Thanks Shaman! That means a lot coming from you.
So here's the next part of the story where Skywise has to go back to see Timmain and Bearclaw is rescued...sort of.
[u:4324344e83][b:4324344e83]Part Two - Going home is the hardest thing to do.[/b:4324344e83][/u:4324344e83]
Take your pick, they all fit for him. The home of the elves was no longer a gleaming Palace of crystal that sparkled in the sun, but a large mansion and other small houses settled back in the woods of the hills behind a stone and iron gate. The main house was for the Elders and the older members while the houses out back were for the others. All the Wolfriders, Sun Villagers, and Wavedancers lived in harmony, granted of course by the Elders. The Gliders and Go-Backs didn’t stay at the compound. They were, for a lack of a better term, not worthy and so were not asked to stay. Really though, what did they expect after all the problems both tribes caused.
No, the Palace was warmer to him, more than that sprawling estate would ever be, but his old home was in the museum downtown now, given to the humans’ years ago as a gift or a peace offering you might say by Timmain and Haken. There were a few nights he would find himself on the steps to that museum, 22 large granite steps, yet he couldn’t seem to climb a single one. The ”˜Master of the Palace’ was afraid to see his old home, it was the epitome of irony, but then one day he finally mustered up the fortitude to see the crystal walls once again. He pulled up his courage, paid the buck admission at the entrance to the nice lady behind the horn rimmed glasses, and walked in with cautious steps, like he was back in the woods with Starjumper hunting rabbits.
He missed his old wolf friend too.
And when he saw the Palace sitting in that large oval room with humans walking all around it staring and pointing, with the enormous glass ceiling above letting in the noon day sun, he suddenly missed his old home. The beautiful crystal walls looked”¦dull and lifeless. When he walked up he didn’t feel that old connection, that piece of ”˜him’ coming to life. He didn’t feel the others who were supposed to be there anymore. He didn’t sense they’re spirits anymore, or they’re touch. It only took five seconds to decide to turn and leave, but it was long enough to tear his heart out, right through the ribs.
“Is there something wrong Skywise?”
The Master of the Palace turned from looking out the window of the long black Cadillac Limo to the driver up front and shook his head. “No Adar, I’m about as fine as I’m going to get.”
[i:4324344e83]Does seeing her bother you that much?[/i:4324344e83]
Skywise just nodded and spoke low without looking to Strongbow who sat next to him. “That and coming here, but why did she get me out anyway?”
[i:4324344e83] I don’t know, she and Cutter made me go down and file all the paperwork personally at the station. You know how much I hate going into town.[/i:4324344e83]
“As much as you hate wearing pants?” Skywise asked getting a little dig in on the lawyer.
Adar upfront gave a snort trying to hold in the sudden laughter. The glare from Strongbow told Skywise the joke wasn’t appreciated and maybe even uncalled for, especially after all he had done. The PI held up a four finger hand and smiled.
“I take it back.”
Strongbow glowered for a moment longer then seemed to stiffen just a little less, from stone to say wood, and sent. [i:4324344e83]You know I didn’t pay any bail or bond. They just let you walk out of there with me”¦walk away form a dead body. [/i:4324344e83]
[i:4324344e83]Yeah, I guessed that. The booking sheet was blank.[/i:4324344e83] Skywise replied as the car rolled through the large iron gates and a shiver rolled up his spine. Welcome home prisoner #0867432.
[i:4324344e83]Blank? Timmain had nothing to do with that. Even her influence doesn’t go that far.[/i:4324344e83]
[i:4324344e83]I know.[/i:4324344e83] Skywise agreed as the car approached the front steps that led to the main entrance of the mansion.
The large doors were oak, eight feet tall, and looked hand carved by some ancient master of the mallet and chisel. He knew the truth though. Redlance’s touch was as obvious as the pointed ears on his head. On the right door was a perfect picture of Father Tree, the enormous oak and its limbs taking up the entire door except for the bottom corner where a group of wolves sat resting by the trunk. On the left was a perfect rendering of the Palace, when it was the Palace, glowing bright as the sun. Oh how times change Skywise thought as the Caddie came to a stop.
There, up on the stoop, was Moonshade waiting diligently for her lifemate. She was wearing a light summer dress, purple of course, with her moon necklace flashing in the sun light. Strongbow smiled, you could almost hear the stone in his face crack, as he stepped out of the car and walked to her. She took his briefcase, fell into his arms kissing his cheek, and then spoke lovingly.
“I made you lunch beloved.”
[i:4324344e83]That sounds nice, do you come with it?[/i:4324344e83]
“If you wish.” She smiled and blushed.
“Can I join too? Lunch I mean.” Skywise called out with a broad smile as Adar walked around the car.
“Afternoon Skywise.” Moonshade remarked, as cold as an iceberg with matching cubes shooting from her eyes.
The lawyer and his lifemate walked inside as Skywise turned to Adar. “What kind of a ”˜Hello’ was that?”
“I think I can get Nonna to come out and give you a hug if you want?” Adar smiled.
“Ahhh, thanks but no. The last time she hugged me Leetah had to heal my neck.” Skywise quipped heading up the steps. With each one his feet got a little heavier, just like Joey Styles in his cement shoes.
Yep, welcome home prisoner #0867432.
Father Cam wasn’t really a priest, hell he probably wasn’t even religious. He was just one of those special individuals who happened to have a heart of gold. In Two-Moons, amongst the glamour and the glitz and everyone selling their souls to the Djun and his kid for even a fleeting shot at the movies it was the rarest of traits. Father Cam was nothing but a miracle worker who took in the refugees from the street who needed someone just to care for a minute. He fed them, gave them a place to sleep, and a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen with. It was lunch time and he should have been on the food line dishing out a delicious helping of corned-beef hash and green beans”¦
But he was in the back room tending to something totally different.
“Damn, did you have to beat him so bad?”
One-Eye stood watching with his fedora pushed back as the human gently check over Bearclaw, who was still unconscious, as the elf lay still on the old bed in the plain room. “It wasn’t like we wanted him beat Cam! If n’ he wasn’t such a hard neck he might a’ staved off this one!”
“It was payback Cam, for what he did to a couple of beat walkers. We had to sneak him out of the station or they would have finished the job.” Treestump added with his voice tinged with worry for his lifelong friend.
The room was silent for a minute, the kind of silence where the sound of your own heartbeat could drive you over the edge, and it almost did for Treestump. The elf stepped over by Father Cam frustrated. “Is he gonna make it Cam?”
“Probably, but I’m no doctor or healer.”
“Maybe we should get Leetah, hedge the bet you know. She can heal him.” One-Eye offered with a snap of his fingers.
Treestump though shook his head with the same snap. “No, you and me, we’re all ready up to our necks in this. If the Elders find out we tried to get Leetah to heal him”¦”
“They’d have us a boiled like a pot of taytos!” One-Eye remarked.
Cam stood up from the bed and wiped his hands off on a towel as he whispered. “Hey, he looks kind of familiar, who is he exactly?”
“Oh you know him Cam, just go back”¦-“One-Eye as saying when Treestump cut him off.
Even as Father Cam was realizing who was laying in his back room Treestump’s was trekign backwards in his memory, back 8 long years to a summer when a crazy elf damn near brought it all down around their pointed ears.
“Yeah, now I see it. He’s Bearclaw”¦ran with that robber who shot up all those banks on that crime spree.” Cam smiled.
“Two-Spear.” Treestump whispered.
“Yeah, that’s the one. That was one crazy elf, righteously mean.” Cam said with a shake of his head.
You don’t know the half of it my friend the detective thought to himself. Treestump could see the day in his mind when it all came to a bloody end with Two-Spear, a shoot out that just had to happen because no one wanted to stop it. Not the Police who were seeking their own brand of justice for the poor souls that the Two ”“Spear killed in his heists, and not Two-Spear who swore to never be taken alive. Well, he wasn’t because the TMPD didn’t want him alive. At last count there were 40 bullet holes in that old car. Someone said there were over twenty in him, but it was just some honcho at the ME’s talking, or so Treestump hoped.
“Can you keep an eye o’ him Cam?” One-Eye asked.
“Oh yeah, I’ll look after him. When he wakes up I’ll give you a call.”
“Leave a message down at the station Cam, no where else. This is on the QT, understand?” Treestump ordered with putting his fedora on.
“Super secret just for you two.” Cam replied with a wink.
Well, at least Bearclaw would be all right for now. Treestump may have felt some worry, but this was the most stubborn elf in Two-Moons besides his sister. If death wanted Bearclaw it had better bring a few extra devils to take him down. The two detectives left the room and a resting Bearclaw while Cam slowly shut the door.
“Hello there stranger.”
The voice was hard to miss, and even harder not to recognize. Skywise was waiting in the back hall while Adar went in to make sure Timmain was ready for him. The Elders had their own wing in the mansion where they conducted their business in private. He had been standing patiently while running the image of the elf in the bathtub over and over again in his head. Her face, every small spot of it, was burned into his mind and he had to make sure it stayed there. As soon as he was down here he would need to see Shuna. She could draw him a picture of the girl’s face and then he could find out who she was.
Yet, he was having trouble now keeping the girl’s face fresh in his mind. Those deep green pools that were Leetah’s eyes seemed to make his mind just go blank. She was more beautiful in person then on the screen, and even the human women who fought her for roles in the Djun’s movies had to agree. Hell he could still see her in Sorrow’s End dancing in the festival of Flood and Flower. Leetah was the kind of beauty that could steal a man’s mind and he was living proof, but he got it together enough to respond in kind.
“Hello there.” Skywise smiled.
“Why does it take such a bad thing to happen for you to stop by?” Leetah asked before kissing his cheek.
“It wasn’t my choice to stop by.” He answered.
The remark quieted the festive mood, like someone finding a dead body in the bathtub, which strangely was the way he felt. Leetah still smiled though refusing to let anything ruin seeing her friend after such a long time, well almost anything.
“It’s bad isn’t it?”
“Nothing I can’t beat. Why, you worried about me?”
“We both are.”
And he didn’t have to look up to know who said this, but Skywise did anyway because he felt a sudden longing and need to see his brother. Cutter was dressed in white slacks and a dress shirt with a sweater vest over that and deck shoes with no socks, very 40’s modern. Yet all Skywise saw was the black leathers and white boots of so long ago, when his chief wore a top knot proudly as a Wolfrider. Cutter still had his top knot, but the chief had given up everything else in exchange for the new ”˜tribe’. Cutter still led everyone, only now with an eye to a future.
Skywise smiled and didn’t say a word as embraced his brother in all but blood, his Cutter. He felt the hard squeeze and smiled even wider, even felt that old warmth and want of so long ago creep back. Yet he held it in check, had to.
He wasn’t here to stay he kept reminding himself.
“You look good.” Cutter said leaning back but refusing to let go.
“So do you, maybe to good. Maybe you’re going soft up here at Goodtree’s rest.” Skywise said with a raised eyebrow.
Cutter laughed and stepped back. “You want a shot at the title?”
“Nope, I like my insides right where they are, inside.”
“Oh you two, always nipping and biting at each other.” Leetah said with a shake of her head.
“That’s what brothers do right?” Cutter asked as Leetah slid a long arm in his.
“I’ve been told it’s unhealthy, of course those who said it were only children.” Skywise smiled causing Leetah to laugh just a little.
It was just like old times.
Too much like old times.
He wasn’t here to stay”¦he wasn’t here to stay.
Cutter looked to say something and mercifully the door to the wing opened, Adar appearing. He nodded to Skywise and it had to be the best thing the PI had seen, at least for the day.
“I guess I have to go.”
“We’ll see out at the pool for lunch. We’ll have a place ready.” Leetah offered and when Skywise started to object Cutter just stopped him cold.
“It wasn’t a request. You’re staying for lunch.”
Well, so much for getting back to town quickly. “All right, whatever’s left you get for lunch.”
He took one last hug from Leetah, a pat on the shoulder from Cutter, and then turned to Adar. The man held the door as Skywise stepped through in the semi dark hall beyond where a myriad of fragrances scented the heavy air.
Kureel hated meeting her. It was humiliating. So why did he drive twenty minutes up-town to stand in some alley in Trolltown?
Because she got him the job in homicide and she did keep him safe from Zey and his ”˜off-hour’ activities. That was the thing if you were in homicide, you either ran with Zey or you kept your business private. You didn’t go near him or his doings, like some poor patrolman discovered. He was moonlighting at a club doing protection work on the cheap for the owner. The sap didn’t know it happened to be on Zey’s side of the street, or the owner had stopped paying the captain. Poor sap, at least he was still able to walk.
Guess it wasn’t so bad working for the Mayor’s wife.
Just then a Caddie Limo rolled into the alley cruising slowly toward him. The black paint twinkled from the sun as the sleek car stopped just past him, the rear window in perfect alignment. The windows were tinted black, enough to blot out the sun and regular vision, but after a second it rolled down and there was Winnowill. Her long black hair that matched the color of the Caddie was tied back in three braids that were wrapped in one long one. Her face was pale white, as always and yet it seemed to emanate a red anger at the sametime.
This wasn’t going to be good Kureel thought.
“You let him walk out of the station.” Winnowill hissed.
“There was nothing we could do. I thought you were going to make sure we had time to crack him before anyone came looking. “
“You let him walk out of the station!” Winnowill spat.
“We had no choice. The Elders lawyer, the one who doesn’t like to talk, showed up with a bunch of legal papers. We had to turn the stargazer over.” Kureel explained.
Winnowill seemed to chew on the last piece of information, hopefully taking it in Kureel thought. Damn, he hated meeting her.
“Did he say anything?”
“Nope, he clammed up just as we started the interrogation.”
“So the girl didn’t say anything?”
What part of ”˜clammed up’ do you not understand lady? “No one knows, the stargazer said he doesn’t remember a thing from last night.”
“And you believe him?”
“Maybe, like I said we didn’t have a chance to discuss much.”
The mayor’s wife stared at the back of her driver’s head thinking. She had to find it before anyone else, just had to. She looked back to the detective with a raised eyebrow.
“No one knows he was here?”
“Nope, no paper trail or pictures.”
“She’s at the morgue with a toe tag that has no name. She’ll get buried in an unmarked grave if no one shows up.”
“And no one will.” Winnowill whispered thinking again.
“How do you know that? You got a hand in this?” Kureel asked letting the inner-detective slip out before he could stop it.
Winnowill only glared at him coldly as she spoke. “I had no hand in killing the girl. I needed her and what she knew. I can only hope she passed it on to the stargazer before someone drowned her.”
“I see.” Kureel replied with a nod.
“Keep an eye on Skywise, where goes and who he sees. I think he’ll lead us to what we seek.” Winnowill commanded before looking to her driver.
“And just what is it ”˜we seek’ ma’am?” Kureel asked with a sarcastic smile.
“You needn’t worry about that for now, just follow Skywise. I’ve been around that fool long enough to know his curiosity will be his undoing. Jeffrey, home please.”
And with that the Caddie rolled away leaving the detective alone in the alley, dismissed like a commoner. Yep, Kureel thought heading back to the car, he hated meeting her.