Saturday, November 2, 2013

Dark Redemption chapter 19: Cocoa

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 semi-immortal half-fae living amongst the humans of Redemption, has been commissioned by his aunt, the Queen of Faerie, to investigate a fae noble named Melchior who has been meddling in mortal affairs.

Strephon did not expect to find Devon sitting in his parlor when he came home, but he was not particularly surprised. Devon wore the same black trenchcoat and dark glasses he had on his previous visit. He lounged on Strephon's sofa with his feet on a table Strephon bought during Queen Victoria's Silver Jubilee.

"You certainly took long enough," Devon groused.

"Had I known you were waiting I should have taken longer. Would you kindly remove your feet from that table. It's rather expensive."

Devon shifted his feet. "Don't you have a television in this house?"

"There's a new technology that's just as good. You might have heard of it. They're called books. Why are you here?"

"I came for a status report. Have you learned anything useful, or have you been too busy frolicking with your mortal bagatelle?"

Strephon furiously wheeled his chair from the parlor to the kitchen. "primus, she is not my anything; secundus, I am not in the habit of frolicking; and tertius... it is none of your damned business!"

Devon followed him into the kitchen. "I struck a nerve, did I?"

Strephon ignored Devon and set about making himself some hot cocoa. As he set the pan of milk upon his stove and stirred, Devon continued, "So what have you learned?"

"Lord Melchior has devised a way to mass-produce Faerie enchantments and means to market them as computer games. He means to ensnare large numbers of mortals in these games and harness their dreams to feed his own power."

"That's impossible."

"I've seen it myself. Illusions that trick not the eye, but are fed directly into the subject's mind. Visions more realistic than the waking world that Melchior can manipulate as easily as a dream."

"And he has shown you all this?"

"Lord Melchior wishes to recruit me. He does not trust me, but he would like to use me; so he is keeping me near for the present." Strephon took the pan off the heat and poured the steaming milk into a cup. "He has already forged alliances with Lady Kurayami, one of the more powerful vampires in the city, at least one of the werewolf packs, and Mister Simon Knox, publisher of The Morning Star. I haven't decided what he is; possibly a sorcerer, but a powerful one."

"We are aware of his alliances," Devon said grimly. "Are you going to offer me some of that?"

Strephon stonily mixed the cocoa into his cup. "You didn't say the magic word."

"My, but you're in a foul mood. Did the trollop dump you?"

To his credit, Strephon did not slam his cup on the table; it was bone china and breaking it would have spilled hot cocoa all over the place; but he did set the cup down with a decided firmness. "Have you learned anything about the attack last night?"

Devon shrugged. "Nothing definite. It looks like just a random wolf attack. I did hear of someone who might know more. She's one of our folk who likes to run with the wolves." He curled his lip slightly to show what he thought of fae who ran with wolves. "During the daytime she works in the children's ward of the hospital. She calls herself Ferner."

"Ah, slumming with the mortals, is she? Well, she might know something useful."

"For someone who has shut himself away from mortal and fae alike for nearly a century you certainly are becoming quite the ladies' man."

Strephon narrowed his eyes. "Don't you have a toadstool you need to be dancing around?"

Next:  T.L.C.

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