*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.*
We’d reached the street where I had my lodgings, and I wasn’t sure how to take leave of this man, or what it would mean. If he was telling the truth, did it mean that I could be jumped on by a mob at any time. And worse, I had the feeling that he had ideas. Yes, that sort of ideas.
We’d been walking together through the darkened city, and I had a feeling he was thinking this was some sort of romantic occasion and perhaps he would try to kiss me at the door.
Question: what happens when you slap a powerful Un’uruh who is also a policeman?
I wasn’t dying to find out. Not dying being, rather, the whole point.
So I was trying to find a plausible excuse that would allow me to duck up into the stairs to my room. I was also trying to remember the little formal magic I’d ever learned, wondering what protections I could set on my lodgings. If he was right about Un’uruh power then none would be powerful enough. On the other hand, I was also Un’uruh.
And then, as we stopped in front of my lodging, and he smiled at me, and I turned to tell him that I must go in, and thank him for his protection, there was…
That’s how I perceived it at first. A bright light shining from my right, illuminating the street in a weird, bluish glow.
I said “Oh,” and then my eyes adjusted and I perceived an image within the glow, and then I blinked and realized I was looking at sending performed by a powerful elf-king.
A sending was not exactly a projection of the elf creating it. I mean, he wasn’t here in any sense, except that we could see him. It was more like, through his power, he caused our eyes to perceive him where he was.
It was Ardghal, and where he was was in the middle of a well appointed room. I had the vague idea it was an office, but I couldn’t know for sure, since all I could glimpse was part of a fireplace and bookcases.
He was wearing a business suit, but his tie was askew and his shirt collar wrinkled, as if he had tried to get more air by shoving two fingers under the collar and pulling forcefully. He was pale, which was saying something for an elf who seemed to be made partly of snow. His hair stood up as though he’d run a hand through it without any idea what it was.
And yet he projected an aura of majesty he hadn’t projected when perfectly dressed and combed, in my office. Power crackled around him and from him, filled the sending with the sense of it, and seemed to project outwards into the street where we stood, to such an extent that I expected it would wake up the people sleeping in the lodgings around us. It was, to those capable of sensing power, like a punch in the nose. Not that he was doing anything, or hitting us with his power. His power just was. And by being, it was so massive, so unconquerable, that it couldn’t help but affect all magicians.
Officer Ian Applewood had felt it too. He took a step back, as though reeling, and looked towards the sending with a belligerent expression, like a man expecting a challenge. “Yeah?” he said.
But Ardghal Parthalan only ran his hand backwards over his hair again, and opened his mouth, and when no sound came, pulled at his collar again and swallowed audibly. “Come. Please come,” he said. “You must come. Something has… something has happened.”
“What has happened?” I asked, and officer Applewood echoed me a moment later.
“It is my brother,” Parthalan said, and swallowed hard again. “He—”
He moved aside. There, on the heartrug, in front of the blazing fire, lay the elf I was sure had just tried to kidnap me. His head had a hold on the side of it. Blood had leaked onto the rug, making a red and sticky puddle. He was undoubtedly dead.
“I need help,” Ardghal said. “Something is stalking my house and killing us. Please help us.”
“Mr Parthalan,” Applewood said. “You must know the police has to come. I know you sent this to Miss Smith, but the police—”
Parthalan seemed to focus for the first time, “Yes, yes, the police too, but we must have Miss Smith, also, please. Please come.”
And then the sending shut off.
I started awake, as though I’d been dreaming, just as a fairy steed, in sports car form pulled up. “I am sent by King Parthalan” formed in the air, not quite sounds, but a strong feeling. I took a step towards it and Officer Applewood grabbed my arm. “Don’t be a fool,” he said. “You know you won’t be safe.”