Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dark Redemption chapter 13: All Alone In a Crowded Room

Beneath the gleaming skyscrapers and picturesque facade of the City of Redemption lies another city; a community of dark and ancient magic populated by creatures of the night. Dark Redemption is a shared-world novel based on an online role-playing game by James Crowther.

Strephon MacKenzie, a half-fae recluse, has been invited to a party being held by Melchior Aesermann, a Fae noble posing as a mortal. When Melchior agrees to be interviewed by Strephon's date, reporter Cassandra True, he leaves leaves his personal assistant Lilith behind with Strephon to entertain him.

"I see you have acquired a toy of your own," Lilith said as Cassandra went off with Melchior.

"Miss True?" Strephon sipped his champagne and tried to keep his tone nonchalant. "A pleasant lass, if a bit impulsive. I met her in here in your lobby the other day, as you may recall. I wouldn't call her 'my toy', though."

Lilith gave a musical chuckle. "Don't be so modest, Strephon. I can see the signs. That girl has been touched by the Fae." She sat on the armrest of his wheelchair. "So, have you been naughty?"

Strephon's polite smile tightened slightly. Of course she expected him to deny it and become flustered. No, he'd play the game. "A gentleman never tells." He calmly took another sip of his glass. Not too much; he needed to keep his wits about him. Why didn't he think to order something non-alcoholic?

"Do you like impulsive girls?" Lilith dipped her fingertip into his champagne and gave it a lick. "I can be very impulsive." She slid over a little closer to him.

"Indeed." Strephon felt himself growing warm again. "Do I have to remind you that we are in a public place?"

"Not anymore."

Strephon suddenly realized that the party conversation had muted. He looked around and saw a grey veil of mist surrounding Lilith and himself. The rest of the guests seemed oblivious to them.

"It's a zone of privacy, clouding our presence from others." Lilith swung her legs across so that she now straddled his lap. "They won't notice a thing."

"Ah. Splendid. Then we may speak openly."

Lilith nibbled on his earlobe. "I like openness."

"Did Lord Melchior attempt to have me killed last night?"

Lilith ceased her nibbling and drew away. "What are you talking about?"

"A group of werewolves attacked Miss True and myself the other night, only scant hours after I had left this building."

Lilith sniffed. "Wolfen. What they have nothing to do with us."

"Melchior is making alliances within the were-community, is he not? I believe some of the guests tonight are in fact pack leaders."

Lilith squirmed a little. Strephon found that more than a bit distracting, but took some satisfaction from seeing her uncomfortable for a change. "That's just business. The wolfen are a law unto themselves. What makes you think the ones who attacked you had any connection with Melchior?"

"One of them wore a collar inscribed with fae runes. Now, unless someone is putting enchanted fae fetish gear on the open market, that suggests a deeper alliance. But you would know more about that than I."

Lilith bit her lip. "Melchior gave no such order. I would know if he did. If anyone is supplying fae artifacts to the wolfen, it is not this company."

Strephon frowned at her. For a moment she almost sounded sincere; then her voice slid back into its sensuous purr and she wriggled up his lap again. "Lord Melchior is very interested in you. And he's not the only one. I'm so glad you didn't get hurt..." She placed her arms around his neck and drew her lips towards his.

Strephon felt trapped. There was nothing he could do but move his own arm around Lilith...

...And dump his champagne down her back.

Lilith screamed and the grey mist vanished. Everyone in the room turned to stare at Lilith scrambling off Strephon's lap.

"How very clumsy of me," Strephon said; "I've spilled my drink all over you. Terribly sorry."

Lilith glared hatred at him. Now that was sincere.

NEXT: Exclusive Scoop

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