Breas Montrose, Talis the dark elf, and fast food. A third person scene from Breas’s POV which served absolutely no purpose except to make Regan look like a Mary Sue. But I like the interaction between Breas and Talis. The Music of Chaos
I hate you, he thought.
I hated you the day I met you. I hate the way you make me–
Wooden blinds, able to shut tight, barring all light, covered the bedroom window. As always, they were partially open, letting in strips of light like sleepy hooded eyes. There were no streetlights in Corrales and the feeble moon threw only weak illumination through the window.
Gathering his antipathy around him like armor, Breas stepped into the room and pushed the blinds shut and then thinking better, opened them wide.
Testing, he moved with preternatural speed to the bed and pushed hard malice down at her. Her reaction, blissful sleep, only aggravated him more. Sleeping in her customary sprawl, her innate sense of preservation ignored his threats, even when he picked up one slim wrist and tightened his fingers around easily broken bones. Grumbling in her sleep, she made a feeble attempt to free her arm and then resigned to his grasp. Her lack of concern was insulting.
I hate you, he thought, fleeing the room.
He paused in the living room, eyes moving over the lumpy shapes of furniture. With a grimace of distaste, he lifted his right arm and sniffed at the sleeve. Greasy fast food.
Just two hours before, he had met with the infuriating creature. Breas had worked with this kobold before and had, on occasion, employed the skills of others. As a race, kobolds had a particular predilection for other peoples’ belongings.
Since, under no circumstances, was he going near Talis’s neighborhood, they had arranged to meet in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant. Actually, they had first agreed on a mall parking lot, but Talis had changed his mind. That made Breas nervous and he changed the next meeting place. The fast food restaurant was the fifth place they had agreed on and Breas half expected to hear his cell phone ring, when a homely multi-colored car slid into the space next to his.
Breas watched the kobold’s approach warily. Tall and long-legged, the kobold carried himself with the usual grace of all the Fey. The car door opened, and Talis folded neatly into the car, the smell of fast food preceding him.
“Montrose,” he said, cheerful.
“Talis,” Breas said in dull counterpoint.
Talis reached into a white paper bag and pulled out a wrapped bundle. Though haloed by a weakened glamour, to Breas’s eyes he was all kobold with the reflection of a dark-skinned human. A faint scar, new since the last time Breas had seen him, graced the kobold’s lean face.
“Lose the glamour. Now,” Breas said. Besides confusing inattentive humans, glamours were useful in masking other magical mischief.
Grinning, Talis waved a long-fingered hand and the magical disguise dispersed. Unwrapping his dinner, he took a bite and then glanced at Breas.
“Chicken sandwich?” he mumbled, holding the food toward Breas.
Clenching his jaw, Breas replied, “No.”
“You sure?” He took another huge bite. “It’s pretty good.”
“It’s dead flesh. Not pretty. Not good.”
Talis gulped and took a monstrous bite. “Yeah. That’s right. You like it ‘alive and kicking.’” He held out the bag. “French fries?”
“No,” Breas snapped. “Money?”
Scarcely chewing, Talis finished the sandwich in two more bites. “Merchandise?”
Breas pulled a thick envelope out of his jacket and Talis pulled out a wad of cash. Setting the remains of his dinner in his lap, he extended the money just as Breas handed him the envelope.
Both checked their ends of the bargain; Breas counting his money while Talis peered into the envelope.
“Okay,” the kobold said.
Breas gave the wad of cash one final sniff and stuffed it in his coat pocket. Turning at the sound of Talis crunching on French fries, he pushed a level glare at the kobold.
“Something wrong?” Talis asked.
“You’re still here.”
Talis grinned, white fangs shining. “Nice car. Smells like Regan O’Connell.”
“No. It reeks of toxic human food.” The universe had seen fit to sprinkle various skills among the Fey. Fairies got wings. Elves got the brains. And kobolds got senses that rival those of vampires.
“Nah. It really does smell like the big bad Wolfe.”
“Not funny,” Breas said. “And get out.”
“You sound like her.”
“Alive and kicking. That would be you,” Breas said, with the appropriate amount of menace.
Talis pulled out another carton of French fries, having dispatched the first in a few handfuls. “After all this greasy shit? I’m a vampire coronary waiting to happen.”
“I’ll take my chances.”
“Drive fast and take chances? Breas Montrose? Nah, you won’t do that. Gotta baby-sit O’Connell.”
“I don’t–” Breas began and shut his mouth abruptly as his eyes locked with the kobold’s.
He met the gaze of a creature whose eyes were neither addled by drugs nor scattered with Fey flakiness. Cold eyes, filled with feral intelligence. Torn between compulsive thievery and pathological laziness, it was the rare kobold who used its brains for anything besides packing material.
Smart kobolds were dangerous. When lucid, this particular kobold could give Einstein a run for his money. “Is there something you want?” Breas asked.
Talis plucked an overcooked strip of potato from its companions and tossed it back in the bag. “Word is . . . the Holders are up shit creek. No paddle. No fucking boat. Just the dog paddle. Look out, here come the rapids.”
“If you Earthers can’t take care of the problem–”
“‘You Earthers’? Don’t lump me in with the Holders.”
“Vampires are of this Plane–”
“Not entirely,” Breas said, studying the kobold with all his senses.
Talis sucked down the remaining French fries and frowned at the empty carton. “What about Regan? If the Holders fail, I’d wager the Brethren expect her to–”
“How is any of this your business?” Breas tensed, letting his innate magic compress, an implied threat. “What are you up to? Who are you working for?”
“Nobody. I’m just another thievin’ kobold,” Talis replied, opening his hand to reveal a pile of change. Breas glanced down at the depression by the stick shift that normally held spare change. Talis laughed and asked. “What about Regan? That’s a lot to expect of–”
“You could help.”
“No. I can’t. It’s not allowed.”
“Shit. You break the rules every day. Getting me this stuff was a violation of your–”
Talis tipped his hand and let the coins cascade glittering back into place in the change tray. “Too bad. I’m kind of attached to her.”
“If I had a quarter for every time I’ve told you to stay away from Regan, I’d be a rich man.”
“You are a rich man.” Talis blinked, exuding innocence. “And you never said to stay away from her.”
“I said if I ever caught you within a mile of her, I’d pull your legs off.” Breas glowered at Talis, pleased by the smell of fear.
“Oh yeah. Me, you threaten. Bully. But along comes a chaotic magic user, and whoosh, you’re outta there. Real brave. Hero.” Despite his apprehension, the kobold said, “I bet Jason Lake would help Regan. If he could.”
For the sake of the car’s upholstery, Breas decided not to rip Talis’s smug expression off his face. Instead, he said, “If I say, ‘I’ll see what I can do,’ will you get the hell out of my car?”
“Your people skills suck.”
“Au contraire. I’m very good at hunting and killing them.”
“Okay. Hint taken.” Talis dropped the envelope and the empty carton in the fast food bag. “And thanks.” With an insolent wink, he slipped out of the car.
Now standing in Regan’s living room, Breas turned the conversation around, studying it from every angle. Talis’s sudden transformation from small-time criminal to possible player in the game of interPlanar politics was unsettling. This whole bloody business was unsettling.
Stepping out through the back doorway of Regan’s little house, he lifted his cell phone and dialed the number.
“Hello,” the voice answered, puzzled.
“Kadin. It’s Breas.”
Static crackled on the line, filling the pause. “What do you want?” Kadin’s voice was not friendly.
“There are any number of Brethren-trained sorcerers who are far better equipped to deal with the problem in Albuquerque. Why Regan?”
“Why do you ask?”
Breas slumped back along the side of the house, scratchy stucco snagging his sweatshirt.
“You know why I ask.”
“It’s none of your concern, Montrose.”
“Actually it is. It’s been my concern, obligation, if you will, since–”
“An obligation you asked for and an obligation that has concluded. Your presence there, in Albuquerque, is a violation of Brethren law,” said Kadin.
“Bullshit. Why Regan?”
“Why not Regan?”
Breas smiling at the faint waver in Kadin’s voice, he answered, “She isn’t ready. She still won’t admit to being an innate.” Spotting Breas by the kitchen door, Bill the horse whinnied. “And it’s too damn dangerous, that’s why,” Breas continued. “You know that and I’d wager you don’t want her involved any more than I do.”
“Regan is resourceful.”
“Regan is just a kid.”
“Really? That didn’t stop you from–”
“Sex and maturity are not coincident.” He watched Bill’s slow progress over to the fence.
“Get someone else on the problem. Leave her out of this mess.”
“My influence only extends so far, Montrose,” responded Kadin. “And whom would you suggest? One of the most capable sorcerers, the most likely candidate, has chosen a different path, has he not?”
“Your influence? You’re the bloody Commander of–”
“I can’t do anything about it. The family, the line of The Morrigan, has as many enemies as allies. I keep Regan from far worse things than skirmishes with chaotic magic users. You have no idea–” he spat and then, composed, continued, “If Regan can prove her use in the field, as a Wolfe, few will be inclined to suggest. . .” He didn’t bother finishing the statement, knowing Breas understood. “Regan is no coward. She’ll do what needs to be done.”
“That’s exactly the problem,” Breas responded, ignoring the subtle insult. “She’ll do what needs to be done and get killed in the process. How does that fit into the Brethren’s plans?” A thought occurred to him and he spoke it aloud. “Have the Brethren become so like the Holders, they will sacrifice their agents for the sake of appearances?”
Kadin made an angry hiss. “Were you still one of us, that comment–”
“Is precisely the truth,” Breas said. “You won’t dispatch additional personnel for fear of looking weak.”
Rather than a denial, Kadin said, “So, take care of the problem. Yourself.”
“I’m not getting drawn into this any farther than I already am. This is Brethren business.”
“You live only through the benevolence of Argus, Cypher and Cullan. How long will that continue? If she dies, where do you think the family’s wrath will first fall?”
Defeated, Breas said, “I can’t involve myself in this. I’m–”
“Then stay away from my sister,” said Kadin.
“You know I can’t do that.”
“I’m a busy man, Montrose. Unless you have anything more–”
The connection severed, Breas stared at the small, stocky horse that now stood hopefully by the fence. Somewhere, a peacock squawked and was joined in an off-key duet by a rooster. The dim glow of sunrise threatened over the Sandia Mountains.
“Sorry mate, no early breakfast today,” he said to Bill, slipping back into the house. Without a glance in Regan’s room, he stomped into his, slamming the door.
Copyright 2011 Patricia Kirby All Rights Reserved.