New Story Rough Draft

Published October 10, 2014 by darksilvertree

Lehana slipped quietly into the anteroom, taking the young maid by surprise. She almost snapped at her, but realized who she was and dropped into a deep curtsy.

Lehana gave a quick smile. “I’ll handle this. I wish to pay my respect.”

The maid hesitated but nodded before handing the tray over. If she’d been one of the noble born women volunteering for a menial task would’ve seemed suspicious. But it was only a paltry meal of weak, glorified broth the cook called soup. She could balance it with one hand while edging the door open with the other.

“Omolara, is that you? What took you so long?” The question held a hint of irritation but the voice was too quiet.

She didn’t respond. Servants were rarely required to. Moving to Lady Nkiruka’s bedside she was almost sorry to see her in this state. Her already light brown skin was pale and golden brown hair lay plastered to her skin, covered by a sheen of sweat. They weren’t far apart in age but the past few weeks had aged her prematurely. Rumors said the illness would take her after a few months. Lehana didn’t have the time to wait. Her most trusted spy intercepted a letter in Nkiruka’s handwriting that made her anger flare. She thought she could have Mikaere assassinated. A year ago her plan may have succeeded. But today, Lehana loved her husband. She almost snorted as she looked at the ill woman, whose sharp eyes may have seen what she was capable of; if they hadn’t been clouded over in pain. She took the small packet of venom out of her sleeve and mixed it into the soup. Feeding it to Nkiruka, she waited until the first convulsion shot through her before speaking.

“You have only a few moments.”

Nkiruka tried to focus on her but couldn’t.

“Send a letter to him, a warning. Before you,” she grimaced as she stood. “Make a mess of the bed.” Nkiruka cried out but she ignored it as she casually strode to her writing desk. Taking a sheet she whispered a spell over it that would put Nkiruka’s words on paper. As she dropped it next to her Lehana said, “Do not tell him to flee. We know who he is.” Sitting back down, she waited until her order was followed. And she was sure Nkiruka was dead.

____

I posted this on here a few days ago: http://www.wattpad.com/74657490-among-queens-%26-kings-rough-draft-potential

Still don’t have a solid plot line but I’m almost done with chapter one. Also, I may change the name to Among Ladies & Lords, or some variation. The character names will change too. Any feedback would be appreciated.

I will have a new “Collective” story up sometime soon but I got distracted by NaNoWriMo planning.

Box Thief

Published September 15, 2014 by darksilvertree

Mei-Lien sat while Jun combed and braided her violet hair into a bun. It was their ritual before she went out on an assignment. But Jun didn’t know the entirety of her job. Like the others she knew that Mei-Lien spied and occasionally stole for an unknown source. They’d lived in the slums long enough to know not to ask questions. Jun met her gaze in the mirror.

“Dorsey Tyrrell is a well-guarded man.” She kept her voice light but her shoulders were tense. Her golden brown eyes were deadly serious.

“Yes.”

Dorsey had been little fish a month ago. In a short amount of time he’d decimated the gangs of the lower streets. Once higher, middle street gangs were taken out the rest became his personal guards. To get to him was not just a matter of breaking into a building. She had no time or margin for error. Her blunt answer was not enough.

Jun sat back on her heels, eyebrows arched. “Mei-Lien.”

She winced.

“He is not an ordinary human. Don’t underestimate him.”

She wanted to smirk but instead she turned, taking Jun’s hand. “You worry too much. No one’s caught me yet.” Before she could protest Mei- Lien grabbed her backpack and slipped out the open window; the silk curtains flowing.

 

**

 

She crept to the roof’s edge. Five men and a woman loitered in front of a bike shop. It was a front. The only bikes they had were on the rack outside. Anyone who went in was looking for something a little more illegal. This was the entrance to an elaborate tunnel system that allowed Dorsey to move his products without being seen. Today was quiet and normally that would make her suspicious, but there’d been an attack on one of their main suppliers three days ago. They were probably sitting scared. It was the perfect time for her to find out Dorsey’s secret. And take it. She whispered a spell and then pointed in the direction they were looking. During the day the airy, almost identical copy would’ve been spotted immediately but the night gave her cover. Once the group had moved far enough away she slipped down the fire escape, hoping the out of date fixture wouldn’t give under her weight. When she dropped down she paused. Once she was sure she hadn’t been spotted, Mei-Lien walked casually into the shop.

 

**

Tamara tried to blend in, but she grew more aware of just how much she stood out. Her dark grey shirt was freshly washed and barely crumpled though she threw it on last minute; the same for her black pants. Only her boots had any signs of wear. She had an urge to stop and take this in, but she had a mission. Taking a deep breath, she cleared her mind until the city around her became hollow. The overly bright artificial colors faded. She only had Temple’s description of Mei-Lien to go on as her magic highlighted people that might fit. Suddenly a magic pulse bounced from a nearby spot. It was subtle; if she hadn’t already been walking on a fine line of magical current she would’ve missed it. The spell was familiar. One she’d used before and it was done with enough skill not to smack her in the face. She had to take the chance. Doing her best not to draw any more attention she took off at a jog. Gradually she came back to herself. And heard footsteps speeding up to match her pace. Tamara’s immediate thought was Jörg had followed her from the apartment. She was not concerned until energy behind her made her stomach heave.

He can’t want me dead? The thought made her chest constrict, until she turned and her head instantly cleared. She looked up at a man coming towards her with a deadly expression. Looking around she saw people scurrying through doorways, disappearing into cellars, all way casting furtive glances over their shoulders.

A sickly green light shot by her face, drawing her attention back. There was a smell of chemicals. She dodged his punch and slipped behind him, landing a punch between his shoulder blades. An electric shock traveled through him that was meant to paralyze. He fell to his knees but too quickly he’d forced himself up, only his slumped position showed he was hurt.

“Who are you?”

“Someone who will help put humans first.”

 

**

 

Mei-Lien dusted her jacket off. Pink residue from the sleeping potion drifted to the floor. She’d “accidently” dropped a vial of it, releasing a cloud, in front of the cashier after casting a love spell on him that convinced him to close the shop. She searched him for a key card, and then moved quickly into the back room. It didn’t take her long to find the slot hidden behind a pile of discarded parts. She pushed them aside and pushed the card in. Before the door opened completely she squeezed through. Casting a spell that created and deepened shadows, Mei-Lien ran. The spell would drain a lot of energy and take longer to recover from. It would also attract anyone looking for her. Depending on memory she went from one tunnel to the next, until she came to a red door. Pushing it open, she dashed up the stairwell. Inwardly, she cringed at her echoing footsteps. A door opened followed by low voices. She had no choice but to crouch and wait. As they came nearer she reached into her pocket, gripping the brass knuckles Jun had given her. A taser had been added. The two men rounded the last corner and she jumped. Mei-Lien landed a punch to the man’s gut that stood nearest her. The other punched her hard in the ribs and caught her in a headlock. She flicked on her taser and jammed it into his chest. When he didn’t immediately let her go, she turned it up to the highest setting. The man jerked and tumbled down the stairs. She didn’t wait to see where he landed. She needed to get to the door they came to, and came face to face with a security camera. That calmed her nerves somewhat. Dorsey cared only for whatever lay in his office. He depended on his grunts to do the rest of the work. Mei-Lien took off her backpack, digging around until she found a hacking bot. Looking around she turned it on and threw it up. The legs extended and dug in. It would erase her and any events that followed. Dorsey’s office was behind a heavy metal door. She entered a code and dragged it open. Except a red and blue glow from outside peeking through the blinds, the room was dark. She searched quickly, knowing he wouldn’t be gone long. It took her so long to find the button behind his desk hidden by carpet, she began to doubt herself. A case of reinforced glass rose from the floor. Inside was a wooden box with elvish writing around the edges Her fingers danced over the keys. She opened her backpack, ready to be gone. The door popped open and lifted the box. Immediately she knew something was wrong. There was no trace of magic and it was too light. The window clicked close and she froze.

“You’re getting slow.” A deep, husky voice behind her made her tremble.

She turned to find a tantō pointed at her throat. “Setsuna.” Her voice came out in a harsh whisper. It revealed surprise and regret. She cursed it.

“Yes. Alive despite you.” He had an arrogant grin on his face but she knew him too well. He pulled an identical box from inside his jacket. “I think we should talk.”

Leaving The Past Behind?

Published August 27, 2014 by darksilvertree

Princess Raejiisa sat on a turquoise bench in a crystal gazebo. She studied the river that flowed by in an unhurried manner. It pained her that the humans could not see this. Her brief view of Davenport had been filled with the harsh greys of their buildings and flashing artificial lights. Anyone who saw them quickly looked away, eyes filled with fear; if they showed any emotions at all. In a near century of being alive Raejiisa had never seen that look on the face of her people. Not even her favorite uncle who’d traveled to many human cities and seen much of their hardships. As if her thoughts had summoned him a maid approached and quietly announced Lord Delon. She turned and gave him a graceful nod, remaining dignified until the maid left. And then, she grinned widely at him. He returned one of his own. His golden brown eyes twinkled. Like her own, Delon’s skin was a brown like fall leaves. He wore traveling clothes, a backpack still thrown over his shoulder.

“What brings you here?”

He sat down on the bench next to her. His fingers drummed on the backpack now in his lap. “It has been a long time since I’ve come home.” He sounded distant but she wasn’t truly listening.

It sounded like a wooden box, but she couldn’t be sure. Her ears twitched as she tried to listen. Delon laughed and she blushed.

“You were always the curious one.” He shook his head, still smiling. “Are you really interested princess?”

Now, she unashamedly tried getting a peek.

“That’s good. I think you’ll enjoy this.”

 

***

 

The blue spiraled castle of Sarnariel was glorious as it rose decade after decade. Many of its crystal towers took on the shape of various fauna; they reflected the light of the sun and moon. Whole corridors pressed through living trees and vines twisted into bridges leading from one window to another in unexpected places. This was, and always had been, the home of the royal family. It remained untouched and a symbol of pride. Then, the day came where a walkway led to one of the first doorways. Who had been the first to meet the humans? Their name was lost now but whether on purpose or not, their crossing was believed to have started the merging. The younger elves had always known this life, but the elders longed for the isolation of other elven lands.

 

***

 

Tamara held a knife to her husband’s chest. Her own chest was tight and she felt as if she’d collapse in tears. But she kept her face as neutral as he kept his.

“Who are you?”

She wanted to scream at him; ask who he thought she was. Only knowing she couldn’t have been honest with him stopped her. So she gave him the simplest answer she could think of. “I’m your wife.”

He motioned towards the knife with a skeptical expression. She hesitated but eventually she lowered it.

“It was dangerous coming here. Whoever you are.”

She gave a dry laugh. “I told you who I was.”

“Did you really?

“You weren’t honest either.” Pain made her voice crack. Turning away from him, she took a deep breath. She pulled on her boots, but she kept her head turned enough to watch Jörg.

Having had to put her knife down, she had to send a hard burst of magic at him when he moved suddenly. He sat up and rubbed his chest, groaning.

“That was your fault.”

He chuckled but his breath caught in a hitch. “Married a witch. Just my luck.”

“You knew I was Wiccan.”

He held his ribs as he started to stand. She had an overwhelming urge to comfort him. Instead she ran to the door.

“Tamara, wait.”

She hesitated, her hand lingered on the doorknob, only a second before throwing it open and leaving.

Among the Unnamed

Published August 25, 2014 by darksilvertree

The bright orange streetlight shone through the window of a dark room. An occasional horn blast outside were the only sounds to interrupt the silence. Tamara’s bare feet made no noise even on the threadbare carpet. She stopped just outside the cone of light. Looking out at the desolate streets through the half-closed curtains, she was acutely aware she was an outsider. She protected Sector 2, her futile attempt at protecting those close but staying far enough away. There should’ve been no reason for her to come to one of the unnamed sectors. But Jörg was here; in the building across from this one. She’d been waiting five hours for him to come out. There was a dull ache in her chest as she remembered hearing the front door quietly opening, and then closing. Three nights had passed. Each night, after believing she’d fallen asleep, he left. And she’d lain awake until he returned. Until now. Tonight she dressed in a grey t-shirt and black skin tight jeans, hastily shoved on her boots and followed him. Through Sector Five, to the first unnamed sector. In the moments between darkness and the streetlights coming on, he cloaked himself. She wanted to confront him. But what of her own secrets? If he knew, was he a friend or enemy?

 

Nine years ago she’d gotten a letter in the mail. If anyone was contacted by the collective differently, she didn’t know. Tamara had little experience of the world and now she was expected to protect a whole sector. Not an overly appealing prospect to someone who’d never been beyond Sector Three. But she’d accepted in order to protect that normalcy. When the chance appeared she may have the life she sought to save….Looking back she realized that had been foolish. Maybe she would’ve noticed before. A small voice in the back of her mind said that wasn’t true. Even now she hadn’t removed her ring. She twisted it nervously. Her earcom buzzed and she barely suppressed a sigh.

“Tamara.”

“A witch named Mei-Lien has retrieved a box of elven design from Dorsey Tyrrell. Make sure she survives.”

Her description was vague. Five foot six, violet hair, wearing a long brown coat, pants, and a backpack. She was twenty minutes away. Tamara wasn’t surprised Temple knew where she was. The Collective’s leader managed to keep her identity and location a secret. Most people who knew either were dead. She disconnected. She turned; focused on her mission. It wasn’t until she crossed the small room and reached for her knife, which lay across the toes of her boots, that she realized she wasn’t alone anymore.

Oblivion’s Assassin

Published August 22, 2014 by darksilvertree

Screeching violins and a pounding drumbeat bled into Nevaeh’s bones. Ominous notes from a piano joined the melody. The rich patrons around her smiled easily and tried to continue their usual gossip. But they wouldn’t leave. Oblivion sat at the center of Sector Five; just close enough to poverty to be a thrill. That was fine with her, as long as Augustus Calder stayed where he was. Even from across the room she could sense the energy pulsing from his chest pocket. Most people wandered into the elven city of Sarnariel on accident, they didn’t travel there at will. Part of her was curious to know who’d take interest in a glorified investment banker. And not even one who’d made much of a name for himself. But that was a job for another witch. Hers was simple enough, until she saw Temple walking towards her. Temple stood a head taller than everyone in the room, wading through the crowd as if they didn’t exist. This time thick brown curls fell to her chest, amber eyes stared directly at Nevaeh, her midriff peeked through black lace. The elegant dress she wore swept the floor; a right-sided slit showed blue lines crisscrossing her cybernetic leg. Something was very wrong. When Temple reached her, Nevaeh raised her glass and grinned. That settled the crowd and they ignored Temple’s presence.

She came close enough to whisper, “Get ready.”

If anyone else dared to suggest she needed help, she would’ve cut out their heart. Instead she only dimmed the lights and motioned for the music to be turned up.

The last thing Temple said was, “Your mission must still be completed.”

 

Columns of black smoke erupted by ear splitting screams. Into the chaos stepped corrupted orcs, magic users twisted by greed. Orange flames darted over people’s heads. Nevaeh watched all this from the corner of her eye but her focus was on Augustus. One of his guards struggled to maintain an energy shield. The others held their guns ready. Just as she reached him an orc spotted her. He summoned a black boned wolf surrounded by green flame. She ran straight for it. Dropping at the last moment, she pulled a knife from her boot. She rammed it upwards, between the skull and spine. She twisted violently and the wolf’s head popped off. Flowing along with the crowd she saw Temple swing an orc’s long sword, decapitating it. A golden light emanated from the sword as she held it up to absorb a spell thrown at her. Anyone in the crowd with any wits left would see, and remember, Temple. Nevaeh used the distraction. She threw a quick burst of magic at the shield. The guards were thrown to the ground by a minor blowback. A bullet grazed her arm. Gritting her teeth, she kicked in the chest of one man trying to stand. Stepping over the others, she jumped up the steps leading to Augustus’s booth. Grabbing the witch by his collar, she tossed him behind her. Augustus huddled beneath the table. With a disgusted grunt she kicked it over.

 

At that moment a red mist exploded. It clung to her skin. Movement behind her let her know the other guards were recovering.  There wasn’t much room to maneuver in the round booth. And temporarily blinded she had to depend on memory. She struck out with her knife. There was an answering gurgle. A body landed with a thud. With no hesitation she channeled her magic through the knife. A piercing ray shot from the tip. Screaming let her know she hadn’t missed. Turning around she searched for the energy she’d felt earlier….Only to feel its absence. An angry screech distracted her. The floor shook as an orc landed before her. She’d expended too much energy to put up a real defense. Drawing on reserves, she managed enough of a shield to block the orc’s sword. The blow knocked her backwards. Tripping over the corpses, she landed roughly at the base of the stairs. Her knife bounced away. The mist faded just enough that she could see it jump. Jerking a pistol out of a dead guard’s holster, she shot it through the chest. She stood on shaky legs. Not sure who she was more upset at, she hoped Temple left more of the corrupted orcs alive. But as her vision cleared she saw that wasn’t the case. Orc corpses littered the club and more of the bone wolves.  There were only two other people who hadn’t fled; Temple and Aniyah, a young assassin who considered Nevaeh a mentor.

“I’ll find him.”

Temple nodded.

Black Jewel of Sarnariel

Published August 11, 2014 by darksilvertree

She dropped down from the air duct. Her knife opened with a click. She made quick work of the two nearest guards. The blade slid from between one’s shoulder blades. She pulled her knife out of the other’s ribs. As the elf fell to the ground a gasp escaped. She stood slowly; the others momentarily stunned.

“Get her quick” someone squeaked.

They jumped suddenly into motion. She danced around them. Her blade flashed, a trail of sparks flying from the bodies. An arrow, it’s tip smelled of sweet poison, flew over her face as she ducked backwards. It was followed closely by others and an arrow that glowed a dark green. She deflected most, dodging the last. An explosion blasted a hole in the wall behind her. The doorway destroyed. Before she could stand the elves surrounded her. With arrows pointing at her head, she pressed a tiny button on her thigh. The slot where she kept her pistol opened. In a blur of motion, she drew it and sent a laser through four of them. The last three were coughing blood before they realized they’re throats were slit.

 

“Who are you?” The elf looked at her With opal eyes, wide with innocence. She stepped forward. The slot clicked back into place, echoing like the pistol’s shot. “You know who I am. You have since I entered.”

Now the woman stood erect. Two thick silver braids fell over her shoulders and ended at her waist. Her eyes narrowed. “If this is how death comes for me, so be it. But don’t attack me with these inferior weapons.”

She dashed forward, appearing before the woman. Her blade pushed in to the hilt. As the elf died she said, “Magic requires a price I will not pay for a slaver.” Instead of letting her fall she dragged her to a short metal box. A laser scanned her face and the top swung open.

From inside there was a whimper. The young girl looked up through dark hair. Amber eyes shone bright with unshed tears. Only the golden snake with Onyx eyes wrapped around a pointed ear gave a clue to who she was.

“It is time for you to return home Princess Raejiisa.”

The Collective

Published July 31, 2014 by darksilvertree

One city is a screech of grinding gears, rusted metal, and despair. The other is a song of paranormal defiance. Both co-exist in the same time and space. Whether humans live above the magical world or the magical world lives above humans doesn’t matter. One group is charged with protection of these cities. A secret collective of witches granted stronger powers than the others. Their identities must remain secret, for in both worlds knowing a name is power.

 

***

Tamara Becke followed stealthily behind the troll blundering ahead of her. His wide body stretched the black trench coat he wore. Most eyes were on him, so even her hair that was dyed bright red didn’t draw much attention. The troll stopped suddenly, ears swiveling, and she leaned against a halodeck that was displaying the day’s news. Nonchalantly she checked her nails and tried to ignore the thin stand’s creaking. When he finally started walking again she waited before darting through the crowd to catch up.  Instead of turning into an alley she knew led to underground caves, he remained on a steady path forward. She soon realized he was going towards the docks. During this time of day there would be a crowd as ships came in with new supplies or ferried people out. And she had a good idea which he intended to do. She waited until he entered the docking station, and then created a small light that distracted him and led him towards a dark corridor. Just as his fingers closed around the ball of light, she pulled out her dagger and drew the titanium blade across the back of his knees. It was spelled to withstand the impact and created deep gashes. She rolled between his legs to avoid being crushed. His angry roar shook the walls around them. Hopefully they were far enough from the check points any guards would write it off.

“Cannot stop me.” His words came out as a rough imitation of English.

“You are in violation of our treaty by being above ground. Add the selling of illegal magical weapons….Well, I can do what I please.”

 

He swiped a crooked hand at her and Tamara just barely avoided the claws. Even without full use of his legs, the troll was still a dangerous enemy. She leaped over his arm and aimed for his throat. Before she could he grabbed her arm and slammed her into the wall. Her dagger fell to the floor. She let her body go limp. He drew her towards him, dangling her above his head. Tamara whispered a spell that sharpened her nails just enough to prick his skin. He released her with a surprised gasp. She swung and her feet connected with his chin, toppling him over.

“Come.” Her dagger flew towards her and she closed her fingers around the hilt. Standing on the troll’s chest she traced flaming symbols in the air; one for his head, two for his arms, two more his legs. Sheathing her dagger she began to mumble a spell that had become routine for her. “The gods demand justice, may your body serve.”

The symbols flared and lines appeared over his body. He let out one howl of agony before being separated, his body parts sent to different realms.

Bowing her head she whispered, “Forgive me for the blood I spill.”

The last thing she did before leaving was leave a ‘marker’ on the security camera. By the time anyone viewed the tape there would be no evidence of the fight.

Her earcom buzzed and she clicked it. “Tamara here.”

 

“How is my little amsel?”

The sound of her husband’s voice made her remember it was her turn to cook dinner. Checking her watch she realized he’d be on his way home. She stumbled a little as she began running.

“Lonely.” Her voice was light with only a hint of whining.

Jörg chuckled. “I’ll be there soon.”

She could imagine the smirk he’d have on his face.

“I can’t wait!”

“Be good until I’m there. I love you.”

She felt her cheeks heat up, but she knew he was just teasing her. Ending the connection she took off at a full run. Jumping over a rail, she slid into a cab just before the door slid closed.

Ignoring the driver’s grimace she took out her cred stick and paid him extra to speed.

“Building 315 in Sector One.”

He gave her an incredulous look but accepted the money. She accepted his silence.

 

***

Tamara dashed from the cab pass the tidy yards. In this sector, there was the illusion of a green suburb but just beyond the gate was the true iron jungle the city had become. But there was no time to dwell on this. She had less than three minutes before Jörg came home. Once she reached her building she wasted no time getting inside, almost forgetting to lock the door behind her. Tamara used magic to have dinner to start itself. The stove turned on high, to appear as if it’d been on longer, and pans floated out of the cabinets; rice packets were torn open and poured in. It didn’t take long for the small house to heat up, with extra help, to add to the illusion. With another flick of her wrists she’d defrosted the ham she’d been saving and cut it, the slices fell into the pan. Satisfied she slipped into the laundry room and changed out of her sleeveless black jumpsuit into a short, pink dress. She hid her boots under a pile of dirty clothes. Tamara heard the door opening and, sneaking around the corner, got back to the kitchen just in time to cancel her magic. When Jörg saw her she was stirring the rice. He knocked on the wall and she pretended to be surprised. She ran and jumped into his arms, enjoying the feel of his arms tightening around her. It wasn’t all faked; she needed the normalcy he provided. Not every day went so smoothly. Looking into his warm brown eyes and seeing his smile, she could forget what she was. What she did. Love wasn’t forbidden by the collective but she feared the day work would follow her home.

“Dinner smells delicious.” His voice snapped her out of her thoughts.

“It’s not much, sorry.” She smiled shyly.

“It’s perfect.”

She rolled her eyes. Tapping his arm she said, “Put me down and I’ll make you a plate.”

 

“Why is it always so hot when you cook?”

She laughed nervously. “You’re imagining things.”

Tamara turned just in time to see him pull of his work shirt and a cold feeling spread through her body. There was a scar that started at the bottom of his rib cage and curved around his left shoulder blade. It hadn’t been there this morning, she was sure of that. She had a flashback to demon she’d tracked down the night before. Its scythe-like claws had wounded her, but before it could land a fatal blow someone had jumped in the way. Shadows had swirled around the person like a second skin, masking them from identification. Could he be another agent or something else? The thought left her nauseated. But she had checked for magic, he had none. She was only half aware of him taking the plate from her and making a joke. She mustered up a small smile. He sat on the couch and switched on the television. Tamara hurried into the bedroom. She picked up the picture they’d taken on their wedding day. Sitting on the bed, she held it to her chest.

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