Elaina Emboo is a rich girl from a merchant family, but her controlling father already has her entire life mapped out. Elaina envies Sneax's freedom without truly understanding its costs. Still, she agree to help when Sneax asks her to head up to the Old Church to meet with Lassiter.
Sneax and Elaina get the scare of their lives when they realize that Lassiter has an appointment with Draks, the fire elf, that he and Draks are working to import an illegal shipment of DISTILLED TIGER ESSENCE into Wanderhaven. But when that shipment goes missing?
That's when things start getting crazy...
The Adventures of Sneax & Elaina Emboo
Part 1: Sneax & Elaina Emboo and the Fire Elf
“And then they turned and ran,” Elaina said. “Those two clowns didn’t want to fight a wizard who’d just gone toe-to-toe with Russ Lassiter and a fire elf and lived to tell the tale.”
Melanie McGonagall laughed. “I’d liked to have seen that.”
Elaina looked out the window. It was the next evening, and the sun was going down. She needed to get home, but she couldn’t leave. Not just yet. “You sure you’re gonna be alright here, Sneax?” she asked. “You don’t mind staying for a while?”
Sneax shook her head. She didn’t look happy, exactly, but she seemed to accept that something in her life needed to change. “No,” she said. “You were right. After everything that’s happened, I probably ought to lay low for a while, anyway. You know, so I don’t wind up in jail or nothin’.”
“Good,” Elaina replied.
“Exactly,” Melanie added.
Melanie McGonagall and Thorin Battleaxe had shown up right after the two dockside bully boys had decided that they didn’t want to tangle with Elaina after all. They’d taken Lassiter into custody, but he’d already been badly beaten. Of Draks the fire elf, there had been no sign. They’d also collected Sneax, and after a long heart-to-heart, Elaina and Melanie had convinced Sneax that she ought to spend a little more time at the Temple of Apollo. She’d grown up in the temple’s orphanage, but she’d left before she’d finished doing all the growing up she’d needed to do.
Sneax hadn’t liked it, but she hadn’t argued.
Elaina stood. She was satisfied that her friend was safe, for once. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Sneax.”
Sneax was safe, but Elaina still had her lessons to worry about. She also had to find a way to explain where she’d been—to Master Marconi, at least, if perhaps not completely to her parents. That task was intimidating, but Elaina would manage. Things were going to be better for Sneax, and that was what mattered.
Knowing Sneax, life would still be plenty interesting.
Sneax turned in not long after Elaina left. Melanie McGonagall was okay, but Sneax was happiest about having a real bed in a real room with a real roof overhead. It was a big step up from having to force herself into a tiny cubbyhole above a dockside tavern. That didn’t mean that Sneax was ready to dedicate herself to Apollo the way that Melanie had, but at least she could admit that living on the streets wasn’t any fun.
Sneax made her way alone up to the room Melanie had given her—the first private room she’d ever had at the orphanage—and locked the door when she got inside. She bowed her head and breathed, happy to be safe but uncomfortable in the temple even after everything that had happened. Her previous stays at Apollo’s orphanage hadn’t exactly been pleasant, and Sneax wouldn’t have agreed to stay without the private room—one with a door that locked—even after the craziness of the past few days.
It felt good to be alone, though.
But then Sneax realized that she wasn’t alone.
“Hello?” It was dark, and in the gloom, she couldn’t see.
A silky voice answered from the shadows. “Hello Miss Boatman. We never got to finish our conversation last night. The Guard came much too quickly. I didn’t even get to finish speaking with Mister Lassiter.”
The fire elf snapped his fingers, and a single candle flared to life. He was wearing his wide-brimmed hat again, along with his fancy silk suit. He tipped the hat. “At your service, my dear.”
“What do you want?”
“Merely to pay you a compliment. You were very resourceful last night. I admire that.” Draks looked at her, taking her measure. “As you know, I do some business in this city, and from time to time I need an agent here. My holdings are vast, you see, so I cannot always attend to these things personally. May I rely upon you in the future when such service is required?”
Sneax blinked. “You want me to represent your interests? In Wanderhaven?”
“If you wouldn’t mind,” Draks replied. “I assure you, it can be quite... lucrative… so long as you don’t try to cheat me as Mister Lassiter did.”
“But I, uh…”
He’s always so polite, Sneax thought, when he’s not trying to kill you, anyway. “Can I think about it?”
“Of course,” Draks replied. He tipped his hat again. “But don’t take too long. I must have an answer soon, I’m afraid. This is a limited time offer.”
He smiled. Then he snapped his fingers, and he was gone.
|Cover by Alan Evans|
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