*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 eighth chapter of Elf Blood, book one of Risen Atlantis. And for now it is ©Sarah A. Hoyt 2014. 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.*
For previous chapters, see here.
Flaithri Parthlan looked even better put together than Ardghal. What I mean is, every one of his carefully combed dark curls was naturally in place, in golden skin glistened with health, every pore perfect. His eyes was an odd color between violet and blue. He looked at me on the sofa and smiled. And the wave of his glamour hit me like a hammer.
Yes, elves can smile without casting glamour. My reaction to glamour is that of many an Un’uruh. Having learned to defend ourselves in our cradle from the manipulation of our full elves relatives, we take glamour and absorb it, like a pile of sand absorbing water and letting it pass through unmolested.
Once I did that, I realized that was minor glamour that hadn’t triggered my defenses. Flaithri didn’t look as composed or put together as he would have me believe. In fact, he was sweating, his eyes darted around with an impression of expecting an attack from behind at any minute, and he looked altogether… ferrety. I really don’t know how else to put it. I wondered, in passing, whether he was one of those elves who had a secondary animal form, and whether that animal form was a ferret. Not that it mattered, or not particularly.
What mattered is that he was neither cool, nor composed, but distinctly uncomfortable. I didn’t let him see what I’d done to the glamour. Instead I stared at him, my eyes wide, my look that of one bespelled and said, in a faint voice, “Why did you bring me here?”
He cocked his head sideways. “I want to know why my brother brought you to the party, of course.”
He wandered over to a table in the corner. It was set with an elaborately carved crystal bottle and crystal glasses. I had a feeling it wasn’t either. I mean, I had a feeling that the bottle and the glasses weren’t crystal, and that the whole appearance of this place was probably an elaborate glamour. But I wasn’t going to tell him that. And I wasn’t going to narrow my eyes and pull at the glamour and see what was beneath, either, not while he was in the room.
“He brought me to the party to find out why his wife was trying to kill him,” I said.
Flaithri shook, though I think that he didn’t realize I’d seen it. The glamour should have stopped my noticing it, or perhaps even my perceiving it. He turned around almost immediately and fiddled with the glasses.
He came back, each glass half filled with red liquid, and smiled at me, something strangely worried behind the smile. “It is safe, of course.”
I didn’t protest. If I were glamoured, I wouldn’t. I took the glass, took it to my lips. The smell that rose from it was both floral and alcoholic.
While it’s not as dangerous for Un’uruh as for mortals to drink of the drink of fairykind, I suspected the wine? Had some kind of glamour reinforcing attribute. Or perhaps of course Flaithri didn’t know I was Un’uruh. In that case, the drink of fairykind could enslave me completely.
Being Un’uruh is an odd thing. Most elves and other Un’uruh can spot you on sight. But there were elves who were no better at it than humans. Still, I presumed, having investigated me as this family seemed to have, he would know, right?
I decided not to drink any of the wine, just in case.
But he seemed to have forgotten my answer, because he said again, “Why did Ardghal bring you to the party? And what did he mean to do to me?”
I stared at him, trying to fake the confused look of the glamourized. Took the glass to my lips again, tipped it. Did not drink. “Ardghal,” I said. “Brought me to the party to find out why his wife was trying to kill him.”
“But – Chara wasn’t!” Flaithri said, heatedly.
“He thought she was,” I said.
He pouted at me. He pouted at me, like a small child. It was obvious however he expected this interlude to go differently than it had. I wondered why and what he expected to get from it.
Suddenly he put his glass down. “Well, I’ll leave you to think of your predicament. I’ll let you out if you tell me the truth.”
I didn’t say anything. He left through the same door he’d used come in.
And I was left to contemplate the strangeness of what had happened. If he weren’t a pure blood, I’d think he was being manipulated. He behaved very much like a magical automaton. On the other hand, since he was a pure blood, and since he seemed scared, it made me wonder what he was trying to do.
Mind you, pure bloods often aren’t very bright. They don’t have to be. They can use glamour and magic to patch in what their intelligence should do.
But even for a pureblood, that was no interrogation. It made no sense. Why kidnap me to question me, if you weren’t going to question me?
It occurred to me that the reason to kidnap someone is not only to hold them in one place, but also to take them away from some place. Why would they want to take me away from my normal haunts? Several ideas occurred to me, including that they might want to search my home and office.
That could be it. It could very well be it.
I put the glass of fairywine on the desk, and narrowed my eyes at the surroundings. As expected, the grand setting vanished. I was in a wooden cabin and there were holes between the boards. A shed of some sort. The glass on the desk was still a glass, but the stuff inside it bubbled.
Maybe the idea had been to poison me? I noted that Flaithri’s drink too was untouched.
In either case, I was now involved in this. I’d been trying to stay out of the affairs of the Parthalans. But if they weren’t going to leave me alone, and they clearly weren’t, I was now in them. And I must find my way through.
I must discover who had killed Chara Parthalan, and why the family was so intent in having me connected with it, one way or another.
*Sorry this is so late. It’s not the hour change (well, a little.) It’s my trying to make a Bible for this dang thing. If one of you lambs would make it and send it to me, and also if one of you would send me the collected chapters for both works every week, so if I forget, I can just put it up on the right tab, it would be much appreciated!*