Awaakan – Backstory Notes

Some of this might get referenced in the story, but otherwise it’s all stuff that was cut because it wasn’t actually needed in the main book itself.  And yes, cutting it was painful and I’m glad I never went back and poured more into any of these scenes.   Some of this might get changed as the actual book is finished, so don’t take any of it as gospel.

Continue reading Awaakan – Backstory Notes


David Andrews

Full Name: David Gideon Andrews
Nicknames: ‘Kid’, though only Cora calls him that.

Background: David has always gotten along better with his mother, Sarah, than with his father Wyatt. He inherited Sarah’s love of music and plays the guitar. He’s a decent singer, but suffers from a bit of stage fright. David leaned toward the intellectual, and narrowly missed out on being the valedictorian. When his father nagged him about getting into a sport, David chose taekwondo over baseball, and has continued practicing martial arts. He eventually joined the wrestling team and went state, though he did not try out for wrestling or any other sport when going off to college.
Throughout high school he dated Amber Rosenthal, and the general consensus was that the two of them were going to get married. However, while he and Amber were good friends, their relationship was never actually intimate and David jokes that he and Amber were the only two people in Awaakan who actually took a telescope when going ‘star-gazing’. Amber went on to major in astronomy and got a job with NASA. The two remain casual friends.
His father insisted he major in construction and business. At the university, however, David was out from under his father’s thumb and began branching out. After class on day, he stopped to help a TA named Elliot pick up some dropped papers. To his shock, Elliot asked him out. To his even greater shock, David found himself actually saying yes. Elliot’s friend Mark initially disapproved of the relationship as David was considerably younger than Elliot and he thought David might be a gold-digger. However, after Elliot’s circle of friends got to know David better they all decided they liked him just fine. David changed his major to bio-medical engineering and got paramedic training at Elliot’s encouragement.
He and Elliot had been dating for two years when Sarah drove up to visit and decided to surprise David by picking him up from work. Elliot happened to be picking him up that day, and Sarah was surprised to see her son greeting another man with a kiss. Upon realizing she was there, David and Elliot took her to dinner and Elliot even offered to let her stay with him. Though Sarah’s feelings were very hurt that David didn’t think he could tell her, she understood. She told them to wait a few days to let her break the news to Wyatt, then she wanted Elliot to come visit them for Thanksgiving.
Just four days later, David got a frantic call from Naomi that there had been an accident. His parents had gone on a date to discuss something important, and on the way back Wyatt had been drunk and speeding. The vehicle had gone off the road. Wyatt was paralyzed from the waist down, but has no memories of the time leading up to the accident. Sarah was left in a coma. David had a pretty good idea of what had made his father behave so recklessly, and blames himself for the accident. He came home from the university and began trying to salvage things and take care of Naomi. Elliot refused to let them break up at that point, pointing out he was starting his residency and they could see each other a weekend a month, then pick up again when things settled down for both of them. Somewhat reluctantly, Elliot agreed that the relationship could be kept secret rather than risk making David’s situation even more difficult.
As the construction company was already in the red, David sold it to cover the expenses. Leona helped him out by getting him a job as a deputy. He ended up being a sacrificial offering to Cora. He was amused when she tried to frighten him off by taking him to an autopsy, as Elliot was a med student and had already dragged him along for similar events. He succeeded in impressing Cora just a little, and she set about mentoring him in earnest.

Birthday: July 15, 1989

Place of birth: Awaakan, Minnesota

Family: David and his mother were close, while Naomi was the jewel of their father’s eye. He and his father have never truly gotten along, due mostly to Wyatt’s desire that his son follow in his every footstep. Wyatt was a boisterous jock who went into construction, and David has a definite tendency towards being something of a nerd. Wyatt bragged considerably when David was chosen as captain of the wrestling team, and David never really had the heart to tell him that he was actually picked because of his nerdy tendencies (namely the ability to instantly rattle off a list of opponent weaknesses) rather than in spite of them. Despite not wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps as a carpenter, his father’s tendency to drag him along on job sites has given David many handyman skills.
He can be somewhat overprotective of Naomi on occasion, but generally their relationship is good. He functions as the family care taker, shouldering most of the work regarding Sarah’s invalid condition.

Economic/social status growing up: His family was lower middle class, though his father had a tendency to spend rather than save. When David took over the family finances, he had to downgrade a lot of things and sell off others to do the work on the house necessary to accommodate Wyatt’s wheelchair and Sarah’s hospital bed.

Ethnic background: The Andrews have a lot of Native American (Ogibwe) in them, but Wyatt’s ancestry is also Irish.

Places lived: Awaakan, Minneapolis.

Education: He did not finish his degree, which occasionally bothers him.

Special training: David was a licensed paramedic before coming to work as a Sheriff’s deputy. Cora has him do a lot of additional training, which David actually enjoys.

Jobs: He has worked as a security guard and tutor.

Friends: David was fairly popular in high school and has a lot of friends in Awaakan. In college, he joined Elliot’s circle of friends. He and Mark are still a little wary of each other, though he gets along well with Mark’s husband Thomas. David and Monty became very good friends after David stopped Monty from getting his ass kicked in a bar fight. David is also fond of Naomi’s two best friends, Janet and Emily, and he considers them part of the family.

Enemies: David and his father do not get along, which means David also doesn’t get along with Wyatt’s friend Jack and Jack’s son Edgar. Naomi’s boyfriend Keith is absolutely terrified of David, which David finds amusing.

Physical Description: David is about 6’3”, and considered to be very good looking. He spends enough time out of doors to be nicely tanned, and wears his black hair almost long enough to tie back. He has green eyes.

Mode of Dress: Off duty, David prefers a simple t-shirt and jeans combo. When he is in Minneapolis, he dresses much more fashionably due to having learned that if he doesn’t, Thomas and Monty have a tendency to start treating him as a dress-up doll.

Outlook: David has a tendency to come across as serious and dedicated, with a dry sense of humor that borders on snarky. With his friends and Elliot, he occasionally relaxes and drops his mask entirely, sometimes indulging in outright goofiness. Though not aggressive by nature, anyone messing with his friends will discover that his black belt isn’t just for show.

Vehicle : He often drives a sheriff’s car, and one of Naomi’s biggest complaints is he never lets her run the siren when he has to take her somewhere in it. He couldn’t sell the oversized pickup truck he calls ‘the beast’ due to needing it to occasionally transport equipment for Sarah or Wyatt’s wheelchair. There is also his mother’s old honda, which is his preferred vehicle to drive due to the beast getting approximately six feet per gallon of gas.

Home : David lives with his parents, though he’s now the one making house payments so it could be said they live with him. The top floor master suite is now his domain, and on occasion he avoids his father by going in the door on the upstairs deck rather than entering through the front door.

Secrets: Nobody in Awaakan knows he is gay, and he prefers to keep it that way. He lets everyone believe he’s dating a med student in Minneapolis named ‘Elle’.

Coraline Maree

Full Name: Coraline Elizabeth Maree (Langbroek)
Nicknames: Cora

Background: Cora is not a native of the area. She met Brendan Maree while he was in school in California, studying to be an architect. Cora at the time was working as a cop and slowly starting to move up in the ranks. Brendan was charming and swept her off her feet. Cora got pregnant with her eldest daughter, Candice, and Brendan proposed. Cora accepted, and the two got married. After their third daughter, Dorothy, was born deaf and Brendan was unable to find work in California, he convinced Cora to move back home with him. Reluctantly, Cora agreed.
They moved in with Brendan’s father, Jasper. Brendan was still unable to find work, and developed a drinking problem. Not long after the birth of their youngest daughter, Amy, Cora discovered Brendan also had a gambling problem and was cheating on her. She filed for divorce and custody. To her surprise, Jasper threw his son out and told Cora that she and the kids could stay as long as they wanted. Cora occasionally jokes that she got her father-in-law in the divorce. Jasper takes care of the kids while Cora is at work.
Working as a small town sheriff deputy in a county where virtually nothing ever happens was a big change for Cora. She and Sheriff Heather occasionally butt heads over just how relaxed the Awaakan sheriff’s department is. Referring to it as Heather’s Barney Fiefdom nearly got Cora fired. However, Heather has noted that Cora is actually a damn good cop and having a genuine professional around isn’t really a bad thing. She can send Cora to all the various seminars and trainings and trust that Cora will browbeat the applicable information to the rest of the department.
When Cora’s pushing about various things like mandatory CSI training and the like got too much for Heather, Heather responded by offering David to Cora and telling Cora she could train him. Initially, Cora was skeptical of a twenty-year old that was only hired because his aunt was the dispatcher. She decided to simply break him and go back to nagging Heather to start turning the department into a real police force. She started by taking David to an autopsy. When he started talking to the ME about various facets of the corpse and correctly noted the cause of death from the information the ME gave, she decided he might make a decent cop after all.

Birthday: May 3, 1967

Place of birth: San Diego, California

Family: Her parents were Oskar and Vera. Both were cops, both were killed in the line of duty. This is why Cora has actively discouraged her daughters from following in her footsteps despite being a dedicated cop herself. Cora has no siblings. Her eldest daughter, Candice, got married in college and now lives in Oregon where she runs a restaurant with her husband. Kaitlan is seventeen and going into her senior year of high school. She is the captain of the girl’s softball team and her grades leave something to be desired. Dorothy is fourteen and just starting high school, though she attends an online school due to being deaf. She is a serious computer nerd who blogs everything. Dorothy can talk but prefers sign language. The youngest, Amy, just turned twelve and is working on her black belt. She and her ex-husband are civil to each other when they speak, but try to avoid having to speak. He now lives in Vegas with ‘some floozy or another’.

Economic/social status growing up: Military brat turned police force brat. She was never poor and had a lot of surrogate aunts and uncles on the force. She keeps in touch with some of them.

Ethnic background: Her family name is Dutch, but her ancestors had been in the US long enough they rarely thought of themselves as anything other than American.

Places lived: Initially from San Diego, California, though her family moved often during her first seven years due to being in the military. They settled down in San Diego again when they got out.

Education: In addition to her law enforcement training, she has a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Special training: Cora is known for attending pretty much any law enforcement training or seminar she can, whether in person or online, and is thus often the only person in the department (unless she’s already school David in it) who knows how to do various things.

Jobs: She was a detective, and took a demotion in working for the sheriff’s department.

Friends: Cora gets along well with most of the department, though she’s known for being impatient with those who don’t take the job seriously. She is currently dating Fred Matheson, a local car mechanic, though neither of them are particularly serious about the relationship. Her best friend in town is Paul Fleming, the doctor who also serves as the town’s medical examiner, and they get together for drinks a couple times a month. She’s genuinely fond of her partner, but the fact that David is the same age as her eldest daughter means she has a tendency to be a little maternal toward him. Cora and Sheriff Heather Donnelly may be able to work together professionally and have a mutual respect, but on a personal level they don’t care for each other.

Enemies: Cora has an antagonistic relationship with a few of the town’s known troublemakers. She sends David to get her coffee mainly because the owner of the coffeeshop near the department is Ashlee Roth, who had an affair with Cora’s ex-husband. The two women don’t hate each other, they are just uncomfortable around each other.

Physical Description: Cora’s brown hair is starting to go gray, and she declines to dye it. She stands about 5’8” in height and is muscular for a woman. Her features are a little bit blunt, and her nose is just a little crooked from having been broken before. Cora prefers to wear her hair short and keeps her makeup fairly minimal.

Mode of Dress: On duty, she wears her uniform or a professional looking pantsuit. Off duty, she dresses much more casually and has a fondness for shirts featuring Disney characters. On duty, she wears no jewelry, but off duty generally wears earrings.

Outlook: She tends to be on the conservative side, and checks ‘Protestant’ on the box despite the fact she hasn’t actually gone into a church in over a decade. Cora prides herself on being a professional and takes her job very seriously. However, she does not want the actual Sheriff’s job because she doesn’t want to ‘play politics’.

Vehicle : She drives a minivan due to having four daughters. It’s ‘lovingly’ referred to as the ‘Cora-mobile’.

Home : The house she lives in his technically owned by her father-in-law, Jasper, though Cora is the one paying all the bills these days. It’s a nice house on about an acre of land in a quiet neighborhood, and Cora likes it that way.

Embarrassing Moment: She once shot a canoe. She does not appreciate having that incident brought up.

Awaakan – June 30th, 2012

11:04 AM

Lyle walked along the side of the bluff, singing to himself and occasionally kicking a rock to tumble down below. The bottle swinging carelessly from his hand was about two-thirds empty. He was happily mangling a Beatles song when he caught sight of someone laying near the abandoned storage facility.

He swigged another gulp, then started walking over to get a better look. As he came down the path, the bottle fell from his fingers and rolled down, coming to rest by a hubcap. He stumbled over and dropped to his knees, feeling for a pulse. He placed his hands to start doing compressions before realization penetrated his fogged mind. He fumbled his cell phone out of his pocket and dialed.

“911, what is your emergency?”

“She’s dead,” he babbled. “She’s dead she’s really dead.”

“Lyle? Is that you?”

“At Mel’s storage. She’s dead. Send somebody, she’s dead she’s really dead,” he kept repeating.

Continue reading Awaakan – June 30th, 2012

Awaakan : Prologue

Ice coated blades of grass crunched beneath his bare feet as he ran.  He kept the moon on his left, praying that if he kept going in the same direction he’d eventually run into a road or trail that would take him to safety.  Isaac stumbled to a halt, catching himself on a tree.  Thankfully, it wasn’t far below freezing, though the air was cold enough to stab at his lungs.  Barefoot and wearing nothing but tattered jeans, he needed to find shelter.

Unfortunately, that was the least of his problems.  Isaac surveyed the darkness behind him.  The moonlight reflected off the icy ground.  He wasn’t sure if it were April, or still March.  He looked down, and let out a few curses.  The frozen ground had opened cuts on his feet, and he was leaving a trail of bloody footprints.

A twig snapped.  Isaac shook his head as he grimaced and started moving again.  The twig had snapped for no reason other than his pursuer wanted Isaac to know he was there.

There, ahead, lights.  A thorn cut a shallow gash in his arm as Isaac pushed his way through the brush.  His feet nearly slid out from under him as he stumbled onto the icy concrete of the parking lot.  The lights were headlights.  A security vehicle.

“What the…?”  An older man in a guard uniform was coming toward him.  The guard started drawing a sidearm.  “Are you alright?”

“Please…”  Isaac kept moving.  He’d made it three steps out of the woods when a hand came down on his shoulder and halted his progress.  He tried to twist away, and was yanked back.  Another hand wrapped around his head and clamped down over his mouth.  The hand on his shoulder shifted to grab his wrist and twist his arm up behind him.

The guard blinked in confusion.  “Sir?”  The sidearm was still half draw.

“Just a trespasser.”  His captor’s voice was calm.  Isaac began struggling in the man’s grip.

“A tress –” The guard started shaking his head.

“A trespasser.”  The man’s voice was firm.  “Just a trespasser getting what trespassers deserves.  Don’t worry about it.”

Isaac’s eyes widened in terror as the guard gave a blank nod before sliding the sidearm back into its holster.  “Don’t worry about it.  Just a trespasser getting what trespassers deserve.”

He thrashed in the man’s iron grip and tried shouting protests through the hand clamped over his mouth as he was dragged back into the woods.

A Princess and Her Unicorn : Chapter 2

Zierski proved to be a fair-sized village.  From the looks of things, it was probably big enough to have more than one blacksmith.  She patted Aysi’s neck as they started down the hill.


She looked up at the sound of Fadekya’s voice.  “Yes?”

He gestured at Roffe.  “I am uncertain of the reception your companion will receive.  They may mistake him for a wild wolf.”

“Ah.  Right.”  She glanced down at Roffe.  “We should get you pants.”  Roffe rolled his eyes and sneezed.  Just because he could take human form didn’t mean he liked to.  She chuckled as she rummaged through the baskets, eventually settling on a beaded scarf.  The wolf gave her an irritated look, but allowed her to fasten it around his neck.  She looked up at Fadekya.  “Better?”

“Hopefully.”  He slid down from the back of Aysi, then patted the rhinoceros’s neck before giving Veronika a contemplative look.  “You may wish to place your weapons in your pack.  Zierski does not allow strangers to go around armed.”

She scoffed.  “That’s silly.  What if I need to hit something?”

“I believe that is exactly the sort of situation the policy is intended to avoid.”  He gestured at the axe.  “If you wear your weapon, the guards will insist it be peace bonded.  And if the seal on the peace bond is broken, you will be arrested until they can be certain you have not committed any violence within the city.”

Veronika gave him a dubious look before looking down at her axe.  It was clearly a weapon rather than a tool.  Then she looked back up at him.  This was his land and his people, so if he said it was the custom he was probably right.  It just didn’t exactly make sense.  “You’re trying to tell me that nobody in that city is armed?”

“The sheriff and his guardsmen are armed.”  He frowned.  “And there are undoubtedly a few ruffians with concealed weapons on their persons.”

“So, you’re saying I might need my axe.”  She shrugged.  “Good to know.”

“I…”  Fadekya glanced at her as she started walking again.  Then he shrugged and followed.  “Do not think that is what I was implying, no.”

Continue reading A Princess and Her Unicorn : Chapter 2

A Princess and Her Unicorn : Chapter 1

Her feet made little noise in the ice and snow as she padded lightly up the mountain, Roffe at her heels.  Judging by the marks on the trees, she was in the territory of a girkalon.  Veronika sniffed at one of the marks.  The odor of the bark was acrid.  Fresh then, probably no older than a day or so.

Next to her, Roffe scented the wind.  He sneezed, then sniffed again before glancing up at her.  “Urf?”

“What are you smelling?”

He shook his head and sneezed again before taking the lead.  She followed as he veered slightly westward.  Between the trees ahead she caught a glimpse of firelight.

Veronika emerged to find a dais containing three stone pillars.  The pillars on either side held metal sconces ablaze with flame.  The third pillar had a young man, wrists chained above his head.  He wore nothing but a pair of trousers and a strange glyph painted on his chest.  She frowned.  His head hung and his form was slumped as he shivered in the freezing cold.  “What are you doing out here?”

He made a startled noise at the sound of her voice, and his head came up.  “What are you doing out here?”

She shrugged.  “I asked you first.”  She walked closer.  The dais had been swept clean.  There was a stone altar behind the pillars, containing two baskets filled with various items.  She squinted at the closer of the baskets.  It looked a bit like the handiwork of the river people.

“You should get out of here.”  He shook his head at her.  “The beast will be coming.”

“Why are you chained out here if the beast is coming?”  She raised an eyebrow at him.

“I am chained out here because the beast is coming.”  He straightened, making the chains binding him to the pillar rattle.  She took another look at him.  He was smaller than she was, and standing fully upright the top of his head barely came up to her nose.  His dark hair and the olive tones to his skin marked him as one of the River People.  His lips were blue, and more worrisome was the fact that other parts of his skin were also starting to show signs of exposure.

Roffe made a coughing sound, and lifted his leg on the altar.  She nodded to the wolf.  “This is one of those we feed the monster it doesn’t wipe out our entire village things?”

Continue reading A Princess and Her Unicorn : Chapter 1