Elf Blood– Free Novel — chapter 5
*Sorry, this one is very short, and yes, it could go longer (and might, next week.) I neither wanted to skip it, nor am I up to doing a longer chapter. So I hope the shortness will be forgiven.*
*You guys know we talked about doing a shared world. We went with a whole continent so that Dave can have his jungle and I can have my big city with diners. We’re working on a contract which we should have in a week or two (and yes, we’ll post it for your enlightenment although we haven’t decided yet if anyone not in the group can play. OTOH if it’s very successful, we’ll inevitably enlarge it. For now, here’s the second chapter of Elf Blood, book one of Risen Atlantis. And for now it is ©Sarah A. Hoyt 2013. All rights reserved. Do not copy, distribute or otherwise disseminate without the author’s name, and a link to this page. You do not have the right to alter it. You do not have the right to claim it as yours. For permission to do anything other than quote it for review or recommendation purposes, email Goldportpress@gmail.com. This is a work of fiction, all coincidence between it and real people place or events is assuredly imaginary.*
Previous chapter here.
I became aware that there were people behind us, a lot of people. I suppose Ardghal’s screams had called attention and more people seemed to be arriving every minute.
People in this case being elves, or all sorts of magical creatures. They’d arrive giggling or laughing, and then a hush would fall.
I looked back just in time to see Ciar, pushing through the crowd, all elbows and kingly presence, he shoved all the way to where Ardghal was just getting up, looking like a man who’s suffered a blow to the head. “Son,” he said, and looked down at the corpse of Chara Parthalan, and shook his head, then again up at his eldest son and heir. “Son, what have you done?”
Ardghal looked so white that you expected him to glow from the inside. Even his lips were white. It took him a moment to turn his eyes towards his father, and even then, it looked like he was trying to calculate something very difficult in his head, before he said, “Father? I didn’t do anything. I couldn’t have eaten her!” And then as an after thought as his eyes came towards me. “Besides, Miss Smith was with me the whole time.”
“How do you know?” Ciar asked. “How long has she been dead?”
Ardghal swallowed. “I don’t know. I was trying a seeing, but the magic is occluded around here, as though a great magical explosion has gone off and erased all other traces.”
Ciar started to close his eyes. It interested me that now he gave no signs of being confused or tipsy as he’d been when I’d first met him, but then elves were different. Even I had only an inkling how different they were, and I couldn’t guess what could cause that sort of change in an elf king.
“Father,” a shrill female voice. “Don’t even think about it. We need to call the police.”
The voice was Ardghal’s sister, Treasa, and her father looked at her as though she’d grown a second head. “The police?” he said, as though she’d intruded a foreign word upon his thoughts. “In our affairs?”
She had put her high heeled shoes back on, and now stomped a foot, with a clicking sound. “Better,” she said. “Than having you try to illusion it all away and put a veil over it, and then have it discovered years from now and used to discredit us. Besides,” she said, frowning a little. “There is a killer among us. He could kill again.”
Her father made a click with his tongue, “Be your age, Treasa. There are several killers among us, and they will kill when needed.”
“Yes,” Treasa said, even as I absorbed the very odd nature of that comment, though I supposed it was true. Elves had very little respect for human life. And though they had slightly more for one of their own, the whole interdiction on murder seemed odd to them. Also, stupid. “But this wasn’t needed, was it, father?”
He opened his mouth, closed it, then sighed. “Well, no, but—”
“Chara’s father won’t like, father. He will call a vendetta, if he thinks you condoned it. Call the police. It’s the best you can do to protect this hill.”
For a moment I thought he was going to tell his daughter what she could do with her opinions. His body physically swayed from one foot to the other, before he rested on his left foot slightly behind the other. “I—“ he started. There was a concerned look in his eyes, probably the thought of Chara’s wood elf family and how much they’d resent this insult, even if they’d not valued their daughter. He shook his head. “They won’t like coming to Pomae. They never do.”
“But they will,” Treasa said. “For something like this.”
Her father inclined his head as though conceding defeat, and Ardghal said, “I would rather we called the police, and did everything properly.”
His father glared at him. “We know that. You are weak. But your sister is right. It’s not worth the feud.” He sighed. “And I’m responsible for this hill. Ardghal. Call the police. You are Chara’s husband, it will look better.”
I don’t know what I expected. Perhaps I expected that he’d communicate with the police mentally.
Instead what he did was walk up to the house, walking through the crowd of people, first.
Xenia then appeared, materializing out of nowhere, suddenly the perfect hostess. “If everyone will collect in the terrace and the ballroom,” she said. “Drinks will continue being served, and that way you’ll all be available for the police to question.” She paused frowning a little. “The police. How interesting.”
No one else seemed to find it interesting. There were grumbles about being above suspicion and also, really, the shame of putting elf business in front of the police.
It was to no avail. We were herded into a vast room, adjoining a stone-walled terrace, to wait the arrival of the law.