by C. L. Who
The beginning of a story about a fantasy city nearing revolution.
|I started this years ago but never did anything more with it and probably never will. The idea came to me after see so many high fantasy stories set in medieval Europe, Japan, and China, Victorian England, Roman, Greek, etc like worlds but none set in a modern-esque world (I have found one sense then but it wasn’t good and stopped reading it less then a quarter of the way through). For some reason this story really didn’t click with me so it has been setting in a file on my computer. So here it is.
Note: the section about Johannes I wrote this week to fill out the introductions and finish the introductory chapter so the writing style might not fit with the rest.
The city of Drarn, the capital of Néral, home to over ten million people. It is said there are millions of stories in Drarn; such as the story of Dawn Michals, the new president of Néral, whose ascension to the presidency sparked riots and fears of revolution from Nérals neighbors. Or the story of James Edd, a drug dealer living on the underside of Drarn, who sells everything from potions, to amphetamines, to neuro and physical enhancers. Or the story of Hanne Inge, a widow and mother of three who will soon be childless. But we’ll start with the story of Jeremy Smith, a 30-year-old bachelor working as an accountant at a law firm. By all accounts Jeremy is a very boring man, with an uninteresting job, and an uninteresting life. But that will soon change.
It was a normal day for Jeremy smith, except for the sound of gunfire coming from the streets and the cute girl from down the hall being dragged away by police yelling obscenities about the new president. He wore his blue gray suit, as usual, he combed his hair in a way that made it look disheveled, a usual, he trimmed his beard down to a five o’clock shadow, again, as usual. He thought his hair and five o’clock made him look rugged, they just made him look lazy.
A third of his coworkers didn’t come into work despite the pendant, Dawn Michael, declaration that those who “give in to” the “lies and propaganda of anarchists” and don’t go into work will be put to death. Even though many were out of work, the work was light as half the management had skipped town fearing revolution and the company’s ties to the government.
Jeremy worked till five then walked to the Metro, which wasn’t as usual due to multiple police check points and the explosion that nearly killed him. He was thirty feet from the checkpoint when a man in a hoodie and a mask threw a bomb. The explosion killed the officers at the checkpoint and knocked Jeremy to the ground. Jeremy tried to get up, his head still ringing, when he was kicked down by a police officer and aimed an assault rifle in his face. It was nearly an hour until Jeremy was cleared and sent on his way with only a small bandage for the shrapnel cut on his head.
After the explosion the police suspended all public transportation forcing Jeramy to walk. With the check points it took Jeremy an hour to walk the twenty seven blocks to his apartment on 5727 Stewart Ave. Jeremy’s apartment was in an old brown brick walk up, he lived on the 5th floor in apartment 505. The apartment was a mid-sized one bedroom with shared heating and a view of the next building. Fifty years ago it was a luxury apartment for Fié party members, two years later the Fié party lost power and the party elites were executed.
After finally getting home, Jeremy took a beer from his fridge, turned on the TV and sat on the couch. As soon as Jeremy sat down the power went off. Jeremy sighed, drank his beer then went the bedroom. Using a flashlight Jeremy pulled a lock box from under his bed. He opened it and checked its contents, forty two thousand four hundred and eighty six dollars, his life savings, and an airship ticket to Lanéra, the home country of his parents.
One more day and I’ll be out of this damned country, He thought, I just hope the revolution can wait. He thought as he laid down.
That night he had sex dream, his usual sex dream; the woman in the dream was a cross between Lin Hartright (a famous film actress) and a girl he had crush on in high school. He sat in a hot tub, she undressed and got in. He stared at her breasts then they began kissing. At that moment something strange happened, a man appeared in the dream. The man, standing next to the hot tub, leaned down and asked: “Isn’t she a bit young for you?”
Jeremy looked up at the man, he couldn’t distinguish the man features, the man was almost like a blur but wasn’t. “And you are?” Jeremy inquired.
The man walked to a table and chairs and sat down. “Who I am is not your concern. Come, lets talk.”
The woman was gone and Jeremy was wearing a pink suit. He sat down at the table and took a sip of purple tea that appeared in his hand.
“We have a job for you Mister Smith.”
“Job? I have a job, I don’t need a job.”
“It’s not that kind of job and you do not have a choice. If you want to get out of this country, you’ll do as we say.”
“You don’t need to know that, yet. We need you to go to Mark Richardson and ask him about the All Party.”
“What is the All Party?”
“You’ll learn that soon enough. Ask Richardson about it and you’ll get this back.” Jeremy’s lock box appeared in the man’s hand. “With significant compensation.”
Jeremy looked at the lock box.
“One more thing,” The lock box vanished, “Don’t tell Richardson about this dream.”
“What do I say if he asks me how I heard of thus ‘All party’?”
“Make something up. Now, wake up.”
Jeremy awoke, he got up and looked under his bed, his lock box was gone.
On the west side of Néral in an alleyway between run down buildings in the ghetto, James Ed was selling a love potion to a deluded stalker who will be murdered within a month. “This love potion is the best you’ll find,” James explained, “It doesn’t work by sight, it makes the victim-”
“She’s not a victim!” The stalker barked, “she loves me, she just doesn’t know it.”
“Okay, James said slowly, this” James paused, “will make her fall in love with a specific person. It requires a tear and fifteen minutes after she drinks it she’ll be madly in love with you.”
The stalker reached for the vile.
“Na-uh-uh,” James pulled the vile back, “Four hundred dollars, cash.”
The stalker pulled out four hundred dollars from his coat and gave it to James, James counted it, ten fives, seven tens, four twenties and two hundreds. James smiled and gave the vile to the stalker.
“Now,” James began to worn, “with artificial love comes hatred, be careful.”
“I don’t need to, she loves me, she just needs to know she does.” The stalker walked out of the ally.
James scratched the back of his right ear, shook his head and signed. James was short, about four feet ten inches, his skin was avocado green, his ears were pointed and stuck out, his head was bald, and his teeth were bad from past meth use. He wore an old leather jacket and blue jeans. James was a goblin, an often oppressed underclass on the Erostic continent.
James walked into the building through a back door with broken locks, up three flights of stairs to an apartment. He knocked three times then two, then five. The apartment was dirty and old, with peeling wall paper and stained wooden floors. On the left side of the one room apartment a lime-green goblin was sitting at a table with a pile of money counting it, on the right side an old looking witch was mixing chemicals.
James threw the cash on the counting table demanding: “Hay limey, count this!”
“Fuck you!” The lime-green goblin replied then put the cash in the pile.
“Alright I’m done.” James pulled the remaining drugs and potions from his pockets and put them on a table next to the witch. “I got a dental appointment in the mornin’.”
“You’re going to the dentist in the middle of a revolution?” Asked the witch.
“Shut up old woman! This ain’t no revolution, it’ll be over in a week.”
“‘Old woman’? I’m younger than you!”
James walked to the door, opened it and said: “Well you look like you’re eighty!” then walked out, closing the door.
James walked from the building, past a riot, down four blocks, turned left onto Scion st. and up two blocks to a semi-run down building, into the building, past the broken elevator, up to the third floor to apartment 301. The apartment was a studio apartment with a small kitchen with a broken stove (the super keeps saying “it’s on the list”), the walls had brown wave patterned wall paper and brown carpet. At the right end of the apartment was a futon stuck in couch position, on the left a new TV and entertainment system.
James went to turn on the TV but the power went out as soon as he touched the knob. James moaned, walked over to a small desk next to the futon, took out a joint, sat on the futon, smoked the joint and went to sleep.
That night James dreamed of an olive green gobliness, she wore a tight red dress. James smiled at her with white undamaged teeth. James and the gobliness walked up to each other and started kissing, her dress fell off. Then the figure walked up from behind the gobliness.
James looked up at the man, “Oh great.” James mumbled, “What do you want you filthy elf?”
“We have a job for you.” The figure replied.
“In the morning, before ten.”
“In the mornin’, I got a dental appointment in the mornin’!”
The gobliness had vanished
“You’ll have to put it off.”
“He’s gonna fix my teeth! He’s already got five replacements that I spent a ton of money on.”
“You’ll be compensates as usual. The package is more important. There’s a revolution brewing, we need to prevent it and the presidents to protected for us to eliminate him.”
“Oh please, there’ve been riots before, they ended when the cops shot ‘em, this is-”
“This is different.” the elf interrupted, “a population can only be pushed so far and the Néralites have been pushed to the breaking point. There will be a revolution and that would be bad for us and for you.”
“Why did you allow this?”
“Then why did it happen?”
“We are not omnipotent, there are things beyond our control.”
“You don’t know do you?”
“We are dealing with it, and it is imperative that you deliver that package.”
“Fine, where and where?”
“Pick up a package from the manager of the Grand Public Bank on 41st and Holy, and take it to the deli on 123rd and Florence and give it to the owner.” the figure paused, “before ten.”
“Bank manager, 41st and Holy, deli owner, 123rd and Florence. And don’t say it, wake up.”
On the north side of Drarn, Hanne Inge Lathi lights candles on an altar to deceased elves, including her husband Laurits Eloi. She wore a light blue hooded robe made of a silk like material. Her eyes are gray, skin pale, hair blond, her nose was small and her ears were pointed, typical for an elf. What was non-typical was the crows feet she had, she was beginning to feel old, and elves were as old as they felt. Behind her stood her two of her three sons. Armas Teemu Lathi, who looked older than Hanne did with his short graying hair and wrinkles, and Espen Hasse Lathi, who looked young, with a beard and a shaved head. They all had elvin features, tall, and short pointed ears.
“Where is Aapeli?” Hanne asked her sons.
“We have been attempting to call him but he hasn’t answered or returned our voice mails.” Armas answered.
“We must assume he is not with us.” Espen said.
“We must not assume anything.” Hanne told Espen.
“He doesn’t know of our plans, or of our involvement in the ascension of Michals to the presidency.” Armas said, “If he did he would be against it.”
“We don’t know what he knows.” Espen interjected.
“We know Aapeli has been infected by human culture and the infection does insure that Aapeli will not back us.” Armas said.
“Aapeli must be made to understand the necessity of this endeavor.” Henne said, “The Elvenhigh has failed. If we are to regain the power we once had we must find another way.”
“If Aapeli refuses to understand?” Espen asked.
“Aapeli must be made to understand.”
“Aapeli may already be working against us.”
“Aapeli is unaware of our plans.” Armas interjected,
“Aapeli has spies of his own, and the loyalty many mortals and young elves. If he knows then he will already be working against us.”
“Find Aapeli.” Henne told the brothers, “Find Aapeli, find out what he knows and convince Aapeli to support the plan. The-” she paused, then “-All Party must lose control of Néral.”
Johannes (Aapeli Pentti) Lathi
In a tower in downtown Drarn, on the 47th floor Johannes Lathi gets off the elevator fallowed by his two ork bodyguards. He was an elf, six feet tall, light blond hair, pointed ears, and pale skin. He looked young, no older than twenty. The two orks were tall, over seven feet, with green skin, red eyes, large chins and wore black suites. Johannes wore a dark blue suit with out a tie. The ork in the left, Khan Ing, had a crew cut, the ork on the right, Route, was slightly taller and had ear length black hair. The three walked down the hall to Johannes office.
His secretary, Tamera (Tam) Ann Kay, sat at her desk reading the a fashion magazine. She was human, with brown hair, brown eyes, tanned skin, long nails painted blue-green, with a blue-green blazer.
She looked at Johannes as he walked into the office anteroom. “Mister Lathi.” she said she put the magazine down.
“Tam.” Johannes replied.
“Your family called, several times. I didn’t answer.”
“Goswin reschedule your eleven-o-clock tomorrow. Richard, the Lanéran councilmen asked for updates on the situation-”
“It’s under control.” Johannes interrupted.
“That’s what I told him but he wants to hear it from you.” She inhaled, “Ali rescheduled, Richard, the other one, rescheduled, and Doyle rescheduled. Aand your hairdresser canceled your appointment, she’s fleeing the country.” She handed Johannes his new scheduled.
“Thank you.” Johannes took the scheduled, “Hold all my calls.” He walked to the door to his office. The door had a hole, about an inch in diameter, just below eye level.
Tam looked at Khan, smiling, he smiled back. Route looked at them, then rolled his eye.
Johannes cleared his throat. “Och os aham,” pause, “o chos aham.” He thought, then: “Och osah am.”
“Ochos aham.” Tam said. The sound waves entered the hole in the door, the acoustic tumblers reacted to the frequencies magically moved into position, unlocking the door.
Johannes looked at Tam, opened the door, entered his office. Sitting at his desk Johannes made a call.
An elf, looking out of a window at 5725 Stewart Ave, standing next to a telescope, answered a brick cell phone. He wore jeans and a jacket, with beanie covering his ears and looked almost fifteen. “He just arrived at his apartment.” The young looking elf said.
“Good.” Johannes replied.
“I found a lock box under his bed when I scouted his apartment. It has an airship ticket to Lanéra in it.”
“What does it look like?”
“Gray, twelve by twelve by ten, with a Hawl Made logo.”
“When I have him in a link get in there and take it. Call me when he goes to sleep.”
Johannes hung up. He unlocked and opened a drawer, from it he took out two blue candles, a tin of herbs, and photos of Jeremy Smith and James Ed.
Some of the ideas I had for he world:
The technology in the world would have been 20th century technology but without computers. Much of the technology would have been based on magic but magic that had advanced to the point that it was mundane and technological, kind of the inverse of Clarks Third Law. The cell phone and other communication technologies would have used a combination of magic-tech and frequency hopping. TVs and radios would have been early 80s. The cars probably would have looked 50s or 60s. The guns would have been modern. The fashion would have been based on the 1920s combined with modern business attire. The architecture would been a combination of 20s and 30s architecture and modern glass office buildings.