In this second installment of The Admiralty Archives, the warrior Lady Alexin, the Keeper of the Keys for the Elf realm of Eledon, finds herself exiled to the harsh world of near-future London. Rendered little more than a political pawn by the Elfin Council of Elders to avoid a war with the Rock Elves, she has little choice but to struggle to find her way in this strange new land. Taken under the protection of kindly mentors, Vice Admiral Malcolm Teller of the British Royal Navy and his wife, Alex brings all her skills to the fore as she uncovers a series of deadly plots.
Murder is on everyone’s mind as an underground White Supremacist organization takes aim at Admiral Teller while two wizards, resurrected from death, must kill Alex in order to survive. To make matters worse, the Rock Elves dispatch a hundred assassins from Eledon with their sole mission to bring Lady Alexin to the very… Edge of Death.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Writing fantasy novels are Joni Parker’s passion. She’s completed two series so far: “The Seaward Isle Saga” and “The Chronicles of Eledon.” Her latest series, “The Admiralty Archives, is a three-book series that begins with the “Curse of the Sea.” The second book is called “Edge of Death” and the third will be finished next year. In addition to her novels, Joni enjoys writing short stories and has contributed two stories to the anthology, “Beyond Tucson: Adventures in the Multiverse” with her writing group. Joni retired from the U.S. Navy and the Department of Homeland Security and currently resides in Tucson, Arizona with her sister.
An unusual sound caught her attention and she gazed out the sunroof of the black limousine. It was a helicopter. Or a chopper. A helo—whatever they called it. Alex leaned her head back and sighed. What was it doing here? It wasn’t part of the motorcade. Over the past few weeks, she’d seen a lot of them flying in and out of Portsmouth’s Royal Naval Base in southern England. The Royal Marines had told her about them. This one hovered way too close. The pilots smiled and waved at her, so she waved back. Friendly, she thought, at first. But why were they wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day? Her instincts told her something wasn’t right. Who were these men? Assassins? Why were they waving at me? The hairs on the back of her neck rose as she thought of the worst-case scenario. The helo was going to attack them.
She nudged Leftenant Nelson of the British Royal Navy—the red-haired, fair-skinned man raised his chin, but his eyes remained fixed on the screen of his mobile. He played a video game to pass the time.
“Wait.” The young officer pushed the buttons with his thumbs and stared intensely at the small screen. The car crashed and the game ended. “Damn it!” He shook his fist and gritted his teeth. “I can’t get past this level. What in the bloody hell do you want?” He pulled his ear buds out and turned sharply; his eyes narrowed—his anger still prevailing.
“Sorry, but why is that helicopter flying so low?” Alex pointed up. She had learned one thing about the mortal world—it could be dangerous here.
“It’s just a traffic helicopter, looking for accidents on the highway.”
“So why are those men wearing sunglasses? It’s cloudy out.”
“They’re pilots—they think it makes them look cool.” He waved his hand dismissively and went back to his game.
“Good.” Alex felt relieved. Her instincts were wrong. No need to worry. This was normal. Since that night she was supposed to return home to Eledon, but couldn’t, she wasn’t quite sure what was normal and what wasn’t here in the mortal world. She relived the scene, repeating in her head on an endless loop and clenched her jaw. Lord Fissure of the Rock Elves had threatened to kill her grandfather if she tried to return home—and the sneer on his face told her that he’d won.
The man was so close she could smell garlic on his breath. Still invisible, she touched the key to his nose. He recoiled, shook his head, and touched his nose, where a bright red spot spread across his face. Then the man grabbed his chest and collapsed. Seconds later, he stopped breathing.
Oh, yeah. Alex raised her eyebrows.
The second scout called out from behind. Alex froze. As a precaution, he fired a volley of bullets in her direction, hitting the tree. Although she could feel the impact, she remained in place and uninjured. He ran up and checked on his friend, only to find him dead. Alex touched the key to the back of his head. Instantly, his face turned red and he clutched his chest and fell over…dead.
Alex stripped a Kevlar vest off one of the men, sliding it over her head and noticed the tattoos on his neck—lightning bolts and the Celtic cross, symbols of the 23rd Infantry, the white supremacists. The same group who’d tried to kill the Admiral before. She grimaced and stashed their handguns in her waistband, then grabbed the assault rifles and an ammo belt. With the rifles safely over her shoulder, she returned to the stone wall and tossed the key near her pouch to become visible once more.
Leftenant Nelson turned to her. “Where’d you go?”
“I got some weapons from those men on the left.”
“Alex, tell me what you’re going to do before you do it.” The Captain’s voice growled low and his eyes narrowed.
Alex ignored him—he would have just told her, ‘no.’ He didn’t believe in her magic. She pulled the pistols from her waistband and took off the Kevlar vest. “Admiral, put this on. It’s body armor.”
“Excellent, but does it come in another color? Black hasn’t been so lucky for me.”
“I’m fine, Millie. It’s been a tough morning. On the way back from Portsmouth, we were attacked by some men from the 23rd Infantry. They’re getting more daring, I must say.”
“God, no! Malcolm, were you hurt?” She looked him over.
“No one on our side was hurt, thanks to the young lady I brought along.”
“I told you about her when I called. She helped us recover those men from the naval exercise I was in charge of—Hunter Dawn 2031.”
“Yes, but you told me she was going back to wherever she came from. Didn’t they show up?”
“They did, but she wasn’t allowed back.”
“Well, it’s hard to explain. She wasn’t allowed back because of…the Rock Elves. She’s a Water Elf and they claim that she’s been a lethal threat to them.”
Millie stared at him; her dark brown eyes wide. “She’s dangerous? And you brought her here? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I wanted to tell to you in person.”
“Malcolm, what are you saying? I’m confused.” She sat back and stared at him.
He squeezed her hands in his. “Let me start over. Do you remember I told you about the young girl who brought the sailors home in a wizard’s ship?”
“Yes, of course. She was arrested and put on trial but you had the Ministry drop all the charges.” Her eyes grew large. “Why?”
“It’s the same girl. She’s the reason why I went to Portsmouth.”
“What?” Her eyes flashed with anger.
“It’s not what you think, Millie. She told me that the sailors were going to arrive in Portsmouth on the fall equinox and once they came back, she could go home.”
“You just said they came back.”
“They did, but she wasn’t allowed to leave.” He took another deep breath. “She’s a real Elf, Millie. She doesn’t understand our world, even though she’s already stopped four assassination attempts on me, if you include this morning.”
“Malcolm, I’m not naïve. Tell me the truth.”
“I am. Please just meet her and let her stay here for a while. She’s due a lot of reward money and once she gets that, she can find a place of her own. Please, Millie. She saved my life. It’s the least I can do.”
Millie’s eyes filled with tears. “Oh, Malcolm. I don’t know.”
The Admiral embraced her.