Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dark Redemption chapter 40: Bad Tidings

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, has been commissioned by his aunt, the Queen of the Faerie, to investigate fae activity in the city. In the process, he has become involved with a mortal reporter named Cassandra True. Strephon and Cassandra quarreled when she accepted a job working for the sinister Simon Knox, publisher of the Morning Star, and now he is worried about her.

Strephon sat in his study, rereading the Morning Star. He read the newspaper every morning as part of his inflexible daily ritual but rarely returned to it. Tonight, he decided to make an exception. He poured meticulously over every paragraph; he scanned headlines looking for patterns. If Simon Knox truly was up to something sinister, it would probably involve his paper in some way. And Cassandra. He drove the thought from his head. No. It was conceivable that the newspaper might contain some clue as to Knox and Melchior had planned.

At least, so Strephon reasoned. After his third pass through the paper he could find no clues whatsoever, unless it was the absence of any coverage of supernatural occurrances.

Mrs. Hudson, his cat jumped onto the table and gave an aggrieved "Miao!"

Strephon scratched behind her ears soothingly. "All right, Devon, you can show yourself," he said loudly.

A gaunt, pale figure with dull, leaden eyes materialized before him.

"Ah. You aren't Devon," Strephon said.

"I bear a message from Morrigan," the apparition intoned.

"Morrigan? Belladonna Morrigan?" Strephon felt a twinge of dread. He hadn't heard that name in ages.

"If you have any regard for Cassandra True's well-being..."

"Cassandra? What about her?"

The apparition paused. Apparently he wasn't good at answering questions. "...You will come to Fellwood in half an hour. Come alone, or your lover will die."

"Now see here, Cassandra is not my... Wait! Don't go!"

It was too late. Having delivered his message, the apparition darted out of the room.

Strephon crumpled the newspaper in his hand. "Curse you, Morrigan! What are you doing?" He wheeled himself over to the telephone. Before he could pick it up, Devon appeared before him.
"Who was that I saw leaving this place? He looked like a minor fae. Is he a minion of Melchior's"?

"Go away, Devon. I haven't the time for it." He dialed the telephone.

"Something's the matter. Who was that?"

Strephon wheeled sharply to face him. "That was a messenger from a witch named Morrigan. She's an old acquaintance of mine who bears a certain grudge against me. Apparently she has captured Miss True and demands I come see her. Damnation, why doesn't she answer?"

"Calling Miss True? Maybe then this witch does have her." Strephon did not answer, but slammed down the reciever. Devon continued. "This could be a good thing, you know. You wanted her out of your life, didn't you?"

"I wanted her out of danger!"

"Well, it seems she's quite capable of getting into trouble even without your help, doesn't she."

Strephon glared at him. "Are you going to get out of my way, or are you just going to continue to make sardonic observations?"

"I'm going to help you, that's what I'm going to do."

"I do not need your help."

Devon laughed. "You certainly do! Besides, what would the Queen say if I let you get killed? Or your mother for that matter?"

"Bother my Mother, bother the Queen, bother Morrigan and all meddlesome females!" Just then the doorbell rang. Devon answered it and saw Tobias Simms standing at the door. "Gran told me Mister Strephon would be needing a ride about now. Is everything all right?"

"Ah," Devon said turning to Strephon. "A message from yet another of your female admirers."

Next Chapter:  Witch at Work

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