"It is hopeless," TssVar said as he trudged out of the hall. His saucer-sized yellow eyes shifted to scan the faces of the others waiting for him. "She will not respond to reason, threats of war and enslavement, or loss of blog popularity. I fear she is forever lost to us."
"Did you try reading the Keats poem?" Duncan Reever asked. "The one she wants to tattoo on her hip?"
The Hsktskt nodded. "No change. She did not even tell me what I could do with it."
Juliana flopped down on the couch besides Shamaras. "Say bye-bye to story two and three."
Shamaras sighed. "Goodbye, trilogy, hello, idea file."
"Hey." Cherijo looked up from the datapad she was studying. "You're not even a novel. Wait until you appear in eight pubbed books before you bitch about her."
"Well, we can't let her stay locked in there forever." Marcia turned to John and thumped him on the arm. "Do something."
"Darling, we're simply bad examples," John reminded her. "All I can do is demonstrate for the others what not to do. Like this." John took out a grenade, pulled the pin and threw it at the locked door. Being a fictional grenade, it fell to the floor and rolled around a bit. One of the cats wandered over and sniffed it before casually batting it with a paw.
"Get out of my way," Lucan, Darkyn lord paramount and suzerain of the jardin she had still not named (much to his annoyance), said as he stripped off his black velvet gloves. "I will deal with this."
"If you harm her, vampire," TssVar said, gesturing to a dozen large, unhappy-looking blue-skinned humanoids, "I will throw you to the Jorenians."
"Wrong genre, lizard." Lucan strode down the hall and lifted his hand to hammer on the door. At the last moment, he gently rested his palm against it. "Sweetheart, it's me. It's time to come out of there now."
There was no response, except for the sound of slow tapping on a keyboard.
"I can listen no longer in silence," he continued. "I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach." He paused. "You pierce my soul."
The door opened, and belligerent eyes glared through a mop of silver hair at him. "You're plagiarizing Jane Austen."
Lucan smiled. "I could have amazing sex with Samantha instead. We are making that delightful cameo in Juliana's second story--" he caught the edge of the door as she tried to slam it in his face. "Darling, please. You know that I adore you almost as much as Samantha, but this eternal sulking has to stop."
"I'm not sulking." She pushed away his hand and eyed him. "I'm depressed."
"There's a difference?" He winced as the door slammed shut. "You missed Halloween, you know. It's NaNoWriMo, and all those poor first-time novelists are desperately in need of your wisdom. Selah is worried. So are Kate and Joely and all your friends." He punched the door, wishing he could shatter wood as easily as he did glass. "Damn it, woman, there are thirty-eight comments waiting to be moderated."
The only sound that came from the room inside was the slow tapping of the keyboard.
Lucan pressed his forehead against the door. "Come on, love. I know better than any of them what you're going through. My last dive into the abyss lasted two hundred years, not that I'm suggesting you do the same. Let us help." He looked over as Quadrant Intelligence officer Shon Valtas joined him. "We'll write the first blog post for you, won't we, wolf-boy?"
"We will, Lynn," Shon said, before baring his teeth at Lucan. "Don't call me wolf-boy, fang-face."
"And we'll make TssVar moderate the comments," Lucan added.
The door opened a crack. "They're going to want to know why I was gone for so long."
A blade dancer in full dimsilk appeared and tugged down her face mask before she leaned against the door frame. "So let them ask me," Jory said.
"All right." The door opened. "I'm back."