H.O.R.D.E.: Or What Not to Do When You’re Drafted by the Elves, Part 5

“What?” Solseir demanded. “I don’t have the training for that rank, much less the interest in it.”

Vitas half turned his head. “You have the most experience with the elixirs, both in dosing and taking them. Only an enlisted officer has the authority to dose elixirs to berserkers and healers; therefore, you were promoted.”

“You’re making me dose healers too? I don’t know anything about that.”

“No,” said the lavender haired man. “As your captain, I will give River her elixir myself. I know your promotion is highly irregular, but those are our orders from the High Command.”

One of the elves in the seat across from him looked him up and down as if he weren’t sure that he would be able to handle dosing him. Privately, Solseir agreed with him. His brother, Talisin, had been an enlisted officer, and had always warned Solseir away from trying to attain his rank, whatever it had been. After his death, Solseir had run away from the military as fast as they would let him.

Now that he looked at the elf across from him more closely he could see the tiny berserker emblem embroidered right above his rank insignia on his chest. His name patch read Goldsong, one of the five remaining families that still produced the occasional berserker.
Goldsong crossed his arms over his chest and shrugged at him. His frame seemed far too tiny to withstand the elixirs needed to turn him into a berserker.

“At least you get better pay,” he said in a woman’s dulcet tones, and Solseir realized his mistake. She was a female elf. No wonder she had seemed so small. Her lip curled the longer he stared at her, and her tone had implied that she didn’t think he deserved it. He closed his mouth and looked away.

Solseir agreed with her, but he bit his tongue to keep his retort behind his teeth. He wouldn’t live to spend his pay; what did it matter? Causing discord in his unit would only make the last days of his life more miserable than the orcs and goblins would.

“Lay off him, Cenerihn,” the elven male on her left said. His name patch read Goldsong as well, and his eyes shone with a bit of hero worship. Just what he needed.

The male elf next to him sighed and turned to look out the windshield. His name patch read Darkarrow. He was from the family that had originally developed the berserker elixir.

“Hi, Sole,” Joe said cheerfully, leaning out around River to wave at him. “Remember me?”
Solseir’s eyes bugged out at the berserker emblem on his uniform. “Hi, Joe.” His mouth went dry. A human berserker? How was that possible?

Vitas caught his eye and shrugged at him, but even the Silverwyrm wasn’t corrupt enough to not look uncomfortable. “Pilot program. Some of them have a little elven blood.” As if that was supposed to make it better.

“That’s me,” a human woman said, running her hands through her short red hair. Her name patch said Vetrovs.

“I’m going to be sick,” Solseir announced.

River shoved a bucket in his lap and held it for him. Her other hand held his hair out of the way as if used to people vomiting around her. Someone groaned in disgust, but he ignored it, emptying his stomach. When he finished, he slumped over the bucket, dizzy.

“Done?” River asked after a moment, and he nodded.

She took it from him and snapped a lid on the bucket, producing a red plastic biohazard bag from a pocket. She shook out the bag and placed the container in it, tying it into a knot. Her foot kicked open a compartment under her seat, and she stowed the whole thing in the small chamber, closing it with another kick.

“Want some water? Maybe some gum?” River asked.

“I have some ginger candy,” Joe offered. “It might help.”

His stomach grumbled at the thought of food. “Thanks,” Solseir said.

River grabbed the baggie of candy and set it on his lap, and then opened a bottle of water to let him rinse his mouth.

“Here, I’ll take your IV out now.” She snapped a blue nitrile glove onto each hand and opened a package of gauze.

Solseir looked away when she pulled off the dressing. She tugged at the site, but her fingers were gentle.

“Pressure here, please. Hold your arm up for a moment. Thank you.”

“Oh, you’re done?”

The captain grinned at him over his shoulder. “River is my favorite phlebotomist.”

She favored the captain with a sweet smile. Her hands never stopped moving, winding a tan bandage around his arm.

“Who is that?” Solseir asked, keeping his voice low just in case he was supposed to know.

“Captain Fehan Sunfalcon,” River replied, and the captain glanced back again.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude. I just assume that everyone knows me.”

“That’s because you’re arrogant, sir,” Vitas said without missing a beat, and Fehan chuckled.

“I like how you added the ‘sir’ at the end of that.”

He shrugged one shoulder. “You outrank me, sir.”

“Eh, give it time. One of my four remaining siblings will probably do something stupid, get killed, and then you can take their place this time, instead of me.”

“Don’t say things like that,” Vitas said sharply, and then added, “sir.”

“Don’t mind me, Vitas. I’m still angry at Rebael for inconveniencing me by dying. When I die, the first thing I’m going to do is hunt his happy ass down and punch him in the face. I never wanted to take his place.”

Fehan’s young face had yet to settle into the ageless, stern visage of Joreikal Sunfalcon, but now that his bloodline had been pointed out, Solseir could see the resemblance. His eyes were the same shape and molten gold color, and his nose was a perfect carbon copy of his father’s.

Vitas Silverwyrm’s presence made a lot more sense. Rumors said that they had grown up together, after all. In any case, it seemed as though Solseir was stuck traveling with Vitas for the time being.

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H.O.R.D.E.: Or What Not to Do When You’re Drafted by the Elves by Erin Cofran is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Questions? Comments?

First draft chapters are posted here. Revised chapters will be posted on my Write On by Kindle profile, which you can find here. If you like this story I have other works you might enjoy as well.

Any resemblance of the characters in this fictional story to real people is purely coincidental and most likely unintentional. There might be pop culture references from here that I borrow to use in my world, but that’s it.

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H.O.R.D.E.: Or What Not to Do When You’re Drafted by the Elves, Part 4

“Ngh!”

Hammers pounded on Solseir’s temples, wielded by giggling gnomes that made sure to alternate sides. He swiped at them and jerked awake, instantly regretting it. Sunlight poured in through the open curtains, searing his eyes. The gnomes vanished, but the pain in his head stayed behind. It settled into a dull throb just behind his eyes, and he groaned.
Now he remembered why he usually stuck with beer and stayed away from whiskey. Beer never gave him hangovers like this. Nor did it make his mouth taste like old gym socks.

Great. Now I’m sober. Where am I?

After a few minutes, the pounding in his head subsided enough to allow him to look around the bright, sunny bedroom. He was alone in the bed, naked and covered only with the sheet. Clean clothes covered what looked like an elliptical machine in one corner of the room. Most of them appeared to be brightly colored scrub tops and pants hanging off the handlebars and the console. A lacy black bra or three poked out of some of the layers and folded piles of panties sat on each foot pedal. More obviously worn clothes blanketed the beige carpet, some of which Solseir recognized as his own.

He hoped that this was Nikki’s bedroom. He didn’t think he would have deserted her for someone else, but he couldn’t remember anything after they left the bar last night. His chest felt itchy, and he scratched at it without thinking. His fingers touched a bandage, and he glanced down at it, concerned. What had Nikki talked him into doing? Surely it wasn’t a tattoo. He hadn’t been that drunk, had he?

The bandage stuck to his skin when he tried to pull it off. It felt like he had almost ripped off a layer of skin with the gauze and tape. He would have to get it wet to peel it off and see what he had done to himself.

Solseir could see a bathroom through an open doorway to his left, on his side of the bed. Maybe Nikki had an extra toothbrush he could use.

Soft music drifted in from another room as he sat up, followed by the sound of water running and dishes clinking. He concentrated on the music and recognized Sia’s Chandelier. His lips quirked at the irony. He hummed along with the song as he stood up and hurried into the bathroom, scooping his pants up as he went.

Before he would let himself deal with whatever was under the bandage on his chest, he put his pants on and made himself go through his morning ablutions. He avoided looking at his face in the mirror lest it trigger another panic attack; he had missed his weekly haircut for his physical at the clinic yesterday. His hair had already grown several inches longer than he usually let it, reaching his collar. Maybe Nikki also had a razor he could use to shave his head. He looked but found only a toothbrush in a basket of toiletries in her closet. Well, he couldn’t help what he couldn’t fix. He wet his fingers and slicked it back out of his face.

Once his teeth were clean, he took a washcloth and wet it in the sink, squeezing it out on the bandage. He felt it loosen and gently peeled it off. Then he stared at his chest for a long moment.

Whatever design he or Nikki had chosen, it looked like one of those monkey-shaped eye-popping stress balls. It belonged on one of those “tattoo fail” websites. If it had been on someone else, he would have laughed at how ridiculous the image was. Being stuck with it, he could only sigh.

Nikki appeared in the mirror behind him, wearing a cute green-blue sundress covered in bright yellow flowers. She had pulled her black hair back in a high ponytail, trailing curls down her back. Her yellow flip flops scuffed the floor as she came to a stop behind him, peering out from his left side. Her eyes trained on the tattoo in the mirror.

“What the hell is this?” he asked. “What did you let me do to myself?”

“It’s a griffon, and you liked it well enough last night. You said that it would make you look different from everyone else if you got it,” she replied.

His anger drained away. Nikki had a valid point. Tattoos were discouraged, not forbidden, by the Elven military. His fingers trailed over the lines of the stupid tattoo. He would have to live with it for the rest of his life, but it wouldn’t be that long anyway, so who cared?

Depressing, but it cheered him up.

She came forward and slipped her arms around his waist, nuzzling his back with her cheek. “I made breakfast if you’re interested.”

Solseir suppressed a gag at the thought of food but Nikki noticed, and the nurse in her came out.

“You should eat. You’re losing weight already on your liquid diet.”

He winced. “I know. I have to work at gaining weight.”

Nikki scoffed at him but didn’t stop snuggling him. “And I have to work at keeping it off. It’s so unfair!”

“I would trade you my metabolism for yours in a heartbeat if I could. I don’t care if I’m fat.”

She squeezed his middle and peeked out from behind him, grinning at him in the mirror. “You’re so sweet.” She let him go and moved past him to open the medicine cabinet, pulling out a packet of pills. Half of them were gone, and she popped another pill out of the package and into her mouth, swallowing it without water.

“What’s clomiphene?” he asked, reading the name of the drug on the packet.

“Birth control,” she replied, meeting his gaze in the mirror. “Don’t worry. I read your file, and I know you don’t want kids.”

More specifically, he refused to subject a child to the Elven army. Berserkers were rare outside of certain families. Most didn’t survive long enough to reproduce. Solseir had been lucky. His older brother Talisin had looked out for him, up to the day the berserker elixirs killed him.

Thinking about Talisin always triggered flashbacks. He focused on Nikki and the packet of pills she put back in the medicine cabinet to push the unwelcome thoughts away.

“That’s a big pill. Don’t they have smaller ones that are easier to swallow?”

She shrugged. “All the other pills make me sick, so I take these.” She took his hand, tugging him out of the bathroom and laced her fingers through his to firm her grip on him. “Come on. I’m sure you want to get back to being drunk, so come eat first. At least let me feed you before you go.”

*******************************************************
A door slammed. “Let’s get this show on the road,” an unfamiliar male voice said, ringing cheerfully in Solseir’s ears.

He jerked awake, flailing and struggled against the harness pinning him to his seat. His right arm was tied down; he could feel medical tape on it from the IV in his vein. Something cold ran into his bloodstream, cooling his entire arm.

“Sh, it’s okay,” said a woman’s voice. A soft cloth moved over his face, wiping away sweat and the crust from his eyes. “Calm down, or your IV will pop out.”

“Where am I?” he asked, looking up at the bag of saline hanging by his head. Someone had wanted him to be alert. He turned his head to look around, starting when he saw River seated next to him, adjusting the tape on his forearm.

“You’re in an armored personnel carrier just outside of Grand Junction. You’ve been asleep most of the day,” River said. “You were very drunk and very dehydrated, hence the IV.”

Someone had dressed him in camouflage fatigues like everyone else in the APC, not dragon scale armor. Seeing camouflage instead of dragon scale did wonders for his mental state; he should be hyperventilating now, but the difference was calming. If he weren’t dreaming right now, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. At least until they got to California, and he had to take the elixirs again and – well, that line of thought didn’t need to continue.

He glanced around, noting that he sat on the end of his row next to the back door of the APC. Three elven males sat across from him, all with long blond hair pulled back into ponytails. They all wore patrol hats with the insignias of corporal to sergeant to master sergeant from left to right. River and two other humans sat on his right. The two elves up front in the driver and copilot seats never turned around. Solseir recognized one of them as Vitas, reading instructions from a tablet to a lavender haired elf with a captain’s stripe on his patrol hat. Everyone but River avoided his gaze, talking among themselves in low voices.

“You can take it out now,” Solseir said, flexing his right hand. “I feel fine.”

“You should. This is your third bag. And Lieutenant Silverwyrm said to leave it in until it emptied, so no, I can’t take it out.” She shifted in her seat as the engine fired up, revving a few times before the APC lurched forward.

Vitas put the tablet down on his lap and half turned. “Tsunami,” he barked.

River jerked in surprise and whipped around to face him. “Yes, sir?”

“Is Rainblade awake?”

“Yes, sir,” she replied.

“Excellent,” said the lavender haired elf. “Have you informed him of his promotion?”

“No, sir. I was just about to.” She met Solseir’s gaze. “Congratulations, Second Lieutenant. You’re now in charge of the Berserker Squad.”

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Questions? Comments?

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H.O.R.D.E.: Or What Not to Do When You’re Drafted by the Elves, Part 3:

“Ey. Gimme ‘nother,” Solseir demanded.

The human bartender looked at him, pursing his lips. “I think you’ve had enough whiskey for one night, buddy. Why don’t you call it a night and go home?”

Solseir coughed and shoved his glass toward the bartender. “I’m shippin’ out in two days. To California. Gimme ‘nother.”

He tilted his head to the left to show off the shiny red blinking light of the tracker on the right side of his neck, in case his words had failed to get his point across. It was a small metal circle, made from silver since elves can’t touch iron, designed for locating individuals presumed to have a flight risk. Since he had vanished once, he might do so again, Vitas Silverwyrm had reasoned.

Vitas had whistled a marching tune while he inserted it, either ignorant of the effect it had on Solseir or doing it on purpose to goad him. Vitas and Solseir had never been friends. The Silverwyrm had always enjoyed hassling him. He had never figured out why.

“I’m sorry,” the bartender said, cutting into Solseir’s thoughts.

He blinked the alcoholic haze from his eyes, waiting. The bartender glanced from side to side as if one of the other patrons in the bar this late on a Monday night would care if he gave Solseir another shot.

Three rough-looking human males all over the age of fifty sat at the bar, in various stages of slumped drunkenness. One of them had a familiar looking dark haired woman hanging off his arm, giggling and whispering in his ear. Solseir had given up trying to figure out where he might have seen her before. A few others sat in private booths here and there, not paying attention to anything but their conversations.

Solseir stared him down, willing him to pour the damn shot. The elf’s concentration was precarious at best; glamouring him would be next to impossible.

Eventually, the bartender sighed and poured more whiskey into the elf’s waiting glass.

“Las’ one, I swear,” Solseir assured him. From this bar, he thought. There were plenty more on this block.

The bartender walked away, shaking his head.

Solseir ignored him and cupped his glass in both hands. The scent of the whiskey calmed his nerves. He took a slow sip, savoring the burn that slid down his throat, and pressed the cool glass to his forehead.

Shipping out would be a nightmare, but that was Sober Solseir’s problem. Drunk Solseir was content to keep knocking back the whiskey until everything blurred and he woke up in detox on a military base. They would probably find him in an alley, thanks to Vitas’ stupid tracker.

“Solseir?”

He turned and blinked to clear his bleary eyes. The woman that had been leaning on the old man had come over to him, shaking her long black curls and fluttering her heavily mascaraed eyelashes at him. The other man had turned back to his gin and tonic, sipping it slowly and staring into the shiny bar surface as if it contained the secrets of the universe.

Now he remembered her. “Nikki? Ey, ‘ow are ya? ‘Aven’t seen you in…in ages…er, weeks?”

Nikki grinned at him, plunking her plump derriere onto the stool next to his. “I don’t work for Dr. Keller anymore. I took a job at Porter Adventist Hospital.”

“Ah, tha’s great, Nikki. I’m glad for you.” He smiled, weaving back and forth. “Do you have a sis…a sister?”

“Why? Are you seeing two of me?” Her eyes crinkled with humor.

“Yeah, itsh weird.” He sank lower on the bar, resting his head on the surface. It was nice and smooth under his cheek. He could fall asleep like this.

“Listen, Solseir. I’m going to get a tattoo. Could you come with me?” She fluttered her eyelashes at him. “I’m scared to go alone.”

Solseir shrugged and sat up straight, emboldened by her fluttering lashes and her request for his protection. “Sure, why not? Lemme pay my tab.”

Nikki smiled and tucked her arm underneath his, clasping his free hand in hers. Her eyes sparkled for a moment; he got lost in them. But that was silly. She was human, after all, and incapable of glamouring him. Science had proven beyond all doubt that humans had no magic centuries ago.

“Don’t worry about it,” she said with a toss of her shiny black curls, breaking the spell. “That gentleman over there said he’d pay your tab.”

He followed her gaze, swaying when she pulled him to his feet too fast. The cheap old man who had nursed the same gin and tonic for two hours bobbed his head and raised his glass to Nikki. He wondered if that was the same man Nikki had been leaning on when he first noticed her. The bartender had his back turned, mixing a drink while he chatted with one of the pretty servers, a blond surfer type with a broad smile and a deep, throaty laugh.

“Bye, Uncle Mort!” she called, steering Solseir out of the bar.

Before she could yank him out of reach, he dropped a gold coin on the bar surface. He had emptied at least one bottle of expensive whiskey, and he didn’t feel right about making the old man pay for his drinking binge. Even if Nikki had somehow managed to convince him to pay his tab. When he left this world, which would be soon given where he was headed, he wanted to leave as few debts behind as possible.

“Uncle Mort?” he asked, but she giggled and clutched his arm, hugging it to her chest, and her softness made him think of other things instead.

“Solseir, have you ever wanted to do something crazy?” she asked.

“Like what?”

She inhaled, and his eyes drew down to her chest again. “I heard what you said about shipping out. How about I give you a good memory so that you have something to come back to?”

Aw, Nikki was sweet, if a bit naive. How could he tell her that he would likely die on the front lines no matter what she did for him?

He forced a smile. “How is that crazy?”

Nikki laughed, tossing her curls back. He couldn’t help joining in even though a small part of him thought she might be laughing at him instead of with him.

“Oh, honey, we’re just getting started.”

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Questions? Comments? Obviously I decided on a title. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, but it’ll work for now. ^_^

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Title help?

I’m having a hard time thinking of a title, though I have narrowed it down. Elf of Fortune is kinda catchy, don’t you think? But then, so is Swindlers of Glory, or H.O.R.D.E.: The Complete Guide to Orcs, Goblins, and Modern Warfare.

Hm. Well, I’ll figure something out.

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H.O.R.D.E.: Or What Not to Do When You’re Drafted by the Elves, Part 2

Did you miss Part one?

“Mr. Rainblade, my name is River. I’ll be reviewing your records,” said the lovely dark-haired woman. She wore a pink scrub top with little white hearts all over it and a matching pair of pink scrub pants. Even her shoes were pink. When she turned around, he noted the cute little string bow tied on the back of her scrub top and had to suppress the urge to tug on it. If she had been Dr. Keller’s busty nurse Nikki he would have done it in a heartbeat; it drove her crazy, which made him laugh.

But she wasn’t Nikki. He would have to behave.

“Nice to meet you, River,” he said with a courteous bow.

River’s eyes never moved from his file. She sat down and gestured to a seat, putting the folder on the table to leaf through it. He bit his lip and sank onto the chair. It had a cushion, unlike the ones in the waiting room.

“This says that you’re a berserker. Is that correct?”

Solseir glanced away from her direct gaze and nodded, chewing on his lip. He knew what would come next.

“Berserkers have standing orders to go directly to the front lines. I’m surprised that you haven’t already been shipped off.” He met her eyes and she smiled as if to encourage him.

“I was honorably discharged from service twenty years ago. I cut off all communication with the military and the court. It was easier, with my family gone.” He scratched his nose and shrugged. “They didn’t find me until last week.”

River turned back to the file. “I see.” Her eyes flicked over him, then back to the dossier. “They might send you to detox or boot camp for a few days and maybe get you reoutfitted for armor, if necessary.”

He squelched the shame that rose up in his chest; he had gained weight on purpose to avoid looking like every other elven male in the military.

“Ah, about my assignment. I have a note from my psychiatrist, Dr. Keller,” he said, digging it out of the sheaf of papers under his arm.

“Oh?” She took the note from him, sniffling once or twice as she read it. “Post-traumatic stress disorder, caused by your participation in the Orc Raids in the 1960’s. It says here that you’re on medication for it, correct?”

“Yes, Lexapro, ten milligrams once daily, and Prazosin, five milligrams every night. Lorazepam works better, but it’s so addictive that Dr. Keller took me off it after a couple weeks.”

No need to mention that he hadn’t been taking his medications regularly since beer worked better. He had still been filling his prescriptions every month and stockpiling them just in case the situation in California blew up. One never knew; he might have to go into hiding from the military. He would rather fake his death than become a deserter, hunted down like a dog, or go back to the front lines. His medications would leave him more clearheaded and able to make better decisions if he had to run. If he couldn’t convince River that he wasn’t fit for service he might have to try it.

“Ah, of course,” she said, her voice a little husky and her eyes on the paper. She glanced at him and sniffled again; her expression one of forced politeness veneering genuine misery. “May I please see the orders the High Command sent you?”

“Right here,” he said, holding out the rest of the papers in the stack. Her small fingers brushed his; he felt a zing from the contact as if she had been shuffling on the carpet in thick socks. He frowned and watched her read the papers over, wondering what that familiar sensation was.

She wore small heart-shaped ruby earrings, one in each ear. He thought he saw a flash of light in them, maybe from a rune, but the studs were too small to afford him a good look. Unless he wanted to creep her out, that is. Those earrings were probably her anti-glamour charms, and they might have been reacting to his magic. Half of those charms on the market didn’t work the way they were supposed to. He might not want to creep her out, but he wasn’t above using faulty charms to his advantage.

His heart softened when she sniffled again, set his papers on the desk, and reached for a tissue. Poor thing. She was only doing her job. But he couldn’t go back to the front lines again. He wouldn’t make it out a second time.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

She blew her nose. “Oh, yes. Thank you for asking. Excuse me.” She pumped hand sanitizer from a dispenser on the desk, her eyes downcast.

“Do you have family in California? Or your boyfriend got sent out there?” he asked, adding a layer of glamour to the sympathy in his voice. It was a test for her anti-glamour charm, to see how easily he might circumvent it. His spell bounced off her and smacked him in the chest, hard enough to bruise. He hid his grunt under a cough. She never even noticed.

“Excuse me?” she said, frowning at him. Ice formed in her gaze, and he raised his hands defensively.

“I’m sorry. I spoke without thinking. It’s just that you seem upset, and I was worried.”
He smiled and ducked his head to hide his dismay. He rubbed the bruise, wincing. Someone had spent some serious cash on her charms. He was glad that he had used a nonoffensive spell, karmically speaking, or he might have a few broken ribs instead of a sore spot.

“No, my family and my boyfriend are all here.” She sighed, and her shoulders slumped. “In fact, I’m getting shipped out with him in three days.”

Solseir winced. Now the little shock she had given him made sense. “You got tested? I’m sorry. Healers have it rough.” Almost as bad as orc hunters on the front lines. Human healers tended not to last long, but Solseir had never known why. Most got killed in action, according to the official reports.

River shrugged. “I stayed behind longer than most people that I know.”

He wondered who her boyfriend was, that he had that much influence within the Elven court. That question seemed too personal to ask, so he went with, “Are you going to the front lines too?”

“Yes.”

Someone must have told her what a battle with orcs and goblins was like, from the shadows in her eyes and the hitch in her voice. She should understand his position, and why he couldn’t go back. He had to stay away from the military to survive.

“I’m sorry,” he repeated, meaning his next attempt to glamour her.

Those earring charms might be expensive, but he could overwhelm their effects with repeated tries. He didn’t have to hit her hard until her defenses went down. Her eyes remained on his papers, moving from side to side as she read them over and over. He flexed his hand, gathering magic in his palm like a ball of light and leaned forward.

A knock on the door shattered his concentration. He jumped, nearly falling out of the chair. The spell dissolved, sliding through his fingers in transparent, fading wisps. The door opened; the person outside hadn’t bothered to wait for a reply.

“River, you were supposed to wait for me,” the young male elf admonished her.

Solseir stiffened. His fingers clenched around the spindly arms of the chair until his knuckles turned white. The newcomer wore blue dragon scale armor and a ceremonial sword on his belt, a tradition of his people going back to time immemorial. His blond hair cascaded down his back, held out of his face with two thin braids that joined behind his head. The crest on his chest plate indicated that he came from the Silverwyrm family, which served the Sunfalcons exclusively.

Through the meshed sounds of phantom orc cries and blood rushing in his ears, he wondered if Vitas was her boyfriend.

“Vitas Silverwyrm, this is Solseir Rainblade,” River said. Her voice cut through the darkening tunnel in his vision, bringing him back to the present. “Solseir Rainblade, this is Vitas Silverwyrm. He is our chaperone for this meeting.”

“We’ve met,” Vitas said with a grim smile, and Solseir’s stomach plummeted. “I’m very glad you’re back with us, Solseir. We’ve missed you.”

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

I forgot to mention that this is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to people living or dead is a coincidence.

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H.O.R.D.E.: Or What Not to Do When You’re Drafted by the Elves, Part 1

“Now is not the time to place blame. Now is the time to fight. To take back what the HORDE stole from us. To avenge the thousands that perished in California last week.”

Joreikal Sunfalcon glowered into the waiting room from the flatscreen television mounted on the wall of the clinic. His molten gold eyes narrowed, probably because of the flashes of light from cameras out of view, but it transformed his fine-boned, hawkish features into the face of the Elven Court’s army. A heartbeat later, his hair changed from navy blue to blond, and his white dress uniform morphed into dragon scale armor.

All the same, Solseir thought. Everyone in the army is all the same.

The sound of elven boots marching filled his ears and consumed his thoughts.  All the same, the boots pounded out in the dust of his memory. All the same, all the same, all the same….

The back office door opened with a creak, silencing Solseir’s memory. He sat up straight and tried to pull in his sizable gut with an effort, expecting a military officer to walk through and berate him for drinking too much and letting himself go.

The frog-faced lady from the front desk leaned out the door and croaked a name. Solseir stared at her blankly, unable to comprehend what she had said, but a young male elf stood up and followed her back. The door shut behind him with a sudden boom.

Solseir winced and shifted in his hard plastic chair, trying to stay grounded in the here and now. He let out a breath and ran through one of Dr. Keller’s calming exercises in his mind. This new therapist seemed to know what he was talking about, because he relaxed after a few minutes, unclenching the seat of his chair. He hadn’t even realized he was holding onto it, much less so tightly his fingers ached. He shook them out, glad to see the tremors weren’t bad today.

He glanced back at the television, pleased to see that the Sunfalcon general’s clothing and hair had gone back to normal. He breathed easier now, but he wished Frog Face had changed the channel before she took the previous patient back to see the doctor. Then again, from the silent and rapt way the other elves and the humans in the waiting room watched the screen, she might have been lynched if she had tried.

The waiting room had the usual magazines scattered over the small wooden side tables, but nothing captured his eye. The beige walls remained empty of paintings or posters or anything else that might be of interest. He scanned the occupants of the waiting room next, running his eyes over a female elf and three humans before the rest of the elves started to look like they were wearing dragon scale armor. He sucked in a breath and jerked his eyes back to the television, squinting as much to read the news ticker flicking across the screen as to block out everything in the waiting room.

Skirmish reported on the border of California and Nevada. Alliance troops have engaged the enemy outside of Carson City and are expected to push the HORDE back to California by tomorrow at the latest. Orcs sighted in The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Oregon. The small group was determined to be a scouting mission interrupted by Alliance Troops….

An orc war cry rose from the depths of his memory, so loud he could have sworn it was real. Solseir tore his eyes from the news crawl and glanced around wildly, but no one else had reacted. Embarrassed, he leaned back in his chair and let his shoulders slump.
He just had to endure this for a few more minutes to convince Frog-Face (with or without glamour) that he was unfit to return to service. Then he would be free to run to the nearest bar and liquor up to his heart’s content. Beer worked better than any drug Dr. Keller had ever prescribed for Solseir’s nightmares. It also gave him heartburn and a paunch, but he would take those over not sleeping until he put a gun in his mouth.

And his armor didn’t fit him anymore, so that was a plus. He cut his hair short on purpose even though it was unfashionable and made his ears stick out more. He embraced almost anything that would help him look different, stopping short at tattoos and piercings due to a fear of needles.

The Sunfalcon general glared at Solseir when he looked back up at the screen. He took a deep breath, imagining the sensation of flying a glider over snowy mountains, untouched by humans, elves, or the HORDE. It almost worked. An off-screen reporter asked a question muffled by the sound of orc war cries in Solseir’s head. He jerked his eyes open in time to hear Joreikal’s response.

“We have partnered with the United States government to institute a draft to fill our ranks. We have many non-combatant positions for those that object to violence, and steps have already been taken to ensure that all beliefs are respected. The fact of the matter is we need your help to quell this uprising of the HORDE. The tragedy in California will be repeated if we do not act now.”

“My baby sister Emmie’s one of their healers now,” said a young man sitting on Solseir’s right.

Solseir turned to him, grateful for the distraction he provided. “You don’t say,” he replied politely.

The young man’s brown eyes crinkled when he smiled. His draft papers stuck out of the fist he rested in his lap. “Yeah. One of the younger Sunfalcons came out and tested her with one of them crystals. She’s a nurse, a little bitty thing, but it lit right up when she touched it.” He shook his head with wonder. “Who knew she had that much magic in ‘er?”

You mean, who knew the Elven army would be so desperate for healers that they would comb through the general human population for them?

The thought made him sick. Just how desperate were they? Neither their silence nor what they could be bothered to admit to boded well for anyone.

“It’s amazing,” he agreed aloud.

The young man smiled again and stuck out his free hand. “Joseph Mallozzi. Friends call me Joe.”

“Nice to meet you, Joe. I’m Solseir Rainblade. Call me Sole,” the elf replied, shaking the human’s hand.

“Rainblade. Are you in the court?”

“No, my family is far too small and unimportant for that,” Solseir said with a forced laugh. He didn’t mention he was the only one left. “I’m a plumber by trade.”

“Ah, I’ve got friends that’re plumbers. You got your own business?”

“No, I work for The Pipe Doc. It’s easier to let my supervisor handle the paperwork.”

“Sounds about right.” Joe nodded. “I was gonna start with Digital Metro as a software engineer, but, you know.” He gestured at the draft papers and smiled, shrugging. “Gotta protect my baby sis, don’t I?”

A dark-haired human woman opened the door to the back of the clinic. She smiled professionally, but her dark eyes were red and distant, distracted. It made her look young and fragile like she needed someone to lean on to make it all better. Solseir hadn’t seen her before; he had thought that the frog-faced lady was the only clinic employee taking patients back.

This girl was much prettier than Frog-Face, with pale skin and a heart-shaped face with high cheekbones and a cupid’s bow mouth. She was slender and average height, maybe five foot seven at most. Her eyes had an Asian slant to them that he found attractive as well. He hoped that she would call his name. She would be easier to glamour than Frog-Face; the younger the human, the more susceptible they were to elven magic.

“Mr. Rainblade?” she called, and he breathed a sigh of relief. Soon, he’d be home free.

Solseir scrambled to his feet. “Here, miss. See you around, Joe.”

Joe smiled. “Nice meeting ya.”

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Questions? Comments? Feedback? Part two coming soon. ^_^

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Brainstorming

I’m getting bored with my current writing project, so I think I’ll start a new one here. I’ve been thinking about writing an urban fantasy story with elves because of a writing prompt I saw somewhere about a potbellied elf working as a plumber. This could get weird fast, but it sounds like fun so I’m going to run with it. I’ll try to post updates once or twice a week, so I actually use this blog.

Let’s get the formalities out of the way:

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please respect my ideas and the work I put into this. Thank you very much.

Setting:

A modern day world like ours, with most current countries. Tolkien-esque elves exist along with humans. I don’t think I’ll include much shape-shifters or vampires, but orcs and goblins could be fun. I might add other races as I go. I like healers, so it’ll have those as well.

The orcs and goblins got organized under a single leader in the Horde, and are attacking the elves and humans. Initially the elves try to deal with the threat on their own, but are overwhelmed. The Horde knocks out a power grid somewhere and the humans get involved. The elven army starts conscripting talented people to serve as healers and soldiers, as well as calling veterans back into service.

Character List:

River Tsunami – a human; half Japanese and half American.  Brown eyes, brown hair. About 5’7″, athletic build. Works as a phlebotomist until she’s drafted as a healer for the Elven army.

Fehan Sunfalcon – an elf of the highly ranked family Sunfalcon. Rank in the elven army is yet to be determined, but somewhat high up. Lavender hair (it’s white but he dyes it), teal eyes. About 6’2″, standard lean and muscular elven build. Enjoys scandal, and dates humans to annoy his overbearing parents.

Solseir Rainblade- an elf of fairly low rank. Retired from the elven army to become a plumber. Drinks to keep the nightmares away from his time in service, hunting orcs. This is the one with the potbelly. ^_^

Tingo: a goblin healer. Green skin, bulbous nose, lots of sharp, pointy teeth, pointy ears and a bald head. Gray eyes. About 5’4″.

Nux: an orc, I guess. Tingo’s friend.

This is more planning than I usually do. Normally I just jump in and write a scene, making notes for later. The next update will have a story scene in it. Thanks for reading. ^_^

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