(each character is described in the words of another character)
by Scanlon Ness
After all the shit they’d endured in their young lives, a healthy baby was the least my good friends Daniel and Amanda Lucas could ask of the cosmos, and there came Meliana in April of 1989.
Her mother found her drawing on the walls of their home, far more advanced than what one expects of a toddler, when Meli was two and a half years old. Although she’s always been a sweet and lovable girl, since then she’s been seen first and foremost as an artist. She had the hardest time making friends as a kid, partly because her nose was always buried in some drawing or painting and partly because other children didn’t know what to do with her, but Clarice became her friend, and later her partner.
by Miranda Hutchinson
Clarice was born in San Diego and stayed there until her family moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico to escape the skyrocketing rents of California. When she arrived at her new school in 6th grade, she noticed a classmate, Meliana Lucas, had plenty of brains and talent to go around, but no friends to speak of. She made it her business to make friends with Meliana and they’ve been inseparable ever since.
I think that if Clarice had been more academically inclined, she would have made an excellent teacher. Perhaps I merely see her as a kindred spirit. Now they live in Athanoria, where Meliana is building a career as a multidisciplinary artist and Clarice manages her sales and waits tables to supplement her income.
by Julian Teng
I’ve long enjoyed Scanlon’s writing because it is so clever and well-informed for the work of a writer whose knowledge of the subject is so incredibly limited. He’s extremely good at what he does, which is to tell mundane people what they need to know about certain magical issues. He has done a better job than nearly any other mundane journalist of learning about where vampires fit themselves into the crevices of society, and for that he deserves credit. He has a lot to offer in terms of telling non-magical humans how to protect themselves from predation. Let it never be said that Ness is any kind of authority on vampirism itself; he is not. It isn’t really the lack of knowledge of vampires’ actual abilities and inclinations that worries me so much as the lack of curiosity.
That said, I do not accuse him of not taking proper precautions for his own safety in his investigations. He is a very organized, deliberate journalist, but his enemies know more about him than he knows about them. There is a vampire pack in Athanoria, New Mexico, that has targeted Ness for conversion. He knows where they are, but he doesn’t know who they are or what they’re planning for him. He takes his precautions, but they are too determined and he won’t be able to protect himself forever.
by Meliana Lucas
The 42nd President of the United States first swore in as Vice President when I was three years old. Most political candidates don’t make much of an impression on the nation’s toddlers, but Miranda was different. We children loved her, and she loved us. She was in the White House all through my childhood, and when I met Clarice in 6th grade, we agreed that President Hutchinson was amazing and the world needed more leaders like her. In 2002, she did the Magical Resettlement Act, and we trusted her judgment, but after that, she started getting sick more and more often. Her VP kept having to make excuses for her not being able to work. She finished her last term in office in 2004, and by then it was obvious that her health problems were the result of heavy drinking. In 2007, she died from complications of alcoholism.
In 2010, I was doing pastel portraits on the sidewalk outside of Clarice’s restaurant when I drew Miranda’s face as a shadow on a portrait for a woman who looked nothing like Miranda. Shortly after that, Miranda appeared in my dreams and introduced herself. She’s the first ghost I’ve ever known personally. I’m the first mortal who’s been able to see her since she died, and I made sure Clarice became the second.
by Scanlon Ness
This asshole became a vampire in the 1890s, and she was one of the most notoriously vicious predators in the west until Julian Teng’s slayers got their hands on her and took her captive for experimentation. Since Teng did his work on her and a dozen other vampires with the support of Arturo Reza, she hasn’t been a vicious predator so much as a prickly, bad-tempered piece of work.
Now that I’ve been turned, and Professor Teng’s proteges have taken charge of me, this asshole is my pack leader. She has designated herself as my new big sister. There are times when I can’t wait to be strong enough to smash her face in, but I don’t know what I’d do without her.
(Professor) Julian Teng
by Andra Brown
Let me introduce you to the head of the Blood Rescuers, a secret society devoted to neutralizing the threat of vampirism. During the Rezarta period, Teng was a close friend and colleague to Arturo Reza, who gave him the means to capture and experiment on vampires. His experiments yielded the discovery that if vampires are fed on donated blood, they shed their predatory tendencies. There were a dozen of us taken captive and placed under his control, and we all went back to our selves in his care. The Magical Resettlement Act destroyed his research facilities, but even when all the magic-handlers were forced to spread out, he still had us. We no longer had to be confined, and now we have our communities, which we protect from other, less scrupulous vampires. Teng is the one who made this possible for us, and we call him Professor. He formed a network of strategically placed magic-handlers, mundane volunteers, and observant fairies around us rehabilitated vampires. Professor Teng arranged the surveillance that revealed the Athanoria plot to turn Scanlon Ness, and he assigned my pack to reclaim Ness before he went bad.
by Miranda Hutchinson
This idiot fairy has decided that she is Meliana’s biggest fan. That wouldn’t bother me, except that she’s also decided she’s my competition as Meliana’s best friend. She’s just as annoying as most fairies, and a lot more attached to her mortals, which only makes it worse.