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somerset1979

Hello,

I have been a long time lurker in the Scroll and this is my first attempt at a fan-fic. I love EQ and I love old crime stories with the street-wise PI, like Humphrey Bogart in ‘The Maltese Falcon’ and Mickey Spillane with Mike Hammer. The whole gritty side of the stories just pulled me in and hooked me like a fish. I’ve been thinking for awhile how to merge the two genres, EQ and the gritty crime drama. I came up with this after reading Shaman’s Elfwest.

I hope he, and the others don’t mind, but I took some tips from EW to put into my AU here. All the elves are tall now, all at 5’10 or 11. They do have their powers, and they do mingle with the humans.

Also, since this is a crime story and it’s based on the street-wise PI line it takes place in what would be 1945’s LA. The City of Two-Moons is tinsel town, home of the movie studios and the glitz and glamour of it all. All the occupations and lifestyles of the Wolfriders and the Sun Villagers and everyone else will be explained along the way. I ask that you be a little patient as I roll it out.

Part One – Wonderland this is not.

Plink…Plink…Plink…

The echo of the drip filled the rundown room to its top, every single hit making the plaster walls shake with thunder it seemed like. The funny thing, the real leg slapper, was he didn’t notice the drip at all till he woke under those old bed sheets spread across that busted mattress, the kind that were white in a previous life but now just looked brown from so much use. He didn’t notice how loud each crash of the drip was till he opened the bathroom door, the hinges squealing in protest like the old woman on the street corner who sold him a cup of Joe in every morning along with a nice slice of news. The carpet under his bare feet was thin and worn as he sat on the end of the bed and the tile he could see under the now half-closed bathroom door looked just as brown as the sheets.

I wonder, he thought taking a breath, if those were white at one time too.

[i:74ebd51b36]Plink…Plink…Crash…[/i:74ebd51b36]

Somewhere outside a horn blared, someone chose to ask if the driver did the same in response, and then the squeal of tires yelped through the crisp air. The strip was starting early this morning he thought, if it was morning. He wasn’t sure of the time but he knew was on the strip, that magical boardwalk that this town used to lure good and trusting people to their doom. He knew the room was in one of those sleazy hotels, like the Tropicanna or the Wilshire, where the desk clerk was called ‘Fat’ Moe with hair that was slick with grease and who wore a food stained A-shirt that would probably never see a laundry in its short existence. It was the kind of place that didn’t keep a record of its visitors and you could pay for a room by the hour if you needed to do it. ‘Fat’ Moe wasn’t one for answering questions, but he wasn’t the kind you trusted either. A saw buck could get him to talk…and a weighted black jack from a Two-Moon Detective could loosen his mouth too, along with a few teeth.

No, he knew exactly where he was from the looks of the room. He could make it out even if the hazy fog that hid the memories of the night before refused to show him anything.

[i:74ebd51b36]Plink…Crash…Crash…[/i:74ebd51b36]

The last drip sent a shiver up his spine and clenched his throat making him swallow dryly with a grimace. He couldn’t sit in here all day, in his boxers, staring at a rotting bathroom door with…her in there.

[i:74ebd51b36]Crash…[/i:74ebd51b36]

What was her name? Vicki…or Valerie…or maybe it was the Elder Timmain herself. He just wasn’t sure. He couldn’t remember a thing from the night before. How much did have to drink? What did he drink? It was all lost in a booze induced black hole. He wasn’t even sure where his car was?
He just knew he couldn’t stay here, sitting on the edge of a trashed bed with her in the bathroom. Skywise looked over to the only piece of furniture in the room, a chair that barely held the weight of all the clothes stacked on it. There were his black Chino trousers and grey shirt along with a yellow cotton dress and hose and garter belt. It was a mish mash pile topped by a shoulder harness that held his baby, a Springfield 1911 .45 caliber hand gun. Its black handle gleamed in the sun light that poured through the thin drapes over the dirty windows.

[i:74ebd51b36]Crash…[/i:74ebd51b36]

He couldn’t sit and wait. So Skywise palmed his face and stood on two uneasy legs. He walked forward over that dingy carpet to the bathroom door concentrating on not falling on his face. He put his hand in the wooden door, the clammy flesh of his palm and three fingers squeaking, and pushed just enough to make the portal swing.

The hinges moaned loudly again, screaming almost as the door swung inward.

The brown tile was dry and cold on his feet as Skywise stepped on the first set. He didn’t go in any farther choosing to stay put and wait for the door to swing in farther. There was no need Skywise told himself as the bathroom slowly rolled out in front of him showing an old chipped up toilet that was as dirty as the sheets on the bed…and a cracked bathtub. The smell of water, lots of water, clung to the air making the small room smell dank

The porcelain around the cast iron tub was scraped and scratched and generally missing in chunks. It was filled to the very edge with water. Some of the water was dripping from the side as it ran over and some was oozing from the crack making a large puddle on the tile floor around the base. It was making the noise.

A long slender brown arm lying over the side, the fingers just inches from the floor as if reaching for a towel didn’t move. The beautiful body it was attached too only stared up at the ceiling with opened eyes from the bottom of her watery home. Her brown hair hung suspended in the water around her face, frozen in a horrid ring around a beautiful face. Skywise looked into those eyes, into the cold, and stepped back slowly memorizing the face and noting quickly her pointed ears. He breathed deep letting the stale air of the room drive away the damp of the bathroom. He didn’t know her…or why she ended up like she did…or why he wasn’t with her floating in that tub right now. He searched his memory, all the faces he could remember with names, but none matched hers.

THUD! THUD! THUD!

The loud knocks on the door to the hall caused Skywise to jump and turn. His hand went for the 45 that usually hangs from under his arm, but it grabbed air as a voice yelled from the other side.

“TWPD, open up.”

The Police…and he knew that voice. It all made sense now, like a bad dream complete with the wicked witch at the door. The word ‘setup’ screamed in his head, which throbbed with the beat of his heart because of the hangover, and worse…he had no where to hide.

“Open the door! TWPD!” Another voice yelled. Skywise recognized it too, the slightly crazy twin of the first.

With about as much enthusiasm as the girl in the tub Skywise walked over to the door and opened it. He knew who the pair was and called out their names before he even saw them in the hall.

“Good morning Detective Kureel…it is morning?”

The haw nosed elf stared back from under his grey Fedora dressed in a blue suit and black leather shoes. His beady eyes turned to his partner, a smaller version with black hair slicked back with hair palm, dressed in a pair a brown trousers and matching jacket, and a matchstick sticking out of the corner of his mouth. This was Detective Reevol, still as ugly and as mean as the day his mother threw him out in the street for trying to set the cat on fire. These two were officially homicide on the TWPD, and unofficially on the crew of neck breakers and bruisers for the department. They were the ones, along with a whole slew of others, who kept the city of dreams just that…a dream.

In Two-Moons everyone saw what you were supposed to see, the glitz and glamour of the actors and actresses of the movie studios amid a see of popping flash bulbs and long red carpets. You were shown the life changing metamorphosis of some innocent girl coming into town on the bus, being spotted by some director on some street corner, and then becoming a star overnight. It was splayed up on the screen in every movie house in Technicolor by the studios. If you come to Two-Moons and risk it all then you too can be famous. It was all planned out by the studios; a trap only works when it’s been set with a tasty morsel. Hell, that’s why they built the new freeway into town, easier to bus them in when the road is wide and smoothly paved.

But there was another side no one was allowed to see, the secret parts kept behind the curtain like any good magician. No one saw the murders. No one saw the prostitution. No one saw Grohmul Djun run his empire of vice with low life criminals and scum from the behind his desk as the man in charge of the studios. And no one saw the TWPD fight him for every inch of asphalt in this city. Oh yes, the Police were just as evil and just as corrupt as Djun, which is why I have to be careful Skywise thought

“Its close enough,” Kureel smiled like the snake he was before pushing his way into the room, “we got word there might be something illegal going on in here. You wouldn’t be doing anything the TWPD would disapprove of, would you stargazer?”

“Yeah, illegal things tend to follow you stargazer.” Reevol added, the matchstick going up and down with each word while following his partner.

Skywise closed the door choosing his words carefully. “I was just catching a nap after a night on the town fella’s.”

He noticed Kureel stop by the chair eyeing the holstered 45, just a foot or two from the bathroom door. Reevol walked over by the end of the bed and looked out the window as his partner asked all the questions

“Yeah, tied one on did you? Where’d you go, if you don’t mind me askin’?

Hell yeah I mind you asking Skywise thought, but his good sense kept all that locked away. “I was just down the strip at the Formosa.”

“The Formosa? That’s kind of swanky for a P.I.” Kureel whistled.

“Yeah, but everyone in town who’s someone goes there you know. Good spot to pick up business.”

“I bet, what with all that money and ego showing up in one spot…something’s got to give right.”

“I get lucky sometimes,” Skywise offered running a hand through his hair, “but last night no one was cheating on anyone so I left and moved over to Tommy’s.”

“Now that must have been a let down, going from the top to the bottom in one shot.” Kureel laughed.

“Tommy’s is a dive I know, but the whiskey’s iced and the company’s more my type.”

The two detectives looked to each other and nodded. Skywise just kept his eye on Kureel watching the snake’s every move. Whatever the two were doing it was being pushed along by him so Skywise just kept him in focus.

“What do you say partner, see anything illegal?” Kureel asked.

“Nah, and the stargazer looks to be telling the truth. I think we can cut him a pass this time.”

“Well, looks to be your lucky day Skywise. We’ll be on our way, sorry to wake you.”

“Oh nothing to worry about boys, nothing at all.” He responded quickly trying to hide his relief.

Skywise watched the detective take a step away from the chair heading toward him and the door to leave, a step toward getting out of this mess he thought. But then, right according to plan he’d think later, Kureel stopped and turned to bathroom. He was moving before Skywise could stop him.

“Hey, you don’t mind if I use the john do you?”

And then it was all over but the screaming. The detective pushed open the door before Skywise could say anything and he could just imagine the smile that crossed Kureel’s face as he stood there looking at the tub.

“Hey Reev, why don’t you go down and call in a 1087 for us?”

“A 1087? You mean there’s a dead body in there?” Reevol called out with his eyes locked onto Skywise. A creepy mean grin started at the left corner of the elf’s face and slowly spread across.

“Yep,” Kureel said turning back to the room and reaching for the 45 on top of the clothes, “she a friend of your’s Skywise?”

“I don’t…remember.” The stargazer mumbled.

“You better Skywise, you better remember a whole lot.” Kureel hissed tucking the gun into his belt.

“Yeah,” Reevol added as the matchstick danced in his mouth, “you better try real hard!”

I am you idiots! I am…Skywise thought.

####################################

He looked down at his bloody knuckles, at the torn and ragged skin, and hoped his head would finally stop hurting. He took no notice of all the blood on his A-Shirt, most wasn’t his, and the blood on his pants and bare feet. It wasn’t his fault he thought looking around the destroyed apartment, gazing drunkenly at all the destruction and barely registering it. The kitchen was a goner and the living room…well, he was sitting in the only chair that still would stand up on its own. The small hall in from the front door had three holes, man sized gaping holes, in the plaster and the slats. And speaking of the front door, it was the only one still on a hinge.

The place wasn’t much before he remodeled it with the four Mexicans who lived here, a real shit-hole, so the slumlord wouldn’t complain much. And if he did…

“Bearclaw?”

Hey, he knew that voice.

“You in here son?”

“Oh yeah…just down the hall past the bedroom…and the first body.”

“Help! He’s LOCO!!!” Someone screamed from somewhere.

Then a broad-chested elf stepped into the room surveying the devastation from behind a face full of blond beard. He wore a pair of chinos, a white shirt and tie, and smart looking Esquire coat that showed off his wide shoulders. He stepped over a pile of busted wood, what was a coffee table at one time, and stepped over.

“HELPPPPP!!!!! HE’S LOCOOOOO!!!!!”

“We’re coming…just keep pressure on anything that’s bleeding!” Another elf walked in. He wore black pants and a grey coat with a blue V-neck sweater underneath. It all looked nice Bearclaw, matched the eye patch and everything.

“I see you done a bit o’ fighting lad.” The elf said.

Bearclaw leaned back in the chair, swayed a little to the left, and smiled. “These drips can’t fight…I’ve had a harder time with Joyleaf there.”

“Uh-huh,” Treestump sighed looking around then back to Bearclaw, “and what started this?”

“Well…I was just drinking in my room-“

“How long had you been o’ doing that?” One-Eye asked.

“Three…four days. Say, where’s the rest of the badges?”

“They’re downstairs. The second the call came in and everyone realized it was you…no one wanted to come up.” Treestump answered crossing his arms over his chest.

Bearclaw let out a drunken laugh that almost made him fall off the chair. “I can’t help it if you badges don’t have the juice to take down little old me. It was only what…three or four of you I beat down.”

“You think this o’ game here lad?” One-eye asked angrily.

“No…I just find it hard to see you two wearing a badge!” Bearclaw laughed falling forward just a bit.

“This isn’t a good time to be laughing Bearclaw.” Treestump said low.

“What is it then?”

Treestump stepped back. “We have to take you downtown Bearclaw. We told the captain we could get you to come peacefully.”

“You did, eh? And what if I don’t feel like going downtown?” Bearclaw smiled.
“Then the captain goes with plan b.”

“Plan B?” The drunk elf laughed.

“They figured it was just easier to kill you lad. No one gets the living hell beat out of them, just o’ shotgun blast and we carry you out in a bag.” One-eye explained.

The mood in the room changed. Whatever ‘happy’ feeling that Bearclaw was in seemed to slip away as his fist clenched and his jaw locked. It was easy to see and Treestump slipped his hand inside his coat to where his fingers were on the handle of the 38 tucked away in its shoulder holster.

“You know I don’t stand cages Stump…I won’t go in one without a fight.”

“The way I figure it, we’re all family here…you may have a harder time beating on us then a human downstairs.” Treestump offered.

The room was quiet now. Bearclaw looked up from the chair and Treestump could see the fire in the elf’s eyes. This was it Treestump thought, this was that moment the Elders and the others told him would happen, the moment when he’d have to shoot his one-time friend dead. He could hear Timmain in his head tell him in that cold tone she used that Bearclaw was a menace, and then there was Haken saying it was better to have someone just shoot the mongrel and be done with it.

A mongrel…a mutt…that was Bearclaw to them now.

“Don’t make me do this Bearclaw.” Treestump whispered.

There was no response at first, just the two staring at each other, but then Bearclaw grinned and spoke. “Maybe we could talk this out ov-“

THWACK!

In an instant Bearclaw was out, his eyes rolling back in his head. His body pitched forward and crashed onto the floor with a heavy thud. Treestump let go of his 38 and eyed his partner with a shocked look. The end of the sap protruded from One-eye’s hand, a leather bag filled with lead which was quite useful in knocking someone clean unconscious with one swing to the back of the head. And One-eye was the best at it.

“That took you long enough! I almost had to shoot him!”

“I had to get behind him, and he might o’ thrown me out that damn window if he saw me movin’ too fast.” One-eye spat, his accent thick.

Treestump just shook his head and looked down Bearclaw who was snoring now. “Well, I’ll take his right you take his left.”

“Aye, come on sleepy boy!” One-eye replied taking his old friend’s left arm.

With ease the two dragged Bearclaw out of the apartment.

“HEY!!! WHAT ABOUT ME?”

“Keep up the pressure! We’ll send someone up!”

“HEY MANNNNNN!!!! HELPPPPPP!!!!”