Elf Blood, Free Novel, Chapter 25
*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.*
*Sorry to be so late. It’s my husband’s birthday, so I got sidetracked.*
Officer Applewood grabbed my arm. I looked back at him, “I can control these,” I said. “There’s nothing to fear” and realized that myself only a day before would have thought I was foolhardy.
There was that thought in the policeman’s eyes, too, and he sighed. “You can’t be sure,” he said. “you have to understand that Ardghal controls the hill power and also whatever power comes to us Un’uruh. We’ll be a little later to the scene, but is it not better if we don’t fall into a trap on the way?”
I hesitated, then nodded. The elven steed stood by the curb waiting, but we ignored it, and instead the officer did something that summoned a police vehicle.
We took that one. It wasn’t until I was in the car that it occurred to me I didn’t know anything about the Officer. Not even if he was really a police officer.
It was then that the officer said, in a slow tone, “We don’t even know if the younger son really was killed. A king of the hill could have faked that image we got.”
“But is Ardghal the king of the hill?” I asked. “Wouldn’t that necessitate his father’s death?”
Officer Applewood seemed startled by the question. He looked at me, his eyes round. “I don’t know,” he said. “I assumed so, because of the wild power flaring around him. Surely…”
We didn’t say anything more. My belated caution warned me that the car might be rigged to catch sound. And that I didn’t know who was listening.
I readied myself to fight, in case this were not really a police car, but an elven steed and the stolid man behind the wheel not really a man but a construct. In case this was yet another trap from one of the Un’uruh groups ready to spring on me and take me into their fold.
But when we got to the Parthalan mansion, and the gates were closed against us, the driver got out and talked to the gatekeeper. The discussion was prolonged, and at one time the gatekeeper went inside, then came back out.
At length the gate opened and we were waved through.
As he drove the winding dark avenue, the man said, “I don’t know, sir, as the gate guard said he didn’t know anything had happened, and they weren’t expecting no one, but since we’re police, and they’ve had a murder on the premises, they called the house and let me through.”
There was a buttler at the opened door, when we took the staircase two by two to it, and he said, “sir,” and then with a look at me, “Miss.” He opened the door and stood aside, as we entered the immaculate front parlor.
Where Ardghal was waiting, in a robe of red silk embroided all over in gold thistles. He looked almost as bad as he had in the sending: disheveled and confused. And the feeling of power still exuded from him, just as it had in the sending.
“Officer,” he said. “And miss Smith. I don’t know why you’ve come, but you’ve arrived in good time. My father is missing. We can’t find him.”
Officer Applewood told him about the sending we’d seen. Parthalan’s mouth opened, in shock. “I haven’t sent anything, and last I heard Flaherty was out with his friends and not intending to come home any time soon. He said something about a murder in the family being the pits. He didn’t want to be brought down.”
I closed my mouth hard to avoid telling him what his precious brother had been doing, but before I could say something on the matter, Officer Applewood said, “You have, I suppose, checked the study?”
“What? No. we had no reason to. My father rarely uses it, and besides…” He chewed the corner of his lip. “You see, I woke with the power flowing into me. My father’s power. The power of the king of the hill. I …” He shrugged. “I don’t know whence it came or why, but then we couldn’t find my father. Some servant went and checked the study, I’m sure, as it was reported to me that he was nowhere in this house, but I didn’t check myself.”
“Do you mind if we check now?” the officer asked.
“Well, no, but if we find my father dead there, if we…” Ardghal ran his hand backward through his hair. Then he nodded, as if to convince himself to do something.
And then he led us down a sumptuous hallway lined with pictures of people who couldn’t possibly be his ancestors, not if his father had come from Ireland with nothing but a talent for design.
At the end of the hallway, he knocked on a paneled door. When no one answered, he opened the door and called, “Father?”
The study was just as we’d seen it, the fire in the fire place, the books on shelves, except there was nothing on the hearth rug. You could hear Ardghal draw breath in relief. He took a step into the study.
There was a sound like “zing.” And suddenly the scene was as it had been at the sending. Flaherty Parthalan was dead on the hearthrug, blood puddled under him.
“Flaherty!” Ardghal said, and took another step towards him, but Officer Applewood grabbed his arm. “Don’t go near. There clearly was an illusion here, and someone issued a sending from this place. There might very well be a trap for you too. Stay. We officers are trained in this.”
He took three steps into the room, took out his pocket handkerchief, and picked up the phone on the desk. “Exchange,” he said. “Give me the Felter street police station. We’re going to need an homicide team.”