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Unclothed foot slapped down on the bare ass with enough force to leave a red blush on the nearly white flesh.

 

You are still in my bed.

 

Yawn expanded his lips as the elf's bare feet padded towards the open double doors that led to his bathroom. The cream silk on the bed moved, a cerulean cascade of curls emerging from the sheets to peek gray eyes up after the man as he pulled the ebony locks through his hands to one side, exposing the sinewy muscled back and dimpled cheeks. The fae might have been horribly insulted but instead the smile lit the corners of her lips before she stretched and wormed her way out of the sheets. Truth was, as insolent and dismissive a playboy as he was in the morning, the Lord of Megildur was one hell of an attentive lover in the evening. It was not the first time she had been kicked out of his bed in the morning, it wouldn’t be the last, and she was far from the only woman that shared the dismissal fate.

 

Passing through the carved doors his dark hair shimmered with the morning sunshine as it glittered down through the glass ceiling that defied gravity, the limbs he had architected folding in beautiful sinews across the expanse to nestle the glass between the branches.  Expertly nestled against the mountainside, his shower was a natural waterfall that fell through a breach in the glass ceiling.  It was frigid in the winters, cold in the summers, and nirvana for the elf that was a part of nature more than the concrete jungles of man.

 

As he stood hip deep in the stream, water cascading over his head, the sensitive ears listened to the fae vacate his bed, her lyrical hum wandering all the way out of the masterpiece that was his home. Eyes that reflected the depth of ocean waters closed as he ran his hands over the cascade of ebony on his head. She had been a distraction at best.

 

The council had gone mad. They had their heads in the sand regarding this outworlder registration. They had decided they would stay put and offer no help to those outside their borders, nor would they bow to the registration.

 

They were asking for war to come to their shores.

 

Truth was a war didn’t concern the elf, it was the complete abandon of the outworlders that had yet to find their way to South America that boiled his blood. Just because they had been fortunate enough to get stranded on this world on the southern continent, didn’t give them the right to see the others as less than them. Well…..all were not as grand as him in his own eyes, but he also protected his own… something the council was SUPPOSED to be in place to do.

 

Well the council might sit idle, but he wouldn’t. Wet strides pulled him out of the stream, robe snapped off the wall and wrapped loosely around himself as he padded through the stone hallways. If he was going to start intervening he was going to need a transporter and while Eris had proved good for hauling his cargo, he wouldn’t trust outworlders to an earthborn no matter how much he trusted already. No…. he needed an outworlder and he had heard rumors of one already doing exactly what he sought, ferrying outworlders out of harms way. They just needed a place to go. That was where the head of NARWA came in. Megildur had room for hundreds more outworlders, and the thankful tended to be loyal so it was a win-win for the elf.

 

He needed to find that boatman.

 

A quick call had transportation on its way. He was heading to New York. That was where the rumor came from, that was where he would poke around. It was time he took action.

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The heat wave annoyed him.  He could tolerate it, being on the water helped a bit, but the sun.  Khakis were the only thing he could bear to put on, hair tied on top of his head in a knot. He’d tried braiding it, but the constant slide of the plait against sweating skin was irritating. Strands loose in a ponytail made him itch. It all had to be piled on top.

 

Knees bumped the side of the hull every so often when the boat undulated under waves rifled up from incoming ships into the docks.  Fresh coat of paint was almost halfway done, the boatman sitting on a suspended scaffold.  It reminded him of an old rope swing, but it did the job.  Forearm wiped over his cheek to rid himself of the paint spatter, resulting in more of a smear.

 

Damn it.  Eyes peering up at the late afternoon sun, it was almost time for a break anyway.  He’d finish this square foot section and grab a drink.

 

*npc*  “Calder, Calder Muireadach right?”

 

Glance cast over his shoulder.

 

“Yah?”

 

Demeanor was nonchalant as he continued to paint the deep blue.  Of course, a man standing on a working dock in a business suit was more than alarming. Maybe he’d finally caught the attention of some shipping interests. Maybe they were there to arrest him. The guy was too pretty to be a cop. Shipping.

 

*npc*  “Do you have a moment?”

 

“Yah.”

 

He finished the section with a final stroke and stood up on the scaffold, hoisting himself back up to put the bucket and brushes on the deck. Unapologetic about his paint stained skin, he rifled around in his cooler for a soda and cracked it open, he loved Mountain Dew.  It was harder to get than holy Hell, but damn he loved the stuff.  After a long swig, he wiped the can sweat off his hand and offered it to shake.

 

“Calder, but you already know that.”

 

The man nodded, *npc* “Richard Stevens.  You are a small freight ship.”

 

“Yah.”

 

Obvious.

 

*npc*  “I’ve heard you’ve been successful in runs to what’s left of Britain, tried a South American run.”

 

“Not tried, have done.  Round trip in twenty two days.  Thought there might be some interest in freight transport but with air travel a bit more lucrative to South America I haven’t gotten much more response for water transport.  More profitable for me to the Isles.  Dragons tend to not like planes.   Water seems to be the only way in and out. Not easy to fight pilots that want to fly up there.”

 

He took another swig

 

*npc*  “Would you consider talking with my employer about a potential transport opportunity?”

 

He shrugged slightly, money was money.  A small transport?  Was this a smuggling bid?  It would probably piss the guy off if he said so.

 

“As long as it’s on the up and up I’ll hear out anything that can bring in money to keep my boat painted.”

 

The man smiled and nodded once.

 

*npc*  “Is this where we find you?”

 

“Few more days at least, until I finish painting.”

 

*npc*  “We’ll be in touch, Mr. Muirdeach.”

 

He nodded, watching the man walk off, finishing his soda.  It wasn’t the first time he’d been approached on the dock, he had a reputation for making trips nobody else seemed to want to try.  But, it didn’t always bring in the most reputable business.  He was interested to see how this one played out.  Tossing the can into the basket next to the cooler, he stretched a moment, then was back on the scaffold.  Boat wasn’t going to paint itself.

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