Woohoo, I'm turning out these chapters more frequently now but I'm starting to catch up to where I've written to so it'll probably slow down again after a while.

"Miss Kieran. Miss Kieran!" Something shook her shoulder. The girl groaned and rolled over, still wanting to sleep. After a few more attempts the annoyance went away and she buried her face into her pillow, relieved. She half-heard a resigned sigh and felt her bed beginning to tilt.

Unfortunately the fledgling reacted too slowly and before she knew it, she had been dumped out into the floor. Almar stood over her, looking quite bemused. Kieran growled, springing up from her sprawled position. "Hey, what was that for?" She demanded, chin jutting out angrily, pride smarting.

"Master Braeden has informed me that he will be away on business for the next few days." Kieran's anger fell flat, her insides beginning to feel somewhat empty as she watched his creased, thin lips form those words. She didn't know if she liked the idea or not. Sure, he wouldn't be there to boss her around for a few days, but on the other hand she'd never been away from him that long, not since she'd been blooded.

Filled with mixed feelings she tuned back in to what Almar was saying. "He also instructed me not to allow you to laze about and neglect your studies while he is away." She puffed up, indignant, protest forming on her lips.

The old butler held up a hand to stop her rant before it began. "His words, not mine, young master." She deflated but still looked off-put at the comment.

"He didn't even tell me about it." Her voice sounded more hurt than she had intended. She settled into a pout before another thought interrupted.

"D'ya think it's important?" She sidled up next to him, a scheming expression overcoming her pale features. "Official Vampire Council stuff, perhaps?" She asked, not so stealthily pumping him for information. Kieran sounded excited now. Daring scenarios played through her head like a movie reel, each one twice as unlikely as the last.

Almar was careful to keep his face expressionless, though her youthful exuberance amused him greatly. "I'm sure I don't know, but," He emphasized before she could begin concocting more theories or half-baked ideas. "He did wish you to continue on normally and to know he will return promptly."

With that the old butler shoved some clothes into her arms before going to wait outside so she could get dressed. Once she had, he shooed her off to the library while he prepared breakfast.

"Pushy old coot." She grumbled as he pushed her just inside the entryway. As if he'd heard her insolent comment, he snapped the doors shut on her backside, propelling her further into the room. She glared at the offending wooden rectangles and the human just beyond for a moment before giving in and moving toward the table in the center piled high with her current readings.

"How are your studies coming along?" The aging servant asked curiously as he brought in a breakfast tray. Kieran sat up in the chair, perking up at the sight of toast and eggs.

She downed it all, leaving only the glass of blood undisturbed. The butler straightened up the study a bit, dusting a few shelves as she ate. Coming back to pick up her tray, he spotted the glass disapprovingly.

He cleared his throat to get the girl's attention, eyebrow raised. Kieran looked up, sighing when she saw his pointedly stern gaze. "I'm not thirsty." She insisted stubbornly.

The old man chuckled softly in a kind of rough way that suggested his laughing muscle was severely atrophied. "Just because Master Braeden isn't here doesn't mean I'm going to let you starve yourself."

Kieran put her book down on her leg, a bit more forceful than was necessary. "I'm not starving myself, I'm just not thirsty right now!" She couldn't let it go so easily, a part of herself just wouldn't allow it. That same insolent part of herself whispered that she was being treated as a toddler, not even to be trusted to feed herself.

Almar understood; he didn't smack her upside the head or send her away to her room the way the people at the orphanage had or even scold her in a warning tone the way Braeden did. He simply crossed him arms, starring her down until she conceded. The young vampire scoffed, rolling her eyes as she snatched up the glass and gulped down its sticky metallic contents.

"Happy now?" She asked sarcastically, unaware that she now sported a crimson mustache. The wrinkled corners up his mouth upturned as he picked up the empty platter. "Very." He insisted, purposefully unperturbed by her disrespect. He swiped the used breakfast napkin across her upper lip, dispatching with the mustache before he made his way out the door.

A little bit of Almar as we slowly get into another plot arc. We don't talk about him much but I picture him a bit like Alfred from Batman.