" Catherine jumped out of her chair, "He lives in Miami now!?”
Catherine knew the name due to his very lucrative business ventures. I knew it because Vince Moretti was the Vampire who ran the Iron Oath out of Virginia in the late 18th century. The casualties he caused brought the Iron Oath to their knees. They stayed out of the United States until the early 20th Century. Since then, the Iron Oath hasn’t gone near Vince Moretti or his allies.
I printed out the form, "Is he in danger?"
Darius shook his head, "Not that we know of. He's got a clean record.”