Friday, February 6, 2015

Dark Redemption chapter 62: Out In the Open

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 the Queen of the Faerie to investigate fae activity in the city. In the course of his investigations, he has become involved with a reporter named Cassandra True, from whom he has been attempting to hide his unnatural background.  She, however, has guessed more than he realizes.  While pursuing a line of inquiry at a local artisan’s market, he once again runs into Cassandra.

“Cassandra.” Strephon had not intended to say her name out loud, but there it was.  He could hardly pretend he hadn’t seen her and he certainly couldn’t try to hide; his wheelchair was damned conspicuous sometimes.

Cassandra hesitated, then advanced towards him with the demeanor of one who has decided to do something.  “Hello, Strephon.”

“I did not expect to see you here.”

“My editor asked me to write a piece about the market and take some pictures.”  She drew her hand out of the pocket of her overcoat to display a compact camera.  “What about you?  Doing some shopping, I see?”

Strephon reddened and his grip tightened on the two small gift bags with the items of jewelry he had purchased.  “I… I fancied upon something I thought my aunt might like,” he lied.

Cassandra gave him a most curious look, as if she believed not a word of what he’d said but was trying to decide whether to challenge him..  Instead she said, “It’s lucky I ran into you.  There’s something I wanted to ask you.”  She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, as if steeling herself.

“Why did you sue Gilbert and Sullivan?”

Strephon felt a chill which had nothing to do with the previous night’s drizzle.  “I… I assure you I did no such thing.  My great-grandfather, I believe…”

“Not your grandfather.  You.”

Strephon forced a chuckle.  “Gilbert and Sullivan died over a century ago.  As decrepit as I might seem, I assure you that I am not that old.”

She gave him a thin, hard smile, as if daring hum to contradict her, and she quoted:

“It seems you are a fairy;
 from Andersen’s li-brary.”

 “Oh bother!”  The curse escaped his lips.

“I knew it!!”

He rubbed his temples.  “How did you guess.”

Cassandra shrugged.  “Little things you did; little things you said.  But mostly it was watching the operetta.”

“I might have known,” Strephon grumbled.

“So, you really are a fairy?”

“Half a faerie,” he corrected her.  A mother passing by gave the two of them a peculiar look and hustled her child away from them.  “Perhaps we could continue this conversation more privately?”

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