To: Gail Baudino, (and the Elves of Malvern): Thanks for the Inspiration to get me writing again, and your book’s help and healing, “Alanae ea yolisi, Elthia!”
This is also for Mimi “Mouse” Stewart, her beloved memory, as she passed from Cancer. (1956-2009)
The classes of 1990 (All 135 of them) and 1991 of Bellbrook HS (all 113 of them): For their long lasting inspiration and friendship.
A cold wind whipped as a steady snowfall of winter settled over the region known as Adria. The area is a fertile valley by the Aleser Mountains from the northern sea, to the lands in the south. It is the time of change in this region, what the elves would have called the day of completion, where everything old is discarded making way for new. Walking alone, a cloaked figure makes his way along the paths deep in forest known as Beldon Forest. An elf named Rijiin L’Theil, once a resident of this land has returned to his adopted home after one hundred and forty years away from his home.
Rijiin, when he started his adventures one hundred and forty years ago, they started from the twentieth century. He had not been seeking to jump through time and space or out to seek the portal in the mall known as Eastridge out of San Jose, CA. His adventure, when it started, had done so simply. It started with his arrived at the mall, a couple hours early on a cold, frosty Saturday morning for a gathering of people from an online Bulletin Board System (BBS). As he wandered the cavernous interior, he would discover the strange new shop that he had never seen before. It is a familiar store resembling another shop called ‘The Gamekeeper™’ commonly found in most any mall. It is located under the escalators leading to the second floor near the Sears and Roebucks ™ of Eastridge Mall and cross where the old F & W Woolworths store was open for business long ago.
The only difference between the stores, compared to this one, it is a much larger ‘Gamekeeper™’ store taking up a whole corner space, and it offers virtual reality games. (Not unlike the holodeck from the TV show, Star Trek the Next Generation) The store itself is large with an open area with a sea of shelves throughout, even on the walls. A large center counter makes up the check out counter and game sign up area. There are circular sections in the middle of the shelving areas and it is here that tables are setup for gamers to play rounds of the games sold in the shop. A large partitioned area dominates the left side of the room and it is a restricted area for those members can play, meet or take part in the virtual reality games. Outside the store, the entryway is mostly wall with sealed glass displays every few feet. The only entry into the shop, are swinging saloon style doors. Outside the double doors, leading into the shop, is a sign with ‘the Dungeon Gaming Company’ written in gothic print on it. It hangs from a rod-iron bracket, screwed into the wall, and hanging from a thick black chain. The sign itself is made of wood and is hand-carved.
He immediately signed up, intrigued by the shop and the games. He managed to take part in two games, with great success and then took a brief break to make an appearance at the party he had originally come for this morning. Rijiin was deep in thought, mostly about the games during the party and immediately decided he would leave in the next half hour, to return to the store for the games. No one had come up to speak with him in the entire time he sat in the Red Robin ™ Restaurant of Eastridge Mall. In fact, the group seemed to cluster away from him or if someone would wander his way, the others would always distract the person and moved him back to their group. Noting this, Rijiin grimaced and began wondering why, the hell, he was even at the gathering if no one wanted him here.
“Those games are a heck of a lot better than this stupid party. At least I am wanted in the games rather than here.” Rijiin thought to himself, and after thirty minutes, just as he thought of doing, he gathered what he brought with him and walked unhindered out of the doors. He pushed the inner doors aside and stepped into the dim corridor that leads to the interior section of the Mall. The young man did not look back as he turned and moved with hollow steps on the tiled floor. Across the room, four members of the Bulletin Board System saw him leave, and there were surprised expression on their faces. As they stood there, they glanced at each other in wonder at the sight before them.
“Hey where’s he going?” Monte had asked, breaking the silence.
“Oh who cares let him go I never liked him anyway.” Chelle replied frowning at Monte.
“We’ll ask him the next time we see him on line.” Joe replied, nodding twice to the other three who stood with him.
No one stopped Rijiin from leaving the Red Robin Restaurant in Eastridge and the four members of the BBS who saw him leave had a sinking feeling of death, overwhelm their senses. A strange feeling moved through them that somehow told them that this time would be a last time they would see their fellow member again. By the time they had reached the doors, trying to take action, the young man was already gone. They all peered in both directions down the corridor that led from the outside doors to the interior of the mall and there was no sign of him. It seemed like he had vanished like the wind.ng deepy as he stared at her in surprise. He nodded his head. to plant a warm passionate kiss on his lips. He s
“Joe I have a funny feeling that we aren’t going to see him again.” Chelle told him in a worried tone and she met Joseph’s look with a nod. “I think we’d better check up on him.”
“I know.” Joe replied, “Maybe we should rally the guys here and go look. We have not been a very good host to him and everyone has totally ignored him since we all arrived here.” A few moments later, everyone gathered in the small room. Joe gave the low down and the situation, and suggested they rally and head out into the mall to look for their fellow member, that they were worried that something sinister was about to happen to him.
“Yea, everyone split up, keep in touch with each other and if you find him hold him and have someone come find us or call we have an analog cell.” Chelle replied, turning to motion to the others. They separated in groups of three and four. Joe and Chelle walked toward the Sears and Roebucks™ side of the mall and as they walked quietly talked among themselves.
“But what happens if he doesn’t want to come back?” Chelle asked, as Monte and Lithium both glanced at her and then to Joseph who shrugged. They paused at a stairwell.
“You and Monte go up and spot him from the second level.” Joe suggested and both silently nodded to clamber up the stairs.
“He’s got to be here.” Joe said, “Unless he left already.”
“No I had a couple Sinners check out the bus station.” Chelle replied, “They would have called if he was there.”
“Then where the hell is he?” Joe grumbled, walking toward the west end of the mall, peering into the open shops trying to spot him as they continued on their way. As for Rijiin, a few minutes later, he stood outside the large entry of store known as The Dungeon Gaming Company, staring in placid interest at the gothic text written on the sign before panning a quick glance to his surroundings. The outside of the store is underneath the main escalators leading to the upper floor across from what used to be the Woolworth’s store ™ and right is the lower entrance to Sears and Roebucks ™ The shoppers glanced at him in semi disinterest. He carried a bag containing some extra stuff he had purchased this morning for the experience in the gaming store. He glanced at his wrist and he grimaced at the time. It was still early for his appointment but he was definitely looking forward to another round here at his destination. He nodded to a few people who passed him as he stood outside and smiled as they passed through the doors to the Dungeon Store. He glanced again to his surroundings and he frowned when he recognized Joseph Cram and his girlfriend Michelle walking toward him.
“There he is!” A voice called and Rijiin looked up to see Lithium and Monte on the far side of the upper walkway pointing down at him.
“Varden! Wait!” A voice called and he turned his head to see more of the fellow BBSers running toward him from Sears and Roebuck’s lower entrance. Rijiin quickly stepped into the store, and as he entered the Dungeon store, made a sharp right into the sea of shelves toward the partitioned area that leads to the games. He quickly flashed his ID card and disappeared through the metal detector into the maze. Behind him, his fellow BBSers stepped into the store too and they quickly split up to search, having seen him enter the store. Rijiin quickly navigated the partition maze, turning left, right many times, and passed open areas with a table and chair where many people sat playing a manual round of DND. The young man moved on and he quickly found his way past the vending area and soon arrived at the entrance of the locker rooms. Quickly finding his way to his locker, Rijiin changed into a simple tunic, leather pants and boots, then strapped his blade to the belt around his waist. He closed the locker door with a thud and he locked it, walking with pseudo silent steps toward the far exit. Outside the maze, BBSers gathered and they walked toward the entry of the maze. The guard on duty motioned to the sign posted on the metal detector that promptly stopped the group. ‘Members only.’ It said.
“Sorry members only please.” He told them politely, “If you aren’t a member, you can get one over there. The guard pointed to the center desk. They glanced at the center desk where there was a line waiting for the registers where three women worked ringing up sales and taking care of customers. There were also staff members replenishing the stock and answering questions out on the floor.
“What’s back in this area?”
“Beyond this point are eight full virtual reality games.” He told them. “Not unlike the Star Trek Next Generation Series Holodeck on TV, meeting areas, and game areas.
“Sound cool.” Monte said with a chuckle, “Can you see if a member passed through here though?”
“At the front desk they can.” The guard replied, and nodded to other people who passed through the gate. Joseph, Mike, Chelle, Monte and the others all moved off to the main desk. They waited and when they got to the front, they greeted a young woman dressed in a long flowing gown, and a pointed hat. She has blue eyes, sandy blond hair and even through the gown could see she is tall and slender. She is a cashier here at the store.
“How can I help you?” She asked. Joe and group glanced at each other.
“Can you tell me if a member checked into your virtual reality games?” Joe asked.
“What is his name?” The woman responded pleasantly, moving to the computer in front of her, a black and white terminal with a cable sticking out the rear of the box. A keyboard sat on the counter before it.
“His name is Miller, first name, Nathaniel.” The woman’s hands danced across the keys quickly and she nodded after a moment, reading the data that streamed over the screen.
“He just checked in.”
“Is there any way to reach him in the game area?” Monte asked and the woman shook her head.
“In the games it’s not possible, but by intercom we can page him over the loud speaker in the staging area.
“Hrml, interesting.” Cheshire mused, making Joe and the others smile. The leader of the group stared at the list of memberships and he hatched a plan. He wondered if they could get him themselves.
“I am just wondering, how much are your memberships? I have a large group of users from a BBS and I was wondering if we could do a group membership.” Joe asked, making Chelle peer at him in silence. The others all glanced at him in silent question.
“Why yes, group memberships are only one hundred and fifty dollars per year, and are starting at minimum group size of twelve members per group.” She told them, “Single memberships per month are only twenty-five dollars, for limited and fifty dollars for unlimited access.”
“Sounds reasonable...” Joe muttered, “Good we can get him ourselves.”
“I’ll take a group access, for my BBS.” Joe said, glancing at the others who were smiling who had all come from their wandering in other sections of the mall, summoned by cell phone. Five minutes later, they learned of the games Joe had signed up for the group and everyone seemed to like the idea, ready to play. They had another agenda in mind however to find their lost comrade.
“Costumes are priced as marked.” The woman said, “You can go in costume, or not. You still will have the same amount of entertainment. Enjoy yourselves.”
Stepping through the gate the Sinner chatters walked through the maze and as they did so, peeked into areas that were filled with voices of mirth where others played manual games, passed a vending machine area and a round table where meeting were conducted. Further, the group made their way through to the locker rooms onto the other side and when they reached the other side they walked down a dingy, dim corridor and past many doors that lined the wall. Ahead of them, the hallway ended at a large and open staging area where benches and tables are set up.
“This looks cool. No wonder he left the party.” Joe thought, and he glanced at Chelle as they all stepped into the staging area. People of all ages sat here, many of them dressed in costume others not. Moving in a circle there are four doors on each side of the room. The northern wall is where vending machines and other machines are located here. They also noted the doors that ran down the hallway.
“We got a lot of ground and games to cover.” Joe grumbled, and it finally hit them, that they had lost him.
It had been too late for them. Rijiin stood outside of one of the games, a few minutes before the others of the BBS had reached the rear area, preparing himself for the new adventure within. He had not sensed the portal over the entry and had no clue that the situation would be real after stepping through the entry he thought to be the games. Rijiin would find himself transferred to the fourteenth century by stepping through the entry into what he thought to be the games and it being a portal through time and space. It had closed behind him, leaving him stranded in this new time. The young human’s situation became even more real and intense when a sword would be ran through his body, allowing his real blood to spill from his wounds. Rijiin would flee from the village, wounded and evade a pursuit party into the woods. He would be far away from the place where he had started collapsing in a wooded clearing among the short undergrowth leaves and twigs, lying in a pool of his own blood.
Hours, days, passed, and Rijiin was unsure how long he lay in the wooded clearing until he heard the snort of a horse nearby. Walking into the clearing, Terrill and Mirya stepped out of the undergrowth and stopped when they saw Rijiin lying on the ground in the center of the clearing. The couple was heading south, along the path known to elves toward Saint Brigid and to their encampment outside the fair village. Mirya let out a startled yelp when she saw the inert body lying there and she reached for Rainfire at her side. The elves had not been expecting to find a human on the paths know only to Elves and they glanced at each other in wonder.
“Terrill,” Mirya breathed and he turned his head to peer at the body of what appeared to be a man. She approached cautiously with her hand on Rainfire. Terrill followed and as they finally stood over him, they saw the puddle of blood on the open ground.
“It looks like a human is lying here and is badly wounded, beloved.” Mirya whispered as she slowly approached the body on the ground. When she stood over him, the maiden knelt beside Rijiin. Quickly she uncovered the body of the wounded human of the leaves and debris that covered him. She grimacing at the unsightly sword wound in his mid-section. The wound on Rijiin’s body is open to the air, oozing blood and puss. Flies buzzed around him attracted by the blood, his insides partially exposed to the open air.
“By our Lady!” Mirya gasped quietly, “What a mess.”
The maiden glanced at the severe wound of the human laying here in his blood and turned her head to fight down the nausea that overwhelmed her senses. The elf maiden had not seen a mess like this for a long time, not since she healed Roger of Auverelle when she found him mauled by a bear. She found herself reminded of that day when she found him, healing him, and his thanks for that healing had been to rape her. At first Mirya thought it was Baron Roger lying here on the ground mortally wounded again, but upon closer inspection of the blood-covered face, but realize thankfully, it was not. The elf maiden suddenly sensed something strange about this person, something at first that she did not understand. She sensed he is a stranger to this time, and that he certainly was out of place. How she knew is by the clothes he wore. It was not any normal chain mail she had seen before, having seen many mail made while talking with Francis the blacksmith in Saint Brigid. This was something different and Mirya had gasped as she stared at the tag located at the neckline of the garb. ‘Made in Taiwan’, and her eyebrows arched in alarm. Quickly she manipulated the strands of energy that made up Rijiin and saw glimpses of events that made up his persona. She saw the store in Eastridge, the games and the portal that had brought him here as he stepped unknowingly into it. She saw the battle and his retreat to come to this place. Now in person, Mirya watched as he lay dying before their eyes.
She had met his eyes, noticing that he had turned his head to gaze at her in a delirious fever. Mirya smiled shyly and nodded to him.
“He is awake and can hear me beloved.” She told Terrill and he joined her kneeling beside the human’s battered body. He grimaced at the sight before him too.
“I am Mirya, can you understand me?” She asked, and after a moment of thought, Rijiin slowly nodded his head. “I am going to heal you, just stay with me and everything will be fine again.” She noted his look drawn far-off gaze and Terrill noted her look of fear. She remembered Baron Roger in this state. The elf maiden remembered what would happen if she healed this human afterward.
“Are you alright?” Terrill asked, sensing her alarm, “Do you know who it is beloved?” She shook her head, frowning.
“I do not.” She replied, “I have never seen him here before, beloved. I have never seen his face or the likes of his garb before. There is much more to this person than meets to eye.”
“What do you mean?” Terrill asked, and with that, she pulled the tag and he grimaced at the sight of it.
“What is made in Taiwan?” Terrill asked, “What does that mean? I wonder where this Taiwan is located…if he is from there.”
“We will never know if I do not heal him soon, I sense he is fading.” Mirya said with a frown. She shook the human slightly. “Come on messier, you can do it, stay with me and listen to the sound of my voice.” Rijiin intently perked up, finding strength to nod weakly at her.
“Do you have a name sir?” She asked casually, “What do you go by?”
“Rij…iin” The human whispered as he slipped toward unconsciousness. She nodded, taking her dagger to cut the cloth away from the wound.
“Be at peace Rijiin.” She said, “It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
“And of course we always heal humans or anyone that is wounded.” Terrill mused quickly flashing a grin at the maiden, “Human ways are not our own, I am hopeful that he will be as grateful as Baron Roger was when you healed him.” Mirya shot him a look as if to say, ‘What do you mean by that?’
“It is only a little humor beloved.” Terrill said gently, silently sensing her frustration.
“If that only were true, Terrill, if only…” Mirya replied, “I have not thought of that in a long time. Although I had slain him, I did worse to him: I healed him and reminded him of what he did to me and to others he brutalized. A persona he will always have to live with and reminded of when he looks in the mirror. It was until I changed even that persona to something more human.” Terrill grinned and he found himself nodding in agreement.
“I sense your unease, beloved, I am here and nothing will happen to you, I will slay him if necessary to protect us both.”
A moment later, Mirya laid her hands on the bloody gaping wound and a white flash appeared, with a warm sensation overwhelmed Rijiin’s body as the wound closed up. There was nothing left of it, only a bloody spot on his clothes to show where he had been stabbed. The flesh was clear of the wound. Rijiin closed his eyes during the healing and fell into unconsciousness sleep. Around him a pulsating aura of energy appeared, starting small and growing outward around Rijiin until it completely engulfed him. It startled Mirya and Terrill who both jumped back from the injured human’s living, healed and now glowing body. The blue and silver glow pulsated around him.
“What in the name of the…What is that!?” Terrill had gasped, holding his sword at ready. Mirya stood across from Terrill on the other side of Rijiin’s body and she too peered at it in surprise. She had not been expecting something like this to happen either. Mirya expected him to sit up, thank her and walk away. He lay unconscious on the ground, surrounded by an aura of elven magic instead, pulsating as it changed from a blue to a silver color.
“What is that Mirya?” Terrill asked with a suspicious look, “Have you seen anything like that before when you healed others?”
“Actually no beloved, this is a first time, and it is so strange that this is happening. All I did was heal, him.” Mirya declared as she cast a quick look at the swirling energy that now surrounded Rijiin, “It appears something beyond my abilities has happened and was triggered by my healing.”
“I have a funny feeling too, that I know what this is Terrill, and I have seen this before.” Mirya said thoughtfully, tilting her head in wonder.
“You know, Mirya, I am having that same thought.” Terrill confessed, “It is something the humans call déjà vu. It is an event plays out unexpectedly, exactly as is thought. We both have seen this, and just cannot recollect where and when.”
“Varden described the same aura around you in one of the many bedrooms of Kay’s house when you were transformed by his abilities with magic. Kay and Varden both did not understand what they were seeing, or the reason why, both knowing it was necessary.” He said with a grimace, “He described it as a blue and silver aura that swirled just like this. It might be the same thing, and very necessary.”
Mirya frowned at the thought, “And I was flying through the air as a falcon and to the lady. S-she told me it was not time and sent me back to Saint Brigid even though I did not want to go. Maybe with all the change he is enduring is not quite complete and the young man here is experiencing the same thing as I did during my transformation period. There is a lot of confusion and disorientation, but with one like experience that we now probably both share in this same instant: We went to the Lady.” Terrill frowned as he met Mirya’s expression, the twinkle of starlight bright in her eyes.
Little did Terrill or Mirya know that she had spoken the truth and a lone Red- tailed hawk swooped, darting through the air, and through the thick cloud cover. The universe revolved. Worlds shifted. Rijiin dreamed, floating in the silence of oblivion. He heard voices, and he ignored them without answering. Starlight surrounded him as the hawk’s wings cut the starlight as they had the wind, their feathers shining silver white. There was a star calling to him, and for a moment, he hung over it, poised, spreading his wings to stall ever so slightly, eyes flashing with anticipation…
…and he swooped, a bright feather, bone and blood that hurtled into the stellar flame. It roared about him for a moment; then he settled softly onto the arm of the Lady who stood on the grassy plain beneath a glittering sky.
“Have you come so soon, child?” she said, stroking the sleek feathers. “But then, you have a great heart and your soul has wings, so this is not unexpected.”
The hawk blinked at her, knowing only that he was home, that he wanted to stay, that the eyes that met his, that flashed starlight and moonlight both, holding the many universes in their depth, were eyes that would never turn from him.
“Be at peace, child,” said the Lady. “But return to your new friends, lest they grieve.”
The Hawk preened nervously.
“Fear not. You will be back, and you will have full knowledge then. Go now.”
With infinite strength and gentleness both, the Lady lofted the bird into the sky. Again, the bird’s wings bit starlight, and again he soared aloft. Mirya shook her head, clearing the images she saw in the starlight when it came from Rijiin himself. She saw his arriving in Saint Brigid, transformed by the elven magic that protected this Free Town.
“I know this is going to sound strange and you will be against this, but I think we should not leave him here.” Mirya declared, “I have a very strong suspicion that Varden would know what this is and what is going on behind it. We should, at least, bring him to Saint Brigid for safety’s sake.”
“I don’t think we should.” Terrill replied, “Even if it is something that the elven magic is doing to him. Humans are unpredictable and he might do what Baron Roger did to you, or worse kill every one of us. He might bring the Inquisition down on us and condemn the very village we find, as elves, a haven. It would not be fair to the residents if that happened, and the elves vanishing instead of protecting the village. Many here would go to the stake for what they know and who they associate with.” A look of knowing appeared on Mirya’s face as a single thought passed through her brain: ‘Not while I am still here they won’t.’
“True, Terrill but I sense something more to this person than I have seen in others whom I have healed.” Mirya replied, choosing her words carefully. “I know you are suspicious of humans, even after what they do to us, hunting and persecuting us into extinction. I know what happened before with Varden and it is not the situation here, or at hand. This young man, I sense, is not part of the Inquisition and he comes from somewhere far away.”
“What do you mean far away?” Terrill asked suddenly, “You mean that place Taiwan?”
She shook her head. Here he examined the whole conversation with his analytical mind and he closed his eyes seeing the unfamiliar images of Rijiin and Natil as a couple. His mouth opened slightly expelling a startled sigh.
“Where else should he come from if not from here?”
“He originates from another place, from somewhere in the winds of time itself.” She said, “I saw it in the starlight as I moved the energy that makes up his very being, and saw that he is from a century far away in what is to come.” Mirya had seen the images of Natil and Rijiin’s relationship in the twentieth century, the images of them as a couple that took place far after her being displaced in time by the Goddess’ hand. She was on her way to Colorado and had met him to ask directions. Here he was polite and cordial showing her the way to go, and something had clicked between them, making Natil stay for a while just for Rijiin. Terrill saw the same images and he raised an eyebrow.
“So what is he doing here? How did he get here, by the energy that surrounds him?”
“I do not know, Terrill.” Mirya replied, “The energy manifested in a portal over an opening of a doorway and he stepped through. He was not expecting the portal to be there and he only realized that when he was injured by the sword wound.”
“If that be the case, where the heck has he…” Terrill began to say and Mirya shook her head making him fall silent.
“I still think we should take him with us even if you are correct in your analysis of what could happen.” Mirya spoke, her tone of understanding, “I pray that we are wrong about him, as I sense this young man is good. Where the heck has he been is not the question here, its where the heck is he going?”
Terrill frowned in impatience at the situation before him, following his instincts of what happened with elves when they got involved with humans many times over. He remembered a night in particular that he and Varden descended upon a farmhouse in the north, slaying the occupants of it in cold blood after they tortured, raped and killed Mirya, long before she was reborn from a dark haired, battered healer girl. She is the very person who stood beside him and who gave him council, his lover. He retained his blade after that ordeal, and Varden had put his away forever.
“I do not understand what this aura is exactly beloved. What we are seeing before our very eyes, is happening.” Mirya said in a soothing tone and he glanced at her. “As you can see, even as we stood here over him in the last five minutes that he has changed a little more and looks different than he did when we initially found him. I sense the powerful magic we utilize here at work.”
Terrill’s eyes widened at the revelation studying the face silently before nodding. He could not say he was wrong at what he saw, having sensed the magic here too. The elf nodded silently but his instincts also told him to beware. He could almost see the same event happening as it had before. Terrill grimaced at the images and the thought with the shake of his head.
“Alas aye, so do I and I agree with you on that point of taking him with us, but I still trust my instincts.” Terrill replied, “Can you slay him if it needs to be done?”
“Aye, if he turns out to be part of the Inquisition or enemies of the elves then yes I can and will slay him with no problem.” Mirya replied as Terrill sheathed his blade at side and picked up Rijiin on his shoulder.
“Then we will take him to Saint Brigid.” Terrill said with a nod and he hefted Rijiin on his shoulder walking toward the waiting horses, Cloud and Night flame that grazed nearby. He walked with silent steps, despite the vegetation around him toward the horses and he raised his hand to the one known as Cloud.
“I must use you as a pack horse, Cloud and I ask your permission to do so.” Terrill questioned and after a moment, his mount bobbed its head. ‘I will carry him.’ The reply said softly. The elf nodded to the horse as he placed Rijiin slumped over the saddle.
“Thank you my friend, the hand of the Lady be upon you.” Terrill said, placing his hand on the neck, patting the gentle beast known as Cloud.
“We are not too far away, beloved.” Terrill told her, “We will make Saint Brigid in a half and hour.”
“It will feel good to be home, Terrill.” Mirya replied with a smile and a nod, “I am looking forward to relaxing for a change, unless something else comes up.” She pointed to the body on Cloud with her thumb. He grinned at her.
“Yes it will be good to be home and with the others.” Terrill said, glancing at the body of Rijiin still enveloped by the blue and silver aura that surrounded him, “He is still unconscious and that aura has become brighter, still pulsating from blue to silver and back. Nothing has changed by the strange power something is afoot, he certainly does not look as he did.”
Mirya leaned back to stare at their visitor and raised an eyebrow, remaining silent as she looked at the ever changing aura of energy that still changed their passenger. Together they walked down the path away from the bloody spot where Rijiin lay dying a few minutes ago and as Terrill had pointed out it took them a half-hour to reach the gate of Saint Brigid. The gate, opened at the sight of the elves and David approached, Terrill pausing to talk with him. Mirya led Cloud to the home of the village priest, Kay. She knocked on his door. She pulled Rijiin down and steadied him on her shoulder. Turning, Terrill stood at her side with Night Flame.
“I will return shortly, I am going to take Cloud and Night flame to their meadow.” Terrill told her as he approached and Mirya nodded. She knocked on the door again and she heard footsteps as he came to the door to open it. Kay answered with a surprised look as Mirya stood before him.
“Mirya!” He said with a gasp, “What brings a fair folk to my humble home.” He examined the body of Rijiin who remained unconscious as she steadied him.
“We found him on the road, Kay.” Mirya said as she brought Rijiin effortlessly through the door. He was hurt severely and he required healing, but we must fetch Varden, there is something happening to him that triggered when I healing him. I think he might give some insight on what’s happening, you can see.” The village priest glanced at the unconscious form of Rijiin and noted the aura that surrounded him, pulsating from blue to silver and back. He understood immediately and let out a gasp.
“I see… But for now… come,” Kay replied, “Bring him upstairs, I have a room for him.”
Many days would elapse and he would awaken in the village of Saint Brigid. As he slowly and painfully opened his eyes, they focused on the open beamed ceiling of a room. Immediately Rijiin glanced down at himself, quickly relieved he found himself still in one piece and his eyes slowly focused on the strange surroundings around him. He lay under a thick, warm comforter in a hand-carved framed bed made of ash wood. Along the wall, there are two sets of drawers and a large wardrobe adjacent to the entry door into this room. A crackling fire in the fireplace warmed the room. Rijiin sensed someone next to him and turning his head he beheld Mirya sitting silently beside him on a small stool next to the bed. The maiden smiled as she turned her head.
Rijiin gasped when he remembered those images, and he shook his head as he walked down the familiar north-south road in Adria. Rijiin had been traveling many hours now, arriving in Adria and home via ship that dropped at the northern port in the Inquisition held city called Maris. He remembered walking through the gate, traveling openly, and passing through the arch into the inner city clad as an elf in the green and gray garb of his people. He also had his hair tied back, revealing his fair features and slender ears. Rijiin also blatantly carried the blade at his side that indicated who, and what he was. He was an elf, an immortal that had helped and healed in this realm among humans. The youthful elf was also a slayer of evil, having skirmishes with the soldiers and clergy of the Inquisition that he had slain on so many occasions while living here. As he walked through the town of Maris, he was ready for anything the likes of the Inquisition could dish out, his strength tempered by his traveling through the ages and hard like the steel he carried at his side.
The only thing that Rijiin really had been going for him was his knowledge of time. He already saw a century of the horrors of history, with a lot of bloodshed and carnage. He had seen many battles, wars and death among martyrs of history. Rijiin had fought along side warriors like Henry Clisson, Earl of Nevers, and Joan De Arc. He had also seen their passing, unable to help them survive, their fates already marked in the winds of history. The elf learned the experience of living through these times, mostly to have understanding and patience for the world around him. However, despite it all, he also remained very passive, perhaps mindful as he walked the streets of cities. He had little fear of a religion that had persecuted the elves for centuries and would be the organized religion that sent the remaining immortals into the very confines of extinction. Rijiin, as he walked along the street in Maris, he received many glances and overheard the few mutterings among soldiers and common folk alike.
“Apparently they do not approve that I am here.” He thought, as he held his head defiantly high but met the looks with a friendly nod.
“Blessings,” He said simply. Rijiin greeted the people he passed openly, “Good day to you.” He studied their reactions, and sometimes he got a response, other times not. He sensed their conditioned fear and hatred spurned by the control of the Inquisition who held this city in check.
“Even in this day and age the persecution of the Inquisition carries on, even after one hundred and forty years with little change.” He grimaced, remembering his pledge to understand humans and their ways.
“Soldiers! Arrest that creature by the name of God!” A voice shouted. Here Rijiin paused, his back deliberately to the soldiers and clergy. Casually he dropped his hand to the pommel of the sword at this side. The elf unsnapped the safety catch of his blade, readying it for a fight. Swords drawn, they ran toward him from all directions and he turned his head to meet the intense looks on their faces. He sensed determination that showed on the faces of many and fear from the others. The young elf let his hand rest on the sword handle before he drew the blade. There was hesitation from the soldiers when they saw the flash of steel, and Rijiin stood waiting almost impatiently for the fight to begin. The soldiers had not recognized the strange blade and glanced confused at the priest who screamed at them.
“Arrest him or you will be sent to stake in his place.”
“Who is it that interferes with business of others, and who needs twenty men against one?” Rijiin said aloud, his voice thick with the inflection and there was a pause as the soldiers stood there hesitantly. The soldiers found themselves puzzled by his question.
“Very well, who is first to be slain, which of you have made the decision to die?” Rijiin exclaimed quietly holding his now drawn blade, “I am a creature of peace, and who does not take life, but if you insist I am thy death.”
The elf stood waiting as he cast a gaze to each of the soldiers around him. It was a question that had made the soldiers glance at each other and hesitant to act. Rijiin sensed they did not want to die, and now were faced on making a choice among themselves. They glanced at the priest, and back to the elf. The priest continued screaming at them to no avail.
After a few minutes elapsed, a soldier stepped forward as he drew his blade with a shout, and Rijiin responded by parrying his attack. The elf let his blade move swiftly in one motion, and without a word had beheaded the young soldier, exactly and precisely where he stood. There were screams as the common folk, the priests and soldiers stared at him. A few more soldiers stepped forward to meet the same fate as their comrades while the priest continued shouting orders to the guards. A few minutes later, when there were at least six dead, and twelve wounded men, the Captain of the guard stepped in, and he stopped the fight.
“Enough.” The captain said, “Please no more.” He motioned to the guards who stood before Rijiin, peering at the living and hurt soldiers. His gaze fell upon the bloodthirsty crowd. The guards lowered their weapons.
“Pass that elf.” He said, “Escort him to the southern gate.” As the young traveler passed the Captain of the guard, he felt a hand on his arm.
“Please go in peace.” The Captain told him, “Please no more bloodshed. My guards will see that you are not molested to the edge of the city.”
“Blessings upon thee for your kindness,” Rijiin replied, passing by the Captain of the guard meeting the smile and his nod with one of his own.
“Pass that elf!” Another shout said as a small group of soldiers surrounded the elf and others held the townsfolk at bay. Rijiin was ‘escorted’ toward the gate, and for the first time, a heretical being so ordained by the church was allowed to leave freely and unmolested from an Inquisition held city. An unthinkable act that would no doubt send several soldiers to the very dungeons and torture that many Heretics had endured and died.
Outside the gate, Rijiin headed for the trees and he found himself in the familiar forest he knew to be Beldon Forest. Here he would rapidly travel south, following the familiar paths he knew to be there, and skirting the Capital city of Hypperex to enter Malvern Forest beyond it. Rijiin traveled quickly, as he had many times with Terrill, Mirya and even with Natil on these paths, staying clear of the road and the guards posted from the capital city in Adria. Walking through the forest, he crossed along the border of lands belonging to Baron Roger of Aurverelle as he entered Malvern. Here he let out a breath, having a piece of mind that he would have no further dealings, he hoped, with the Inquisition.
Now almost to Saint Brigid, hours later, he found himself in this oncoming winter storm. Looking up he examined the same billowing clouds and cold weather that had spirited him from these lands in the first place. Rijiin had been deep in thought as he passed by Saint Blaise and Alm, thinking of events that had already happened, and the year he had been living as an elf in this century. He also had remembered his many adventures, his travels through the realm with his new friends, and thought of the many good folk who lived in Saint Brigid. They were people he could almost say was his family and where Rijiin found unconditional acceptance without question. Even after his change by the elves’ magic.
“Well at least for a few months until I completed my transformation.” Rijiin corrected himself and shook his head, a smile appearing on his face, “And despite it all, a great cost for losing humanity but it did have a lot of gains too.”
“I gained the love of a beautiful Harper.” He thought, “And I learned to help and heal. I know the path that I walk and have learned compassion for life.”
Rijiin had changed when he had healed Mouse, risking his existence as he traversed the winds of time and space to help her. He could go to the Lady, clad in blue and silver anytime he wanted. He could kneel before her, finding her blessing, her council and love. That had been a long time ago, however. The human part of his existence had faded away and unknowingly had split from him. It had appeared as a dismembered, bloody, body laying in a cement gully across from the Mall in a residential area.
When the elf rounded the corner, moving back to the road, and after many hours traveling, he had not been paying attention to his surroundings. When he finally looked up, he realized he was in the remains of a village remotely resembling some sort of civilization. Rijiin at first had not recognized his surroundings of Saint Brigid, as it had changed a lot since he had been here. The streets of this once thriving village is overgrown with brush and the buildings, are disintegrating piles of crumbling debris. The elf had no idea in the last century that this village had again become a battlefield. Foreign armies had invaded Adria after he had disappeared, the forest was set ablaze and the remaining elves helped to quell the violence by stopping a war machine from gaining control of the entire realm.
Here the elf scanned the surroundings several times, standing alone in the remains of what appeared to be a town square, and the silent overgrown streets as large flakes pelted his cloak. Snow swirled and fluttered in the wind around him as he cast a brief glance at each of the piles that once made up the buildings. A familiar sight caught his eye. Walking quickly toward one pile, he brushed the debris and snow aside, revealing the remains of a hand carved panel. He immediately recognized it as the very panels carved by David the wood smith in Saint Brigid that hung in the church long ago. Rijiin, when he saw them gasped aloud and quickly turned his head side to side, scanning each of the piles of debris with his gray eyes.
“What? By our lady, I’m home.” He exclaimed, turning to stare at the remains of the Kay’s house, the church, and then turning to scan the rest of the village. His gray eyes quickly found the pile that made up the remains of the Francis, the blacksmith’s house, gazing at it in wonder. He could not believe his eyes.
“It’s Saint Brigid…” He panned a silent, astonished stare at the overgrown street, shaking his head in disbelief.
“What happened here?” Rijiin asked himself several times.
“Even in a few hundred years, someone could have still been here.” Thought the elf, “But by the look of this place it has not been a village for some time.” He then remembered it had been more than just a few years, it had been a hundred and forty years: A century and a quarter. His gaze fell on this solemn scene many times, hoping to find a clue that would give him the answer he sought. He immediately thought of friends, long passed now. Rijiin thought of Francis, Hester, Kay, Mick Andrew, David, Roxanne, Charity and countless others who lived in this village. Rijiin never thought for an instant they would ever, even with probably their children’s, children’s, children would have abandoned such rich soil. But then again, so many signs that showed that battle had come to Saint Brigid and he wondered if it was the reason why the residents abandoned its walls and let nature overrun the very streets of a place he called home.
“But then again there is nothing here, except piles of debris.” He thought, shaking his head. “Perhaps it was the Inquisition.” The elf thought, but somehow just could not see the occupants of this village rounded up, taken away, to be tortured and burned as he had seen many a heretic’s fate. He closed his eyes, standing in the middle of the square and thought of a different time and place when the free town village had thrived, with a few elves remaining in the world to help and heal. When he opened his eyes, the area seemed to shimmer as the people and buildings seemed to return. He smiled at the sight.
“It is another time and place.” Rijiin thought as he warmly smiled at his reminisces. He wished he could return to that time and this place in an era when everything made sense for the elf, instead of having to endure the bonds of solitude. Shaking his head, Rijiin blinked his eyes and the solemn scene reappeared around him. Once again, he was alone in the overgrown square and turning his head, He panned a long gaze to the forest of Malvern that lay before him.
“I wonder if the paths are there.” He thought, “Perhaps the elves spirited them away into hiding if it was the Inquisition.” Rijiin bolted toward the crumbling northern gate of the village and passed through its twisted remains. Walking along the outside of the wall, the elf finally entered the forest and when he stepped onto the familiar paths, Rijiin nodded slightly.
“They are here.” Rijiin thought, smiling to himself as his booted feet touched the ancient familiar paths of a home he knew very well. He could feel the energy, smell the scents and hear the sounds of the familiar forest. It was everything he had missed in a century. Quickly and with little effort, he reached the great oak on one path, passing it and then he turned onto another. He had only walked several meters past the great oak though when the paths abruptly ended and he stood in an unfamiliar clearing where three pathways ran off in three different directions. A look of astonishment crossed his face as he became acutely aware of drastic changes in this part of the forest. He sighed as he stood close to the great oak, realizing the ancient paths were gone and he now stood in all new Malvern, re-grown after a fire set to it over a century ago by the enemy who invaded Adria.
“You helped me, once.” He said, “I am a kinsman of these lands, guide me now.” Rijiin murmured, trying to invoke the Lady. He called her name and to the power that elves once had. Only a hushed whisper of falling snow had replied to his call. Walking ahead, he came to another unfamiliar clearing and an hour later, he sat under a thick pine tree after making camp. Here, he sat alone, staring at the crackling flames of his campfire as smoke and embers flashed as they rose upward into the dimming light sky.
“The elves would not have perished so easily despite they were fading even when I arrived.” Rijiin murmured, now left to wonder what had happened in the last century and a quarter he had been away. The elf really wondered about Saint Brigid, and the fates of his kinfolk and the townsfolk who lived here in this village. He thought of Varden, Mirya, Terrill, Talla, Sana, and Cara. Rijiin thought also of the young elven woman, the Harper named Natil, whom he had fallen for again after coming to this time. He wished he could join them in oblivion, than wander any more in the hostile world. Rijiin had no idea that he was following the same path as his beloved Harper. She had traveled to Saint Brigid, said a fond farewell and found herself forced to wander through time until pulled through to Elven Home in Denver.
His eyes found the deep red sunset filling the western horizon as the day ended, the clouds parting to allow the sunlight to shine brightly upon the white frozen landscape and the elf smiled at the sight. Rijiin suddenly found himself reminded of the times with Natil in Aleser Mountains where they shared many of the spectacular scenes like this one in each other’s loving embrace. He watched the sunset for several more minutes until the light was gone and looking up, he watched the stars as they twinkled brightly above him. Rijiin stared at the infinite light of space and the thousands of stars in unrecognizable patterns. A cold winter wind whipped briefly and became calm.
“That was a long ago indeed.”
He then turned his attention to his surroundings, listening to the wilds of Malvern’s nightlife as it echoed through the forest and here he tended his campfire. Here Rijiin played a small instrument he had brought with him from the future. The sound, a sweet soprano, from his instrument echoed the forest. He looked up to meet the looks of several animals that had clustered outside the firelight to watch him play. Rijiin nodded a greeting to them as he continued to play and when he finished his song, he spoke to them.
“Blessings upon you rabbit, deer, fox and unto you brother wolf,” Rijiin said, and met each of their gazes with a polite nod. The rabbit, fox and deer seemed to glance at each other as he spoke to them, his accented words echoing across the campsite.
“Thank you for being my company my friends.” Rijiin told them, “Especially on a very cold, blustery night such as this, best to share warmth of a fire and company of friends.” He grinned broadly at the cluster of animals. They seemed to understand and stayed with him. He fed them some scraps he had with him.
Later, Rijiin did something that the elves never did in his time or their entire existence. He slept and dreamed of the past, the future, as somewhere in the night sky high above him was a large 767 flying overhead in the night. As he lay in his camp, the power of the elves, their magic spilled over him in a white light. When the light finally faded, the forest clearing had remained, but the elf had disappeared. The only remains of him or his camp had been the empty spot where he had been a moment ago.
When Rijiin awoke the next morning, he was unaware of a time shift that had happened, only aware that it was very cold and the ground covered with a new layer of snow. The animals that had been his company were gone, far behind him in the past and by the magic that had guided the elves, Rijiin awoke in the future. He managed a sleepy yawn before sitting up, stretching and glanced up at the billowing clouds of a partly cloudy sky above him. The youthful traveler then turned his head to scan the surrounding woods thought by Rijiin to be Adria. Quickly, he cleaned up the camp and as he did so, nibbled on the rations brought with him from a pouch at his side. Rijiin listened to the unfamiliar sounds of the woods around him and quickly took in a breath of the frosty, crisp air before donning the gray cloak about him. He stood up and turned to the east, walking a few yards away from his camp expecting to find the road that connected the north and south of Adria. Rijiin only found forest.
“Where is the road?” Rijiin thought, as he stood in the middle of the forest, turning three hundred and sixty degrees a couple of time before he walked to the south fifteen paces. In those few steps, he found what appeared to be the road, and quickly nodded relieved. He frowned, sensing something different around his surroundings, suddenly realizing that he did not sense the familiar paths that had brought him to this place.
“Strange. Oh well, back to Saint Brigid,” Rijiin thought again, and turning he walked through the canopy of trees, following the snow-covered road. He did not realizing this road ran east and west rather than north and south. As he followed it, he expected it to return to the remains of Saint Brigid. When Rijiin turned the corner, the road abruptly ended and he gasped when he stared at the sea of white as a large open field appeared before him.
“By our lady,” He exclaimed, “This is not Adria.” Rijiin quickly crouched next to a nearby tree, keeping himself hidden in the leafless thicket to scan the unfamiliar surroundings. Rijiin also kept his hand ready on the handle of the sword at his side, turning his head to scan back and forth to the open surroundings ahead of him. A gleam of sunlight caught his eye on the horizon. It is the reflection from a car traveling on a nearby road in the distance and it gave him one clue to tell him where he was. Rijiin realized he was no longer in the fifteenth century but the twentieth century. Looking up he also saw a jet streaking high above in the partially clear sky.
“Well this is a fine how do you do,” He declared, “I’m in the future. Now this is a switch and how did I get here? Perhaps I am asleep… and I am dreaming.”
He quickly realized he had forgotten what it was like to live in the twentieth century, and that part of him had died when he had changed into an immortal. Still crouched next to a cold trunk of a frozen, leafless tree, Rijiin watched his surroundings for a long time before deciding to move. Many times his solemn gray eyes examined the backboard and he finally recognized it as a baseball diamond. His eyes found the chain link fence nearby on his left bordering a path beyond the backboard. Further, he could see the track and a football field. Kneeling, he peered off into the distance at a cluster of buildings, and what appeared to be a frozen gravel service road running between them. Rijiin shook his head in silence.
“I wonder where I am,” He murmured, “Other than being in the twentieth century again, this place is a damn bit familiar.”
Slowly, he made his way across the field, his footsteps a quiet padding in the snow as he walked toward the buildings. The elf had been quite alarmed at the feeling of déjà-vu he was having and clearly distracted by the strangely familiar surroundings. He had not been paying attention as he walked toward the buildings, and had not seen the fence that separated the field and road. Rijiin, when he struck it full force, found himself flung backward two feet before he knew it was there. He sat on the ground, staring incredibly at the fence.
“Terrific.” Rijiin murmured, as he picked himself up, brushing the snow from his cloak and clothes, “I’d better watch where the heck I am going.”
Feeling foolish, he turned his head to an opening in the fence a couple of feet away from where he hit it. Rolling his eyes in disgust, Rijiin walked toward it, passing through it onto the service road beyond. The elf stumbled on the ice for a moment before regaining his footing and his eyes slowly moved along the pathway that led to the larger building on the left, then to the road lined with snow covered telephone poles bordering it on either side. The road led to a parking lot a short distance away and adjacent to the road was a grass area beside it. Beyond the parking lot, he clearly could see the major roadway where earlier he had seen the car moving across it. His reaction had been surprise.
“Something is familiar about this place.” Rijiin thought, turning his head to the larger building on his left and the other on the right, “Something old, a place I knew from my past. I wonder what it is.”
The elf’s footsteps padded through the snow, as he kept off the ice covered road in the center, and he walked toward the lot ahead. Large flakes of a steady snow fell on him, reducing visibility and concealing his presence, which he was thankful. Rijiin had not seen the face in the window of the building on the right, where a student had gasped aloud seeing the stranger as she watched the snowfall outside. As others joined her, they watched him continue on his way toward the large building next door. When he disappeared around the corner, there was great conversation in the several classrooms that had seen him.
As for Rijiin when he reached the front of the building, he turned to the sidewalk that ended at the lot. The elf ambled a bit further on with silent steps, passing a large glass entry that made up the entry of the large building. It is here he received an abrupt, blunt answer to his question a few minutes ago. A familiar mascot, a great Golden Eagle, is perched on the building and its claws mounted in the top as if it would carry it away. The elf gasped when he saw it at first and he stared at it in astonishment, his mind quickly remembering the name of this place that he could not believe what he was seeing. Rijiin also knew he could not say he was wrong either.
“Bellbrook?” Rijiin muttered under his breath in alarm, staring at the mascot made of fiberglass, gold paint and metal. “What the hell is going on?”
He quickly pulled back the hood of his cloak as he stared in silent bewilderment at the huge statue. Quickly, the elf also became aware of his surroundings, glancing at the windows into the classrooms where students sat in their seats. Rijiin knew he was visible and in a few seconds, everyone in those rooms would see him. At this point, however, the elf just did not care. The elf was astonished being here again in a place that once upon a time, he had attended when he was human a very long time ago.
“Or better yet, a very long time from now.” He muttered quietly, shaking his head to dislodge the snow that pelted his skin and had caught in his long brown hair. His eyes moved silently from the mighty mascot to the windows and back many times, as he stood there.
“Oh my Creatrix, my Lady, what have you done?” Rijiin asked, staring up at the mascot, as now fell thickly around him. “Why have you brought me back to this place? It has now been four hundred years, four centuries and I have made a full circle.” He murmured as he continued to peer at the mascot.
Inside one of the classrooms, however, Janae Dorn had been working on her paper for her class. Feeling chilly, she had glanced up once to the window as a thick blanket of snowflakes fell outside. Here, she turned her head, and her eyes fell briefly upon the elf, clad in the green and gray leather clothing. She resumed her work but had done the comical double take and stared at Rijiin for a long time. He caught her breath in silent surprise, narrowing her eyes as she peered at the elf.
“Who on earth is that?” Janae thought, and she took a quick look at her classmate sitting next to her.
The young woman, her classmate Amy Solomon, stared out of the window next and focused intently upon the young man. She managed a quiet smile. Several snickers, sparse bursts of laughter and curious murmurs rippled through the room like wild fire as an insensible curiosity swept through the room. It also swept through the other classes next door. They peered at the stranger in amusement but also saw he was staring transfixed at the mascot standing on the roof of the building and all had begun to wonder why. Rijiin finally realizing he was on display, had felt their gazes burning into him and at first, he did not acknowledge them. Turning his head finally, he grimaced at the familiar faces before him and after a moment, he managed a slow nod to them. His eyes had focused upon Janae first, his jaw twitching when he recognized her from the past, or in this case future. If their gazes could have sparked, it would have caused fire. Rijiin, despite the strange plight had handled this strange predicament very smoothly and he managed a polite smile as he quickly recovered from his surprise.
As for the students who looked on at the elf, there were many mixed reactions by each person. They all, even Janae, had never seen such solemn gray eyes, or handsome features like Rijiin’s before. The young woman also felt a strange déjà-vu feeling when her eyes fallen upon him for the first time. Beside her, she and the others in the classrooms sensed a strange spark of energy ripple through them. Rijiin casually placed a hand on the handle of the blade he openly wore at his side. His attention moved to his surroundings quickly and then back to the mascot.
“Relax, and be at peace,” Rijiin silently thought, hearing the silent words of Varden and Terrill. “This time does not hold you.”
He turned his head, ignoring the comments, laughter and their stares at him. Rijiin’s gaze remained transfixed on the mascot. Inside the classrooms, there was great conversation about the strange visitor who now stood outside.
“Who is that?” Ms. Z asked, “Why and what is he doing outside? Have any of you seen him before?”
“I don’t know Ms. Z.” A voice replied.
“He’s very handsome, that’s for sure.” Ms. Z said, “Is he a student? Why is he looking at our Eagle like that?”
“I don’t know.”
“That’s one hell of a costume though.” Another student commented, “Right down to the sword at his side.”
“A sword, what sword?” Ms Z asked, and she looked again, gasping to realize indeed, there was a sword visible from his cloak. An ivory handled sword and its sheath. Janae’s gaze fell upon the handsome features of Rijiin and something told her there was something more to the young man she was gazing upon.
“Perhaps he’s a visitor.” A student said, “He looks like he has a purpose here.”
“You know, you may be right, but we’ll see.” Ms. Z said, “OK… Let’s get back on the task please and take your seats.” She headed for the door.
Rijiin turned his head when he had seen Ms. Z and two of the other teachers exit their rooms. He knew in a second they would all be out here and this situation clearly would be out of control. He quickly remembered her as one of the tougher staff members at this institution of learning. Stepping forward three steps, he entered the door of the gym in front of him. As the students all retook their seats, Janae watched him for a moment, before he marched toward the gym entry and then turned her focus back to her work. As Rijiin stepped inside the gymnasium, he cast a sweeping gaze at the interior surroundings and he managed a quiet polite laugh.
“Some things never change.” He thought and shook his head. It is the same as he remembered when had attended here. The building has a large cavernous interior, open and airy, the same large steel girder beams, and large spotlights above. Large bleachers, facing the basketball court make up the one side of the room, and the other side was the stage. He noted the stairways on either side of the bleachers and stage, recognizing they led into the locker rooms and storage areas below. A large wooden floor made up the basketball court and walking on it he moved to the center where a large purple spot marked the center court. There in gold black and white was the familiar logo of the mascot of this place, a Golden Eagle. Rijiin, kneeling beside it let his fingers brush across its purple and gold surface.
“So it’s true.” He murmured, “I am really here, I have jumped time, but when? …And why I am I here again? This really makes no sense.” Standing up, he turned his head when he heard voices behind the stage curtain.
Quickly, Rijiin spun on one heel, walking, half running with silent steps toward an inner door. He crouched by a heavy piano that obscured the hall and waited. He peered into the deserted dim hallway, watchful for anyone who might have seen him. Behind the elf, in the large auditorium, students appeared after a workout on the stage and he watched them walk to the locker room. No one seemed to notice the elf standing in the dim hallway. At this point, he turned away, stepping back from the door and slowly his eyes moved within a familiar long hallway. Quickly Rijiin traversed the hallway, passing the doors of the Art and Music Departments. He quickly arrived at the first cross of the hallways running the length and width of the building. Standing near the edge, Rijiin stood away from the center of the hallway cross and adjusted his bearings. He peered down the hallway at the far end, able to see another set of doors and outside light visible there where he knew the other hallway crossed this one. His head turned to stare down the hallway toward the front of the building where he knew the office to be, the tutor room and the lunchroom. He then turned his attention to the double doors entering the library. Rijiin stared at the short hallway, recognizing this place and it made him smile. The elf had recognized two familiar voices that echoed from within the classrooms nearby.
“Ms. Long.” He murmured, “Ms. Bender, no way.”
The elf had to make a big effort not to look in on the classrooms as he remained near the edge of the wall, his cloak allowing him blend into the darkness and provide him some concealment. Rijiin, as he stood beside the wall, he let out a sharp silent exhale as a student and staff member passed him. The elf watched as they continued on their way and he managed a grin. He was thankful they had not noticed him and he let out a breath, surprised to realize that he had been holding it. Quickly, when the hall cleared, that he walked passed the first cross in the hallway, into a brightly lit section of this hallway near another office. Rijiin noted a nearby alcove, next to some exit doors to the outside and he headed toward it. His being in the alcove kept him clear of the main hallway, offering some additional concealment and it quickly allowed Rijiin to gather his bearings from his memories of this place.
“Okay, this is the sophomore hallway.” Rijiin thought quickly, remembering back when he served here, “Down that way is the freshman hall, the hallways that parallel to the front are the junior’s and senior’s hallways. Right now, I am near the counseling office.”
Rijiin’s gaze scanned the tiled, white walls and the lockers of the freshman/sophomore hall, decorated in the festive orange and black of Halloween. The elf remained in the empty alcove next to a door that exited to the outside. Sure enough, he saw the doorway of the counseling office on one side of the hall, opposite to a row of lockers and the windows. As he continued to watch, his gray eyes silently studied the surroundings as strong memories of this place overwhelmed his senses.
“This is so strange,” Rijiin murmured, “Being back at Bellbrook.”
His eyes beheld something even more familiar to him. He smiled when he had seen it and had left the alcove to walk up to it. Rijiin’s hand touched the metal door of his old locker and his fingers brushed its metal surface. He had been so engrossed in his nostalgia that he did not sense the two people who had appeared from the counseling office doorway behind him. Maryanne Martin, one of the councilors here, had appeared at the door with a student. As both of them stepped into the hallway, they had not sensed Rijiin standing there. When they finally saw him, the student had seen the elf first and had let out a startled yelp. Martin, who stood beside the student had turned her head, and had raised her eyebrow in silent surprise. Both of them glanced at each other after staring at Rijiin for what seemed to be a long time.
“Damn, that’s a cool costume.” The student murmured and the councilor beside her had nodded silently in agreement. Both the councilor and the student stared at Rijiin strangely, unable to take their eyes off the handsome stranger in the odd garb.
“Who is that, do you know him?” Martin asked and glancing at the student, the freshman shrugged. Rijiin, when he sensed them, instinctively reached for his now concealed blade under his cloak as he turned. He relaxed his hand, quickly closing the cloak when he recognized the familiar face.
“WOW.” She said, walking toward Rijiin, studying his fair features, “That is a great costume… Did you make it? Who are you under that makeup?” Rijiin stared at the face, his mind searching for a name. He finally raised an eyebrow when he realized whom it was who stood before him.
“Maryanne Martin, Councilor.” He murmured, politely shaking his head in response to her questions. Beside her, the young student had heard him speak and she had raised her eyebrows as a surprised look appeared on her face. She had heard the inflection and accent in his voice. The young woman had let out a silent breath and realized that something was amiss about this stranger. He did not belong here.
“But how does he know Ms. Martin.” She asked herself, and shook her head in confusion. Rijiin forced himself to relax, keeping his reflexes ready to spring at a moments notice. The student noted his stance and his readiness.
“Come here for a moment please.” She said, motioning to him to follow. Rijiin walked confidently with her in the hallway, and the freshman student studied him, her eyes moving from his face to the garb he wore. He looked battle-worn to the student, his costume patched by Rijiin’s own hand and not realizing that he had fought so many terrible battles against so many enemies throughout the places he had wandered through aimlessly in the century and a quarter away from his home.
“Look at this fantastic costume Jane.” Chortled Martin, pointing at Rijiin to the secretary he knew as Ms. Jane Sparrows of the Counseling section. The secretary looked up and gasped. Beside her, the freshman, one of the class members of ninety-two smiled at the reaction. Rijiin studied her reaction in silence. He also managed a grim smile despite the situation.
“She has not changed.” Rijiin thought to himself. Jane Sparrows is tall and lean, has white hair, and is clad in pseudo business casual, wearing a simple white blouse, black pants and dark framed glasses. Her dark eyes narrowed, studying the elf as if her piercing stare could look through him. Rijiin took a step back instinctively.
“Now that’s a costume don’t you think?” Martin asked and the secretary, seated at her desk had managed a slight nod.
“Wow that’s really well done.” The secretary replied, nodding her head in agreement, “You will win the costume contest hands down. What are you supposed to be?” She had addressed Rijiin and he met her piercing stare. At first he was silent, considering for a moment the question asked by the secretary, and he grinned in spite of himself.
“I am a folklore legend, an elf.” He said, his accented voice echoing in the room. Everyone showed equal surprise when they heard the inflection his voice, and the realistic, thick accent. They had not expecting to hear the accent or inflection and it had caught them clearly off guard.
“That is a wonderful accent.” The secretary complimented, “It sounds like it is real.” Suddenly there was a shift as they felt something was amiss about this stranger. Rijiin bowed slightly at the waist. “My thanks, it is indeed.”
An astonished expression appeared on Ms. Sparrows face and it was an expression that that made the elf smile. Another uncomfortable pause rippled through the office. “So where are you supposed to be now?” She asked, “uhm…”
“Rijiin, Rijiin L’Theil, and I am at your service,” The elf prompted and quickly bowed slightly. There were grins at the unusual custom and it had reminded them of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn.
“What kind of name is that?” Sparrows asked, “Who are you really? You are playing your roll well.”
“It is my name…” Rijiin began. He stopped speaking, feeling a chill in the air and suddenly realizing this was clearly getting out of hand. The elf felt the need to withdraw. There was surprise on everyone’s face.
“You seem familiar to me, have we met before?” Martin asked and he pondered only a brief moment to nod slightly.
“It was a while ago, but yes, you might not remember me though.” He responded formally, “A lifetime ago perhaps.”
“A Lifetime, what do you… I really doubt that. Where are you supposed to be now, Rijiin…?” Martin asked, smiling “Please get your stuff and go there.”
“Aye, I was in the process and shall.” Rijiin replied, “Be at peace.” He stepped away from them, and without turning, he paused. His eyes fell on the opening door to a tall muscular, man with a handlebar mustache and sandy blond/graying hair and brown eyes. The elf smiled seeing the man nod to him politely before turning toward the door. He remembered another name, Bob Yux, one of the other coaches and councilors here at Bellbrook.
“May the hand of the Lady, be upon you.” There was astonishment by his statement and a suppressed laugher that followed. Rijiin withdrew and stood in the alcove across from the old locker unobserved. He let a breath out in silence.
“That was too close.” He thought, “Why was I not found out and questioned more?” He grumbled, “That made no sense.” Rijiin scanned the notice he had taken from the board next to the office door.
“October 31st, 1989.” The notice said, and Rijiin nodded in half understanding.
“It is a year and a few months after I left but it still says nothing of why I have arrived back at this place.” He thought, “At least it tells me when.” The elf quickly folded the page and placed into the pouch that hung from his side. Rijiin withdrew a bit further into the alcove when he heard a bell, and he grimaced, realizing it was the bell for changing of classes. He had forgotten about that and Rijiin’s gray eyes found the clock on the wall that read 11:30. He shook his head in amused silence.
“Oh, it is the lunch period.” He muttered, “Just great.” He watched as a sea of students filled the hall and the elf managed a silent smile at the costumes. Rijiin remembered the certain day they dressed up.
“Ah yes, I remember now, its Halloween.” He murmured, “I will fit right in…”
With that, he glanced down at his costume, the one he had worn for a long time as he had traveled Europe. It was patched in a few places, having taken damage from battle in which he had fought. Rijiin scanned the hallway and smiled at the students who were in full form of the Halloween spirit. Many memories flashed in his brain and names of those he now gazed upon that he had not seen in a long time. As they passed the elf, he flashed a grin as he recognized them, knowing a few by name, and others not. The students began to notice him and a low murmur rippled in the hallway as they stared in confusion at Rijiin.
Upper classman had also seen the elf, and they grimaced at the sight of him. They all stared at the green and gray garb, his cloak and his fair features. They recognized a very good costume that would be recognized and judged as the best costume for the day. They decided to play a prank, part of the trick portion of this day and throw eggs at him. Their intent was to ruin his costume, and make him look like a fool. They stretched back as they took aim, unaware that they were in for an abrupt wake up call. Rijiin had had his back partially to them when he sensed the incoming food and had pivoted slightly, letting it splatter on the wall next to him. There had been a pause as the upper classman glanced at each other, and they had thrown a couple more eggs. The elf, this time in a leisurely maneuver had moved and his hand caught the eggs without breaking them and he threw both eggs back at them. It hit one upper classman on the forehead and another in the face. There was a gasp by all who looked on in silent amusement and great laughter followed.
The elf’s back was again turned partially to them as they approached, intending to start a fight. He had not particularly been interested in fighting with anyone, as that was not his purpose here today, but it seemed to come to him nevertheless. The elf sensed a fist moving in toward him, and with little effort, he dodged effortlessly letting the hand expel into the air, another hitting the wall. A yelp followed as it hit the wall covered by egg that ran down to the floor. The elf dodged again as another punch moved in and Rijiin pivoted a third time to block it. He let another punch move in and this time the elf grabbed his assailant’s wrist, slamming the young human’s face into the wall next to the raw egg that ran down the tiled surface. There was a gasp by all as the elf held him there with one hand, his grip, to the student, was like iron.
“You forgot your egg.” Rijiin snarled, “And you are way over your head boy.”
He stepped back as others moved in to help and he swept the knee from under the student, knocking him down onto the floor. The others who had ran into to join the fight had thrown punches too. Rijiin with confidence had stepped in, his hand flashing to block one punch and with amazing speed, catching the other in mid-flight with a strong grip. There was a gasp and the hall was still as the elf held him effortlessly with one hand. The fight had ended abruptly as it had started, the visitor holding the struggling human, squeezing his hand and inflicting great pain on his wrist. The student he held screamed and glanced at his companions who stood around silently. Rijiin heard his finger bones giving way with a loud crack.
“What are you waiting for, hit him! Hit hi…AAAGH.”
“Enough.” Rijiin exclaimed, cursing softly under his breath. Around him, a low murmur echoed from the gathered crowd. He turned his head and met each one’s gaze all surprised by his accented voice and at perhaps the hint of starlight that had twinkled brightly from his eyes. The elf turned his head, coldly staring at the melee of upper classman who stood around him.
“I would suggest you move along.” Rijiin said coldly, the inflection of the elves strong in his voice, “Before you get in over your head and take this punk with you.”
With that, he opened the cloak and revealed the long dagger on his belt and his sword that hung inconspicuously at his back. They took a step back and he pushed the student toward them. The upper classman he had been holding rubbed his hand, cradling it as they slowly moved away. Reluctantly the other upper classman backed off, leaving Rijiin alone as he stood his ground. Mixed applause and mutterings followed.
“Are you alright?” A voice asked. Rijiin turned as Katie Roth approached from the sea of students and he managed a smile, staring at her familiar, youthful features.
“That was amazing, are you new here?” She asked, “I have never seen anyone fight like that or have seen you here before.”
“It was indeed!” Another voice chimed in and Rijiin glanced at several people, recognizing many of the familiar faces as they clustered around him. The young elf stepped back into the alcove as another sea of people crowded by him, who glanced at him before passing him by. For many, there was intrigue, wondering who it was behind the costume and what they thought was makeup. Rijiin had not hurt the human, able to break his hand if he chose to. He was a healer and it was not for him to cause pain. The young elf could heal, having done so many times in the century that he called home and a region known as Adria. It was a memory of a place that was far away for the elf, and he passed a hand over his face as if to clear the harsh memories.
“My name is Rijiin, Rijiin L’Theil.” He told her, bowing slightly, and she smiled at the voice as she glanced at the others. All had heard the accent and thick inflection in his voice. Surprise had appeared on their faces. They had not expected someone like this to grace this place of learning and be in their presence today.
“Katie Roth.” She said, turning to a few of her friends and even fellow classmates who had seen the fight.
“Jade Claycraft, Melinda Morris, Kathy Lehman, Amy Panstingle, Stacey Warner.” The voices said, taking turns and Rijiin bowed slightly.
“Good to meet you.”
“So where are you from?” Katie asked, “That is a wonderful accent.”
“I am from all over.” He said, “Many different places across the Atlantic.”
“Oh you are from Europe.”
“Aye,” Rijiin said, “Mostly near the Mediterranean area, close to Greece and Italy out of Spain. I lived in an area called….uh Adria.”
The elf’s voice trailed off, his eyes betraying the surprise on his face when they fell upon a familiar face, one that he would think never to see again in a lifetime. A face whom he remembered from his time here and as he faced his own death while lying somewhere in time in the midst of a forest clearing in Adria. His voice trailed off when his eyes fell upon a familiar young woman named Emily Montgomery, who had been walking with her friends in his direction. The young woman met his look with no sign of recognition, nodding to a now stranger who wore a unique costume thought for the day. He quickly remembered his homeroom class with Ms. Hill and the young woman was in her class next door. They waved to each other every morning.
The others turned their heads to smile when they realized whom he was staring. He touched his forehead as he silently nodded his head at the young woman. Stephanie Riner, standing nearby had seen the motion and smiled. Janae Dorn had been walking the hallway to her locker, and had turned the corner to see the stranger. She had immediately realized the cloaked man standing here had been the same person in front of the school a bit ago, dressed in the fantastic but strange costume. Angie Stethem, Steven Herres, and Mark Alsobrook, all three had watched in astonishment of the entire event a few minutes ago too.
“Oh my god he was real!” Janae thought, her expression showing surprise. It had been no dream. More people had started to notice Rijiin now. Reggie Wax, Doug Woolard, Steve “Twinkie” Gardnier, Denise “Watts” Watson and many others he knew well in another life, another time. Seeing these people again had unnerved him and he overheard the many comments about his old-fashioned costume. As Emily had approached him, the elf stepped back as he drew them into the alcove and letting others pass in the hall behind. Around him, he sensed a faint shimmer of magic.
“Hello.” She said, smiling at him. Rijiin in turn had managed a slight grin, staring at the face he had not seen in a long time.
“Blessings,” He replied. The young woman grinned when she saw the motion, of touching his forehead first as he bowed slightly.
“Nice costume.” She said, “Who are you… Are you from the Senior Class? Who are you under all that makeup?” Rijiin only managed a grin, and shook his head in a silent reply.
“It is with my thanks.” Rijiin replied, as the students stepped forward, clustering about him. “But I am not from a class here, I am a…”
With that, he paused, contemplating his answer quickly and wondered how much he could divulge in information that would not harm the time stream. Rijiin thought of the many science fiction shows that came to mind and how in each program that a minor slip could disrupt future events. As for Rijiin, he had almost slipped and caught himself before saying an ‘Elf of Malvern.’ Here at this place of learning and among the now large group gathered here, he would not have been out of line to say it. The elf sensed no bigotry, racism, or persecution here. His only crime would have been their doubts of Rijiin’s identity.
“I am a visitor and old friend… We met a long time ago and you may not remember me.” He continued, slowly panning to meet the smiling faces of those clustered around him.
“A friend,” She replied with a smile, “It must have been a while ago.”
“It is so.” Rijiin replied remembering someone else who had said the exact same thing, “It has been a long time, and I did not look like I do now.”
“Oh… Well, I’m Emily.” She said, and Rijiin took up her hand, kissing it gently as he bowed. The young woman had blushed at the old-fashioned custom and everyone around them smiled in amusement.
“It is a great honor,” Rijiin said, “To meet you all, and make your acquaintances.”
Although Emily and the others present did not hear him say it, they had heard the word ‘again’ indicated a moment after he had replied to their chatter. Rijiin turned slightly, keeping the blade hidden under his cloak as he nodded to each one of them. His words hung in the air a long moment, before turning to meet each face. He managed a nod to each one.
“Alas, they are young.” Rijiin thought, as he stared at them, “So young.”
“So, you were the one in front a while ago weren’t you?” Janae asked, as the rest of the group walked up to stand beside him. Rijiin slowly met the familiar faces of Katie Roth, Steph Rhiner, Angie Stethem, Jen Metzler and now Reggie Wax. He spied Brackney Cooper, Doug Woolard, Casey Hess, and countless others peering at him from their places down the hall. The elf felt uncomfortable, he felt old now and only nodded his head positively to the young woman. More students who are more familiar to the elf had walked up.
“Aye,” He said, and her face showed surprise, “I was.”
“Why were you looking at our mascot, the eagle like that?”
“He was outside earlier, probably just arriving here and he was staring transfixed at our mascot.” Janae explained and she glanced at Rijiin.
“That mascot reminded me of something very old, from my past ages ago.” The elf replied, “I was not sure if I had been to this place before. It has been a very long time since I saw your mascot or that sort of thing in my travels.”
“Huh?” Janae asked, and he shook his head, as if to again clear harsh memories.
“It is of no consequence. I am here.” Rijiin told them and grinned. “Be at peace.”
Smiles appeared on everyone’s faces. They did not quite know what to make of Rijiin and his presence here. The elf had intrigued them by his presence, his garb and looks. They were not sure whom it was that stood before them. Rijiin wondered if he could tell them without disrupting the time stream.
“You are so strange… I have a feeling I know you from somewhere…” Angie said and the elf managed a quiet chuckle. Others present had nodded in agreement.
“You must be a student here, but your costume looks, and your accent sounds so real. Are you sure you are not from the senior class?”
“More than you know.” the young elf thought as he met her smile, “If you only knew.” He only shook his head in response to the many questions.
The elf met the surprised, but dubious expressions on their faces. He smiled when he saw Rachael Fabrick and Dawn Fader walk up toward him. Doug Lehman followed with Joe Laux.
“So Rijiin what brings you here?” Emily asked, intrigued like the others and curious about this stranger. He glanced up, almost replying without thinking, but fell silent as he contemplated his answer.
“I am just visiting, a traveler as you will, coming on a whim.” He told the group, “I am no student here… Not for a long time.” There were more confused dubious looks on their faces. Rijiin then sensed something he had not felt in a long time. It was a powerful sensation, one that made him gasp aloud. The sensation seemed to overwhelm his senses.
“By our lady,” He gasped, shaking his head as he reached out to steady himself on the wall. Rijiin gasped when his inner sight kicked in and he felt an overwhelming sense of a sinister evil approaching. It is the same feeling he had felt well over one hundred years, when he had traveled across Europe. An evil power that the elf would fight a long time ago and thought destroyed by his own blade. Outside, as it snowed a clap of thunder boomed across the landscape. The clouds seem to billow violently. Everyone heard it, a few who were near the doors peered outside. The sky had grown dark and the clouds billowed, an almost purplish in color. Inside Rijiin swooned, holding onto the wall.
“But that was a long time ago.” He thought, “That cannot be what I am sensing.”
“Are you alright, Rijiin?” A voice asked, watching Rijiin and seeing the astonished, pained expression on his fair features. He turned carefully in a circle as his head and eyes scanned the hall. Everyone present laughed, others stared in astonishment when the elf straightened as he readied for a fight.
“Correction, it is here,” Rijiin declared suddenly, knowing he had a job to do. He would have to fight the evil he now sensed, and there was no escape from it. He only suspected what the evil was and a name came to mind.
“Katie, Steph, Emily, Angie, everyone clear the hall…Quickly!” The young elf exclaimed, reaching back to draw the blade from the scabbard with a sharp metallic sound. There were gasps of alarm as the onlookers saw the blade, and realized it is a real one. Rijiin slowly turned, holding the blade ready and his eyes ever watchful for any signs. It was here nearby, probably watching and waiting.
“I can’t see you, but I know you are here.” Rijiin said clearly, ducking as the whistle of a blade whipped over his head, and a loud clang that followed. Rijiin rolled clear, onto his feet, and held his blade ready. The elf had surprise on his face at what he saw, a man whom he had not seen in over a hundred years and he thought to be dead. It would not be unlike the elves starlight, green and gray garb, gray cloaks and their magic, all having perished a long time ago.
The wizard was quick to get his blade free, moving in on the elf and Rijiin barely able to react except by instinct. Sparks flew as their blades struck several times, and he pivoted to kick the wizard in the chest, making him back up a few steps. He suddenly remembered the name when a dark overlord named Tantras of Thay forcefully took control of a realm and tried to enslave the common folk. The elf had fought against everything the wizard stood for, having seen his harsh methods of control and death among men, but also not limited to women and children too. He managed a grimace.
“Tantras…! Nice to see you...” Rijiin exclaimed. The wizard’s name instinctively coming to his lips as the wizard stood before him, clad in the familiar red robes. The elf knew who he was, the purest evil the elf had ever encountered or known in his travels. He held up his blade in a side stance his blade straight up as he stared at Tantras’ leathery face. Rijiin noted the complex scar at his neck, where a long time ago he had cut him the last time they had fought.
“By our lady, the man has not changed,” He thought grimacing, “Still twisted and evil.”
“Rijiin,” Tantras exclaimed, his voice a mere growl and he turned to glance at the crowd of onlookers. There were murmurs among students and staff who had heard the growl by the figure cloaked in red. They glanced at Rijiin who stood fast, holding his ground as he faced down the figure in red, showing little emotion or fear. He held his blade, gripping it easily, as he stared into the almost flaming albino eyes of the evil wizard. Tantras snarled and he raised his staff as he stepped in toward Rijiin. Quickly the pair fought, exchanging flashes of steel that resonated through the hall. Sparks danced from the blades as they met, and a crackle of static electricity echoed through the air. A ripple of fear by the many students moved through the hallway. Many of the students had departed to get their lunch and quickly returned only to see this unholy situation brewing before them.
The elf relied on his deftness of foot, his skill at steel-play and his knowledge of battle as he fought Tantras. Many times, Rijiin let the powerful strikes expel into the open air, the wizard’s blade whistling loudly as they came within inches of his person and others he skillfully parried. He spun like a cat in place, letting Tantras’ blade whistle along his back. This fight would be nothing like he had encountered in his travels or like the last time the young elf and Tantras would clash. Before when the elves fought, they relied on the starlight that helped them in battle, but again that was a long time ago and there was no starlight now. The power of the elves long since had faded at the end when they gave themselves to oblivion. Strike after strike the elf parried or dodged the wizard’s strikes, pivoting away from him. The whole time, with each motion, Rijiin lured and drew him farther down the hallway deliberately away from the crowd, his intent to protect them so that no innocent blood spilled on this day. The crowd around the elf and wizard dodged and cleared the hallway as they continued to fight.
A door opened and two staff members stepped through the door, gasping aloud when they saw the unholy situation of violence brewing here. They stared at Rijiin a sword in hand, who squared off with Tantras a bladed staff in hand, as live steel exchanged between them. The elf could see the Martin and Sparrows stood too close to Tantras, who lunged at them, trying to distract Rijiin’s attention to get an underhanded strike at him. The elf blocked one blow that had almost taken Martin’s head off and he pushed her aside knocking her clear. He moved to block as Yux appeared at the door. All three were shocked at what was happening here.
“I beg your pardon messier, mistress.” He told them as his fist connected with the wizard’s chin and the elf grimaced when it made the wizard back up three steps.
“Please Maryanne, please Bob, keep the students back, and the staff needs to stay back too,” Rijiin growled, “This is my fight, and I cannot allow anyone to lose their lives, not to this man. I am the only one who can defeat him. Fear not, I will protect everyone from him.”
“Who the hell is that Rijiin?” The councilor stammered, “What is going on here?”
“Maryanne, please,” Rijiin said, making her look up, hearing the urgency in his tone. The other councilor heard his tone too, seeing the look the elf gave him and his first name. The elf shook his head at both of them. The young elf stepped forward bravely and brought the blade up to block and sparks appeared, lancing out to kick him, pushing him back three feet. The wizard stood there stunned for a moment or two. Standing beside the elf it had startled Martin to hear her first name and usually it was not appropriate for a student to do that. She suddenly sensed there was more to Rijiin L’Theil than she understood, and gasped to realize he was no student.
“Much more,” She thought, frowning as he stepped forward toward the figure cloaked in red. Moving in they exchanged several more shots and the clashing of the blades and the thunder outside could be heard throughout the hall.
“Jane, you’d better call the police.” Martin said and the secretary turned. She paused a moment when something extraordinary caught her eye and realized the elf was glowing slightly with an aura. Blinking her eyes, she looked again for confirmation. The students and staff saw the same thing and stared in silent wonder.
“He’s glowing?” Thought Sparrows, “What the heck is that about?” She found herself unable to move for some reason.
“What on Earth is that!?” Martin exclaimed as more staff appeared from the hall and rooms around them.
Rijiin had heard Martin’s instruction, and he almost laughed aloud at the absurdity of the thought, knowing fully well that the police would not be able to take Tantras by normal means. He would slaughter them just as he had men, women, and children two hundred years ago. The wizard, the elf knew, was uncontrollable by mortals or anyone and he had shown that during his evil reign over a kingdom he had taken over. He dodged several more strikes by the evil one in red, lunging to thrust his blade forward.
“I wouldn’t bother with that.” Rijiin told them, “They will die the same way as you all will if I fail to stop him.”
“I-I don’t understand, why is it your fight Rijiin?” Maryanne asked, “What do you mean you are the only one to stop him?”
“He has come for me,” Rijiin replied coldly, “Be at peace, he cannot harm me, Tantras of Thay is a known killer and has been after me for a long time now, for almost a hundred and a quarter years. He is the purest evil you will ever know. You humans have one life, and if you value it I suggest you stay back.” The elf had echoed the warning by Conner McCloud from the Highlander movie.
“What!” Gasped the councilor, a look of surprise on her face, “T-that’s c-crazy, that’s impossible!”
“Not if you are an elf and an immortal.” Rijiin said, as he held his blade ready, “I am Rijiin L’Theil. I was borne at in the year thirteen hundred and thirteen in the forest’s of Malvern. I am immortal and I cannot die.” He paused, turning toward the wizard and glanced at the startled expressions around him. Rijiin pointed the blade at Tantras and then put the blade against the floor as if to draw an invisible line on the floor in front of him. He straightened after the motion and held the blade, daring the wizard to cross it.
“Come wizard, take me if you can,” He challenged and the wizard grimaced, snarling venomously. There was surprise by the staff member and the students present who heard Rijiin’s challenge. He stepped forward, trading steel and he cut the wizard on his shoulder. The elf had followed through and had stepped back from Tantras. Everyone saw the bloody slash, the very real blood on the red robe and the splattering of it onto the tile floor. A low murmur followed as the wizard’s blood dripped onto the floor.
“First blood, don’t bother to yield,” Rijiin exclaimed sharply, as he had spun away after following through and stood with his blade ready. Tantras snarled, quietly cursing before he moved in, trying to hit the dodging elf with flashes of magic that he cast upon him. As Rijiin backed, he moved from side to side, letting the blade expel into the empty air and his spells. Students and staff moved aside in all directions as they fought. He motioned for the wizard to follow, drawing him back, and leading him toward the alcove on the far side of the hall. Other staff members had come into the action, and the elf parried to move back, standing between them and the wizard.
“What the heck is going on?” A shout asked as many others had come from all directions.
“There’s two people sword dueling in the sophomore’s hallway.”
All eyes had turned, watching the sword battle and the flashes of energy from Tantras. Rijiin continued to trade steel as he backed down the hall, leading the wizard along with him. Many times people scattered to avoid being taken up in this violence, and elf had made sure to head for the door taking the fight outside. Sparks lanced out from the blades as they struck in the cold air. Above them, thunder boomed despite it was cold and snowing. The clouds seem to be billowing and seemed to be reacting to each strike. There was astonishment throughout the whole building at the thunder and lightning that boomed and the lightning that crackled overhead. Staff appeared at the door, as did the students, watching in silence as the two circled and fought. The elf dodged and did the splits and with a lunge, he pushed and flipped in mid air over the blade of the wizard. There was a gasp and cheer by the students and staff.
“Very well done, Rijiin!” A voice shouted as cheer resonated across the field. The elf grinned as he landed on his feet to turn and parry Tantras’ blade, sparks appearing in the open cold air.
“You still are as good as you were centuries ago.” The Mage grumbled, “But you are still weaker than I and are still weak for keeping the wrong company. We pathetic humans killed your people into extinction a long time ago, and yet you still care for them.” Rijiin listened carefully to the statement, as did the others around him. There was a low murmur echoing through the group who watched.
“You are dead.” The wizard said, as a strange aura surrounded him.
“Save the empty threats, as it has been tried before and that has failed. Come and fight if you dare wizard.” Rijiin challenged.
Tantras snarled and leapt in, Rijiin barely dodged the reckless move that would have severely damaged him. The two circled and Rijiin slipped in and he cut Tantras again, his blade slicing cleanly on his throat. A scream echoed the field from the spectators as blood spilled from the wound. Grimacing, the evil wizard’s face showed rage as he staggered backwards.
“Hurt?” Rijiin taunted sarcastically, thinking of the character Ramirez from the Highlander movie. He had taunted the Kurgan character in the fight between them in the movie when he cut him across his throat. He grinned in spite of the situation here. His life certainly had been like the Highlander movie for the years he had been alone, traveling and living many lives. There was a sporadic chuckle from the spectators, recognizing the statement from the Highlander Movie.
“Die elf!” Tantras coughed.
“My cut has improved your voice.” Rijiin sarcastically taunted and he smiled again before ducking the blade as it whistled over his head. The elf had just barely moved the blade in the parry. Again, they circled and Rijiin waited for the right move that would make him victor to this fight, if it were possible. Rijiin dodged as Tantras cast his arcane magic making steaming holes in the snow where it struck. The elf staggered backward as the wizard’ blade flicked out and cut Rijiin’s arm, before the point found home in his chest. Rijiin had only let out a sharp grunt, and staggered falling to his knees as the wizard found himself tackled from behind. He heard the scream and voices from the group now gathered and from others who ran toward the elf.
“Leave him alone!” A voice shouted, as five people had tackled Tantras, including a staff member.
“MISHEAR!” Tantras’ voice thundered and a moment later, he saw the five people who had tackled Tantras, thrown back ten feet. The elf heard a curse, as Janae tackled the wizard, and he watched as Katie followed suit followed by two other upper classman. The wizard drew a dagger and without a word, he cut Janae’s throat. Blood spurted from the wounds, and both had no chance to cry out. Others were on him but promptly thrown off. Students and staff stood their ground in front of the wizard as a ball of energy appeared over his head as he cast a spell.
“Poran cir argos!” Tantras snarled as the energy thrust out, throwing them back. Many dodged but in the path of the fire, several were not so fortunate. There was a loud scream, as many burned alive. More students and staff squared off before the wizard, much more cautious now as a few of the students tried to help the wounded. He saw Katie and Janae’s classmates held something against the wound in her chest. They murmured quietly for them both to be still.
A staff member and a couple of students had charged the elf to help him and they knelt beside him.
“Rijiin,” A voice said. The young elf turned his head and saw no one near him.
“Get up Rijiin.” Her voice commanded, echoing in his head. “You must help them.”
“I am finished, my Lady, let me fade.” Rijiin replied, “Let me join the others.”
The group gathered beside the elf heard his reply and raised their eyebrows, wondering who he was talking to. Rijiin closed his eyes for a moment.
“Get up Rijiin! Damn you…” Another voice echoed in his head and he raised an eyebrow when he thought he heard the voice of Mirya, Terrill’s lover. The elf turned his head and thought he could see the images of Sana, Cara, Talla, Terrill, Varden, and Mirya nearby.
Rijiin lay back and closed his eyes. He gasped when he saw something he had not seen in over a hundred years. He saw starlight burning brightly, clearly and coldly in the darkness. He let the starlight flow, something else he had not done in centuries and as it filled in, it did so in a burst of energy. Slowly he sat up, startling the several people who stood or knelt beside him. As he stood up Rijiin motioned with his hand and the blade carried by one of the students flew from his hand.
“Wait, you will bleed if you get…” A concerned voice said and the elf met the speaker with a silent shake of his head. They let the elf stand on his feet, and they saw the blood had stopped, only covering the leather tunic he wore. The wound was gone.
“Oh my god!” A voice said, and all attention focused upon Rijiin. Time seemed to stand still, as he began to glow and an aura of starlight energy appeared around him. A wind whipped from behind the elf, making the falling snow swirl across the field.
“What the f…” A voice exclaimed, “Oh my god, he’s…” The voice fell into silence as the students, and staff who surrounded Tantras, had stopped and turned. Everyone present had been astonished, seeing Rijiin standing alive, well and walking toward the evil one in red. The wizard himself had also turned, seeing his adversary standing there and his jaw had dropped open at first. Quickly recovering himself, his mouth twitched slightly.
“No.” Rijiin declared solemnly, “I cannot allow this, this is a time that has never known battle and should remain as it is. It shall remain without bloodshed. Come and fight me wizard.” The young elf challenged and he pointed the blade at him, “If you dare, because Lord Tantras, you have chosen the wrong timeline and focal point!” Another shift in time seemed to happen.
“You now have two troubles Lord Tantras.” He challenged coldly, the inflection strong in his voice and full of starlight, “Swords and elven magic.”
Everyone around them heard Rijiin’s words, the cold icy tone that filled his voice, and he kept the blade pointed at the wizard. Staff and humans looked on as he walked between the bodies of Katie and Janae. He let the power of starlight flow over him and the wizard did not move until Rijiin stood practically in front of him. Tantras roared as he jumped in at the elf, thrusting his weapon toward him and Rijiin had already connected to the stars when the wizard had lunged. The elf expertly brought up his blade easily in one motion to block Tantras’ blade. Quickly Rijiin felt the power surge from within and the starlight flowing fluidly through him. The elf moved in easily, able to see images of battle lay out before him. He knew what the wizard planned even before Tantras knew himself. Rijiin’s blade flashed as he dodged, parried or blocked the motion of the wizard as they circled. Both traded steel shot for shot, and Rijiin did not budge letting most of wizard’s powerful strikes expend cleanly into the air.
Tantras swung his staff across the body and tried for a head shot. The wizard had to step back quickly, almost breaking his own neck to avoid Rijiin’s blade moving in toward him. The elf lanced out with another spinning kick, hitting the wizard in his sternum and he flew backwards five feet to land with a hard thud in the snow. Tantras sat in the snow dazed for a moment, and he reached up to touch his throat when he felt a dribble of warmth on his neck. He stared at the blood, his own blood that now was on his hand and realizing the elf had cut him again. He jumped to his feet.
“Damn you elf.” Tantras spat as he stood there facing the calm expression of Rijiin who waited. The wizard muttered a spell and multiple times his arcane magic and his staff lanced out at the elf with no avail. The wizard’s face showed frustration, as the elf calmly stood there and his bladed staff whistled as he lashed out. Rijiin danced away as Tantras moved in and lifting his leg, the elf drove his knee in his sternum. The wizard exhaled sharply and Rijiin threw him clear. The mage was on his feet, and left then right the elf parried the onslaught by Tantras with his bladed staff.
“This shall end now.” Rijiin exclaimed as their blades clashed loudly. Every strike seemed to resound with thunder across the field as they fought. Lighting and thunder crashed above them, the clouds still billowing as they fought.
“ELTHIA!” The Elf’s voice rang out clear and cold. Students and staff had heard the voice of Rijiin to look up as he parried the bladed staff of the wizard. Rijiin stood his ground his blade at ready. Tantras charged in toward the Elf a second later he saw his opening. He pivoted on one foot as his blade lanced out, slicing the wizard across his throat. Rijiin followed through and pivoting in behind, he let his blade flash as it sliced again. The wizard staggered forward as a grayish complexion appeared on his face and around them time seemed to stop. No one moved for several seconds as everyone stared at the wizard then to Rijiin. Slowly the head of the wizard, as if in slow motion, slid from his body from the neck. A scream sounded as Tantras’ head rolled three times, and the body fell behind it. It was over and Rijiin stood beside the wizard’s inert body.
“There can be only one!” Rijiin declared solemnly as a glow appeared around the body of Tantras. It became incandescent as the body began to rise upward. White energy and sparks had appeared from the neck of the body that moved outward toward the elf. Students and staff all stared in silence, as the energy enveloped Rijiin and the elf closed his eyes as he soaked in the white energy. He shook as he took in the electrical energy and a moment he screamed as a wind whipped around him. Windows from the nearby buildings blew outward covering everyone in glass. It was same scenario from the Highlander movies after the battle ended between two immortals. Rijiin brought up the blade to his forehead as another burst of energy swirled about the elf before he sank to his knees. Clearing his head quickly, glanced at the others around him, the other students who watched this event from the beginning to end. He stared hard at the body of the wizard.
“What the hell was that?” A voice asked, as a low murmur rippled through the gathered students and staff.
“The battle has ended and Rijiin has won.” A voice said, “Just like the movie Highlander.”
“No, I will not heal you, damn you.” Rijiin said, almost with a growl, still kneeling over the body of Tantras, his voice filled with cold starlight, “This and your life line will end now.”
Students and staff present had heard him, and they turned, eyebrows raised. The elf’s voice had been hard, without mercy and yet tempered like the steel he held in his hand. Again, glances went from Rijiin to the wizard and back again. The elf, sheathing the blade had turned to walk toward the bodies of those fallen and toward the humans who had gathered around the bodies of their friends who lay in the snow. The staff members and students were baffled. Everyone stayed where they were, as they watched the elf in astonishment and all surprised by what they had just seen. The elf sighed before he turned and walked to the first two bodies. Here he knelt beside Janae first. Rijiin glanced up at the people who had knelt beside her and they met his look.
“What are you?” A voice asked, “Who was that? Why did you kill him?” Rijiin said nothing, as a hard look appeared on his face, and an incandescent aura seemed to flow from his hands. The power in his hands seemed to shift as it surrounding him, making him glow brightly. They jumped back as he let the starlight flow and were silent as the strange glowing aura surrounded the bodies of Janae and Katie lying in the snow.
“HEY what are you doing?” A voice asked and Rijiin turned to see Steve Herries standing over him as well as Val and others. Many of the young women were weeping over the dead who lay in the snow. There was a white flash, as if a flash of sunlight pulsed in the cold daylight, the aura still surrounding Rijiin.
“I am and elf and healer.” He replied, “I can help and heal. A talent, I shall lend to repair this madness.” Rijiin had spoken quietly, and matter-of-factly as he looking up to meet each expression of sorrow.
“But they are dead.” Val said, and Rijiin shook his head. Staff members stood like the students, watching what he was doing, unsure what to do.
“You humans give up too easily.” The elf murmured, “It is so, Val, but death is only a condition that can be reversed.” Rijiin pushed back his hair, and revealed his slender ears that showed clearly. They stared at the elf’s fair features in astonishment. They realized there was something more to Rijiin. His statement had been true.
“What does that… uh… mean?” The young man had been startled to hear his name and like several others had never told Rijiin who they were. He had already known who they were from his time together at Bellbrook and where he had been a part of these people’s lives. They had stared aghast at the energy now swirling in a sphere around the elf and their fallen classmates. Rijiin focused the starlight, seeing the wound closing up before his eyes and he felt the young woman’s presence once again before him. Turning he let the incandesce strike Katie and healing energy poured over her. He sensed them both here and living again. Rijiin allowed himself to smile, as time seemed to freeze. He could almost hear the hymn of the Lady sang by Natil as she played her harp, a long time ago. He looked down at the young woman named Janae and over at Katie who lay in the snow, knowing they could feel healing warmth coursing through their bodies. Slowly she opened her eyes and turning her head she stared at the face of Rijiin.
“W-where am I?” Janae whispered, “What happened? It’s cold…” She tried to sit up but Rijiin gently pushed her back. The young woman had a surprised look on her face.
“Just lay there a moment and relax, until you both gain your strength again.” He said, and turned his head to regard Katie who had opened her eyes too. They remembered the last images as a dagger flashed. Everyone looked on in amazement at what had happened. Rijiin had brought them back from the dead, and healed them.
“What’s going on?”
“Oh my god they’re alive! Look!” A shout said and everyone ran toward Janae Katie, and the others.
Janae turned her head. “What’s wrong? What happened, why are you all staring at me?” Katie had the same question on her face and they turned to regard Rijiin. They heard the shouts, their classmates and staff members clustering about the two young women. Their eyes never left the elf, kneeling beside them.
“You were both dead.” Rijiin whispered, “All is well, I… I brought you back.”
“I… We were dead?” Katie asked, glancing at Janae, but both did remember the flash of a silver dagger and a brief pain from their slash wound.
“But…h-how can you be alive, we saw you stabbed in the chest!” Katie stammered, staring incredibly at the elf, “You should be dead! I saw the wound!”
“Be at peace, it is very difficult to kill an elf.” Rijiin replied, “Ta nae seasamin. Lle anta est.”
Rijiin spoke Elvish to them, as fluently as he had centuries ago. There were cheers, yelps of joy, shouts echoing around them as Janae and Katie sat up. He stood up, walking toward the others helped up by fellow students. The two peered at the place in the snow where they had fallen over fifteen minutes ago and both wincing at the blood, their blood, that still stained the snow. Many voices echoed across the field, trying to explain to them that they had been dead for fifteen minutes. Katie’s first reaction was a puzzled glance down at her shirt, seeing the hole and blood on it. Her mouth was open as she pulled the top of her shirt open and peered down at the sound flesh there.
“There is no wound!” Katie exclaimed to herself, still peering at the sound flesh. Her gaze fell upon Rijiin, walking a short distance to the others who had fallen here today and he knelt beside the charred remains of what had been Emily, Stephanie, Brian, Mark and several others, even a staff member or two. Without another word, he reached into his pouch and withdrew an amber stone. The sphere of energy seemed to fill into the stone as he knelt there and it began to glow. Students and staff had turned to stare at Rijiin and had drawn back when they saw the stone he now held in his hands.
“Oh my god!” Janae and Katie exclaimed, their smiles fading when they saw the glowing stone. Rijiin sensed their fear and all eyes had turned to stare at him. He thought he heard the harp music somewhere.
“What is he doing?”
“Be at peace.” Rijiin declared, pitching his voice loud enough for them to hear, “I shall deal with the others who perished here this day.” Closing his eyes, the elf let the starlight flow through him and the orb began to glow dully. There were murmurs of question, yet no one moved, they were just aghast, staring at the strange energy that surrounded Rijiin. Murmuring, he recited the words that belonged to the hymn of the Lady. The aura around the stone grew white hot and he turned to regard the faces of the people around him as he held the orb. He was ready. Outside at the parking lot that he saw the flashing lights of the police and rescue.
“Arae ea circa.” Rijiin said, “Let it come forth. Let time restore to what it was this day.”
“Hold it right there!” An authoritative voice shouted, “Drop that stone!”
“HEY! What is…?” A voice shouted and there was silence as the elf turned his head and flashed a smile. There was a scream as Rijiin stretched up and as he threw down the orb. A white-hot energy blew outward in a great explosion where the elf stood as the power surrounded the bodies of those slain by Tantras. It blinded everyone as it swirled brightly in a large flash. Rijiin suddenly realized he was doing the exact same thing that Varden had done long ago. He remembered the story of Charity. It had been on a cold winter’s day when his kinsfolk handed the orb to the blacksmith, a protection of magic against the leather woman who lived outside of the village of Saint Brigid. He had been helping her, patching her house, giving her food. The blacksmith had confronted her when she had appeared outside her doorway, and keeping the peace, he handed the orb to her. She threw it down and there was a great explosion. The disfigured woman had vanished and Charity had been borne.
On the other side of the large gym, in the building next door, the loud explosion echoed as the energy raced across the snow and it literally shook the ground. The students of the Junior High next door and staff had ran to the windows and saw a wave of energy appear, shaking the ground as it rolled across each building. As the hot energy flew outward, striking the buildings, there was a flash and silence. Rijiin was standing in the small field outside when the flash cleared, waiting for the effects to wear off and he stared hard at the snow. Time had shifted and everything had seemed different. He looked upon the empty ground at the white snow, then looking up he saw Emily, Stephanie, and the others killed here, standing nearby. He smiled broadly. The vehicles had vanished as time was reverted backward.
“By our Lady!” The elf thought, “Natil! They’re here!” His mind had shouted out in relief as he had stood watching them. Their expressions had been surprise. The students killed by Tantras’ arcane magic had been staring at each other in bewildered silence, unable to comprehend what had just happened. Their last memories had been their attacking the wizard, a flash, and then nothing else. Slowly they turned their heads, peering in astonishment at the elf who stood there smiling with Janae, Katie, and several others that burned with them. Blood still stained the snow where the two students, their friends and classmates had fallen. They turned to glance at the silent stone expression of Rijiin as a cold wind whipped around them, rustling the elf’s gray cloak. Large flakes of a steady snow began to fall from the clouds above. Time changed back, reverting to what was and the memory of what the wizard had done to the students was fading. There was surprise from inside as Rijiin glanced at the faces behind him in the doorway and to the few who were outside.
“W-what happened?” Katie whispered, “What the heck did you do?”
“I was able to help and heal. I changed the time stream and pulled back time to what was. I saved Emily and the others from death and changed the history timeline that we had traversed.” Rijiin murmured, “They have been restored to what was. They died in this place by a man who had come for me and that was not the focal point of this time stream.” The elf glanced at the confused expressions everyone present, who had heard the elf’s explanation. Other students and staff clustered about the elf, the two young women and the few who had been hurt here today. There was a lot of shouting and embracing, especially for Emily, Stephanie and the others. Everyone that had seen them fall, students and staff were glad to see them. Emily and the others turned to the elf as he managed a grin of his own as they clustered about him. The elf stepped back.
“Be at peace you are safe, and I must leave. The time stream has been restored to what it was and the evil that happened here is no more.” The elf exclaimed, and he turned with only a swish of his cloak.
“H-how did you do that?”
The elf sighed. “Humans,” He said, and grinned.
“Thank you, I think.” Emily said embracing Rijiin warmly and even kissed him on the lips. There was a smile and laughter, whistles, catcalls even an ‘Oooh and Ahhh out of the crowd. They held it for a full five minutes.
“Thank you Rijiin.” Emily whispered lustily, returning the smile the elf gave her.
“You are quite welcome me’ lady.” He replied, bowing slightly. Janae and Katie also tried to embrace the elf but this time their hands passed right through him.
“What the…” They both gasped, as a Cheshire cat grin appeared on Rijiin’s face and he felt the winds of time pulling him. Emily put out her hand. The others looked on in silence, as the elf nodded slightly to the groups gathered, and the staff.
“Fear not. You shall see me again if you desire to do so. I shall be waiting west in a place called Wilcox!” Rijiin told them and pausing he saw Emily’s hands out and the sad expression on her face.
“Don’t worry.” He told the group, “Hey it’s a kind of magic…” With that, the elf flashed a smile at the group gathered before he disappeared in a flash.
Lying in the camp he had made, back in the fifteenth century, Rijiin stirred from his sleep and slowly opened his eyes. He sat up and panned a long astonished look to the familiar trees and forest around him. Slowly he stood up, and cleaned his camp before turning to walk not more than fifty paces. Here he would stand again at the remains of Saint Brigid. The elf felt confused by the memories and images of battle. Rijiin wondered if while he had slept, he dreamed the whole thing. He closed his eyes to see only blackness there. Even the starlight had been a possible hallucination or part of a dream.
“The memories were so vivid and real.” Rijiin thought, “Was it?”
He did not know or could not be sure if it were a dream or not. A few minutes elapsed before Rijiin had traveled back to the remains of Saint Brigid and there in the falling sleet and rain he stared at this depressing sight. Rijiin stood as Natil had, at least a hundred years before him, at the edge of the remains of this village. The elf touched his forehead and bowed slightly. A solemn scene remained there as rain fell upon it and the drops pelted the hood of the elf’s cloak.
“I must go.” Rijiin said, “It is here that I say goodbye and I shall never forget you all. I must leave now, and you take care wherever you are.” With that, the elf turned and he walked away from the remains of Saint Brigid. Rijiin had done the same thing as Natil had done too. She had said goodbye to the town and the people who had known the elves and accepted them as is. The Harper then moved off to the northeast. He unknowingly followed his beloved Harper’s steps, as she had traveled the same direction to leave Adria all together.
Walking alone, the young elf journeyed along the eastern road that would take him again to the north, leading to another village not unlike Saint Brigid, called Furze and here he traveled alone through the falling snow. A couple of hours elapsed and he soon came to the familiar fields of Furze. He stepped up to the bridge that would cross the Malvern River into the village itself, walking the road openly and undisguised. The young elf had pushed the hood of his cloak back, and adjusted his hair to revealing his fair features, clearly showing he was an elf as he threw the penny toll into the basket. He glanced at the astonished guard who stood on watch. The guard stared incredulously at Rijiin and the elf only nodded respectfully to him as he crossed the bridge.
The elf, as he entered the village met the many expressions of the village folk that lived here, as well as soldiers and clergy who had walked through the streets. They eyed him suspiciously and the Rijiin sensed their hatred, disapproval and even fear of him. The people knew who and what he was. He remembered the Inquisition and the conditioned fear that had gripped this village. As for the common-folk, they looked away when they saw the elf, or moved aside to wait for him to pass. Mothers grabbed their children, drawing them back against them. Many soldiers scowled at the elf, and low murmurs echoed by the people present through the town. Rijiin realized he is getting the same reaction as he had seen in the northern-western town, Maris.
“What do they fear?” He thought, as he nodded to a Dominican Priest who walked toward him.
“Blessings upon you this day good priest,” He told him and the priest only grimaced as he passed the elf. Behind Rijiin, the priest had suddenly paused realizing that an elf, a heretical being they were out to vanquish from earth completely, had passed him. He turned and frowned, staring at Rijiin like the common folk of the village.
“A heretic!” exclaimed the priest, as other clergy joined him and a low murmur passed through his small group. The priest glanced at the guards who stared at him too.
“What are you waiting for?” He shouted, pointing at Rijiin with a shaking finger, “Arrest that creature in the name of God!” Screams followed as soldiers ran from all directions and Rijiin drew his blade. He parried the attacks with speed and precision, slaying each soldier with without a word. Rijiin with his blade still drawn and still in his hand he walked down the middle of the street.
“Come and fight me damn you.” He snarled at the soldiers who put up their hands and withdrew from the street. He lashed out and his blade flashed as another soldier fell. Others fled from his presence when they realized that this being was not going to give them mercy.
“No not you!” A voice said. “Please sir, mercy!” Rijiin said nothing and slew him anyway as he continued walking to the far end of the village. The elf headed to the eastern gate that would take him out of here. He fought only the soldiers who had been brave enough to challenge him and others he left behind their lack of action allowed them to watch a wake of violence move through the streets. Rijiin sensed they were allowing him to leave despite the urging of the clergy who screamed curses at them and at the elf. Rijiin turned, tired of the shouting and he charged the clergy. Sword flashing he slew each one and they fell in a bloody heap. He held one and he had the point of his blade at his throat. Fear gripped the clergy as he raised his hand to motion the soldiers back.
“Next time, be wary.” Rijiin snarled, “I give you back your life. Easily taken and now freely given. May you use it wisely in the future!”
“You never had it Satan.” Spat the priest, “It is not yours to give or take.”
Rijiin grimaced as he roughly grabbed the priest’s collar front, and in front of the many soldiers and common folk, he ran his sword through him. Blood splattered from his body onto the ground and there was a scream.
“Then die.” Rijiin said coldly, “And vengeance to my slain brothers and sisters, and their needless persecution. For, I am the last of those folk to roam these woods.”
The priest heard the words and a smile of triumph appeared on his face then a look of fear. The common folk had heard his words and frowns appeared on their faces, a growing hostility toward the clergy and the Inquisition. Rijiin sensed death sweeping in to take the soul of the priest a moment later, and he pulled out his blade from the corpse. He wiped the blood from it onto the dead priest’s robe before standing upright. The elf held the blade ready as he made his way to the edge of town, walking down the middle of the street. He glanced on either side at the common-folk who stood watching him and soldiers who stood back away from him. When the elf reached the gate, he met the look of some soldiers on the gate who had seen the violence in the square and they drew back, allowing him to pass. No one challenged him, no one followed in pursuit, having heard the words of the elf who spoke clear, concisely and his tone ice cold. Rijiin returned a respectful nod to soldiers at the gate as he passed and disappeared into the falling snow.
A few hours later, Rijiin found himself far from Adria on the road to the east where he would travel for a full day before he camped. He managed to make it this far without incident, leaving the control and realm of the Inquisition forever. As the elf sat alone, beside his makeshift cover in his camp and next to a warm fire, he sat with his eyes closed to stare at the darkness. The elf wished he could see the starlight as the elves could a long time ago and wished he could go to the Lady, clad in blue and silver robes to seek her council and wisdom. All he saw was darkness, that power having long since vanished over the many centuries of wandering by the elf. Opening his eyes at the sound of the crackling fire, he stared at the burning wood and embers as they traveling upward into the star filled sky. The elf thought of the trip to the future that he had undertaken with Natil and wished that he could return to those times when everything made a difference. A time where there were few elves left gathered in the thickest forest of Malvern. He was alone with no star to guide him in a now vast world of men.
In the future, at the same moment in time, that a lone truck from Uhaul ™ lumbered down the highway known as 50-East as it crossed the long stretch road across the desolate part of Nevada. It is heading east toward the next town called Ely and inside the cab, Becky and Mimi occupied it. Together the young women travel together with no idea where they are going or a reason why. They both found themselves drawn by an irresistible urge to head east, just as Rijiin had told them they would. Together it would take Mimi and Becky four months after not finding the portal to pack up everything they owned, put it in a truck to depart abruptly from California without warning to anyone.
As Becky sat behind the wheel, Mimi peered out ahead as she took pictures with her camera and they entered the outskirts of the town of Ely. Each one took turns driving while the other sat with their eyes closed idly staring at the starlight that seemed to twinkle in the darkness, continue to take pictures, idly chatted with each other or listened to the radio. They had a power they still did not understand, one given to them by Rijiin and Natil’s healing powers, several months ago on the campus of De Anza College. A power of help and healing that would change them both into what they were supposed to be, immortal elves.
The elves magic had changed Mimi first but as they did so, the powers swirled and surrounded the rest of the group present. Mimi and Becky both could see the starlight that the firstborn elves could see, its power changing them as the weeks and month progressed, but the starlight still troubled them both. They did not know what they were supposed to do as elves. Both had traveled frequently to Eastridge and had found the portal that took them through time and space to the past. They had arrived many times, four hundred plus years where Rijiin and Natil welcomed them warmly with the other elves. Lately, however, they found themselves left empty and hollow after not able to find the portal to take them to Adria. Only this trip had brought them closer together in knowing what they were looking for.
Mouse also knew also that by now that Robert would be going ape shit frantic, finding and reading the note, she left him. She had told him that she loved him, telling him that she was on a mini vacation and would see him soon. Mimi omitted deliberately her destination, who she traveled with, and when she would return. She closed her eyes, letting the starlight touch her very soul and it seemed to calm her excitement and uneasiness of what they expected to find ahead of them.
“Where the heck are we Mouse?” Becky asked, and Mimi turned her head, opening her eyes and reached out to grab the map.
“We’re 5 miles from Ely, Nevada.” She replied, “We’d better fill up, it is a long way to the next town in Utah.”
As they entered the city of Ely, there is a main drag for buildings, a downtown, and many casinos line the streets. It is an old town, most of the buildings dingy from the heat of summer, and the harshness of winter. Ely is a former mining town that would be their waypoint to fill the Uhaul ™ truck’s huge fuel tank and their stomachs. As Mimi pumped the gas, she stood at the station’s pumps taking pictures with her camera while Becky grabbed some snacks for them to eat on the way. When it was finished fueling, Mimi locked the truck and walked into the convenience store to the bathroom. Mimi returned a few minutes later. Becky stood outside the truck, stretching her legs, arms and back as they prepared to continue their journey.
“I got you a Dr Pepper™, some chips and some candies.” Becky offered and Mouse smiled, “Also got you some more film.”
“With thanks.” Mouse replied, stepping up to seat herself in the driver’s side while Becky took up the passenger seat. The inside of the cab was rather spacious, despite the camera bag, purses and grocery bags that sat on the floor between them. It had a standard two-bucket seat setup, with a bench fold down for a third passenger. It was quite roomy for a truck.
“Say, did you call Robert?” Becky asked suddenly, “Let him know we made it to Ely?” Mouse shook her head negatively.
“No way, actually I should, but I don’t think he wants to speak with me.” Mouse replied, “After all, he thinks I am not me, but someone else. He didn’t like what Rijiin and Natil did to me I guess.”
“I’ll talk to him.” Becky offered, and Mouse shook her head again.
“Let’s call him when we reach the next town and stop for the night.” Mouse suggested, “We have a lot of miles to go.” She was suddenly thankful that she had avoided the abuse she would have had to endure, taking to Robert. Mouse found she was glad to be away from that influence to find their true calling of where they now belonged.
“Off we go then.” Becky declared with a grin and nod. Mouse turned over the engine and it idled quietly before she put it into gear. Hitting the accelerator, the truck slowly crept forward onto the driveway. Mimi kept watch for traffic before punching it and the truck roared back onto the 50-East. Once again, they sped down the highway and Mimi sipped at her Dr. Pepper™ while Becky closed her eyes, to gaze at the starlight she saw there. She thought of Natil and Rijiin, and even she wondered if they were alive and well, and wondered if they would find them at their destination.
“They said they were immortal.” She thought, “I wonder if they survived through the centuries. I hope we have someone to greet us at our new destination.”
As Becky sat in the seat, she reminisced back to when Natil and Rijiin entered the Fireside Dining Room. She stared at the starlight that twinkled in the darkness and remembered the look on everyone’s face who had gathered in the Fireside Lounge on De Anza’s campus on a cold, December morning. As they looked over at the doorway, there was a low murmur and Rijiin’s first reaction had been to ignore it. He had walked with silent steps toward the table where Mimi sits in her wheelchair, surrounded by her long time friends on campus. Here the elf silently stood next to her chair, until Mouse turned her head and curiously looked up at the cloaked figure standing beside her. Rijiin, with a flair for drama reached up slowly to push back the gray hood of his cloak revealing his fair features. The elf had managed a nod of his head to Mimi and then glanced silently at the group seated around her, known to him as the *De Anza Rat Pack by the elf. Their reaction was silent surprise as they stared at his unfamiliar face. Mimi looked upon the elf, noting he was very handsome with his fair features, his long brown hair that cascaded to his shoulders, streaked and sprinkled with silver. She also peered into his solemn gray eyes. The middle-aged woman saw their laughter and a twinkle of what she thought was starlight there. If Mouse had known the elves, she would have been right. Low murmurs echoed the Fireside Dining Room and both of the elves let the many comments pass without response. Everyone present had their eyes locked on Rijiin for several minutes until they finally glanced at Natil who stood beside Rijiin with her hood shadowing her fair features.
*Authors Note: De Anza Rat Pack consists of Mimi, Robert, Dave, Becky, Chris, Omar, Steve, Patrick, Cathy, ‘Jello’ Jen, John, Ray, Christopher, and Katherine as named in story.
Becky, like the others present, was speechless at the sight before them all. Her first reaction to the elves had been to gasp loudly, immediately recognizing the strange green and gray leather garb the elves wore, also the pendant that hung around his neck. The young woman had gained a lot of her knowledge to identify the garb and pendant from her boyfriend who practiced the ways of Wicca. Even with some of what he had taught her, she was unsure exactly whom or what she was seeing. The garb, Becky knew, had not been around for four plus centuries and neither had pendants, cloaks or swords. The young woman had not expected to see the garb or the pendant that Rijiin wore about his neck here in this century. She shook her head in misunderstanding. Sitting on her right, Robert, Dave, Chris and Omar were beside her at the table. Katherine and Jen sat on the other side of the table. They are all astonished to see the elves as she was. Rijiin likewise met each gaze with a slight nod of his head and realized they are his friends that he had not seen in a year, having changed only slightly than he remembered them.
“Blessings upon you this day Mistress Stewart, the hand of the Lady be upon you.” He said quietly, speaking with a calming tone. The elf touched his forehead to bow wide and low. Everyone sitting with Mouse at the table, including Mimi herself smiled at the old-fashioned motion. Becky smiled at the use of the ancient witches greeting. ‘Merry Met.’ As the elf stood bent over beside Mimi’s chair, many more students and staff gathered around them. They had stopped, curiously staring at the couple who are dressed in the strange garb and to their surprise had noted the sheathed blade at his side. An uncomfortable silence followed for a moment.
“It’s impossible but this garb should not be in this century, neither should the pendant. But here it is!” Becky thought to herself with a gasp, “Something totally unexpected has come today. I wonder what else is going to happen.”
As for Mouse, Becky had glanced at her as she intently looked upon the elf’s fair features and his ghostly familiar face. The middle-aged woman did not understand why at first she was startled. Mimi then remembered the hallucination she was having yesterday. It had been the one where she found herself spinning in the vortex and finding herself flying high above an unfamiliar landscape below. A journey where Mimi had ended up landing in a forest clearing and where she saw two people, like this young man and his strange companion who now stood before her. Around the neck of Rijiin, the pendant of a crescent moon, and interlocked, rayed star made of gold and silver hung there from a gold chain. Mouse was astonished as she peered at the familiar pendant that seemed to twinkle brightly in the fluorescent light. Quickly, Mimi unzipped her belt pouch to withdraw the same piece of jewelry from the main pocket. Mouse’s eyes darted from Rijiin’s necklace to the pendant and chain in her hand. She realized that the necklace is the same one that the elves wore who now stood before her. Strangely, the pendant in her hand began to glow brightly with an almost incandescence and Mimi gripped it tightly. The middle-aged woman suddenly remembered the woman clad in the blue and silver robe, her statement about a messenger being sent to her. It made Mimi suddenly wonder, making her tilt her head as she looked upon the fair features of Rijiin.
“Oh my god,” Mimi thought, “The meadow, forest, castles and sea I looked down upon wasn’t a dream. I wonder if he is the messenger that the robed woman spoke of.” Mouse cast a puzzled look at the other cloaked figure standing beside him. No one had known about what Mimi had experienced a day ago, and she had told absolutely no one about it. It would have been uncomfortable for her to explain something that she could not exactly understand herself.
“Rijiini, tir- n’ea…” A voice said softly in elvish and he turned his head to meet curious students, a few staff members of the college, and four security officers who stood around them. Mouse heard the name and curiously looked at him. Her expression had been puzzlement, also undying curiosity about these strangers. His eyes moved to the others in the room and silently he nodded a greeting to the security officers, acknowledging their presence when he realized they were here because of the blade at his side.
“Thank you for the greeting I think, uh…Rijiin, is it? What kind of name is that anyway? D-do I know you?” Mimi croaked, “Have we met before? I certainly don't remember you.” The elf said nothing at first, formulating his answer before he smiled broadly.
“Indeed we have Ms. Stewart. We met once a long time ago, but you might not remember me.” He replied smoothly, making Mimi smile when she heard the strange accent in his voice. He managed a thin, almost pained smile.
“I am Rijiin L’Theil, the Just and I am at your service… This is my traveling companion, kinswoman and my beloved wife, Natil.” Becky saw Rijiin glance over to Natil, nodding slightly to her. The Harper, with the same flair for drama, reached up and she slowly drew back the gray hood of her cloak. There were several low murmurs as everyone realized it was a beautiful young woman who stood beside him. Rebecca saw Mouse frown slightly, confused by the couple and stared in wonder at them like the others who had gathered here. Robert had pursed his lips exhaling a sharp breath at the young-looking elf-maiden who stood beside Rijiin. Dave, seated beside Robert grinned openly. Chris and Omar on the other side of him, gasped aloud. Jen and Katherine exchanged silent glances at each other, turning their full attention to the couple who stood before them.
“My god she’s beautiful. She is just like the red/gold haired maiden I saw in the clearing the other day with the handsome black haired young man.” The disabled woman thought as she shook her head. Mimi had blushed, unable to take her eyes off the strange woman beside Rijiin. Natil heard her thoughts and nodded to Mouse. Both of the elves realized what Mimi was describing to herself, happened to be Mirya and Terrill before they arrived back at the encampment.
“You have my thanks Mistress Stewart.” Natil said aloud, smiling at her and making Mimi grimace, sensing something amiss when realizing that she had read her thoughts. Beside her, the others grimaced at the same feeling that passed through them.
“Be at peace Mimi, we are here to repay an old debt to you. It is one that I owe a lot to you and will repay it with healing, comfort, and aid. Something my people are known for.” Rijiin had declared solemnly, “Be at peace, no harm will fall upon you my dear lady, as I sensed your need and traveled a fair distance to come to you. Among my people you are well known for your courage, kindness, compassion, generosity, and understanding.” Rebecca and the others saw Mouse sit quietly in her chair, coloring slightly with his compliments before looking up at Rijiin’s strangely familiar fair features. Beside her, Becky was shaking her head.
“Rijiin, what old debt,” Mouse questioned, “I don’t know you.” She turned her head to frown at the couple. The elves both met her expression with a shrug and his eyes seem to twinkle brightly with starlight.
“Aye, we do.” Natil murmured softly, “Please be at peace Ms. Stewart and trust us.”
Everyone turned their heads when they heard the Harper speak, her accent and inflection strong in her voice. Something about her intrigued everyone in the room, a stamp of strangeness fell over everyone present in the Fireside Dining Room. Smiles appeared on many faces of the people gathered about the room, who stared at the young immortal elves who graced the Fireside Dining Room with their presence.
“Oh my goddess, I do believe that you have guided folklore legends to come to De Anza College but that can’t be, they are only stories and legends!” Becky thought to herself, “How can they be real unless they existed long ago? This is something that should not be in the twentieth century.”
“And you would be right.” Rijiin murmured, overhearing the thoughts around him that were about them.
“Mimi, do you know this couple?” Dave had asked, “Who are these people?”
“Yeah they seem to know you very well.” Robert added, “Are you holding out on us again?”
“I am not sure Dave, Robert. I can’t remember where I met them.” Mouse lied, already knowing that the couple is probably from the same place she had encountered Terrill and Mirya in what she considered a hallucination. Rebecca saw that Robert studied the couple and his eyes moved back to Rebecca then to Mimi and back again. Robert saw a look of astonishment appear on her face, and narrowing her eyes as if to examine the couple who stood before them all.
“What is it Becky? What's wrong?” Robert had asked her gruffly, “What's going on, are you alright?” He stared at her, seeing the astonished expression that appeared there and had guessed it was about the visitors standing before them. Omar, Chris and Dave turned when Robert spoke to Becky. Like her friends, they sat at the table waiting for her answer. Everyone at the table and around them suddenly realized this couple did not belong in this century. It is nothing like they had ever seen on the campus before and especially Rijiin, who carried the sheathed blade at his side. The blade has an ivory handle in the form of a dragon’s head.
“I am not sure.” She replied to his question, “I have seen this garb and that pendant before. The pendant and garb is really old, several centuries old for sure.” She examined the garb that the elves wore with her eyes. Her eyes fell upon the pendant that hung from the chain about his neck. The pendant is a gold and silver crescent moon and interlocked, rayed star. It glistened brightly in the fluorescent light. The gold and silver clasp that held their cloaks together at the neck also is the same shape. It was a sign for the young woman that something was afoot here at the college.
“Do I know you Rijiin? You seem so familiar to me.” Becky asked, and the elf said nothing, thinking about his answer, his only response was a slight nod of the head to her. Her eyes widened at his response.
“Okay, you have seen it before… Well, okay, like where… Maybe you would like to please elaborate?” Robert demanded, but Becky at first, said nothing as she silently contemplated her answer. She wanted to give him and the others an accurate account of what she was seeing and what she had learned from her boyfriend, John. Becky surely wanted it to be what she thought it was, however: An old religion and custom found in ancient times, now here before them in the modern world.
“Yes Becky, by all means, please do so if you know what is going on and maybe try to make us understand who and what we are seeing.” Mimi added curiously, her attention falling to the young woman sitting beside her.
“…And what do you mean old?” Robert pressed, “You’re not making sense Becky. Can you be a little more specific?” He had snapped at impatiently at her, trying to understand what she was talking about, not liking riddles, especially when it was about something he did not understand.
“Well the first thing is that this garb, and the pendant shaped in a crescent moon and interlocked, rayed star that hangs from the chain around their neck is something that is over four centuries old.” She had replied annoyed by the tone he used with her. “It seems to have come from the past, originating in the Renaissance Age, about twelve hundred and fifteen A.D.” Katherine nodded slightly to Becky in agreement and it made her smile. She had forgotten that her religion is Dianic Wicca too, and some druid because of her folks.
“Whaaaaa? What was that? Are you serious?” Robert replied with a gasp and the others stared at her in silence.
“Well you asked.” Becky said with a smile. “I can't explain why it is here in this place and in this time, but here it is. It should not be here, not in this century. My boyfriend John, if you would give him a chance, could tell you more about it than I can!”
Here Becky had seen Robert snort indifferently at the use of the term ‘boyfriend’ for John whom she met on this campus. Robert did not like John. John, in turn, did not like Robert. Both disliked each other for different reasons: John thought Robert was petty and a tyrant. Robert did not like John because he is lazy, and disrespectful. The disabled man also thought he was a better person than John was, to court Becky, at her dismay. He did not approve of John’s trifling with Wicca, spell casting and demonic entities that he brought to this world. To Robert, it is a red flag to him, who thought it could become deadly if something went wrong and they released something evil into this world. Something that could possibly seriously injure or kill both of them if what they summoned broke away from their magic that would hold them in the circle they cast to manipulate energy.
“And he is getting Becky suckered into it by teaching her that satanic bullshit.” Robert thought, “I rather teach her metaphysical stuff that I learned from Nathaniel a while ago before he was killed and keep her from the abyss of Wicca.”
A while ago, he had learned an ability of metaphysics from his friend, a fellow college student and the Vice President of Ham Radio Club. It is Robert and Mimi’s best friend whose mutilated and dismembered body turned up a year ago in a cement culvert across from Eastridge Mall. He had taken to it well but he often abused it and inflated his ego doing strange things with this new bit of knowledge. He was getting stronger as he used it, but had not been taking care to have control over his ability. His ability could definitely kill, just as it could heal. Beside him, Becky grimaced and decidedly wanted to know if Rijiin and Natil were who and what she suspected they were. An ancient religion long passed through the winds of history and her best friend who was killed.
“Excuse me, Rijiin, are you…?” She started to ask, and her voice seemed to fail, falling off into a whisper. The elf turned his head, smiling slightly. Rebecca found confusion by the presence of the elves, and remembered a discussion a while ago with her friend about metaphysical realms and teachings of the old, four centuries ago and today’s teachings.
Rijiin nodded, sighing quietly. “It is true mistress.” He whispered, only loud enough for the table to hear him, “We are elves, and we are here to help and heal.”
At first, Robert and the others had smiles on their faces. Low sarcastic murmurs rounded their table, and many more jokes made at the two’s expense. Mimi studied Becky, seeing the look of recognition and frustration on her face. Even Katherine had gasped and gaped openly at the strangely clad couple. Even she could not say she was wrong what she saw before her. Everything seemed so very right about this couple. Behind Mimi, in the doorway of the internet room, John, Becky’s boyfriend, had opened the door to start the day in the Internet Lab. As he opened the door, stepping through, he had glanced only once to the table where he saw his girlfriend sitting with Mimi and the others. He did the classic double take when he looked again, seeing the unfamiliar faces of Rijiin and Natil who stood beside them, surrounded by many others. John’s eyes fell on the elves and he stood watching the couple, just as startled as his girlfriend did and the others had been seeing them for the first time. He had overheard the comments and surprise clearly showed on his face. John did not move from the doorway, something about the visitors had intrigued him for reasons he could not explain.
“Talk about a blast from the past.” John had thought to himself, shaking his head as he looked at the couple, “I wonder if they are who I think they are.” Becky’s boyfriend found himself looking back in his memory remembering what he read about elves and the folklore legends in one of his Wicca books. The texts that were about the goddess that warlocks, witches and folklore legends like elves worshipped which happened to be a woman. It also talked about their ability in magic. He had known about the old stories and wondered if this truly is what he saw here before him.
“This is impossible! I told Nathaniel, what he described in regards to ancient teachings of the metaphysical art from four centuries ago and modern teachings of the metaphysical art could never meet.” Becky exclaimed, “Even your garb, and the pendant are all signs of the old ways… Who are you really Rijiin?” She turned to Robert next to her.
“You were there with us, remember Robert?” She prompted and he turned his head to nod in agreement.
“Yea, what he taught us was very useful for healing talents and being open to your surrounding energies.” Robert replied, “Too bad Nathaniel is not here, he would have like to meet an elf.”
“It is so.” Rijiin replied casually, “I remember when you told me that Becky and that day when we were together talking about it.” The elf had let a very broad hint fall before her, and even Robert, pointing to the identity that he once was. Rebecca did not notice it. The young woman had gasped when she heard her name though, suddenly aware that she had not introduced herself, and yet he clearly knew who she was. His statement finally had sunk in and she gasped loudly.
“As for Natil and I we are mere travelers Ms. Mc Gough.” Rijiin declared solemnly, he was about to say something else, but Robert interrupted his train of thought.
“You know, I hope by Christ, this couple is not John’s loser friends pulling some bullshit and dressing up in the old garb of the dark ages.” Robert muttered who glowered in annoyance at John who still stood at the doorway of the internet lab. “He’d do it like the dunderhead that he is… ”
Although John heard Robert spew off his usual gibberish, he let the comments pass and his eyes remained locked onto the couple who stood in the room.
“Okay, this is getting to be very weird.” John thought, grimacing when he finally recognized the elves garb from a spell book illustration he had bought from a magazine located in a Colorado based store. Becky’s boyfriend acknowledged the couple with a nod, meeting their gazes as he openly approached the table. He noted the pendant that was described belonging to their deity, their Creatrix whom they worshipped. John stood beside Becky who sat at the table and like the others, he was thoroughly curious about the strangers who now graced the Fireside Lounge with their presence. He put his hand on Becky’s shoulder and she looked up at him with a smile and a nod.
“Robert, that was not nice, and to your information, if anyone is a dunderhead it is you...” Becky had snarled at him, “I don’t think my boyfriend here would do something like that. I have a news flash. I think we are looking at the genuine article.” Becky, however, did glance at Rijiin for confirmation. She saw Rijiin manage a slight smile and a nod to the young woman who was seated at the table.
“I am neither the people you speak of mistress, nor have I been paid to impersonate such a thing. I am as I am.” His voice stated evenly. An aura shimmered around the Elf. Becky’s face showed a smile, but it suddenly faded as this strange aura began to grow around him. It became bright and incandescent as it started in his hands first, then fully surrounding him. The faces of the others, including John, had shown alarm and confusion, making them all back away from the table.
“Be at peace, I am here for a reason.” Rijiin said suddenly, turning to Mimi, who sat in her chair. She had her eyes tightly closed when his hands touched her shoulders and she groaned quietly.
“Just relax beloved Mimi.” He told her, letting the energy and starlight flow through him, as he utilized the healing powers of the elves of the fourteenth century. Mouse suddenly was reminded of someone else she knew and she instantly thought of her friend, who willingly massaged her shoulders for her. Mimi realized that Rijiin had the same gentle touch as she remembered her friend had.
The young woman saw Rijiin suddenly grimace, upon hearing her thoughts and turned his head to focus upon the disabled woman. Natil heard her thoughts too showing surprise but also a sad expression on her fair features. Rijiin met the Harper’s expression in silence as he managed a shrug. Mimi had been thinking of him when he was human and when he was reported as deceased and murdered a year ago. The San Jose Police and the FBI had been called because neighborhood kids found an unrecognizable body, his body, lying in a nearby cement culvert across from Eastridge Mall. They had identified him by his wallet found in his pocket left untouched. The elf suddenly realized other than the portal not being there, this was the main reason why he could not return to the future. Everything suddenly made sense to Rijiin and this new fact suited the elf just fine.
“Ta ilya forya, a’mael.” He had murmured with a sigh, “Reea forya Natili. Mimitti quenea I’-zuz, taea e’ I’- silma. Amin curtamanea ta eller.” Rijiin told her it was all right. Mimi spoke the truth that it is in the starlight. I saw it there. The Harper picked up his meaning, and his reaction to it. The reaction to this piece of information, confirmed by Rijiin, was not the one reaction she expected him to take. He had just confirmed Mimi’s statement, quickly able to look into the starlight where he could manipulate images of the past, present, and future. Rebecca and the others sensed something had passed between the couple. They watched as he let his consciousness move among them effortlessly. They had seen Rijiin manage an affirmative nod to Natil when he met her questioning expression.
“Seere a’mael, amin cael- utue amin telaien, amin yestaien. Amin utuea amin yamen e’ I’ palurin. Ta uumea il’- karn bir n’atyaea tanya amin gurthea. Amin valin- ta tele- ar’ amin naa ie’ seere yassen ta.” Rijiin replied, telling her to be at peace, I have found my ending, my beginning. I have found my place in the world. It does not make a difference that I died. I am happy it is finished and I am at peace with it.
Becky heard Natil gasp aloud when she heard his answer and slowly nod. Apparently, the Harper did not expect to hear that from him. A look of respect, admiration and deeper love for Rijiin appeared on her face. Beside the elves, Mimi’s friends and Mouse herself listened to the strange language they spoke between them. There were murmurs among the gathered people here, who heard the curious language between the elves, and how it freely flowed. Becky found the words eloquent, and beautiful.
“What language is that, is that elvish?” Becky asked, and there were murmurs throughout the room. Everyone was equally curious about the couple and the strange glow and power they wielded like a double-edged sword that he carried at his side. “What did you tell her, it was absolutely… amazing?”
Rijiin had not answered Becky’s question as he turned his attention to Mimi, and he placed his hands back on her shoulders. Everyone watched as the incandescent glow appear around them, and it swirled about the elf, Mimi and her friends who sat with her. Rijiin shook his head after a moment and turning his head, he grimaced at the Harper.
“I don’t know about this.” Katherine said, “If I am up on languages, I think he told her to be at peace that he found his ending something about a beginning and something about his death that he is happy it happened?”
“Lle quena eldalie?” Rijiin said, turning to Katherine and she smiled. He asked if she spoke Elvish.
“Bir –elle.” She replied with a bow, “Quenjen rangwea I’ quenjen en’ yuuyo palurinea. Ta kirma en’ arn geleshto e’ kuruni-kurwa.” She told him that she spoke a little that it is best to understand the best of both worlds. As it is part of her training in Witchcraft.” Rijiin nodded with a smile, glancing at the smiling Harper.
“There is a lot to do still Natil, and I am growing fatigued. Perhaps if you play something on your harp, we can help her together. There is a lot more to do than I can do alone.” Becky turned her head as he spoke to the Harper and the elf maiden considered his request for a moment had nodded in agreement. She took a seat in an open chair to pull out her harp from under her cloak. The first reaction of everyone present was a questioning look when everyone saw the harp, but soon understood that the Harper was going to play something on it. Becky watched as she took a seat in an open chair. Her hands danced over the strings as she quickly inspected the cherry wood frame and the bronze strings. She quickly tuned the instrument.
“Naa lle desiel Natili?” He asked her, the Harper met his look with a grin and a silent nod. He asked if she was ready.
“Amin’ e desiel, Rijiini,” Natil replied, still smiling as she put the harp in her lap, and quickly she readied herself to play. She informed him that she was ready and positioned her hands on the strings of the harp.
Becky noted that the room’s attention focused on Natil when her fingers rippled off a couple of notes. Mimi’s friends sitting at the table smiled when they heard the notes. Around the room, there were quiet murmurs, before silence completely fell over the entire room. It would be a feat, to Mouse’s knowledge, only the second time ever to happen in this dining hall. The Harper’s hands expertly moved across the strings with a ripple of notes. As the elf maiden began to play, she played one melody written at the beginning of her existence and the world. The notes were a familiar melody that Mimi recognized from the other day in the quad. The old song came to Natil easily and fluidly as she played, her hands dancing across the bronze strings.
“Ele asta a mirurore,
Cira a ciraie,
Natil sang the words quietly in Elvish as her hands danced across the strings of the small cherry wood, and bronze-strung harp. She played the healing notes, as Rijiin’s starlight energy remained focused into Mimi and it spilled unknowingly into the others around her. Mouse of course, felt the warmth in her limbs and the others watched in silence at the strange aura that seemed to surround her and everyone at the table. No one in the room interfered or moved. Students and staff around them had looked on as the mysterious young woman played a strange melody on her harp, shifting with several variations. The people who had gathered did not understand what was happening and did not understand that she, with her companion, was helping and healing Mimi. Becky’s head turned slowly, casting a sweeping look about the room, watching the many faces in the Fireside Dining Room and she smiled. The silence in the room was ominous as the only sound was Natil’s harping echoing through its interior. Katherine was listening with her eyes closed as she felt the power of the elves as they helped and healed Mimi and Natil harped for her.
“Such great power,” Becky thought as Natil played her harp for a half-hour, helping and healing Mimi with Rijiin. She watched in amazement as the healing energy flowed over her friend, becoming a low swirling white energy.
“Healing, comfort and aid, that’s what it’s all about, and I can help them if I so choose.” Rijiin murmured, suddenly feeling differently and now fully understanding his purpose as an elf. He was an immortal with potentially great abilities and power to change anything he wanted. The elf had that ability and free choice if he wanted to help the world, giving back a little hope to make it a better place. The question that he asked was what time would he help change and make better, the past or the future? Rijiin also found himself one with his new existence as an elf, the scrap of soul he had as a human, finally leaving him and his transformation now complete into becoming fully elven. The elf realized that he no longer belonged here in the twentieth century and only belonged in the fourteenth century. Time had shifted around him as Natil and Rijiin sat in the Fireside Lounge. Rijiin turned his head to the Harper who sat across from him and he smiled at her. The elf had found love too, the purest, truest love. He would be with her forever, living out his days with her, which suited the elf just fine too.
When Natil sensed his thoughts, the Harper looked up with a smile. Her hands continued to dance skillfully across the bronze strings and she played the melody on her harp to its climax. The energy she sensed around them swirled, having already became a bright incandescent light, as it shifted in many patterns and in an array of color. It enveloped them completely until a moment later when Natil let her hands drop from the harp strings, and the room became abruptly quiet. The only sound within the room now was the murmur of astonishment by everyone who had seen the elves help and heal today. There was not a dry eye in the room as the Harper hugged the harp, and she watched the swirling energy around them fade away. There was scattered applause that followed at first, echoing through the room as it became louder as more people joined in with their applause. The loudest had been Katherine and she managed to whistle as she applauded.
Sitting across from Natil, Becky had seen the Harper smile when she heard it. The young elven woman nodded to the group and to the other people present, who showed their appreciation of her music. The Harper’s next reaction had been to turn, casting a quick look at Rijiin. Natil had gasped aloud as her friend, kinfolk and new lover lay sprawled across the table, succeeding in his task to help and heal his friend. Rijiin had unthinkably changed the patterns making up the woman known as Mimi Stewart and when Natil saw him sprawled out on the table, she feared the worst. The Harper feared that Rijiin may have given himself too much and possibly sacrificed his life for Mimi’s, which he openly said he would do if necessary to protect his best friend. Natil immediately hoped she was wrong with her assessment of the situation.
“Rijiin,” Natil whispered, as she reached over to shake him with no response. Becky had turned her head and her mouth dropped open. Tears formed in her eyes.
“Oh dear Lady,” She murmured, “RIJIIN!” Tears formed in the Harper’s eyes as well as she lightly shook him several times, again with no response.
“What’s the matter with him?” A voice asked, and everyone turned to stare in fear at Rijiin, who was slumped forward across the table. They glanced over at Mimi, also in the same state, slumped forward, both having totally been enveloped in a swirling mass of energy for several minutes. Katherine understood what had happened and what she had witnessed, the use of a power that had not existed in centuries.
“Aye Natili… Please be at peace, I am all right.” Rijiin had told her, pushing himself back to a sitting position. There was a relieved breath by everyone who stared at Rijiin. Natil heard the change in his voice, thick with the strong inflection and heavily accented like her kinfolk. Becky heard it too, and like the others, they fearfully looked at Rijiin and Mimi several times in silent disbelief. Even the Harper showed surprise on her face when hearing the strong inflection. The energy that bound the elves had changed him fully, the semi-recognizable face from earlier had gone away, leaving someone completely different. It surprised the group and strangely Natil too.
“Oh my Lady,” She murmured, “What has he done? Did he do what I just think he did?” The Harper's face softened in understanding.
Becky stared at Mimi who at this moment sat slumped face down on the table, still half-stunned and disoriented because of the massive healing she had undergone. As Mimi lay there, her first sensation was a tingling throughout her body. The maiden opened her eyes, her blue eyes focusing on the table. Rebecca and the others glanced at Rijiin and back to Mouse many times.
“What’s going on?” Mimi thought, “What happened to me? I must have blacked out or something.” The disabled woman tried to make sense of what happened to her over the last few minutes and realized she could not account for herself.
It would be a few minutes before she would regain conscious awareness back at the campus of DeAnza College. Mimi and Rijiin, in the period of many minutes they were enveloped by the incandescent energy, both standing on the grassy meadow with the Lady, the Creatrix of the Elves where he helped the Lady transform Mimi into becoming an immortal and an elf like him.
As Mimi stood here, the moon glared down as if in judgment. Mouse knew what was about to happen and she returned the glance by Rijiin and turned to stare at the Lady’s gray, solemn eyes.
“I’m not afraid.” She whispered, “Please.”
The Lady stepped up to stand beside Mimi, her blue and silver trimmed robe shimmering in the darkness. In her hand, she held a staff of pale wood. The Lady’s face looked neutral with no emotion that Mimi could see on her fair, kind elven features. Closing her eyes, the Creatrix whispered something to herself in her own language; and with understanding that the light in her mind had given her. Mimi caught a brief glimpse of a teenage girl clad in green and gray garb, a crescent moon behind her and a star in her hand. The Lady finished the prayer and looked down at Mimi who knelt before her. The Lady nodded gravely and rested a hand on Mimi’s forehead.
Relaxation flooded into her body, as though every nerve and muscle fiber had been oiled, warmed, and massaged into limpness. Mimi sighed softly and almost drifted into sleep, but the woman’s soft voice brought her back.
“Blessings be upon you and within you, now and always.”
She sighed, bowing her head for a moment then gestured toward the moon. It hung at the zenith, full and round, though she did not recall that it had been in that phase when she appeared on the meadow the first time with the Creatrix of the elves.
“This is the Night of Completion. Mimi.” The Creatrix of the elves told her. “Watch the moon. Relax and let her light fill you. Let it protect you. Let it empower you.” The Lady smiled at Rijiin who stood nearby, nodding to him in silence. He had his eyes closed, using his abilities from his transformation to help with her change.
Mimi shifted her gaze to the shining disk, breathed regularly, and felt as though she were glowing. The Lady stepped out of her vision, but the quality of light changed and Mimi realized the staff was brightening as the Lady held it over her head.
Mimi kept her eyes on the moon.
A tight feeling gripped her. Mimi found she could not have moved if she wanted to and could not even blink. Eyes locked on the moon, she felt herself drawn toward it. It grew larger, filling the sky and her vision, the white light blazing through her, harrowing her soul and mind with a seething glory.
Mimi wanted to close her eyes, to look away, but she might have been stone for all the movement she was capable of at this moment.
“I trust her. I trust the Lady. But I am scared…”
She heard the sea, the sound growling as rapidly as had the light, the waves rising about her until, invisibly, they overlapped the meadow and flooded her, turning the moon into a featureless sky of white mist.
Mimi almost lost consciousness, but the thought of being unaware terrified her into full cognizance. She realized she was looking into the mist-shrouded face of a teenage girl with blue eyes, the color of aquamarines and long dark brown hair. The form of the teenager smiled at Mimi and reached toward her with a strong hand.
“I am not afraid.” Mimi said, extending a hand and in her mind, a voice answered her: Good. Their hands met and gripped. The strange teenage girl smiled again and her lips silently formed the syllables of Mimi’s name just before her fingers tightening for an instant. She was swept forward to merge with her.
A jolt racked Mimi’s body as though she had been struck, and the white mist fled from her sight. The stars appeared, shining, glorious, their brilliance as razor-keen as a warrior’s sword. Transfixed by their light, she saw, unfolding like a flower before her, an infinite complex of futures in which all potentials and possibilities bound and connected by a vast web of starlight. It went on and on, each future merging with another and with yet another, a convoluted knot of maybes, and might-bes, and … and…
…and one reality.
Mimi screamed muscles spasming as she fell to the ground and she rolled to the side, fetal, fighting for sight, for thought. A river of starlight poured over her. Something widened within her, and the light-flooded in. “Elthia! Rijiin! Help me! Please!”
A hand came down to touch her on the head, and her spasms stopped abruptly. “Be at peace… Mimi.”
Mimi lay for sometime on the ground, waiting for her heart to calm. Behind her closed eyes, the stars shone, and the tenuous arm of a nebula shimmered in the distance. Her thoughts slowed gradually, and she forced herself to feel the grass beneath her, replaying the day’s events to relink her with the world.
Opening her eyes she could see the ghostly shape of her former self as she walked away from her, and disappeared in a flash of bright light. The young girl was nowhere to be found and that puzzled Mimi. Only the Creatrix of the elves and Rijiin stood in the meadow with her at this very moment. Had she been hallucinating? Who was that young girl? Her mind raced with questions that burned in her mind. Mouse, surrounded in the purest starlight energy found a semblance of peace despite her many questions that echoed through her mind. The Lady helped Mimi to her feet, and together they stood on the threshold, chatting with each other The now youthful elf maiden turned her head to smile at Rijiin who stepped up to kneel before the Lady who put a loving arm on his broad shoulder. The Lady nodded as he looked up into her gray eyes. Standing, Rijiin nodded to Mouse before stepping into the shadows.
A moment later, the meadow faded around her too and Mimi slowly opened her eyes, quickly realizing she was slumped on the table in the Fireside Dining Room of De Anza College. She had been enveloped in the energy, an almost blinding light as she was transformed before everyone’s eyes. Mimi had opened her eyes, her vision quickly clearing as she focused on her hand, her hand that sat a few inches from her face, lying on the table. Gingerly, she flexed it, turned it, touched the tabletop, and watched the fingers move according to her own will.
However, she did not recognize the hand at all.
It was still obviously the hand of a woman, but that was all she could find in common with it. Medium and strong, it looked very capable of wielding a sword. The fingers were long and tapered. In the moonlight, they had looked like they were carved out of ivory.
It took her several minutes as she lay there, flexing them, before pushing herself backward. Mimi was assisted by the firm arm of Rijiin, who helped her into a sitting position. She had no idea that she had been changed by his use of the elves’ magic. The now youthful maiden’s aquamarine colored eyes darted to the pleased expression of Rijiin, who sat nearby. The elf, Mimi noted, seemed different from before and his face no longer what it was when he had first arrived at the dining room. He seemed different to her in many ways, even on the meadow where they stood with the Lady.
“What did he do to me? I really feel so strange.” Mouse thought, hearing a gasp and turning she met the astonished look everyone present around her. Her gaze turned back to Rijiin, who still was smiling and he silently nodded to her.
“Huh? What’s wrong?” Mimi asked, “Why is everyone looking at me?”
Mouse turned to scan the room meeting the astonished faces of those who knew her and others not. She fell silent when hearing her voice, it had changed to a smooth contralto instead of a rough soprano and it was accented ever so slightly. Becky watched Mimi push herself back from the table, and look down at herself. She could see the relief on the now young woman’s face, thankful to find her body still in one piece, but realized that something was definitely amiss. Rebecca watched as Mouse examined herself, lifting her shirt to peer at her waist and her curved figure. Pulling at the neck of her shirt, she peered down at her now B cup breasts. Feeling a weight on her head, she took a handful of her now long dark hair in her hands. Gasping in realization, Mouse turned her head at the strange face of Rijiin and over to Natil who sat across from him. The elf managed a slight nod in response to her questioning expression. She suddenly realized that it was not her body.
“Holy...Shit… What the fuck is going on here?” Mimi exclaimed in a panicked voice, rising to a standing position and catching sight of her reflection in the glass of one of the pictures on the wall. An unfamiliar face appeared there and Mouse gasped in realization what was happening. She realized the face in the reflection of the picture’s glass is not her own. Mimi studied the face in the reflection of the glass. She could partially see in the reflection that it is rounded, fair-featured and she now has aquamarine colored eyes. She noted the long deep dark hair that fell in curls down to her mid back. Mimi stared at her new face and body that was very unfamiliar to her. Mimi had exhaled sharply, putting a hand to her face as-if to stifle it, having full realization of what was happening
“Oh my god, it is the face of the young girl who was wearing green and gray garb!” Mimi thought to herself, “What the hell is going on here? No wonder all attention is focused on me!” Mouse placed her hands on her face, as-if to examine it. They touched it several times, as she stared at the look of astonishment on her face, reflected in the glass of the picture frame. Mouse turned her head regarding the unfamiliar face of Rijiin who was smiling.
“W-what have you done to me?” Mimi sputtered as her head swam with overpowering sensations and she was giddy with disorientation. She tried to pull back, but looked down only to realize that he had taken her hands. Rijiin had sensed panic in her voice and he silently comforted her.
“W-what you have you done to me?” She demanded again and Rijiin gravely met the clear, bright and piercing, aquamarine colored eyes in silence. “W-why have you done this to me?” Rijiin silently met the look of anger on her face, and he casually dismissed it.
“By the lady, you look so different Mimi.” Katherine told her, staring in silent astonishment the fair features of her friend that she had witness changed in the matter of an hour and before her eyes.
“Peace, I healed you Mouse.” He told her, his voice thick with the inflection and accent, “Call it a gift if you like but I settled our long outstanding debt with help and healing. It is today that I give you back a new chance at life.”
Mimi raised an eyebrow at Rijiin’s explanation, closing her eyes only briefly before gasping loudly. She stared uncomprehending at the twinkle of starlight that filled in the darkness and perhaps her very soul. It is the very same light Mouse saw when she stood with Rijiin and the Creatrix of the elves on a meadow under a star-filled sky. The sight of the stars seemed to calm her disorientation and Mouse did not understand their meaning quite yet, so she kept it to herself.
“There is something strange about the starlight, a meaning behind it perhaps.” Mimi thought, opening her eyes curiously meeting Rijiin’s smile with a tilt of her head.
“Be at peace Mimitti, there will be no harm to you, only truth, as you and I always kept that between us. Remember that I never will candy-coated an answer to your questions.” Rijiin replied with a warm smile, “I am here to help you and answer any question you have.”
The elf let his awareness flow out and over her. Mouse suddenly knew the truth of the matter as images of his journey began to form in her mind. She also saw his identity in which she gasped loudly, peering dumfounded at the elf, her mouth dropping open in complete surprise as she watched the images.
Across the table, a look of jealousy and rage appeared on Robert’s face, annoyed by Rijiin’s openness with his best friend and fiancé, Mimi. He thought the elf was flirting with her than doing what he said he was. Rijiin, however was not, he opened his mind to utilize the starlight and show Mouse his identity, before his transformation into an elf. It would also explain a few things to her after his jumping through time and space to help her. The images were like a high-speed movie camera flashing images in her brain at double speed. Mimi now had full knowledge as Rijiin promised her, knowledge of his journey but they were like a whirlwind in her brain. Mouse tried to make sense of them, but she was unable to put them in order like a giant jigsaw puzzle with matching pieces. Mimi turned her head to meet the smiling face of Rijiin who sat next to her.
“Okay, that was a little strange.” Mouse stammered in confusion shaking her head slightly, as-if to clear the offending images. Rijiin sensed that the now young woman had full knowledge of his journey, and events leading up to his transformation into an elf. He read her mind quickly, as elves had that ability, but it was also apparent that Mimi still did not believe her eyes, even though she saw the entire event of his journey he had shown her. The elf, knowing her for a long time as a human, knew that it would be hard to convince her otherwise if she had made up her mind. Rijiin knew the group, even his family and few friends had been told that he had been murdered his body dismembered and left as dead in a cement culvert. They were also told that when the body was found, nothing was missing from the wallet still in his jeans pocket. It had been left very intact, identifying it as Mimi’s, Dave, Robert and the other’s friend.
Rijiin also learned from his reading minds, that there was also piece of mind when it came down to friends and family. The FBI had rounded up suspects in the form of the Bulletin Board System (BBS) members in what the bureau called his murder case. The members had an alibi, however, a strong one where everyone who had come to the gathering was accounted for, even after they returned from the mall area back to the Red Robin ™ restaurant. They stood thee chatting and socializing probably at the same time a murder was taking place. The feds thoroughly questioned the members who all maintained their alibi of their whereabouts the entire day: They were all in the restaurant at Eastridge the whole time and they all reported that he was alive and well when they saw him leave the party.
It also was not clear to anyone why Rijiin had left the gathering in the first place. The answer had been simple: He was tired of being the butt end of the jokes, ignored and treated badly by the members of the Bulletin Board System. Even though it was his own doing causing the turmoil online causing unrest and dislike to himself. Rijiin had just found something better to do in the mall for the rest of the time than standing around with a bunch of people he hardly knew and only coming here to the gathering at the personal invitation by the owner of the board itself. Strangely the FBI also questioned Mimi and the *De Anza Rat Pack too, trying to piece together what happened to their friend and measure what kind of person he was.
Quickly, Rijiin realized that his death had taken its toll, on Mimi especially, putting the regulars at the table with Mimi through the wringer and making it hard for many months after to get over his death. The elf realized he was probably was reopening old wounds by being here, and changing history by identifying himself. He had no idea how to begin to tell her any relevant information to help convince her otherwise of what they knew already. He never would deceive Mimi ever, and he never candy-coated any advice he gave her either. Mouse likewise did the same for him.
“That should not matter.” Rijiin thought, “I’m already dead and my change into an elf has already had happened before I told her or let my awareness show her those images. All it did was make it impossible for me to return as a human to this world and that is completely agreeable to me. Mimi at least deserves and is entitled to always know the truth.” Becky saw the elf slowly nod once to her in answer to her questioning look.
“This can’t be!” Mimi had exclaimed, shaking her head, “But he, you are dead! How can you be him, it is not possible!”
“Be at peace mistress Stewart, I am who I say I am.” Rijiin replied, nodding a couple of time despite the dubious look on her face.
“Can’t be who Mouse?” Robert asked, as the others turned to the young woman and all were nodding in agreement. They wanted to know what was going on. Rijiin could hardly blame them for wanting to know what he had just showed her. The elf considered what he could do, and almost showed the others in the group, but he did not want to cause a riot in the Fireside Dining Room. That would not be constructive use of the time allotted to help and heal his friend.
“Who are you talking about Mimi?” Omar asked, and a chorus of voices bombarded the young woman all at once.
“Come on Mouse, I am who I say I am.” He whispered, making a motioning sign with his hands, “You can do it.”
“He is what?” Robert asked, “Mimi you are not making sense.”
“I can’t Rijiin, it’s just not possible.” She replied, falling silent as tears formed in her eyes, “Your body was dismembered beyond recognition. Please do not make me live through that nightmare again. I finally got over it.”
“What the fuck are you doing to her Rijiin?” Robert snarled angrily.
“I am not doing anything to harm her, Ungai.” The elf replied sternly. Rijiin turned his attention back to Mimi whose eyebrows had climbed in absolute astonishment followed by a large grin. Mouse had gasped when Rijiin had called Robert the nickname he had given him a long time ago.
Katherine across the table had briefly yelped with laughter. There was a chuckle among the group. A long time had passed since they had heard the nicknamed used for Robert. The elf briefly turned his head to meet Becky’s puzzled frown as she sat next to Mimi. He then turned to the others who watched the exchange between himself and Mouse. It was very hard for Mimi to believe it was her friend. Mouse even found that she could not accept the changes to her mind and body. Let alone having to accept the changes of Rijiin, her best friend in the world like the ones on De Anza’s campus. What the elf did for her, however, had happened and she could not deny it with what she saw in the reflection in the glass of the picture nearby.
“It is true mistress. I was he, but no longer.” The elf told her with a nod, reading her conflicting thoughts (as the elves could), “As you already know.” Mimi regarded the elf for a moment, grimacing but managing a nod. She need not ask him where Rijiin had been, already knowing the answer to that question. Mouse was just glad to see him and she stood up and embraced him warmly, tears filling her eyes.
“That is enough!” Robert exclaimed, with an almost shout, “Who the fuck are you? What are fuck are you? What did you do with Mimi and who is that in her chair?” Rijiin could hear the snap of disbelief and confusion in his voice. The elf remained silent, sensing his anger and hostility there.
“We healed Mimi and gave her a new chance at life.” Rijiin replied coldly to Robert’s outburst, “Be at peace, she is unharmed, as you can rightly see.”
“What I see is a lot of bullshit.” Robert growled, eyeing John with a nasty look, “And you better not be behind it with him, you asshole.”
“They’re elves Robert!” Becky exclaimed, blurting it out as she attempted to touch Mouse’s shoulder. She abruptly pulled back her hand unsure. Rebecca turned her head to meet Rijiin’s neutral expression and she saw him nod slowly to her. Robert shook his head, with a sarcastic expression on his face and a look of anger in his eyes. He whirled on Rijiin to explode on him. Katherine was on her feet and the elf merely raised his hand. Something had told her to get to her feet and assist. Something about this couple had intrigued her like the others. She did not know why but had jumped to her feet anyway.
“Seere, Katherine.” He told her, and she paused, looking at Rijiin who nodded to her. “There will be no battle here, he cannot harm me.”
“Don’t give me that double talk.” Robert shouted, “Who are you people and don’t give us that bullshit about being elves, able to help and heal.” Although Robert, even with his limited mind could not say he was wrong what he saw Rijiin and Natil accomplished this morning. He had seen it done with his own eyes but even he was still skeptical, like many people around them. There was only three present, who could say what they saw was real, and the couple before them was genuine.
“Robert, that is not a friend of John, I assure you he is not involved in this and does not know what is happening either, like the rest of us.” Becky said in a soothing tone. She glanced at John who shrugged silently, raising his hands.
“Aye, as you wish, Robert but truth is truth.” Rijiin quietly replied pausing shortly to sigh and his words seem to hang there for a moment. Everyone around them heard his reply and so did the others around the table. All of them had a questioning expression on their faces. They did not understand his reply to Robert’s outburst. The elf and his wife obviously wielded a power that not everyone in the Dining Room understood and a power that had not been in existence in probably four hundred years. The couple had cured Mimi’s Cerebral Palsy, the very affliction she had been born with, and had confined her to a wheelchair for over four decades. They had healed her of other health issues, and had done it willingly, effortlessly as-if it was second nature to wield such a power.
“But that is impossible!” Becky said, rubbing her eyes as she peered at Mouse and then back to Rijiin who stood up now, bending over beside her, his hands on the table. Her head turned to the young Harper and Rebecca wondered where she had come from, and how Rijiin got involved with her. Becky glanced at Katherine who had reseated herself, smiling mysteriously, with an almost knowing.
“Rijiin please tell me…. Please explain to me… I don’t understand all of this…” Mouse sputtered, trying to find words for her question and Rijiin met her confused expression with a slight nod. Taking her hands, the elf stood upright and with a small tug, he pulled at Mimi’s hands. A low murmur echoed the table and the room.
“Stand and be recognized Mistress Stewart.” The elf said with a commanding tone. He glanced once at the others seated at the table. Mimi dubiously looked up at him, not sure what he wanted her to do and immediately shook her head. Mouse quickly realized, after a moment, he wanted her to stand up and walk with him on her own two feet.
“I can’t walk, Rijiin… you know that…if you are who I think you are.” Mimi replied as she shook her head and met his saddened expression. A look of curiosity appeared on her face, as did the others.
“Mistress Stewart,” He replied sadly, “One would not know until they try. Remember you have been healed and no longer will you be confined to the wheelchair. You will be able to walk on your own power.”
“Whaaat?” Omar and Chris said with a gasp, both staring at Rijiin as if he were from outer space. Dave had glanced at the others before staring at the elf in surprise. They had not been expecting him to say that with such a serious tone.
“Bullshit.” Robert snapped, “She can’t walk Rijiin, her legs do not work normally, not with Cerebral Palsy.”
“No bullshit Robert.” Katherine murmured, “I think he means it.”
“I am aware of her affliction, Ungai.” Rijiin replied sharply, cutting him off and Robert frowned in annoyance. Rijiin grinned at Mouse before he pulled at her hands and she put her feet on the floor. The young-looking woman rose up with some deliberation but she managed to succeed, standing on her own two feet. The elf held Mouse by her hands, steadying her as she staggered for a moment before gathering her footing. The pain in her body was gone and so was her Cerebral Palsy. Doubt was on Mimi’s face as she looked down, but her muscular legs obeyed her.
“Walk with me, my lady.” Rijiin repeated, still holding her hands gently and he stepped back.
There was a low gasp by everyone at the table and the surrounding people who stood watching the couple. A frown had appeared on many faces as she stood up, and even a few stood up to strongly object. It was especially around the table where Mouse had been seated.
“But…” Mouse started to reply but her voice caught as she looked down at her legs in surprise as they obeyed her command. She was walking. A hush fell over the Fireside Lounge as everyone present saw the once disabled woman stand up. People she knew on staff looked on in startled silence as something incredible and amazing was happening. Robert put his hands on the table, ready to get to his feet and prepared to charge Rijiin and his fiancé only to find Becky barring his way.
“Let me go. She's going to fall.” Robert complained and Becky shook her head slightly, “He’s going to hurt her. She cannot walk. You know that and what will happen!”
“I know she could not walk before, but I think now it’s going to be alright Robert.” Becky told him, “Let’s wait and see what happens.” She turned her head looking upon Mimi and Rijiin nearby, gasping quietly as she witnessed before her eyes, her friend walking on her own power. Everyone was astonished by the sight before them, even though there were still a few on their feet, and the others around them postured themselves to move in on Rijiin and Mouse.
“I don’t WANT TO WAIT.” Robert yelled and tried to lunge toward Mimi and Rijiin. He struggled and suddenly found that the small arm of Natil held him in place this time as she stood over him. She had sensed his hostility and his plan to intercede when it was not necessary and was on her feet quickly. Robert snarled belligerently at the Harper, and he proceeded to grab her arm. She looked down at him, her blue eyes twinkling brightly.
“I would advise you not try that.” The Harper murmured quietly, and something in her eyes told Robert to sit back down and be quiet. He snarled belligerently again at the young Harper, his anger clearly showing on his bearded features. Around him, people sat or stood in the Fireside Lounge, watched as Rijiin and Mimi interacted. The elf was nodding in approval as she walked with him.
“You seem to know what is going on Becky. Come on. What is all of this? Stop keeping stuff from me.” He whined and turning his head, watched Rijiin and Mimi walk together toward the door.
“Be at peace Messier.” Natil told him, “I assure you no harm will be to your beloved Mimi.” He muttered a horrible curse under his breath, turning his head as a jealous rage fell upon Mouse and Rijiin. Robert showed his open hostility toward this upstart Harper who came with him.
“I wasn’t talking to you lady.” Robert snarled at the Harper, “I was talking to my friend.”
Rijiin, standing near the door, had flashed a grin at the table when he saw what was going on but he quickly turned his attention immediately back to his best friend. The elf walked backward as he pulled Mouse in front of him. Murmurs and conversation filled the room. Mimi tentatively took a few more smooth steps, and she looked down in amazement. Katherine, John and Becky looked on in silence, like the room itself, a hush had fallen over the interior. No one intervened or tried to interfere. Everyone around them just watched what they could only perceive as a miracle.
“Oh my god I’m walking,” Mouse exclaimed. She felt her legs move normally with each command. Rijiin let her hands go, and her arms and hands fell smoothly to her side. Mimi turned her head, breathing out sharply when realizing that she was walking away from the group and the wheelchair where she spent the better part of four decades. Her reaction was astonishment. It was no dream for the now youthful woman, it was reality, and she was actually doing it.
“OH MY…” Mouse gasped, stumbling slightly and like lighting Rijiin was there to catch her. A murmur of conversation rippled through the room like wildfire. Dave, Chris, and Robert stood up quickly ready for action to assist as needed. The students and staff around her, watched in startled silence. They were unsure what was happening.
“Be at peace, Mimi is all right.” Natil said, “As I have said no harm will befall her. She is in good hands.” The Harper shifted uncomfortably in the chair, having reseated herself. Here the maiden closed her eyes briefly gazing at the starlight in the darkness, letting it comfort her. The trio who stood grimaced by her statement and glanced at Rijiin and Mimi nearby.
“Natil, can I ask you a personal question.” Chris asked and the Harper opened her eyes and turned her head to nod slightly, “Where are you from and do you have a sister. You are really hot.” The Harper frowned when everyone at the table laughed, including Robert and promptly some banter followed between them. She had been perplexed by the question and remained silent to contemplate her answer.
“Yeah, I totally agree with that.” Omar agreed, “You are a fox, Natil, I hope you have sisters, I can bet they are like you.” More banter followed from the table, including Katherine, John, and Becky.
“I do indeed, several.” The Harper replied, with a frown, “Does that make a difference?”
“Cool, where are they?” Chris said with a boisterous laugh, “… and are they young and single?”
“They are in another time and place.” The Harper replied quietly. “Alas, they are not in this world and if you count the time we are sitting in now, it has not been for a long time.”
Everyone’s attention, especially those seated at the table had focused upon the Harper with complete surprise when hearing her answer. Their laughter and banter had stopped, the room becoming strangely silent when she spoke. Her voice was calm, barely audible, an almost musical sound filled with the same strong and strange inflection that Rijiin had. Everyone’s attention turned back to Mimi and Rijiin. Dave and Robert watched Mimi, their friend and acquaintance for a long time, walking on her own power.
“What the hell does that mean?” Omar asked, grimacing at the Harper, a puzzled frown appeared on the faces around them. Her answer had not been one that they had expected to hear.
“This is all bullshit.” Robert exclaimed, glancing at Becky, “No one has that power to do what you and Rijiin did for Mouse… unless it is god himself.” His voice had been a half in anger and disbelief. Natil let the anger pass knowing it was his right to be this way. Mimi sensed Robert’s fear of something strange and unfamiliar to him. The Harper sensed that with many people around them.
“Aye, as it is possible by your god it was also possible by elves of centuries past, but no longer.” Natil murmured, “There are only a few among us that have that talent to heal.” No one moved in the room, likewise, did they lunge or riot toward Natil. They just looked on in silence at the revelation by the good-looking Harper. Mimi continued to stand with Rijiin and she saw her astonished expression again, catching the image of her face in a picture frame’s glass that was a little clearer. A low murmur rippled through the crowd, seated and standing.
“I…” Mouse stammered, whirling on Rijiin with her hands still touching her face in wonder. “I want you to undo this…” Mimi demanded suddenly, and he calmly met her frightened expression, feeling her anger.
“Be at peace, Mouse.” Rijiin said simply, “I know you are afraid and I really understand. It will take time to adjust to your new form and you now have several lifetimes to do just that. The magic is still in flux, there will be some abrupt changes you will see immediately, but know this there are also a few gradual ones that will happen over time.” Mouse was shaking her head slightly.
“This cannot be!” She exclaimed, “It is impossible! I told you that I wanted to be as I am. I was happy with myself and my life.” Mouse’s voice faltered, falling silent when hearing her new voice. It made Mimi feel so strange hearing it.
“WHY did you do this?” Mimi whispered, “I cannot accept this… It’s not…”
“It is not human? It is not, it is elven. I did it because I am your friend, and I care for you.” Rijiin interrupted, “I did it because you, Mistress Stewart deserve the same kindness as you showed me when I arrived here at De Anza. I had no one to talk to, brand new to this place. You and Robert offered your friendship without question or expectations. I always remembered and appreciated that.”
The elf met Mouse’s surprised expression, and they stood staring into each other’s eyes in silence for a moment before the teenage looking girl nodded slightly in sudden understanding. Mimi figured out who Rijiin really was and it was true what she had seen a few moments ago when he let his awareness touch her mind. The events she had seen were real and the elf was her friend, despite the major changes that he obviously had gone through. Mimi met his solemn gray eyes in silence but she also found herself shaking her head at the thoughts that she was having.
“Jesus. Nathaniel never looked like this.” Mimi thought to herself staring at Rijiin in silence, “And he never had a wife or someone who looked like that beautiful young woman beside him. It just cannot be, but I saw the images and what he called truth so it has to be him.”
Mimi stared silently at the young elf, noting his trim and muscular body despite the unisex green and gray garb he wore. She peered into his gray eyes and at the long brown hair that cascaded to his shoulders. Before, Mimi remembered that Nathaniel had a ruddy but an attractive complexion rather than pale and fair complexion like the one he has now. Mouse also remembered that her friend had blue eyes, not gray, an average build not trim and muscular like he had now. His hair had been mostly gray but Rijiin’s hair was a deep brown color with very little silver in it. Mimi suddenly glanced down at her hand, turning it over to reveal the crescent moon and interlocked, rayed star pendant and gold chain she still held in her hand. It twinkled brightly in the fluorescent light.
Rijiin had motioned to Mimi. “Walk with me my kinswoman.” He instructed. Both the elf and Mimi walked alone, far out of range of the table. Together they talked in low tones to each other. No one at the table ever heard Rijiin and Mimi’s conversation or had heard what they had talked about between them. No one needed to know but was one conversation Mimi would never forget. She hugged the elf after a moment, to grin as he fastened the necklace bearing the pendant of the crescent moon and interlocked star that hung from the gold chain around her neck. Rijiin gently removed the other necklace belonging to Robert, instead of allowing him to hurt her by yanking it from her neck. Together they returned to the table and Mimi, healed, sat lounging in her wheelchair. In her hand, Mouse held Robert’s necklace. The young woman sensed his anger directed toward her as she placed the half pendant and chain on the tabletop in silence.
“Here is Mimi, I return her to you.” Rijiin told the group. He spoke quietly, and his voice was thickly filled with the strange accent and inflection of the elves. “Human ways are not our ways and we must be going. We must return to where we belong.”
“Speaking of that, where is that Rijiin?” Becky exclaimed, “What do you mean human ways are not yours?” All present were thoroughly curious about the couple who had graced their presence on this cold December morning. “You seem so familiar to me. Who are you really?” The elf did not reply he merely grimaced as he stepped back one-step from the table.
“Rijiin, will I look like the reflection I saw in the glass of that picture frame?” Mimi asked suddenly and he turned to regard the beautiful young woman before him. He met her aquamarine colored eyes in silence with a single nod of his head.
“Mistress Stewart, you are not ill-formed by any means, and quite beautiful.” He said solemnly, “Yes, you will look exactly as you have seen, perhaps even more so. The magic is still in flux and there will be a lot more changes.”
“Yeah that’s an understatement.” Dave murmured meeting the nods of Chris and Omar who had heard him. Their attentions returned to Rijiin who stood nearby and all noted a change about the elf. Mimi’s hand touched her cheek in curiosity as she stood up again and stared at a nearby picture frame. Mouse could see herself partially in the reflection, but the face in the glass was not clear enough to show her what really she looked like. She remembered there was a mirror in the Physical Education (PE) Quad in the locker room and made mental note to go over there to look.
“There are going to be a lot of changes in the next few hours, perhaps even days. Our magic is unpredictable and can choose many different paths. It is hard to say exactly what path the power of transformation will take or what changes will happen. Only time will tell what you gain.” He explained, “You have, though, reached Arae ea oombra, which means the Day of Completion and for you, that day is today. Furthermore for you, it is also Arae ea circa which means Day of Beginnings.”
“Is it because of my healing Rijiin?” Mimi asked. Becky and the others present saw Rijiin nod affirmatively.
“It is beloved, very much so. Arae ea oombra because your old lifeline as a human has ended as you know it and Arae ea circa, as you change more and more into an what you will become, an elf.” There was a sarcastic look on everyone’s face, but that changed to a look of curiosity when he spoke the two words in Elvish. The group present at the table felt a jump inside themselves, like an electrical charge that passed through their bodies when hearing the elvish words. Katherine had understood the terms and gasped quietly.
“Are those holidays or something?” Chris asked formally, “I have never heard of that before. Those names sound important or something.”
“They are events in a lifeline, like the winter and summer solstice.” John replied, “The elves use those terms to mark changes in a lifeline by their manipulation of energy. Kind of like what you saw with Mimi.
“It’s not a Wicca thing is it?” Omar asked, and John shook his head.
“No, but warlocks and witches do celebrate the solstices, and would be guided by the same markers when they manipulate energy like the elves.” John replied, “Although for Wicca, we work in circles where elves do not. It is…”
“It’s bullshit.” Robert interrupted, “You are so full of shit John, and you too, Rijiin. All that has happened to us, Rijiin has hypnotized us somehow and you used some of your pagan Wicca bullshit. That is not Mimi. It is someone being paid to impersonate her. This so-called change cannot have happened, there is no such thing as elves or magic, it is all fantasy. You and your gay lover John are trying to pull a fast one on us, so spare us the horseshit and tell us where Mimi is really.”
John grimaced at the insult and was about to reply in anger but his gaze fell upon Rijiin who grimaced at the banter between Robert and John, sensing the dislike between the two. The elf raised his hand silently and shook his head.
“Be at peace, he is not worth it. You spoke the truth.” Rijiin murmured quietly, “As it is, truth is truth and for some they just can’t handle it.”
John tilted his head for a moment, in half understanding before returning a nod in understanding. Rijiin understood what John was talking about and he was respectful of the young man’s craft. He had dealt with witches like Roxanne, and Charity back in the fourteenth century. The elf had learned a thing or two from them. He learned to respect the craft (witchcraft), other people’s feelings, the laws of nature, and perhaps some humanity that the elf had long forgotten over the course of a year.
Rijiin, still grimacing, turned his attention to Robert who continued to spew more disruptive comments. The elf hardly heard them as he turned. He coldly met Robert’s bearded features and his hazel-colored eyes in silence. When Rijiin finally spoke, it was like a double-edged sword.
“By our Lady, that is enough out of you. Dina, Ungai. Lle vanwa kolien usquentiri huan.” The elf snarled coldly. The others in the group, seated around the table, gasped when they felt the chill of the elvish words spoken by Rijiin, “You otherwise will have trouble in your future if you do not. Do not think I will not act upon it, as it is a promise, not a threat.”
“Oh and boo hoo… You will call security.” The elf replied sarcastically, “I honestly do not think you will have the chance Robert. I can take you out in a heartbeat. So remember that before you take the swing.”
Robert’s eyes had widened in surprise when Rijiin interrupted him and his train of thought. Rijiin had responded to what he was the disabled man was about to say back to elf in the form of an angry threat and what he planned in his head. The elf had looked ahead and saw him become violent, throwing the first punch in a fight between himself and Rijiin. To the disabled man, it was as-if the elf was reading his mind, (Which Rijiin was) and already knew what he was contemplating. The elf had read his thoughts, the elves having that talent, and he had known what he was about to say. However, his body language clearly gave away his intention the most.
“Know this too Ungai, elves are creatures of peace and should not be provoked. We do make formidable opponents, however. I suggest, for your own good, you sit there, be quiet, and listen. You might learn a few things. However, there will be no battle here.”
The elf had been turned to Mimi, talking quietly to her and had sensed the incoming fist toward his head. Rijiin, with little effort had dodged letting the strike expend into open air before jumping to his feet. The elf quickly blocked two more swings at his head but not a third strike, striking him, making him back up a couple of steps. Rijiin put a hand to his face as an expression of anger appeared on his fair features. Around them, gasps, ooohs, ahhhs and a low murmur from rippled through the crowd.
Mouse turned her head to see the expression of anger on Rijiin’s face, and the bright twinkle of starlight in his eyes. Mimi had her mouth open, clearly surprised and shocked that her fiancé had struck him. Rijiin quickly connected to the starlight, and the motions of the dance the elves used for fighting. He saw feints, openings, and many possibilities that lay ahead of him. Robert moved in with another fist. The elf saw the motions of the dance in which he saw ahead to the future knowing what Robert was about to do even before he knew himself.
There was one possibility of swordplay that would take a turn for the worst, when Rijiin would have to slay him. He shuddered at the thought, wishing this could be settled in peace.
Rijiin glanced to the crowd when someone suggested going and getting security. The elf continued to dodge Robert’s punches or blocking, using Aikido from a long time ago. He tried desperately to not harm Robert, easily able to injure if he so chose. Two students left the room and he sensed they were going to alert security, and the manager of this building. This whole incident would be an ugly mess. Robert bent backward to wind up intending, after grabbing one of his crutches, to use it as a club. The elf stepped back, letting the crutch whistle past his face a few inches from it. He ducked when the second crutch came in toward him, letting it pass his body. The elf’s hand flashed to the blade at his side, un-securing it and allowing it to be drawn.
A look of sadness appeared on Natil’s face when Rijiin unsecured his blade, knowing that he did not want to fight in this manner and have the possibility of hurting Robert. He glanced in her direction and he saw the look and the slight headshake of his traveling companion. The elf, she sensed, wanted this to be solved in a peaceful manner but because Robert took a swing at him, he would have no choice but to use force. The elf continued to dodge each crutches as they were swung at him. A look of frustration appeared on Robert’s face when he realized they were not getting close to Rijiin. The elf, sighing as he felt the futility of it all, drew the blade from its sheath with a metallic rasp, and there was a gasp by all. Sparks appeared as the elf’s blade and the metal crutches connected, the elf easily parrying the attack. Rijiin stepped back again and he ducked into a crouch, letting one swing expend its energy over his head. Abruptly the elf brought his blade up and he cut a chunk of Robert’s beard down to the skin. Blood trickled from the disabled man’s chin after hearing a whistle of the blade pass him by.
“First blood, don’t bother to yield.” Rijiin exclaimed coldly, turning after following through and stood his ground. Robert stepped back, placing a hand up to his chin, and he looked down in with a grimace when he realized that Rijiin had cut him. He silently wiped the blood from his skin.
“Rijiin, please no more, that is not why we are here.” Natil warned, as the elf stepped back, readying himself for another onslaught. Robert snarled as he thrust his crutch like a sword and Rijiin moved to parry easily. Without warning, the elf stepped forty-five degrees to the right and with his left hand struck him with an open palm in the sternum. The hit made Robert back up two steps and here Rijiin followed through to spin away from the disabled man, coming up, his blade finding its home on the back of the disabled man’s neck making him freeze and the elf put it to his jugular vein. The battle was ended.
“By our lady, what is that you seek Robert?” Rijiin demanded, “Is this what you are after?” The elf held the blade at his neck, and he grimaced at the sight before him. He realized what he was doing and relaxed his grip on the blade at Robert’s neck just so. Rijiin managing a low sigh.
“If I would have chosen, you would have been slain here. However, in my travels I have learned some compassion and understanding for humans, despite what I have seen.” He told him solemnly, his tone ice cold, “Thankfully you never will understand, or know of our trials. This battle is ended, however, I suggest you go get a drink and cool off Robert, also clean yourself up. You should maybe even have someone looked at that.” Rijiin, holding his blade ready, had stepped back. Robert stepped back away from him too. The elf thought the battle had ended. A crutch moved toward the elf when Rijiin had turned away.
“Watch out beloved!” Natil exclaimed, and the elf ducked letting the strike expend in open air, a few inches from his head. He felt the second crutch hit his shoulder, feeling a sharp pain. Rijiin’s blade flashed, as the first crutch was already was coming in at him and he skillfully parried it. The elf backed off, and raised his blade waiting for the right opening. The elf realized he had no choice what he must do. Natil sensed what he was doing and the opening he sought.
“Here we go.” Rijiin muttered, “Just one step and one parry, he breaks the parry and a quick cross body strike across the neck that is virtually unblockable.”
Rijiin saw the opening and his blade flashed once to parry, locking the crutch behind the blade. Robert fought to break the hold. The elf was poised to let loose and his blade would execute the strongest move he had developed in his sword fighting techniques. A technique that he had sprung on Terrill and even with his skill could not parry or dodge. Robert broke the parry and Rijiin let loose. In the back of the elf’s mind, he remembered that Robert had not been taught in the way of the sword that he was relying on street brawling using his crutches in an underhanded way.
“Oh by our Lady, Rijiin don’t do it!” Natil shouted. The elf maiden suddenly realized what he was doing, and had called out. Rijiin heard Natil’s shout, and he pulled back at the last minute, letting the blade whistle through the air to cut Robert’s beard. The disabled man staggered backward with a look of fear in his eye having felt the wind of the elf’s blade across his throat. The elf spun clear and he held his blade upright, knowing he had pulled back. However, if he had not, Robert’s head would slowly be slipping from its shoulders onto the ground right now. The elf held his ground, holding his blade ready, straight up at his side. Mimi stood out of her chair and stepped between Robert and Rijiin. The elf was not breathing hard but Robert was.
“Enough.” Mimi firmly declared, holding up her hands, “This is not going to solve anything if you idiots fight. Bobby, go get us a drink as Rijiin suggested and cool off. Rijiin you sit down and let Natil check your arm.”
“Shut up you imposter.” Robert snarled, turning in a huff to lumber toward the door and around the corner.
“You might have trouble with security in the next few minutes.” Mimi whispered, “He is probably going to get them and have them call the police. But, are you all right?”
“Just like him to be so immature.” Rijiin growled, turning his attention to the group. He quickly sheathed the blade but he left it at his side unsecured,
“I am not unwell, Mimitti. Be at peace.”
“So Rijiin when you meant changes, you mean I will be changing into an immortal elf then?” Mimi asked, “So I am clear on this.” Rijiin managed a shrug in reply to the question.
“Perhaps, if that is the path you walk and seek then you will become just that.” He replied, motioning to Natil who had joined him at his side. The Harper embraced him, holding him closely. The elf returned the warm embrace and leaned over toward her. Dave, Chris and even Omar were grinning at the couple. Mimi sat with her eyes closed, and she stared at the starlight before her in silent astonishment.
“Rijiin, what am I seeing?” Mouse asked, with her eyes closed. She had gasped when she saw it, uncomprehending its meaning as she had stood on the meadow and now in the Fireside Dining Room. Its power seemed to calm and refresh her.
“MMM? What was that?” Rijiin asked, “You have a question Mimi? What do you need to know?”
“I am seeing starlight.” She murmured, and he nodded. “What exactly is that about? I saw it when I stood before the Lady too.”
“It is the healing energies that bind the elves, and their power.” He said, “They are the lady, who is us, who made the elves.”
“Oh you mean the lady in blue and silver?” Becky had chimed in and Rijiin showed visible surprise at first, but he did not shake his negatively. He in fact had nodded to Mimi and Becky, surprising them both.
“I wondered who the woman was. I thought she seemed a little out of this world.” Mimi remarked, “Especially when we stood on the open meadow together and I had weird images of a young girl clad as you are in green and gray. Apparently it is the face I have become.” Rijiin politely nodded.
“Be at peace, you will soon be able to seek the Lady out and she can answer many of your questions, also show you the right path to walk.” Rijiin explained, leaning over toward Natil, “It is time beloved, our task is complete. We can return home and to the safety among the trees.” Natil met his smile with a look of surprise but she also nodded, thankfully in agreement.
“We must go now.” Rijiin announced. Mimi, Omar, Becky, Dave, Chris, even Katherine turned in surprise as Rijiin bowed slightly at the waist. “Perhaps we shall meet again.”
“Whoa, you are leaving?” Becky asked, “You still have not told us who you are. We have a lot of questions for you two.” Questions echoed around the table, and Rijiin met the grin of knowing on Mimi's youthful face.
“Yeah, that’s an understatement Becky.” Omar commented. Chris and Dave nodded in agreement. They were perplexed by what they saw today, and wondered if they just hallucinated the whole thing that happened this morning.
“I don’t know how or what we saw today, but it certainly happened.” Becky declared, “The proof is sitting here with us and I can’t deny Mimi’s appearance or change as anything else.”
“And you would be right Mistress Mc Gough. Be at peace. Natil and I do not belong here. We must leave you all now and travel to the place where we arrived this morning. So we may return to our proper destination.” Rijiin declared with a nod, “We are as we are, but know this, what happened here has also affected all of you who sat with Mimi this morning.”
He paused to scan the room in silence, shaking his head quietly. The elf felt uncomfortable here, realizing that he and his beloved Harper did not belong here. They did not belong in the modern age among humans as immortal elves from the Renaissance Age. He longed for the safety of trees and the forests of Malvern in a different time, lifetime and different dance.
The Harper when she heard his whispered words had raised her eyebrows in surprise but the also nodded slowly. Natil’s face showed her acknowledgment of whom and what she was seeing. There was no doubt now that he was fully elven and no longer human. He half turned to open the pouch at his side and he withdrew cards from the shop in Eastridge. Rijiin passed them out to the people he had called friends.
“Come to this place, there you will seek the answers to your questions.” Rijiin told them and he nodded a couple of times, “It is here that you will find your way.”
“Aa' menle nauva calen ar' ta hwesta e' ale'quenle.” He said aloud and Katherine, sitting at the table stood up and bowed formally to the elf.
Aa' lasser en lle coia orn n' omenta gurtha.’ Katherine said back, making the elves smile and nod.
“What is this, a way to what, Rijiin?” Mouse asked, scanning the card but when she looked up Rijiin and Natil had already gone. No one in the room moved, as a time shift seemed to happen. Fifteen minutes would elapse and no one would remember the elves visit or what happened. Only the group around the table, where the now very youthful looking Mimi sat in her wheelchair, was aware of anything different. They all talked in low tones about what had transpired here, and still could not get over how much Mimi changed.
Becky, Omar, Dave, Katherine and even Chris had felt strangely different as they were all touched by Rijiin and Natil’s healing ability that had swirled about them. The group felt healthier, charged up and each person had a peculiar feeling inside them after all they had seen today. The group had witnessed the miracle of an ancient religion’s magic that had long since passed and all were unsure where he or she would be going from here. Robert, as Mimi had foreseen, had returned to the Fireside Lounge with Ben and a few security guards but the elves were already gone.
Becky’s reminisces faded when she felt a hand on her shoulder and she opened her eyes. On the horizon, the lights from the town called Salida, Utah are there and it is at this desolate oasis among the desert they would pull off for their second night out of California. As they pulled into the parking lot, Rebecca glanced at Mimi in the darkness, clearly outlined in lavender and purple colors, and then back to the dim lights of the small humble motel that they had spied while entering the town.
“Where are we?” Becky asked.
“Salida, Utah.” Mimi replied, stretching herself in the seat and managing a yawn. They had pushed over five hundred miles, managing to reach deep into Utah, crossing Nevada in record time. Both of them had risen at 6 AM, two days ago and already they had reached this far, driving straight through.
Grabbing her purse, Mimi hopped out of the truck, followed by Becky and together they stretched before walking toward the office of the motel. The motel itself is rustic, with a chalet type office and adjacent buildings that make up the rooms. Around them a zoo, makes up the surroundings with a restaurant adjacent to it. Mouse and Becky both smiled seeing the rustic setting amidst this desert setting. The air was hot outside but as they opened, a plate glass door leading into the office, a cool breeze blasted them both in the face. An older man sat behind the desk at the computer, dressed in a tank top and comfortable khaki shorts
“Can I help you ladies?” He asked politely, meeting the gazes of Mimi and Becky.
“We’d like a room for the night…” Mimi said, “Non smoking.”
“We have one available, for 36.99 a night.” He told them, and put up a form on the counter, “Please fill this out. I will get your key.” Mimi filled out the form quickly, and both signed it. Mimi flipped him her credit card and he took it.
“Can I see your identification please?” He asked and Mimi smiled handing him her new driver’s license she recently acquired over the last two months. He nodded handing both back to her and she gladly took it. The office manager handed them both a key.
“Check out is at 11:00 AM, Restaurant is open all night.” He droned and both smiled, nodding their heads.
“With thanks.” Mimi replied, “Be at peace.”
Together Mouse and Becky adjourned to the room, a rustic set room with oak furnishings, a dark red shag carpet, yellowish tinged walls, and not very well lit with the amount of lamps that surrounded the room. The bathroom consisted of a marble tabletop counter with a sink built into it, bright shiny fixtures, a door to the right led into a walk in shower and toilet. The bathroom, brightly lit by powerful fluorescent lighting offered a heat lamp. It was rustic, but home for a night.
“Not bad for 36.99 a night.” Becky had muttered and they piled their luggage in a narrow alcove near the door. They hit the restaurant first, having a quick meal, entering the diner through a series of double glass doors and stood waiting at the sign that read ‘Wait to be seated.’
“Seat yourself anywhere!” A harried middle-aged server called out and Mimi grabbed two menus. The diner was as rustic as the hotel. A medium sized main room and two smaller rooms filled with a sea of tables. They sat on the far side of the diner close to the windows that overlooked the zoo, and after their orders were taken they relaxed.
“The way I see it, we fuel up here, we can easily reach Grand Junction.” Mimi said, “Or head north to Interstate-80 and cross Wyoming and come down to Denver from the north. A few more miles out of the way but a safer bet than trying the continental divide in our Uhaul ™ beast.”
“Whatever seems the easiest, Mouse.” Becky replied, smiling at the inflection in her voice, “We still have to cross mountains even on Highway-80 through Evanston.”
“That’s true.” Mouse mused and she thought a moment, “Either way it’s going to be a climb. I am unsure which would be easiest.”
“I wouldn’t worry. Let’s do that when we get there.” Becky suggested.
“What do you think we’ll find, Mouse?” Becky asked suddenly, “We are coming to a high place to the east, at least from California.”
Mimi thought a moment, and shook her head, “I really don’t know. It will be good to know what we are getting into and if there is someone here to meet us though.”
“Me too.” Becky replied with a smile, “And I hope heir names are Natil and Rijiin.”
Mimi smiled at Becky and nodded as they chatted, making small talk as they made plans for the next part of their trip. It was right up until their food came to them, piping hot, and they ate in silence. After they were finished, Becky paid the bill then both stepped out into the night and gazed up at the sea of stars above them. A shooting star streaked across the night sky. Mouse and Becky both smiled when they saw it. The star-field reminded them of another place and a grassy meadow where they stood with the Lady.
When they returned to the room, both showered and lay on the two queen beds on their side. Both lay listening to the TV, and yet both had their eyes closed, staring at the starlight they saw in the darkness. Becky wondered where they were going from here, and where their destination lay. Opening her eyes, she glanced at Mouse, in the darkened room and clearly outlined in purple and lavender colors as she had seen in the truck. Blinking her eyes a couple of times Becky gazed at Mouse again, seeing the strange aura.
“Now this is weird.” Becky thought as she blinked her eyes again, then realizing that as an elf she could see in the dark. “It appears that we have another skill elves apparently have.” Mouse opened her eyes and peered at Becky, her eyes shining in the dim light.
“We can see in the dark.”
“Yeah I noticed.” Mimi replied.
“You look tired Mouse.” Becky observed as Mimi yawned, before looking over at her companion to shake her head.
“Hardly that,” Mimi replied, “This is going to be tough. I thought Elves slept. I feel energized after eating and that shower. I feel really strange right now, too wired to sleep.”
“I don’t feel tired either. I know the feeling about being energized.” Becky replied, “It must be these changes happening to us.”
“Maybe.” Mimi replied, “Let’s try to rest a bit anyway.” They lay back, but in the darkness, Becky and Mouse both were wide-awake, their eyes closed, keeping the vision of the starlight as the hours the night encroached into the wee hours of the morning.
The next day, both dressed quickly, and together they put their bags in the truck. Together they stepped into the diner, was seated and ordered breakfast, Mimi and Becky took an hour and ate a hearty breakfast. After settling the bill, they headed to the service station nearby where they filled the Uhaul ™. Becky took first watch on driving duty, racing down Highway 50/70 at break neck speed as they set their sights on Denver instead of Grand Junction. They only had a few stops, at Montrose, Green River, and Grand Junction to fuel the truck, get food or to switch off the task of driving. Hours later, Mouse sat behind the wheel, as their truck crested the hill and in the dusk hours that her eyes, focused on the lights as they approached and saw Denver on the horizon. She turned her head and looked up at her traveling companion curiously. Mimi noted Becky closed her eyes and she carried a strange aura around her.
“Becky.” Mouse whispered, “We’re here.”
Becky turned her head as the lights of Denver grew closer and closer. A smile appeared on her youthful looking face. He cast a glance at Mouse who drove and who was smiling too. Both were glad to see Denver, hardly sleeping over the last few days to push far to the east and staring at wonder at their destination where they seemed to know that they were going to meet those people like themselves. They could hardly contain their excitement on that fact and looked forward to tomorrow, their first day in Denver.
“So we’re at Denver, as you asked, what do you think we looking for, do you think this is it?” Mouse asked. Becky turned her head to reply and only grimaced, to shrug her shoulders.
“I still have no idea Mouse.” Becky replied, smiling quietly glad to see Denver on the horizon. She let out a silent breath as she cracked the window, letting the cool fresh air fill the cab.
“The goddess said they would be just like us, as if they are brothers and sisters.” Becky recited, “Seek a high place in the East. Rijiin said it too.”
“Well we made it this far.” Mouse replied, “The part about seeking a high place in the east, at least. The Rockies are high and east of California.”
“True.” Becky replied quietly, “I don’t know but I have a pretty good feeling what we seek will be here Mouse. We’d better stop for the night at least, it is getting very late.”
They stopped at the nearest Motel when they reached the confines of the city of Denver and there they rented a room. Together they had a quick meal in a local diner not far from their accommodations and when they returned, Becky lay on the queen bed near the far wall. She glanced sideways at companion, sighing quietly as she lay back. Both of them did not sleep. Elves rarely slept, and they both peered at the starlight as they lay with their eyes closed in their hotel room. They let the light sooth their senses and it seemed to energize them as before.
Unlike the first borne elves of Malvern, the starlight had faded over the remaining centuries, as did the elves themselves. Their magic, their ways had faded and Natil had been the last one, traveling throughout the realm, harping for those who enjoyed her music. Becky and Mimi saw the starlight, and both transformed with the same magic of the old ways. Despite the patterns of starlight, the ones they could see in the darkness, it is not the same as what the first borne elves could see. Their abilities were far from how it was for the first borne elves. The patterns had changed in the darkness becoming unrecognizable and both were unable to go to the Lady, the Creatrix of the Elves, as they had been able to before.
“Rijiin I hope you are here.” Becky murmured, focusing on the unidentifiable patterns in the darkness. She wondered and hoped that was true, and they would find what they were looking for. The next morning they were still awake when morning encroached on Denver and they had a hearty breakfast at a diner near the hotel. Together they panned a gaze about the streets of Denver, shadowed by the Rocky Mountains. Both of them stared at shops around the area, looking for a sign that would be for what they sought here in Denver.
“A people they would know as them as brothers and sisters,” Becky thought, repeating Rijiin’s words. She glanced at Mouse in silence as she took in the surroundings with her. A sign did catch their eye, one that read Watterston’s New Age Emporium. A look of surprise appeared on both of their faces. Becky recognized it from the magazine publications her boyfriend had received by mail. Mimi sensed a strange feeling as they stared at the sign.
As they walked toward the shop, they exchanged a glance before they entered through the plate glass door to find a large room dominated by a long counter with an enormous cash register sitting on top of it. At present, the register, as though impelled by its very size, was totaling up three-figure purchases for a milling crowd of women clad in various combinations of fringes, shawls, bead work, turquoise, silver plated tin, and imitation eagle feathers. Mimi and Becky both hung back by the door. Mouse could not help notice that at least three shelves of the bookcase next to entrance, crammed with books on Iridiology. It was just as Natil had taken in when she had visited here and met Sandy Joy. Becky joined her and both peered at the books.
“Iridiology?” Becky said with a questioning tone. “That’s not Wicca I think.” Mimi only shrugged in reply as they scanned the perimeter of the store.
“No Idea, Becky.” Mimi replied, “I don’t know Wicca, you know that.”
“Yes I know.” She replied, “It’s nothing, trust me.”
Racks and shelves of books, in fact, filled with every free section of wall and spilled out into the middle of the room in double-side displays, but as Becky and Mouse strolled through the store, they narrowly avoided collisions with the milling customers, their fringes, and their imitation eagle feathers. Both noted that Watterson’s New Age Emporium offered much more than books. In fact, it seemed to have one, if not several, of everything.
The sections were overwhelming. Scented oils with astrological correspondence, tiny suede sacks adorned with iron-on Nordic runes, Aluminum cards that attracted ‘Pyramid power’. Crystal Pendants. Feathered sticks. Little chrome balls that jingled mysteriously when shaken. Bags of incense specially blended to mediate the energies of the Solstice. Dark mirrors. Pseudo Native America Shields, pipes, headdresses, and amulets. Talismans of Mercury, Mars, Ariel, Uriel, Jupiter, also several planetary and angelic powers that Becky did not recognize at all. Baskets of landscaping rocks. Lumps of clay. Boxes of glass marbles. Large arrangements of copper wire and iron ingots that appeared to have something to do with “Channeling energy.” Egyptian necklaces. Oriental earrings. Celtic bracelets. Museum replicas of ancient statuary. Mass produced replicas of modern kitsch. Alabaster eggs. Teak wood boxes. Color-coded zafus. Little pewter figurines of sorcerers and mermaids. Large plaster images of satyrs and nymphs. Chalices of stainless steel, brass, bronze, and copper. Wands of wood, stone and plastic. Gourd rattles. Staves with carvings… and without. Bowls. Incense burners. Crude paintings of goddesses (breasts and hips prominent) and Gods (penises and horns prominent). Muslin robes and colored cord. Quantities of quartz crystals, geodes apache tears, jasper pebbles, moonstone beads and…
Becky and Mouse, overwhelmed by the displays found themselves split in two parts of the store, Mimi browsing the merchandise on the shelves. Becky found her way to the display in the long counter. Peering into the display, she saw magician’s caps, and other accessories used for Wicca. Specialty items and sales items also appeared in the display. Rebecca’s gaze fell onto a box containing black stones. She managed a grimace at the price tag with it. It took her a moment to identify what she was looking at.
“Boji stones?” She murmured to herself, ignoring the woman behind the counter who is dressed in a leather tunic and skirt. She has blue eyes, and her round cheeks almost matched her red hair. She smiled at Becky as she stood there watching her inspect the display and the many items for sale in the glass case.
“Boji stones for sixty bucks?” Becky gasped, and her attention turned to another box next to it held smaller ones.
“Holy crap, thirty bucks?” She asked herself, “For Boji stones? You have to be kidding and they look like charcoal briquettes.”
“Can I help you?” the woman asked and Becky politely shook her head as she moved along. A man in a thread barren robe stood next to the register and from her position in the store, Mouse saw Becky head his way to have a polite conversation with him, which lasted several minutes. Mouse saw Becky smile politely putting up her hands to decline the sales pitch he was showing her and a few minutes elapsed before she walked toward Mimi in silence. She had thanked him for his information that was quite helpful to her, tracking down a possible lead of the immortals in Denver.
“Find anything Mouse?” Becky asked and Mimi shook her head.
“Well this is certainly not the place.” Becky declared in disgust, “The shop owner is interested in nothing more than sex and the greed of Wicca. However he put me on a couple of leads though.”
“What kind of leads?” Mouse asked, feeling something jumping inside by her statement.
“Well he put us to a Kingsley College, where he thought two students currently attend.” She suggested, “He described two beautiful young women, a redhead and a dark haired woman who had come in here, searching for books on casting and books on the Wicca religion. They were searching for others like themselves.”
“That sounds like Natil.” Mouse gasped, “I wonder who the other one is. I know it can’t be Rijiin.”
“No Rijiin had dark brown hair, streaked with silver.” Becky said, “He said an unidentifiable and very attractive female. The classes they offer here too are a joke, a farce…” Becky muttered, “He is a petty little man and a traitor who should call himself a Warlock.”
Mouse gasped when she heard her echo John Stack’s words, Becky’s former boyfriend only because she had left California with Mimi. She hoped one day she could tell John where she was and hoped he could share in this strange journey, also the same transformation. He was, after all, present when Rijiin and Natil had come to De Anza and had healed Mimi.
“Then let us leave.” Mimi suggested, “Perhaps we can find them at this Kingsley Campus.”
As they walked to the door, Mimi paused, bowing respectfully to the shopkeeper. Together they returned to their vehicle, piling in, and drove the streets in the city of Denver for a couple of hours. They saw the sign that would put them on the right path to get to Kingsley College and where they unknowingly would find Natil working as head groundskeeper. Mimi got off the highway and they soon arrived at the college, pulling into the parking lot.
“Okay, if we can find them, we should be able to get some information on where we need to go and also we can see about registering.” Becky murmured, making Mimi nod slightly.
Nearby Natil had not been paying attention, working on a row of flowers in the planters as head gardener of Kingsley College. She had her floppy straw hat on, it being early spring she worked about the flowers packing the earth about them. Natil suddenly felt strangely and looked up in alarm at the narrow walkway nearby, waiting and watching. She suddenly had felt a strange presence, one sense she had never known to have before. Looking down the Harper finished her work and glancing up again she stared across the campus that sprawled out around her. The Harper did not see anyone near except a few students who walked together toward the Administration building.
“By our lady, that was strange.” She thought, grimacing at the feeling of energy that surged through her body.
At first, Natil saw nothing but the feeling had startled her. The Harper turned and had her crew take the empty flower carts to her shed and pick up fresh ones for another area on campus. The elf maiden had not seen the duo that arrived on this campus, people she could have called family after she and Rijiin had healed them, jumping through the winds of history to do just that. It is when the elves still existed in the forests of Adria and the last few remaining in the world of men. Natil had been with them near the free town called Saint Brigid, the last remaining haven for heretics and the immortals as the Inquisition still persecuted the last of their race from existence.
As the Harper worked, she began to reminisce back to the past, where well over four hundred years ago she had been in Malvern and thought of Rijiin, her beloved who had come from this time. A name she had not thought of in centuries, and the one who had loved her without question. Natil’s beloved who had on a cold morning, four hundred plus years ago, had vanished in the forest, and saved the life of a young child and the common folk that was lost in the middle of a blizzard that had descended on the forest and the town. Natil and Rijiin had stood on the road. His last words had been, ‘Hey it’s a kind of magic’ and here, he had flashed a dazzling smile at her as he disappeared into the woods. He had succeeded in saving the lives of the townsfolk and the child they were trying to rescue. Natil had gone ahead at his direction, promising to catch up to her in the encampment. The elf had nodded to the rescue group as he made his way into the forest, heading for home. When Rijiin had not arrived at his destination, everyone thought he had been claimed by the elements. The Harper was devastated for a long time after that, unable to come to terms with her loss. Natil had loved him dearly, returning the love he had shown her.
“Wow, I have not thought of that name in a while.” Natil thought, and she peered at the two women who walked along the building. Standing slowly, she took off her hat and her long dark hair, streaked with silver glistened in the light. Her face showed astonishment as she stared at them. The Harper had quickly recognized them from her and Rijiin’s travels into the future where they had helped and healed his friend. Becky walked with Mimi and their curious gazes moved to the surroundings. It had been a moment later that Mouse had sensed Natil, and her sharp eyes fell upon the Harper.
“Oh my word!” Mimi gasped, and her breath whisked away as she beheld the Harper.
“What is it Mimi?” Becky asked, turning her head as she too scanned the surroundings of the college, impressed by the very size of it. It reminded the young woman a lot of De Anza. Her eyes moved along the walkway and to the many flowerbeds that lay scattered with newly planted flowers. Her eyes glanced at the Harper who stood beside the largest one.
“It cannot be.” Mimi exclaimed, “I don’t believe it but it surely is.”
“Come on Mouse you are not making sense.” Becky replied sharply, recognizing the Harper who came to De Anza with Rijiin. Becky had recognized her from their trips through the portal in the mall shop where they jumped literally out of time and space to the fourteenth century, greeting the both at the encampment of the few remaining elves that lived in the area known as Adria. She let out a loud gasp.
“Oh my lady… it is N-Natil.” Becky breathed, walking toward the Harper who had spied the duo and who dropped her hat. Natil had been startled when she had seen them, her heart leaping upward literally into her throat. She had recognized Mouse who walked toward her, followed by Becky. Both stood in front of her a moment later. She peered at them incredibly, unable to believe her own eyes. They were fair and beautiful, peering at the youthful face of Mimi who had not changed in the long time they had been apart. A long time had passed with the wandering of Natil through time and space, and she had not expected them to be here.
“You dropped your hat mistress.” Becky told her, handing it back to her. Natil stared with wide eyes, staring at what she thought to be a vision, a mirage.
“Natili, Na ta lle?” Mimi asked, “Ya ae llea atara?” Mouse met the startled face of the Harper.
Natil gasped as she bobbled her head in response to the question, just as Rijiin had taught them in Elvish a very long time ago. “It is. I have a mother, and I am she.” Natil replied instinctively, echoing her words used centuries ago and when she stood before Paul Del Mari’s soldiers, displaced from Shrinerock Castle. The elf maiden had gasped loudly at the words and narrowed her eyes, desperately trying to place names and the faces that stood in front of her.
“Mimi? Becky?” Natil asked, finally remembering the names “Is that you?”
“Yes, we’re here!” Mouse exclaimed, and she raised her arms before embracing the confused Harper.
“I-I don’t believe it.” Natil replied with a gasp, “H-how on Earth did you get here? H-how did you know to come to Denver?”
“I don’t know, something told us to come here.” Mimi said.
“Strange, things never seem to change for the elves. We always seem to continue despite the world around us and have visions that result in strange journeys with no explanation.” Natil replied softly. Her blue eyes examined Mimi, and Becky, both transformed by the power of starlight from long ago. She saw nothing of what they had been during those times, the magic transforming them fully into elves and the scrap of soul that had been once human had vanished from them fully. Mimi was still a young teenage elf maiden with long dark hair and aquamarine eyes. Her form still was thin and muscular. She was still as youthful as Natil remembered after she and Rijiin had changed her.
“You look great mistress Harper.” Mimi complimented and noted a blush on the Harper’s still confused face, staring at the unfamiliar form of Rebecca. The Harper noted that she had trimmed down considerably, a narrow wedge figure from her heavyset appearance when they had come to De Anza to help and heal Mimi. Natil noted that she too is thin and muscular, also very Elven like Mimi who stood beside her. The magic had changed her viciously into a beautiful youthful looking elf maiden too. Her eyes were a deep brown, her long hair cascading to her waist in thick curls. Natil could not see anything of what she had remembered them to be. She smiled at the sight before her, shaking her head silently in disbelief.
“So do the both of you.” Natil replied, “A very welcomed sight.”
“So where is Rijiin?” Becky asked, and Mimi glanced at her. “Is he with you here in Denver?” They both saw the grimace appear on the Harper’s fair features.
“Nay, he is not. I…I do not know...where he is…” Natil replied, “He vanished into the forest when we returned to Adria. He risked venturing a blizzard to save a young child. He perished that night, and never returned. I suspect something must have happened and he was not able to find his way. There is always hope that he still lives, as it is very difficult to kill an elf. Perhaps he will end up here as I have. There is always hope. ”
They bowed their heads in silence, stunned by the news. “I hope so too Natil.” Becky replied, placing a hand on her shoulder.
“Come, we have a lot to catch up on and it is five o’clock. I shall take you to a place, a sanctuary where you will be safe.” Natil explained, excusing herself to make a phone call. After she was done, she regarded the duo with a smile.
“Will Talla and the others be there?”
“Oh no, they have faded centuries ago…” Natil said, bowing her head, a look of pain on her face, “I am the last.” She forced a smile, staring at them, people whom she had traveled the winds of time to help and heal with Rijiin. She wondered if Rijiin were out there somewhere, if so, where and how the elf would know to come to Denver. She wondered if he would make a grand entrance, a smile on his face and return to his place in her arms.
“They are gone.” Natil said, “However, in light of that, there is a new chance for the elves, and they have gathered here in Denver. There are new elves in this world, changed by the awakening old blood in them.”
“You mean elves are returning to the world, even though they faded long ago?” Mouse asked in half understanding, and met the slight nod of Natil.
“They do not know what we had to endure so many centuries ago, and only now are learning of the lady.” Natil said, “I have been fortunate to find them here.”
“Can you take us there?” Mouse asked.
“We have a truck over there.” Becky added, “We can give you a lift if you like.”
“It is greatly appreciated. In fact, I canceled my ride to the home, explaining I found another way of getting there.” Natil replied, as she hugged each one, still startled by their presence here. She wondered if this was a sign by the Goddess. The Harper also wondered if somehow, Rijiin was alive and well, somewhere in time itself. She had no idea that Rijiin wandered through time, the world over and having to endure solitude of the many events around him. He was certainly on his way, moving through time just prior to her coming to Elven Home. As they walked toward the vehicle, they all began to chat amongst themselves, laughing and carrying on, glad to see the Harper who in turn was glad to see them too.
Many events and destiny were looking up for the duo, finding Natil. They were about to discover a new secret in the mountains of Colorado, a secret well kept from all but the few elves who resided in Denver. Mouse drove as Becky and Natil sat beside her, down Highway 70-West leading them toward the mountains, they made the transition to highway 6. They drove on for at least five miles before Natil motioned at the window at the curve in the road.
“Turn here.” Natil directed and Mimi complied.
“There is no road here.” Becky said as the truck disappeared into the forest and through the trees.
“I don’t know if this Uhaul ™ beast will make it. But we’ll certainly try.”
“Be at peace, and trust me, we are on the right way to get to our destination.” Natil told them quietly. The makeshift road went up the hill a ways and there in the trees that Elven Home appeared before them, surrounded by two vehicles. A large tower rose from one wing, and silver filigree glistened just beneath the curved eaves. Everything gleamed: the walls, the slate roof, the windows… Both of them had expected a small cottage or a timbered lodge. They both found themselves overwhelmed by the sight before them and stared blinking their eyes to wonder if this was just a dream.
“My god,” Mimi murmured, staring at the home, astonished by the almost fairy tale castle in the wood, “It is fantastic! It’s like a fairy tale castle,” Mimi exclaimed and she blushed slightly at the revelation. Natil was smiling. She had heard the words echoed by Sandy when she first arrived at Elven Home. The Harper gazed thoughtfully at the Home and managed a nod. She had never though of Elven Home to look like that, but somehow it was an accurate description of what people saw before them.
“I think we’re home.” Becky murmured, amazed by this sight.
Natil got out of the truck, Becky, and Mimi followed. At the door Ash, Hadden, Raven, Wheat, Laurie, Heather, Kelly, Dell, Web, Allesandro, Bright, Marsh and even TK were there. They were all there. All had peered at the truck that had rolled up to the clearing below the home and watched as Mimi, Becky, and Natil got out of the vehicle.
“We go on foot from here…” Natil told them and they followed the Harper toward the glistening structure. Both Mimi and Becky had found Elven Home and people they did not know. They had both found themselves welcomed with open arms, greeted as relatives who had finally come home and without question. Natil and the others had sat together and they talked, laughed and cried as they shared the woes of the world. Mimi and Becky both dreamed of starlight. Elven Home had become a haven for them both as elves once again returned to the world of men. It was strange, however for both Mimi and Becky to sit in one of the alcoves nearest to the main gathering room and listen to the others laugh and cry at the stories of the world outside Elven Home or a typical day in Denver. Many of the stories were mostly tragic and sad. Becky realized she still had a lot to learn what it meant to be an elf and remembering the strong lessons four hundred plus years ago with the others in Adria. The elves that were fading even though Becky and Mimi traveled to the portal that would take them through time and space. Both Mouse and Rebecca were deep in thought as both sipped cocoa in a white mug, staring at the outside gardens. They were thinking of those travels, how much they learned from Rijiin and the others.
“You two going to sit there in that alcove all day or are you going to join in?” Ash asked peering at the duo who at gazing lazily out the windows onto the garden. Mimi and Becky turned their heads, but not without exchanging a look at each other. Kelly ran toward them and bounced into each of their laps. Becky and Mouse both managed a chuckle as the young girl embraced them.
“Come its alright, you are welcome here.” She said with a smile and Becky nodded her head as Kelly took up her hands. The young girl pulled at them making her rise and she led her to a plush beanbag chair in the living area. Mimi stood up and followed her, taking a seat beside her and setting the mug carefully on the plush carpet. Both of them smiled and managed to laugh at the others expressions.
“We know Kelly.” Becky said, “Be at peace, and don’t worry, we’re with you all, we just had a few things to sort out that we had been through before we came to Denver. We did not mean to offend by isolating ourselves.”
“It’s not necessary you mean.” Hadden said with a smile and Ash turned her head to chuckle quietly. “You both need to come to term of your troubles. That is what we are here for, to help and heal. You both have not said very much how you found us and Natil.”
“We’ve known each other for about a year. We separated in the last few months and we ended up coming to Denver on a whim. Something seemed to tell us that we needed to come here.” Mimi explained, “She came to De Anza with a young man from her clan and at the school I was a student at and employee.”
“Companion?” Hadden asked making Mouse nod and everyone glanced at Natil who shook her head quietly.
“Natil’s kinsman.” Mimi replied with a smile.
“Yes, a young man who is her kinsman from the past came with her. They traversed the winds of history itself to meet up with us, bringing help and healing to us.” Becky added. The group glanced at Natil who grimaced tightly and still shook her head.
“We used the power of the elves because of a sixth sense my companion had where he could sense Mouse and he sensed trouble.” Natil said with a casual nod, “He seemed to know her and had a strange connection with her, from his relationship before with her. It was an uncanny ability according to him.”
“A companion…” Heather mused, and all were smiling at the young Harper, “You had a lover Natil?” The Harper grimaced as she shook her head.
“So we had power back then?” Laurie asked, “The starlight we are just beginning to see now?”
“We did and a few of us had the capabilities for magic and helping and healing.” Natil replied casually, “Rijiin… he gained it when the magic changed him while he lay dying in a forest clearing by my kinswoman. He had come through a portal of elven magic that had opened where he was. As you said, it was like instant recognition like family. We seemed to hit it off and we had so much in common. We became fast friends. When he came through he had been human but that changed quickly after my sister, Mirya healed him.”
“Wow, how romantic.” Heather said with a snicker meeting the grinning face of Hadden and the others.
“Where are you Rijiin?” The young woman thought, grimacing as a steady cold rain fell from the dark clouds above the Rocky Mountains. Mimi’s attention turned to a whimsical look from her friend and traveling companion. Her gaze also fell upon Natil, the resident Harper of the Home whom they both knew very well back at De Anza what seemed a lifetime ago. Both cast a bemused look at the window at the falling rain.
“He’s out there Mouse.” Becky said, “I just know it. Some place, some time, but he is out there. He is probably on his way, I expect him to make a grand entrance.”
“I hope so.”
“Me too.” Natil added with a smile, “He is probably living large and waiting for the opportunity to make a grand entrance.”
“Yeah that would be Rijiin alright, his style.” Mimi said with a laugh as a ripple of laughter echoed the room. Mimi sat beside Rebecca with the others and they both cast a silent glance to the stormy weather outside. Cheers, laughter and sometime tears echoed the room as the conversation continued.
Even through the zeal of time itself, Rijiin managed to stay alive and continued to wander the world over. He had traveled to many continents now, and having seen many places. He fought unwillingly in many wars, seen much death by plague, war and disease. He had also seen many a death, mostly of martyrs like Henry of Clisson, Earl the Bruce, William Wallace, Joan of Arc and many others who would later die in battle as he fought beside them. It seemed to Rijiin, seeing the futility of the turbulent world, that it is the same ugly sorted history that he witnessed every day of his meager existence on Earth during the last few centuries. A time, he recognized that elves did not belong now, since about thirteen hundred and sixty, when they long since faded away. He was the last of his people, not knowing about Natil, his beloved Harper who was a prisoner of time too and forced to wander the world over for a short time.
“And nothing changes, I can only observe and not able to make the changes necessary to make it better.” He thought, feeling the futility of it all, wanting more and more to fade into oblivion like the other Elves of Malvern. He felt the old, older than time itself, and powerless to stop the turmoil in the world. The elf felt the futility of it all, as his kinsfolk named Varden had long ago. They could only watch, wait and be unable to bring good into the world as they used to.
“So what’s the use if we cannot change what we are seeing, why haven’t I faded like the others?” Rijiin thought, not understanding the plan of goddess, their Creatrix known as Elthia. She had told Varden once that, ‘all her children would not be separated from her’ and she had told Rijiin that too. The elf wondered if that was true.
Rijiin also had in this time, literally jumped through history with the strange power of the elves. Many times, he would end up in the future, observing many events he had been a part of already or part of time, he would have read about in books. Lately now, he tried to stay hidden from the world becoming a recluse from the shifts of powers and wars fought between many world nations. He stayed in a cabin he built in the deepest forests he found in Europe and there the elf remained, staying strategically away from death, war and destruction that would make their mark in history. It was not far enough though. It seemed like these events sought Rijiin out and somehow forced the elf to take an active part in these battles and wars. The last historical event that Rijiin would have any consequence and part of would be his journeys across the Atlantic with Christopher Columbus who would discover the Americas. He would break off and spend a century traveling across the North American Continent, from the east, to the Mexican held west before returning to Europe to become a recluse.
While existing alone in the woods, the elf did not know he found himself pulled once again through history, permanently into a turbulent time where the world was at war. When he awoke once more from a period of sleep, he stepped outside the door of his lone cabin as the sounds of war had come to his door. War ravaged the land as Germany had invaded countries, engulfed men women and children in the crematoriums of evil that sprung up around him after their death in the gas chambers of the many camps. Starlight power of the elves that inhabited his very soul had long since vanished in now four hundred years he had been around in the world. He was completely and utterly alone with no sign of the Creatrix of the elves, or the starlight that inhabited his very soul. Rijiin unknowingly found himself brought permanently from the year seventeen hundred and ninety one to the year nineteen forty-five, deep into Germany during the last days of World War 2.
Unaware of this move, Rijiin walked often in the forest from which he lived freely. He would take many walks often in the forest, his home remaining hidden from the armies who had fought through them. It had been rare to find anyone about, as a war-torn land befell him. However, it is in the midst of his latest walk that he saw lights and almost invisible, one of the famed death camps of Nazi Germany. Rijiin, as he approached the camp’s edge in the tree line, had sensed death, and saw bodies of those who had died here. The bodies of the dead lay strewn on the ground, rotting and unburied. The half-starved, living prisoners stood like zombies against the wire. Rijiin sensed disease that ran rampant here too and through it all, the elf knew he could not help them, as he had been able to before.
“Damn.” Rijiin muttered, shaking his head at the horrifying sight, stepping back as if to put a distance from the stench and the situation that now lay before him. The elf, carrying his sword at his side walked into the open near the gates of this hell and when he saw more prisoners and bodies, he let out a silent moan. The elf closed his eyes seeing only darkness, wishing that he could just fade like the others into oblivion. Although to the elf, if he had the starlight he could always help and heal, making a difference to change what is happening now, to put an end to this mess. Nevertheless, he could not do anything to help or change his surroundings.
Opening his eyes abruptly, he only saw the zombie figures of those people highlighted in the dim light and turning his head, he heard shouts as a few men in uniform charged toward him with dogs. The men held nasty looking weapons, shouting at him in German. Rijiin stood his ground as they approached and he held his blade ready to draw. When a soldier had stepped up toward him, he drew and beheaded him on the spot. The head rolled from the soldier’s neck and the face showing complete surprise. Blood splattered across the ground as the body dropped limply to its knees and Rijiin sharply kicked it down with his foot. There was a gasp by all of the soldiers present, unprepared for Rijiin’s barbaric display as they saw him slice cleanly across the soldier’s neck and the blood spurting from his body, splattering the ground. The elf had shown little no mercy as he slew the soldier. Rijiin moved in a quick spin and in the same fashion pivoted to do the same deed to another soldier. The elf stared at them in the dim light, holding his blade ready, almost daring them to approach. They saw Rijiin’s gray eyes seem to twinkle brightly, as if there were starlight there and the soldiers clearly saw death in the elf’s eyes. He did not know he was glowing slightly and the soldiers murmured in fear.
Kneeling, he wiped the blade on the uniform of a dead soldier and closed his eyes to blot out the offensiveness around him. As he knelt there for a brief moment, he gasped as a flash of starlight flickered and burst in like an explosion throughout his body. It is something that Rijiin missed in now four hundred years, four centuries as he traveled across many nations, without the starlight of the elves and the power that bound them.
“By our lady, why does the starlight always appear during a conflict? And why is it coming during this specific one?” He wondered, “Perhaps it is the lady looking out for me as she did before.”
Remembering the soldiers, Rijiin turned his head, and with eyes flashing, he knew what to do. The elf would do the same thing as he had done centuries ago. He would declare a one-man war and waste the soldiers where they stood, just as he had done through the ages he had lived through. He knew what stood before him, the Nazi Third Reich, mass murderers of a million Jewish people who had no beef with the Nazis and he had an opportunity here to make a just a little of that right. Holding his blade, Rijiin pointed it at the soldiers who fired their machine guns at him, and the bullets struck him. The elf stumbled, knocked down by the bullets, but was unharmed as he sat up, still grasping his blade in hand. The elf put some comedy to it, grinning at the soldiers, brushing off the bullets that fell on the ground with a metallic ‘click’ sound. Fear came over the soldiers as he silently stood up and he faced them. They fired again and with the same result. The elf merely stood up and faced them. This time he let out a laugh at the soldiers as they glanced down at their weapons. It was a maniacal laughter.
“Now it is my turn.” Rijiin declared sharply, holding the blade ready, the razor sharp steel glistening in the light as he pointed it at the soldiers. He would now become their executioner. Moving his hand, he pointed to the gate and it opened behind the soldiers, a stiff wind whistled through the opening. It made them murmur in fear as it rustled the leaves around him and the elf’s cloak. He charged them, pivoting as they tried to strike him and without a further word, he beheaded two nearest to him. He pointed the blade at the other soldiers, and they saw the now bright aura that surrounded the elf. There was a murmur of fear as they took one-step back as he charged again. The elf’s blade flashed as it struck their hands, cleanly cutting them off, and the weapons clattered as they hit the ground. He ran the steel through their hearts watching the blood spurt as they fell to the ground to lie still in a pool of their own blood. Their screams echoed through the camp and around him, the prisoners watched as Rijiin charged the soldiers. The elf cut them down with no mercy, ignoring the ones who surrendered to slay them too. He spun in to kick a third, making him fall and he thrust the steel downward to twist. Rijiin turned his attention to the remaining men, noting that many had seen the slaughter and retreated for reinforcements as he walked toward the nearest gate. The elf had no idea who was here, and how many countless people had perished in this place. He was a healer, and all he really felt was the starlight power coursing through his veins.
“ELTHIA!” His voice rang out as he charged and the cold steel cut more soldiers of the Reich down in cold blood. Prisoners and soldiers alike had both looked up as the elf’s voice rang out. Rijiin continued his onslaught, leaving dead Nazi soldiers in his wake. Others soldiers watched in horror as the elf cleanly killed their comrades no matter they were armed or unarmed. He slew them anyway for the sheer sport of slaying them, knowing the evil they represented. It was the same way as the soldiers long ago, who were part of the Inquisition, the same slaughter, no mercy, and total revenge. Then it occurred to the elf with a sudden realization of what he was doing and he gasped at the revelation.
“Whose revenge would it be for, Elven or Jewish?” He thought, realizing he had slain the Nazi Third Reich soldiers after passing cold-hearted judgment and execution of each one.
“What right does it give me to pass judgment on mortals?” He asked himself, “I am immortal, and it is not my place to be judge, jury and their executioner for what they have done and are not a part of. I am a healer, and have been for centuries. It is my place to help and heal, not kill. No matter if they be German, Polish, French, Jewish, it should not matter at all.” The elf felt a chill sweep through his bones, and he shivered slightly at the feeling deep down inside. He knew he would have to answer to the goddess if she still existed and silently sought renewal and peace next May 1.
“But then again, what right does the Nazi have to mass murder millions of Jewish people in other camps like this one and who will stop them and not let them get away with it? What is one less Nazi to sleep in hell tonight for his actions against others?” The elf did not know the answer. He would not understand until much later when he stood before the Lady in blue and silver many years from now. Right now, however, the elf continued walking further and further into the camp, passing the soldiers as his blade continued to flash. When it was over, the elf held the blade in hand, walking toward the bunch of tents that made up this horrific sight around him. Rijiin peered in at the ghostly, startled faces that stared back at him. His hands began to glow and he closed his eyes, letting the starlight flow. Rijiin felt a tug on his arm, and the elf knelt beside a young girl, perhaps thirteen years old who stood at his elbow. He let the healing energy cascade over her.
“Are you American or the British?” The voice asked, Rijiin cocked his head, and he shook his head.
“I am not. Be at peace, the war is over for you.” Rijiin said, letting the healing touch flow over her. “…And for you all!” The elf frowned when he did not hear a cheer, only seeing the effects of abuse, the haunted and hollow stares. The young girl gasped as she felt warmth of healing energy touch her very soul. The disease, sickness, and starvation vanished. Rijiin turned to another, and he let the power flow freely over them. More people walked toward him and the elf healed them too, going from tent to tent examining each person.
“Come be healed and we shall leave this terrible place.” He told them, “Come with me if you want to live.”
Rijiin kicked open the door of one barracks in the compound, amidst the remains of unburied bodies. He walked among the half clothed females who squealed in terror as they saw him enter, holding his blade ready in his hand. He sheathed the blade, speaking in their native language. In his travels, the elf had learned a lot about the world he lived in, and was able to catch on and quickly learn many languages. The elf kept his wits about him as he walked into the structure.
“Come, be healed, and be whole.” Rijiin murmured as he went to each bed, examining those who had lay on them sick or dying. The elf let the power of healing flow as he healed them, the glow of starlight flowing through him. He cared for the sick and dying as Mirya had centuries ago, or even perhaps Natil who would have harped for them. He suddenly wished the young Harper were here with him right now, finding it difficult to ignore the horrors of war around him caused by the needless persecution of another culture and race.
“All based on hatred.” Rijiin thought as he remembered it was just like the Elves, only much worse, and the only difference it is in a different time and place.
“By our lady there is so many.” He thought, “Natil and I together could heal quickly if she assisted on the harp.”
The elf grimaced as he turned, continuing his task of healing. As the young traveler did so, he did not recognize two young women who lay sick and dying on the bed before him. Rijiin, as he healed found himself overwhelmed by the abuse conducted here by the Nazis. He was unaware that it was Margot and Anne Frank who lay unconscious on the beds before him, and he was in Bergen-Belsen the famed camp where they would die. The young elf let his healing powers flow over them, unaware of their identity and when he finished, he had nodded to Anne whose eyes fluttered open a few minutes later. He moved to finish his task in this shanty, healing many more prisoners who were crammed into this confined space.
When Anne sat up, her dark eyes found the elf nearby healing fellow prisoners. She peered at the solemn gray eyes, filled with the twinkle of starlight as he worked over another female prisoner. Smiling, the elf nodded a silent greeting to her. The elf’s face showed a hint of recognition, feeling a strange déjà-vu at the familiar face. As Rijiin walked toward her, the others around him watched the elf curiously. He knelt beside Anne’s sister Margot who remained unconscious. Shaking his head, the elf picked her up in his arms, carrying her to the door with the multitudes of survivors he had managed to save from certain death. Outside, the elf spying the arrival of reinforcements, he had put down Margot and he motioned the prisoners back. He drew his blade and he stood alone to face them. His blade gleamed brightly like the starlight in his eyes.
“It is not right that life’s blood, being precious, be spilled this day and you have committed acts of vulgarity to the rights of humanity.” He shouted loudly, “They shall now be avenged!”
Rijiin, felt the starlight grow, and a glow appeared around him. He stood with his blade drawn as the soldiers opened up with their machine guns on the elf. Their bullets seemed to stop in front of Rijiin, as if time became frozen. There were gasps of amazement all around by soldiers and prisoners both. The elf stood facing them, with the power of starlight strong in his eyes. He stared at the bullets that seemed frozen in time before him and he reached out to take one, examining it before he dropped it onto the ground. The rest dropped to the ground with the same metallic click. Rijiin raised his blade to point it at the soldiers. They looked down at their weapons as he approached them. Fear and amazement rippled through the soldiers and prisoners.
“It is enough. You now all shall die, quickly, mercifully and painlessly.” Rijiin declared, “Revenge for the millions you have murdered in cold blood for I am the eleventh commandment: Thou shalt not get away with it.”
The elf spoke clearly, his accented voice filled with starlight as it carried no hatred, anger, or mercy when he charged the soldiers, cutting each one down in cold blood. A few of them cowered in fear and Rijiin felt their terror as he slew them. Turning, he beheaded another soldier who stepped toward him with his arms up in surrender. Each soldier died without a sound as he had promised. The elf stood before the Commandant of the camp who pulled his pistol and shot at Rijiin. The elf took three bullets without stopping and placed the blade at the commandant’s throat. The elf saw fear in the human’s eyes as he realized that Rijiin was not affected by his bullets or could be harmed by mortal man. The elf with one swipe, took his head that rolled from the neck of his body. When he was done, bodies lay at his feet, as did body parts and here he cleaned his blade of blood on their uniforms with two strokes. The battle had finished, Rijiin and the prisoners the only living things behind the wire of this camp.
Turning he walked back to the stunned and perplexed Anne who knelt beside the unconscious form of her sister Margot. Rijiin met her dark eyes in silence and merely nodded a greeting to her. Around them, everyone’s attention now focused upon the elf. He was the one man who had walked alone through the camp, continuing an onslaught against the Germans with no mercy or compassion. The elf slew all the soldiers until it was just the elf and the living prisoners who remained. Rijiin glanced at Anne who watched him continue to help and heal every prisoner still living. They had heard his statement, and most had curious looks on their faces.
“Why did you kill them?” Anne asked, “You slew the unarmed soldiers who dropped their weapons and raised their hand in surrender. Aren’t you going to take prisoners?”
“Be at peace.” He said, “Revenge for persecution me’ lady, as it was with my people once, it is with yours. We share a common goal mistress, for you, your sister and the many others now standing about you.”
The young woman showed surprise as the elf spoke to her. She heard the unfamiliar accent in his voice, stilting his German and she raised an eyebrow. He had not answered her question, but had deliberately avoided it. By his action, and the violence around him it clearly had spoken his intent that there were no quarters or captives taken this day. The elf knew by this action he was no better than the Nazi, murdering in cold blood. The Reich though, Rijiin realized was pure evil, needing removal like a virus and the elf was the tool to do it. He frowned slightly at the idle thoughts and realized that he could always escort Anne and Margot to their home in Amsterdam when it was time. Right now, he could only offer the many survivors safety in his spacious cabin until the war was partially over in Europe.
“By the way, how did you know that she was my sister?” Anne asked curiously and she pointed at the unconscious form lying on the ground. Rijiin’s face showed question at first, staring at the face, the dark eyes, and the hint of black hair on her shaved head. The elf stared into the dark eyes for a long moment before he grimaced. Turning his head, he glanced at the other prisoners who had watched the carnage and the elf as he sheathed the blade. He had a sinking feeling.
“Anne Frank? I presume?” He asked, suddenly recognizing her and he pointed to Margot who lie motionless on the ground.
“Margot?” He asked again, and he turned to see her timidly nod to both accounts. The elf let out an exasperated breath.
“Do I know you?” Anne asked and he said nothing, staring at the young woman in silence as he contemplated his answer.
“No mistress you do not, I am a traveler as you will and have come to spirit you and the others out of here. I felt your need and traveled to you.” The elf replied politely as he knelt beside her sister who moaned. Slowly, Margot opened her eyes and they focused on Rijiin and Anne standing over her. Rijiin suddenly realized he seriously changed history and events where Anne, Margot and many others would die of typhus, starvation and other diseases. The elf had helped and healed just as he been able a long time ago, giving them all another chance at life. Rijiin, because of his healing, left shadowed and uncertain sixty-years for them all. The elf helped Anne’s older sister to a sitting position and he nodded to her when she looked up into his gray eyes. They twinkled uncertainly in the dim light.
“I don’t understand. Who are you? What are you?” Anne asked, and Rijiin managed a slight grin.
“My name is Rijiin.” He told them, speaking to them in their native tongue as he helped Margot to her feet, “I am an…”
“Are you an angel? Are we dead?” Anne asked, and Rijiin smiled, shaking his head with an amused chuckle.
“No. Not now.” Rijiin replied absently, “You are very alive and well now. As for me, I am a traveler, an immortal from the winds of time who has come from the past, four and a quarter centuries. Like you I am a prisoner, but not with walls, or a fence but a prisoner of time.” They let out a low gasp as they stared at the elf.
“What does that mean?”
“I have lived a long time.” He declared sharply, “And today I made an error that has changed the future, from which there is no balance or a way out. Be at peace, you both shall live now, live again and conduct yourselves with a new chance at life. You shall both have a long life and a new future.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You died in this place, along with many others.” He told them, “Because of my disrespect for history, that you and your sister and many others have been granted a second chance. There are still many to bury here, which I was too late to help. In one possible future, the Allies will place a marker at the front of this place marking your presence in a mass grave.”
“What?” Gasped the young women and they glanced at each other, “W-we died?” Rijiin met their curious looks.
“Aye, it is so until I rewrote history and that timeline no longer exists. You should be dead but are not now. You now stand together, alive and well.” He said, “Thanks to an ability of healing I learned a few centuries ago. Be at peace, you will be returning home soon, the Allies will be here in a couple of weeks to liberate the camp.”
“H-how do you know that?” They gasped, and many questions overwhelmed the Elf.
“You must be American or British.” Anne declared, eyeing the elf suspiciously “What do you know about the war.”
“I am neither.” He said in their native language, and then he smiled slightly. “The Germans have lost the war and you both are free.” He told them. The elf had said it in perfect English, accented slightly, with the slight inflection of the elves that he still had despite his travels across the world. It made them gasp openly.
“You are American!” She exclaimed, but frowned when she heard the strange unidentifiable accent. He thought a moment before answering. She was right. Rijiin realized that he had come from a town far away, on the west coast of North America. He found that he could hardly able to remember that time and place. The name of the town even eluded him, thanks to the centuries of wandering the world.
“Perhaps I was once,” He replied, managing a quiet laugh “But that was a very long time ago.” He saw their smiles. There was a pause as Rijiin turned to face them. The elf pushed back his hair behind his slender ears and met their startled expressions. The sisters stared at his fair features in silence, and the bright twinkle of starlight in his gray eyes. They sensed more to this stranger than met the eye.
“Come my friends, let us journey away from this place and return both of you home where you belong.” He said putting out his hand and both young women took it as they stood up. Anne and Margot smiled at Rijiin and both embraced him.
Here, the elf took Anne and Margot by the hand and he spirited them aside before the Allies would arrive. The Allies would find many German soldiers slain along side of the multitude of death around them. Severed arms, legs, heads, and severed torsos littered the ground through the compound. The elf’s action had gained great notice by the Allied army. Rijiin left only dismembered body parts as a calling card in the worst and vicious massacre the Allies had ever seen.
As for Rijiin, he led the sisters and the few remaining survivors to a safe place. Here, they would wait together until the Allied army liberated cities around them before they attempted the route home. He told them that they, with their father, are the only survivors of their family. The sisters learned the fates of the Van Daams, their mother, and Mr. Dussell. Their reaction would be astonishment and then sadness. Little did they know that Otto Frank, their father would return home first and he would meet with Miep who would give him Anne’s diary. Both he and Miep are unaware that both Anne and Margot now lived. He too would learn the fates of the others who were in hiding with his family and of their deaths in the camps.
Like a shadow, the elf blended in with time and space as he faded into the winds of history. He would travel through war torn Europe, passing the German Army fighting the Allies, and the Allied armies as they continued fighting the Germans. He found himself disgusted by the whole event, knowing that it would be a long tedious time to destroy this evil with a terrible cost of life.
“And I can only exterminate the Nazi murderers who are behind this and perhaps rescue a few more Jews if they can be located.” Rijiin thought and he walked on. What he was thinking would be the death marches of the prisoners forced to walk by the Nazis to the west. It would be an almost needle in a haystack to locate these people in time but Rijiin also knew he had a mission and work to do. The elf would use elven magic to intercept the marches and rescue other prisoners whom would surely die. He had turned his sights east, traveling to the locations he knew by reading and learning history. Instead of bodies of prisoners lying dead on the ground, soldiers of the Reich lay butchered instead, the ground stained red by their blood. The elf would help and heal, leading the rescued prisoners to the Allies. Many times, the elf also would leave the same calling card as he had at Bergen-Belsen, leaving dismembered soldiers lying dead in the mud just like the camps he would wipe out single-handedly.
Rijiin slew many German citizens and soldiers in his travels without question too. The elf took the fight back to the Germans, paying back a five to one ratio for every Jew killed, that five German citizens/soldiers died. The action alone sent an unrelenting, bone-chilling, message through the Reich that Rijiin was out to target each one of the thugs and murderers out there. He was also evening the score for the relentless murder of whole families. His message had been crystal-clear and of his intentions. The elf would travel to other camps and here he would help and heal those in need. Soldiers and upper echelons of the Nazi party, already aware of the massacre of Bergen-Belsen, would send reinforcements only to find the places they were reinforcing already massacred in the same way. Rijiin sometimes would slay the reinforcements operating as an unstoppable killing machine, taking life from the Nazi and giving it to the prisoner subjected to a terrible evil. It was payback time and Rijiin was their champion taking the fight back to their oppressor.
The elf would destroy the camps who dealt with plain gassing and elimination of the Jews too. He stopped the needless slaughter of thousands a day and turned it around against the Germans. Rijiin knew if he could stop the execution of thousands a day there would be a lot to be stand against those in charge of the camps at the end of the war. The German leaders he knew most would face their fate at the end of the war. Although according to history there were a few that slipped away during the mass confusion of retreat. He grimaced realizing that he had to intervene and eliminate them himself. The elf also realized that for his actions in this time, he too would have to stand accountable before the Goddess of the elves to find renewal next May. Right at this moment, however, the elf continued his one-man war taking it to the upper echelons, eliminating a few of them one by one. The Allies called him a renegade but the elf was doing what they could not with little fear of death. He had lived so many lives and through so many bloody centuries before this one. It was the price of his immortality.
“What is another bloody event?” The elf thought, “It is a service to the world that I am providing. But then again, the Nazi soldier is only human, mortal and following what he believes is right, told to him by his superiors. He knows no difference, maybe I should concentrate on those who actually participated in the killings.” The elf considered what he was doing at this point and realized how far he had come. He knew there was no turning back, deciding to take it all the way to the top if possible. Because the elf left a massacre of soldiers or citizens at every place he fought, more and more soldiers surrendered to the Allies instead of fighting. They were afraid of losing their lives at the hands of the ‘gray ghost’ as he was nicknamed by the Germans.
Rijiin on the other hand, successfully saved over fifty thousand people, and slew more Nazis than any part of the Allied army in history. He worked behind the lines, moving fast and efficiently picking up the trail of his target and eliminating them with extreme prejudice. The elf left a number of massacres at cities across Poland, deep into Germany and leaving destruction in his wake. He massacred men, women and children just like the Nazis. Because he killed five to every one Jew they murdered, the Germans accused the Allies in their own propaganda of illegal and inhuman conduct to soldiers and citizens of the fatherland. The Allies denied Rijiin’s existence, his conduct as a renegade, with no official ties to the Allied forces. The American and British had used Rijiin as perfect weapon to bolster their own forces morale. Both sides offered a bounty for the capture of the ‘Gray Ghost’ as a propaganda tool on either side.
The elf would return to his cabin quickly and when it was time, he would personally escort Anne, Margot and several others to Amsterdam. The elf, with the sisters in tow, soon stood with them as they walked together toward the building containing the Secret Annex and their home before betrayal to the Nazis. Anne and Margot both smiled when they saw it on the outside and both were glad to be home after their ordeal of the two or more years in the concentration camps. They both were thankfully alive and well because of Rijiin who stood beside them. He stood beside all the survivors there, rescuing them from the jaws of death, helping and healing as elves once did in the world before they faded long ago. They stood outside for several minutes, waiting for the right moment to surprise all hands inside the building. Rijiin smiled at the thought.
“Now.” Rijiin said, and they all crossed the street and headed to the door leading into the business of their father. When the elf and the sisters entered, they walked into the building unseen. Here they stood quietly waiting as everyone turned their heads to stare at them. Miep had appeared at the door and she let out a yelp of astonishment. Two of Otto Frank’s business associates looked up from their desks at the doorway. Tears appeared on Miep’s face as she stood and shook her head, unable to believe her own eyes.
“Anne? Margot?” She asked, “Is that you?”
“Miep!” Anne and Margot replied, running toward Miep warmly embracing her in the middle of the room. She turned her head and with tears in her eyes, she called to the other room.
“Mr. Frank, your daughters are alive and here!” Miep called out and there was a commotion next door, as more people rushed toward them. Turning her head, she let out a fearful gasp of astonishment as Rijiin stepped in the door from the shadows and he stood there like an avenging angel beside the sisters. The elf is clad again in his green and gray with the gray cloak that he wore over it, held together by the gold and silver clasp of an interlocked, crescent moon and star. The clasp brightly twinkled in the light and so did the starlight in his eyes on his fair featured, battle-worn face. The long brown hair, streaked with silver, fell smoothly to his shoulders, pushed back over his slender ears, revealing whom and what he is: an immortal elf. He held his head high, defiant and proud, as he had long ago unafraid of mortals. At his side is the blade he wore openly, the instrument used as the gray ghost who had slaughtered Nazi soldiers in cold blood with no quarter of mercy. Miep, like the others stared at the stranger among them and turned as Otto Frank entered the room, gasping loudly as he saw his daughters.
Everyone clustered around the young women, and Rijiin stepped back allowing them to do so. He stood aloof and silent, the vision of the starlight clear and cold in the darkness as it had been over four centuries ago.
“PIM!” Anne cried, running toward their father and embracing him. Margot followed suit.
“Anne! Margot!” He replied running to embrace his daughters. The elf silently watched as Anne and Margot emotionally and tearfully reunited with their father Otto. Rijiin said nothing as he stood nearby, holding himself aloof, aware but dreaming as he bathed in the starlight. He closed his eyes briefly letting their power calm the turmoil inside him and quietly relieved that everyone in the room seemed to ignore him for the moment. As the elf stood near the door, he wondered how his changes would affect the world.
The diary no doubt still found publishing in the same way but not with the same moral outrage as it had previously because of her youth and unthinkable death at the hands of the Nazis. It is a cloudy future for both sisters and the multitudes that he had helped and healed. Even Rijiin himself, an immortal elf, could not see what would be shadowed for the next sixty years. He could not say he had been wrong for what he did, changing history in this manner. The elf wanted to change history and make things right, especially during his wandering. Rijiin had already been an observer for the last four-hundred years, witness to more atrocity, bloodshed, death and violence than the Nazis accomplished by murder in the entire few years it existed.
“Aye but even still, I botched the whole idea of what I am supposed to do.” The elf thought, “Healing, comfort and aid. I changed history unknowingly and rewrote it where people lived where they should have died. I butchered mortal men, just as I had centuries ago after passing judgment upon them.” With that, Rijiin grimaced slightly at such thoughts. Otto, Anne, Margot, Miep and others turned, finally glancing at the stranger who stood near the door. Rijiin saw them turn and he touched his forehead, bowing slightly, as he turned to leave.
“Please wait, Rijiin.” Anne called, making him stop, half turning to face them and their father. The elf met the youthful, faces of the sisters and he managed a grimace despite the surroundings he found himself.
“Please.” Otto said in an askance tone, motioning for him to come toward him.
He walked confidently toward Otto, Miep, Anne and Margot, but he also kept a respectful distance. His eyes flashed as he met the dubious expressions of everyone present, staring at his fair features in question.
“Mistress, you have a need?” He asked politely, meeting their smiles. Anne and Margot both embraced the Elf. Otto put his hand on his shoulder.
“You have my thanks.” He told the elf, “For returning my girls to me.”
Rijiin smiled, “Be at peace, it is the least I could do.” He told them. Everyone raised an eyebrow, hearing his silted German, slightly accented with the inflection of the elves. “Where they were there were many casualties of this war and many people died there. If I had not happened across their camp, they too would have perished.” His statement made them all smile.
“You should and please find happiness.” Anne said as she embraced the elf again and he peered into her dark eyes. “And I give you our thanks too.” Rijiin nodded, laughing aloud and it echoed the interior of the office.
“Alanea ea Yolisi, Elthia, sii’ naa ten’oio.” He murmured, “Namaarie Annai, namarrie Margotti.”
Turning he exited through the door, and he headed east outside Amsterdam moving quickly across the lines of war as the allies pushed farther into the Rhineland. As he walked, he felt an odd energy surround him as if an electrical current ran through his body. Rijiin felt the winds of time pulling at him and he suddenly realized that he was being pulled again through time and space at the hand of the Lady. The elf thought he finally was getting his wish, to fade from this world to join the other elves who he knew from the past. He did not realize that he was only was stepping out of time, merely drawn to a far away land.
Back at Elven home at the same moment: Mimi stared out the window as she sat in the many alcoves of their new sanctuary and stared at the window to the mixed sleet and snow that fell outside. They had been here a several months now, and both Mimi and Becky both had managed to secure jobs. The maidens had also become permanent residents of the home, like Natil, safe from the hostile and turbulent world. Mouse sat alone in her favorite alcove and glanced periodically to the main living room where on weekends the others sat together. She was engrossed with mixed up memories.
“We still owe Rijiin a lot for our change.” Mouse thought, “For our healing and everything. I’d love to repay him for that, he deserves it.” Her gaze fell on the large snowflakes that fell onto the cold ground outside and the young elf maiden shivered at the thoughts. She glanced to the warm interior of the Home, suddenly aware of her mood change.
“Perhaps it is Elven home that affects me like this.” Mimi thought, seeing her reflection of beauty in the windowpane and she managed a pleased smile.
“There’s another thing I must thank Rijiin for.” Mimi thought, turning when sensing someone at the entry to the alcove. She stared at Becky and Mouse noted how different she looked from what she had been before. Becky is still medium height but is very slender now, with brown hazel eyes and long curly auburn hair that cascades to her mid-back. Mimi saw the light shining brightly in her eyes. The magic had surely changed Rebecca as it had changed Mimi and her friends who had been present when the elves had come to De Anza. Mouse met Becky’s gaze with a silent smile.
“Becky,” Mimi said, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, it is lunch.” She said, “Just wondering if you would like anything.”
“Yes, a cup of cocoa,” Mouse replied, “I’ll be there in a second and get it.” Mimi rose to her feet smoothly, wrapping the warm blanket around her shoulders as she grimaced, still not used to being able to stand and walk on her own power. Mimi followed Becky to the kitchen and both were standing waiting for the kettle to hiss when quite suddenly a strong disorientation hit them. It had made them both stagger and they met each other’s startled expression.
“What the hell was that?” Becky asked and Mouse shrugged.
“I feel strangely, don’t you?” Mimi asked suddenly and Becky regarded her for a moment to nod slightly.
Turning to the kettle, Becky picked it up and poured water into their cups. Mimi glanced at the window as she stood there, staring out at the steady falling sleet and snow outside. She saw a flash, one that she had at first thought to be a lightning flash, hearing a thunderclap shortly after. Mouse saw another flash and this time the silhouette of someone caught her eye. A flash of green and gray appeared as a cloaked figure appeared about a hundred yards from the home. She gasped when she saw the garb.
“Oh my god!” Mimi had gasped, staring through the window at the figure for at least three minutes. Becky stood beside her, a look of astonishment on her now fair features. The figure slumped and fell to their knees on the rock. Both Becky and Mouse glanced at each other and back to the window.
“Who is that?” Becky asked and Mimi shrugged, but both recognized the familiar garb of green and gray, also the gray cloak. They knew of only one man who would be wearing that garb. His name came instinctively to Mimi’s lips. “Rijiin?”
“No it couldn’t be…. Could it?” Becky asked and both women stared at each other for a long moment. A sudden realization hit them, like a lightning bolt.
“Good lord! It just might! Dear Lady, Natil, Hadden, Ash! Everyone come quickly!” She shouted and a commotion followed as the other elves poured into the kitchen.
“What’s going on?” Hadden asked. He cast a glance at Natil as Mimi pointed to the window. Natil and the others peered out of the window, and all saw the green and gray clad figure sitting slumped on a rock. A low murmur of curiosity rippled through the gathered elves.
“What on Earth?” Natil gasped.
“Who is that?’ Ash asked, and she glanced at Natil who shrugged.
“I am not sure, but I have a pretty good idea.” The Harper replied, glancing at Becky and Mimi who stood transfixed out of the window. They could not believe their eyes.
“It reminds me of when you arrived, Natil. You wore that same kind garb under your patch work cloak.” Laurie commented.
“He sure does, just like that.” Heather agreed and he met her glance with a smile
“I’m just asking, but is that your friend from where you came from?” Laurie asked, putting her hand on Natil’s shoulder. The Harper did not answer, silently peering at the window and hardly hearing the comments around her about the strange event that is about to unfold before them all.
“It is something I have not seen in a very long time that is certain.” Natil thought to herself, “Who is that sitting out there on the rock? Could it be?”
“By the Lady…” The Harper exclaimed, grimacing as she peered out of the window and saw the figure on the rock had fallen forward. He lay unmoving in the snow and ice.
“Ash, come quickly.” Natil said, “I think we will need a healer.” The Harper ran out the side door into the falling sleet/snow mix toward the cloaked figure. Natil did not care it was snowing/sleeting, her thin shirt revealing more than she wanted to show but she was first on the cloaked stranger. Grabbing their shoulder, the Harper turned the stranger over.
“By our Lady.” Natil gasped with a yelp, spying the red blood that covered the front of the stranger, “What on the goddess’ is with the blood?”
“What the hell?” Marsh exclaimed, grimacing at the blood that covered the stranger’s body. The others had also gasped seeing the blood too. The young Harper had gasped loudly, staring at the very garb she herself had worn openly not long ago and over four hundred years ago. Natil stared at the woolen cloak, closed by the familiar silver - gold clasp of a crescent moon and interlocked rayed star that held it together. She also stared at the green and gray clothing in amazement.
A moment later, Natil gently pulled back the hood of the cloak and revealed the weather beaten, blood covered fair features of Rijiin L’Thiel. She recognized him immediately and surprised look appeared on her face, tears forming in her eyes as a smile of wonder quickly following.
“By our lady!” The Harper exclaimed, “Rijiin?” She had gasped even louder as she peered at the familiar face, making Ash and the others glance at her. Their gazes moved from Rijiin, back to the Harper several times.
“Who is it?” Ash asked, glancing at the Harper “Do you know him Natil?”
“I-It cannot be.” The Harper replied, clearly stunned by Rijiin’s presence, whom she thought lost a long time ago. She shook her head.
“It is Rijiin, my… kinsman… my beloved… who disappeared over four centuries ago.” Natil looked up at the others to meet their surprised but amused smiles. Her cheeks reddened slightly in a furious embarrassed, blush after realizing what she had said. They had never known about Rijiin fully, the Harper mentioning him a few months ago when Mimi and Becky had come to the home with her. A few smiles passed between the other elves who gathered around Rijiin. They watched in silent amusement as Natil’s finger traced his jaw as she searched vainly for a pulse and exhaling sharply when she found it.
“Oh dear Lady, He is alive!” Natil exclaimed, her tone indicating astonishment but also a hint of relief there. Becky narrowed her eyes at the unconscious figure.
“Rijiin!” Mimi exclaimed with a gasp, joining Natil at her side.
“How the duce…” Mimi gasped, “Where on earth did he come from?”
“Natil is right he lives still, but his condition is currently unknown.” Ash announced, “We will need to get him inside where he might require healing.” The elf maiden turned to the others, meeting the glance of Hadden and the other elves of Denver who had gathered around him. He managed a slow nod to them. The elf lay pale and unconscious as Dell, TK, Hadden, Marsh, Tristan, Web and all the elves helped carry him into Elven Home. Inside the home, Ash healed him of his wounds and they helped place him in one of the many bedrooms. All of them looked after him in shifts and all hands thoroughly astonished by his presence.
“Where the hell has he been?” Becky gasped, staring at the face, the scars on his hard muscular body, old scars that had not faded after and during the times not protected by starlight.
“I have no idea, but look at his jaw, it clenches even in an unconscious state.” Mouse observed, “He must have gone through hell out wherever he came from…”
“Oh my beloved,” Natil murmured, “Where have you been?”
Sana smiled as she saw Natil exit for a moment and returned with her harp. The maiden hugged it before sitting down in a chair she had brought to his side. Her hands rippled across the bronze strings and she played for an hour, feeling the healing energies swirl about her. When her hands fell silent on the strings, she peered at him and frowned. His wounds were many, and deep. All of them found healing by Ash’s abilities but the elf remained in an unconscious state. Natil had attempted to heal his mind and soul, which she sensed was among them, but was unable to wake.
“Rijiin,” She murmured, as she felt small hands on her shoulders. Turning her head, she met the pensive look of Sana.
“He’ll be okay Natil.” She told the Harper, “With all of us here, he is in good hands.”
“Alright, we’ll take it in shifts to make sure if he wakes, someone is with him.” Hadden suggested, “Let Natil have the first watch, maybe she can harp some more and bring him out of it to perhaps give us some answers.” Everyone cleared the room except for the Harper, and she watched Rijiin for any sign of life that he would stir and wake. She sat beside him on a stool and she played her harp for him. The Harper played the same way as she had healed many others, a long time ago in the village of Saint Brigid, helping him as she had helped the flowers at the college, Rag’s bloody paws, and even Terry Angel.
“Rijiin, can you hear me beloved?” She asked, her tone showing the worry in her voice. “Please come back from wherever you are.” Several days elapsed as each of the elves took shifts to watch Rijiin who remained motionless in the bed. Natil had taken many of the shifts herself, not leaving his side in many days. The Harper looked exhausted, but she tried not to show it to the others.
“Natil you need to eat.” A voice said and the Harper jumped in her chair. Natil looked up turning to see Laurie standing at the doorway with a grin on her face.
“That’s twice you almost jumped out of your skin.” Laurie said with a laugh and the Harper forced a grin. Sana, Wheat, and Ash stood with her as a cheer sounded from the downstairs.
“He will be alright Natil.” Sana said, flashing a grin when she saw the young Harper nod slightly.
“I’ll mind him, and if anything happens I will call you.” Sana offered, and she stepped into the room. She met the relieved expression of the Harper who walked toward Laurie and the others at the door.
“Thanks.” Natil replied, “But only for a few minutes.”
“Just one thing,” Laurie asked, “Why didn’t you tell us you had a young man? Are you holding out on us again Natil?” Sana caught herself as she laughed loudly, peering at the blushing face of the Harper and fell abruptly silent when she sharply turned her head to grimace at her.
“You have good taste Natil.” Wheat teased and she grinned broadly at the Harper, “I thoroughly agree with it, he is quite a find.”
“Oh no,” Natil replied quickly, “He is someone who came to us, and was transformed into an elf by the old ways utilized by the elves of the past, four centuries ago. He was a human then, but somehow the old blood was awakened after his arrival into the fourteenth century.”
“Oh! He was human too?” Laurie gasped, and she glanced at the unconscious form of Rijiin in the bed. She could not see any of the traces of humanity in Rijiin’s face, having changed fully when he healed Mimi and manipulating the patterns of her very soul.
“Yes.” Natil replied with a smile, “A handsome young man that gave up his entire existence to spend it with me in the Renaissance Age as an immortal elf and gave up his home in the twentieth century.”
“Oh, how romantic.” Sana commented and she smiled at Natil who frowned slightly.
“It may sound that way, but it goes a lot deeper than that.” The Harper told them, “Rijiin met me in a different timeline. I had been traveling in the twentieth century and asked for directions and he had been sitting there eating his lunch. When I first lay eyes on him, it was almost instant recognition between us like we were friends for a long time. He was very polite and helpful to point me into the right direction. We seemed to hit it off almost immediately with common interests, spending a lot of time with him until I had to leave. It got even stranger when he came to the fourteenth century, and that is when the timeline was changed.”
“Changed? How?” Sana asked.
“His presence changed the timeline just being there, and Rijiin came long before I had left Adria and traveled through the ages. The event of meeting in the twentieth century had not happened yet. The timeframe had become literally a clean slate for both of us. The event happening in the future that would never take place. In his eyes the images of that line revealed themselves in the starlight and I had full knowledge afterward.”
She paused to catch her breath. “It is like a chalkboard and you used an eraser, the slate became clean. We started from scratch and still it seemed like we were inseparable.”
“Then we had great power back then?” Ash asked and Natil shook her head.
“Back then the few elves that remained had limited magical and healing abilities, to help and heal at will. The last few of us in the world did what we could to coexist in a world of men, despite the Inquisition that persecuted elves for centuries into extinction and the elves fading into the winds of history.” She told them, “Rijiin is no different, he can help and heal too but he disappeared after utilizing the power of the elves, transporting us through the winds of time and space to help and heal Mimi.”
“You mean you hopped timelines and into the future to heal Mimi?” Sana exclaimed, “That’s incredible.”
“Aye, he risked both of us and his existence when he utilized the unpredictability of the old ways, using the elves magic back then that surrounded the elves.” The Harper said with a smile. Her grin faded suddenly, unnerved by her reminisces of the past.
“By our Lady, did I tell them too much?” The Harper wondered and she shook her head slightly.
“Be at peace, I think we should have answers soon and we’ll all find out what happened to him and where he has been for close to four hundred years. I sense he is close, and he is aware of us, he just cannot wake for some reason.”
“Go eat Natil.” Sana declared, “You need a break. As I said I’ll watch him and call you if there are any changes.” Natil smiled, leaving the room with Laurie, Wheat and Ash, leaving Sana sitting in a comfortable chair, her eyes watching him closely. The youthful woman wondered what kind of human Rijiin had been, knowing it was for Natil he remained in the Renaissance Age rather than live in the Modern Age. Sana wondered if there was something more about him that the Harper was not telling them. She noted he had a strange bluish-silver aura around him.
Rijiin, on the other hand, stood on the green meadow beside the Goddess, the Lady robed in blue and silver who had guided him through history and time. She had protected him many times, as he had fought beside many famous people. He witnessed many a historical event and took part in his latest rage against mortal man and an evil that would make a significant bloody mark in history. He embraced the Lady when he saw her for the first time and after a long time.
“My Lady, it feels good to be held in your arms again, and to be again in your presence.” Rijiin told her, and he stepped back to return her smile.
“I know Rijiin.” She said, “Be at peace, you are home now, and someone special awaits your return to her.”
“How can I face her?” asked the elf, “I am just a killer. I killed for the sheer sport of it in most cases. I enacted revenge and murder upon the mortals I am supposed to help and heal. I passed judgment over them where it is not my place to do so.”
“You are supposed to help and heal, but under the circumstances, you had no choice. It was that or be slain by another’s hand.” She said, “Margot, Anne and the multitudes of others you healed will always be grateful for your bravery and your compassion. They did not want to die, not that way, and you gave them the opportunity to live by changing circumstances of their own fate.”
“You followed your heart and did what you tried to do in Adria. You tried to help, heal, comfort and aid.” She said, “You are very wise, despite the many times you risked yourself on your foolish errand. I am very pleased to see you have such wisdom for doing the right thing. You have grown a lot in these centuries.”
“Fear not, the world will not be destroyed by your changing history where people who were supposed to die but did not.” She told him, “The world will welcome them home with no questions, as no one else will sense the change in time except for you. Time is fluid like a river and is ever flowing with many currents, eddies and rapids. In another time stream, instead of their needless deaths in that place, which you changed, those people actually survived. You changed the time stream to another reality with your help, healing and compassion.” The elf remained kneeling before the goddess, sensing there was more to this than he realized.
“As for renewal, you have until May 1, to take heed and find forgiveness in yourself for the unnecessary slaughter of those you killed without mercy or compassion. I cannot give you the absolution you seek for that magnitude of slaughter you performed against the evil that rampaged Europe.” She told him, “I had to intervene, however, and stop you from becoming engrossed in revenge for another race who did nothing to the elves or you. Remember what Terrill, Mirya, Varden and Natil taught you, and said many times. Human ways are not ours. You walk the path of an immortal, you exist to help and heal those in need, which you did, not declare war and become judge jury and executioner on mortal man.” Rijiin smiled, seeing her meaning and he looked up meeting the expression of the Lady. He saw the twinkle of starlight in her eyes.
“I know me’ lady, I understand.” He said, and he bowed slightly, “I forgot myself and purpose while in those places. I felt anger toward an organization that was murdering thousands with no mercy or compassion. It reminded me of the persecution of the elves so long ago. I turned and took the fight back to them in their stead as their champion.”
The Lady, clad in blue and silver nodded slightly, and placed her hand on his shoulder. “Be at peace, they had a purpose in life, and it was their fate to die. Fear not, their tale and memory will never be forgotten, even in death.” He managed a slight nod. “That part of history has been preserved and many of those camps were preserved as-is as a teaching method of history.”
“You also have my thanks me’ lady,” He told her, “For everything, for keeping me safe during the times without the starlight. It was very hard to stand by to observe and do nothing.”
“You are welcome and also are welcome at your new home.” She said and a grin flashed across his face. “You must return to her now, and you must face her. Be at peace I am here always for you and the others.” He nodded formally to the Creatrix of the elves, and he bowed slightly.
She raised her hand and a moment later, Rijiin found himself spinning in darkness. The elf slowly opened his eyes moment later, focusing upon the white ceiling of a warm room. As he lay there, he realized he was in a warm plush bed with a thick comforter over him and slowly he examined the surroundings with his eyes. The room is bright with white walls, has an open beamed ceiling and one large window that allowed the cold daylight to spill in through it. Standing on the wall beside the window, there is an oak dresser, a wardrobe on the wall adjacent to the window and a door on the farthest wall from the bed. A small stand sat in the corner. His blade and dagger sat in a small holder on top of it. His musical instrument was leaning in a corner still in its leather pouch.
He suddenly sensed a presence beside him and slowly he turned his head. His gray eyes fell on the face of an unfamiliar woman sitting beside him. Rijiin, confused by his surroundings, found himself reminded of Saint Brigid. He remembered one of many rooms in Kay’s house where his adventures had began a very long time ago. The youthful elf at first thought he was dreaming, but realized it had been Mirya not this beautiful light haired woman who sat at his side. He stared at her for a long time, reminded of someone else a long time ago too.
“Charity…?” He croaked, finding his voice “Where’s Mirya. How long was I out and down for the count?” The young woman gasped as she turned her head to regard him in startled silence. She smiled openly at first, glad to see he was alive and well. Sana frowned playfully at him, thinking about his question and the response.
“Who?” She replied politely, confused by the name.
“There is no Charity here.” Sana replied.
“Who are you then?”
“Sana.” She replied, frowning again, staring at the gray eyes of the young man and at his familiar fair features. She had instant recognition when she saw him the first time as they rushed to his side and to his aid. Rijiin was feeling the same confusion as he stared in wonder at the light haired woman and into her star-filled brown eyes. He knew it could not be, knowing that the young girl Charity lived over four centuries ago. The elf also knew she believed in renewal and she was a priestess of the elves.
“Roxanne, then?” He asked and she shook her head again. He had known another person by the name Sana many centuries ago but to Rijiin, the woman here, looked close to her but not exactly like her.
“My name is Sandy. Sana Joy,” She told him. Confused and uncomfortable, Rijiin panned a quick glance to his surroundings before he sat up and he swayed back and forth before falling back on the bed. Closing his eyes, he focused on the twinkling starlight, surprised but also relieved they were still there. He let them steady him from his disorientation.
“You should rest.” Sana told him, “You have been through a hell of a lot.” Opening his eyes, he met her brown eyes that twinkled brightly, still reminding him of someone else. Her dark hair fell around her shoulders.
“You don’t know the half of it Ms. Joy.” Rijiin thought, and he saw her frown.
“You are safe here, at Elven home, however.”
“Elven home?” Rijiin asked, turning his head, feeling a strange leap of his soul at the sound of the name. She nodded affirmatively to him.
“Elven home.” The young woman repeated.
“What is this place then, called Elven Home and what year is it?” He asked quietly and Sana’s eyebrows climbed quickly, clearly surprised by his question.
“Elven Home is a haven for people like your self.” She replied, “Elves, who have returned after so many centuries of silence and it is the year of the blessed Goddess, nineteen ninety four. We are a few miles outside Denver. Why, what year do you think it is?”
Rijiin deliberately avoided the question, unnerved by the familiar, but clearly unfamiliar person who sat beside the bed. He found himself not surprised by the information that he was still in the twentieth century, actually glad that he still was in modern day times. The elf calculated quickly and he grimaced, realizing it was now approximately over fifty some years from the time he had just been living through and what he had done in a time of war. The elf is unaware that the United States is once again engaged in war though, called Desert Shield, and Desert Storm against Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Many continued to die in battle, preserving peace just as TK had when he served as a human in the U.S Army. There would be many sacrifices to come and more battles to fight as the months and years rolled on. In the meantime, Rijiin only shrugged, managing a pained grimace as he tried to sit up again.
“You don’t want to know Ms. Joy.” He muttered, shaking his head before carefully examining the surroundings. She did not stop him as he sat up, swooning with disorientation and he turned his body to drape his legs over the side of the bed. Rijiin quickly glanced down at himself, and was relieved to find himself in one piece. He was dressed in a simple pair of sweats and a thin white shirt. His ripped upper body showed through the white t-shirt.
“We brought you into Elven Home when you appeared outside, that was about four days ago.” Sana explained. “You were covered in blood. You were slumped on a rock on your knees and…” Rijiin turned his head as his eyes twinkled in the light and he silenced her with a look.
“Be at peace.” Sana told him, acknowledging the look on his face with a polite and friendly smile. The blood covering Rijiin had been his own after tumbling violently through a vortex of energy, taking a beating as he fell over one hundred feet after appearing over the forest and down a rocky hill. He quickly realized they did not know what he had done and Rijiin refrained from disclosing that information until it was time. He shuddered at the label he put to himself.
“I don’t know how I can Sana.” He thought, “If you only knew what I did through the centuries. I am a killer. I killed men women and children. I killed many in battle. How can you accept someone as I am?”
“Did I require healing then?” Rijiin asked, and he managed a grimace when she nodded.
“Yes, by Ash and Natil. They have that talent among us.” Sana replied. Rijiin wanted to ask who Ash was, but he refrained himself. He raised his eyebrows in silent surprise when she mentioned Natil’ name.
“Are you one of us?” She asked suddenly, feeling the insatiable curiosity about this stranger.
“I am.” He said, straightening, “Rijiin L’ Theil, the Just at your service.” With that, he touched his forehead and bowed slightly.
“Where on Earth did you come from?” Sana asked with an exasperated sigh, staring at Rijiin in silent recognition. An almost ‘déjà-vu’ feeling swept over her and she stared at the young man’s gray eyes that twinkled in the light.
“I…” Rijiin said, and suddenly stopped. He quickly contemplated his answer. “I am from all over, many different places.”
“Are you Natil’s lover?” Sana asked, blurting out of the question suddenly and he gasped loudly when she spoke the Harper’s name again. Rijiin had grimaced, feeling a flush rising up to his face. The name and his recognition of it had been a little more than he had cared to show and his facial expression had given too much away. It had shown the young elven woman how clearly unprepared he had been to hear that name. She had an amused smile on her face.
“That is the first time in ages I have heard that name.” He said solemnly, “But to answer your question, I… I was one of her kinfolk, and friend once but it has been a very long time. Is Natil here?”
“She is.” Sana replied, “And worried, as we all are about you. We thought you were very close to death.” Rijiin sensed that Sana seemed to understand. An uncomfortable silence grew around them as they sat in the same room together.
“We?” He murmured, “I thought elves faded long ago.” He peered at her in wonder. He did not know of the nineteen elves that came to Elven-Home.
“Be at peace, it is very difficult to kill an elf.” He told her, grimacing as he echoed the words of Varden so long ago.
“Do you want to go see her?” The young woman asked, turning her head to see the slight nod he had given her. She noted the grim expression on his face, feeling the fear and disorientation from Rijiin. She could almost sense his reluctance to want to see the young woman he loved so very much.
“So, I am free to wander this place,” He asked, “…called Elven home?”
“Of course you are. It’s not like you are under arrest or anything.” Sana replied sarcastically, “Come, I will lead you.”
As Rijiin slowly stood up, the maiden helped him to his feet. Sana steadied him, allowing the young elf to prop himself on her strong shoulder as she walked along side of him. She kept him from stumbling as they reached and navigated the main stairs. He peered at his surroundings, the plush, thick carpeting, the off-white walls, and open beamed ceilings. He had a curious expression on his fair features. He not realize the size of this place, and the feeling of magic that seemed to shimmer about him, just as it had four hundred years ago, also during times of conflict when he wandered through the centuries. When they reached the large, spacious kitchen, Rijiin glanced at it in astonishment, as he did to the living space that connected to it. The kitchen was large and bright, outfitted with cheerful copper pots and pans, a modern stove and oven, a big refrigerator, gleaming counters and burnished cabinets. Beyond and down the hall and deeper in, were dark wood paneling, precise parquetry, and carpets thick as meadow grass. There were snug rooms with cushions and plants, and a small fountain filled the air with a silver presence. Wide double-insulated windows looked out onto the trees and mountains, a courtyard, gardens…
Rijiin was staring in silence, amazed by this place. The other elves sat in the living area and here he leaned on a nearby counter. He stood there until they all were looking at him, a low surprised murmur rippled through the group. Sana looked on in silence, a grin on her face as she studied the reactions of the other elves. She glanced at Rijiin who grimaced when he met the unfamiliar faces of the elves that came to the home. He was stunned that the old blood had changed so many and so many more than there were so many centuries ago. His eyes seemed to flash as he saw the unfamiliar faces of Becky and Mimi. Even though their faces had changed a lot from what he remembered, Rijiin sensed it was his friends from DeAnza in California. Both maidens equally showed surprise to see him and a smile appeared on their faces. He sensed they were extremely glad to see him alive and well. They stood up slowly. The elf smiled when he sensed Natil nearby.
Natil had been sitting in one of the many alcoves and she looked up when she sensed him. Her face had a surprised expression on it and she was on her feet in a heartbeat, walking, half-running toward Rijiin. The other elves saw Natil walking toward Rijiin, and there were smiles on many of the faces. She stopped, as he seemed to crumple before them.
“I claim hearthright.” He intoned solemnly, bending down as he touched the carpeted floor, and staggered to one side. There was a low murmur among the elves.
Sana had gasped when he staggered and had caught him in her strong arms. Natil also gasped at hearing the words, remembering the similar happening with Mirya a long time ago. It had been before Rijiin had come to their century and certainly a lifetime ago when Mirya had asked the elves’ help to free a midwife from the dungeons of the Inquisition. The midwife had helped her heal and had sent her to Saint Brigid. There she found change from a battered healer girl into an elf herself, thanks to Varden.
“Well said.” Natil said as she had exhaled aloud. Her exhale had made the others focus their attention briefly toward her and back to Rijiin. The young maiden realized she echoed the same words that Varden had said in response to Mirya’s claim. She was amazed to remember that night so vividly and wondered how he knew of that night, having not arrived yet in their century.
“It is not necessary for family to claim hearthright.” the Harper replied, her eyes misty with tears of joy “Your errand is complete Rijiin, welcome home.”
Rijiin heard the breaking voice of his beloved Harper and turned his head to peer into her blue eyes. Both Natil and Sana helped him to a standing position and the Harper put her hands on his broad shoulders. Her face had a bright, warm, smile on it and she nodded her head to him. He stared at her face for a long time before he drew her into an embrace. Natil felt his centuries of loneliness fall away as he held her, kissing her passionately, almost hungrily as if they were lovers reunited after centuries apart.
Becky and Mouse watched them, as did the others, all with smiles on their faces. Low chuckles moved around the room as two minutes passed, more laughter after five minutes passed, a cough and shuffle of papers after ten minutes, a low murmur of conversation after fifteen minutes passed. Natil and Rijiin continued to hold each other in a rousing passionate kiss. TK pursed his lips and exhaled silently, casting glances to the other Elves. Laurie covered the elfling, Kelly Blue’s eyes. Heather and the Marsh exchanged uneasy looks with each other. Web was beaming with delight. Bright, Wheat and the other Elves shuffled their feet or glanced at their watches. Raven managed a whistle at the pair. A tension of uneasiness filled the air.
“Jesus, get a room you two…” Marsh joked, breaking the silence and there was sprinkled laughter.
“Dang that’s some kiss.” Wheat observed and Laurie, smiling had nodded in agreement.
“Yeah, no kidding…” Hadden replied, “Geeze, you’ll melt all the snow if you keep that up.” Sporadic laughter rippled through the gathered elves. Kelly struggled in Heather’s arms and she saw what Natil and Rijiin were doing.
“Oooooh! They’re kissing!” The Elfling chimed in and there was great laughter that followed. Rijiin and Natil broke from their passionate kiss, both blushing a deep crimson as they laughed too. Mimi suddenly realized she was jealous of this couple as Rijiin stood beside the young Harper.
“Nae saian luume',” He told her, “Amin sal mela lle.” Natil gasped, hearing him speak Elvish, just as he had centuries ago.
“You have not forgotten.” She stammered, “After all these centuries, I never thought I would hear Elvish or see you again. What happened to you? Where have you been?”
“Aye, I took a wrong turn someplace and ended up far away from Adria after losing my way in that blizzard.” He said, “I had almost lost faith, until now. I am so glad to see you and be in your arms again.”
“I am glad you are alive and safe.” Natil told him, “Rijiin, as always playing the hero.” She kissed him again on the lips. Natil and Sana stood with him as Becky, Mouse and the others gathered around him as chatter filled the room.
“Welcome home Rijiin.” Becky said.
“Yes, welcome home.” Mimi said, placing a hand on his shoulder and he met their smiling faces with an astonished, but pleased look.
“Thank you for the warm welcome.” Rijiin told them, “I am very happy to be here and in one piece.” He paused, as he panned a slow look around Elven Home and at the others. He bowed slightly at the waist.
“May I present, Rijiin L’ Theil, my companion from long ago.” Natil said formally with a wave of her hand, “My… err…”
“Lover, Natil?” Sana asked, and there was laughter as Natil furiously blushed. Rijiin blushed too, but joined in the laughter.
“Hardly, more a good friend, we have known each other a long time.” The Harper replied, smiling sweetly at Rijiin who in turn smiled back.
“For four point three million years?” TK asked, and she turned to shake her head.
“Rijiin and I have known each other long before thirteen hundred and…” Natil began and stopped.
“Be at peace, you can tell them.” Rijiin whispered and he saw her eyebrows rise upward. “They have a right to know.”
“…Thirteen hundred and fifty two, AD.” She said with a sigh, and he nodded meeting the others astonished look.
“That’s a long time.” Marsh said ominously, “Four hundred years.”
“Originally I came through to their time via a portal in this century and ended up in the fourteenth century, wounded, alone and half dead.” Rijiin replied, “Thanks to their magic and healing back then, I was changed into an elf by their magic. This relationship between Natil and I has been a long endured friendship.”
“I figured with my transformation into an elf, I belonged more in the fourteenth century rather than the twentieth century. The human part faded away fully when I jumped with Natil to the twentieth century using the elves magic to heal Mimi.” He told the group and there was a brief silence.
“I remember.” Mimi said thoughtfully, and she smiled at Rijiin. “I owe you a lot of thanks Rijiin.”
“Me too.” Becky chimed in.
“You are both welcome Mistress Stewart, Mistress Mc Gough.” Rijiin replied with a nod and he grinned, “Be at peace.”
“On that note….” Rijiin declared thoughtfully, as if an after thought came into his head and he paused for a moment.
“So Natil, are you going to marry me or what?” He turned his head, glancing sharply in her direction.
A loud sharp yelp echoed through the large room and a hush quickly fell over it. Everyone peered at Rijiin in amazement, all the elves faces showing complete and utter stunned shock. He managed a grin. Natil, surprised as the others who now occupied the large room stood there her jaw hanging open at her companion from the past. The Harper let out a silent breath as he knelt before her, taking up her hands. Fifteen minutes would elapse before she managed a smile and peered lovingly into his gray eyes. Everyone held their breath as they waited for her answer. As for Natil, she contemplated her answer during that time, having said a long time ago that she was not ready for a relationship as lovers. She had acknowledged the feelings that Rijiin had for her. It had been on an excursion with the newly transformed elf, freshly arrived from the future that they traveled together into the Aleser Mountains. They went to a place that he had found while exploring the realm and one trip she remembered vividly as it was yesterday.
It had been a partly cloudy spring day as they walked through the forest of Malvern in silence, traveling home to Saint Brigid and the encampment of the elves from the mountains. The whole trip, the maiden had felt strangely by Rijiin, still intrigued by his presence even a year after his arrival into this century. The first thing had been the startling thoughts she had heard when he embraced her the initial time she had laid eyes upon him. The second had been the superb, passionate kiss that had followed their embrace. Natil did not know what to make of it, and of the young elf himself. The Harper glanced at her traveling companion.
“It is strange how we are getting closer and yet still so far away. He is so familiar to me but is not. Who is Rijiin L’Theil and what are his motives?”
Rijiin, even over the course of a year, had astonished them all, taking well to his new existence and transformation by their magic. Rijiin had only been to the encampment a few times and each time greeted with open arms and warmly welcomed. Natil watched him interact, and as he sat among them, and he told them of many adventures in the year he had been traveling throughout Adria.
“Where and how does Rijiin fit into everything going on right now, starting with his unexplained appearance and change into an elf.” She asked herself, “Is he truly my companion and true love?” He startled her with his interest in music, playing for the villagers at Christmas mass. Rijiin played the carols of the season on a strange instrument he brought with him from the future. The music had been uplifting and cheerful. Nothing like anyone of the time had seen before. He played the instrument flawlessly and the music made her smile. The elf nodded to the Harper and she pulled out her harp. Together they played a duet that seemed to come effortlessly to her.
Natil shook her head in silence as Rijiin walked beside her. The youthful maiden decided to open up with a bit of chitchat hoping to learn more about her traveling companion Rijiin L'Theil. A young elf that had came to them a broken human, who had found his ending and perhaps a new beginning thanks to their magic.
“Diol lle a’mael, lye n’eirn nae seasu.” She said, and Rijiin walking beside her, did not turn his head. He had only grunted in response as he nodded. Natil had told him Thank you beloved that they had to do this again sometime. Rijiin shook off the images he was seeing, staring inwardly at the starlight and what seemed to be through into a different time and space. He glanced in her direction, seeing the hurt on her face, and had managed a forced smile, with a polite nod.
“Sea samin, A’mael.” He replied, taking up her hand, telling her it was very pleasant and he kissed it gently, “We shall do it again soon. I promise.”
Smiling Natil nodded, “I would like that. Ta vanima.”
“Aye Natili,” He said, glancing to the surroundings. Rijiin smiled when he saw the familiar landmarks, and from that knew they thankfully were almost home. Natil, before she stepped onto the path with Rijiin, had stopped. She still held his hand, and it made him drop backward a step, making him turn in question. The Harper’s face colored as she looked down and smiled as she tugged on his hand, pulling his arm as she led him toward her. Natil put her arms around him in a passionate embrace.
“Thank you for a wonderful time.” She whispered lustily, and she drew him in close. She put her lips to his in a tender passionate kiss. Natil and Rijiin held the kiss for a lengthy time, one that was sweet and filled with a promise. He showed an expression of surprise on his fair features. After they broke, they met each other’s gaze, staring into each other’s eyes for what was a very long time.
“Sai- seasu.” He murmured, telling her it was pleasant, “And very nice.”
“I know how you feel about me, and I wish to have a little more time.” She had told him, “I heard your wish up there too and I am very flattered and honored, but I am, alas, not ready for a relationship like that. Perhaps we can be friends for a time before we take that step. As immortals we do have all the time in the world.”
The elf, named Rijiin had wished he and Natil could be a couple, to take each other as lovers, just as it had been with Varden and Roxanne. The elf loved her without question, back in a different time stream when he had met her as a human and even more so now that he was here among the others.
“It is if Natil will accept me.” Rijiin thought, and he grimaced, only to reply aloud, “I understand.”
Rijiin tried to force himself not to react to her statement. He did so with tact and with understanding, rather than emotion. She watched as he let a breath out, and Natil sensed he felt at ease.
“But alas, that was four hundred years ago.” The Harper thought, becoming suddenly aware of her surroundings. She wondered today in Denver if she were ready. The Lady had not said anything about Rijiin or the possibility of bringing them together. A lot had changed in over four centuries. She found the elves had returned to the world, the old blood awakening a few in the city of Denver. She had found a sanctuary in the Rocky Mountains called Elven Home. The maiden had a social security number, a driver’s license, an identity and job. Natil had found freedom to move in this century with no persecution or hatred toward the elves in the world of men. His presence seemed to complicate her freedom, perhaps her existence and she considered right away remembering her pledge over four hundred years ago, to say no to his proposal.
“Come on Natil, don’t keep us in suspense.”
Natil shook off her memories and turned her head from Rijiin to scan the surroundings absently, then to the other elves.
“I-I…” She began and her eyes moved to each of the elves meeting the surprised looks and few smiles on their faces. She sensed their acceptance to the newcomer and their thoughts. Her face carried a confused expression.
“You need to find happiness mistress Harper.” Hadden told her, “Be sure it is what you want to do, and don’t be afraid of taking a chance.”
Natil felt her eyes welling with tears and she decided to take the chance of a lifetime at the encouraging words of her friend Hadden. Even though that May 1 was far off, the Harper knew she could still find council and wisdom from the Lady. Even perhaps renewal, if she thought she had made a grievous error. The Harper sensed, deep down inside, that she was not making a mistake, and knew that Rijiin still loved her as strongly now, as ever before.
“Yes Rijiin, I will.” She said, and he rose to embrace her.
Around them, the other elves cheered as Rijiin kissed her. He put her arm around her as they sat together and Rijiin told them the stories of the close to four hundred plus years he had traveled across the world. He spoke of many events and the great evils that the world had endured, and seen in his wandering across the Earth. He mentioned the many famous people he had met, and the many battles he had fought with them. He mentioned his adventures through a war torn Europe from which he had helped and healed a sickening sight of a concentration camp within the confines of a secluded forest. He did not mention his rage on the Nazi party, responsible for the holocaust, having slain many a soldier with no mercy or compassion.
Rijiin also mentioned Adria and the many adventures of the elves, his adventures, as he explored the region with Natil and her kinfolk. Everyone present had listened in fascination by his vivid tales, and Natil had found herself fascinated as well. She smiled when he described Terrill and the others. He described how many a time they would journey to the north to visit the mayor of Saint Blaise, George Darcy. Together they stayed up all night and he answered many of their questions, all smiling and laughing at the stories he told at the Harper’s expense.
When morning came, a typical Monday came the other residents departed for their jobs in Denver. Rijiin was alone at the home, and he sat in an alcove, staring at the fair amount of snow covering the ground after last night’s storm. Here, Rijiin wandered the property, and the home. He donned his long gray cloak, as he held his sheathed blade and disappeared into the forest outside. He did not venture too far from the home, but he did find a great overlook from which he stared out across the snow-covered forest below.
Rijiin suddenly found himself reminded of Adria, as he walked among the trees and thought of a similar the place he brought Natil. A special place where they shared many a sunrise and sunset together, wrapped in each other’s arms. Here he drew his blade easily as he practiced the forms from his training in martial arts, and the fighting dance of the elves. He moved easily, the same as he had centuries ago, slashing, dodging and blocking. The motions seemed to come easy for him too, just as they had four hundred years ago and he felt the energy flowing freely through him. Hours passed quickly, and Natil arriving at the home first, discovered he was missing. Walking into the forest, she searched and found him easily. He sat on a flat rock with his legs crossed, his eyes closed as he focused upon the stars he thankfully saw in the darkness. He sensed her approach.
“Rijiin?” She said and opening his eyes, he turned his head, smiling at the young Harper. She had a worried expression on her face.
“I was just checking up on you.” She said, “Are you alright? What are you doing out here?”
“I am just enjoying the view..." He replied pointing to the spectacular view in front of him on the western horizon. A view where the sun began to set, arrayed in deep crimson reds, spectacular burnt orange, golden yellows and a sinister purple color array. Shadows fell over the snow-covered forest below. Natil managed a quiet laugh, as she stared at the sunset, suddenly reminded of the Aleser Mountains where they shared a similar romantic moment between them. Rijiin put his arms around her to hold her after she sat beside him. He kissed the back her neck, holding her against him. She felt the warmth of his breath on her neck.
“Just like we did before in Adria,” He remarked, “A different era and time, but the same glorious sunset. Remember?”
Natil managed another laugh, “I do indeed, and it is just as glorious as the first time we watched it together.”
“It was the one thing I missed in four hundred years.” Rijiin told her and she turned her head, shadowed by the sun as she peered into his eyes, “To share a sunset and a sunrise with my beloved companion and lover. It is also great to be alive.” The Harper’s face showed an expression of surprise and loving admiration.
“The one thing I regret, though,” Rijiin replied and he grimaced. Her face had a curious expression on it.
“And what is that beloved?”
“I should have played it safe and not have tried to be a hero. You know, always trying to save the day all the time.” He said, “I should have camped and waited out the storm. If I would have done that I would have been still with you.” Tears showed in her eyes, not of sorrow, but of joy and love. Here the elf maiden had embraced him, holding him close.
“I love you.” She said and their lips touched. He nibbled her earlobe and her neck making her gasp and giggle.
“I love you too.” He said, “Always have and always will. In this time or back in the fourteenth century. I loved you, even while I wandered alone in history without starlight and the goddess. You are my life, and my truest love. I am not going to let you go this time that is a promise.”
“As you are to me,” Natil said, holding him as she let his hands wander. She smiled as their hands caressed each other. She moaned as she felt him caress her ample bosoms and they found each other stripping, ignoring the cold as they made love under a thick pine, the sounds of passion echoing through the woods. After they were finished, they both sat together, wrapped in his cloak as they watched the sun continue to sink onto the western horizon, the sky deepening with darker crimson red, orange fire, and a deeper purple array. They watched the night sky filled with stars until a stiff cold wind made it unbearable. Together they dressed quickly and walked hand-in-hand back to Elven Home. Both entered to smile at Mimi and Becky who had arrived, staring at them in wonder as they came through the door giggling.
“Are you both alright?” Becky asked, “We were about to call Hadden and the others to come find you.”
“Oh we’re fine.” Rijiin said, “We were just watching the sunset and the stars together, Right Natil?”
“Oh yea,” She replied, and they both exchanged a glance at each other, sharing a smile between them. Both had laughed as they adjourned holding hands to one of the many alcoves and there they remained together cuddled in each other’s arms. They both peered out at the skylight at the stars that burned clear and cold in the sky above the home, murmuring thanks to Becky who handed them two cups of steaming cocoa. Natil and Rijiin tapped their mugs together.
“Manea.” Becky replied, smiling as she backed out of the alcove and turned to walk toward Mimi who had watched the whole exchange.
“Holy shit, did you see that?” Becky asked, and Mouse managed a nod.
“I did and this is all starting to become very weird.” Mimi replied and both shot another look across the living area to the alcove where Rijiin and Natil both sat together, his arms around her. The elf kissed her neck as he held her. They did not know what to make of the whole event or situation.
As the months followed, there were many preparations made for Natil and Rijiin to be hand fasted in the traditions of elves. They planned a meal for a banquet, the chair seating arrangement, and the decorations for the ceremony itself. The elf worked on the invitations, quickly doing them on a computer and he wrote in Elvish on each one with a strong hand of calligraphy.
No’ i’- minquea ea asta, i’- ratsea re, e’ i’- yen en’ i’- aman arwen, nertenen randa nae nertenen, kinta sinomed, kam- i’- canwae i’- Natili Carnesir en Denveri nae Rijiini Singollo en Maverni.
Lye aldarion meneldur lle a’ saragon e’ i’- gal-, no’ i’- enque ea asta, ratsea re, e’ i’- yen en’ i’- aman arwen, nertenen lempe nae nertenen lempe enque ae’ Treestari e’ Deveray Coloradai.”
“On the eleventh month, the fourteenth day, in the year of the Blessed Lady, nineteen hundred and ninety five, hereby make the announcement of Natil Summerson of Denver and Rijiin L’Theil of Malvern’s engagement and wedding. We cordially invite you to share in the celebration, on the sixth month, fourteenth day, in the year of the blessed Lady nineteen ninety five at Treestar in Denver Colorado.”
As Rijiin worked on the invitations, Natil popped in to check on him and she had peeked over his shoulder as he hand designed more of the unique invitations. The maiden had gasped openly at the large stack that now sat on the table next to him. She was about to leave with a few of the other residents of the home and travel to Denver to try on gowns for the event that was to come. An amused but pleased look brightened her face when saw the finished invitations, and the envelopes that Rijiin had created. The maiden embraced him with tears in her eyes.
“It is perfect beloved.” She said, “I love it.” The others clustered around her as they peered at the invitations, and exchanged dubious looks between them.
“You have not forgotten the old ways.” She said, “You do us honor Rijiin, and the Lady.”
“I am glad you like it.” Rijiin said, glancing at the group who was walking to the door.
“So where you all off to,” He asked, and Natil paused at the door.
“We’re off to try on gowns.” Natil replied, winking at Rijiin who nodded silently.
“You are going to be a magnificent bride, mistress Harper.” Hadden told her, “It almost makes me want to take Ash and do this with you.”
“You know Hadden, that’s not a bad idea.” Rijiin suggested, “A double wedding would be really cool. Mister and Missus Hadden Morrison, it does not have a bad ring to it.” A sprinkle of laughter rippled through the group next to Rijiin and Natil.
The young elf known as Ash, smiled quietly at Hadden’s words and chuckled at Rijiin’s agreement to the idea. She winked at Hadden before they turned to follow Sana, Wheat, Laurie, Kelly, Bright, Raven, Fox and Heather out of the door. Rijiin turned and opened a cabinet nearby, withdrawing bottles from inside it. The elf smiled, when he spied the label in the cabinet and something he had been holding onto for a long time.
Turning the other bottles, he dug out the other ragged labeled bottles. Here, he grabbed several glasses and set them in the center of the table as, Hadden, Marsh, TK, Dell, Allesandro, Web, and Tristan joined him.
“We should take you out, you poor soul.” Marsh said, “Married life, sheesh, and with someone so young.” Their laughter echoed the living area as several bottles sat in the middle of the table.
“I know, but this romance has been going on for a very long time, there is not a day that I wandered the earth and fought in many battles that I did not think of Natil.” Rijiin said quietly, “I knew I had to keep moving and find my way. It seemed to keep my sanity. The Lady did just that, she helped me find my way back to her and I am fortunate to find her again. This time I am not going to let her slip away.” Rijiin poured a crimson liquid from a dusty bottle into the glasses.
“So what do you have there Rijiin?”
“Something I have kept for such a special occasion.” Rijiin replied, holding up the glass to examine the crimson liquid in a brandy glass that he had in front of him.
The elf in the last couple of months had traveled back to his cabin in the woods, the very one that he had left behind a long time ago. He recovered many things, taking them back with him to his new home. Rijiin had a treasure trove of antiques that spanned several centuries that he brought back and shipped by air - freight container to the states. He now stood among his friends with his glass in his hand.
“Brandy produced in 1783.” He said, “A good year, 1783. Mozart wrote his first mass, the McDuffie brothers went up in their first balloon. England recognized the independence of the United States.”
There was a long silence, a pause as the others glanced at each other, unsure what to make of this strange toast. Rijiin quoted words from a movie he knew quite well called ‘Highlander’ and the words of Conner McCloud. His life had certainly been like that movie, living many secret lives and a life that spanned through the many centuries in solitude with no sign of the Lady or the power of the elves.
He certainly had surprised them all with the antiques he had brought back from Europe that were probably worth a small fortune for what they were. A whole part of the basement was converted and setup just for Rijiin, dedicated to the claymores, armor, shields, pictures and other artifacts that he collected throughout the centuries. It is a fortress of solitude for Rijiin where he could work on his writing, sitting at a solid oak desk in corner of the room. Otherwise, it was large enough to allow him to exercise with his blade, or meditate.
“Really,” Marsh said, “Quite sure are we?” Rijiin glanced at him with a knowing smile on his face. Hadden and the others had silent grins on their faces. They realized where the quote and toast had come from. It seemed to be fitting for how long Rijiin had wandered across the face of the world.
“Yes.” Rijiin replied, “I am quite sure.” He raised the glass and he sipped at the superb drink. The others followed suit. Marsh coughed after sipping the crimson liquid.
“Holy Christ, that’s smooth.” He croaked, and there was laughter among the group. Rijiin smiled broadly at the hilarity and the jokes that followed.
“Ah what’s the matter Marsh, not man enough for a little brandy?” Hadden joked, “I guess when it comes to hand fasting time we will have to have a supply of milk on hand just for him.” Laughter followed through the group, making light of the moment. Marsh of course, laughed too grinning ear to ear.
“How old is this brandy anyway?” Dell asked and Rijiin turned, taking another sip.
“About two hundred and five years old.” Rijiin replied, “I was in England at the time.”
“Wow.” TK gasped, taking a sip, “Man this is some good stuff. I like your style Rijiin.” Rijiin smiled and bowed slightly. They stood around toasting and drinking as he remembering many time he had traveled the world over. There was always one thing he cherished most was what lay ahead with his beloved Harper. He could not say he was wrong.
A couple of months passed quickly into January without incident, and within those months, Rijiin and Natil became almost inseparable. Rijiin was not far from Natil, taking up a job at Kingsley College working with computers as a Tech Support staff member on campus. He was in charge of field support on campus for the many PC’s and other platforms used by staff members and students on campus. The maiden dined many a lunch with her companion and they did so as a couple. During their break, most times, they sat in a secluded park like area on campus and they went to the Lady often utilizing the old ways. He also knew that the elves of Denver were just now seeing starlight and the Lady and only recently had been able to go meet her, as the first borne elves had been able to.
Rijiin held his arm around his beloved Harper’s waist as they walked onto the campus of Kingsley every day. They stood outside her shack as they held each other, staring into each other’s eyes a long time before they kissed.
“By our Lady, I love you.” Rijiin said, touching her cheek and she flushed a bit.
“As do I my love.”
“I’ll see you here at five.” He told her, smiling and nodded shortly, “We can have lunch whenever you like.”
“I’d like that beloved.” Natil replied as she stared at him. He nodded and turned to walk toward the Aylesberg Hall, the Administration building on campus. She still could not believe he was here, walking among them, alive and well after a long time apart. The Harper examined him, staring at his tight, hard, muscular buttocks, his narrow waist and ripped abs and arms. She found herself blushing, realizing what she was doing. Natil was checking him out. The maiden suddenly realized fully she was madly in love, more so as the days and weeks progressed.
They dined in the cafeteria near the student union on campus at twelve o’clock. As they pushed open the glass door, many voices echoed the room where a sea of tables lay before them and many people sat at those tables. The room itself is rather large, with large windows letting the bright light spill into the room. It reminded Rijiin of another college that was far away from here, called De Anza College in Cupertino, CA. It is a place after he received his Associate’s Degree that he spent some time taking classes to further his career in Information Technology. It is here he met Robert and Mimi to become fast friends with them. Natil and Rijiin navigated the tables quickly and headed to the Sandwich Corner.
“Lunch is on me beloved.” Rijiin told the Harper and Natil managed a smile as he met the stare of the middle-aged Hispanic woman who stood behind the counter. She is dressed in white from head to toe. She wears a stained apron and her hands she wears plastic gloves. The woman has long black hair, neatly put up under a hairnet.
“What can I getcha?” She asked and he pondered a moment glancing at the menu.
“I’ll take a pastrami combo, number one.” He said, “Everything but jalapenos on it please, and hold the mayo.”
“I’ll take a ham and turkey sandwich combo.” Natil told her, and the woman scribbled down the order quickly. She handed it off to another person and Rijiin turned to cast a long sweeping gaze to the cafeteria.
“Busy place today…” Rijiin casually commented and Natil turned to scan the surroundings, “It reminds me of another college a long time ago.”
“Ah yes, De Anza wasn’t?” Natil asked and he nodded.
“Yes, you have a fine memory Natil.” He told her with a grin, “A place I miss sometimes, but for those times, I would have rather spent it with you in the fourteenth century.” He turned as a plate containing his sandwich was passed into his hands. Another plate was handed to Natil. Large cups, turned upside down, sat on their trays and silverware lay discarded next to it. When they reached the cashier an older woman quickly punched buttons on the computerized cash register.
“That will be nine dollars.” She told Rijiin and he handed her a ten-dollar bill. The register beeped quietly as the drawer opened and she handed him back the change. He put the change in a container on the counter that was for the cure for Cerebral Palsy.
“Ironic they have something for C.P.” Rijiin thought, thinking of Mimi before her transformation from a human to an elf. She went to school here part time and she worked in Denver not far from here. Turning they navigated the room again.
“It looks like there is very little room here beloved.” Rijiin told her and she nodded. Together they made their way to the fountain drink counter and they both filled up the large cups. He pointed to a nearby table where there were two open seats. Taking a seat, they put their trays down. As they ate, between bites, they talked about their hand fasting, ironing out a few details that had come to Rijiin’s mind. Natil liked the idea for Marsh’s band to play for the hand fasting, and Hadden to walk her down the aisle. Natil blushed at the thought and smiled openly at the suggestion.
“Have you asked him?” Natil asked and Rijiin nodded.
“He was all geeked out about it.” Rijiin replied, and he smiled when Natil laughed quietly.
“I thought he might.” The Harper replied, “Who is going to officiate our hand fasting?”
“That’s the last thing I am working on.” Rijiin replied, “Don’t worry I have something in mind.” He placed his hand on hers, and with the other, he held a small box. Natil gasped loudly staring at a felt box, not more than probably two inches square.
“I almost forgot this mistress Harper.” He said handing her the box.
“What’s this?” She asked and he grinned.
Natil fumbled with the box for just a moment and when she peered into the open box is an s-curved setting where a single one caret diamond surrounded by smaller diamonds were set next to it.
“Oh my word!” Natil stammered, “It’s beautiful.” Rijiin took it out of the box and put it on her left hand on the appropriate finger, leaving the shadow band, also set with small diamonds in the box. Natil immediately blushed staring at the ring in silence.
“Remember the Saint Brigid gold florins?” He asked and she nodded, “I paid for it with those, according to the gold price, that amount of gold is worth about a two thousand dollars a piece.”
“You still had Florins from Saint Brigid and Adria?” Natil asked, stunned by the news, and he nodded with a smile. “They are some souvenirs of another time and a special place. I still have a lot of them.”
“You really should not have done that.” Natil chided, “A hand fasting according to tradition is cords tied in a Celtic knot after it is placed over your hand.
“I read about it. But in common traditions the bride usually has a ring to signify a union with someone.” He replied, “I thought we could mix hand fasting and the traditional methods of marriage, besides it was too beautiful to pass up, just like you.” Natil smiled, tears welling up as she leaned forward to kiss him.
“Thank you beloved.” Natil told him and he nodded. They finished off their lunch and he glanced at the clock to gasp aloud.
“Oh dear lady, Time to get back to work,” He told her, “I will see you at five at your shack.” Standing they embraced and he departed while Natil walked back to her shed, staring at the ring in the light that brightly sparkled. The Harper found herself stunned by the beauty of its setting and the unique shape of it.
“He must have paid a fortune for it.” She thought, walking toward her shed. Little did she know that it was a gift from an Arch Duke around sixteen hundred and forty. Natil walked into the shed, and put the ring in a safe place before gathering up the tools needed to clear the snow that accumulated on the walk that came down in thick flakes. She pull started the motor of her tractor and hopping up into the seat to proceed to lower the scoop and plow away the snow.
Like clockwork at five, they met up at her shack, embracing each other before they walked together to the bus stop that would take them west into the mountains and together they hiked to the home, hand-in-hand with Mimi and Becky who joined them on the bus to the last stop. It reminded Natil a lot of Adria, their adventures together as they traveled the realm and that overlook Rijiin had found in his travels in the region.
“Just like that overlook near the Home.” Natil thought and she smiled quietly to herself at the pleasurable memories of the past and now future they would be sharing together as husband and wife.
Another month and a half passed quickly, like clockwork and more preparations were on the way for their wedding. Rijiin found himself in downtown Denver, and outside a travel agency. He had just been walking by when he spied the two glass display cases that dominated the brick wall of the building. They are both on the outside of a narrow heavy plate glass door between them, the window covered with brochures of exotic places to travel. The elf smiled as he watched the television in the window for a moment and looked at the brochures on the cloth-covered surface beside it. The display, decorated with a lawn chair, swimming goggles, and an umbrella sits in the middle of the glass display. He laughed when he saw a ducky swim float next to the lawn chair. He stared at many of the brochures in silence.
“Hey this is a great honeymoon idea, take her on a cruise.” Rijiin thought to himself, and yet he balked at the overpriced numbers for each trip, “It’s not going to be cheap that’s for sure.” He noted there were so many to choose. He glanced up at the sign: ‘Rocky Mountain Travel Agency.’ He turned his attention back to the display.
Rocky Mountain Travel Agency - Cruise Lines
Hawaii Cruise (7day/6 night) - $1750 per person
Bahamas Cruise – $699 per person
Caribbean Cruise - $999 per person (5 day/4 night)
Alaska Cruise - $1250 per person (7day 6 night)
Still intrigued he stepped to the other side where a lot of photos and official itinerary for a private yacht for a Mexican Rivera trip for two. He read the brochure tacked to a cloth covered background with silver thumbtacks and as he read more, he found himself interested by the display.
Mexican Rivera Cruise: - Sun Cruises Ltd.
Come and travel with us to the exotic ports de Mexico. A fun filled all-inclusive trip to south of the border for 7 days/6 nights from the Port of Los Angeles.
Just $1500.00 for a party of two. (Round trip ticket.) Amenities include
Fine Dining Casino
Floor Shows Full Buffet
Comedy Club Deep Sea Fishing Excursion
Paragliding Excursion Full Cocktail Lounge
Online Business Center Gift Shop
Laundry Service Private Beach Party Excursion
Snorkeling/Scuba Diving Excursion Free Internet
Golf Excursion Onboard Gym
Ports include San Diego, Encinitas, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Acapulco (Airfare not included).
“Now that is something we can do for our honeymoon.” Rijiin told himself, and he grinned, stepping aside for a person on a bike to pass before he moved toward the doorway. He pushed the heavy plate glass door open and a bell sounded. A young woman appeared from the back room. She is perhaps in her thirties and she was dressed in white pants, a striped shirt, and a blue denim jacket. The woman has a pleasant round face, brown/blond hair and blue eyes. She wore a nametag on the jacket that read ’Julie.’ He immediately thought of the ‘Love Boat TV Show’ and he grinned. Julie McCoy had been the Cruise director character aboard the ship where they filmed it.
“My name is Julie, may I help you?” She asked and Rijiin picked up the brochure for the Mexican Rivera Cruise.
“Yes, I’d like to purchase tickets for this cruise. My wife and I are getting married soon and I thought this would be a splendid honeymoon.”
“Oh! Congratulations. Yes, it is a great and affordable trip along the California and Mexican Coast down to Baja California, Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. It is a popular cruise during the Red season, high traffic and during Spring Break.”
“Sounds interesting with all the amenities it offers.” Rijiin told her and she nodded.
“This in particular trip offers a lot of excursions with it, inclusive. You will have a wonderful time. You can also elect to go on excursions from the ship as it is in port. It ranges from Horse back riding in the Sierra Madre, Snorkeling/Scuba excursion off the Marianas Island, Deep Sea Fishing in Baja, or have a private Beach party on a beach near the Marianas Island. There is a lot to do during the trip.”
“Sounds like it.” Rijiin replied and he sat down at her desk.
“Will you need airfare to get to Los Angeles also?” She asked and he nodded.
“Yes, for two, first class.” He replied, and the young woman nodded.
“That will cost you about seven hundred and thirty four fifty.” She quoted looking at the computer. I will discount for the cost of the cruise and the Airfare into one bundle. It will be about two thousand and thirty four dollars and some odd cents.”
“That’s quite a lot.” Rijiin mused and she shook her head.
“It’s a great deal when you can bundle air fare and a cruise into one.”
“I see your point, and I think you just got a customer.” He said with a smile and Julie handed him a clipboard.
“Please fill out the form here and personal information, such as address, city, zip, phone, etc.” She instructed and he took out a pen and he set to work.
“Would you like a soda or water?” She asked, and the elf nodded.
“Soda please.” Rijiin replied as he began writing on the form. A few moments later, she returned with a Coca-Cola ™, “Thank you kindly.”
With one finger, the elf popped the top to take a determined sip of it. The form was ten pages long, one of them a survey from which he filled out and he signed. Rijiin handed back to the form to the young woman.
“Nice to meet you Mr. L’Thil…?” She asked with a question and he looked up.
“It’s pronounced Theil, but you were close.” Rijiin corrected and he managed a smile at the young woman, sensing her discomfort. The elf put his hand on the desk. “Be at peace miss. I didn’t mean to make this harder than it is.”
“Oh no you’re fine.” She replied nasally, busily typing and entering the data in the computer. “This computer is kind of flakey some times.”
“So when are you getting married?” Julie asked, “If you don’t mind a personal question.”
“Oh no, not at all, we are getting married in June, during the Summer…” Rijiin replied, “We’ve been together for a long time and my fiancé just now felt like she was ready to tie the knot, so to speak.”
“Oh, it’s a long engagement!” She exclaimed, “How romantic.”
“Something like, that.” Rijiin replied, making small talk. He was careful to hide his accent, and withhold that he had been with her four hundred years ago for a short time at that. It would have been a situation for Rijiin that would not bode well with the young human helping him.
“I will also need your driver’s license for identification.” The youthful woman said and he quickly dug it out, brand new fresh off the presses. Rijiin handed it to her and she took down the information. Handing it back she smiled pleasantly.
“Your trip confirmation has been sent to you via mail, and it will include the airline ticket to Los Angeles Int’l Airport where you will be picked up by complimentary limo and taken to the ship out of the port of Los Angeles.” After five minutes of entering the data, she hit print and the tickets spit out of the classic HP III DeskJet ™ that sat on a small stand. She took the perforated pages, breaking them apart and put the tickets into a small sleeve. He handed his VISA ™ to the young woman who slid it in a slide reader and it beeped accusingly at her.
“Okay it is going to be Two Thousand and thirty four dollars and fifty cents total that is the two tickets to board the SS Salvador Hato, and two round trip tickets from Denver Int’l to Los Angeles Int’l Airport. I assume credit?” Julie asked and Rijiin nodded. After a moment, it printed a tag that he signed quickly. He took the yellow and handed her the white copy.
“You are all set.” She said, “My card and information is in there, if you have any questions and you can use these tickets up to a year.”
“Enjoy yourselves and congrats again.” Julie replied, “Thank you for choosing Rocky Mountain Travel Agency.” She peered at the strange young man she had just helped as he walked out of the agency. The young woman did not know what to think of him, other than he was rather handsome, and youthful.
“He is almost too youthful.” Julie thought to herself and thankfully, to the elf, she did not notice the strange aura surrounding the elf or notice the twinkle of starlight in his eyes.
Traveling back to the college, he arrived five minutes before the end of his lunch and he quickly punched in on the terminal in the computer lab. The elf took out the tickets and he put them in a leather briefcase that contained important documents for his support role as a computer person on campus. He found he could hardly wait to hand the tickets to Natil, to see her surprised face. Work for the elf was busy, but the hours seemed to fly by quickly. When he looked up at the clock, he managed a grimace that it read four forty-five. He would meet Natil soon and both would make their way to Elven-Home. At the end of the day, at five P.M. Rijiin walked quickly along the sidewalk past Aylesberg Hall, the Administration building, and the Student Union on campus, heading to a back area toward a metal shack. Meeting his fiancé, he kissed her lightly on the lips, as she warmly embraced him.
“Good afternoon Mr. L’Theil.” She said with a teasing tone and he smiled managing a quiet laugh.
“Good afternoon soon to be Mrs. L’Theil.” He teased back and she laughed.
“You know, that really sounds corny.” Natil told him and he frowned.
“It’s all I could think of when I was transforming into an elf, who heard of an elf named Nathaniel?”
She laughed and nodded, “Good point.”
“Besides, that name should not be in existence now, that part of me died when they found my so called body in a gully.” Rijiin continued, and here the elf paused a moment and after pondering, he managed a grin. “Nice to be free isn’t?”
She cast a surprised look at him for the notion of what had happened and he had indicated he was still all right with it. Natil smiled widely and she embraced him.
“The same feeling he had when he healed Mimi and Rebecca.” Natil thought and she slowly nodded in agreement.
They had found a mutilated body in a gully in East San Jose, when he had departed and was lost in the games of Eastridge. The police and FBI both questioned members from the Bulletin Board System (BBS) that he had been on and was with at the time of his death. The authorities called it murder, but there were no suspects arrested. Time had changed when the Elves appeared in the same area he departed from the only hours ago, the only difference he walked a new timeline, with no connection to the old one. The body had disappeared when he walked among the starlight with the Lady as Rijiin and not his human self. There was a lot of question by the members of the Bulletin Board System he had been a part of, and his friend Joseph who had found out about the killing. They wanted to know why, and who had killed him, yet the police had no answers. They thought of the day a year later when a strange couple appeared outside the Red Robin, clad in the strange green and gray garb, wearing a hooded gray cloak. Joseph wondered if that could have been his friend and if they had something to do with the killing. Again, there were no answers.
“Are you about ready to leave, beloved?” Rijiin asked and she shook her head.
“Fifteen minutes.” She replied with a grimace, “Trying to pick up and catch up on my paperwork.”
“Oh fun.” Rijiin replied with a smile, turning to stare outside at the snow-covered ground, and feeling the cold wind chill, he shivered and stepped inside her shed. It was warmer than the outside. The overwhelming smell of oil and gasoline permeated the air. Her office is small, with a desk crammed in it, with a small chair amongst the blowers weed eaters, mowers and tools for her gardening.
“It is another typical cold, snowy February day in Denver.” Rijiin thought, and placed his briefcase down on the chair beside him. He watched his beloved Harper as she worked, or glanced at the papers he carried with him, including the Travel Itinerary for their plane trip and boat trip. He then realized that she had never been on an airplane and he managed a grin, looking forward to her first experience abroad.
Fifteen minutes later they stepped out of the shed onto the snow covered walk and they walked together to the battered blue van belonging to Hadden that took them onto the highway 70, leading them into the mountains. They got off the highway, second to last stop and picked up Becky who clambered into the van through the side door from her job.
“Damn its cold.” Becky complained, “The temperature must be in the negative numbers with the bloody wind.”
“Last I looked it was about 15 degrees out here.” Rijiin told her and she grimaced.
“Brrr that’s too damn cold, at least in California for February it was usually maintaining a constant 45-50 degrees.” She complained, “I guess it’s going to be hot chocolate all around when we get to the home, something to at least warm my cold bones.” Natil and Rijiin both chuckled quietly. They went up two blocks and stopped, allowing Mimi to board the van too, greeting her warmly. Together they took off to Highway 70 again into the mountains. They soon came to Highway 6 and they made the transition.
“Next stop… Elven Home!” Natil said merrily, and she met the smiling faces of her passengers. They soon came to the familiar turn off and they found their way on the makeshift road that led to the Home. When they arrived, Natil, Rijiin, Becky and Mimi exited the vehicle and walked with soft steps through the thick falling snow, to a side door. Here they entered, stepping inside to a whoosh of warmth that filled the air, as the electric heater kept the place around sixty degrees when no one was at the home. Rijiin walked to the fireplace and he immediately put logs in it and lit a fire that started to heat the entire home.
He sat with Natil on the plush benches in one of the many alcoves, his alcove with some of his antiques and there they watched the clouds billow outside as large snow flakes fell on the cold ground of the Rocky Mountains. Becky and Mimi sat with them too, all sipping hot cocoa, from white ceramic mugs. Rijiin, Natil, Mimi and Becky as they sat in the alcove, laughed, cried and talked among themselves. A vigorous conversation about the past, remembering happier times in a place they had all been together for a long time and what happened for today at their new jobs in Denver. Becky secured a job as a Secretary at a local law firm. Mimi got a job with a school as a Teacher’s Assistant. Other times they sat in silence, staring at the flakes or with their eyes closed, at the starlight.
“I have something for you beloved.” Rijiin said breaking the silence, and turning to his briefcase, he grabbed the tickets, “These are for you Natil, a gift to you my beloved fiancé.”
“What do you have there Rijiin?” Mimi asked as Natil took the tickets and peered at them. She examined the ticket and itinerary for American Airlines flight 556 to Los Angeles, California and the other ticket to board the SS Salvador Hato the Liner/Yacht that would be taking them on a cruise to Mexico. She stared at the brochure with a shaking hand.
“Happy honeymoon!” He exclaimed merrily, smiling broadly, as she read the brochure that came with the tickets. Natil embraced him warmly after a moment.
“My word, you are going to take me on a cruise to the Mexican Rivera?” Natil exclaimed, “It is wonderful Rijiin, I love it! I love you.”
“You got her a cruise ticket?” Becky gasped, “Oh you are lucky mistress Harper.”
“I heard about that cruise, it’s really well done.” Mimi declared, “A friend at De Anza went on it with her husband and they had a ball.”
“Thanks beloved, you really made my day.” The Harper told him, “I was wondering what you were up to the other day looking stuff up on AOL™.”
“I actually saw it in a place while I was downtown Denver today and the brochure was so intriguing, I had to look into it. It has a lot of amenities as you can see, and several excursions, adventure trips on shore.”
“I am pleased you thought of it.” Natil replied, “It looks like a wonderful cruise.”
“How much did it cost you Rijiin?’” Mimi asked, “My friend said it cost them over three thousand dollars for round trip and airfare.”
“I got a sweet deal for the time we are going. It is not quite the red season which is high travel months like June to September and it’s far after spring break.” He said, “It only cost two thousand and thirty four dollars with tax. Both with airfare and the cruise itself are together in the cost.”
“Geeze, you made out like a bandit.” Mimi replied, and Rijiin grinning, nodded his head.
“You are going to have a ball, make sure you take a lot of pictures and maybe a video camera to tape it if possible.” Becky added jokingly, “I can bet everyone would love to see your adventures on tape.”
“I can do that.” Rijiin promised and he smirked at his fiancé who was also smiling.
“Here’s to a happy wedding for my friends.” Mimi said and all smiled as Becky brought another round of cocoa to the alcove. The four of them tapped their mugs together in toast.
“Amen.” Natil murmured and she smiled too.
When it reached April, time seemed to move rapidly along for Natil and Rijiin before they knew it. The sun came out from behind the many clouds parked over the Rockies and spring-like conditions came to the woods around Elven Home. Snow still caked the Rockies at the higher elevations, a few patches were still around the Home but the elves were out in it over the weekend, turning to and making good use of the perfect weather.
As the time passed, Natil realized she is growing more nervous by the day and the days ahead clicking quickly down toward the event of a lifetime. Natil knelt next to her garden, attempting to weed and plant, but her mind is elsewhere at this moment. Her mind is focusing upon the event to come, her wedding to Rijiin. She is a typical bride, fretting over the arrangements made for their wedding and double-checking everything setup by the wedding planner. Natil kept running through a mental checklist of the wedding party, and all the components involved, especially fretting over scripted words belonging to the hand fasting ceremony.
“What if this goes wrong?” She thought to herself, “What if I don’t say them right? This is hardly Adria of the fourteenth century. What if I cannot remember the words to say?” She gasped aloud at the turmoil of thoughts cascading in her mind and shook her head slightly as if to clear them away. Natil suddenly realized how nervous she is right now. The Harper had gasping when she had glanced at the wall of her room this morning in the Home, peering at a calendar tacked there and realizing the date.
“By the Lady, my wedding is only two months away!” Natil thought, quickly reminding herself of the time and that her day is not quite upon them yet. Despite the time closing on them both, the Harper realized there are still many things needed to be finished before she could relax. Rijiin had been taking a lot of the strain off her, being a fine future husband, making the necessary calls and changes that Natil wanted to see for their wedding. Rijiin also comforted her often at the home, showing her a deeper love than she realized.
She also realized that she is having difficulty focusing on her job at Kingsley. The turmoil started taking its toll on her and causing her to make her first mistakes ever while on the job. The mistakes were simple and small, but nothing serious that she and her crew could quickly repair or change. The Harper and her crew had been tilling the flowerbeds, getting them ready for the planting at the end of the month. The Harper, on accident hit a water pipe for the sprinklers that had to be un-earthed and repaired before they planted for the spring semester. Here Natil fought to put the offending images of her personal life aside and closed her eyes to let the starlight sooth her very soul.
The Harper, shaking her head, had cleared the images and here she managed a smile, knowing that once wedding ceremony itself is complete, she could relax during the honeymoon with Rijiin. She focused on those images and managed a slight nod and a smile.
“I hope everything goes smoothly.” Natil coached herself, “Please let it go smoothly.”
Looking up from her work in the garden at the home, she stared at her betrothed who worked with TK, Hadden, and Marsh nearby. Rijiin helped dig a trench for a drainage system for the garden and flood control around the Home. Natil quietly smiled, staring at the men who had their shirts off and the Harper watched Rijiin’s hard muscles ripple. She noted the few scars he had on his muscular form as he hefted the pickaxe, thrusting it into the ground. Natil found herself totally mesmerized by the spectacle of the elf-meat, her soon to be husband that stood next to the garden’s edge.
“By the Lady, he is handsome.” Natil said to herself realizing she was madly in love with Rijiin. “I am glad the Goddess sent you back to me. I don’t know what I could do if I lost you again now that you are back with me.”
She forced her eyes back to her garden where she had been working but kept periodically glancing up at the men as they took a break. They all took a beer from the chest Becky had brought them full of ice-cold beer. The other elves worked outside around the home too. Dell, Fox and Web brought trees to plant on the property. Tristan and Raven worked on the roof, repairing and cleaning the gutters. Ash, Heather, Laurie, Bright, and Sana were working inside. They also were helping and helping Allesandro and Wheat in the kitchen as they prepared lunch for everyone. Kelly kept herself occupied in one of the many alcoves of the home with a novel.
Becky, though she was running drinks as needed keeping the men stocked with ice-cold beer and the others with a pitcher of iced tea, she also helped Mimi and Natil in the garden. Natil noted the drastic changes she had gone through since they found healing and transformation by Elven magic of the past. Becky like Mouse looked so elven. Both were very lean and slender with long dark colored hair that draped to their shoulders. Their features were fair, with brown and blue eyes that twinkled strongly of starlight. Hardly the same as they had been before their transformation. She wondered if any more of the group with them at De Anza College who would come to Denver after the magic from Rijiin’s hand had spilled outward as he had healed Mimi. Shaking her head the images faded. It was extremely difficult to say if it did or not. It depended on the amount that had been absorbed and exposure to the energy around them.
A moment later, the hilarity started when Heather stepped outside of the door and rounded the corner, followed by Wheat, Laurie, Bright, Ash, Heather and Sana. They had all come out to ready the barbeque for lunch and brought snacks for everyone on metal trays. Ash and the others smiled when they saw the men working near the garden, noting their shirts were off.
“Wooo! Hubba Hubba.” Heather shouted gleefully, “Sexy half naked elf meat! Avert your eyes, gals.” Ash, Wheat, Laurie, Sana and Bright all laughed heartily, mock fanning themselves with their hands, and mock swooning. Raven and Tristan peered over the edge of the roof grinning broadly. Dell, Fox and Web glanced up from their planting to flash an amused smile on their faces.
Hadden, TK, Marsh and Rijiin looked up to smile at Heather, glancing at each other for a moment to laugh, then dropped their tools to mock pose and flex like body builders. There was instant hilarity among the elves, as all burst into hysterical laughter, even Natil laughed loudly. The laughter lasted over fifteen whole minutes.
“Oh baby!” Ash called out, “Sweaty man-meat. Oh baaaby, flex them muscles.” Whistles and catcalls followed by the others.
“You mean Elf meat.” TK commented, and there was more laughter.
“We’d better be careful guys.” Hadden said with a mock horror, “We poor guys might get our bones jumped.”
“I wouldn’t mind that.” Rijiin said with a snicker, “Bring it on!”
“You know you can get your wish later, Rijiin.” Natil replied, and the others smiled openly at the Harper after an ‘Ooooo’ sound.
“Now, now… Put the hormones in park and let us get this section done before lunch. Let’s get back to work men.” Hadden said with a chuckle, and the four of them put down their beers. They returned working on the drainage piping and together they placed a length of piping in their ditch, connecting it to another main drainage pipe. Rijiin turned his head to Natil who knelt next to the garden. He winked at her, making her blush. Ash shook her head.
“I have snacks for everyone who wants any.” She announced, “By the goddess, everyone take five for Pete sake.” The elves dropped what they were doing and all gathered around the tray. They each dipped into the chest of soda, pitcher of iced tea or the chest of beer. The men stuck to beer of course. Natil grinned at her soon to be husband who stood over her, peering lovingly into his gray eyes. He put out a hand and Natil took it allowing him to help her to her feet. He helped brush off the loose dirt from her gardening clothes.
“My thanks beloved.” She told him and he smiled.
“I kind of like the sound of that.” He replied and she saw him flash a pleased expression at the thought.
Allesandro appeared at the door with a platter in hand containing hamburgers, hotdogs, corn, steaks, and potatoes. Hadden walked to his side, quickly grabbing an apron and a spatula to assist his kinfolk at the grill. Everyone who had gathered in the garden area sat on the wood benches along a groomed gravel pathway or on the grass. Drinks passed hand-over-hand until everyone had one. Rags made his rounds wiggling his tail at the attention given to him by the elves. A low murmur and laughter rippled through the group. As Natil joined in the conversation she glanced periodically at her fiancé who sat nearby gazing out at the trees, he seemed to be preoccupied. Natil wondered if the wedding worried him. Knowing Rijiin too well, she would have said no to that. Something bothered the elf and she could not put her finger on it. Rijiin sensing her gaze, turned to flash a quick grin and a nod to her, as if to say ‘I am alright, don’t worry beloved.’
Rijiin after a moment stood up and went inside, returning shortly with his sax. He started playing, the music free flowing around them as it echoed off the trees and mountains. Natil had gasped openly at the music. She realized that it had been a long time since he had played a musical instrument in her presence and it startled the Harper. Everyone was astonished that Rijiin was playing an instrument and had never known that he had talent as a musician. The bittersweet soprano sax echoed through the trees. He played ‘Going Home’ part of the first live album that Kenny G produced. He played it effortlessly, surprising everyone present.
Marsh and TK glanced at each other. TK shrugged slightly, as if to say ‘No big deal, so Rijiin can play.’ Rijiin, however, was only playing to entertain, not trying to show off for Marsh or TK since they both were in the same band. The elf sensed their thoughts and grimaced, moving to Natil’s side. A look of surprise appeared on everyone’s faces when he hit a high note and he held it for five minutes. He had showed them that his ability was genuine and he was really playing.
“Take that you bastards.” Rijiin thought with a grimace and he finished the song quickly. Beside him, Sana returned from the home and she handed the Natil’s old harp to her. She rippled off a note, tuning it quickly and she nodded to Rijiin.
They were silent as Natil and Rijiin played a duet together, the Harper’s hands smoothly and quickly rippling across the bronze strings of her harp. It is a familiar tune from one of many albums of Kenny G Rijiin owned on CD. The song was entitled ‘Sentimental’ and it came to him quite easily. He played as he walked among his new kin folk who watched in silence. Like before when Natil played the harp, there was not a dry eye in the group. Wheat sobbed into the arm of Laurie as the last ripple of notes and the sax floated away with the wind. Rijiin smiled at Natil warmly, nodding his head.
“Sai-vanima.” Natil told him and she flashed a quiet smile.
“That was amazing Rijiin!” Mimi said with an amazed look, “Since when did you ever play.”
“I had a lot of practice over the centuries.” Rijiin replied, “Had to take it easy on what I could play, or find myself in the dungeons of the Inquisition or kingdom as a warlock, a Wicca spell caster.” Natil smiled at the thought but also knew he spoke the truth. He had seen a lot of time in dungeons before his escape from them.
“Not bad.” Marsh said with a smile, “Keep practicing. Could we have another horn blower in Elven Home?”
“Aye, it appears so Marsh.” TK replied, “He’s not too bad at that, although I am unfamiliar with the music he is playing.”
“That’s my secret.” Rijiin replied with a laugh and he grinned. He played another duet with Natil. As he played on for half an hour and he could sense the swirling starlight, as it surrounded them, the home and the area. The others sensed it too and all looked on in amazed silence.
“It’s Kenny G, I think.” Wheat said after a moment, “He’s a sax artist who plays Jazz. It’s very interesting that you picked those Rijiin.” Rijiin smiled at Wheat’s revelation, nodding slightly then bowed slightly at the waist.
“I picked him because his music is unique in its own way. He has been a great influence even through the centuries I wandered. It’s mellow, very uplifting and can be quite calming.”
“You play it very well, beloved.” Natil said, and she smiled at her future husband. Nodding her head, she signaled another duet with him. Together, with his beloved on her harp they tackled ‘The Champion’s Theme’, a harder piece to master because a section of it required several high notes. Rijiin managed to whiz through it with difficulty and after they completed the song, there was applause by all. Rijiin and Natil both acknowledged the applause in silence. The last song was one that he had wanted to play for Natil for a long time. ‘Forever in Love’ and she smiled as he played it.
“Lunch is ready folks.” Hadden announced and they formed a line using paper plates and loaded up on food to eat outside. Marsh had setup Tiki torches that would keep the insect-life away as they ate and provide light for later in the evening. Rijiin of course sat next to Natil who tackled a decent sized steak.
“Beloved, I think I have someone for the hand fasting, but they are in California.” Rijiin started and she looked up in surprise.
“Will he do it?”
“I am not sure to be honest. After all they are druid and not elven.” He replied, “There might be another if not.”
“That makes no difference.” Natil replied, “Any denomination can do the deed.”
“It is a she mistress.” He replied, “I have not asked yet. It looks very promising.”
“We need to get that arranged as the last thing Rijiin.” Natil counseled, “We need to have that done, we have two months till our wedding.”
“Be at peace, I think I’ll have it done by then.” Rijiin replied with a smile and nod. He planned to surprise the maiden with the Creatrix of the elves, old and new who would and could be their officiating party over the hand fasting part of the celebration.
Everyone enjoyed their meal and after they finished, the men quickly finished off their work outside. They broke close to sunset to watch together at the overlook near the home, the sinking sun falling behind the mountains in array of deep crimson reds, spectacular burnt orange, golden yellows and sinister purple colors.
“Glorious.” Rijiin murmured, as he held Natil in his arms “A good end to a long day.” Natil turned slightly, smiling to nod at the revelation of her lover. Rijiin glanced at the other elves. Marsh had Heather in his arms with Kelly beside her. Wheat held Laurie in her arms. Hadden held Ash in his arms. The others had smiles and looks of silent admiration on their faces. They watched until the light had gone and the twinkle of many stars appeared in the sky.
“Thanks for sharing that Rijiin.” A voice said, and looking down he nodded to the Elfling who stood before her parents. Marsh put his hand on Rijiin’s shoulder to nod.
“It was magnificent.” Hadden said, as he passed the couple with Ash and the elf managed a smile. They all went back to the home together for a new day before the weekday would begin for the rest of the elves’ lives ahead in the mile high city. Natil and Rijiin paused however, standing alone on the overlook and they peered lovingly into each other’s eyes. Even in the pitch-black darkness, he could see her clearly in the violet and lavenders that highlighted the elves ability to see in the dark.
“I really love you mistress Harper.” He told her, putting his hands on her shoulder, “Never changed and I looked forward to this day being in your arms again.”
“As do I you Rijiin. I don’t know where I’d be without you after being returned to me like you had.”
“Alone like I was, trust me it was not fun what I went through, to see death destruction, disease, murder, and other dark human emotions, it’s not a place Elves belonged until now.”
“You are home, its over, you must let it go.” Natil said, and he nodded.
“I have one month to find renewal if not another year, and perhaps I will find peace. But for now the goal is to be a good and loving husband.” She gasped and he embraced the Harper, to kiss passionately. A clearing of the throat made them turn their heads. Marsh stood near the path leading to the home.
“Are you two coming?”
“Aye, be right there.” Rijiin replied as he took up Natil’s hand, and with Marsh, they made their way back to the home. It suddenly dawn on him that Marsh had echoed the words that Terrill had asked after coming home with his Harper to Adria.
Two months passed quickly before they knew it, during that time everything was prepared for probably the hardest thing either of them were about to do. It was time to celebrate their wedding as a couple. People from far away had gathered in Denver to celebrate Rijiin and Natil’s wedding. As the elf walked out the door of the building belonging to Tree Star Surveying, he is clad in the familiar green and gray garb habitually worn a long time ago. Rijiin walked alone toward the party, greeting the many people who arrived bearing their invitations. He also cast a long panning gaze at the surroundings, dressed up in white with netted streamers through the trees and a trellis that runs along to the gazebo where the wedding will actually take place.
As he walked further onto the Treestar grounds, he managed a smile and a nod, greeting the familiar people whom he had known at De Anza College. He peered at the familiar faces of ‘Jell-O’ Jen, Omar, Chris, Katherine and her family, Ray and his wife Lisa, Cathy, Patrick, Steve, and even John, Becky’s boyfriend. They were familiar friends of Mimi and a few of Becky’s but only a few of them were present initially when the elves arrived on that cold December morning. The same morning Rijiin and Natil utilized their abilities to jump time together, and heal Mimi. A handful of them had actually witnessed her transformation into a beautiful young elf maiden, touched themselves by the magic of the elves. Rijiin greeted each one with a handshake, a nod and some of the female guests with an embrace.
Turning his head, he had sensed the young women, Mimi and Becky approaching. Both were clad in long flowing gowns that fell to the ground and seem to flatter the formidable curves of their bodies. Rijiin managed a smile at their attire.
“You both look stunning and beautiful.” He told them and both of them blushed slightly at the compliment.
“Thanks Rijiin, you aren’t bad looking yourself.” Becky replied and he smiled.
“You really wear that well, you look like you belong wearing that garb.” Mimi complimented and he managed a solemn laugh.
“Perhaps a long time ago I did, but it does not seem fitting now in the modern age.” He replied, “But you do have my thanks.”
“Sure it does, especially for this hand fasting.” Mimi corrected, “You are an elven Ranger, and she is an elven Harper.”
He laughed loudly, and nodded his head, but his laughter subsided when it dawned on him that he had not seen it like that. He raised an eyebrow and he met the amused expressions of Mimi and Becky.
“That is a very good observation.” Rijiin said, “I never looked at it that way before,” Both maidens bowed slightly.
Becky and Mimi had turned to their friends, embracing many as Rijiin made small talk. He turned, excusing himself to mingle with the large audience that had shown up. Beside them, the elf met the smiles and the warm greeting of Katie Roth from Bellbrook, and the others whom he recognized from the old school he had attended a long time ago. The elf embraced Stephanie Rhiner, Janae Dorn, Katie Roth, Kathy Lehman, Amy Panstingle, Melinda, Morris and Angie Stethem. He shook hands with Mark Alsobrook, Reggie Wax, Doug Woolard, Steve Herries, Steve Gardiner and countless others he had known once in another lifetime, another dance. He had got in touch with them and got their personal information that he could send each an invitation.
“Thank you for coming.” The elf told them, and moved on to stand before two older women with middle-aged people beside them whom he introduced to others as Anne and Margot Frank.
He had finally confessed one of his sins of violence. Rijiin told the tale to the elves during one night at the home of that one day when had found his way and stumbled onto the sickening scene of a concentration camp of Nazi Germany. A place where he helped and healed, slaying the soldiers with exact precision. He also disclosed finally the horror of how he had declared a one-man war against the Reich and he massacred a thousand troops after finding that camp as judge, jury and executioner. A grim sad reminder of long ago when he lived in Adria, slaying the soldiers of the Inquisition of the fourteenth century with the same resolve. He admitted changing time as he had helped and healed those who had lost their lives in that terrible place, saving many of their lives from death itself. Rijiin, in his saving many lives, had ultimately changed time leaving an uncertain sixty years ahead for Margot, Anne and the many others who were supposed to perish there.
He had surprised the residents with this tale and surprising them at his resolve to change history without the creation of a paradox that would have destroyed time, as they knew it. Rijiin had been carefree with his healing during that time, also destroying an enemy and taking the fight back to the Nazis for the death of still a million people at their hands. The Creatrix of the elves had finally intervened to stop Rijiin and forced him to let history run its course.
Rijiin returned the embrace of Anne and Margot, who even in their sixties seemed younger than they were. He greeted their children, now in their thirties and their extended family that had come, including Miep who had helped them while they were in hiding. He wondered if elven magic was playing tricks on him, or was it something more to what is going on around them. They seemed surrounded by a strange aura, one the elf could not quite put his finger on.
Turning, the elf crossed the threshold to the gazebo where Lady Elthia herself stood clad in the familiar blue and silver robe. Rijiin met her smile as she held a book in her hands, hand written in Elvish. He noted the silver in her long dark hair that cascaded smoothly about her shoulders and to her mid back. The elf approached the gazebo and he drew his blade, in a sweeping motion bringing it to his forehead in a swordsman’s honor salute. She smiled at the motion.
“You do me honor Rijiin.” She told him and he bowed slightly before sheathing it in the scabbard at his side.
Inside the building however, at the same moment, the young Harper named Natil occupies one of the many corner offices inside the Tree Star building. As she waits for her day to start, her wedding to Rijiin, she paces the office back and forth like a caged animal. She is dressed in the long ruffled white wedding gown, her face made up and she wears her hair up in a neat bun. Natil is a young beautiful elf maiden but a very nervous bride to be. She held a wad of Kleenex ™ in hand, as she dried her tears and nervously wept every few minutes. Her gaze fell upon a mirror in the office and transfixed she stared at the radiant reflection of herself. The realization had hit her solidly that she was going to be wed today and never thought, centuries ago, that she would be with someone or find anyone in her travels she could love.
“Oh by the Goddess, are you ready for this Mistress? Do you know what you are doing?”
The Harper had said it aloud as she stared at the mirror, and she managed a confident nod to the reflection she peered at in the mirror. The Harper smiled at the image of herself, a very youthful looking elven woman, who is four point three billion years old, and one of the first borne elves of Adria. A young maiden who is now clad in a magnificent white ruffled wedding gown of the period. Natil grimaced as she felt her eyes welling up with tears.
“Oh Mirya, Talla, Roxanne, Varden, Terrill, Charity,” She said their names aloud. “I wish you could see me now.” She had called out the names of those of four hundred years ago, her friends, and those whom she considered family who faded long ago.
“We do.” A voice said echoing in her head and she managed a smile, holding the Kleenex™ against her face. Turning her head, she sensed Heather and Kelly Blues, Hadden, and Laurie. She had not heard them enter the room behind her. All had heard her say those names, and they all stared at the magnificently clad Harper in stunned silence.
“Mommy is that Natil?” Kelly had asked but Heather had been too stunned to answer right away. She cleared her throat, finding her voice.
“Yes Elfling that is Natil.” She said in a choked voice, heavy with emotion. Kelly walked toward the Harper who had knelt down and the young girl embraced her around the neck. Kelly is dressed in a pink gown like her mother and the other elf maidens who make up her bride’s maidens.
“You are very pretty Natil,” She said, holding her tightly.
“You are too Elfling.” Natil replied and grunted at the tight embrace by the young girl.
“If I may tell you this Natil, you look…” Laurie had said, pausing to wipe her eyes “Fantastic.” Hadden had a smile on his face as he stood there.
“You do, and quite radiant mistress Harper.” He told her, “A stunning sight, I told you, you would make a beautiful bride.” Natil felt her cheeks get hot as she blushed, fighting back the tears. Hadden wore a tuxedo, and he looked sharp, his eyes gleaming.
“Thank you Hadden.” She replied, “Thank you Heather, Laurie, Kelly and you too Hadden.” The Harper embraced each of them warmly her friends from the beginning of her time here at Elven Home.
“So Natil, are you ready for this?” Heather asked and Natil grimaced as she shook her head.
“I can bet you are nervous, I was when I married Marsh.”
“I just now stopped crying.” Natil admitted, “And I am very nervous. I am nervous for what I am getting myself into and wonder where life will take me from here.”
“If you think this is a mistake, I doubt it Natil.” Hadden said, “Rijiin is good and a decent man, who is one hundred percent in love with you. It shows very clearly between you two.” Natil felt her eyes tear up and she wiped them, fighting the urge to start bawling her eyes out again.
“You and he both deserve all the happiness.” He said, “Even after four billion years, you have, mistress Harper, found your moment. A moment, that when it comes, you should grab onto with both hands, and hold on tight.”
“Damn.” The Harper muttered, as she wiped her eyes. She gasped, hearing one of Rijiin’s favorite words that he said often. A smile appeared on her face.
“Profound words Hadden.” Laurie said, and he managed a broad grin.
“So tell me this Natil, why didn’t you tell us about Rijiin?” Laurie asked, “And who is Varden, Talla, Roxanne, Terrill, Mirya and Charity?”
“Yea, I never heard those names before. Are they family or something?” Heather asked, her face showing the same question as Laurie. Questions bombarded the Harper who held up her hand.
“You didn’t ask.” Natil replied, “I had long forgotten about Rijiin until Mimi, and Becky had arrived at the college. As for the others, they are the first borne elves, my family that perished into the winds of history. A young woman named Roxanne bore the named Sana back then and was my kinsman, Varden’s lover.”
“She was a very wise and a powerful witch during the times where she risked being burned at the stake for her beliefs.” The group was speechless by Natil’s vivid description of Roxanne, who made the Harper smile at such thoughts of a long time ago. The maiden had such good friends and whom she considered family. Natil nodded her head three times.
“I was certainly surprised to see Mimi and Becky again.” Natil replied solemnly, “I guess this is what the goddess had always meant by saying that not one of her children would be separated from her. The Goddess, I guess, had waited until everyone had come together before bringing me to Denver. Even if would take over four plus centuries to do so.”
“That is a long time, Mistress Harper.” Hadden admitted gravely, and she nodded. Natil felt her eyes welling up, as she picked out a tissue.
“Just relax.” Hadden said, “You will be magnificent Natil.” Glancing at his watch, he grimaced realizing the time.
“It’s time.” He told them and he put out his arm which the Harper reluctantly took. Outside, Natil could hear the music, thanks to Marsh and his band who had volunteered to pitch in and help for their wedding. The young Harper had butterflies in her stomach as she walked with Hadden, trying to keep her composure as they reached the doors where Ash stood waiting, baskets in hand.
“If I must say you look incredible in that dress!” Ash exclaimed and Natil smiled.
“Thanks Ash.” The Harper replied, embraced all four of them before opening a glass door and stepping out into the light. The Harper gasped as she appeared from the doorway, staring at Elthia in silence, standing next to Rijiin at the gazebo.
Many murmurs, astonished faces, and smiles appeared on the guest’s faces when they saw the bride. Marsh and the band had stopped playing when seeing the Harper and a low gasp echoed across the bandstand. Dell, Wheat, Fox, Raven, the other elves turned when they had heard the low murmur through the audience. Their gazes had fallen upon the Harper dressed in white and respectfully, the audience stood as Hadden led her down the aisle. The band began to play with Marsh Blues on the Guitar, TK on the Sax and Sana Joy on the Harp. The young woman played, her hands rippling across the harp strings. The song is a familiar one Rijiin heard before called ‘The Wedding Song.’ again by Kenny G and he managed an impressed gaze at the bandstand.
“Thank you Marsh.” He thought, nodding slightly to a smiling Marsh and TK.
As Hadden led Natil toward Rijiin, the Harper’s gaze fell upon the young man whom she loved dearly, standing at the gazebo. He stood with the Goddess, clad in the familiar green and gray leather, his sword at his side and his cloak. He openly wore the same garb that she wore a long time ago when she lived in Adria, the same time when a few elves lived, to help and heal in the world. Rijiin had let out a breath when he had turned to see the beautiful young Harper appear with Hadden. He stared at his lover, wearing the long white flowing wedding gown, and her long dark hair neatly put up in a bun. The young elf shook his head silently in amazement at her radiant beauty and a low murmur by the audience rippled again through the seating. Natil had also gasped when she had appeared at the doorway, spying the woman in blue and silver. A smile appeared on her face, glancing at Hadden who had her arm.
“Steady Mistress.” He whispered.
“I can’t believe it but he got someone to officiate our wedding. I am pleased by his wisdom and his choice.” Natil thought nodding her head silently. She continued walking with Hadden toward the gazebo.
“By the Lady she is beautiful.” Rijiin thought grinning as the Harper continued walking down the aisle toward him with her friend Hadden. Rijiin turned as she stood beside him a moment later, taking up her strong hands to kiss them, before turning to lead her into the structure. Hadden took up his place on Rijiin’s left side side, joined by Marsh, TK, and Dell. Sana, TK and Marsh had dashed down the aisle from the bandstand. Heather, Ash, Kelly, Lauri and Sana took their places beside Natil on the right side.
Both Elves had turned to face the woman robed in blue and silver. Together they knelt before her. Elthia herself moved a hand over them as she blessed them, reading from the book in her hands. After a moment, the woman nodded and both opened their eyes, grinning at each other before meeting the smile of their Creatrix. The other elves had been astonished to see the woman in blue and silver who blessed the couple. They knew her by name, as-if they knew her all their lives. They stared at her beauty and they openly were smiling.
“Arise thy son, arise thy daughter of Earth.” The Lady said and she met the others who watched her intently. Rijiin and Natil stood facing each other. The audience with a shuffle retook their seats.
“Know now before you go further, that since your lives have crossed in this life you have formed ties between each other. As you seek to enter this state of matrimony, you should strive to make real, the ideals that give meaning to both this ceremony. Also the institution of marriage,” intoned the Lady. Here she paused and nodded a couple of times.
“With full awareness, know that within this circle you are not only declaring your intent to be hand fasted before your friends and family, but you speak that intent also to your creative higher powers.”
“The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union; they will cross the years and lives of each soul’s growth.” She continued, and here she paused to glance at Rijiin and Natil.
“Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?”
“Yes, we seek to enter.” Natil and Rijiin both replied together.
“In times past it was believed that the human soul shared characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigned virtues to the cardinal directions; East, South, West and North.” explained the Lady, “It is in this tradition that a blessing is offered in support of this ceremony.” She put her hand on the book and closed her eyes.
“Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East; Communication of the heart, mind, and body, fresh beginnings with the rising of each Sun and the knowledge of the growth found in the sharing of silences.”
“Blessed be, this union with the gifts of the South; Warmth of hearth and home, the heat of the heart’s passion, the light created by both, and to lighten the darkest times.”
“Blessed be, this union with the gifts of the West; The deep commitments of the lake, the swift excitement of the river, the refreshing cleansing of the rain, and the all encompassing passion of the sea.”
“Blessed be, this union with the gifts of the North; Firm foundation on which to build Fertility of the fields to enrich your lives, and a stable home to which you may always return.”
The Lady caught her breath, the starlight flashing around her.
“Each of these blessings from the four cardinal directions emphasizes those things which will help you build a happy and successful union. Yet they are only tools. Tools which you must use together in order to create what you seek in this union.” She paused as she glanced to the couple who held each other’s hands.
“I bid thee to look into each others eyes.” She instructed, and Natil and Rijiin, both turned to peer lovingly into each other’s eyes.
“Rijiin L’Theil, Will you cause her pain?” asked the Goddess, as she turned to face him.
“Is that your intent?”
“No my Lady,” Rijiin replied formally.
“Natil Summerson, Will you cause him pain?” asked the Goddess, as she turned to face her.
“Is that your intent? “
“No my Lady,” Natil replied, flashing a grin at him.
“Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?” The goddess asked, standing between Natil and Rijiin who stood beside her.
“And so the binding is made.” The Lady said solemnly, “Join thy hands.”
The woman, robed in blue and silver, withdrew the first cord and she draped it across Rijiin and Natil’s hands. The cord, heavily woven, colored a deep crimson red, and blended with a gold hint to it.
“Natil Summerson, Harper of Elven Home, and of Malvern. Will you share his laughter?” Asked the Lady and Natil glanced at Rijiin, smiling before she nodded her head.
“Aye,” Natil replied, “With all my heart.”
“Rijiin L’Theil, Elf of Elven Home, Will you share her laughter?” Asked the Goddess, turning to him and she paused as Rijiin met the young Harper’s look silently.
He smiled, and a moment later, he too nodded his head.
“Aye,” Rijiin intoned, “Till thee part at the end of time.”
The Goddess turned her head from Natil to Rijiin who met her fair features, looking into her starlit eyes.
“Will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?”
“Aye we shall.” Replied the couple together.
“And so the binding is made.”
The Goddess draped a second cord across their hands. The cord was this time was blue with a gold hint to it. Both turned their heads to the Lady who stood waiting.
“Natil Summerson, Harper of Elven Home and of Malvern, Will you burden him?”
“Is that your intent?”
“No, my lady,” The Harper replied.
“Rijiin L’Theil, Elf of Elven Home, Traveler of Earth. Will you burden her?”
“Is that your intent?”
“No, my lady,” Rijiin replied.
Again, the Goddess turned to face them both and she held another cord in her hands. The cord was brown with a gold hint to it this time. She placed the cord across their hands. Looking down the couple stared at the cords for a moment. Both shared a reality check.
“Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union? “
“Aye,” Rijiin and Natil replied together.
“And so the binding is made.”
With that, The Goddess draped the third cord across their hands.
“Natil Summerson, Harper of Elven Home and of Malvern, will you share his dreams?”
“Rijiin L’Theil, Elf of Elven Home, will you share her dreams?” intoned the Goddess.
“Aye, me Lady,” Rijiin replied.
Again, the Lady faced them both.
“Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes,” asked the Goddess.
“Aye, we shall.” Natil and Rijiin both replied together.
“And so the binding is made.” Intoned the Goddess, and she withdrew a forth cord, draping it across their hands. The cord was white and gold interwoven. All four were heavy and multicolored.
“Rijiin L’Theil, Elf of Elven Home, will you cause her anger?
“Is that your intent?”
“Nay,” He replied, “It is not.”
“Natil Summerson, Harper of Elven Home, will you cause him anger?”
“Is that your intent?”
“No, my Goddess,”
Again, the woman clad in blue and silver turned to them, her eyes flashing as they met them and with a solemn look on her face.
“Will you take the heat of anger and use it to temper the strength of this union?”
“We will.” replied the couple together.
“And so the binding is made.”
This time the Goddess withdrew a bright silver cord, heavily woven and it seemed to glisten in the light. She lay it across Rijiin and Natil’s hands and the couple managed to gasp at the almost luminance of the cord.
“Natil Summerson, Harper of Elven Home, Will you honor him?”
Rijiin L’Theil, Elf of Elven Home, Will you honor her?”
The Lady met their looks, her gaze moving back and forth to both several times.
“Will you seek to never give cause to break that honor?”
“We shall never do so.” The couple intoned together and they heard a gasp by all.
“And so the binding is made.”
Finally, the Goddess draped a light blue cord across their hands. It was the same woven cord and it seemed to glow with a strange luminescence.
The Lady took up both ends and handed them to Rijiin and Natil.
“The knots of this binding are not formed by these cords but instead by your vows. Either of you may drop the cords, for as always you hold in your own hands the making of breaking of this union.”
“Are there any objections?” The Lady asked, turning her head to meet the many faces of the crowd who had gathered here today. “Speak now or forever hold thy peace.” She paused, waiting and when no one spoke up, the Lady, clad in the blue and silver garb, turned to tie the cords together. She made the knot quickly and letting go, the goddess smiled at the couple and embraced both of them.
“You come here on this day to be hand fasted, both of you showing your unbounded love for each other.” With that, the Lady removed the knotted cord and she placed it on the small pedestal beside her. “I now declare you bound, as husband and wife.”
“You may kiss the bride!” Raven had shouted, “And make sure it’s a good one!”
Sprinkles of laughter from all, human and elves alike moved through the audience. Natil and Rijiin laughed and he drew her into his arms. A cheer resounded through the open air as it echoed around them and louder when Natil and Rijiin embraced, passionately kissing each other in front of their guests. Applause sounded as they kissed rather heatedly. They held it over fifteen minutes, the same way in front of the other elves at the home. Hadden, Marsh, TK, Dell, Sana, Heather, Ash, Kelly, and Laurie were smiling openly. The elves glanced at their watches, shuffled their feet.
“Man that elf can kiss…” TK muttered to Marsh, making him and Hadden chuckle openly. There were giggles by the elf maidens when they heard Marsh’s comment. When the couple broke their kiss, Rijiin laughed as Natil blushed, yelping and sarcastically fanning her face.
“He’s a damn criminal!” Natil gasped, “Oh dear Lady.” She fanned her blushing face and there was laughter by Hadden, Marsh, Sana, TK, Dell, Heather, Ash and Laurie. The other elves laughed too along with the audience. Rijiin grinned ear to ear, as he turned to the goddess who stood with them. She laughed too.
“Thank you my Lady I…” He started to say, but interrupted by a voice that carried over the applause, whistles and cheers.
“I Object!” A screechy voice had said, and hush fell across the grounds of Tree Star. Becky, Rijiin, Natil and Mouse, all four of them had turned in surprise when they had heard the familiar voice, not expecting it to be here today. A look of surprise swept across their faces and Becky shrugged as she met Mimi’s confused expression. All four elves stood staring at the two speakers, a short dwarf of a man who lumbered along side a taller young man with sandy blond hair. Rijiin recognized them immediately as Robert and Dave, Mimi’s friend and her ex-fiancé from De Anza.
“I object.” Robert repeated glancing at the guests who glared at him.
“Robert...” Dave whispered, “I think you better take it easy and had better do this with tact. I think we are not...”
“Shut up Dave.” Robert snapped as he lumbered forward and his face glowering with rage. The hush that had fallen over the garden had been replaced by low murmurs by the guests and Rijiin had grimaced when he saw them, realizing what Robert was doing.
“He thinks that I am taking Becky as my bride not Natil.” Rijiin thought, staring in silence at the pair.
“It would be like him to be so careless,” Thought the elf. Dave at this moment had felt a dread-like feeling wash over him when he realized all the guests, the bride and groom who stood in the gazebo had all focused upon them. The sound of a braying ass was sounding somewhere in the back of his head. He had also recognized that it was Rijiin and the young Harper named Natil who stood at the gazebo. Dave flashed an uneasy smile at the young couple, his eyes finding a very beautiful and different looking Becky who was already in route toward them followed by a very different looking Mimi.
“Greaaat and Robert as usual, will make a damn fool of himself.” Dave thought, his face showing silent surprise that Rijiin let Robert continued his tirade.
“Robert that’s not Becky at the altar,” He whispered, “That’s…Natil, the Harper who came to De Anza a while ago! This is their wedding.”
“Oh…” Dave thought, casting an annoyed glance at his best friend, “Shut up Robert. Shut up, shut up. Please just shut the hell up. Shit! Shit! Shit!”
Robert continued his tirade, spewing horrible curses and making obscene comments directed at the couple at the gazebo. Insults and comments that made the crowd mutter quietly several times.
“Who objects,” Rijiin asked, finally fed up with the tirade, “And what business does he have here.” His voice carried a frightful sharp and frigid tone when he had spoken. “What right does he have to speak at a wedding of strangers?” Rijiin glanced at the Lady, who met his apologetic expression with a slow nod. The elves of Denver looked on in surprise, feeling the chill in the air as Rijiin spoke.
Robert heard the elf and stopped speaking, a look of annoyance on his face as he had felt the sudden chill in the air by Rijiin’s statement. It had been a bold statement, a broad hint to ‘Get lost,’ and as always, Robert had failed to get it but Dave had. He had exhaled sharply and had taken a couple of steps back from his best friend. Rijiin stared at Robert, as he sensed the rage welling up inside him.
“There is no reason for him to be angry, but he is.” He thought, “He is probably unhappy we interfered in his world and did something that he could only talk about. We helped and healed for real.”
“Or perhaps it might be because Mimi and Becky are here in Colorado and had left him in California. When it comes to Robert’s motives it is hard to tell.” Rijiin thought silently as he let out a quiet sigh. The elf had learned compassion and patience in his wandering across the world. He had seen a lot of hell in his travels across multiple continents, and through it all, he tried to understand the human race. His anger tempered like the steel that hung at his side.
“…I object to the stupidity of this whole event.” He said, “There are no such things as elves or magic. I am Becky’s chosen one, not you.”
“Oh shit now you did it.” Dave thought, exhaling sharply again and this time he backed up three more steps. He had put a distance between himself and Robert, sensing the possibility of something bad about to happen.
The young human had seen the looks of rage on many people’s faces and even a couple of them had taken a couple of aggressive steps toward Robert. Rijiin held up his hand in silence, glancing at TK, Laurie, and even Ash who had taken those aggressive steps. Robert had seen Rijiin motion them back and had taken a defensive posture on his crutches. The elf sensed his readiness to use them as a weapon, and he knew if Robert was ready to do that, he was dangerously unpredictable. Letting the starlight flow over him, the elf breathed out calmly before opening his eyes and meeting Robert’s hazel eyes in silence. His gray eyes flickered in the sunlight.
“Peace.” He said, “There will be no battle here today and certainly not at this ceremony, which happens to be my wedding day.”
Dave a short distance behind Robert had noted the elf gripping the handle of the blade at his side, ready to draw it from the sheath at any moment. The only time that Rijiin would have drawn his blade was if Robert would have charged in at him using his crutches as a weapon. Rijiin played it smart, knowing how Robert was positioned and not to provoke him.
Dave, standing back behind him sensed an overwhelming calm at this garden, as if a magic seemed to shimmer around it. If he had known the elves better, like Mimi at the beginning, he would have been correct. He had already started to see strange stuff happening, changes in his physique and the dim starlight in the darkness when he closed his eyes. Omar, and Chris, Even Katherine and Jen had started to see remarkable changes to their bodies and soul too. They were unsure what was happening, only to know it was probably related what they had seen at De Anza.
Robert glanced at the many of the guests who had come for the wedding and was surprised to see Omar, Becky, Chris, Ray and his wife Lisa, Cathy, Jen, Patrick, Steve, Mimi, Katherine and her family and several others. He was surprised to see a few staff members that Mimi worked with too.
“Now what the hell are they doing here?” Robert asked himself, “If Becky is over there… Who is that?” Robert, something in his limited mind put the connection together. He stared at the Harper, clad in white, back to Becky and back to the Harper several times. Becky had walked up to his side, nodding a short greeting to Dave who seemed to understand as she stood beside Robert. Becky met Rijiin’s questioning expression and her look said it all.
“We’ll handle this.” It said, “Leave it to me.” Rijiin nodded silently as he turned abruptly back to the goddess and to his wife who had stood watching.
“Is there anyone else who objects,” Intoned the Goddess and there was silence.
“Faila I’ men amin vet ta.” Rijiin whispered and Natil chuckled. The elves turned, both bowing formally to the goddess.
“Our thanks my Lady,” Rijiin said, “From both of us.”
“Be at peace,” The Lady told them, “You both have earned this and deserve all the happiness in the world.”
“May I present, Mr. and Mrs. Rijiin and Natil L’Theil.” The goddess announced and a thunderous applause followed, with a few whistles as the couple turned to face the crowd. Becky, Dave, and Mimi had joined in the polite applause. The DeAnza Rat Pack, as Rijiin had nicknamed them a long time ago had also joined in, just as the students from Bellbrook and others. They whistled and catcalled. Rijiin turned his head to smile and laugh, grabbing Natil in his arms to give her another passionate kiss on the lips, making them applause loudly in the crowd. The elf made her blush and laugh as he held her firmly in his arms. He waved to the group.
A moment later, Becky nodded to Dave, taking up Robert’s one arm, and Robert’s best friend understood to take up the other. Both pulled Robert down the aisle, practically dragging him out of the range of the guests. Even through the applause, the screechy voice of Robert still carried from the edge of the Tree Star grounds and Rijiin let out a sigh. The elf walked toward the crowd and he returned the many handshakes, backslaps and words of wisdom from them. He grimaced as he glanced at the end of the walkway. Natil joined him, still carrying the very beautiful bouquet in her hands.
“What’s wrong Rijiin?” Natil asked suddenly, glancing at him curiously.
“Nothing, I am going to take care of this madness once and for all,” He said, walking toward the four, and muttering under his breath. A few of the elves grimaced as they saw where Rijiin was headed and knew what he planned which was not going to be a pretty sight when it was over and done.
“The reception will start in five minutes, dining dancing and the Bar is open.” An announcement said and there was a rowdy cheer. The crowd walked toward the area that had been set aside for the reception and Marsh and his band began to play as people began to dance, chat, laugh and carry on in celebration.
“By our lady, must there be battle on a day of celebration?” Rijiin grumbled and shook his head. He drew his dagger as he moved toward Becky and the others who argued rather venomously. They all glanced at Rijiin, who stood in front of them and all saw the annoyed expression on his fair features.
“Enough, what is your business here Ungai?” Rijiin said, cutting Robert off, “Is this how mortals respect a sovereign power?” Dave heard the claim and he had a strange understanding by the meaning of the statement.
“Na- ae’ seere, Beckai, Mimitti,” He told them, “Ro va nolya nae amin cael n’umo detholea sii’. Amin cael a’ magh poldor a’ kam ho selya.” Mimi and Becky had taken three steps back. They quickly got the seriousness and blunt message of Rijiin’s question to Robert. Mouse had grimaced when she glanced at his solemn expression. Robert started to speak, but Rijiin bluntly cut him off again, his tone ice cold.
“Dina, Ungai.” He snapped, “Just listen, you are trespassing on let us say that is considered to be holy ground by my people. If you cannot leave your anger at the edge of these grounds, you must leave.” With that statement, Rijiin pushed back his long hair to revealing his slender ears and his eyes flashed as brightly as the dagger or the blade he carried at his side. Robert stared at Rijiin, and glanced at the others around him.
“It’s not posted as private therefore it is a public place.” Robert challenged shaking his head at Rijiin who let out a silent breath. The elf grimaced, stepping forward toward Robert and as he did so, kept his guard up. Rijiin kept himself ready for anything to happen.
“You should reconsider your position young human.” He said sharply, “Before you end up losing yourself in this place.” Robert’s eyes widened when he met Rijiin’s cold gray eyes and clearly saw the starlight within them. A light he did not understand. He exhaled as rage welled up inside.
“Then why are Becky, Mimi, and all these people here?” Robert demanded tightly.
“They are here to have fun.” Rijiin said, “And celebrate MY wedding day with my beloved Harper. Just so, not be made the fool. If you do not calm down you must leave this place. Treestar can and will have you forcefully removed by the police.”
“Are you threatening me?”
“Try promising.” Rijiin replied gently, “There will be no violence here, sir. You are at a place of celebration. Do not dishonor yourself by bringing anger or violence to this place.”
The elf had openly tried to reason with him using logic and tell him of hat he faced if he did not abandon his violence and attitude that he had clearly brought with him. He had come with Dave, by force, having seen the invitation sent to him by Rijiin’s own hand and the message within. The elf did not want him here if he was going to be an ass, and cause harm to those around him.
“I’ll show you violence.” Robert muttered and a moment later he stepped in and his crutch headed toward Rijiin’s head. The elf had sensed the motion, almost too late, and an underhanded one to be sure. The elf ducked to let it whip cleanly over his head and spinning away on one foot he spun away, dodging the second one that had come in close behind the first one. Around them, the crowd who had moved to the dance area and reception watched in astonishment, a low murmur echoing through the party. At the bandstand, Marsh and his band played familiar tunes of every genre and was well received by the crowd who danced.
Rijiin turned his attention to Robert and he moved like lightning as he dodged and weaved, narrowly missing the crutches swung at him. He watched and waited for an opening, already connecting to the stars, as the elves had been able to centuries ago. The dance, the motions, feints and openings clearly showed in the starlight. He let the powers flow over his entire body, seeing past, present and a few future events. Rijiin saw the universe in a whole and answered his question of how the elves were part of the universe, they existed, they helped, and they healed. They had purpose to be there as needed.
“I must not injure him. I must keep him from harming others and himself.” Rijiin thought, glancing at the concerned, almost saddened look of his wife who stood beside the Creatrix of the elves. She realized he was his friend of long ago, and she saw the seriousness of the conflict on her husband’s face. He did not want to take this action to keep the peace and knew he wanted to resolve it differently. It had been the same when they fought on De Anza’s campus, the same consequences and actions. Robert just did not want to listen to reason. The other elves of Denver looked on in silence, as did Becky and Mimi, everyone showing equal concern on their faces. He dodged many strikes by Robert and his crutches, just as he had when they fought before. This time the elf vowed to keep the blade at his side sheathed. Robert in turn kept swinging and the whistle of his crutches moved past the elf. He grimaced when he realized his crutches were not reaching the elf.
A moment later, Rijiin saw an opening, and he dropped to one knee, lancing out with an open palm to strike cleanly into Robert’s sternum. Stunned, Robert stepped back a few steps for a brief moment before lashing out with his crutches. Rijiin continued to dodge, letting the crutches whip wildly over his head, and coming a few inches short of his body. He sensing another opening had sidestepped to trip him, knocking him to the ground. The fight suddenly was over but Rijiin had grabbed his arm to help lower him to the ground, making sure not to injure him. He refrained from drawing the blade at his side or the dagger at his side, and he put a knee on the young man’s chest, pinning him on the ground, to hold him there.
“Yield and I will not harm you.” Rijiin demanded, “You would not listen, Robert, and you gave me little choice. I asked you if you could leave your anger and attitude at the door, and you refused therefore this request will not be so nice.” Rijiin nodded to Marsh who was on his cell phone, quickly summoning the authorities. When the Denver Police finally showed up, they escorted him to a squad car, promptly removed as Rijiin had promised. Dave had glanced at him as he watched his friend hauled away.
“Do you wish to press charges?” Rijiin shook his head in response to the officer’s question.
“No sir, just hold him until he calms down, Tree Star will not press charges against him unless he threatens or does harm anyone here at this celebration.” Marsh replied, letting out a sigh.
“What about him?” the officer asked, as he motioned to Dave. Rijiin shook his head. The officers saw the blade at his side and did not comment.
“It is the other gentleman who took the swing first.” Rijiin said, “This gentleman…” Rijiin motioned to Dave, “is a welcomed guest and he has an invitation.”
Mimi and Becky had been standing nearby when the fight had broken out and had stepped back when the crutches began to fly. Across the short distance, the goddess and Natil looked on in silence. Natil, Becky, Mimi and the others found themselves impressed by his handling this disturbance. Rijiin had handled it with tact, wisdom, compassion, and understanding. He had made every effort not to harm Robert, despite what happened and ended the battle quickly without injuring him. Rijiin had earned a respectful nod by the Goddess and Natil. He turned to walk over and he knelt before the goddess. The middle-aged woman smiled and placed a loving hand on his broad shoulder. A moment later in a flash of brilliant light, the goddess was gone even though he asked her to stay and take part in the festivities with his thanks.
When the second officer had gone, Dave heard a quiet laugh from Mouse who stood beside him. “Mr. Riggen?” Mimi asked quietly, and he glanced sideways at her, rolling his eyes. She laughed at him warmly and embraced him.
“Come on Dave, let’s dance.” She told him and Dave laughed as they joined in on a slow dance. Rijiin put out his arm and the Harper who had joined him at his side, laughed as she took it. The couple headed to a table near the dance floor. There was applause as the party started to jump and the bride and groom approached the reception. Rijiin bowed formally, they took a seat on a nearby bench. A few minutes later, Robert returned, and he stood before Rijiin and Natil who sat together at the party.
“I apologize, I was not thinking, and did not know you and your lovely bride were going to get hitched.” He said, “I made a preverbal ass out of myself, I was wrong for what I did and hope to make up for it.”
“Be at peace Robert, You were coming with the illusion of other intentions, as it said on the invitation, Natil of Malvern, and Rijiin L’Theil.” He told him, “Have a drink and enjoy yourself, all has been forgiven.” Rijiin glanced sideways at Becky, handing Robert a root beer, and here he laughed shaking his head and picked up a real beer. The elf raised his bottle, as did Becky, Natil and Robert too, all four toasting. Their bottles made a quiet ‘clink sound’ as they all drank.
“Ms. Mc Gough has been chewing at the bit for a nice slow dance. Perhaps we can oblige her wishes.” Rijiin suggested and Robert managed a short laugh,
“I bet she would.”
“I know my young wife would like to dance.” He intoned, “Perhaps I should remedy that.” Rijiin stood and put out an arm, which Natil took. Both he and his young wife headed to the dance floor. There was applause again by everyone as the party cleared the outside dance floor.
“First dance belongs to the bride and groom.” A voice said. Together Natil and Rijiin walked out on the dance floor and they slow danced a few minutes before everyone joined in around them. Robert and Becky danced, and they were all smiles, as was Mimi and Dave. Rijiin noted the others in Bellbrook were dancing too and some were standing around chatting with others in their group. After the dance, the elf moved to the surrounding groups making his rounds to chat informally with everyone.
Later, Rijiin held Natil as they sat together at their reception and watched the great celebration around them. There were some moments where Rijiin sat with Marsh and TK, jamming with them on sax and on the guitar. He played fluidly, easily as he made an effort to keep up but many times surprised them. The elf played Kenny G tunes on the sax, where Natil broke out the harp and she played a duet with him. There was silent admiration by Hadden remembering another time he had done that, two months ago. The other guests, smiled and listened as the couple played several more songs together. He showed his brimming talent, all because of a long time ago and the paths he had taken through history. Rijiin also had surprised them as he sat behind the drums and he assisted as the band did a couple of Phil Collins/Genesis songs. He even jammed with Marsh on the guitar. The young elf also danced with Natil, many dances and the drinks flowed freely as the celebration continued far into the afternoon. The couple sat together, Rijiin with his arms around his new wife to hold her, as they watched the festivities. He grimaced when he felt pain in his face, and realized his jaw hurt from smiling too much.
A bit later, the couple managed to slip away together for a quiet moment, and both sat together watching the sun began to fall on the western horizon over the shadows of the Rocky Mountains. Several hours had elapsed and the celebration went far into the late afternoon and early evening. The young Harper gazed up at the mountains as she sat with Rijiin’s arms around her and they watched the sun set in the west. Natil fidgeted nervously, inside a whirl of thoughts and excitement filled her very soul. Lights were turned on, colored strands along the trellises and the Tiki Torches ™ burned to keep the night insect-life at bay.
“I have survived the hardest thing I thought I would ever be able to do.” She thought, “Harder than leaving Adria, harder than being in the dungeons of the Inquisition and even wandering for a hundred years. I survived my wedding day to a good man.”
“Amin mela lle, Natili.” He said, looking in her blue eyes, as he held her.
“Amin mela lle, Rijiin.” She replied, “Oio vor iire omentien lle I’ yeste’ luume’.”
Rijiin smiled, nodding as he embraced her, his attention returning skyward. The Harper let out a quiet yelp realizing she had spoken Elvish, something she had not done in a while because there had been no need for it.
“Look…” He whispered, pointing to the sky. “Beloved, ta i’ entul en Mirya astael.” Staring in wonder, the Harper had gasped when she stared at the sky and saw the star. The very one that she had not seen in centuries that had faded long ago when Mirya and Terrill had disappeared into the forest to stop the forest fire set by the enemy. She had told him much of what happened during the time he disappeared and learned about the fate of Saint Brigid.
“Make you wonder doesn’t?” Rijiin asked, and she nodded continuing to stare at the patterns of starlight that twinkled brightly in the heavens. Rijiin casually saw Hadden heading their way and he realized what time it was.
“Ah yes, its cake cutting time.” Both had returned to the tables where their cake laid untouched ready for cutting. Hadden stood up and he held up a glass, “I want to make a toast!”
There was a chant. “Toast, Toast!” Hadden tapped the glass with a fork, and it rang out clearly.
“I’ll have wheat with butter and jam!” A drunken voice said and everyone laughed, including the couple.
“Here is to our friends, the happy couple. May they be together always, not drive each other crazy and have rebellious children together. ” There was brief laughter that echoed the garden area. “May they find happiness in each others arms for time to come and be always together.” Natil glanced at Rijiin with a mischievous grin on her face and she winked. In her mind, the Harper thought she heard his laughter.
“Hear! Hear!” A voice said, and everyone raised the glasses to take a drink.
“Thank you all.” Rijiin said, raising his glance to meet his wife’s mischievous twinkle in her blue eyes. Together they held the knife as they cut their splendid cake, a lemon and white cake with a Celtic design on the top. In Elvish the words, ‘Congratulations, Rijiin and Natil’ drawn in the frosting on its surface. There was applause as the couple held the cake on a fork and both fed each other a piece. Laughter followed as he got frosting on her nose. Everyone dined on the splendid cake and there was conversation that rippled through the garden area of Tree Star.
“Congratulations Rijiin.” Anne said, walking up beside him and he smiled at her. Margot stood with her.
“May I present, Anne and Margot Frank.” Rijiin said formally, bowing wide and low to the two women who stood before him. Natil stared at the middle-aged women who were famous for her diary that she wrote that painted a picture of the adversity they faced by the Nazis, through her eyes when she was only fifteen years of age. Natil bowed slightly to them as well.
“They are the ones that were famous because she died and her diary got published showing her courage in the adversity of the Nazis right?” Natil whispered, “The ones you saved by changing time?” He nodded.
“Thank you both for coming.” Natil told them, unsure what to say to them. Natil glanced at him sharply as he spoke another language fluently other than English and Elvish. It was fluent German.
“How can you speak that?” She asked, “How did you pick that up as you wandered through the world for the last four hundred years?
“I learned many languages.” He replied, “It was to be able to communicate or not eat. Be at peace, I can teach you a few if you like.”
“Now I’d really like that…” Natil declared, kissing him on the lips.
Many groups cycled around to congratulate the couple, and Rijiin nodded to each one. He embraced ‘Jell-O Jen’, Katherine, Cathy, and a few from his old class of 1991. He was glad that they had remembered him when he contacted as many as he could. He wondered about the others and wished they had come too. A few minutes later, the couple turned when they heard the hooves on the cement and spied an open air, horse drawn red and gold trimmed carriage.
“Ah, how ironic, our chariot comes.” He said and he heard Natil laugh.
“It reminds me so much of Adria, our old home.”
“This is home.” She corrected, “Adria is long past for both of us.”
“That it is beloved.” He said, “But I will always hold Adria as a special place for both of us. It is an ending for me and also a beginning for both of us, not unlike this one after four hundred plus years.”
Natil realized the gravity of the sentiment spoken by her new husband and his very words that rang true for them both. He had an ending when he had given up his human existence in Adria of the fourteenth century and found change by elven magic.
Rijiin had also embraced the changes and his new existence in, for him, a brand new century. His beginning, as time changed for Rijiin and the Harper. A fresh page, so to speak and uncertain future that waited for the couple until now.
The Harper was silent for a moment, contemplating his words and she smiled with a short nod. As the carriage approached, a man dressed in black sat on the carriage top and a woman on the back. Rijiin exhaled loudly when he saw this man, a lean man with fair skin, long black hair and steel gray eyes. His eyes held a strange intensity almost an analytical type gaze to them. His wife, a young woman, fair and beautiful sat on the back. She had a round face, long reddish gold hair spilling across her shoulders and a trim figure. Her green eyes seemed bright and laughing in the light.
“By the Lady, do you see that?’ Rijiin had asked, and had turned his head when he heard his wife gasping. Natil could not believe her eyes either.
“She looks like Mirya!” She breathed, “And he looks like Terrill!”
“I am named Miriam.” The woman said, her voice having a thick Irish accent to it.
“I am Terrance.” He said, “Are ye the happy couple?”
“Aye,” He said, “We are. May the hand of the Lady be upon you,” Rijiin bowed slightly and cast a look at his wife who rolled her eyes. He shrugged slightly.
“It was worth a shot,” He murmured, cocking his head as if to read her expression in silence. He nodded to Natil in silent agreement.
“This is a very strange, but humorous coincidence.” She said, unable to stop staring at the coachman and his wife. Natil sensed something different about this couple and wondered how in time there could be people who looked like her kinfolk from the fourteenth century. Both Rijiin and Natil had remembered the star of Mirya that twinkled high above them.
“Remember what Varden said about renewal beloved,” He said, “Perhaps somewhere Talla, Charity, Roxanne and even Varden have found renewal too.”
“Perhaps,” Natil agreed, “It is a good possibility.”
“I certainly hope so.” He replied, and he met the smile on her face with one of his own. Standing along the walkway, a few of the elves, and a few friends stood beside it, all waiting for the couple to make their way toward them. When Natil and Rijiin neared the steps, they glanced at each other as they saw a group stand rigidly at attention as the others threw rice at them. Laughter and chatter filled the air as it pelted the couple. Rijiin glanced at Natil, who grimaced as they stared at this serene scene.
“Honors HUT!” A voice shouted, and their friends and fellow elves drew the blades in unison and raised the blades over their heads making a bridge of steel. A hush fell over the crowd behind them. The Harper put her hands to her mouth to stifle a gasp and hide a smile. Rijiin stood beside her with a flattered look on his face. As the couple walked down the bridge of steel together, Hadden and Marsh stood as the last two on the row. They lowered the swords.
“Now Rijiin, you be a good boy tonight.” Hadden kidded gently and Marsh smiled. “Yeah, don’t do what I wouldn’t do.” He told Rijiin and the elf chuckled quietly as did Natil.
“You guys.” He chided as he pushed up the blades. Behind them, Marsh turned to the others, smiling.
“At ease,” He said and they all rest the blades on their shoulders.
At the head of the coach, Hadden had walked toward the horses, a gray stallion and a mare that pulled it. Their friend and new clansman stood in the middle of them and he was whispering to them. After a moment, the beasts snorted and whinnied, bearing their teeth. Both bobbed their massive heads.
“That is a good lad and lass.” Hadden told it as he patting the mare’s neck and the stallion beside it, “My thanks.” Behind the carriage, Bright, Fox, Laurie, Wheat, Ash, Bright and Sana helped put a big sign on the carriage.
“Just Married --” It said, in big letters and they tied cans and shoes on the end of the carriage. Snickering they returned to the front of it as Rijiin led Natil to the carriage. He paused a second to motion to Kelly.
“Kelly, do me a favor and hand this to your father.” Rijiin told the Elfling and she took the blade, “And don’t draw it lass, I don’t want you to be hurt.”
Everyone threw the traditional rice as the couple walked toward the carriage, and both laughed as they climbed on, turning to wave to the others. Natil threw the bouquet and it was caught by Becky who gasped, blushing as red as the carriage the couple rode in. Robert blushed beside her and as she held the bouquet, exchanged a kiss with him. She waved at the carriage as it pulled away. Rijiin and Natil, seated in the carriage held each other, staring into each other’s eyes, kissing each other passionately.
Mimi and the other elves stood around at the Tree Star as they cleaned up the grounds quickly, recycling as much as the paper and everything that had been setup for the wedding and reception. Together, Jen, Mimi, Becky, Omar, Chris, Dave, and even Robert all gazed down the road at the departing carriage. The party continued with music, dancing and entertainment by the band.
“It has sure been a strange period of time.” Mimi said, “First his changing us, then his disappearance and now all of us coming to Denver.”
“I don’t know.” Becky replied, glancing at the small group of her friends, “It does not seem too different to me, just a really good ending to a good novel and a long journey with a hitch, there is a new beginning.”
“So where do we go from here?” Becky mused, glancing at the others. She peered at old and now very new friends she found in Denver. There were silent questions by all, which for some would be answered in due time. For the moment though, there seemed to be peace among them. Even for Robert who had witnessed the union of the couple and had found perhaps a piece of mind and renewal of his own.
Together the newly married couple rode the carriage, headed to a Limo company that would take them to the airport. There a plane would take them to Los Angeles and then taken to a cruise ship that waited there, chartered to take them to Mexico. Life began for Rijiin and Natil, as it had for them four plus centuries ago. This would be a second chance that would take up from its interruption long ago.
“It is a time for renewal.” He murmured, and Natil turned her head when she heard him.
“Just thinking of what Varden said once.” Rijiin replied as he thought of the young elf that had seen the futility of the world. The same futility that Rijiin had seen in his travels not long ago, the same as his kinfolk had seen ages ago. Although he knew that May 1 was far off, the young elf knew he had a several months to find renewal for his actions and perhaps peace of mind. This was one start.
“Are you happy Natil?” He asked, and the Harper turned her head, frowning. She embraced her new husband after a moment, a smile on her face.
“I am.” The Harper told him, as he held her, “I am so glad you are home, my husband.”
“Vee’ amin Natili,” He told her, “A'maelamin vesse.”
Rijiin and Natil sat in the back in the carriage and in his arms, he held Natil. He watched as the passed many people who stared at the coach and who laughed seeing the card on the back. As Rijiin held her, the elf was deep in thought as another adventure waited for them and life, for them both was just beginning.
Story is based on Gail Baudino’s Series Strands of Starlight, Maze of Moonlight, Shrouds of Shadow, Strands of Sunlight, and Spires of Spirit. This story is a fan fiction that takes place in 40 years between first and second book. The next story is taking place a year or more after the last book. It is dedicated to Miss Baudino and the Elves, because something in the story was able to touch me, and allow me a bit of healing too. It uses and features, three dialects of real elvish tomes, based on Tolken, Gray Company and Quenya Elvish.
This is a FICTIONAL, Fan Based story and it may or may not be accurate to the storyline. Amin hiraetha (I apologize to Ms. Baudino and the Elves, in advance)
Below are some phrases not translated in story.
(The Elvish phrase) = (English Translation.)
“Natili, Na ta lle?” Mimi asked, “Ya ae lle atara?” – Natil is it you? Mimi Asked, “Who
is your mother.
Vee’ Amin Natili. He told her Vee’ amin.” – So Am I Natil, So am I.
Nae saian luume'. Amin sal mela lle.” - Be at peace. I still love you.
“Amin ele- astael” – I can see starlight.
“Alanae ea Yolisi, Elthia, sii’ naa ten’oio.” He murmured, “Namaarie Annai, nanmarrie Margoti.”
“The hand of the Lady be upon you, now and forever. Farewell Anne, Farewell Margot.”
“Beloved, ta I’ entul en Mirya Astael!” - Beloved, It is the return of Mirya’s star!
“Lema ed' ando en' templa.” – “Journey by gate of magic”
“Amin mela lle, Natili” – I love you Natil.
“Amin mela lle, Rijiin.” – I love you Rijiin
“Oio vor iire omentien lle I’ yeste’ luume’.” – Ever since the first time meeting you.
“On the eleventh month, the fourteenth day, in the year of the Blessed Lady, nineteen hundred and ninety, four hereby make the announcement of Natil Summerson of Denver and Rijiin L’Theil of Malvern’s engagement and wedding.
No’ i’- minquea ea asta, i’- ratsea re, e’ i’- yen en’ i’- aman arwen, nertenen randa nae nertenen, kinta sinomed, kam- i’- canwae i’- Natili Carnesir en Denveri nae Rijiini Singollo en Maverni.
“We cordially invite you to share in the celebration, on the fifth month, fourteenth day, in the year of the Blessed Lady nineteen ninety four at Treestar in Denver Colorado.”
“Lye aldarion meneldur lle a’ saragon e’ i’- gal-, no’ i’- toltoea asta, lempe re, e’ i’- yen en’ i’- aman arwen, nertenen lempe randa nae nertenen ae’ Treestari e’ Deverai Coloradai.”
“Na- ae’ seere, Beckai, Mimitti,” = Be at peace, Becky, Mimi.
Ro va nolya nae amin cael n’umo detholea sii’. Amin cael a’ magh poldor a’ kam ho selya.” = He will not learn and I have no choice now. I have to use force to make him learn.”
“Faila I’ men amin vet ta.” Just the way I like it.
“Vee’ amin Natili,” Me too Natil
“A'maelamin vesse.” My beloved wife
Seasamin, A’mael = My pleasure Beloved.
“Lle lakwenien Rijiin? Sut alhalman lle quenea tanya yol?” You joking Rijiin? How can you speak that way?
Arae ea oombra = Day of Completion
Arae ea circa = Day of Beginnings.
Dina, Ungai, Lle vanwa kolien usquentiri huan.”.” = Be Silent Unga, You over bearing smelly dog
Lle Desiel? = You ready?
Amin’ e Desiel. = I am ready.
Aa' menle nauva calen ar' ta hwesta e' ale'quenle = May thy paths be green and the breeze on thy back
Aa' lasser en lle coia orn n' omenta gurtha = May the leaves of your life tree never turn brown