(Teen for blood.) Preview of a page for the upcoming comic. I couldn't just leave the sketched page at this (https://twitter.com/MxSnowhawk/status/1303966891690659846), because I have been wanting to draw this scene for at least 15 years, if not more. The way the Prologue goes now, I actually get to.
Kieran is a Guardian, in training to be a Royal Guard. Guardians are charged with the protection of a single individual, and are, thus, deeply connected to that individual. He would have completed his training as a Royal Guard a few years after this scene, had this scene not happened. At that point, he would have had a weaker, but broader connection to the Imperial Family as a whole. Typically only one Royal Guard is "active" at a time, but with the state the world was in, an exception was going to be made to have two.
Guardians and Royal Guards are strictly a delphin "thing," with most of those trained as such being unicorns, if not alicorns.
He's also a vampire, just... no one really knows. Or they don't think they know. If they get suspicious... well, there's a bit of magic for that. (Non-horned vampires need other ways to focus their vamp-specific magic. This is also about the only way a non-horned individual can use any form of magic.)
Being a unicorn-type of delphin also means he has some of his own magic, specifically for this illustration: the ability to heal others. That trait is rare for delphin. While in some other forms of fiction, a vampire can just innately heal, the ones in this world cannot.
Kieran was turned when he was just 19 by the first vampire of the world. He would not officially start his Guardian training for 4 more years, completing it when he was 33.
A few years later, when she was 24, Emerald "convinced" her parents to leave their roles as Emperor and Empress (because they weren't actually doing anything about the slaver problem), and she took the throne. And she ticked off a lot of beings, most of whom were either slavers or supported them directly, over the next several years. But, she was moving things forward.
Now, you have the backstory and some lore. Let's get on with this one.
Seven days before this scene, Emerald's mate, Orrin, was captured by slavers as a "nowhere is safe" warning. Orrin was killed, either on accident or purposefully, but either way, word got back to her. She was unable to just sit behind the palace walls, waiting on the slavers' next move, and, in an act of impulsiveness ((like every other character in this story...)), she snuck out while unguarded, determined to track the slavers down.
It took her four days to find them. When she did, she killed most of the slavers in the camp. But, there were a handful left who managed to overpower her. She was captured, and, while continuing to taunt the slavers, one of them struck her in the head with a pole, and managed to hit her hard enough she went down, bleeding.
And not just "head wound" bleeding, but "dying" bleeding.
Unluckily for them, Kieran had, finally, been able to sense her right as she went down. She had been suppressing the connection between the two of them (something he didn't know she could do). Vampires are unnaturally fast, and he was soon there, eyes aglow, fangs bared. He took out the one with the now-bloody weapon while the others scattered.
He went to Emerald's side, carefully lifting her up. He listened for breath or a heartbeat, and heard the faintest pulse in her chest.
He knew her wound was too grave on it's own to be healed by him, so he had to decide if she would let her die, or turn her. This was the last thing he wanted to do, but especially without her telling him to.
But he couldn't let her die.
Artwork © 2020 Ashley Venable
(Teen for blood.) Preview of a page for the upcoming comic. I couldn't just leave the sketched page ...