The title is a work in progress if you have some suggestions please comment it.
My brother, a tall, muscular elf, dressed in a grey fancy business suit whose gleaming head sticks out only a bit more than his pointy ears, sat across from me at his desk on the eight floor of his company’s building. He grinned as he pushed a manila folder across the desk towards me. The window behind him presented amazing view of the Reserve.
“So this time, you want to hire me as a what?” I glanced down at the folder. I couldn’t stay completely blank-faced. My brother’s attempts to hire me always made me smile; I love this kid, however I can’t leave my life behind.
“The, uh, internal affairs investigator.” He was trying hard to convince me. But this was not his first try.
“Is this another attempt to hire me to keep me from continuing being a private investigator?”
“Well,” he sighed, “You know how I feel about my little bro in such a dangerous job.”
“Tom, I appreciate the thought but-” My phone, ringing, cut me off. “Oh well duty calls.” I stood and started walking away. “Love you bro.”
“Please consider my offer.”
As I left his office I passed through his trophy room, it contained precious items such as a golden gun, statue of a dragon, and an arcane object. Thomas probably didn’t know what it was, but hey it looked cool. The last thing I passed was a display case of all of the potions his company manufactures and sells. Many of the recipes were his own design. A new row of concoctions caught my eye: flying, invisibility, sleep, gas form, and others. I bought one of each. I had my own collection at home and take some out on the job each have a different number of notches for quick draw purposes.
As I left the building, I called Lindsay Cooldo, the dwarf chief of police. “Sorry I couldn’t take your call right away. I was a bit busy.”
“Another meeting with your brother?” Her voice was deep and smooth as the flat of a knife.
“Yeah.” I laughed, “12th since June.” I looked around me and smiled. The vibrancy of the autumn leaves danced though the wind. “So what’s up? I know you didn’t call for small talk.”
She never did. “Have you ever heard of Marven Camvell?”
“The elf in charge of the reserve?” The reserve: a stretch of forest in the city, where centaurs, unicorns, and all the like could live in peace, “What about him?”
“In the medical center where he works, heals and protects the reserve. His dust was found. You know how a nonhuman turns to dust?”
I had heard of them, “Dragon fire, unicorn horn, some spells or magic weapons or golden weapons.”
“Right, I want you to find out how he died, if it was murder, and who or what killed him.” She hung up.
“Well thanks for calling. Goodbye…” I said to no one. “No you hang up!”
I reached the reserve just after sunset, and left my bike at the gate. The golems let me in after I showed them my badge. Marven was a powerful magic user who used his power for the good of the reserve. Now that he was dead, and his spells and defenses were weakened, the reserve is vulnerable to poachers. The golems were the only thing guarding the reserve now. I strode forward through the darkness and trees.
A small ball of pale blue light appeared beside. It was warm to the touch, it illuminated the woods. There was a cobblestone path through the forest and it lead me straight to the medical center. It was built into the base of the tree and surrounded by a tall metal fence. The tree’s silver door was unlocked but intact-there were no breaches or breaks. “Rule out unicorns.” Inside was a neatly organized small room. No scorch marks. “Not dragons.” No arcane residue. Must have been a golden weapon then. Those are only purchased at one store here in town.
Adulifdin owns an ‘antic’ shop downtown: the shop is also a hub for the black market in town. If someone acquired an ‘antic’ golden weapon he would know. As I walked through the door two orcs came forward to meet me. Two massive forms of muscle holding large halberds. “Oi copper.” Sneering at me the slightly shorter orc, “We don’t take kindly to your kind. Especially at midnight.”
“We should tear em to pieces.” The taller one licked his lips.
“Now, now, now. Boys. Jimmy here is a friend.” A gnome stepped out and waved the too orcs away.” It was a funny sight these two 200 pound 7 foot tall orcs being ordered around by a 1 and a half foot 40 pound gnome. “So Jimmy boy what is it that brings you to my neck of the woods, to my fine establishment?”
“Could I talk to you alone?” The orcs snared at me. “Please.”
He led me into the back room. “You know I was actually about to call you. What can I do you for?”
“Sold any golden weapons lately?” I was straight to the point.
“No. Speaking of golden weapons one of my supply convoys disappeared. I was going to call you to find it. Usual rate.” He was being honest. Maybe for the first time ever.
“Deal. Where were they seen last?”
“They were seen at the Dragon Tracks, I know they were heading for the Migruns.”
I rode my motorbike out of town to the Dragon Tracks a tavern along the highway. When I arrived I parked by bike and bought a coffee. I rode to the Migruns, these. tunnels a favorite of smugglers avoiding gangs. When I reached the Migruns it was not a pretty sight. Leaping off my bike, I ran over to the body of a dwarf. He had suffered three bullet wounds to his upper body, one in his left shoulder, one to his lower right armpit, and the final in his forehead; his jaw was broken. The convoy, three trucks were all flipped on their side, and the guards all lay dead. The trucks were all empty I examined the entire area and found a golden revolver in a low bush near the entrance to the tunnels.
“Chanarin… Cooldo get down to Migruns.” Then. Chanarin, the telepathic communication spell. One of my favorites ”Chanarin. Migruns.”
The police arrived in squad cars. The gnome in a black unmarked car. He stood beside me anger coursing through him his orc bodyguards searched with the police; eventually Adulifdin paid me and let me keep the revolver. The sun was rising as we stood by the highway. “Jim, poachers attacked the reserve last night. Could you stake it out tonight?”
“Will do ma’am.” I started walking away. “I will be there. Right now I need to go home and get some rest.”
I slept for about twelve hours, and arose at 18:00. I made myself a coffee and some toast. At 18:30 I was on my bike, riding away from my small apartment. By the time I made it to the reserve, it was not yet dark. I bought two coffee’s and a box of donuts. About twenty minutes after arriving there, Adulifdin pulled up in his black car. I hopped in the passenger door, handing him a donut and coffee. Four more black unmarked cars arrived with him. “Here, got you a coffee,” I smiled. He hungrily ate the donut
“Mmm hmm hmm mmm mmm.”
“What?” We laughed, and he swallowed.
“How did you…” he took a sip of coffee mid sentence. I shook my head, wondering if I would ever hear the question. “know I was coming?”
“I have known you for ten years. And known of you for longer.” I took a sip of coffee now. Payback. “I know you like your revenge.”
“You got me.” He was on his fifth donut.
“How do you eat that much and still be so light?” He prepared to give a long rant of an answer but I cut him off. By now the sun had set and I saw something at the gate a human-sneaking.
“Aganfrunai Knip Adulifdin.” I pointed and an outline appeared around him. He unlocked the gate and opened it. A van drove forwards and entered the reserve.
“Are we the only ones who can see the outline” He looked nervous.
“Yes. Normally I would be the only one able to see it. But Knip Adulifdin makes it so you are included in the spell so Knip means-”
He handed me a dagger interrupting me. “You may need this, kid.”
“Call the police. Ask for back up.” I leapt out of the car, and uttered “Griet.” Silently a bolt of energy darted from my hand and smashed the through the glass at the front office. Alarms blared. I heard shouts from inside. The van came shooting out of the gate turning and racing away. They turned left and flew down a street; we gave chase, the gnome in his car, and me on my bike. During the pursuit they lost the Adulifdin, but I kept up with them. The van pulled to a halt at an abandoned house, and quickly they went in. I parked my bike and crept up to the door.
“How did you mess this up?” An orc voice called out. “And of course you mess up on the one day that the boss it coming to check up. I should crush your puny skull for this. He needs those materials for the potions.”
“Chanarin Cooldo, come to 768 Woodsbrook Lane. This is the poachers’ hide out. And their boss is coming soon.”
Her voice came to me. “See if you can get any solid evidence. We will be there soon.”
The orc was yelling again. “Now halflings go to the next door houses and set up your guard positions.”
“Chanarin Cooldo the two…” before I could finish that thought I heard the doorknob turning. I dove to the bushes.
“Did you hear that?” A voice came from the doorway.
“Yeah, go check it out, I’ll go tell to boss.” I heard footsteps heading away from me.
“Where are you?” The remaining halfling called out in a sing songy tone. “I know you are there.” I slowly crawled away towards the back gate, my phone rang. It was Thomas. I texted him. Not Good Timd. I had meant to say time. The Halfling called back to the guys inside. “I heard a phone.” He drew a gun and flashlight. He turned towards me and I threw the knife. It sailed towards him as he saw me and opened fire. I ducked through the back gate as the pommel of the knife struck him in the neck, sending him slamming him to the house wall behind him. He dropped to the ground. The other Halfling’s voice came from the doorway. Swearing, he darted to the side of the house and fired at me through the fence. He missed and I shot his gun out of his hand. He grabbed the dagger and charged towards me. I slammed the fence door in his face. Three humans appeared around the corner, one wielding a machinegun, one a pistol and the last, a shotgun. I ducked behind the house as the lead sprayed. The one with the shotgun appeared around the corner and I plugged him with two shots from my revolver-one in the shoulder, other in the thigh. As I dove out of cover, a bullet grazed the right side of my head, another hit me in the left side, and another through the left hip. I shot the one with the machine gun once in the arm and once in the chest, on a course that missed everything vital. One bullet left. The last human wanted to run.
“Griet.” A bolt of energy leapt from my hand and struck him in the leg. The halfling I had hit with the fence door was up again and slashed at me. I tried to dodge left but pain shot through me and I fell to the ground. He leapt on me and tried to slit my throat. Struggling I grabbed at my side and pulled out the four-notched vial and shoved it in his mouth and I swung my right leg up and kicked him in the jaw sending him flying off. He was deep asleep before he hit the ground. I climbed back up to the doorway. There was a light on upstairs and I went to it. It was an office, gun in hand I carefully struggled my way into the room. I made a lot noise clattering around, as I tried to stand.
The crow bar to the back of the head caught me completely by surprise. The orc loomed above me, as I lay sprawled on the floor. He grabbed me and threw me through the office wall. I landed in an empty room. Hearing the orc stomp downstairs, I forced my barely conscious form to crawl back to the office, where I had dropped the gun. I had almost made it there when the orc returned brandishing the dagger. He slashed out cutting my potion bag open, the potions rolled out all over the floor. This distracted the orc and I was able to reach the gun. I rolled over in the pool of my own blood and shot him in the knee. The orc looked pained, then confused, as he turned to dust.
I drank the three of my potions that had rolled out onto the floor.
I heard a car. I crawled to the window facing the street, feeling my body knit itself back together, and struggled to my feet. In front of the house there was a black car in the driveway. ‘The gnome’ I thought ‘thank’-The cold hard barrel of a gun pressed against my head. “I guess water runs thicker than blood.” I heard a familiar voice say behind me.
There was a puff of what appeared to be dust or smoke coming out the window.