“The old adage If you can’t beat them, join them, to me is just a way of saying you’re weak. My motto is if you can’t beat them then you aren’t fighting dirty enough.” ~Trik
Trik played poker well into the early morning hours. After he had taken enough of the humans’ money, he had looked at his friend and made a motion with his head to leave the table. Now they sat in a quiet bar enjoying the only time the city was somewhat subdued. Tony sat across from him looking like a model from a GQ magazine in his custom suit. His blonde hair fixed in a messy style that probably took no more than him running his fingers, slicked with gel, through it several times. He was tall, though not as tall as Trik and it was obvious that he worked out. He had a strong jaw line and his nose was slightly crooked from being broken two too many times. Fighting had been his thing in high school, not street fighting, but organized fighting, for money. He had been good, undefeated for the four years that he had fought. He was young to be a manager of a Casino, especially one as large as the Iniquity. He’d turned 21 only a few months ago and his father, who had worked for the Dark Elves for the past 30 years, had been too happy to pass the title and all the stress that went with it to his only son.
“So are you going to tell me what brought you to my lovely city?” Tony asked as he lifted his glass to his lips; taking a sip of the Cognac, the gold liquid glistened in the glass as the lights hit it.
Trik smiled. “A woman.”
Tony chuckled, “Isn’t it always. Some hot little Elf number trying to tie you down?”
“If only it were something so simple.” Trik ran his fingers through his dark hair. He was still in his human guise and though he had known Tony since he was fifteen when he had seen one of his fights, he still had never shown him his true form, for by doing so he would be signing Tony’s death warrant. Tony’s father, also knowing what Trik and the other Elves he dealt with were, still had never seen any of them in their true form.
Tony sat up and leaned his forearms on the table. “Whoa, you’re really rattled. I don’t think I have ever seen you look so, so…” he struggled to find the right word, “human.” He finally settled on the only word that would really describe his friend’s frustrated look and agitated movements, all of which were very un-Elf like. “Come on Trik, spill it. I can tell you need to talk about it and you obviously don’t feel like you can talk to any of your people or you wouldn’t be here.”
Trik let out an exasperated breath. “She’s human.”
“Damn,” Tony muttered as he sat back in his chair, taking another sip of his drink.
“That’s only part of it,” Trik told him with a sardonic laugh. “I’m pretty sure she’s my chosen.”
“Double damn,” Tony added.
“Oh and one more thing, she’s in high school.”
Tony coughed on the sip he had been taking when Trik had shared that last bit.
“Please tell me she’s legal,” he told him as he slung the spilled liquor from his hand.
“I have no idea of her age.”
“How did you meet her?”
Trik let out another chuckle that made Tony’s skin crawl at the menace behind it.
“Those damn Light Elves. She saw them in their true form and she was running from them.”
“I thought you said there was only one more thing back at the whole high school issue.” Tony said sarcastically.
“I lied,” Trik growled. “Her father works for the Light Elves’ company. They will have no trouble finding her.”
“So why aren’t you with her?”
“Tamsin won’t act until he has spoken with his counsel. I figure that buys me at least a night to decide my next move.”
“Have you decided?” Tony asked.
“If she is my Chosen then I have no choice but to protect her.”
“How do you know she is? I’m assuming there isn’t a big arrow that points to her, flashing Chosen over her head.”
“She saw through my guise. She saw my true form. In all my centuries no human, as in none, zip, zilch, nada, has ever been able to do such a thing.” Trik explained.
“Wait, so has there ever been a human chosen before?” Tony asked with a thoughtful frown.
“I know of only one other but it was a Light Elf and it was a long time ago.”
“What do you mean was?”
“If the human goes to our realm then they will not age, they will stay forever young. His mate chose to stay in the human realm and he stayed with her. He aged with her and died with her.”
“Man, that’s depressing.” Tony said shaking his head.
Trik laughed, “Some would say it was romantic.”
“Romance is a lie that gives people an excuse to act like fools and later blame it on the one who they had bestowed their supposed love upon.” Tony sneered.
Trik clucked his tongue at his friend, “My, my Tony, if I didn’t know better I would say that you are a lover scorned.”
“Or perhaps I am the fool,” Tony told him, his good humor returning. “That’s a discussion for another time, or never. You need to go talk to someone you trust and can tell you if it’s possible this child is your chosen.”
Trik groaned, “Please do not call her a child, that’s just sick. She looked like a grown woman I assure you, there was nothing childlike about her.”
“Please, man that means nothing. I work in the casino business and see fifteen year old girls come through here and until they open their mouths and speak you would swear they were over 21.”
“I will find out her age before I pursue this further. You’re making me feel like a dirty old man.” Trik frowned.
Tony laughed, “Well the old part is correct and I’ve seen the way women watch you as you walk by, so I would take the bet of you being quite dirty.”
Trik waved his friend off as he stood to go. “You humans know nothing of pursuing a woman and making her feel like she is the only one who could ever captivate your attention.”
Tony lifted his glass in a toast, “Please by all means teach me oh wise one. How I long to captivate the beautiful females of this great city.”
Trik laughed, “Sorry my friend but you are hopeless. Not even my expertise would work for you.”
Tony slapped his hand on his chest, “Ouch, that was harsh Trik.”
“The truth hurts, isn’t that what you humans say?” Trik started out of the bar as he called over his shoulder, “I’m borrowing the mirror in your suite.”
“Have at it. Oh, and take your girl a balloon and teddy bear, I hear those are things girls like.” Tony chuckled and ducked when the coaster he knew would be coming at his head sailed passed him.
Trik entered Sanctuary through the back door. In the bowels of the large manor that the Dark Elf King and his mate occupied, was what humans might call a club though his kind called it a refuge. It was a place for the Dark Elves to gather. Food, drink and other pleasures flowed through the room. Music, seductive to the senses ran across his skin. He cast a shield over himself to keep the hypnotizing notes from drawing him in. He was looking for someone and didn’t have time to stay and play. Several of the females vied for his attention but he declined with a smile and kept walking. At the very back of the room in a dark corner he found who he was looking for.
“Trik, to what do I owe this honor?” Myrin the wisest of their elders asked him.
“I need to speak with you in private.” Trik told him, making sure to keep his tone respectful but still trying to get across the urgency with which he needed to speak.
Myrin must have seen the earnestness in Trik’s eyes because he stood without a word and motioned for him to follow.
He followed the elder out of Sanctuary and down a dark corridor. Finally reaching a door Myrin pushed it open and stepped back for Trik to enter. Trik, being the assassin that he was would never allow a powerful being such as the elder at his back so he didn’t move. Myrin rolled his eyes and stepped into the room first.
“What is so urgent that you would pass up the company of the lovely She Elves that so eagerly offered their time?” Myrin asked as he took a seat on a very worn, overstuffed chair. Trik chose to remain standing.
“What do you know of humans being Chosen?” Trik asked bluntly.
Myrin’s eyes narrowed as he watched the Kings greatest assassin and spy.
“I know that it can happen, though it is very rare.”
“Why?” Trik asked tersely.
“Why can it happen or why is it rare?” Myrin leaned back deeper in the chair and crossed one leg over the other.
“Yes,” Trick answered as he began to pace.
“I’m not sure why it happens, or how. However I believe it’s rare simply because we do not interact with the humans. I think that it would probably happen more often if we spent more time in the human realm in direct contact with them.”
“How do you know if one is your Chosen?”
“There is one thing and one thing only that determines a human as a Chosen.”
Trik waited for an answer and when it didn’t come he huffed, “Well, out with it.”
Myrin chuckled, “I don’t believe I have ever seen Lorsan’s great killer so out of sorts.”
Trik’s eyes flashed menacingly, “I respect you old one, but my patience is wearing thin.”
“She will be able to see you in your true form without your help.”
Trik sat down hard on the couch opposite the elder as the words echoed ominously through his mind. A string of profanities in his own language poured from his lips as he considered the consequences.
“Trik?” Myrin leaned forward watching him closely, “You’ve met your Chosen.” It wasn’t a question.
“She’s human, practically a child.” Trik ground out through clenched teeth.
Myrin sucked in a breath. “Impossible. A child could never be revealed as a Chosen, even if she were meant to be one. She has to have gone through her maturing.”
Trik’s head snapped up, “What do you mean maturing?”
“I’m not totally sure what it means for humans but for our kind she has to be matured to the point of being able to bear a child and free from the shelter of her sire and mother.”
“She still lives with her parents, but I swear by the King there was nothing childlike about her, other than a kind of innocence.” Trik added the last as an afterthought.
“You are sure she is your Chosen?” Myrin asked.
“She saw my true form while I was in my human guise.” Trik answered.
“Have you told Lorsan?”
“No, I needed confirmation.” Trik stood and looked down at the elder, “Speak of this to no one.”
Myrin nodded and watched as the impenetrable assassin left his apartment.
“I need an audience with you,” Trik bowed low before his King.
Lorsan lounged in his personal suite. He knew for Trik to seek him out in his private quarters something must be wrong. Lorsan motioned for Trik to sit and since it was the King doing the motioning Trik obeyed.
“Tell me,” Lorsan said without preamble.
Trik let out a slow breath before he met the eyes of his King.
“I’ve met my Chosen.” The words were an ominous declaration in the silence of the room.
Trik waited as he watched Lorsan process the information.
“Triktapic I swear if this is your way of telling me you are resigning,” Lorsan growled.
“She is human,” Trik interrupted the beginning of what he knew was sure to be a grand tirade.
Lorsan snapped his mouth shut as his eyes narrowed. He stared at his assassin intently before he spoke again.
“You are sure?” He asked.
“She saw through my glamour. She saw my true form.” Trik went on to explain all that he had told Myrin and watched as Lorsan’s eyes widened in surprise and concern.
“She sounds so young.”
Trik nodded, “Yes, but it’s so hard to tell with humans. As Tony has said some that are under the human adult age look to be in their twenties and others that are older look like teens.”
Lorsan seemed to think about Trik’s words. After several minutes of silence, he finally spoke again.
“Not that I don’t find it very significant that you have found your Chosen, but I still need to know what Tamsin and his Elves are up to.”
Trik visibly relaxed at being asked a question he felt confident in answering, as it was on a topic that he was fully comfortable with. “You aren’t going to like what I have to say.”
Lorsan snorted, “Since when do I ever like what you have to say, and since when do you worry about what I like?”
“Good point,” Trik agreed. “Tamsin knows of your new venture.”
Lorsan’s eyebrows rose and his lips tightened into a thin straight line. “How is it he came by this knowledge?”
“If you are asking if we have a mole or a traitor, then my answer at this time is I have no clue.” Trik held up a hand to hold Lorsan off as he continued, “However based on what Tamsin said I would say he has made some sort of deal with one of ours.”
“Just tell me exactly what was said in this little meeting.”
“He said he wanted his people to look into buying the land that you have had your eye on. He mentioned that he would simply use the excuse of looking for oil in that land if human investors begin to ask questions.”
“So you believe he knows of Rapture?” Lorsan asked referring to the drink he had developed.
Trik nodded, “I can think of no other reason he would see to buy the land where you were planning on putting the store houses.”
Lorsan stood and began to pace. “We need to move things forward. If Tamsin is dealing with your human,”
“Chosen,” Trik growled, “my Chosen.”
Lorsan waved him off, “Yes, yes, your Chosen. If he is dealing with that little issue, then he probably will not have had time to move forward with purchasing the land which means we should have time to contact Leon and tell him to get it done.”
Leon was the human attorney the Dark Elves kept employed. They contacted him anytime they had human legal dealings. Trik didn’t care for the sleazy attorney, but then it wasn’t up to him who they used as an attorney.
“I’ll go see him.” Trik stood to go.
“What are you going to do about your Chosen?” Lorsan asked.
“You aren’t going to tell me what to do?” Trik narrowed his eyes at his King.
“Would you obey me?”
Trik’s face spread into a callous smile, “No, not when it comes to her.”
Lorsan rolled his eyes, “Not when it comes to anything is what you meant to say. Do what you must but at some point you will have to tell her who and what you are. Will she be able to handle it?”
Trik shook his head with a low chuckle, “I’m an assassin and spy for the Dark Elf King. I kill without remorse. I live for myself and my pleasure. I come from a dark people with dark hearts. What do you think?”
Cassie spent the day going through the motions but her mind was only on Trik. She went from class to class, nodded at the appropriate times, and attempted to look interested when Elora spoke to her.
“You’re thinking about him again aren’t you?” Elora asked as she nibbled on the carrot she had pulled out of her lunch bag. They sat in their usual spot in the far corner of the cafeteria, which gave them a full view of the room. She and Elora were what they called people watchers. They had a tendency to make up things people were saying or thinking while they went about their lunchtime unaware of the two girls amusing themselves.
“I can’t get him out of my mind. It’s like he put a spell on me or something.”
“I don’t know what sort of magic Elves hold,”
“Are you still going on about that?” Cassie interrupted exasperatedly.
“What other explanation is there Cassie?” Elora asked indignantly. “You said the guy’s appearance changed right before your eyes.”
“A synapsis in my brain misfired.”
Elora raised an eyebrow at her, “A misfired brain synapsis? That’s really what you want to go with?”
“As opposed to, Elves with magic abilities for $200 Alex, then yes I’m going with misfired brain synapsis,” Cassie smarted off.
“We’re going to Lisa’s store after school, we can talk to her and see what she thinks,” Elora told her as she took a drink of her soda all the while ignoring Cassie’s scowling face.
“Lisa!” Elora hollered as the little bell over the door of Enigma, her mother’s store, jingled. Cassie followed her into the new age shop, her eyes never ceasing to widen at the many interesting things that Elora’s mother used to decorate her store with. They walked to the back of the store where the counter to pay was located and waited for Elora’s mom to come up from the back of the store.
“What are you girls doing here?” Lisa asked as she drug a large box from the storeroom. Cassie walked around the counter to help her. Lisa smiled one of those smiles that put all your worries at ease.
“Cassie saw some Elves and then met one who has pretty much put a claim on her.”
Cassie’s mouth dropped open as she listened to her best friend explain to her mom as if she were talking about the weather and not about some mythical species.
Lisa froze and looked from Elora to Cassie, her eyes wide, with disbelief or surprise Cassie couldn’t tell.
Elora shrugged, “I didn’t tell her anything, I just gave her an explanation for what she saw.”
Lisa took a step towards Cassie. “What exactly did you see?”
Cassie was surprised that Lisa wasn’t laughing or telling them they were absolutely crazy for even considering such an idea.
“Well,” Cassie started. She explained everything she had told Elora and waited for Lisa to tell her she needed some sort of medication for her hallucinations.
Lisa stepped back and leaned against the counter, her arms crossed in front of her chest and a thoughtful look on her face. A face that was nearly identical to her daughters. Her hair, a dark brown was probably the same color as Elora’s but since Elora kept hers dyed there was no way to be certain.
“So what do you think about what Elora is proposing to you?” Lisa asked Cassie carefully.
Cassie cocked her head to the side. “What do you mean what do I think? Are you telling me you believe her?”
Lisa nodded slowly. “I believe her because I know it’s true, as does Elora.”
“How?” Cassie asked.
“We know Elves,” Elora said in her usual matter of fact tone.
Cassie coughed on her own saliva as she attempted to swallow. “Y-y-you know Elves?” She stuttered out her question.
“Where do you think I get some of my more interesting products?” Lisa asked.
Cassie shook her head. “I need to sit down.”
“Yeah, you are definitely going to need to sit down before I tell you the really scary part.” Lisa walked around the counter and pulled out a chair for Cassie to sit in.
“The really scary part?” Cassie’s brow rose, “You’re telling me that Elves being real isn’t scary enough?”
“Are you sure the Elf you met said his name was Trik?” Lisa asked.
“That’s not good.” Lisa tapped her lips with her forefinger her eyes unfocused in thought.
“Why exactly is it not good?” Cassie felt like she had to drag information from her best friend and her mom as she tried to grasp exactly what they were telling her.
“If it’s the Trik, then you met the Dark Elf King’s most deadly assassin.”
Cassie’s head fell forward and landed on the counter with a thud. “You have got to be kidding me.”
Elora snorted, “Only you would meet the most dangerous Elf out there and have him basically tell you that he wanted you to be his woman.”
“Thanks Elora, that is really helping,” Cassie thudded her head against the counter repeatedly thinking maybe if she knocked herself out she would wake up and all of this would have been a dream.
“Okay,” Lisa grabbed Cassie’s ponytail to keep her from hitting her head on the counter again, “Now the other important information is that you said you saw the gentlemen in the conference room in all their Elfin glory. That’s not good either.”
Cassie raised a single brow at Lisa, “Really, because the death looks they gave me and then coming after me wasn’t a clue at all.”
“It’s against the Elfin laws for a human to ever see them in their true form. I’ve known of the Elfin my whole life, as well as my family before me. None of us have ever seen them in their true form.”
“What does that mean exactly, that I’m not allowed?” Cassie asked nervously.
“Well from what Syndra, that’s my closest Elfin friend, has told me is that if a human has seen one in their true form then they are marked to die. Even the Light Elves, who are supposed to be the good guys by the way, stick to that rule. So essentially,”
“Your ass is grass,” Elora said absently as she flipped through a magazine nonchalantly as if they weren’t discussing her best friends’ demise.
“Again, thank you Elora for the over flowing empathy.” Cassie said just as dryly as her friend’s tone. “Okay so let’s say that I believe you, what do I do?”
“I will speak with Syndra and see if maybe there is a way to petition the Light Elf King.”
“So we are going to basically beg for them to let me live even though I know their little secret?”
“Pretty much,” Lisa said nodding her head.
“You two are just little rainbows of positivity you know it?” Cassie said sarcastically.
Lisa laughed, “Meanwhile you need to see what Trik wants with you. He is a Dark Elf Cassie. He isn’t one to be trifled with.”
“Yes because I make it a habit to trifle with Dark Elves,” Cassie snorted. “Sorry Lisa, I’m not trying to be a butt head, I’m just a little overwhelmed.”
“Understandable,” Lisa said as she patted Cassie’s shoulder, “We’ll figure it out, alright?”
“Did you know my dad’s company was owned by the Elves?” Cassie asked Lisa.
“Yes, but we aren’t allowed to reveal that we know about the Elfin, which is why Elora has never told you that she knew about them.”
“Are you going to be in trouble?”
Lisa shook her head, “I don’t think so. After all it wasn’t us who revealed them to you, it was Tamsin’s fault.”
“Who is Tamsin?” Cassie asked apprehensively, not sure if she really wanted to know.
“He’s the Light Elf King. I imagine he was probably one of the one’s you saw in the conference room, which again, is not a good thing.”
Cassie stood as she blew out a deep breath, “I think I need to head home and stick my head in the ground and hope when I finally emerge again maybe the Elves will have forgotten about me.”
“If you are on Trik and Tamsin’s radars I imagine they aren’t likely to forget about you,” Elora told her friend.
“Okay you are not allowed to speak anymore.” Cassie pointed a finger at Elora, “Take me home please and keep your happy thoughts to yourself.”