Elf Blood — Free Novel — Chapter 22
*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. There will be some missing, but you can find them by paging back. I need a minion to keep an up to date compilation and send it to me every Saturday night. If you’re good, you’ll get a t-shirt or something.*
“Madam,” a voice said somewhere to my left. “Is this man bothering you?”
Part of me reacted without thinking, and sent out a “shield” of protection. My mind sort of assumed this was an unprotected bystander, and I didn’t want the creature pinning me to the wall to hurt him.
But my shield slid off, and I turned my head, to see the police officer I’d first been trying to call.
The other man turned around snarling, “Applewood!”
The police officer smiled. He did something. The other man let go of my chest, and – while I was recovering breath – did something with his hand. I felt as if a shot of flame had flown by my face, and realized they were trading energy bolts. Whether they were killing energy bolts was answered as the police officer laughed and shot back a bolt, that sent Albert Jones reeling back against the wall. He slid down it, unconscious, but I could tell still alive.
“You didn’t kill him,” I said, and Officer Applewood grinned. He was still offensively good looking and wore the suit that gave him away as a police officer, being too cheap and creased to be worn by any elf making more than survival pay.
“No,” he said. “But not worth the paperwork it would take to justify it. As for you, Miss Smith, I think you should know better than to send out calling signal for Un’uruh near a police station. Were you under the impression that all of us of mixed blood were on the side of angels?”
I was about to ask him if angels really existed, in the sense of mingling with humans, but thought better of it. It had been that kind of day, when my thoughts were all too close to the surface.
“You wished to talk to me?” he said.
“Yes,” I said. “About the… the murder.”
He raised an eyebrow. “How did you intend to make me break the secrecy of my profession?”
I said, doubtfully, “My power to compel you?”
He raised his eyebrow higher. “And that would be? Your beautiful eyes, or more… No,” he said, saving himself a slap. “Not more material enticement, if I read you right.”
I stomped my foot, the heel clicking on the pavement. “No, my Un’uruh power.”
He opened his mouth, closed it. “I think,” he said at last “That you and I need to have a talk about Un’uruh power, Miss. You shouldn’t be out this late and alone, and I don’t know why you are, but I insist on walking you home, and we can discuss it on your way, shall we?”
We started walking, through the darkened streets. No one accosted us, though a middling unsavory area lay between the station and my rooms. I figured Applewood was using something to stop anyone even seeing us, but I couldn’t see what.
“Mr. Applewood,” I said. “Who are you?”
“Ian Applewood, Miss,” he said. “Officer third class, in the serious crimes unit.”
“No,” I said. “I mean, who are you?”
“I’m a forensic magician, graduated from the university of Pomae, but really, I end up working any crime where elf involvement is suspected, because the department only has three of us and any crime involving elves and humans requires one of us.”
“Not crimes involving elves only?”
He made a sound part sigh and part apology. “in theory. But no one really can stop the crazy bastards killing each other if they so choose, and meanwhile…” He shrugged. “The ones with humans and elves are the ones that we attend to.”
“But the Parthlan murder was elf on elf.”
There was a long silence. Then he said, “I’m still not going to give you any information, Miss Smith, I’m sorry. Suffice it to say that it’s not precisely as it appears.” Another sigh, and this time it was tired. Our steps echoed, together off the tall buildings on either side of the road, and somehow, managed to make me feel more alone than if I’d been walking by myself. “Very few things involving elves of any kind are.”
“You are… a city elf?”
“I am Un’uruh, like yourself,” he said.
“But your father—”
“My mother,” he said firmly. “Is an elf of the Aglaia clan. She comes from the Northern Mountains, where she fell in love with my father, while he was doing a spot of surveying. She ran away from home, and they married in Pomae, where they live.”
I didn’t know what to say. I think you could count on the fingers of one hand all the Un’uruh currently alive who weren’t bastards. I wondered how weird this made him, that he was the child of such an unequal marriage.
“You have the wrong end of the stick, you know?” he said, suddenly, his voice a sort of hissing whisper. “About Un’uruh and power. Yes, we can have more power than practically anyone else, because we can both use the communal drawing of our elf parent, and the individual power of our human ancestor, but you miss the fact that you have to draw power on your elf side, or you will only have the human side, and only a portion of your human parent’s power. I draw my power from the police force and our… ah… charming friend, Jones, draws his from what can only be called the elvish mob. As for you, without a group, you really are a half-power, as Un’uruh means.”
“No,” I said. “I have power on my own.” I told him about calling the horse and the power of it.
He blinked, then turned and looked at me full on. His mouth dropped open. “You are drawing power, though,” he said. “I wish I knew from where.”