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Healing Starlight

Summary

A story of healing, redemption and adventure spanning between Renaissance/Modern Age

one

The Dedication(s):

 

 

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, who passed from cancer. (1954-2009)

 

 

To the friends of Mimi Stewart, nicknamed the "De Anza Rat Pack", for your dedication, friendship and long lasting inspiration.

 

 

Rain:

 

 

             It fell steadily upon the city and suburbs of San Jose, a promise of the coming spring, but a cold, grudging one to be sure. The men repairing the roof of the Art Forum building located on the sprawling campus of De Anza College had given up shortly before noon. The business vendors that had set up in the main quad admitted defeat only a little while later, packing up their wares with numb fingers to trudge wearily into the nearby Student Campus Center soaked and shivering on this Dark December day.

 

 

            Mimi "Mouse" Stewart made her way down a path in the Sciences Quad (S-Quad). Wind now, the almost sleet stung her eyes and cheeks as she paused to wipe her face on her sleeve, and casually, pulled up the hood of her parka up a little further around herself. She had just arrived by her ride share to the campus, and somehow with the rain, the cold and the lack of people in the quad she had become thoroughly lost. Sitting in her wheelchair under an overhang outside one of many classrooms, she peered up through the drops searching for landmarks. Robert, her fiancé, had mentioned a lot of constructions to the aging campus after her departure a few months ago, but surely something had to be familiar.

 

    

"Every time there is construction it makes this place crazy." Mimi thought, and she shook her head in disgust, grimacing at the many yellow barriers that littered the quad. The middle-aged woman had been correct in her deduction, enduring many such occurrences over the course of three years before her short absence. 

 

 

As she sat under the overhang, she managed to make out the Minolta Planetarium that poked up above the rooftops, and at last the large building of the Library that sat next to the main campus. Rolling through the water and debris that flowed down the pathway, she took her next turning, pushing her wheelchair down the common path with confident strokes, quickly crossing the meadow that lay deserted in the wet, smiling when she saw the center quad broad and familiar. She did not see the piece of pavement that protruded from the ground, uprooted from a large pine tree's roots that caught the leg of her chair, and sent her sprawling. The blacktop was hard, cold, and unforgiving as she lay sat half-stunned on the pavement. It was for the first time since Mimi had been dropped off on campus she was not glad the quad was empty. People intended to be on hand, when accidents happened and to help as needed, but with no people, she knew there would be no help.

 

 

Mimi caught her breath, grimacing at the cold mud that now covered her, and tried to struggle to her feet to reseat herself into her wheelchair, but a sharp pain sent her back into the filth again.

    

 

"Oh damn." She said, managing to sit up.  Even through the wet, she saw the blood spot on the knee of her pants leg, and felt the burn of the rash caused by the fall brush against the material of the fabric. Swelling of her leg was already perceptible through the leg of her trousers and rising for Mimi seemed to be out of the question. Crawling was, at best doubtful and the prospect seemed bleak that she might have sit here until security made their rounds. However, knowing security, they all probably sat in the warm office, sipping coffee and forewent the entire affair all together.

 

 

 "This is just great, I, Mimi Stewart, the oldest student on campus." She managed to mutter under her breath, "Dead from the cold and a broken leg."

 

           

As Mimi sat in the wet, she was unaware of a strange energy seemed to form around her that tingled questionably on her skin and warmed her chilled bones. Slowly, the energy moved up and out as it invisibly surrounded her. It danced from her scalp to her toes as it seemed to dull the pain in her leg and hip, giving her strength. It also, for an instant, seemed to heal her minor wounds. Her head turned when she heard something very strange on this campus, which distracted her. It is an unfamiliar lull of a musical note that echoed through the rain, something in her twenty-six years of service at this campus as a student, and a staff-member had never heard at this place of learning. Harp notes.

 

           

The notes rang out clear and cold, brought to her by the wind and echoing through the buildings in the college's Sciences Quad (S-quad). At this very moment, Mimi could not believe her ears, listening in sheer amazement to the curious notes and the peculiar melody that was being played in what appeared to be the deserted quad. Little did she know it seemed to be controlling the energy that swirled around her, continuing to warm her body and her limbs as it tingled intently on her skin. Mouse at first, did not notice anything unusual. She was too engaged listening to the strange harp music to not notice her surroundings or the woman dressed in a gray cloak, a robe of blue and silver, standing over her. When Mouse finally did sense her, she looked up in alarm at the strangely clad woman, and her first reaction was astonishment then after a moment, strange recognition.

 

 

"Be at peace." The hooded woman said gently, bowing slightly at the waist. I mean you no harm."

 

 

"You startled me."  Mimi complained, grimacing at the stranger who stood before her. Mouse could not see but a shadowed face underneath the hood.

 

           

"Do you require assistance?" The woman asked in a kind tone. Mimi was confused by the question, and at first had remained silent.

 

 

     "Of course I do. I wouldn't be sitting here on my butt, in the rain for kicks." Mimi sarcastically thought to herself, and stared at the obscured understanding face. The disabled woman noted the cloaked woman's long dark hair, streaked with much silver, and her compassionate gray eyes underneath the hood of her cloak. Mimi managed an acknowledging silent nod. 

 

 

"I? Yes, I do. Please." Mouse managed to stammer, clearly stunned by the woman who stood here before her. Mimi felt as if she had known this person all her life, but in realistic terms she had never met her before.

 

 

            "Then let us get you back where you belong." The woman murmured solemnly and from inside her cloak a gentle hand appeared to touch Mimi's leg. There was a bright flash that made the disabled woman gasp in alarm as a sensation of warmth radiated through it. The pain in her leg, at Mimi's dismay, had vanished completely. The Lady then held out her hand, a strong hand, able to wield a sword, one that Mimi would take to be lifted and reseated in her wheelchair. Her chair seemed to be dry and warm despite the heavy downpour of rain around them. Mouse suddenly had a sense of realism set in, and quickly realized that something amazing had just happened. She was healed.

 

 

            "Thank?" Mimi stumbled and had glanced up from her leg where her attention had been for a moment or two. She realized the woman was gone, and the quad was again empty around her.  

 

 

            Quickly turning her head in each direction, Mouse scanned the quad for the woman who had literally disappeared in front of her. Mimi had a clear view of the entire quad from her position, and it would not be hard to see the unmistakable dressed woman in the blue and silver robe surrounded by a gray cloak. The stranger though was not anywhere to be found, the quad remaining silent as it had been before, save the falling rain.

 

 

Just as she turned forward, her astonishment was quickly replaced with fear. Without warning, the energy that invisibly swirled around her had now had become visible out of thin air. It appeared in a thunderclap, swirling in a mass of bright white and multicolored energy. It had startled Mimi, making her instinctively push herself back in her chair as it swirled before her. It pulsated and changed colors across the spectrum, and seemed to quiver as if it were a living entity. It seemed to rise upward as it approached her position and as it did she continued to back away.  Until something grabbed her chair and she moved forward against her backward pushing.

 

           

"Wait a minute," Mouse exclaimed, as slowly she continued to creep forward. A couple of minutes later, a two-dimensional door appeared before her opening in the exact center of the vortex, and it revealed a dark tunnel. The disabled woman peered into the long tunnel and all she could see was darkness and patch of blue on the other end. She was confused by this sight before her and its meaning.

 

           

"What is that?" Mimi asked herself, "Who on earth was that strange woman?" 

 

 

Curiously, she tilted her head in half understanding at the dark vortex.  People who inhabited the buildings this morning had heard the thunderclap and had come to the windows of the surrounding buildings. They all saw the strange bluish glow of the energy that had appeared before Mimi and abruptly, another jolt forward made the disabled woman yelp. Instinctively, Mouse's hands had flashed to the brakes of her wheelchair, too late, as blackness enveloped her and she disappeared into the energy, tumbling in open space through the darkness. When she disappeared into the vortex, the energy flashed once before it faded away in the same thunderclap that it had appeared. Only silence and an empty quad remained. As for the Mimi, in the next instant she sat spinning in the darkness and watching streaks of light flashing brightly around her. Nausea, disorientation and vertigo overwhelmed her senses. Streaks of color and light flashed around her and the g-force from the uncontrolled spin held her in place, making it difficult to move even her head. Mouse tried to scream but only a whisper came out of her mouth.

 

 

Abruptly, her trip quickly ended as it had begun with another bright flash and letting out a gasp of surprise, Mouse was blinded by the sunlight in a sparsely clouded blue sky.  A warm breeze hit her in the face as she peered down at an unrecognizable landscape below. She could see that this landscape was made up mostly of thick forests, mountains, many rivers, meadows, and small villages below her. Mouse also could see, in the distance, many massive walls of several castles near larger cities located in three places upon the horizon. Each had an expanse of a green landscape of forest between them and she could see a great ocean beyond. Her eyes widened as these frightening, unfamiliar images appeared before her.

    

 

"What the hell is going on? Am I dreaming? Where the hell am I?" Mimi asked herself, "Is this real?" Mouse gripped her chair's arm tightly as her chair seemed to be flying along, darting, dipping and swooping through the sparsely clouded sky. A second later, it dipped one more time before it sped quickly downward toward the ground. She let out a bloodcurdling scream as her chair plummeted abruptly from the clouds and toward the ground that rapidly seemed to rise up to meet her. Mimi's first reaction was fear, seeing her body splattered on the landscape below and instinctively she held up her arms as if to brace herself for impact with the ground that would never come. Before her chair, with her in it, had even come close to hitting the ground it swooped up a moment, hovered for a second before it soft-landed in a large forest clearing.  

           

 

Breathing heavily, Mouse held up her hands and arms, waiting for the impact into the ground. She sat in her wheelchair, safe and sound on the ground for a couple of minutes before she peeked out and her eyes focused upon the woods around her. Her reaction at first had been confusion, her eyes blinking and widening as she peered at her surroundings in silence. Her eyes moved to the skyline what happened to be the bluest sky she had ever seen instead of the familiar yellowish tinge that would be found in her century. Her senses were assaulted by the heavy scents of nature around her and her face hit by a warm wind that gently rustled the canopy of trees above her. Mimi also realized there was something else about her new location and it was something she rarely found in her time. Mouse never had been able to find it on De Anza's sprawling campus unless it was far away. She found herself in total complete silence. There were no heavy noises of traffic, smoke, loud bangs, or people. Mouse realized, for the first time in her life she was completely alone.

           

 

            "I must be dreaming."  The disabled woman thought as she pinched herself hard, wincing as she felt the pain. Her pinch made a red blemish on her arm as she tuned her head to peer at the surroundings in silence. She let out a quiet whinny of terror.

 

 

            "Okay, maybe I am not dreaming." She had told herself, turning her head again to the surroundings and half expected them, hoping they would vanish. They didn't, however. The woods around her were thick, with bushes and trees overlapped into a webbed canopy above her. The sounds of nature echoed through the woods around her. Mouse did not know what kind of animals lurked in this unfamiliar wood, and she kept her guard up for anything to happen. She looked around in amazement at her surroundings, wondering if this clearing is near what she saw in the way of civilization while flying high in the air a moment ago. Mimi could not fathom somewhere like this to exist, not even far away to the many places she had been with her family throughout the years. It was something that Mimi had never seen before in those travels.

 

 

            "Oh hell, this must be fatigue or drugged hallucination." Mimi told herself, pushing herself forward, through the leaves and inched into the center of this wooded clearing. Slowly, she managed to turn her chair three hundred and sixty degrees. Around her, another warm breeze whipped at her hair as it struck her in the face, and more the sounds of the forest rustled around her. She could not believe it was here and it was unlike anywhere she had been before. She took in a deep breath and managed a quiet exhale, followed by a quiet smile.

 

 

"Ok? there is a logical reason for this." Mimi murmured to herself, "I must be losing my sanity. This cannot be real." She sat in the clearing with her eyes closed, and gripped the arm of her wheelchair in silent panic, her reaction delayed as reality finally had slowly sunk in. Mimi realized that she was alone in a strange place without medications she takes regularly or anyone to help her. The disabled woman would have to fight alone if it came to that or explore this realm alone. She wondered how to do that, confined to her wheelchair, as there wasn't exactly any visible roads or paths she could utilize to go anywhere.

 

          

 The crack of a twig made Mouse open her eyes and quickly turn her head toward the sound. It had alerted her that something had been close by, and her piercing blue eyes fell upon an elk that appeared from the bushes. The animal met her curious gaze in silence, pausing to graze as it completely ignored her. It even walked right up to stand next to her chair. Mimi, in absolute astonishment, watched the huge animal carefully, expecting it to charge or bolt when it turned its massive head to stare at her. The animal never moved. It just watched her and so close that the disabled woman could smell the strong musky scent from its coat as it stood beside her. Slowly and cautiously, Mimi lifted an arm as her hand moved toward the animal. It did not move or flinch when her hand touched its course coat, feeling its strong massive heartbeat and the warmth of its body radiating through its shaggy coat.

 

           

 "It's real!" She gasped, stroking the coarse coat, "Oh my god."

 

 

           Before she could figure anything else out, Mimi's thoughts were interrupted by another loud crack of nearby branches and followed by a flash of green and gray that caught her eye. Two young-looking people, a youthful man and woman appeared from the undergrowth across the clearing that the disabled woman sits in. It is a young elven couple named Mirya and Terrill who have appeared from the trees together, both traveling home from the north. Both are dressed in an odd unisex garb of green and gray, making Mimi smile at their peculiar appearance. She found herself whisked away by the maiden's beauty, glancing casually at her unfamiliar fair features and at the elf maiden's long red-gold hair that cascaded down to her shoulders. Mimi also noted the elf maiden is quite young looking, has a narrow trim figure and the greenest eyes she ever saw. Shaking her head, her eyes moved to Terrill. The young elven man has the similar fair features and qualities that his companion does. (He has the same trim waist but is well built.) The only difference between Terrill and Mirya, that Mimi could see, is that he has black hair instead of reddish, gold hair and gray eyes instead of green. 

 

 

"Who on Earth are these people?" Mimi asked herself, staring at the couple in silence, "I don't think I am anywhere near home to have people look like this around."

 

 

As they approached Mouse's position, quickly she turned her head to stare at the elk, expecting it to bolt when it saw them, but when it did, the massive animal did not move. Her glance moved from the elk, to the couple and back again several times. The massive animal did not do anything, it just stood there. Insanely, Mouse thought she saw it bow its head to the young couple. Shaking her head incredulously, the disabled woman watched as other animals surrounded them from the trees and undergrowth. She could see the animals were not clustering around them because they had food and indeed, Mimi did not see any. They were just there, treating the couple as conquering heroes or perhaps family who are returning home. Upon seeing this, Mouse's gaze switched back and forth to the young couple, wondering if they had something to do with the travel through the strange phenomena she experienced not more than fifteen minutes ago. Mimi shivered at the thought of the black vortex that had swirled around her, making her not look forward to doing that again any time soon.

           

 

"I wonder who they are. They are quite an attractive couple." Mimi thought, tilting her head slightly as she watched the couple's interaction with the animals. It still was a bit strange to her the animal were behaving in this manner. Mouse managed a grimace at the sight and shook her head slightly in silent disbelief. The sight was nothing like she had ever seen before on campus.  Mirya and Terrill's heads both turned when they saw the elk and their gaze quickly met Mimi's questioning expression. Surprised, both of them glanced at each other, astonishment appearing on their faces.  Mouse saw Mirya lean over to whisper something to her traveling companion, and the motion made her gasp. Mimi suddenly realized that she is visible to them and this was no dream. Terrill tilted his head to the side and Mouse saw him whisper his response back to the red and gold haired woman beside him. She could see a strange twinkle that seemed to be in their eyes as they peered at her from across the clearing.

 

           

"Excuse me." Mimi asked, "Can you tell me where I am? Which way the exit is to this dream?" The couple glanced at each other as they stood there, slowly approaching her with an air of caution about them. The young maiden had her hand on what appeared to Mimi, to be a sword pommel at her side. Beside her, Terrill whispered something to her again. However, before Mouse could utter a sound, the elf maiden pointed at her and the clearing abruptly faded around her. Quickly, in a flash of mere seconds, Mimi found herself spinning uncontrollably in the same darkness as before. Mouse held on the arm of her wheelchair tightly as she uncontrollably spun through the darkness, bouncing literally against the multicolored walls and passing through the color that streaked around her.

           

    

Meanwhile, at the same time, in different part of the forest called Malvern and a fair distance from where Mimi appeared in the clearing: Rijiin L'Theil made his way along a forest path with a beautiful Harper named Natil of Malvern. Together the couple walked along a narrow path that would lead them into the Aleser Mountains, traveling to a place that he had found while living in and exploring his new home over the last year. The newly transformed elf, a year ago, had originally come from the future from a far-off century and brought to this place through a portal of elven magic. As he walked with his companion, the elf was deep in thought of what he had been through in the last year and not expecting his arrival into this century to happen or be transformed into what he was now, an elf.

 

 

When he was in the future, to start his adventures, he had arrived at a place called Eastridge Mall on a particular cold and rainy weekday morning. Rijiin neither had been looking to jump through time nor planned to battle in a time not his own. His first mission on that morning was to show up for a gathering for a Bulletin Board System (BBS) party located at the Red Robin Restaurant  at Eastridge Mall. Here, the elf thought back to that particular morning when he arrived several hours early at this place and he found himself wandering its cavernous interior. He was on the west side of this covered mall, near the Sears and Roebucks  Department store. Across from the entrance under the escalators leading up to a second floor, the young man found a strange and simple shop called 'The Dungeon Gaming Company' that is not unlike the ones called 'The Gamekeeper' commonly found in most malls. They are a certain store that sells games of all sorts, chess sets, Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) books and equipment. The only difference between this store and the Gamekeeper  store in any other mall is that this shop is triple the size and offers newly developed Virtual Reality games, (not unlike the Holodeck from Star Trek: The Next Generation TV Show) where one could be anything or any place they wanted to be. The games had been unexpected by Rijiin to be here and watching the monitors he was intrigued by the realism of the games and the technology behind it. Stepping into the shop he made a bee-line toward the center desk and nodded to the young woman who stood behind it.

 

 

The first thing Rijiin had done was buy a membership for a year, intrigued by the complexity of the games by the monitors and posters that hung in the outer display windows on either side of the entrance.  The entry itself is a small, saloon type swinging doors making up the entryway. The outer wall is made of thick mahogany wood with glass displays every ten feet, located on either side of the entry. A large sign, hanging from a black, cast-iron hanger and thick black chain and on it are the words, "The Dungeon Gaming Company" in old English gothic text.  The interior of the shop was a sea of shelves, crammed with every sort of game known on the market, manual and computerized. In the center of the shelf racks are circular areas with tables, surrounded by rod iron fence where games can be played by the customers. On the east side of the triple space store, it is a partitioned off maze area making up the entry, leading to the Virtual Reality games.

 

 

Rijiin played the virtual reality games twice before the gathering and had actually had done very well. The experience had been so intriguing that he played a third round. He found the games were a far better thing to be a part of, and more interesting than the party he originally had come to the mall for in the first place. Rijiin would make an appearance at the party, yes, but ultimately he would leave early to rejoin the games. He had been to three such gatherings and each time had been snubbed by the other users who logged in to the Bulletin Board System (BBS). In fact, at this particular party, he sat alone the entire time and no one had walked up to him to interact with him while he sat in the restaurant. The others seem to cluster away from him and even if someone would wander his way, the others made every effort to distract the person to bring them back to their group. The young man at this point had decided to depart, gathering up what he brought with him, walking disgusted toward the doors that exited into a corridor leading to the main interior of the mall. Only four people, at first, would see him walk unabashed through the door of the Red Robin Restaurant  and none of those four people who saw him depart had attempted to stop him. They had no idea that this would be the last time they would see their fellow member alive, sensing the feeling of death move across their senses.

 

 

After departing the Red Robin of Eastridge, the young man walked alone for fifteen minutes inside the cavernous interior of the mall, returning the west side of it, moving across many platforms and walkways. A few minutes later he arrived at the store, traversing the partition maze in the store to the locker area where he changed quickly into his costume for the Virtual Reality Games. Five minutes later, the young man stood outside one of the doors in a back area, preparing for another adventure in them. He was unaware of an energy portal of elven magic that covered the door before him and unthinkably the young human had stepped forward to walk through into what he thought were the games. Little did the young man realize he would be transported through time and space into the fourteenth century and the Renaissance Age. The only feeling he would have the slight disorientation dance across his skin as he stepped through the threshold of time itself. Here he would battle against many people, thinking it was the games he was playing, only to figure out that it was real time when a sword had been thrust through his body and his real blood spilled out onto the ground. Mortally wounded, he would retreat into the nearby forest, evading a pursuit party and fall in a clearing far away from where he began his adventures. Here the young man would remain lying in the clearing, almost dead, until the elves Mirya and Terrill happened upon him. They had stepped into the clearing not expecting the human to be there, traveling home from the north. Here the young man would find death, healing, transformation, rebirth and life at the hands of Mirya and her healing ability.

 

 

The elf also had no idea that the others of the Bulletin Board would be rounded up a week later after his departure from the Red Robin Restaurant  and the party, questioned by the FBI. A mutilated body, his body, was found by kids in a gully near the mall in a cement culvert. It is his body that was sent back to his home time after his transformation, making up the human part of him, leaving him fully elven. Rijiin also had no idea that on that day, while he was healed and transformed into an elf in the fourteenth century, that his death in the future had happened. It had unknowingly made him a permanent resident of the time he now lives in with no possible return to the future as he was before: As a mere mortal. As his body lay in the winter sunlight, partially covered by an overhanging tree, still in the pocket of his jeans would be his wallet and identification belonging to the member, known to the Bulletin Board System (BBS) members as Varden, whom they had seen exit the restaurant that day. The authorities placed the members of the Bulletin Board System as top suspects with intent and motive when it was mentioned he was not liked, in what they called a murder case. Even despite the strong alibi the other members had, placing them all at the restaurant at Eastridge when his death had possibly taken place.

 

 

The elf named Rijiin shook his head, as if to clear the bad memories and turned his attention to the youthful woman who walked beside him. She is his traveling companion and kinswoman while he lived in the fourteenth century and together the couple travels to what he called his fortress of solitude he found in the Aleser Mountains. It is a place located in the mountains themselves that surrounds the region known as Adria, and a place he brought the Harper to while exploring his new home in the Renaissance Age. It is a secluded clearing located at the beginning of the Rhillion River that flows from the mountains into the forest far below, an area that is mostly steep cliffs and outcroppings in the rocks high above it. It is not without one redeeming feature: the clearing includes a spectacular view of the entire realm below.

 

 

The newly transformed elf had brought Natil to this place of her own free will and not for romance. Even though he had a very close intimate relationship with the Harper in a different timeline and in what the elves called a different dance. It would be a time Natil would never know, now that Rijiin was here in the fourteenth century. Time had had changed when he arrived into Adria through the portal of elven magic, changing the events to come in the twentieth century. The elf arrived far before Natil would leave Adria in this century, allowing her to travel the world over before the power of her goddess had brought her to the twentieth century. Long before she would meet him in a large city called San Jose, outside his college. He would see much during his travels in this age, witness to the persecution of heretics by the Inquisition, the promoting of fear and control. Also see many a burning while in the northern cities. The acrid smoke still would burn his eyes and senses, making it hard to forget what he would witness many times over. His ears still rang from the screams by those who burned at the stake. Again, Rijiin shook his head to clear offending images and both of them unaware of the journey that lay ahead of them, not to long from this moment. Rijiin and Natil both walked into Rijiin's clearing, and he managed a smile at his companion, meeting her gaze to nod. They were far from all of that, and here he protected the elves, heretics and the village they called a haven named Saint Brigid. A place he called his home for a few months before he walked with the elves in their encampment.

          

 

"A'mael, naa lle tanca ta de simomne?" Natil had asked quietly. Rijiin turned his attention to his companion and quickly translated in his mind what she had said. She had asked him if he was sure it was up here. He glanced at her and Rijiin managed a smile and a nod. 

 

           

"Ta il- hai, Natili." He replied, turning after climbing for five minutes, and here the elf covered her eyes.  Rijiin had told her it is not far. Grimacing, the young Harper shook her head as he led her, stumbling over rocks and bushes around them as he did so.

 

 

            "Rijiin, where are we going?" The Harper complained, walking carefully as she gazed at the starlight that burned clear and coldly in the darkness, his hand over her eyes.

 

 

            "We are almost there Natil." Rijiin replied, repeating himself for the next three minutes as he led her toward an overhang and the spectacular view that sprawled out before them. "The best things are those that have never been seen before."

 

 

            "This is getting a bit annoying Rijiin." She said and the elf smiled, as he carefully led her to the edge of his secluded place. When they both teetered on the edge, Rijiin removed his hand from the Harper's eyes and he pointed to the spectacular view before them. Below the couple, a long way down, a sea of green spread out across the large valley and far below Saint Brigid could be seen among leafy forest and meadows. Furthermore, from this high place, they could see quite a distance across Adria to the cities of the north where several great castles stood and the sparkling sea twinkled beyond. Hovering on the horizon the sky began to turn a golden color as the sun began to set, mixed in with neon oranges, sinister reds, deep mauve and dark purples. The Harper's face showed surprise. Her mouth was open and she was speechless at the sight before her. Natil turned to embrace Rijiin warmly.

 

 

            "A! ed' lye arwen, sina umia vanima Rijiini." Natil told him, "Amin nio somti mesoat ve' sina yamen naa sinome. Diola lle ten' cor-ien amin a' sina yamen'." Rijiin translated quickly in his mind that she had told him that she never knew this place had existed, and it was very beautiful. Thank you brining me to this place.

 

 

            "Um' lle ve' ta, Amael?" the elf replied. He had asked her if she liked it.

 

 

            "Amin umea, amin umea sai saiea." the Harper replied, telling him she did very much.

 

 

            "Amin naa saesae," He replied, telling her he was pleased. Rijiin paused, thinking of the words in elvish to tell her.

 

 

            "Tenna amin hirie ta amael, amin uum' sint ta nea sinome," He told her, "Amin nowe lle neis don' ta vee amin um." He had told her this would always be her place, a beautiful place for a beautiful young maiden. Here, Rijiin glanced at the horizon at the spectacular sunset before them both.

 

 

            "It is also freely given to you, my beloved Harper." Rijiin murmured quietly making her turn her head and a look of surprise clearly on her face.

 

 

            "It is wonderful Rijiin." She said, blushing as she picked up the meaning of his statement, and his behavior. Natil understood why she was here, and why her new kinsman had brought her to this place. It had explained the odd behavior he had exhibited lately and the young Harper managed to smile despite the situation.

 

 

             "I appreciate the break, and with my thanks. I am very flattered for your feelings toward me but I?" Here Natil faltered unable to find the words to tell him how she felt. She put out her hand, hesitating for a moment, before placing it on his broad shoulder. Rijiin managed a slight nod of understanding. The Harper, he sensed, could not tell him she loved him or how she felt about him. Even despite the stir of feelings deep down she had for Rijiin that was growing every day he was with her in this time. Her heart was in turmoil, as was her spirit, drawn two directions. One way is her love of music, (which Rijiin shared a common interest with her) and the other is her deep love for him. 

 

    

Rijiin on the other hand, had known he would fall for her in the same manner. Just as he had in the future in another timeline, another lifetime and as the elves called it, another dance. He would meet her far into the future, four hundred years plus, as a human living in his world. It had been on the campus of his college called Master's Institute when he had seen her for the first time and where she asked him for directions. It had almost been instant recognition for the young man when he looked up at her the first time as she stood over him. Rijiin had been polite, cordial, and helpful to the maiden as he showed her the right way to get to her destination. He even had bought her lunch, which she had gratefully accepted.

 

 

Something about him was strange to Natil as she peered at a youthful but average human before her. It was his piercing blue eyes that had intrigued her. As she gazed into them, the elf maiden would see a curious event taking him to a far-off place of great adventure. An event she had not expected to see, not in any human and one journey that the youthful Harper sensed would cause him great loss. The young maiden would come every day for several weeks and they talked a lot, both getting to know each other as if they had known each other all their lives. When she finally departed to the east, he never forgot her, promising to follow but that never happened when he found the portal that made him jump out of time.

 

             

Returning to the present, Natil stood with her friend, kinsman and companion, Rijiin in the Aleser Mountains. As they stood together, she realized that he was letting his awareness flow and peered at the starlight. The elf watched the images unfold before him, as if a book was opening, and he remembered the day she had come to his century like it was yesterday. A sad expression crossed his face.

 

 

     "Are you alright Rijiin?" She asked and he nodded, returning her grimace with a slight smile.

 

 

            "Amin mela lle, Natili, sii, nae ten'oio, Lle ra' ikotane vanima nandaro," He told her and nodded slightly. Natil gasped, unprepared for his compliment, and she felt the burn in her cheeks as she peered into his gray eyes.

 

 

 "Diola lle, Rijiini." Natil told him, "For the journey and time together in the Aleser Mountains, it has been wonderful." She had thanked him in elvish, but had quickly switched to English. He smiled and bowed slightly. Rijiin knew he had done a fine job to entertain the Harper and show her the many beautiful sights he had found in Adria, despite the rein of evil in the form of the Inquisition that rampaged across the region. The elf knew this would be their spot from now on and planned to bring Natil to this place on a regular basis. 

 

 

            "Llea Creoso." He replied solemnly. The elf smiled broadly and nodded to her. She could see the laughter in his eyes, as they twinkled brightly with the familiar starlight. Rijiin had told her she was welcome. 

 

 

            Natil peered into his eyes, smiling as both turned to watch the glorious sunset on the horizon. However, as Rijiin watched the sunset, he held the beautiful young elf maiden in his arms and the sight before him made him think of another place like this one. It is a place very far away from here, far into the future that would not be discovered for the next two hundred years or possibly longer, perhaps four hundred years. It would be in a large city of the future called San Francisco where Rijiin as a human would travel to often and here he would watch many sunsets at a place called North Beach on the California coastline. She saw the absent look on his face, an almost sad but haunted expression.

 

 

            "Rijiin, really, are you all right?" The Harper asked, glancing at him several times as they sat there, seeing the strange expression on his face. She knew he was thinking of the future where no doubt, many things that were once part of his life.

 

 

            "Just thinking, about a place I knew once like this one with a spectacular view and gorgeous sunsets." He replied with some hint of irony in his voice. "A place four hundred plus years ahead I would call an adopted home. They are memories, nothing more, be at peace Natil."

 

 

            "You should let them go." Natil told him, and she saw him shrug.

 

 

"Human ways are not our ways Natil and I have." He replied, "Amin uuma merna a' entul eller. Eller na il- ai'nat' eller ten' amin sii. Il- yassen n'e lle." He said to her in elvish. Natil had gasped when he told her that there was nothing for him in the future and he did not wish to return there, not without her. Natil smiled openly, quite flattered by his statement but the Harper also was confused by Rijiin's statement. The Harper wondered about his quick willingness to give up everything, and everyone he knew there.

 

 

"What about family? You know like I have with my family here. Varden Terrill, Mirya, Talla, Sana and Cara and others who care about me. What about your friends?" She asked, "You had people who cared about you and you about them in your century right? How can you give that all up so easily?" Rijiin shrugged in reply to the flurry of questions.

 

 

"I did, but if I am here how can I face them as I am now?" He replied, "Even if it were possible, Varden and I were unable to find the portal that brought me here. I doubt I could convince them of my identity or could live in a place like the twentieth century anyway, not now, not like this. Besides, their lives will continue to go on and they will still have feelings for me even if I am not with them." With that, Rijiin nodded a couple of times. 

 

 

"Truer words, you may be correct Rijiin but as you have said quite often, one would not know unless you try." Natil reminded him and he grinned openly, nodding quickly.

 

 

"Very fine words." He remarked gravely, "The person who said that is quite wise beyond his years." She laughed briefly and put her hand on his broad shoulder.

 

 

"Well, if Varden could not find or sense the portal that brought you here to my century, then it appears and I assume that means you are here to stay, at least for now." Natil said with a smirk, glancing at Rijiin who looked up at the sky as the twinkle of the first stars of night appeared overhead.

 

 

"Aye Natil, as long as it is here with you." He responded, not turning his head to meet her gaze. Instead he watched the stars above. A flattered look appeared on her face and she smiled broadly. The elf shifted uncomfortably on the quilt they both sat on.

 

 

            "A! I'- yeste elen." He murmured, "Lle karn- bir kyermea- a' I' arwen Elthia." Natil grinned, and she looked up at the first star when he brought it to her attention. Silently, the elf made a wish, and the maiden heard it in his thoughts. Rijiin sensed her knowing, but he did not return her gaze that burned into him. 

 

 

Here they would stay for the next three days, laughing talking, flirting and carrying on as if they knew each other all their lives. Together with his sax he brought from the future he played with Natil at his side, a gracious smooth melody that blended with her harp. At the end of each of the three days Rijiin did his meditations, teaching Natil the martial arts he had learned as a human and gazing many a time up at the stars with his new friend, perhaps even what he could say his conscious and lover in this century. 

 

 

As Rijiin continued to gaze up at the stars above him, he sat beside the Harper unblinking, letting the starlight flow over him. Staring at the twinkling star patterns the elf found a star that he let pull him toward it. Quickly, he passed through the cornea, through its white fire and a moment later found his way to a grassy meadow. Here Rijiin stood in front of the Lady. He                                                                                                                                                                                                     knelt before her and she placed a loving hand on his shoulder with a nod.

 

 

"Arise and be welcome Rijiin." She told him and he did so. The Lady embraced Rijiin warmly, and the elf stared into her warm gray eyes.   

 

           

"My Lady," He said, "I seek your council and your wisdom."

 

 

"Speak then." She replied. "I am here."

 

 

            "I am in love with Natil the Harper, and do not know how to tell her or know how to show her." He began. "I have tried several times, but I just do not have the words to express how I feel to Natil and how to convince her of my love for her."

 

 

            "I see." She replied, putting a hand on his shoulder.

 

          

"Be at peace. Have patience, time flows like the wind and is ever changing. Your time will come and both your hearts will open like a flower to each other. The Harper is coming around and is falling in love with you too, but it will take some time before your paths come together and become one." The Creatrix explained, "It is like a wind that this love shall flow and know this if you are separated you will not be for long. You both will sense each other's presence and always know where each other is, never being separated from each other." Rijiin, at first he did not understand the meaning of her statement. He managed a slight nod when it finally came to him.

 

 

            "That is a very poetic sentiment." The elf replied quietly. The woman smiled as they stood together in the meadow talking for many minutes. Their discussion was one that Rijiin would never forget and after a moment, he bowed formally to her.

 

 

            "Thank you my Lady." He replied, "I think I understand what you mean."

 

 

            "Go in peace Rijiin." The woman replied, placing her hand on his shoulder as he knelt before her. .


 

            "You have my thanks, for allowing me to come to you." Rijiin said, still kneeling before her and flashing a smile at her when looked up to see her nod quietly to him.

 

 

     "Be at peace, you are welcome here Rijiin." The robed woman had said and abruptly the meadow cleared from view. Many hours later at sunrise, Rijiin returned from his trance. Here he blinked his eyes several times before turning his head and stared at the long dark hair of Natil, who now sat beside him. He slowly rose to his feet, walking toward a nearby tree where he began packing their stuff in preparation for the trip down to the forest floor into Malvern. It would be a short trip in which both he and Natil would return to the elves encampment near Saint Brigid. As he worked, the Harper watched him curiously and noted that he was silent the entire time. Rijiin filled the satchel that they had brought with them, which included a half drank bottle of wine, remnants of cheese, bread and fresh spread. He paused for a moment from packing, as the first ray of sunlight peeked over the tall mountains of the Aleser that towered above them. The elf quietly smiled as the sun moved upward into the partly cloudy sky. 

 

 

     "What a glorious morning."  He murmured, "And many more like those to come."

 

 

A short time later, Rijiin and his companion traveled down the path into the forest from the mountains, walking quickly on the paths known to elves, to enter the forest floor. Natil, as she walked beside Rijiin on the paths had glanced at him several times, mostly in curiosity. The elf maiden could see that the elf was deep in thought and quickly reading his mind she knew what he was thinking. The Harper grimaced at the thoughts he was having and she grimaced at the memories of their first meeting in this century, one that the young Harper would not forget.

 

 

           The newly transformed elf remembered the first time he had met Natil here in the fourteenth century, a few months after his healing and transformation by Elven magic. It had been at least three months since his arrival into the new century and in his new time Rijiin had been living in Saint Brigid the southern-most free town in Adria. Mirya would bring him to the encampment a month or so later, traveling to his new home among elves instead of humans. As he stood in the firelight, they all knew him by name, sensing their acceptance as the others nodded a silent greeting to him. Scanning the cavern, his eyes fell upon the familiar long dark hair, the fair and beautiful Harper, Natil of Malvern. He let out a gasp and all eyes of the other elves had turned to fall upon the newcomer silently as he shook his head in disbelief. Rijiin did not know what to make of this situation, only knowing her to leave to the east on a whim. The young man said he would miss her, and promised to follow when he could to be with her at her destination, but that would never happen when he found the portal at Eastridge Mall. The elf stared in astonishment at the familiar face, not sure how and what to say to her.

 

 

             "It cannot be!" He thought, staring at the familiar round face, the lean figure, the long dark hair and blue eyes. The elf gasped aloud at the familiar beauty of the Harper, his first love when they met at his college in nineteen ninety three. A time that he, at that moment, did not know it would not come to pass with his appearance, change into an elf and new life in this century. Rijiin wore a broad smile on his fair features.

      

 

           "It is!" He thought "Natil!" The maiden looked up in surprise from her music when she heard her name, and the others watched as he rushed toward her. She stood up, and he took the Harper's hands to gaze longingly into her eyes. The elf after a moment had embraced her warmly and kissed her full on the lips. Terrill, Mirya, Talla, Varden, Sana, even Cara had been surprised when Rijiin had charged the Harper and all had had smiled openly as he planted the passionate kiss on her lips. Natil, on the other hand, had gasped when he had embraced her and felt the kiss on her lips. A very sweet one, filled with a promise. She sensed his longing, loneliness and doom. Those emotions seemed to fall away as he held her in his arms, and the young maiden was startled to hear his thoughts. Her face showed astonishment and confusion on her fair features. She glanced at the other elves and grimaced at her kinfolk who were grinning openly at the display of passionate affection.  

 

 

            "MY God Natil, I am whole again. I missed you and never knew what I had until you were gone." His thoughts had startled her. Rijiin did not care who he was, and he wept openly glad to see the young Harper again. She placed her hand on the newly transformed elf's broad shoulder.

 

 

           "I have missed you." Rijiin declared, looking up to peer into her blue eyes. He smiled, seeing the warm but confused expression on her face. The elf held her hands as he took a half step backward.

 

 

            "I appreciate the greeting, quite warm that it is, but?" Natil began but shook her head a moment later. Her mind is a whirl of emotion as she stared at the young man before her. "Have we met before Messier?"

 

 

            "We met a while ago, but you may not remember me." He replied formally and here the young Harper had managed a slow nod. Rijiin was astonished by her reply and not sure what else to say. He sensed something amiss here, something had changed and Rijiin was not quite sure what it was.

 

 

            "It must have been a lifetime ago." She replied with an unsure tone.

 

 

            "It has." Rijiin told her, "Very much so beloved. It has quite a few months since we were together." Natil's mouth had dropped open when Rijiin had said the word 'beloved', and the Harper feeling more confused, only stared at him in wonder.

 

 

            "I think you have made a mistake." The Harper confessed solemnly, "If we have met, I do not remember you. What is your name messier? Perhaps that will help."

 

 

            "Rijiin, Rijiin L'Theil, at your service." Rijiin replied, and she shook her head. The elf suddenly realized there was something different about the young Harper, and sensed that she did not recognize or remember him. He was careful to use his elven name he had chosen when he realized that the human part of him probably faded from him when Mirya had changed him using the elves magic. It had been a long time since his arrival into this time and he assumed he was long dead on a hunch.

 

 

     "I am probably already dead, being gone a year from my own time." He thought, unaware of the dismembered body that was found in a pool of his own blood across from Eastridge Mall in a cement drainage culvert a week after he had jumped out of time and space.

 

 

The elf quickly remembered where he was, realizing that she would definitely have no memory of their meeting and their relationship as it had been before would not happen yet. It would not happen for the next four hundred plus years, if it happened at all. He backed off immediately on a gut feeling he had.

 

 

            "I am not sure if I remember you, are you certain we have met before?" She asked, and Rijiin smiled as he nodded his head affirmatively.

 

 

           "As I said, it has been a while young Harper," He said, "I am not certain myself, and I may have mistakenly thought you are someone I knew."

 

 

Rijiin backed away as he made his rounds with the other eves. Turning he embraced Mirya and shook Terrill's hand warmly. Turning, Rijiin returned Talla's embrace, before accepting a cup of wine from her. Behind him, a very confused Harper sat in the corner. He turned his head and winked at her. She smiled warmly at him. 

 

 

     "There is one good thing from this homecoming at least." He thought, with a grimace, "I am finally home where I belong and I am at peace."

 

 

Rijiin with that notion, cast a slow panning look throughout the cave they were gathered. It is earthy, with several rock formations and stalactites high above them from a high ceiling. Surrounding them were stalagmites, broken down and replaced with benches that are carved out of trees and along the wall are benches carved in the stone between them. There were also wooden boxes holding dead wood from the trees of the surface, as elves never cut a living tree. The elf, despite the low light could see his surroundings clearly, highlighted in the purple and lavender colors. Here, the elf glanced at the now familiar surroundings and his new home after arriving here, for him, in a fresh new century.

 

 

     "Kind of barbaric, primitive, but it's cozy, safe among friends." He thought and he nodded slowly. He let the soothing melody of Natil's harp calm his senses as he peered into the fire at the crackling flames and glowing embers.

 

 

            Quickly, the elf's reminisces faded, and his eyes focused again upon the beautiful Harper who walked beside him as they traveled down to the forest floor. The maiden had felt strangely by the young elf, and still intrigued by his presence even a year later after his arrival into this century. The first thing had been the startling thoughts she heard when he had embraced her the initial time and when 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 so far away. He is so familiar to me but is not. Who is Rijiin L'Thiel 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. The elf had only been to the encampment a couple of times and each time had been greeted with open arms and warmly welcomed. Natil watched him interact as Rijiin sat among them, and he told them of many adventures he'd undertaken in the year he had been traveling throughout Adria. He had told Natil later the name he once was and still that did not mean anything to her, further confusing her even more. Rijiin started to doubt himself about how his presence among the elves and how he could manage to coincide with the Harper, by living and being together in the encampment. He almost considered leaving and traveling in any direction to leave Adria all together.  Cara realized what he planned and advised him with Roxanne to not.

      

 

"Where and how does Rijiin fit into everything going on right now? Starting with his unexplained appearance here and change into an elf?" Natil asked herself, "Is he truly my companion and true love?" He startled her with his interest in music, playing for the villagers of Saint Brigid at Christmas mass. He played carols of the season on a strange instrument he brought with him from the future. The music had been uplifting, cheerful and jazzy. It was unlike anyone of the fourteenth century had seen before.

 

 

Natil shook her head in silence as Rijiin walked beside her, deciding to open up with a bit of chitchat hoping to learn more about her traveling companion, Rijiin L'Theil. After all, he was really trying to get along with her and the others, adjusting extremely well to his new existence, having been transformed by their magic into an elf like them. He had come to them a young broken human, first finding his death in Natil's century at the point of a sword, then rebirth and life at the hands of the elves' of Malvern.

 

 

Rijiin would find rebirth when Mirya and Terrill happened upon him on sheer accident, traveling the paths through the forest known only to elves. The elven couple was coming home from Saint Blaise after visiting Terrill's friend, George Darcy, the mayor of the fair city. As they stepped into the clearing, with their mounts in tow, they did not see the body of Rijiin lying partially covered with leaves. It is when he groaned that both elves stopped to draw their swords when hearing it, and quickly scanning the clearing around them. Only then, did the elven couple see the unmistakable human form lying nearby, and together they crept toward the motionless body of Rijiin, both of them holding their blades at ready. When they were within fifteen paces from Rijiin's body, Mirya and Terrill both saw the pool of blood on the ground around him and realized that the person lying here was wounded.

 

 

     "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 that the maiden knelt beside Rijiin. Quickly she uncovered the body of the wounded human of the leaves and debris that covered him and 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, his insides are partially exposed. Blood covered his clothing and the ground, and flies buzzed around him attracted by the blood.

 

 

"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 he was mauled by a bear. She suddenly was reminded of that day when she found him, healing him, and his thanks for that healing was 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, realized thankfully it was not. The elf maiden suddenly sensed something strange about this person, something at first that she did not understand.

 

 

Mirya 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, seen many times 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', the tag read 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 well again." She noted his look drawn far-off gaze and Terrill noted her look of fear.  She remembered Baron Roger in this state and 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? This mail was made differently or made at that location? 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, than Baron Roger was when you healed him." Mirya shot him an amused look.

 

 

"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 be 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 it 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."

 

 

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 both of feather and 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 Red-tailed 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 red-tailed hawk'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, arriving in Saint Brigid, and being 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 shouldn't 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 on my watch 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. Almost intrigued at what she saw in the young man before her. She knew that he went by another name, but no longer, that part of him had died in his own century in a pool of his own blood. A mutilated body lay in a cement culvert on a cold December day.

 

 

"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 am. 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 powerful magic at work here."

 

 

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. He nodded silently but his instincts also told him to beware.

 

 

 "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.

 

 

"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."

 

 

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 was opened at the sight of the elves and as David approached, Terrill paused 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 has been triggered by my healing him. I think Varden might give some insight on what's happening."  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."

 

 

Rijiin was placed in one of the spacious bedrooms in the large home of Kay, the village priest that sits attached to the church next to it. Mirya took a seat on the stool beside the bed and she glanced at the very room the young maiden was placed in when she arrived at Saint Brigid.                                                                                                                                                 

 

 

The room is quiet, and the only illumination was that of a fire burning on the hearth. Dark, carved beams crossed the ceiling, their shadows flickering as the flames crackled and snapped. Somewhere in the distance, a door closed. Footsteps approached, and then receded. Another door opened and closed, then once more only the crackling of the fire that warmed the room and echoed the light within him.

 

 

Rijiin slowly opened his eyes, and they focused in the half-illuminated room. Sensing he was not alone, he turned his head to gaze upon young looking woman who sat next to the bed in a chair. She was dressed simply in a green and gray garb, her red/gold hair spilling to her shoulders. Her face was gentle, and to Rijiin, quite beautiful.

 

 

"Hello." She said formally, "My name is Mirya." He was looking at her emerald green eyes. They reflected the firelight, but there was something more to them, something that seemed to fill their depths.  He remembered her partially in the wooded clearing and what she said to him, something about healing.  He said nothing at first, only meeting her gaze, the slight smile she had on her face, and he sensed the relief in her voice.

 

 

Mirya stared at the unfamiliar face before her that over a few hours had changed as they traveled south. The ruddy complexion of Rijiin had gone, returning as a fair featured, almost ivory complexion. His body and soul had changed too. She sensed that he was no longer what he was when they first found him. Mirya realized that the energy was transforming him inwardly now, as it did to her, but it was not she, or the goddess whom the elves worshipped behind his initial transformation. The elf maiden sensed something, but could not exactly know what that was.

 

 

He opened his mouth and no sound came out as an airless word came from his mouth. He frowned clearing his throat. "W-who are you? Where am I?"

 

 

"This village is called Saint Brigid. It is the southernmost of the Free Towns. You are in the priest's house."

 

 

Beyond Mirya, he made out a bench, a table, and chairs. Moonlight shone in through a window of glass, glinting on the lozenge shaped panes and on a crucifix on one wall. He eyed the bed post made and carved out of a thick ash tree. He managed a shrug of his shoulders. In the corner he was relieved to see his blade standing nearby, still attached to the cloth woven belt and his satchel containing a musical instrument.

 

 

"You don't look like a priestess." 

 

 

"Kay is the priest here." She said simply, "Be at peace, Kay's attitude about those who are?different? are much more enlightened than those of his Church, and many folk here are not unused to the powers and abilities found here. You will find this village a haven."  He had no idea in what the maiden meant and was referring to.  She wondered if it was their meeting in the clearing and only half conscious he remembered the sights from a strange angle as he hung from the back of a horse, watching the trees go by.

 

 

"With thanks." The newly transformed elf replied with a nod, and he met the green eyes of the elf-maiden who sat before him. She leaned forward, and from a golden chain, a pendant of a crescent moon and interlocked, rayed star, twinkled in the low firelight.

 

 

Rijiin glanced down at himself in relief for being in one piece after that sword? He shuddered at the memory, suddenly remembering the blade that ran through his gut. Lifting the goose down quilt over him he peered at his wound, the area strangely he could see highlighted in purples and lavender colors. There was no wound or a scar that remained as he examined the area of the wound. Rijiin regarded the young elf maiden for a moment.

 

 

"Wait a minute, I was wounded seriously and the last place I was is in a wooded clearing. How long have I been here in Saint Brigid and how did I get here?" He asked suddenly, "I think I remember you kneeling over the top of me."

 

 

"When we found you, you were in the forest of Malvern, about halfway between Saint Blaise, another village north of here and Saint Brigid." She replied, "You were almost dead when we found you."

 

 

"You? healed me?"

 

 

"I did." She replied, "I have that talent in addition to others." He turned to look beyond the beautiful young elf maiden.

 

 

"You arrived initially in the largest city, the capital city, called Hypperex, and the city is several days travel, and many leagues from here." Mirya told him, "It is north of Saint Brigid and Saint Blaise. You are lucky to have crossed through the many perils of Malvern Forest, and lucky to be alive when we found you. If you came from there, you are fortunate to leave an Inquisition held city unscathed. Terrill, my mate and I, brought you to Saint Brigid."

 

 

"Inquisition?" He asked, his face showing utter astonishment, "Okay, these games have gone a bit far, that's not what I put in for. This must be a pain related hallucination."

 

 

"Games?" Mirya asked curiously, and after a moment he shook her head. He glanced sideways at her as he nodded. 

 

 

"Yes, games. It is in the shop in East?" He began but suddenly trailed off at the expression she gave him. It was the look of confusion on her face.

 

 

"Whatever you are expecting to happen is not what you will find here in Adria." She told him, "But I am here to help you, as I am the one who healed you and is now one of your guides to a new century. Be at peace Messier you are safe here." He turned his head, almost snapping his head off as he met her green eyes in astonished silence.

 

 

 "? A new century?" He gasped out the question, "Is this for real? You have to be kidding. That is not possible, except in science fiction."

 

 

"Just so you know, it IS real and you are now sitting alive in well in the year of the goddess, thirteen hundred and fifty two, A.D" She replied, "It is August. Be at peace, and be happy you are still with us, even despite what happened and is happening to you."  Rijiin had gasped openly making Mirya frown.

 

 

"Are you not well with that revelation messier?" She asked and he shook his head slightly.

 

 

"No, I'm good. All this just has got suddenly complicated. It has to be a hallucination. I bet I am still in that clearing about to die from my wounds or unconscious and deranged. " He replied sharply and noted her expression and a shake of her head.


 

"Nay, you have been hea?"

 

 

"I know I was healed." He replied sharply, "It is just your answer. I?I wasn't expecting an answer like that. I thought it was the year nineteen hundred and ninety-four still. I put in for games in a mall shop, and I somehow I ended up here wounded and losing consciousness. Now ending up, well, coming to this village, and healed." He replied, "Excuse me if I am a little confused and concerned this is not an elaborate setup."

 

 

She tilted her head as Rijiin groaned as he tried to sit up and found he could not. "And someone tell the guy with the jack hammer, to lay off." He fell back against the goose feather filled pillow and the newly transformed elf held his head with his hands.

 

 

"You happen to be in the fourteenth century." She told him, "If it is if any consequence. I don't understand how you got here or why, even if what is to come is not even written yet. I am here to help you. By the way, what is a jack hammer?"

 

 

"It is an expression from where I am from. It is the one on my head making my brain hurt." Rijiin said with a smile and frowned when he realized Mirya just did not get the humor and his making light of the situation. "And for your information the future is written already, you just have to make choices that change and make it shape at your whim. Good or bad it is written on decisions made."

 

 

"You know I do remember you, sort of, kneeling beside me before I passed out from the pain." He admitted, "I give you my thanks for whatever you did to me. I am at your service. My name is Rijiin L'Theil, the Just."                                                            

 

 

"I know and it is my pleasure to make your acquaintance." Mirya said cautiously, and he narrowed his eyes, sensing that caution. He had heard her intend the use 'again' even though she did not openly say it. 

 

 

"Something has happened, something to do with my arrival in this place." He thought, "I wonder what she is holding back." Mirya tried to brighten her face with a smile that came out all wrong and a frown of question appeared on his now fair features.

 

 

"You were badly wounded and we brought you to Saint Brigid when we saw a strange aura surrounding you. It was nothing as we had seen before and we had to consult with our kinfolk. He indicated that the aura is part of your healing and it is an ancient power that has helped and healed you. You should not feel any different in a day or so. You have changed?"

 

 

Rijiin managed to sit up and gasped as he saw the image of himself in the mirror. A youthful face, with an ivory complexion, fair, handsome with gray eyes and long brown hair stared back at him in the firelight.

 

 

"?a little bit and you will see it in the mirror across from you." Mirya said, completing her thought. She met his grimace with a nod. "Be at peace, I can only explain that you are transforming into an elf like me because of that aura we saw around you that vanished almost when we arrived at the village this afternoon. Even though we did not see it, we sensed it was still changing you."

 

 

"Great." He replied, grimacing at the mirror lifting his hands and touching his face, "What the heck did you? it do to me? I can't go out in public like this." Closing his eyes he gasped when he saw the twinkle of starlight in the darkness, as-if he was staring at the stars in the sky.

 

 

"You are not ill-formed by any means, Rijiin. You will see a lot of changes in the next few hours, over a course of many days or months. It depends on the power of the magic, as it can choose many paths for the changes ahead." Another voice said, and turning his head he made out Varden who stood near the door in the shadows. He had not heard him enter the room.

 

 

"I am Varden." He touched his forehead and bowed wide-stance, and low. Rijiin peered at the tall lean elf. He wore a simple garb of green and gray, dark hair cascaded to his shoulder and his face was gentle, almost womanly. Dangling at his throat is the same pendant that Mirya wore: a crescent moon and interlocked, rayed star, from a gold chain.

 

 

"To answer your question Rijiin, you are changing by the day into an elf like we are. It appears that the energy that surrounded you was triggered by Mirya's healing ability." He said and he paused when he saw Rijiin's look of question appear there. "Why is another question and only time at this moment will disclose the reason behind the changes happening to your physical body and to the essence of your very soul. Be at peace, we shall help acclimate you as best we can. That is what the elves are here for, healing comfort and aid to those in need."

 

 

"At least he knows about the time jump and the century he now resides in." Mirya murmured and Varden managed a nod.

 

 

"And of course the reason, you already know about the century jump. Why that happened and the circumstance will also be told over time. Be at peace, you are alive and well in the year thirteen hundred and fifty one AD. I am aware of your jump through the winds of time and space. The portal that brought you here was a random element with no explanation of its purpose and the caster."

 

 

"I know I was brought here after I stepped through the gateway of the games, I will be able to return home right?" Varden again shrugged in response. No-one present was aware that a dismembered, mutilated, and blood-covered mass of a human body that would be found in a cement culvert across from Eastridge Mall, in his home town of San Jose. The body was transported and appeared in the culvert after he was changed into an immortal. The remains are the very essence of humanity that would be left after his transformation into an elf.

 

 

I wasn't expecting for this to happen, I can go home to my home century right?" Rijiin asked again, and Varden did not shake is head or nod, he merely shrugged. "Be at peace. That is a path that will be investigated in time. Right now, we should focus on what is happening in the present. Perhaps a little question and answer session to help you quickly acclimate is needed to explain what you are going through over the time ahead."

 

 

"Also, I bid you welcome to Saint Brigid, your new home for now Rijiin, and to your new people." Varden declared solemnly. He nodded his head sharply a couple of times.

 

 

Little did Rijiin, Varden, or even Mirya realize that it was the form of elvish blood, the termed 'old blood' that mixed through the centuries between elves and humans. It is where inter-racial marriages happened through the centuries at hand, and their off-spring carried both human and elven sides. The blood, when reawakened, would proceed to change the human into an elf, and the changes usually happened discreetly over a short time. It was not the case for Rijiin, having changed much over the allotment of hours instead of days or months. Mirya had simply healed him, triggering the old blood, and making the changes start to happen. Here, many events would follow as he changed into an elf and he would have to endure, just as the others had over many centuries themselves. One of those events would be his exploration of Adria over the next year ahead of him. He would bear witness to the many burnings of heretics by the Inquisition in the northern most cities, the smell acrid smell of smoke and burning flesh permeating his senses as he stood watching these events in stunned silence.

 

 

He would also meet Natil again, in this different time, changing history as it was known by stepping through a portal that would take him to a century, far before Natil would leave Adria and the world over. The timeline where he had met Natil, in the future, would fade away having changed by his arrival into the Renaissance Age. He would arrive a long time before Natil would leave Adria to travel the world over. He would travel and explore many places in Adria, always with Natil and never solo despite the risk of capture by the Inquisition whom he slew with a flash of his blade.

 

 

"If only?" Rijiin thought as more images formed in his head, but quickly faded to black leaving the starlight in the darkness when a hand had touched his shoulder. His reminisces faded away and he opened his eyes, turning his head to meet Natil's curious expression.

 

 

As the elf and his companion walked down the path, Rijiin held Natil's hand as he stared inwardly at the starlight as his consciousness floating many avenues. The elf saw infinity in the star patterns, seeing many events appear and disappear in the ether. He saw past events, present events and future events. Most of the future events were cloudy, showing events relative to his choices made. Rijiin did see one avenue, very clearly, and he found himself astounded by the images. It is an avenue that would be in a far off land in a high place near mountains, like the Aleser Mountains, and here under a wooden trellis arch in a thickly growing garden next to a large building. Here Rijiin saw a flash of blue and silver, also a flash of white. He saw the flash of Natil in a wedding dress, walking down an aisle toward him as he stood beside a podium and the Creatrix of the elves. The elf recognized it as his wedding day to Natil. An event that he could not say would happen but could happen. The rest of these images turned to gray as they were hazed out, becoming unrecognizable. He smiled at the thought.

 

 

"Diol lle a'mael, lye karnea- arn  lema seasuea." Natil said, and Rijiin walking beside her, did not turn his head. The elf had only grunted in response as he nodded. Natil had thanked him and said that he made her journey pleasurable. The young elf glanced in her direction, seeing the hurt on the Harper's face by his lack of response to her statement, and he managed a forced smile followed by a polite nod.

 

 

"Na ie' seere." Rijiin replied, taking up her hand, and he kissed it gently. The elf told her to be at peace in elvish, but shook his head when he could not find the proper words to finish his sentence. "We shall do it again soon. I promise. I am glad that you had a good time in the mountains with me."

  

          

Smiling Natil nodded, "I would like that. Ta vanima."

 

 

            "Aye Natili." He said, glancing to the surroundings, "Any time you want."

 

 

 Rijiin smiled when he made out the familiar landmarks and from that he knew they thankfully were almost home. Natil, however, before she stepped with Rijiin onto the paths only known to elves, she had stopped abruptly. She held his hand, and she pulled at his hand, making him backward a step. Turning he glanced at her in question. The Harper's face colored in a slight blush as she looked down and smiled, tugging on his hand. Natil pulled him toward her, leading him by the hand and a moment later she placed her arms around him in a passionate embrace.

 

 

            "Really, 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, meeting each other's gaze, and staring into each other's eyes for what seemed to be a long time. A smile appeared on her fair features.

 

 

            "Sai- saesu." He murmured, telling her it was pleasant, "And very nice."

 

 

"I know how you feel about me, and wish to have a little more time." She said, "I heard your wish up there, and I am very flattered, quite honored but I am alas not ready for a relationship. Perhaps we can be friends for a time before we take that step. As immortals we do have all the time in the world."

 

 

           "I understand." He replied lamely. Rijiin tried to force himself not to react to her statement and did so with tact and with understanding, rather than emotion. The elf let a breath out, feeling suddenly at ease. He also became aware of someone watching, and without even thinking about it, he let his awareness move through the trees. What the elf had sensed was one of Natil's kinfolk, Varden, who walked toward the encampment through the woods a fair distance away from them. Rijiin smiled at him as he appeared in the clearing and raised his hand in a silent greeting. 

 

 

            "Varden, my old friend," He said, "Alanae ea yolisi Elthia!"

 

 

           "Aye, manea."  Varden replied simply, "Welcome home you two? I hope I did not interrupt." Natil and Rijiin glanced at each other, and both elves blushed slightly. They had realized that Varden had seen them together and had seen them kiss. Both stepped back from each other embarrassed, when they realized they were still embraced in each other's arms.

 

 

             "No, you did not interrupt Varden." Rijiin sputtered, and he managed a self-conscious grimace at Natil who smiled openly.

 

 

Natil's kinfolk smiled openly, clearly amused by the couple's discomfort. Varden had already looked into the starlight patterns, every day since Rijiin's arrival into the fourteenth century, and saw many events to come for the newly transformed elf, including ones that would confuse him. He would see an event that would involve a journey to a far off land through the winds of time and space for the couple. He grimaced at the sight, seeing many paths ahead for the couple including Rijiin and Natil's death. The elf was stunned by the vision, not expecting to see the future path, one of many that opened for the elven couple. Their death would not be not be at the hand of the Inquisition in this century, but the wings of oblivion which would claim them as they traveled through time and space. Turning his attention to the couple he managed a grimace despite all that he had seen in the patterns.

 

 

            "So did you enjoy your trip mistress Harper?" Varden asked, and Natil met her kinfolk's gray eyes that twinkled brightly. She nodded in reply to his question.

 

 

            "Aye, I did." the Harper said, "It was a wonderful diversion, with my thanks to Rijiin."

 

 

            "Lle ar' creoso, Natili." Rijiin chimed in, "We can do it again anytime you like." A startled look appeared on Varden's face when he heard Rijiin speaking elvish. Something that he had not expected in such a short time and another slight smile appeared on his face. It is quite apparent to Natil's kinfolk that Rijiin was making every effort to fit in to his new home, openly embracing the changes made to him by the elves' magic. Rijiin, Varden sensed, had no desire to return to the time where he rightfully belonged. It was not because he did not want to, it was just not possible. Plus, Rijiin, he knew, did not want to leave Natil's side after finding her again.

 

 

Varden had been with him when they traveled to the clearing where he had arrived and both found no sign of the portal that brought him to this century. They both returned to the encampment, a look of concern on his face as the elf realized the meaning behind this find. Rijiin is now a permanent resident of the present, (in the fourteenth century) and the newly transformed elf clearly having accepted that fact with no remorse. Also it troubled Varden when it came to Rijiin's transformation by their magic. Both had happened out of sheer circumstance, his healing and transformation triggered by Mirya's powers to help and heal. Little did Varden and even Rijiin knew that the portal that brought him here had closed after he had changed into an elf. The newly transformed elf did not realize at first that he was free from the future because of the elves' magic, leaving him alive and well in the past four hundred plus years.

 

    

     "I wonder if there is a price for such a transformation." Varden thought to himself, unaware the price Rijiin had paid to keep his new existence was his human side, his very soul. It is this part of Rijiin that made a mutilated, dismembered, and a bloody corpse that lie in the cement drainage ditch in the twentieth century. Varden shook his head, turning his attention back to Rijiin and Natil. He watched as Rijiin nodded to the Harper. She walked toward him, passing him by as she entered the nearby opening of the cave where the others reside. Pausing at the door, the Harper winked at Rijiin, who smiled in response. Varden glanced at his new kinsman and a look of understanding appeared on his face, sensing that there was something agreed upon between the couple.

 

 

     "She is very talented Rijiin," Varden told him, "I know how you feel about her, I know what happened in that alternate future time line between the both of you, but she is very different here. I do not think you will find the same person you sought before in that other timeline. She is in her own world and music is her life. We think very highly of Natil, as she is a very complex person who rarely lets anyone in."

 

 

           "I know Varden." Rijiin replied, "I took her on this trip with me as a friend and a companion for my travels. I was not out to find any romance, even-though we had something special between us in the alternate timeline you mentioned. I just wanted to share what I had found with someone special to me once, maybe even get to know her as a good friend and go from there. Perhaps, one day she shall find someone, it is hard to tell, but I hope it is me. If I am not the one, I am still happy for her for whoever is lucky to find her and whoever Natil lets in to her world. Her happiness is my happiness." Inside Rijiin forced himself to relax, and nodded to the notion, repeating it in his head. 'Her happiness is my happiness.' He let out a silent exhale.

 

 

With that notion, the conversation seemed to die as Varden's attention turned to the sky. Rijiin saw him scan it quickly, and both elves sensing the brewing storm above them. The newly transformed elf also looked up at the billowing clouds above them, as a cool wind whipped at their cloaks, and snow began to fall on the forest canopy above them. Rijiin shivered at the cold wind, and took a half step toward the entry of the cave.

 

 

           "Come, we are expected indoors." He said, motioning to Rijiin and walked toward the entrance of the cave. Varden vanished through the opening first, and Rijiin followed close behind him. As he stepped toward into the entryway, the newly transformed elf felt a wash of fear and panic overwhelm his senses. His eyebrows rose in alarm at the sensation that seemed to fill his very soul, barely managing to grab the edge of the entry's stone wall to keep falling. Here, Rijiin steadied himself quickly focusing on the stars as taught by Mirya and the others, soothing the strange feelings. After a moment, Rijiin straightened up and shook his head. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Natil appear in the entryway of the cave and he turned his head to smile at her.

 

    

            "Now that was strange." He thought, as he saw her concerned face. He grimaced at her worried expression.  

 

 

     "Tulien, Natili." He said, nodding to her.

 

 

            "Rijiin? Are you alright?" The Harper asked in concern and frowned playfully at him. He waved his hand at her, pushing the cloth that covered the opening aside and stepped into the dim chamber. His eyes quickly adjusted to the low light of the entry, and taking a few more steps entered the main chamber where the elves were gathered.  Rijiin found himself embraced by Cara, who took his hands and led him to an open place beside the Harper. The elf had chuckled as he sat beside Natil, feeling an uncomfortable flush rise above the collar of his green and gray tunic. Glancing at her, Rijiin could see that even in the dim light Natil blushed too. Talla appeared beside him a moment later, with a goblet of wine and handed it to him. He accepted it with a nod and took a determined sip of the red liquid from the goblet as he looked into Talla's eyes that were bright and laughing.

 

 

            "A! Quel, Diola lle, Tallai," He told the young woman, "Alanea ea yolisi, Elthia."

 

 

She smiled at his use of elvish, and they all sat beside the fire talking quietly each other. Periodically, they would glance to Natil and in his direction as they made conversation with each other. Rijiin sat drinking several goblets of wine talking to Natil and the others who smiled at his many stories. A while later, Rijiin stood up from his place next to the Harper and he moved into a smaller chamber next to the main chamber. The young Harper was first to notice his departure, watching him curiously and wondering what he was doing. The others also turned their heads seeing Rijiin disappear into the other chamber too. Here, the elf took a seat in the center of it, closing his eyes as he sat alone and he found himself hurtling through what seemed to be time and space as images formed around him. Rijiin found himself sitting in a crowded eating establishment a moment later, surrounded by the chatter of many people.

 

 

The first reaction of Rijiin was to jump quickly to his feet, reaching for the blade that always is at his side, and prepare to draw it in his own defense. As he slowly turned three-hundred and sixty degrees, that he saw the familiar faces gathered here around him in what he recognized as the Red Robin  inside Eastridge Mall. The elf gasped in astonishment at the familiar surroundings and turning his head that his gaze fell upon a young human sitting alone at a nearby table. The human form of Rijiin before his jumping and transformation into time was seated there. The elf suddenly realized that it is one year ago when he attended the gathering at the request of a friend.

 

 

"By our Lady, why on Earth am I seeing this and why have I returned through time to this place?" Rijiin thought, his eyes not leaving the young human who sat at the table alone. The elf watched him for several minutes, suddenly realizing that no-one was taking time to mingle or talk with him. They others in the group were totally ignoring him and if someone did meander over in his direction, the group would distract them, quickly ushering them back to the main group. Rijiin remembered what happened next, he remembered leaving the party in a huff and returning to the Virtual Reality games on the west side of Eastridge. The elf walked toward his human self, ghosting him as he walked unabashed toward the door and the marked exit. Before Rijiin followed, however, he paused turning his head to look upon the four people who would watch him leave. Here, the elf walked toward them, standing before the four, and raising an eyebrow at the comments that would follow. He had no idea they talked about him in this manner until now.

 

 

Joseph, Chelle, Cmike and Monte stood together, all turning their heads when they saw the familiar form of his human-self get up from the table, where he had been sitting alone for most of the party. They watched him as he gathered what he brought with him, and headed for the door nearby. The elf frowned at the four, staring in wonder at the strange expressions upon their faces, and wondered why they were not doing anything to stop him from leaving the party. He sensed hostility toward his human self by three of the members of the system. He remembered sensing it then and more-so even now as an elf. Rijiin remembered that he decided to leave before he became the butt end of their humor.

 

 

            "Hey, where is he going?" Monte asked, pointing at the door where the group turned to watch as they saw Rijiin's human-self walking unhindered, unabashed toward and out of the door.

 

 

            "I don't know. He'll probably be back." Joseph commented, watching the now empty door where Rijiin's human self had walked through. He turned his head to the others.

 

 

            "Oh let him go." Chelle replied, "I never liked him anyway."

 

 

            "He did have all his stuff with him." Mike observed, "I don't think he will be coming back."

 

 

            "Well we'll ask him why when we see him on-line later." Joe suggested and at this point Rijiin noted the conversation seemed to die about him. A feeling of death seemed to fall over the group, and the elf felt it too. Something unspoken had told them that this would be the last time they would see their fellow member alive. They reacted to the feeling with an astonished glance between them, but when they reached the door the young man was already gone. They alerted the others who split up and went into the Mall to find their fellow member. A few started on the west side of the mall near Sears and Roebucks, others started on the east side near JC Penny's  Department store, a few started near the Macy's  in the middle of the Mall.

 

 

Rijiin a few minutes later, found himself ghosting his human self again. He appeared in a flash as he stood outside the large entry of store and watched as his human self stared in placid interest at the gothic text written on the sign before him. He also panned 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 just right of the lower entrance to Sears and Roebucks . (If standing in front of the shop) He stood next to the doors that allowed entry to the shop called 'The Dungeon Gaming Company' and here the young man stood staring at the sign that hung from the rod iron hangar from a thick black chain. Turning his attention away from the entry, he turned to examine the window displays at the monitors that sell the virtual reality games and other games offered at this store. Rijiin noted the shoppers glanced at him in semi disinterest as he stood casually at the entry. The elf turned his head, however, when he sensed Joseph and his girlfriend Michelle, the owners of their Bulletin Board System, walking toward him.

 

 

"There he is!" A voice called out 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 turning his head he saw two more of the fellow BBSers running toward him.

 

 

Rijiin watched his human self quickly step into the store through the saloon type doors before him and make a sharp left turn into the sea of shelves inside the store. The elf followed as he quickly walked toward the partitioned area that would lead him into the virtual reality gaming area. His human self quickly flashed his ID card and disappeared through the metal detector into the maze. Behind him, his fellow Bulletin Board members stepped into the store too and quickly split up to search, having seen him enter the store.

 

 

The elf followed his human self as he quickly navigated the partition maze, turning left, and right many times. He passed open areas with a table and chairs, where many people sat playing a manual round of DND also walked past a vending machine area. Rijiin ghosted his human form, quickly reached the locker room entryway and opening the door to step through. Rijiin walked to the locker he had used for his stuff, watching as his human self open its door and begin changing. Within a matter of minutes he changed into the costume he used in the games and the young man drew the blade, he brought with him, checking it for sharpness before putting it back into the sheath. The elf casually reached to his side and he felt the blade at his side. He watched the young human put the rest of his stuff in the locker, closing the door and locking it. He turned to walk toward the doors leading to the entryways of the games and the main gaming area. 

 

 

     Behind him, he did not know that the others who followed him had been stopped at the gateway of the partition maze by the guard. They stood in a fairly large group, and as they stood outside the partition maze, they asked many questions of the guard on duty here before adjourning to the center desk to get a membership of their own. By the time they managed to complete getting memberships and navigate the partition maze, Rijiin's human self that he ghosted had already stepped through the portal that took him out of time, literally into the winds of history.

 

 

A moment later he felt a hand rest against his shoulder, and a bright flash exploded around him as his reminisces faded. The sound of Natil's harp notes returned to his consciousness from the other room and he shook his head, relieved that he was once more in the fourteenth century in the elves encampment. It thankfully had only been a memory.

 

 

"Rijiin? Are you alright?" A girlish voice echoed in the chamber and he let out a breath looking up to meet the questioning looks of Talla and Cara who stood over him.

 

 

           "Talla? Cara?" The elf replied, meeting the worried expressions with a slight smile and sensing their questions. Rijiin was flattered by their concern. They had watched him from the entryway as he peered at the images in the starlight, noting the muscle twitches and the expression of fear that appeared on his face.

 

 

            "Is there something wrong? You have been brooding over here alone for the last two hours." Cara said, "Come." The young maiden took his hands and helped him stand.

 

 

     "?Come by the fire and be with the others." She smiled earnestly, "Come and be welcome with the others, kinsman elf." Rijiin had winced at the term, 'kinsman elf', but he followed Cara anyway toward the fire, led by her hand. The elf grinned when realizing that he was being led toward Natil, the young Harper, who sat on a bench in the corner.

 

 

            "There is no problem, Cara." He replied, feeling her tug at his arms, "I was just thinking."

 

 

            "We know." Cara replied, "But you need to let that time go." She continued to lead him toward the Harper, who looked up and smiled warmly at the youthful witch.  She sat him down beside Natil, and he flashed a smile at her. 

 

 

           "See you are welcome here." She said with a slight nod of her head and turned to take the cup of wine brought by Talla. The witch handed it to him and he gratefully accepted, sipping at it.

 

 

            "You both belong together and you both need to find happiness." The elf had blushed at the notion, and nodded to the youthful maidens who stood before him. He took a determined sip at the wine goblet, grimacing at the taste and glanced once at the smiling young Harper.

 

 

Cara made no bones about her knowledge of their relationship together, having seen the images of their wedding together when she had cast the circle. Rijiin was grateful for that and did not realize that even to Cara and Sana those images had been just as cluttered, garbled and shadowed as he had seen them.

 

 

            "Rijiin what do you see there that is so interesting than being with your friends and kinfolk." Talla shyly asked, "Varden said you are no longer held by that time. Lle behar a' uchman ta aut- Rijiini."  She had told him that he needed to let it go.

 

 

     "Profound words?" He replied gravely, "I have already heard that many times, perhaps in time I shall, in time."  Rijiin smiled and held up his hand palm out, "I promise." He said, mock swearing and here he smiled as Cara giggled. Natil, sitting beside him managed a quiet smile.  

 

 

He smiled as Talla laughed candidly at his response. The young maidens knew, as did the others, what was keeping him so distant from them and knew of his memories into the future from which he came. Rijiin, after thinking over her words, managed a slight nod. The elf thought he had let it go, but something seem to nag at him.

 

 

             "Manka lle merna, Carai, Tallai," He said, "Gorga il-? Amin cael- ilya desiel tanya, yamen' ar' luume' n'uma an-in kwarea amin. Amin rinien ere' rinea en' tanya yamen'."

 

 

           Rijiin flashed a grin at their dubious expression and was about to say something else but the elf's smile faded abruptly into a look of astonishment. A feeling of fear and panic filled his very soul. It is the same feeling the elf felt in the cave's opening. He turned his head in alarm, scanning the chamber, feeling a strong presence of someone whom he had not felt or seen in a long time. Cara had seen the alarmed expression and had glanced at Talla, Sana, and Varden when the feeling had brought him halfway to his feet. Each of his kinsfolk moved to his side in a flash, including Natil, who stood up too, placing a hand on his broad shoulders.

 

"Mouse? By the lady..." The elf breathed, astonished by the feeling.

 

 

            Rijiin felt his friend Mimi Stewart, whom he had known in the twentieth century, and this sensation was her calling out to him. It had been a talent he had used when he was human. He could know when she was thinking of him or needed him for something. Today had been her day that she would surprise him. It was a feeling that troubled the elf, knowing full well she was still in the twentieth century and not the fourteenth century. Rijiin did not know Mimi had been brought to this time, pulled by the same elven magic that had brought him here and changed him into what he was now: An elf.

 

 

            "What is it Rijiin?" The blond-haired witch asked, and he shook his head.

 

 

             "Strange, I feel my friend's presence I knew in the future. One that I have not felt in a long-time?"  He muttered, and yet as quickly as it had come the feeling rapidly had faded away.

 

 

            "What kind of feeling?" Cara asked in partial understanding, and she glanced at Varden who shrugged.  

 

 

            "Rijiin, you look as you have seen a ghost?" Sana said, standing with her kinfolk who clustered around him in concern. The elf had not been expecting to sense Mimi at this time, and had not been expecting that his transformation would make his senses so sharp.

 

 

            "Perhaps I have? I felt a presence of someone who is from the other time I was from." He murmured, and he closed his eyes. Rijiin allowed the starlight to sooth and steady his discomfort, the sensation had been like a bolt of lightning in his brain. 

 

 

         "Strange, it has passed? I am over it? Be at peace." He staggered toward the fire, and Varden took his arm.

 

 

           "Rijiin, are you sure you are all right?" He asked, "What were these sensations?"

 

 

 Varden and Cara held Rijiin's arms tightly, as they moved him to a seated position by the fire. They met the flattered concern of their new kinsman.

 

 

            "They were sensations of fear and panic from my friend in future Varden. She was my best friend in the world and who is the most compassionate and gentle person I know." Rijiin said, "It was like I feel her presence and could see from her point of view. I could sense her disorientation and confusion. They have gone now."

 

 

             "That was weird." Rijiin thought, "I hope I do not have to go through that again." He turned his focus inward to himself as he stared at the starlight that twinkled at him in the darkness. He saw images of the campus and the future spread out before him. The images of Science Quad (S-Quad) of De Anza College appeared, followed by garbled images of the portal of energy, Mimi flying through the air and a wooded clearing.

 

 

           "Mimi." Rijiin asked himself, "Why I am feeling you in this place? You should not be here. How can I be sensing you again?" He grimaced at the thought. "Something must be wrong for you to be thinking about me. You should only be reading about this place."

 

 

            "Perhaps it's just because I miss her a bit." Rijiin thought, but he also shook his head. He had sensed confusion and panic. Something was wrong and the elf knew it to be true.

 

 

            "My thanks," He murmured, looking up to smile at Talla, who filled his goblet. He slowly sipped the red liquid from it. Rijiin stared inwardly at the starlight again and to the images he saw there. They were unclear, garbled and making him even more confused.

 

 

            "It is impossible.  I should not have felt her here. I wonder what's going on." Rijiin shook his head, turning when Terrill and Mirya stepped into the cave. They greeted their kinfolk warmly but stood near the entry as they told Varden of a strange occurrence in the woods. They told him of a stranger sitting in a chair with cart's wheels attached to it. Rijiin, hearing this, perked up and had shown a look of astonishment on his fair features. He was surprised by their revelation and their news.

 

 

            "It is a wheelchair." Rijiin murmured quietly, "Where did you see this sight?" Both Mirya and Terrill stopped and turned. They regarded the elf in silence, surprised by his statement that seemed to hang in the air.

 

 

             "In my old home in the twentieth-century that would be the way injured or disabled humans got around when their limbs did not work. They also used it when they severely hurt." He explained, and grimaced at the ominous silence that followed.

 

 

            "Damn it, where did you see someone here like that?" Rijiin demanded, and he waved his hands in annoyance.

            

 

"Rijiin, we saw it close by in a clearing where we found you." Mirya replied quietly, "It was a strange vision that did not stay long, and vanished before we could approach it." She had omitted the fact she was the one who made it disappear, and he stood up quickly. The elf realized what he must do, better yet, knew what had just happened.

 

 

            "Damn, my friend is in trouble?" Rijiin said aloud and he silently met his new kinfolk's surprised expressions.

 

 

            "What are you planning to do Rijiin?" Varden, Mirya and Terrill asked simultaneously.

 

 

             "I must return to the future." He declared suddenly, and they intently looked upon him and the determination that appeared on his now Elven features. His answer surprised them.

 

 

            "You can't. Even you have said that." Terrill said, "The time you came from did not hold you and the portal that brought you here is not where you appeared in this time."

 

 

            "There is something wrong. I felt my friend's presence here, who is someone who lives in the way that you and Mirya described. She, like me, has come from the future. I must go to her." There was a brief silence in the chamber.

 

 

            "I do it for the sake of help and healing." Rijiin said, "Perhaps if not that, love."        

 

 

The elf had made a judgment call and decided to act. Mimi appearing in this place had been no accident, and he suspected there was trouble. Rijiin also knew he must act quickly. He knew full well what he planned would be called impetuous and a reckless move by the others. The newly transformed elf also knew his friend well enough though to know that if he did not act in this manner, that terrible consequences could befall her. He had figured out that it was imperative that he risked the power of the elves to jump time, perhaps possibly die in the process and fade into the wings of oblivion.

 

    

"But it is Mimi, and I would do willingly do anything for her, including die if it needed to be done." Rijiin muttered to himself, shaking his head slightly.

 

 

  Mirya and Terrill's eyebrows arched when they heard Rijiin utter something about love in anything other than contempt. He said it without hate or anger. As the elf spoke, he did so quietly and very calmly. 

 

           

"You always said Terrill, human ways are not ours, but in this case I am going to make it my very own. I have to protect someone and help her if I am able. After all, she was my best friend and was the most compassionate and gentle person I know. She deserves every chance."

 

           

"How do you think you are going to do this?" Terrill challenged, "What you probably are considering is dangerous." Rijiin considered a moment before answering.


 

            "I think it is wise to try to cast a spell using the powers of the elves." The newly transformed elf replied, "We have that power, and I feel it is a great necessity."

 

           

Varden put up his hand. "It is true what Terrill has said. What you seek is dangerous Rijiin." He said, "I ask that you do not."

 

 

 "I must return to the future to help my friend." Rijiin exclaimed with a shrug, "It's a risk, one I must take Varden, Terrill. If I do not, my friend may be hurt or die. I cannot let that happen and be able to live with that, renewal or not. I will always remember that I let it happen."

 

 

Rijiin had not intended for his words to be harsh, having snapped at his kinfolk and a stone-cold look appearing on his face.

 

 

             "Don't you care? So who is with me?" He demanded, "Who is up for such a journey?"

 

 

            "Of course we do and can help." Varden said, placing his hand on Rijiin's shoulder, "Although, for this trip, perhaps Terrill should accompany you on your mission."

 

 

           Natil looked up. "I shall go with him."  She declared solemnly. Her voice was barely audible to carry over the discussion of the others in the cave.  

 

 

           Varden, Mirya and Terrill had turned when Natil spoke up. All eyes then focused upon the Harper, the trio quietly glancing at each other. A smile appeared on Cara, Sana and Talla's faces. They had been astonished to hear the Harper volunteer for something so dangerous and one that would risk their very existence through time and space. 

 

 

            Rijiin nodded his head, "Diola lle Natili?" He said, "Ta yassen amin saesa."  The Harper smiled and bowed her head slightly.  Leaning over she kissed him. 

 

 

            "Na- ie' seere, Rijiini." She murmured, "Na eldalie naa sinta ai' auluva." He flashed a grin as the Harper nodded.

 

 

            "Diola lle, Natili?" Rijiin told her, "I feel much better knowing that."

 

 

            "I still must strongly advise against this task you seek." Terrill declared solemnly, "It puts you at great risk and especially one of my kinfolk. I cannot allow this nor allow interference with human ways, time or destiny."

 

 

            "I agree." Varden added. Rijiin regarded both his friends and teachers in the last year before he shook his head. Rijiin had a feeling it would be this way, and a fight to do what he felt was the correct move. He would have to fight and do everything in his power to make sure nothing happened to Mouse, or Natil for that matter but what he planned he sensed was the right move.

 

 

             "My friends, I must do this, and must go to her. If you had friends like I know, or it was one of your people, you would do the same for them." Rijiin shot back with amazing calm.  Terrill looked up at him, his gray eyes narrowing as if he was analyzing the statement just made. 

 

 

            "If I do not, and something happens to her Terrill, then I have failed in my purpose of the magic that changed me into an elf." He continued, "Helping and healing, you always said that is a purpose of the elves. I know this is my purpose too and I would willingly give my existence up to help her if I had to."

 

 

            "Yes helping and healing is our purpose." Varden murmured, "However, you do not need to give up existence willingly to the uncertainty of magic and risk one of your kinfolk on such an errand." Rijiin considered his words before he turned to Natil, who like the other elves had heard him, and were silent. He regarded her for a moment before turning his head to Terrill sitting with Mirya on the other side of the fire and Varden who stood with them.

 

 

            "Terrill, I am here to help, provide comfort and aid as needed. The human race may be evil, twisted, perverted, self-centered, blood thirsty, greedy and power hungry, but there are few as this person Mirya described who are good." He declared solemnly, watching Terrill and Varden as a grimace appeared on their faces when he used the adjectives to describe his people before his transformation, the human race. They were a people he had learned to hate while in this century, thanks to the Inquisition. "Let me try, damn it. She needs help and I will not deny her that help."

 

 

Rijiin returned to his place next to the Harper and put his hand on her knee, gripping it gently. She looked down at it then met his expression with a nod. By the expressions on Terrill and Varden's faces, he knew he had won and was about take on an adventure through time and space for a friend. The elf turned, meeting the smile of the Harper, who now sat beside him.

 

 

           "Natilli, are you sure you want to come." Rijiin said, "It could be dangerous. I will not risk it or you if it is unsafe. There are also no guarantees." He paused as he regarded the others as he spoke. "Of your own free will, I ask you. Are you sure?"

 

 

            "You cannot do it alone, beloved." The Harper said, nodding affirmatively, "?and I want to go, after all you will need healers. Besides, I thought you could use the company."

 

 

            "Thank you Natil." He told her, leaning over close to her, grinning at her. "We will leave in the morning. Be at peace. I will not let anything happen to you, that I promise. Fear not, elves are known for being ingenious, I won't let anything to happen to myself either." With that, he kissed her on the forehead and turned, walking toward the archway that made up the exit of the encampment, donning his cloak around him.

 

 

             "Rijiin," Mirya said, "Where are you going?" The newly transformed elf paused, turning to meet Mirya and the other's questioning looks.

 

 

             "I must prepare?" He said, "There is something I must do first. Be at peace I will return shortly." With that, he disappeared through the covering and outside into the forest, traveling a short distance from the encampment where he sat under a thick pine tree. Here he focused upon the starlight, after making a fire, and there he would remain until morning encroached upon him.

 

 

As Rijiin and Natil prepared for their journey to the future, at the same moment, Mimi, earlier in the last few minutes had disappeared from the forest clearing. She now found herself on her knees, no longer spinning in the black vortex and looking down a thick sea of grass below her. Mouse turned head, as she allowed her eyes to adjust to the dim light, and realized she was on a grassy meadow. Her eyes turned to the familiar surrounding forest and she panned a long curious gaze at it. Turning her head, she glancing up at the sky and her eyes widened as she stared at the twinkling star-filled sky above her. Mouse stared at the familiar constellations and the planets that make up the bodies of the universe.

 

 

       "What the hell?" Mouse had muttered, "Now, where am I?" The middle-aged woman turned her head many times staring at the unfamiliar surroundings, and suddenly Mouse became aware that she was not alone. Turning her head, Mimi's intent look fell upon the lone person who stood on this meadow, staring upward at the night sky. A familiar woman dressed in an ordinary blue and silver robe stood here. When Mouse saw her, she gasped openly, recognizing her immediately.

 

 

           "It's the woman who helped me on the campus." She exclaimed to herself. The Lady, the elves Creatrix, sensing Mimi had turned, smiling openly at her. Mouse stared in amazement at the now uncovered features. She peered at her round face, long brown hair, streaked with much silver, and held to one side by a golden clasp. The lady also wore a girdle embroidered with emeralds worn over her simple silver and blue robe. Mimi peered into her warm gray eyes. Mouse knew who the woman was, and her name, not needing to speak it. Mimi, without thinking, smoothly rose to her feet and glanced only once at the shadowed wheelchair, lying discarded on its side nearby as she walked toward the Lady. The elves Creatrix on the same note walked toward her and when they met halfway the woman warmly embraced Mimi.

 

 

            "Beloved Mimi," the woman said warmly, "Be welcome here."

 

 

            "W-Where am I?" Mouse asked, "What is this place?" Mouse looked up at the woman in blue and silver. Mimi managed a grimace when she met the kind gray eyes of the Lady and the twinkle of starlight she saw there.  She clearly did not understand where she was and cast a fearful glance to the surrounding meadow and then to the star field above her in the night sky.

 

 

            "Child, you are not prepared to come to me." She said, "You are in my world. You stand in my time and space." The robed woman stepped back meeting Mimi's perplexed and confused frown.

 

 

"Fear not. I shall send you a messenger when it is time, and when you are ready you shall return here, with full knowledge."

 

 

            "I don't understand. This is all a bit strange to me. How do you know me?" Mouse asked with confusion clearly on her face "Am I dead? Who are you?" Mimi peered at the lovely features of the elves' Creatrix. The disabled woman realized that she knew everything about the lady here. Her eyes twinkled brightly in the dim light. Something else Mouse did not understand either, and what she was seeing there.

 

 

            "Be at peace, you are very alive, and all your questions shall be answered soon enough." She declared solemnly, "But for now, you must return to your friends, lest they grieve for your absence." Mimi's head tilted slightly as the woman took her hand and led her to the wheelchair on its side. Here, the woman set it upright and Mouse was promptly reseated. Only then did the disabled woman gasp aloud, realizing she had been walking with the woman on her own two feet. She placed a necklace and chain in the palm of Mouse's hand, and it seemed to radiate with power. The woman nodded twice before she smiled.  

 

 

     A moment later the woman raised her arm making Mimi wince. The disabled woman immediately thought of the red and gold haired woman who had made the same motion and sent her reeling into the black vortex. This time, however, the meadow abruptly disappeared, but she was not spinning through the vortex. When she opened her eyes again, Mouse was sitting in the middle of the Sciences Quad (S-Quad) on De Anza's campus. Mimi found herself safe and sound in her wheelchair as raindrops splattered her face. Glancing to her surroundings, she realized she had returned home and looking at her watch, Mimi gawked at the time. Only fifteen minutes or less time had elapsed in the other time in the forest clearing and in the meadow with the lady. Here, however, two hours had elapsed away from the campus of De Anza where she had disappeared. She turned to scan the surroundings in silence.

 

 

            "What a strange dream I had." Mimi thought to herself, "I must have blacked out. Things really were weird there for a second."

 

 

Feeling something in her hand, Mimi turned it over. There in her hand, she held a silver and gold pendant of a crescent moon and interlocked, rayed star hanging from a gold chain. It twinkled in the light as she held it, the pendant swinging freely from the chain. Her eyes widened when she saw the pendant and the chain.

          
 

     "Oh my god it was not a dream." Mouse gasped, staring at the magnificent piece of jewelry in her hand and realized it was the same necklace the woman on the meadow wore around her neck. Mimi turned her head when a scratchy voice called out her name a moment later. Her eyes fell on the lumbering form of Robert approaching on the run with a couple of security guards. Mimi literally had appeared out of thin-air, and almost right in front of them. Quickly, she dropped her hand and covered the necklace.

 

 

          "Mimi? Where did you come from?" Robert gasped in exasperated relief, "We've been all over campus looking for you. What happened? Why are you so late?" Mouse closed her eyes at the burst of questions that assaulted her.  She did not know how to answer him.

 

 

            "I-I don't know." She replied aloud. "Apparently it was from the then into the now." She thought to herself and forced a smile on her face as he kissed her.

 

 

           "Well at least you are alright." He exclaimed with a sigh. Immediately, Robert quickly assessed the situation, taking his familiar place behind her chair. He pushed her toward the Student Campus Center in the Main Quad, their destination, but not without spending a few minutes in security to answer a few questions of her whereabouts for the two hours. Questions in which she answered honestly, and only what she knew. They had been worried about her and someone in the Library had reported a strange incident in the Sciences Quad (S-Quad) that had indicated she had been on campus. Mimi found herself flattered by the concern.

 

          

Mouse really had no idea where to begin to make sense of the chaotic events that turned her world upside down. It was a complicated dream that she clearly did not understand, and at this moment had decided not to tell anyone about it. It was just until she could make sense of the whirlwind of images that flew through her brain at quadruple speed.

 

           

 "What did the woman mean by sending me a messenger?" Mimi asked herself, staring off to the outside where the steady rain fell. She tried to understand the robed woman's cryptic meaning behind the answers to Mimi's questions. However, there were still too many unanswered questions that burned in her mind like fire. The disabled woman frowned at the chatter of thoughts that echoed like a monotone voice in her head. She shook her head slightly, as-if to clear the monotone of a phantom barker in her head. Mouse wondered where this was all leading to, the place she visited still burning hotly in her memory.  

 

 

As Mouse sat at the table, the others known to a few as the De Anza Rat pack, sat with them and they immediately noticed Mimi's very strange, odd behavior. Robert had noticed it first, followed by Becky, as did the others who had joined them this morning. Everyone noted that Mimi was silent and distant preoccupied with the strange recent events. Becky had nudged her, making her perk up and turn her head. They had spoken to her twice, and she had not responded. Mouse met their puzzled gazes.

 

 

            "What was that?" Mimi replied suddenly, "Huh? What did you say?"

 

 

            "I asked how you are today." Becky repeated to her, "Are you all right Mouse? You seem a bit preoccupied today."

 

        

"I was just thinking." Mouse lied, "Just thinking about something that happened last night, just a bit of a bad dream and bad sleep." With that, she turned her attention to the falling rain outside. The middle-aged woman could see the sunken garden past the tables belonging to the Student Campus Center, and there she focused on the art deco designed sculpture. Her mind was focused on the couple she had seen in that strange wooded clearing after flying high like a bird above a strange landscape. Mouse also wondered about their strange unisex leather clothing they both wore. She still wondered if it was all real, despite the strange necklace she held in her hand that told her otherwise.

 

 

            "What are you thinking about Mouse?  Robert asked and Mouse, at first did not answer. The disabled woman contemplated her answer and managed a grimace when she realized they were prying into her personal life. She resented their intrusion. 

 

 

            "It was just a strange night. I'm fine, really." Mimi snarled, deliberately omitting recent events about what she thought she had seen earlier this morning and what had happened. Mouse was still unable to explain any of events that had happened to her and quickly chalked it up as fatigue. Deep down, Mimi knew that was not true, having experienced something that she really could not explain, and having seen images of something that had not existed in her lifetime or at least in a few centuries past.

 

 

     All day, it seemed to nag Mimi with a lot of questions. Who were those persons she had seen in the wooded clearing or the one who stood on a grassy plain? What was the vortex that had taken her to those places? Why was her watch two hours slow when only fifteen minutes passed her by when she sat in the middle of the meadow? The very images had perplexed Mouse, as did the questions that ran repeatedly through her mind. It bothered her well after she had come home, hours later in the afternoon, and caused her mind to be overly anxious.

 

 

     "Perhaps it was a vision I saw?" Mouse thought to herself but she shook her head negatively. "No it can't be a vision." Mimi answered herself, "The images and place I saw were too realistic for being just a vision."

 

 

"There is no way I am going to be able to sleep." Mouse thought to herself, glancing over at her belt pouch that hung from a shelf in her room. She gasped loudly when she realized that it seemed to be glowing. Mimi found herself stunned by the sight before her. Rolling her chair over to the pouch, she quickly grabbed and opened it. Mouse took the glowing piece of jewelry out of it and held it in her hand. The bright gold and silver piece seemed to radiate with power, twinkling brightly as it had in the outside light, the fluorescent light in the Fireside Lounge and now even here in the lamp light of her apartment.  She stared at in silence, astonished by the glow that surrounded it.

 

 

         "Something is happening, or is going to happen, and this is my key." She muttered, and held up the necklace that continued to pulsate in the light. Mouse did not have any idea that there would be more to this tomorrow, and her life suddenly would be more complicated than it is already. An extraordinary event would happen and would be one that will hold the fabric of space, time and the very existence in the balance between two centuries for one Mimi Stewart. When the next morning finally arrived, the disabled woman awoke on another cold, rainy December morning and she stared at the same rain fell outside.

 

 

"Oh great, it is another really shitty morning." Mouse muttered to herself, but strangely deep down inside there was one difference that the disabled woman noticed right away. She felt strangely refreshed as she whizzed around her apartment at the highest possible speed and she readied herself for this new day. Mouse had amazed herself many times as she did so and even more so as she as she pushed herself to the campus from her apartment despite the falling rain.

 

 

Across town at the same moment, in a local mall known as Eastridge Mall, an event is happening in the back hallway of the store called the Dungeon Gaming Company. A swirling mass of energy has appeared out of thin air, and stepping from within it that two sets of booted feet have appeared into this hall. Rijiin L'Thiejev and Natil of Malvern have stepped from within the energy, literally arriving from the past over four hundred years into the future. Rijiin appeared in the hallway first, followed by his beloved Harper, his kinfolk, who had come with him. The elves stood together, steadying themselves against the wall of the corridor and both drained by the powerful spell that had brought them here. Rijiin turned his head, casting a curious look about the corridor in which they now stood.

 

 

            "Ile naa sinome? We are here?" Rijiin whispered to her quietly, recognizing the corridor as the shop in Eastridge. He held her arm as they stood in the deserted hallway. The young Harper, who stood beside him, had looked up in silence to meet the smiling face of Rijiin before she too scanned the strange corridor around her.

 

 

            "Lye naa?" She asked quietly "Manke, Rijiini??" She had answered him in elvish and there was a pause before shaking her head. "We are? Where are we Rijiin?"

 

 

            "We are in the future beloved. We are in the twentieth century, and at the very location where I found the portal that brought me to your time."   

 

 

Rijiin glanced at the interior of this hallway. His eyes found each of the closed doors leading into the many holo-games that lined the wall, and he also cast an uneasy glance to the main staging room only a few feet away. No one seemed to notice the portal that had opened up in the hallway, or the arrival of the elves. The elf noted the black ball on the ceiling that he knew to be a security camera, and here the elf let out a silent sigh. He knew that no doubt the camera had recorded the whole event and there were possibly humans on the way to investigate the strange images on their monitors. Turning, Rijiin met the silent questioning look of the Harper beside him and he shook his head. The elf glanced to the room nearby where this corridor ended and at the few people who were playing the games at this hour in the far room.

 

 

 "Peace beloved. Our arrival was not discovered." Rijiin told her, "Sinome, sina men, A'mael. Lle-cael aut' a' i' n'at sambe, imya tanya anon." With that, he nodded his head slightly. 

 

 

     Rijiin walked a couple of steps toward the Harper, embracing her before taking up her hand, leading her toward the doors belonging to the locker rooms. As they approached them, Natil stiffened and Rijiin felt her grip tighten on his hand. The elf turned his head when the locker room doors abruptly opened, and two costume clad humans appeared from them. Both were dressed in familiar costumes found in the games, and the elves recognized it as young couple who now stood in the hallway. The couple's first reactions had been amusement when they saw each other, and both had laughed loudly as they inspected each other's costumes. They had not sensed the elves until Rijiin and Natil was right up on them. When they did, both had gasped in alarm realizing they were not alone. 

 

 

           "Wow! Look at those costumes. I wonder how long they've been playing the games." The young man exclaimed and when he pointed at the couple who stood close by, the woman beside him peered at the strangely clad elven couple in silence. She smiled, showing interest in the realism and authenticity of the costumes worn by them. The young man motioned to the young human woman beside him, pointing at the staging room nearby down the hall.

 

 

            "The entrance is this way Kate." The young man told his companion. He took up her hand, and led her toward the main staging room's entrance a few feet away. 

 

 

            "Nice costumes." The couple complimented as they passed, and Rijiin nodded politely to them.

 

 

           "Thank you." Natil replied, bowing slightly. "May the hand of the Lady be upon you." Flashing a grin, Rijiin turned to the Harper, his beloved companion.

 

 

            "Fear not, humans cannot sense things as we can, or very few of them can sense anything different around them." She whispered, "We will be fine and far away before they figure anything is different."

 

 

Behind them, the couple laughed and continued to walk on to the primary staging area doors. Before they entered the room, the youthful human woman paused for a moment, and she turned her gaze back toward the elves who stood in the hallway behind them. The young woman watched as they whispered to each other in low tones. A moment later Rijiin took up the Harper's hand, and he led her toward the exit doors. The human woman sensed something amiss about the elven couple in the strange costumes, but was not sure what it was.  Little did the human woman know that she was staring at immortals that graced their presence today, newly arrived literally from time and space of the past.

 

           

"These are the doors that you must go through to get to the exit on the other side." Rijiin directed the maiden, "Be at peace. Nothing can harm you here." He pulled at the handle of the door before him, and it smoothly opened. The elf grimaced at the septic smell that assaulted his senses and turning his head, nodded to the young elf maiden. Natil followed his lead to open the door before her, but she hesitated. Rijiin understood immediately. 

 

 

           "Go through and I will meet you on the other end." He instructed, "It will be fine, there should only be a few people here at this hour." Natil grinned before passing through the door.

 

 

     As she walked toward the other end of the locker room, she glanced at the other young women who were changing. Several of them were in an undressed state and embarrassed for a second, the Harper walked quickly on without comment. She easily found the far exit, pushing the door and opening it to step out into another hallway. Natil met the smiling face of Rijiin who waited for her.

 

 

            "Tula, a'mael." He told her as he sensed her discomfort, and took up her hand after embracing her. The Harper smiled and bobbed her head slightly. Rijiin had told her to be steady.

 

 

           The elf led as her guide in this century and quickly accompanied her through the maze of partitions leading to the entry to the Holodeck Gaming area. As the elves walked along the partition hallway, Rijiin and Natil passed open areas in the maze where many humans played DND games. The elves passed them by without comment and they were not noticed by anyone until reaching the entry point of the partition maze. When the couple rounded the corner a low hush quickly had fallen over the entry area as the elves appeared with silent steps. Rijiin nodded respectfully to the other people standing here as they passed them by. The young Harper stared at the strangely clad humans unaware how modern this time was in comparison to her own. The only difference the maiden could see was there were no weapons as a common sight as they were in her own time. She glanced at Rijiin and realized he had smartly concealed his sword under his baggy cloak.

 

           

"You used to live in a very strange place Rijiin." The maiden told him, and he grinned broadly. Together they walked through the exit area, turning into a short hallway along the front wall of the store that took them to the main section of the Dungeon Gaming Company. Rijiin could see the sea of shelves that make up the interior of the store, the main desk in the center of the room and the open areas where many people stood engrossed in the games offered here in the store. He thought of her comment as he watched the people check out at the register, shop or play the games with others before he shrugged slightly.

 

 

           "No beloved, not so strange." Rijiin replied, contemplating his answer, "This is normally how life goes on for the human race, which has progressed a long way in four hundred, plus years. They just have become more complex as time moved forward. A lot of inventions in science, health and they grew as a people over those years. They progressed but not without war, famine, death, and self destruction as a people to be sure."

 

 

"It is a miracle that humans managed to make it this far, after what we both have seen, with the Inquisition and humans." Natil commented, and Rijiin managed a slight nod. 

 

 

            "Aye, true enough, but they seem to continue." Rijiin replied, "They seem to manage, just like the Elves once did. Despite everything they are, humans do not have any memories of the burning times and do not remember what they did to our people. I have thanks for that." She turned her head in astonishment at his statement when he mentioned their people. She realized that he had accepted his situation and his new surroundings in the past four hundred years ago and his transformation. Natil sensed he was at peace, physically and spiritually. 

 

    

     When the elves reached the store's main floor, a hush fell over the entire room. Players, shoppers and employees gawked at the couple in the unfamiliar garb as they walked with silent steps toward them. There were sporadic curious murmurs among the people gathered here, and some choked laughter. Rijiin ignored it and the thoughts of the many people in the store as he quickly scanned the interior. The elf saw what he was looking for, in the form of the entryway nearby and walking with Natil beside him, they both walked toward it. Continuing to ignore the surroundings and other people, they passed through the entry into the cavernous interior of the Mall. Behind the elves in the store, no-one suspected who and what they were. They did not realize that they had seen immortal elves from the winds of history that now graced this century with their presence. A stunned silence remained over the room. Rijiin also realized if this had been any other time, they would have been hunted and persecuted by humans.           

 

 

           "Be at peace Natil." Rijiin told her, "This place cannot harm you." The elf sensed her discomfort, and he nodded in silent agreement with her. Rijiin didn't like the thoughts of the surrounding people in the room. He did not like the ignorance to their presence either, and his instincts had kicked in when he sensed something very wrong with the surroundings. An unspoken warning triggered his senses and his reflexes to be ready. The elf half-turned, sliding a confident arm around his beloved Harper's waist and saw the flash of a knowing smile appear on her fair features as they walked through the cavernous interior of the mall together.

 

 

            "You need not worry about shaking your hair out here either, Natil." Rijiin whispered quietly, "The humans in this century have no bigotry or racism against elves. Be at peace, it will not be too long, and soon we will finish our task. Together we will be home again in Malvern underneath the trees and put this trip behind us."

 

    

The statement made Natil give him a surprised look with her mouth open slightly. He certainly had surprised her this time, as it was not even five minutes that elapsed and he already had desired to return home to Malvern. The newly transformed elf had surprised all of his new kinfolk with his quick adjustment to the jump in time while living in Adria and his acceptance of his transformation into an elf. They thought he would have problems accepting the transformation into an immortal but that was not the case. Rijiin had no trouble, openly embracing this new life and having a good time ever since. When they arrived into the main part of the interior of the mall, the maiden scanned it in surprise. It was brightly lit, open and airy. Her eyes moved to the first and second floors then to the few shoppers who walked here and who paid little attention to the elves presence. Natil smiled at two elderly ladies who sat nearby who smiled back, admiring the elf maiden in silence.

 

 

"What a handsome young couple." The first woman said to her shopping companion who looked on and who nodded in response to her friend's comment. Natil smiled, silently nodding to them. Rijiin, holding his beloved Harper's hand, had quickly gathered his bearings and his eyes found the long dim corridor that would take them to the outside of the mall. Together, Rijiin and Natil walked toward, through and arrived quickly at the doors that led to the outside. Here the elf pulled up his hood over his fair features, motioning to Natil who followed his lead as he led her through the doors into the falling rain and the bright daylight. Natil suddenly realized they were in a city that was much larger than Hypperex, the capital city in Adria. Rijiin had a grin on his face when he realized where they were, but that faded abruptly when he turned his head in astonishment. Sitting on the bench nearby, two of the Bulletin Board System (BBS) members he knew a year ago sat there. Both were smoking as the elves appeared from the doorway and the elf met their startled expressions with his cold gray eyes. Nodding to the Harper, Rijiin led her down the sidewalk as the pair of humans, behind them, watched the couple depart with curious expressions on their faces.

 

 

            "By our Lady, Rijiin," Natil declared staring at the surroundings, "You did not mention we would be in a city."

 

 

           "Aye, we are in a city called San Jose, it is much like the Capital of Hypperex in Adria, but certainly nothing like it. It is much larger than your capital city and spread out over a long distance." He told her, "It is also at peace, and considerably more modern. The human race has come a long way from the Renaissance Age."

 

 

Natil heard the traffic and saw many automobiles that rushed along the expressway nearby. The Harper saw a few moving along the surface roads that surround the mall and some entering the spacious parking lot to join the few that were already parked here. From the cars parked here, they brought many shoppers to this place so early in the morning. The young Harper was perplexed by the automobiles. Rijiin sensed her discomfort by the surroundings and here he grimaced before giving her an affirmative nod of understanding.

 

 

            "This century is more complex than your century Natil." Rijiin explained to her, "What you see before you are called automobiles, and they came about several centuries after yours. We are in the year of the blessed Lady, nineteen hundred and ninety three or maybe even four."

 

 

           "Ah. I see." Natil murmured, taking in the sight, sound and her surroundings with great curiosity. Her blue eyes widened when they fell upon each surprise that appeared in this century before her. The Harper managed a grin as she watched them race by. Rijiin's first plan of action was to walk to the bus station and utilize, by habit, the transportation system found in the city. The station however, lies on the eastern end of Eastridge Mall across the parking lot from JC Penny's  Department store. Rijiin held Natil's hand as he led her through the steady drizzling rain along the sidewalk that bordered the parking lot, instead of inside. The elf did not realize they were being shadowed by the pair of humans seated at the doors where they had come out. It also did not occur to him, they were walking toward The Red Robin restaurant where the elf had come a year ago for the Bulletin Board System (BBS) Party that was held there then, and a new gathering being held their now.  When the elves rounded the corner, Rijiin suddenly realized where he was and quickly recognized the many people from the Bulletin Board System that stood outside this familiar eating establishment,

 

 

"By our Lady, I am at the Red Robin  of Eastridge?" He thought, "How the heck did I get here again? It must have been the portal. It must not have closed at Eastridge when I went through it last time and I was returned to a few hours after I left." Quickly, Rijiin glanced at the surroundings in silence. At the very moment the thought crossed his mind, the elf was immediately thankful for their silent steps that kept them from being noticed right away. He quickly considered retreating back inside the mall to cut through the JC Penny's  Department Store on this side of the mall. It would have provided some cover, and keep them away from the restaurant where the members of the computer system are now gathered.

 

 

The thought came too late, however, as the BBS members started to notice the elves' presence. Rijiin suddenly realized that this was a different gathering, at a different time but at this familiar location. It had been a long time since his departure into the winds of history.

 

 

 As Rijiin approached the group, leading the young Harper in tow, he respectfully acknowledged their presence as they passed by. The elf, seeing the familiar faces had grimaced, his mind racing, as he wondered if they would stop him. He also wondered if the would link him his former existence to the persona he had built in the electronic world. Rijiin heard the comments that followed with muffled snickers and chuckles among the group. The elf was thankfully no one moved to stop the elf and his companion for the moment. He briefly closed his eyes, letting the starlight he saw there calm his senses. When they moved to intercept him and his traveling companion, the elf grimaced, reaching for the dagger on his belt.

 

 

"Okay, here we go." The elf thought with a grimace, and he held his beloved Harper's hand holding his head high as they continued walking along the sidewalk to their destination.

 

 

The first thing that this couple had reminded the Bulletin Board members of is when they had been rounded up by the FBI, a couple of weeks after their fellow member's departure from the last party he attended a year ago. The body of their fellow member, his body, had been found in a cement culvert across from Eastridge Mall by kids. His body had been brutally dismembered, and mutilated to near unrecognizable proportions, making it difficult for the authorities to identify him at first. They had only succeeded to identify his body after finding his identification in his wallet located in the rear jeans pocket. Nothing was missing in the wallet, completely left intact by the people who found him. The information released by the FBI to the Bulletin Board System's members had startled them. It had made them suspects in connection to his murder. They even were put under a polygraph system and they actually admitted openly they did not like him. The FBI had grilled them hardcore, indicating that disliking someone could be a strong motive to murder. Even despite their strong alibi that placed them in the restaurant during the time when the killing was probably committed. When the others of the Bulletin Board System had seen him last, it was as he left the party, they had all said that he was alive and well.

 

 

Joseph, or Joe Boo (his screen name), shook his head, as if to clear the harsh memories, grimacing at the strangers who now stood before them. He stared at Rijiin, clad in the green and gray garb, with his hooded gray cloak over the top of it. His cloak is held together by a clasp in the shape of a crescent moon and interlocked, rayed star. Joe stared at the very sight that his friend and fellow member used to describe himself on line. His eyes fell to the other person beside him, and he wondered who it was under the cloaked hoods. He, like the others could not believe their eyes, knowing and remembering the description on the online system. Monte and Lithium, standing with many others around them had instantly sensed that the couple was different and clearly did not belong here.

 

 

"I can bet its Nathaniel." Joe thought, "He is the only one who would do something like this, and play the part. Only he could pull something like this and make a grand entrance."

 


      "Hey everyone, check out the two weird people out here. They are dressed in costume and must be coming from the RPG shop over by Sears." A voice exclaimed, and there was a rush of people who came to the window. A wave of curiosity and emotion moved through the group.  Rijiin and Natil kept walking, the elf looking at their destination in the distance, the bus terminal that was built on the edge of the parking lot. The elf sensed that he and his beloved Harper were being watched by the members of the Bulletin Board System. He also sensed that a few of the members discreetly followed them. Stopping suddenly, Rijiin stood his ground as he met the Harper's questioning look with a grimace and he shook his head at her.

 

 

"Who is it that interferes with the affairs of others?" He announced, his voice carrying the hint of the inflection and accent of his kinfolk in Malvern, perhaps also with a hint of annoyance. The members of the Bulletin Board System had stopped their approach a short distance from the couple and all had heard the elf, a murmur of bewilderment rippling through the group. They had not been expecting to hear the slightly accented and the inflection in his voice. Rijiin spun on one foot to abruptly face them and reached up, with a flair for drama, to slowly push back the hood of his cloak. The elf met their dumbfounded looks as they stared in astonished silence at his fair features, gray eyes and long hair brown hair streaked with a hint of silver in it. They did not expect to see the unfamiliar face of Rijiin before them. 

 

 

"Well?" He said with a tight, but respectful tone, "Whom do you think you were seeking?" There were amazed looks on the member's faces when he answered the questions that burned in their mind.

 

 

      "I-I?uh?we?are seeking a fellow member of our Bulletin Board System." Chelle stammered, "We apologize? we thought you were someone else."

 

 

The elf nodded as he coldly met the young woman's stunned expression and slowly panned a rapid glance at each of the humans that stood on the threshold. He met the look of Lithium, Monte, Chelle, and Joseph. His glance also moved to others who stood nearby and they equally were all stunned by the elf's presence. A low murmur of confusion rippled through the group but it was Joseph who smiled in silent knowing. A thought crossed his mind but the smile turned into a puzzled frown.

 

 

"But then again, he is dead." Joe thought to himself, "We saw the bloody culvert for ourselves but of course it would be like him to choose the games over our party. Also fake his death and make a grand entrance later." The owner of the board remembered the store where they had found him going to, having virtual reality RPG games and there Rijiin had lost them to the technical world of the games. He and Chelle had gone that direction on a hunch and had seen him enter the store. When they reached the members area, they were forced to buy a membership and register in order to enter the restricted area where they knew he had gone. By the time they got the memberships and entered the restricted area, they had lost him. Not to the games and technology here at the store called 'The Dungeon Game Company' but into the winds of time itself.

 

 

It finally dawned on Joseph that they had pretty much shunned him by ignoring his presence at the gatherings and it had made him want to leave. It wasn't until they were rounded up and questioned by the FBI that everyone in the group sensed something had gone seriously wrong. They had learned that their fellow member had been found dead in a cement culvert across from the mall. It was hard for them to digest that he had died and a lot of them thought it was a scam. When they saw the culvert with Joe who had been there with a police detective, the truth was a harsh reality painted in the red of his blood. Joe shook his head after a moment to clear the harsh memories and his attention again focused upon Rijiin who stood before him with another cloaked person standing beside him.

 

          

 "?Then keep us no more." Rijiin declared, "The hand of the lady be upon you." He touched his forehead, bowing wide and low before he took up the Harper's hand. Both had turned away from the group and took a step to continue walking toward their destination across the parking lot. Joseph stepped forward, reaching for the Elf as if to signal him to stop. Rijiin turned his head.

 

 

"Uh, please wait." He said quietly, "Please. Nathaniel, is that you dude?" Rijiin had heard the question in Joseph's tone and the elf merely arched his eyebrow. He met his gaze for only a brief moment before he shook his head in response. The young man that Rijiin knew from school had grimaced when he saw the response by the elf. Joe had given it a chance to find out even though he knew the answer he probably would receive.

 

 

"Be at peace, I am not who you think I am. You clearly are mistaken." Rijiin politely told them, "I do wish you luck in your search and hope you find who you are looking for." The group exchanged looks between them as the elves attempted to walk on. Joseph had gasped realizing that the elf had answered the question he had been thinking at that very moment. An uncomfortable silence followed as the elves took a couple of steps to go onto their destination across the parking lot. Their way was blocked, however, by Lithium and Monte who had swung around on the other side of the couple. 

 

 

"Oh no, wait a minute. Who are you supposed to be then?" Lithium demanded, "Please enlighten us who you are under that costume and makeup. Let's start with a name. Come on Varden we all know it's you." Rijiin muttered a silent curse in elvish and turned his head again, an annoyed expression on his face.  The elf had heard the questions in the mind of Joseph, Chelle Monte and Mike, realizing what they were doing. They were trying to provoke a rise out of Rijiin and his beloved Harper. He shook his head after a moment.

 

 

"I am not?who you think I am." Rijiin stated evenly, "Alas, if you must know my name that will allow us to continue to our destination in peace then very well I shall tell you. My name is Rijiin L'Theil, pronounced Theil," He replied coldly, "And this is Natil L'Theil, my traveling companion and wife. We clearly are not who you think we are and the answer to your questions lie elsewhere. Clearly it is not here."

 

 

The elf motioned to the cloaked figure beside him. A chuckle rippled through the group at the names but there was a look of astonishment on everyone's face when Rijiin mentioned Natil in that manner. Joseph had met his Rijiin when he was human at the college they attended, and had several classes with him. Even during that time together in school, he never knew Rijiin to have a girlfriend or be married to anyone. He always had been single, even when he came to each gathering and never mentioned anyone special in his life. Joe shook his head in disbelief.

 

    

"Sure Varden, keep telling yourself that." Lithium replied with a coy smile.

 

 

     "We want your real name, dumb ass, not your RPG game name from that stupid store!" Chelle exclaimed haughtily.

 

 

     "That is my real name." Rijiin replied icily, the inflection and accent thick in his voice, "As it is with my wife that is her real name too." His accent made Chelle grimace as she shook her head. The others stared at him in silent astonishment, suddenly realizing that the person before them as obviously not who they thought he was. 

 

 

"I bet you the other person is a guy." Lithium said with a boisterous laugh, "And it is his gay lover. Are you homosexual now Varden?"

 

 

Rijiin ignored him, sighing quietly as he turned his head, nodding once to his traveling companion, Natil. She, with the same flair for drama, had reached up to push back the hood of her cloak revealing her fair and beautiful features. She revealed to everyone present that a beautiful young woman stood beside Rijiin and each of the BBS members had exhaled sharply when seeing the young maiden. Lithium grimaced when he saw Natil, so did Chelle and even Joe himself.

 

 

     "Holy shit, She? It is a woman, and she is hot." Monte commented and the young maiden smiled at the compliment to bow slightly, "Jesus, where did you find her at? You said wife right? Who the hell would marry you anyway, how drunk was she?"

 

 

     "Ten to one she is a he, a transvestite." Lithium commented and there was laughter that followed. Banter followed by everyone present and several jokes were made about Natil at her expense. Joe did not engage in the banter, he was intently staring at the couple before him in wonder. The Harper frowned, a look of resentment and anger on her fair features.

 

 

     "Antolle ulua sulrim" She snarled at Lithium in elvish, "Lle anwaea aut dina, edan." Natil turned her head to look coldly into his eyes. He grimaced, and swallowed hard when he saw the bright twinkle of cold starlight he saw there. Glancing at Rijiin, he noted that the elf held up his hand, and shook his head at Natil. He noted the same light in his eyes too. He cocked his head slightly, trying to comprehend what he was seeing.

 

 

     "Seere, Natili." Rijiin told her, "Uuma ma' ten' rashwe." Natil nodded silently to him, grimacing at the gathered people around them. The group had been stunned to hear Rijiin speak elvish to her, something they had not been expecting from someone they possibly knew. A look of astonishment clearly showed on their faces before understanding as they suddenly realized what Rijiin had said to her. They realized that he had asked Natil to back off.

 

 

"Nathaniel, dude, if that is you under that makeup you never said anything about a wife. Come on you got explaining to do, fill us in." Joe told him, peering at Natil's dark hair, her fair features, her blue eyes and her trim hourglass figure that was enhanced by the unisex garb. "Where did you find her at, she's a real babe and when did you get married, you should have let us know." Natil flashed a quiet smile at Joe.

 

 

"I bet they were married in a gay bar." Lithium said aloud but he also frowned when no one laughed.

 

 

"Hrml. Natil and Rijiin, those are two nice names for the RPG games." Another voice chimed in and the elf turned his head to stare at the familiar face of Chershire who walked toward them with a beer in hand. He nodded to Natil and Rijiin both, having overheard the whole conversation in riveted interest. The elf respectfully nodded to him realizing that he seemed to understand what he was seeing before them. He smiled at the acknowledgement and nodded back.

 

 

"Ta luume' a' aut- Natili." Rijiin told her and she nodded. 

 

 

 "Come on Nathaniel, come clean, we know it is you under that makeup!" Chelle demanded suddenly, clearly frustrated by the two strangers who walked among them. Her voice caught and she took a half step toward the couple. Rijiin's hand flashed to his dagger concealed under his cloak attached to his belt, ready to draw the blade.

 

 

     "You have a lot of explaining to do, like where you have you been for the last year?" Chelle demanded, "You got us questioned by the FBI for your stupid stunt, making it appear you were murdered, who the fuck do you think you are for doing that?"  Chelle and the others all glanced at each other by her statement and a few shook their heads. They had seen the dried blood and the place where the body had been found. It was far from fake, what they had seen.

 

 

The elf said nothing, briefly closing his eyes to peer at the starlight, thankful it was still there after their shift in time, and at images trying to confirm their claim. He only saw gray, botchy images that were garbled and unreadable.

 

 

     "Yeah, and now the board is temporarily shut down, thanks to you." Monte said with a snarl, "We're like prime suspects in your murder investigation."

 

 

     "Why DO I give a fuck if their cushy little board is down." Rijiin grumbled to himself, sensing their anger for no reason and he chose to ignore it.

 

 

All three humans took a half step toward the couple and Rijiin's hand had moved to the sword blade under his cloak instead of his long dagger, unsnapping the guard. He readied it to be drawn at a moment's notice. The elf sensed a fight about to happen, and wished it would remain a non-violent outcome. The elves did not kill unless they had to, known for helping and healing, in the fourteenth century, as they gave life not for taking it. Life to the elves was sacred and Rijiin shook his head when he briefly closed his eyes to stare at one path in the starlight that revealed him slaying one of the other BBS members. The elf prayed that this conflict and disagreement would not end like that. Chelle and the others were just making asses of themselves trying to escalate into a conflict. Rijiin noted that Joe stayed out of it and the elf appreciated him for that. He suddenly wished he could tell Joseph everything and what he had found and show him a place of safety. It would never happen though with the others around him.

 

 

     "Come on Monte, come on everybody, step back and just take a breath." Rijiin thought, his guard up, clearly ready for anything they were able to dish out. He had slain Inquisition soldiers and clergy with swift, exact precision. Rijiin had no desire to draw blood in the same manner or in this century if it was at all possible.

 

    

Monte was the first to take a step forward toward Natil, with the intent to grab her, and Rijiin without warning promptly drew the blade from its scabbard with a metallic rasp. Everyone jumped back but his blade flashed twice. The first stroke expertly sliced and removed the eyebrows on Monte's face. The human let out a yelp of terror as he felt the sharpness of the blade and heard the whistle as it moved past him. Rijiin pivoted and his blade quickly ended up at the neck of Lithium, making him freeze in alarm. The elf maiden grabbed Monte from behind, and her blade positioned on the jugular of his neck. The battle was over in a heartbeat and a look of fear appeared on both of their faces. The group had paused, seeing the look of terror in Monte's eyes as he dropped his hands from his face now devoid of hair over his eyes.

 

 

"I also do circumcisions." Rijiin declared solemnly. The elf heard a gasp by all when he mentioned circumcisions, and the guys took a quick step backward when they realized what the elf meant by that.

 

 

"Just try to proceed with what you plan." He challenged, "As I said many times to you humans, life is freely given to you but it is also freely taken. I suggest since you only have one life that you use it wisely in the future."

 

 

"What do you mean to us humans, you are?" Chelle began but suddenly fell silent as she met his hard look. Rijiin backed up a few steps with his blade digging slightly in to Lithium's jugular. He nodded to his wife.

 

 

The Harper had backed up a few steps after pushing Monty toward his friends and stood ready for them with the long elvish dagger in her hand. The group stopped their advance immediately, a look of astonishment rather than anger on their faces. They stopped when he took up ready posture with the blade in his hand. The elf's readiness warned them that a trained sword fighter was here standing before them and not to provoke him. Joe knelt to take up his friend's eyebrows that now lay on sidewalk.

 

 

The elf moved back to stand beside his beloved Harper, Natil. He held his blade ready as he took up her hand, meeting the startled expressions on their faces as the couple backed away from the group. They all took a step toward Rijiin and Natil after seeing to their friend.

 

 

"Come on you both have some explaining to do." Chelle began, "Preferably where you have been for the last year."

 

 

"We don't have time for this." Rijiin muttered and Natil nodded slightly at his revelation.

 

 

"Kwarea on' a' llie aila grauwus, Natili." He whispered and his companion glanced over at him with a questioning expression. 

 

 

Iirma haeannon!" Rijiin said sharply, calling for the Dimension Door spell and an energy gateway appeared out of thin air. There was a yelp of fear that moved through the group of humans who stood with the elves on the sidewalk. They jumped back as the energy opened with a thunderclap and it swirled in a bright white light, then pulsating with color. Energy tingled on everyone's skin as it swirled before them all. Rijiin and Natil both backed up and they stepped through it. A thunderclap boomed and echoed across the parking lot as the portal immediately closed behind the elves, leaving the members of the computer system alone where they stood.

 

 

"What the hell was that? They're gone!" Lithium exclaimed, "Holy shit!" The elf had pulled a fast one and used his magical ability to cast the spell to whisk them away before the human's eyes. It was just the way he wanted it to be, instead of having to slay or injure one of the Bulletin Board Members. As for the Dimension Door Spell, it transported the elves safely to the bus terminal across the parking lot of Eastridge Mall. Rijiin turned his head and stared across the parking lot at the group that had been before them only moments ago.

    

 

"By the Lady, That was too close?" Rijiin glanced at his companion, seeing Natil smile at the thought. He sheathed his blade, reorganizing it to hang concealed under his baggy cloak. 

 

 

"I should apologize beloved for not avoiding all that. I thought they would leave us alone and let us pass. I should have been a little smarter, retreating back into the interior of the mall. I would have taken another route through the other department store and bypassed all of that nonsense." The elf told her, "We would have probably found less harassment and would not have such an uncomfortable melee against so many." 

 

 

"Fear not, you did the right thing beloved. You avoided the use of force toward them and dispersed a hostile situation." She told him, "You were very wise. I know what you saw in the starlight. Be at peace. That event would have happened only after many choices were made and you had no other choice. It would have been a last resort."

 

 

Rijiin, closing his eyes, stared at the starlight and he let them sooth the fatigue after casting such a draining spell. He also saw many avenues of images in what the elves called the dance, and the images changing ever so slightly in few instances and others changing a lot. The elf shivered at the images he saw there and opened his eyes to cast a puzzled glance at the Harper, sensing her discomfort. He still saw the images of himself slaying one of the BBS members in cold blood and taking a life to keep the Harper safe. He did not understand why he was still seeing those images.

 

 

            "Rijiin are you alright?" Natil asked and he looked up to meet her blue eyes with a smile with a polite nod.

 

 

"We are still are not out of the clear beloved." He replied, "Our adversaries are just over there."

 

 

Natil nodded, turning her head and she could clearly see the restaurant from the bus terminal.  The many people who stood outside the Red Robin still stood at the spot where the elves vanished before them. After a moment they turned to walk slowly toward the gathering of the rest of the members who had stood at the windows to watch the whole event lay out before them. 

 

    

Around them, another sea of cars filled the expressway and whizzed passed them. This time a couple of transit buses rumbled into the terminal, stopping at the platform and a sea of people stepped off the transit. Rijiin and Natil stayed close by each other, standing behind the blue bus shelter as the crowd passed them without a second glance. He had wisely concealed his blade under his cloak and prepared himself to act when the platform finally cleared. Five minutes elapsed and once again the platform was empty save only a few people who finally went toward the mall behind the crowd.  The Harper watched as one bus moved off a few feet, the other left the platform and continued on its journey to its destination. Natil's blue eyes fell upon the speeding sea of cars that passed by them on the expressway.

 

 

"This is a strange world you lived in Rijiin." She said, "Though it is quite a large place, but tell me this, why are they always in a rush?"

 

 

            "Even I cannot answer that." He said, "It was not easy to live in this place Natil. It was much harder in many ways than your century, and yet in other ways easier. There have been inventions over the centuries, putting away such things like swords, armors and replaced with firearms, automobiles and airplanes that still kill, but a lot faster. Personally, I prefer the simplicity of the fourteenth century as home rather than this century." The Harper nodded slightly in agreement and in surprise by his revelation.

 

        

 "We have a few florins, probably worth more than current currency." Rijiin muttered to himself, "Better not to change time, and history by their use." The elf paused for a moment, taking in a breath and exhaling slowly, preparing him for what he was about to do next.

 

 

"Besides, we are elves. Why should we ride the transportation system when we have the power of elven magic?" He declared, opening his eyes and he put out his hand.             

 

 

"Ay! Lema ed' templa!" He exclaimed, as a portal shimmered and appeared in a thunderclap. Luckily, for Rijiin and Natil, the stop remained deserted when his voice commanded the magic, and he felt a shift all around them.

    

          

            "Ede lye arwin!" She breathed, "Rijiini?! Mani, naa lle' umien a'mael?" Natil had the hint of dismay in her tone, and she showed equal bewilderment when she saw him opening a portal.  The young elf maiden asked what he was doing.

 

    

           Rijiin walked toward the portal. "Ta na bir an lema a'mael. Ta noldo lye asc'e manka lle saes, ri I' templa aa' quella." He told her. Rijiin paused, unable to words in elvish. "Besides, we should not alter history by using free town money. We should keep a low profile. Please make haste beloved, before we are spotted." 

 

 

            The elf's head turned when he heard a loud screeching noise, and the sound of breaking glass that followed. There were shouts of anger for several minutes before ominous silence followed. People on the expressway had spotted the real culprit of their accident and they stared in disbelief at the bright glow of the portal opened by the elves nearby. Rijiin realized that they had been spotted and he motioned with his hand to Natil. The young Harper sprinted across the platform toward the energy portal. Turning their heads the elves saw a group running across the parking lot toward the platform. Rijiin recognized it as the BBS members whom they had an encounter with a few minutes ago. They had seen the glow of the portal too. He let out a soft groan of frustration.

 

 

     "Ta luume' aut-, a'mael." He whispered, "Natea' naa sii' n'e en' cam. Lle auta yeste'."

 

 

     "Tanya na ikotane, a'mael." Natil whispered back with a nod, "Na ie' seere. Na- eller e' bir minya. "

    

 

Grinning, the elf bowed slightly and together they stepped toward the disk of energy. Rijiin turned his head in alarm, quickly motioning to Natil who disappeared through the portal.

 

 

"There they are!" Lithium shouted, "Let's get them."

 

 

"Hey you two, stop! We'd like a few answers out of your two!" Monte shouted.

 

 

The elf grimaced as he stepped toward the portal and disappeared, just in the nick of time as the portal closed behind them in a bright flash and thunderclap. Lithium and Joseph was first to stop at the spot where the portal stood and both stared at the spot of melted cement before them. All were astonished by the sight unable to comprehend what exactly was going on around them, starting with the appearance of the strange couple.

 

 

 "Jesus, what the hell was that?" Chelle exclaimed, "Who the heck is that couple?? What the hell is going on?"

 

 

"I don't know Chelle." Joseph replied, "But I have a pretty fair idea who it could be. I can't say for sure if it is him or not. I don't think it could be though, we might be wrong of our deduction and are witness to something else."

 

 

"Ok, I'll bite honey, who is it, you think it is?"

 

 

"Yeah, you seem to know what's going on Joe, ever since the appearance of that strange couple." Lithium demanded, "Care to enlighten us a little bit?"

 

 

     Joseph cringed at the question, not knowing where to start with what he thought had happened or who the couple was that stood before them. He could not say he was wrong by seeing them disappear before his eyes, or just now when he saw the portal and the couple who stood before it. Like the others he had no answers, except one and that was the blood bath he and the others saw in the culvert with the Detective from San Jose Police Department. It had confirmed Joe's worst nightmare and the others. It confirmed the death of a classmate. Turning he tried to speak and found he could not for a moment or two.  He knew that it couldn't be who he thought it was. As always there was no way to confirm his hunch, except to what he and the other had seen a few minutes ago, that being the cloaked strangers that graced their presence.

 

 

Simultaneously at another location another portal opened, bridging a distance of perhaps thirty miles and together the elven couple appeared on the campus of De Anza College their destination. When they appeared again, they appeared once more in the rain, the portal disappearing behind them in a flash. Natil managed to shake the disorientation off quickly, and cast a glance at Rijiin. The elf had slumped to one knee, his strength drained after casting another powerful spell. He shook his head, steadying himself on the door behind him and the exhaustion he felt after fighting to protect them both from the melee of the Bulletin Board groupies.

 

 

            "A'mael." She murmured, "Beloved." Slowly, he raised his arm and motioned to her. The elf crouched a moment before pushing himself upright. 

 

 

            "Amina ilya forya Natili," He said, telling her he was all right. "Amin na-elle necujen, Naa lle ilya forya?" He had asked if she was all right. The Harper smiled. Natil found herself flattered by the concern but also frowned at him. Rijiin was more worried about her than himself.   

 

 

"Manke naa lye sii' Rijiini?" She asked. Natil turned her head to scan the deserted green meadow and to the tree covered quad in the middle of the buildings. She asked him where they were.

 

 

             "We have made it to our destination beloved. A placed called the De Anza College Campus." Rijiin replied absently, "It is a place of learning that I spent a lot of time at and partially called home in the twentieth century. This is where my friend is currently attending. Besides it was my thinking also, that we not attract too much attention by using the transportation system using free town money of Saint Brigid that is why I cast the portal spell." 

 

 

            "It is alright beloved." Natil said, "I understand now and it is appreciated. You got us here and it was a fine accomplishment, even if a lot of people saw it." She turned to embrace him, but her eyes also darted about the surroundings to silently inspect the interesting Spanish architecture. The young Harper stared at the meadow of Sciences Quad (S-Quad) at the many trees, the grassy areas and the many buildings that surrounded this quad. Her eyes peered at the round roof of the Minolta Planetarium on campus that reminded her of the many Cathedrals in the north like Hypperex and Maris. The trees reminded her of Malvern and Beldon Forests.

 

 

             "What you did is an amazing feat for someone who is just now learning the ways of our people. You have gained many abilities in a short time." Natil said, "You are learning and giving yourself a little more each time you use them. It is helping you learn and fully understand what it is we do as elves."

 

           

 "I learn quickly." He said, "Moderate and relaxation. Fighting only drains you more. I still have so much more to learn, and that might take a couple hundred years. It won't be bad so long as it is with you."  Natil blushed as his laughter echoed the quad.

 

 

            "We are here. So what do you think of this place?" Natil had been examining the surroundings in curiosity, and a wide mysterious grin appeared on her face.

 

 

"This area reminds me a lot of home Rijiin." She declared, and Rijiin, standing beside her chuckled quietly. Turning his head, after a moment, he also panned a gaze to the surroundings before nodding in agreement. He had never really thought of looking at the campus like that, but neither had he thought of living in the forest in the fourteenth century either.

 

 

            "Now that you mention it, it does remind me a lot of Saint Brigid." He replied, studying her face, and managing a slow nod.

 

 

     "It is a mix. The trees remind me of Malvern and Beldon Forests." She said, "The buildings remind me of Maris and Hypperex, the cathedrals for the round domed building over there." She pointed at the Minolta Planetarium.

 

 

     "Ah, that's the planetarium." He told her, "For Astronomy classes and light shows."

 

 

     "It is amazing humans still use the same architecture, from our own century." Natil replied and smiled warmly at Rijiin who nodded. 

 

 

"I sense your unease Natil. This place cannot harm you. Be at peace." Sharply, Natil met his smiling face as he studied the surroundings. Slowly, and silently, the young Harper agreed with a slight nod. Natil had a look of admiration and respect on her face.

 

 

           "It is a very large place, and with unexpected wonderful things at every turn." She replied, "I am glad I came along." Turning, Rijiin placed his arms around her waist. The elf smiled as he held Natil in the semi-dark overhang and peered lovingly into her blue eyes. She did not move or struggle out of his grasp. The elf just held her in his arms.

 

    

"I am glad you are here Natil." Rijiin told her, "At least you are a better traveling companion than Terrill would have been, or even Mirya. But then again she can help and heal which is required on this trip. I doubt she would have wanted to leave Terrill for this long trip anyway."

 

 

The Harper laughed quietly. She remembered the discussion between Rijiin, herself and Terrill. It had been a fight because Terrill had wanted to come to this time planning to continue training Rijiin. The new elf had pointed out that their mission was to help and heal, that it would take healers to help his friend if she needed it. Natil could heal with the use of her harp, and had done so often. They stood together under the overhang and just stared into each other's eyes. His hand touched her cheek gently, caressing her smooth skin and he managed a thin smile when she slightly flushed.

 

 

            "I need to tell you something." He began, "I may falter this a bit, but please let me finish before you respond."

 

 

            "I am in love with you, young Harper." He told her, "I am certain of it and every day I fall deeper for you. There is a day I cannot go without thinking of you. I enjoy your company and council. I have loved you since I met you, even more so than the different lifetime we were in together." She gasped, and he smiled when he saw her reaction.

 

 

            "Yes, mistress once upon a time in this century we met in a different lifetime and existence. We shared a relationship that was somewhat close. When I lost you, my life had become empty and hollow. I have lived a time and have seen what I had without you. I can't stand to lose you?"  The Harper perked up when she heard the tone, and although he did not utter the word 'again', she heard it, and it seemed to hover in the air for a long time.

 

 

"I shall be yours always until time ceases to be, as I am falling in love with you too Rijiin." He held her as she wept openly. He was about to reply to the Harper but the tender scene was interrupted as footsteps of someone approaching them could be heard nearby. Rijiin's reaction was quick.

 

 

            "Someone is coming." He murmured and glanced once in the direction of the footsteps.

 

 

Before she could turn her head, Rijiin embraced the young Harper closely against him and their lips touched in a passionate kiss that would have raised the temperature in any frigid room. What happened is the elf had heard the footsteps and quickly had made a split second decision.

 

 

            "Perhaps it will fool the people who have discovered us here. Maybe it will make them think they were interrupting a tender moment between two lovers and depart with no questions." Rijiin thought, as their lips touched seconds later.  

 

 

 Natil at first had been surprised, grunting in disbelief when he had kissed her. The Harper let the feeling of shock subside and the white-hot anger and embarrassment take over. She had struggled at first, trying to break his grasp but quickly relaxed putting her arms around him. His kiss was sweet, filled with a promise as-if it were made between two lovers. The elves both heard a chuckle from the students who ran across them. A muttered 'Tsk, Tsk' followed a moment later, and the students walked on with a smile on their faces. Rijiin, realizing his gamble had worked, stepped back and released the youthful Harper from his embrace.  Natil saw his apologetic expression in the dim light and a bit of a crimson flush rising over the collar of his tunic. She managed a coy smile as she stood there staring at Rijiin, someone who loved her without bounds or limitations, an unbridled love between them that he had for her without question, across two timelines.  

 

 

            "I am so sorry." Rijiin murmured, "It was a ploy to disguise and mask our presence here on campus."

 

 

     The Harper said nothing at first, feeling strangely as an odd burning of desire welled up inside her, and Rijiin's kiss had triggered it. She shook her head before carefully setting her harp near the door, and the young Harper turned back lunging forward, embracing him into the same kiss. Holding each other tightly, their hands moved along each other as they changed positions, kissing hungrily and passionately.

 

 

As Natil kissed him, she gasped first, seeing the images of their meeting from the other time line. A burst of starlight exploded in the darkness and she reeled as full memories moved through her brain like lightning. Natil understood the passion Rijiin felt for her now and here she smiled. The elf maiden understood the hell he lived through without her and how her visit had changed him. Rijiin felt her hands caressing his back, and he likewise, did the same. They both held the passionate kiss for a few seconds longer.  She smiled, feeling his warmth, his desire, and in her mind, heard his thoughts that made her smile inwardly.

 

 

            Natil exhaled sharply when she felt Rijiin's caress give, and he fell to the ground. The Harper sensed fatigue as the cause, realizing it was one of the powerful spells he had cast earlier and the one that had brought them to this time. When Rijiin opened his eyes, he awoke in the darkened classroom with the young Harper kneeling over him. She had a look of alarm and concern on her face.

 

 

           "Rijiin?" She repeated desperately, "Rijiin? Please? RIJIIN!"  Rijiin, after ten minutes, had slowly opened his eyes. As his vision cleared he managed a smile on his face when meeting the concerned fair and beautiful features of the maiden whom he loved dearly.

 

 

        "Are you alright, beloved?" She asked, and Rijiin met her blue eyes with a weak nod. He heard a strong hint of relief in her voice, and he could sense her worry. The elf tried to sit up, and he found no strength to do so.

 

 

            "I am just a little weak beloved." He said, apologizing, "Perhaps it was not wise to have cast that portal after all, especially after the one bringing us here to this century." 

 

 

            "Beloved, be at peace, you did fine. Time will allow you to master it, and I am relieved you are alright." Natil said, "You lost consciousness outside, and I brought you in here to keep anyone from sounding the alarm. You are disoriented, just lay there and let your strength return."

 

 

            Rijiin looked up at the loving expression on her face as she bent over to kiss him fully on the lips. His eyes widened at the kiss and when he peered into her eyes, the elf saw her smile. She felt the tears welling up.

 

 

           "I love you, young Lord." She said, "My beloved?I never thought I would find someone I could love, but here you are. I never knew that someone could love me the way you do."

 

 

Smiling, Rijiin reached up and put his hand to her face. The Harper grinned as a flush appeared on her cheeks. Hearing voices, the young maiden turned her head and through the shuttered windows she could see the students who waited for the class assigned to this room. 

 

 

          "It looks like we have company? I think we'd better be going." Natil suggested, "Can you stand?" Turning his head, Rijiin could see the students who gathered outside this classroom too. The young elf nodded as the Harper's strong-arm helped him to a sitting position. When finally Rijiin gathered his strength after a few moments, the elves stood up together. Quickly, the couple pulled on their cloaks and Rijiin turned to hand Natil her old harp. The maiden gladly took it, and she held it under her arm under her long cloak. As he opened the door, Rijiin motioned to her and allowing her to exit first with him close behind her. The couple had startled the people outside who were waiting. No one expected them to be in the room.

 

                

"Excuse us please." Rijiin nodded to the young Harper, and they both stepped into the falling rain passing through the crowd of gathered students who stood here. They watched the elves walk away from the room, and Rijiin felt their gazes burning into him.

 

 

"Na ie' seere, Amael." She whispered to him, "Utu- lleea elenea, uchman ron val pel- lle ar' utu- i'- silma quant- lle."  Looks of astonishment appeared on the faces around the couple as they stood outside the room and all hearing the strange language spoken between Natil and Rijiin. They glanced at each other and back to the departing couple.

 

 

Quickly, Rijiin complied to close his eyes and found the familiar starlight in the darkness. He let the light sooth his senses and stared at wisp of images that flashed, appearing and disappearing like puffs of smoke. The elf opened his eyes and he scanned the area, finding the familiar round roof of the Minolta Planetarium nearby. The elf, from here, had taken up Natil's hand to lead her across the meadow of the Sciences Quad (S-Quad). He followed Mimi's very steps, as she had done the same thing earlier yesterday morning. The couple both headed toward the De Anza Library that stands next to the Main Quad and turning at the steps leading into it, walked toward the Student Campus Center. Rijiin, as he guided her, gave her a brief overview of the campus while attending here at this place of learning.

    

      

"There it is." He announced merrily, "The Student Campus Center, better described as the House of Klaus by the students. Klaus is the man who runs that whole building." Rijiin pointed at the building, and Natil peered at the large two-story building in front of her, built partially into the hillside and then to the outside eating area shaded by huge trees that towered over it.   

 

           

"It is quite a place." The Harper replied, staring at the building, "And it seems to be a very large. Are you sure she is here?" He pondered for only a moment, before nodding. "She is. It would be one of three places to find Mimi at this hour on Campus and probably enjoying a cup of coffee from the stand inside." 

 

 

"What is this building used for anyway Rijiin?" Natil asked, and he smiled.

 

 

"It is very much like the Inquisition council rooms, used in the same way, a place for the students to interact with the staff members of the college. It is also used for meeting rooms of outside organizations to do presentations, food service for the students and staff, special events, the Inter Club Council or ICC, the Student Senate and the Student Council who works with the administration staff."

 

 

     "It is amazing, all that just for the students. It must be quite a place to house so many things." Natil replied, and he nodded.

 

 

            "Be at peace, even though it is large, I can sense her in this place. She is here." Rijiin replied simply, "Mimi, my friend, is probably is in one of the two dining rooms in the building over there." With that he pointed at the Student Campus Center. Natil grimaced dubiously, and Rijiin returned her look with a slight reassuring nod.

 

 

"I used to be able to sense her thoughts, and always know when I was needed." He explained, "Call it a sixth sense, a strange and uncanny ability I once had between us. Be at peace, we'll find her." Rijiin grinned broadly.

 

 

     "I understand the sixth sense, but was it because you were lovers or just friends." He asked and he waved his hand.

 

 

     "Oh no, we were just friends." Rijiin replied, "Really good friends."

 

 

"Oh yes, I almost forgot Natil. One thing you must know. Klaus is a man who is very hard to deal with." Rijiin said, "You don't want to be on his bad side, so try to stay out of trouble."

 

 

          Natil cast an amused look at him, and her look said it all. "Don't I always?" He grinned able to hear her laughter echo in his head. He turned to put his hand on the handle of the glass door leading into the Main Dining room of the Student Campus Center, but something made him pause. He had a brief feeling of dread and he shook his head to clear the feeling after glancing at his traveling companion.

 

 

"Tul-e Natili, Ta sina men." He said, "It is going to be very intense in there. Be at peace and know that this place cannot harm you. The human race also is short sighted, and does not remember its history, nor do they remember the persecution of our people. It is the use of fine control here. I know Natil."

 

 

 "Na ai' seere, eldalie naa sinta ai' auluva." She need not translate now, his elvish improving as the hours continued on and as if he had been speaking it for years. He had told her to be at peace, that elves were known to be ingenious. Natil smiled at his statement as he opened the glass doors and stepping aside he allowed her to enter the building first before following in behind her. The door closed behind them and here they entered into the hell of the Campus Center. The sounds of loud voices and chatter echoed the room. Many people sat in this room, and all here early in the morning for classes scheduled at various times on campus. Natil, startled by the noise and commotion, stepped back into Rijiin's arms. The elf sensed the Harper's fear and he put his arms lovingly around her, examining the familiar design of the room before he shook his head quietly. Rijiin also noted that they were not noticed by the few people who occupied the room.

 

 

"It is the same as it has been. Nothing ever changes." The elf thought, peering at the Spanish architecture throughout the room. His eyes found the overhead skylights, that made the room bright despite the stormy weather outside and large chandeliers made of rod iron that hung from the ceiling from thick black chain. Rijiin glanced at his companion who panned a sweeping gaze about the room at the surrounding people and Spanish Architecture. He followed suit, scanning it quickly for his friend and the elf shook his head when he did not see her.

 

 

 "Tul- sina men, A'mael. Lle-cael aut- a' tel' I' n'at sambe, imya tanya annon." 

 

 

The elves stood at the door several minutes before he took up his beloved Harper's hand and with a purpose he walked a little further into the room along a walkway between the tables. When they were finally noticed, a hush fell over the entire room before a low murmur and muffled laughter rippled through the room.

 

 

Feeling all eyes burning into her, the Harper's eyes moved back and forth to the many faces of the people who sat here. She felt uncomfortable by the low hush and murmurs among the people in the room. Natil was also perturbed by the sensed thoughts regarding their presence. Walking beside her, Rijiin felt the same discomfort, as she did, and casually he reached down to unfasten the blade, now at his side, leaving it loose. The elf would be able to draw the blade at a moment's notice if he needed to. The maiden had glanced at her traveling companion when his hand had moved to the blade at his side, and she grimaced when he unfastened it. He shook his head when he returned her look. Rijiin had only done it to put the maiden's anxiety at ease, showing he was ready to defend and protect her as needed. Both elves had seen a flash of the future in the starlight patterns, and in one instance had seen themselves mobbed by the many people who had gathered here.

 

 

"It is a precaution." He murmured, "I sense their unease, and I am ready for them if they choose to stop us." The maiden frowned in regards at the elf's intention, but their mission was to provide life today, to help and heal, not take it. It was widely known in their century, that elves did not kill unless they had to. There was only one incident and that had been with Varden and Terrill who watched Mirya tortured, raped after being caught unarmed. They had descended upon a farmhouse of humans, after spiriting her body away, to enact revenge with deadly precision. Terrill had retained his blade while Varden had put his away forever. They cremated her body in a forest clearing, lying atop of a funeral pyre. The Harper had placed her harp on the fire and not touching another one for many years. The elves scattered her ashes in the forest. The incident, Rijiin remembered as it was told, is long before Miriam came to Saint Brigid as a battered black hair, dark eyed, healer girl and her transformation into an elf with red/gold hair, by Varden's magical abilities.  

 

 

Pausing at the doorway, Rijiin met the astonished looks of the many people who had stood up in the Main Dining Room. As he stepped through the door into a foyer beyond, a ripple of comments and murmurs of astonishment echoed behind them. No one intervened or interfered with their task they were here for. The same silence dropped over the T-Shaped foyer where they entered next and Rijiin quickly scanned the foyer, examining the familiar room in silence. It had not changed in the year he had been away: The vending machines stood on the south wall, next to the Main Dining Hall entryway. Across the room, the Fireside Lounge entryway and the gift shop make up the north wall. The room smelled strongly of coffee and his eyes fell upon Ian's coffee stand close to the main staircase that dominated the center of the room. The entry to the De Anza Cafeteria is on the east wall. The glass exit doors were located on the western wall of this room. Below them, through the stairwell, Rijiin could see the Inter Club Council chambers (ICC) room doors across from another information booth next to the stairwell below.

 

 

Like the Main Dining Room where the elves had come, there was the same stunned silence in this foyer. All eyes were on the elves and Rijiin grimaced at that fact, turning his head to meet each look by the people standing in this foyer. Even Ian stood behind his stand, stunned by the sight of the elves. All eyes intently watched them and everyone present noted the peculiar garb, the cloak over it and especially the sword at Rijiin's side.    

        

 

             "Eller re na, a'mael," He whispered to Natil, pointing at Mimi. Beside him, Natil's head turned and she looked upon the middle-aged woman seated as usual in the wheelchair inside the Fireside Dining Room. The Harper was honestly surprised at what she saw before her and had not been expected the familiar form of Mimi's wheelchair, as described by Mirya and Terrill. She understood immediately after seeing it for herself.

 

 

          "A', ikotane tanya na' mani Miryai ar' Terrilli ele-ea." She whispered and he nodded.

 

 

"Aye Natili, ta he nornhama." He started to tell her. He grimaced as he shook his head, trying to search for words in Elvish to describe Mimi.

 

 

            "She has to use it, because of a disability called Cerebral Palsy." He explained, and Natil heard his tone, glancing at him. "I know she looks fine, but there are many times that appearances can be deceiving. There has been many a time she has been in agony and always kept it to herself. It is because she is seated in that blasted chair but after today, I hope to change all that."

 

 

 The Harper, who stood beside him, had narrowed her eyes as she examined the woman in the wheelchair. Rijiin had closed his eyes to focus inwardly, staring at the complex webs of patterns and the matrix that made up Mimi Stewart, already planning what he wanted to do. He planned his changes carefully, knowing what he was about to do could potentially be dangerous and potentially jeopardize her very existence if he changed too much. Varden would have stopped him if he had been with them, warning them against such matters. Rijiin shook his head.

          

 

"It will be a long difficult task ahead." He said, "Perhaps with some manipulation we can make her life a bit better. However, like Varden always has said, there are consequences of each action. We must take care in what we do for her and how much change we manipulate." 

 

 

The Harper was startled to hear Rijiin say those very words, quoting their kinsman, and speaking about such matters without anger or hatred. He was already known among the elves of Malvern, also the free towns of Adria for his slaying, with deadly precision, the Inquisition soldiers and clergy without hesitation. Even in his year living in the fourteenth century forests of Malvern, he had quickly learned to hate humans, especially the Inquisition who ran rampant across the land. He would witness many atrocities while traveling in the north and with his own eyes, watched many a burning by the Inquisition while visiting Hypperex and Maris. He quickly learned that the Inquisition organization was nothing more than greedy, blood-sucking butchers who condoned murder of innocent lives in the name of God. Their actions had turned Rijiin against humanity, his resolve to avenge many of those atrocities committed by the Inquisition and for killing innocent people. The elf would declare war on the Inquisition organization, protecting what the church called heretics (persons who had abilities and gifts from god), known witches, warlocks, midwives and also kept them from persecuting into extinction his brothers and sisters (The elves). Even though he was originally from the twentieth century, he had already seen how the human race had been there first hand in his own century and now while living in the fourteenth century. It would be no different here than the future. Humanity would still be blood-thirsty, greedy, self-centered, self-absorbed, arrogant, twisted, perverted, murderous, and sadistic even after four hundred plus years.

 

 

"And it won't change in the time to come. Humanity will just get worse and worse." The elf thought and managed a grimace.

 

 

But there was some hope for Rijiin, who also in the last year would find a touch of compassion, humanity, and perhaps patience even though he is an elf. He would learn it while living in the fourteenth century and it would be in the form of Sana, and Charity. Both are witches, and one is a midwife. The both of them would teach Rijiin a few things about humanity while living in Adria during his transformation into an immortal. They always said there was good in everyone. All you had to do is seek it out. Rijiin was suddenly reminded of the twentieth century, and a few good people he overlooked while he was there. They came in the form of Mimi Stewart and Robert, her fiancé, his best friends. It would be on the campus of De Anza where he would meet them, long before his transformation and transport into the past through the portal bringing him to Adria.

 

 

Compassion and understanding would be the main reason that Rijiin volunteered to traverse the winds of history, and time when he felt Mimi's thoughts on that snow covered winter's day in Adria. He would do anything to help and heal his best friend, thanks to a memory of his friend, also her long lasting friendship. She and her fiancé had shown him friendship and fellowship when he was new to the college where he met them. They had started talking to him, introducing themselves and putting out their hands in friendship without strings or conditions. Mouse and Robert had brought him into an inner circle of their group, introduced him around and helped him get used to life on the campus. Something the elf would never forget. Now, as an elf, it was Rijiin's turn to give it all back starting with Mimi and the others. He wanted to give the same courtesy, kindness and friendship. Perhaps even able to use his new ability as an immortal elf to help and heal. Here was his chance to do just that and he had traversed the winds of history and time to accomplish his mission.

 

 

            "Ile tanak- cael- jaraman ikotane  n'ataya,  a'mael?" Natil told him and she managed an impressed nod, followed by warm smile. 

    

 

            "Aye Natili," He replied, "I have changed a lot in this last year, thanks to you all." Natil met his expression with a nod.

 

                                                                                                                                                        

            "Mirya was right, it would take time but I have found what it means to be immortal and accept what this life has to offer. You all have shown me there is more to just being an elf over this last year." He paused, "Sure. The elves' took my humanity, but just as well. Call it a gift perhaps, what I plan to give back to these humans despite the evil of this world. Maybe we can make these humans better, or worse. It depends on how they use what we give them."

 

 

           "Beloved, you speak wisely." The Harper replied, embracing Rijiin before walking with him toward the steps from the doorway. He slid an arm around her narrow waist, and together the couple walked down a small set of steps, then up, approaching the entrance to the Fireside Dining Room. Behind them, everyone in the room, standing at the doorway of the Main Dining Room, in the foyer and even the Cafeteria entrance, watched the elves closely. 

 

 

 As Natil and Rijiin entered the Fireside Dining Room, everyone in the room who had gathered here on this cold, December morning had looked over at the doorway. Rijiin's first reaction had been to ignore the low murmur of the people gathered here, walking 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 to curiously look 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. He managed a nod of his head to Mimi and then glanced silently at the group around her known to him as the *De Anza Rat Pack, who are all seated at the table. 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 consisted of Mimi, Robert, Dave, Becky, Chris, Omar, Vi, Steve, Patrick, Cathy, 'Jello' Jen, John, Ray, Christopher, and Katherine as named in story.

 

 

Rijiin's eyes then fell upon Becky Mc Gough, a youthful woman who sat beside Mimi. The young woman is someone whom he had met not long before his journey into a past and showing recognition, he nodded silently to her. Rijiin smiled when realizing that she had not changed during the year he had been away. Becky is the same, average, heavyset woman, with hazel colored eyes and long gracious brown hair that spilled to her shoulders. She is clad in a striped t-shirt, black knit pants, sandals, and a thick purple coat.

 

 

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, Jen and Vi 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, also 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, 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, realizing that it is the same type of necklace that the elves wore. 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, and 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, pronounced 'theil', the Just and I am at your service? This is my traveling companion, kinswoman and my beloved wife, Natil." Rijiin glanced 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. Mouse frowned slightly, confused by the couple and stared in wonder at them like the others who had gathered here. Robert 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. Vi, 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 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.

 

 

"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." He 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." Mouse sat 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.

 

 

     "And you would be right." Rijiin murmured, overhearing the thoughts around him that were about them.

 

 

            "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."

 

 

     "Mimi, do you know this couple?" Dave 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 to be a hallucination. 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 the face of Becky, and her narrowing her eyes as if to examine the couple who stood before them all.

 

 

            "What is it Becky? What's wrong?" Robert asked gruffly, "What's going on, are you alright?" He stared at Becky's face, her 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 and like their friend 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'm not sure." She replied, "I have seen this garb and that pendant before. The pendant and garb is really old, several centuries old for sure." Becky replied, examining 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, where did you come from?" 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 snapped at impatiently at her, trying to understand what she was talking about. He did not like 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 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 was also 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, Robert snorted 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. Although 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 Rijin and Natil who stood beside them, surrounded by many others. John's eyes fell on the elves and he stood watching the couple, startled as Becky did and the others had been seeing them for the first time. He had overheard the comments and surprise clearly showed on his face. He 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 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 was truly 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 been all geeked out, meeting 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 snarled, "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 used to willingly massage her shoulders for her. Mimi realized that Rijiin had the same gentle touch as she remembered her friend had. 

 

 

           Rijiin suddenly grimaced, 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 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, 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. He let his consciousness move among them effortlessly. Rijiin managed 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. It apparently was not the answer the Harper expected to hear from him either. 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. 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 had 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,

 

 

Elthiai calasiuove,

 

 

Marithae dia."

 

           

Natil sang the words quietly in elvish as her hands danced across the strings of the small cherry wood, and bronze-strung harp. She had 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 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 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 found love too, the purest, truest love. He would be with her forever, living out his days with her, which also 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 saw 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 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.

 

 

            "Oh dear Lady," She murmured, "RIJIIN!" Tears formed in the Harper's eyes 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 who was in the same state, slumped forward, both totally 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." He told her, pushing himself back to a sitting position. 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.

 

 

     "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. 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. 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. Mimi realized the face in the reflection of the picture's glass is not her own. 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 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." The elf slowly nodded once to her in answer to her questioning look.

 

 

"This can't be!" Mimi 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.

 

 

     "See're, 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 he has now. Mouse also remembered that her friend had blue eyes, not gray, an average build not trim and muscular like the one 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, do not 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 didn't 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.

      

 

           "Hi-ho all!" A voice said, and it made everyone seated at the table looked up as Steve, Cathy, and Patrick strolled up to the table.  Everyone greeted them silently as they approached the table. They stood beside the table where Mimi and company were seated. Cathy had recognized the wheelchair of Mimi, but when she came along side her eyes widened as Mimi's best friend stared at a different face. Cathy frowned at her strangely, startled by the youthful look of Mimi before her.

 

 

           "Mimi? Is that you?" Cathy asked, and turning the young maiden nodded affirmatively to her friend. Mouse was grinning ear to ear, silently amused by the reaction of Cathy and the others. She decided to have a little fun with them.

 

 

            "Yes, Cathy, it's me, Mouse." Mimi replied casually, motioning with her hand, "Here as always."

 

 

            "Wow! What happened to you?" Cathy asked, I go on vacation, and don't see you for a while, you change your hairstyle, lose weight and look like a teenage supermodel." The table laughed loudly, and Mimi blushed deeply.

 

 

           "Thanks Cathy." Mimi said with a sporadic burst of laughter, "I just had a makeover. I basically changed my hair, had a touch of makeup, and lost a bit of weight that's all. So what do you think?"

 

 

           "I love it!" Her friend replied. Patrick and Steve both were nodding their agreement. Her clothes she wore thankfully still disguised the massive changes to Mimi's trim form, barely fitting her however. Mouse suddenly was reminded that she had a date in the Physical Education (PE) Quad and the locker room where she knew there was a full length mirror. She wanted to see the extent of the remarkable healing and changes that elven magic was doing to her even now.

 

 

            "Mimi you are a real knock out. Whatever you did, it was a great job." Steve told her. Mouse, on the other hand, smiled slightly. The newly transformed maiden remembered Rijiin's words.

 

 

     "Our power is unpredictable. It will choose different paths, and it is hard to say which path it will take. Only time will tell what you gain." Rijiin's voice echoed in her head and Mimi found herself shaking her head slightly at the thought. 

 

         

          "Do you really like it?" Mimi had asked with a thin amused smirk, "Honestly now."

 

 

           "You look fabulous." Steve replied, "It's amazing what these change did. It'll be a while for me to get used to it." He grinned nervously, laughing as he leaned over to whisper a couple of words to Patrick, who sat beside him.

 

 

            Becky nodded, "For all of us." She murmured, and the table nodded silently. Cathy, as always did not quite catch the differences she saw in her best friend and of the group here.

 

 

             "Did I miss something?" She whispered to Omar. He shook his head in silence at her.    "You didn't miss too much." He replied, and with that Omar shrugged. Cathy had never been too bright, and Omar really did not know if he could explain to her what went on earlier this morning. Even he found himself unable to comprehend what had happened here today. Chris, Becky, Dave, and Katherine too, they were in the same company and had the same doubts. It certainly had startled everyone present at the table.

 

 

A few minutes elapsed and Mimi excused herself, pretending to wheel herself out so not to alarm the trio. When she reached the other room and entered the Main Dining Room, Mouse stood up out of the chair. She gasped when she almost lost her pants onto the floor from her small frame. Mimi quickly adjusted the draw string as tight as it would go, and she put the backpack easily on her shoulder and pushed the wheelchair while walking behind it. As the now young woman walked to the foyer on the east side of the building where the elevator is located and it would take her to the lower floor of the Campus Center. As the youthful elf maiden walked behind her wheelchair near the wall, she passed the entry of the lunch area but even before that, as she entered the Main Dining Room, she panned a sweeping look around the room. She met the grins and stares of the other students who sat at the tables nearby. The dining room to Mouse seemed smaller, more accessible now that she was able to walk and it would be something she would definitely have to get used to over time.

           

 

"I don't need my wheelchair now." She muttered, pushing it easily ahead of her, "Perhaps someone else, who really needs it, can use it. Maybe the Student Health Center can use it for around the office."

 

 

            Five minutes later, Mouse stood in the large open foyer on the bottom floor of the Student Campus Center. Here she stood in front of the doors to the elevator, and quickly her aquamarine colored eyes scanned the room. They fell upon the glass doors of the café they put in downstairs and then to the doors leading out of the Campus center to a set of stairs leading up to the ground level. She noted immediately her sense of smell had become more acute as was her hearing and vision. All three senses had been improved. Textures and color perception was more defined. Mimi found that she could hear the conversations clearly of those over ten feet away. Areas she once knew to be limited because of her wheelchair had also become smaller and accessible to her.

 

 

     "A lot of changes I will have to endure." Mouse thought with a grimace, and she squirmed uncomfortably. She suddenly became aware of the pain in her left shoulder. Scowling, Mimi realized it was the weight of the backpack that hung from her shoulder that was causing the pain. The young woman never really knew the true weight of her pack until she had hefted it onto her shoulder, as it had always hung from the handles of her wheelchair. The now youthful, elf maiden had to pause and she lowered the pack to the floor in frustration.

 

 

           "Jesus." The elfin woman complained, "What is in this backpack?" She dropped onto one knee and grabbed the tab to pull open the zipper. When she unzipped it, she examined the contents in silent astonishment. A bundle of green and gray leather was placed inside her pack, along with a hooded gray cloak and on the bundle is a note written in a strong hand.  It had been placed their by Rijiin, who utilized the elven magic that had changed her.

 

  

            "A note?" Mouse asked herself, and she scanned it quickly. "Wow, what a beautiful language." Mimi murmured, realizing suddenly that she was reading elvish and having no trouble translating it.    

 

 

          "Melda Mimitti, sinome qua caibre nat tanya aa' na- ner maara ten' llie behare ar'

winya quenat. Lann- sen buisenea ar' amin faith- llie raktea. Mela, Rijiini."

 

 

            "Dear Mimi, here is something that may be more useful for your needs and new body. Wear them proudly and I wait for your arrival. Love, Rijiin."

 

 

Mouse gasped seeing the signature. "Oh my god," The young elf maiden exclaimed with a yelp, pulling the bundle from her pack to examine the strange leather attire. Things seemed to fall into place as she stared at the note and the clothing that had magically been placed in her pack. Thanks to Rijiin and Natil.

 

 

"It's the same attire that Rijiin and Natil wore!" Mouse exclaimed, pushing the bundle back into her pack and zipped her pack up. She understood why when she looked at herself. The clothes she wore, at this very moment, were becoming looser and looser on her with all the changes happening to her body, now that elven blood coursed through her veins. The young woman suddenly realized that she definitely was not human anymore. She realized that a little more she would not be able to wear the clothes on her small body and Mouse needed to move quickly to avoid that.

 

 

            "Oh?" Mimi murmured with some realization, and suddenly was glad for Rijiin thinking ahead. Quickly, Mouse pushed her wheelchair to the Health Office located on the lower floor of the Campus Center, across from the Club Affairs Office. When the youthful elf maiden arrived she entered the office, standing behind her wheelchair, she greeted the startled student.  The young student volunteer sitting behind the desk had not expected someone so young, fair, and beautiful to enter the office. Mouse's eyes quickly darted around her surroundings quickly examining the interior of the Heath Center. The waiting room is setup with several chairs for people to sit, and adjacent to them are shelves where health related literature lay in neat piles. A long counter is here with a small opening on the far end. It is the desk where the receptionist on staff usually sits, greeting the students and patients. Currently it is manned by a young student volunteer while the receptionist was out of the office.

 

 

            "Can I help you?" The student asked politely and Mouse only flashed a smile at her.

 

 

            "I wanted to make a donation, please." Mimi replied, "My old wheelchair." The maiden motioned to the chair that lay discarded beside her. The elf maiden turned to leave, but the student volunteer motioned for her to wait.

 

 

           "Oh? Can you please wait?"  The student replied, "I don't know if we can use it. Let me check." She opened a loose-leaf pad and flipped through several sheets of laminated pages.

 

 

            Behind Mouse, the nurse and receptionist stepped through the door into the Heath Office of De Anza College. Both of them are returning from a meeting in the administration building and the staff members, Mimi's colleagues, did not recognize the unfamiliar face as they stepped through the door. They had only glanced once at Mimi's face and the empty wheelchair before doing the classic double-take. Turning their heads, they quickly examined the youthful looking fair features of Mimi who stood next to the counter but had quickly recognized the familiar wheelchair that sat discarded nearby to know who it was before them.

 

 

     "Mimi? Is that you?" The nurse asked, a surprised look appearing on the receptionist and Nurses' faces when the fair featured teenager nodded affirmatively to the question.         

 


            "Yea, uh?" Mouse replied as she smiled at the dubious looks between the people she had known for a while. They recognized the semi-familiar voice behind the new face, frowning when they heard the unfamiliar accent and inflection slip in and out of it.

 

 

     "Jesus, you go on vacation for a little while and come back looking like a genuine super model." The receptionist complimented, "Is it me, or do you really look young?"

 

 

The nurse beside her narrowed her eyes as she looked Mimi over, making Mouse blush slightly. They had echoed the same words as Cathy and it made Mimi quietly chuckle. 

 

 

"It's the light, and the makeover, the hairstyle makes me seem younger than I am." Mimi replied, but quickly wondered to herself if that was really true or not. Placing her hand on the counter, Mimi turned her head to the student and her colleagues.

 

 

 "Here I don't want anything for my wheelchair." She told them, "Perhaps you can use it for someone better suited than I." Mouse spun on her heel, walking with silent steps toward the door. All of a sudden an uncomfortable silence encompassed the office. Everyone present had sensed something was amiss.

 

 

            "HEY! Wait a second... How can you? WAIT?! What about?" They walked toward Mimi but the elf maiden at this very second did not wanted to answer their questions. The staff members, her colleagues, she knew well for a long time would never believe her. Even Mimi herself was hardly able to answer the many questions she had. She decided to quickly exit instead.

 

 

           "Please do me a favor, put the receipt in the Ham Radio Box." Mouse suggested politely as she headed toward the door. "I have an errand I must to run right now and I do appreciate it. I'll see you all later."

 

 

"But Mimi, wait a second? What's going on, what about your chair?" The nurse and receptionist had spoken in unison, but Mimi had already disappeared through the door. The staff members bolted to follow but when they reached the hallway, she had already turned the corner. Mimi walked toward the lower café on the bottom floor across from the elevator. 
 

 

            "Boy there is a lot of things I will have to get used to." Mouse murmured, refraining from wanting to run, jump, spin and dance to test her body fully of its abilities. She glanced down at herself. Mimi suddenly felt strangely as she met the smiling faces and admiring glances from the people who stood in the corridor or walked past her.  Mouse each time, smiled politely at the people she encountered and nodded her head in a silent greeting.

 

 

            "First thing," Mouse said with a glance downward at her clothes, "I'd better change." The young woman found herself at the elevator, by routine habit pushing the button and waiting for the cab to arrive. It was a second or two when Mimi realized what she was doing, and shook her head to turn away from it. She had to grab the waistband of her pants to keep them from slipping off.

 

 

           "Oh for Pete sake," Mouse murmured in chiding sarcasm, "You can walk now. Just walk up." Pushing the door nearby, it opened easily allowing her to walk through it and up the short stairs into the light. The young woman stepped away from the stairs, standing in the Language Quad (L-Quad) located on this side of the Campus Center. She stood across from the outside of the Advance Technology Center and Mimi from here, could see the Physical Education (PE) Quad in the distance through the sea of buildings.

 

 

Fifteen minutes later, Mimi found herself at the Physical Education (PE) Quad of De Anza College. She smiled as she entered through the gate and walked toward the rail surrounding the diving pool and the lap pool located on the level below her. Surrounding the pools are cement steps, bleachers where spectators would sit during the many competitions that De Anza has in water sports. Directly across the quad, she could see the entry to the Men's Locker Room. To the right of the Men's Locker Room entrance, in the corner of the quad, are the entry doors of the Women's Locker Room. The walkway surrounds the entire area, and on this level, scattered around it are the many offices belonging to the Instructors. There are several gymnasiums located here on this side where classes are held. It is here that Mimi turned to her right, following the walkway quickly and soon entered the Women's Locker Room. Thankfully the quad was semi-deserted at this hour, and no one seemed to notice her presence here or her plight.

 

 

As the young woman entered the interior of the Women's Locker Room, she did so deep in thought. Even though she had embraced Rijiin after their discussion outside the range of others in the Fireside Dining Hall, she still was reluctant about her transformation into an elf. Mimi did not understand why she felt this way only knowing that she would have a lot of explaining to do when it came to her peers, family and friends. As for what had happened, everything should have been in order at this very moment when it came down to her healing and her new existence. To Mouse, however, it wasn't in order. The now young maiden found herself in a dilemma, if not entrapped by the whole affair that happened over the last two days.

 

 

"This definitely is going to be difficult to explain." Mimi grumbled to herself, as she quickly navigated the aisle way and she put down her backpack in front of her locker. Mouse opened it and she stared at the interior. Her gym clothes lay neatly folded in the locker bottom and her swim suit hung from a hook above them. Quickly, Mimi glanced down at the trim figure in amused silence and back to the swimsuit that hung limply like a second skin inside it. She shook her head negatively as she reached out and examined it. Mouse suddenly remembered what she had come here for. She had come here to look in the full length mirror located in this locker room and to see the changes that made to her physical body. Turning her head, Mimi's attention fell on the bench nearby and to her backpack that lay discarded nearby. The young maiden let out a startled gasp. The pack seemed to be glowing incandescently and pulsating in the dim light. It was something that Mimi had not been expected to happen at this very moment and she stared in silent wonder at the pack.

 

 

"What is that?" Mouse asked herself. "Why is glowing like that? What does all of this mean?" Deliberating what she should do next, Mouse took a half step toward the pack. Gingerly, she placed a hand on the material of the pack only to withdraw it a second later.

 

 

"The pack is warm." Mimi thought to herself, "Okay this is a little strange."

 

 

She reached for the zipper with a shaking hand, and she unzipped it to peer inside. Putting her hand in the main pocket of her pack, she grasped the bundle as she pulled it from within and turned the glowing clothing end-over-end in her hands. As moment later, the glow faded away but it still shimmered strangely even in the dim light of the locker room. Mimi felt strangely energized by the material as she held it.

 

 

"Perhaps it is a sign I should change into the garb." Mouse thought to herself, "And become what supposedly I am supposed to be, an elf maiden." The young maiden glanced once at herself, grimacing at the sight of her new body and at the clothes that now barely fit her. Mimi immediately understood what she must do, silently placing the bundle and backpack into the locker. Hastily, Mimi stripped and put a towel around her thin youthful body before walking through the aisle to a shower area nearby. She had decided to shower before trying on the garb and prepared herself to face what lay in store for her. When the young elf rounded the corner, she encountered a full-length mirror attached to the end of the locker row. Her reaction to the image was a total and utter recognition. The maiden gasped loudly.  

 

 

Mimi finally came face to face with her own confessor, and as someone once said that 'if confession was good for the soul,' and the mirror was that confessor, it now revealed a lot about the image reflected in the mirror. She stared at the reflection in silence for over fifteen minutes, unable to believe what or who she saw there. The image before her, showed a very young woman with a narrow, trim, but muscular hourglass figure, a rounded fair-featured face, slender tapered ears, long, gracious curly brown hair that spilled down to her mid back and a noted reduced cup size. It was a sight that was going to be difficult to explain to peers, family and friends. She had no idea where to begin when it came to this point and decided to take one thing at a time, starting with her mother and father who would never believe that this teenager was once their fifty year old daughter.

 

 

Mouse stared into the aquamarine colored blue eyes in the mirror and immediately she noted they seemed to have a strange light about them. She shivered, staring at the youthful face in wonder. Mimi reached back to take the long hair in her hands and immediately noted three things about it. First, it was definitely longer than she was used to. Secondly, it was finer quality than she remembered. Lastly, it absolutely had no silver in it. Her small tapered hands instinctively touched her youthful face again. She turned several times to inspect her nude body, after dropping her towel and a smile of acceptance appeared on the strange face in the mirror. 

 

 

"H-holy hell, I'm young again!" Mouse exclaimed as she continued to examine her new face and body. "Is this what you meant by our discussion Rijiin? What am I supposed to do now? Dance on flowers? How am I going to explain this to people when I look like a teenager?"

 

 

She suddenly had a sinking feeling in her gut, and it took Mimi several minutes before she could force herself to walk away from the mirror and the strange images she saw there. The now youthful woman quickly adjourned with silent steps to the nearby shower area, and for the next twenty minutes, she let the blazing hot-water cascade over her new form. It seemed to energize her body as she showered but even as Mimi did that, there was a lot on her mind, more than she was overly prepared for.

 

 

"There is so much Rijiin didn't tell me." Mouse thought to herself, "Perhaps he is waiting until I am fully transformed."  

 

 

When the youthful elf-maiden was finished, she walked to her locker. Here, she pulled the green and gray garb and the note from it to examine them both. As Mimi did that, she ran her fingers through her long hair. The young maiden glanced expectantly at the note. What was she really hoping for from the note that lay before her written in a pseudo-stranger's hand? What was she expecting to find at the address listed on the card that Rijiin had given to them? Mimi certainly had a lot of questions for Rijiin and Natil right now. What lay ahead for her and the others at the table? Mouse was unsure of many things. He spoke of a path. What path was she supposed to take? Would there be signs to tell her what choices to make? She found herself lost.

 

 

Mimi also barely understood where to begin when it came to her brand-new existence as an elf. Rijiin only told her a little bit of information to help her accept her new form, but not enough to cope with the fallout that would come with the transformation ahead. She found herself overwhelmed with a lot of emotions and many questions. Closing her eyes, the young maiden peered at the starlight that twinkled clearly and coldly in the darkness. A hollow voice echoed through the darkness, as face of a woman appeared there. It seemed to help sooth her senses.

 

    

"Peace." Her voice commanded. Mimi recognized it as the voice of the Lady who stood in the meadow. The now beautiful, fair, and young looking, Mimi realized the Lady used the same word spoken during her transformation. The flurry of doubt, questions, inner voices, and the overwhelming emotions, seemed to calm down as she stared at the starlight. Opening her eyes, breathing calmly, Mimi returned her attention to her hair and dabbed it dry with her towel.

 

 

"Jesus, it's going to be hard to get used to having hair like this." Mouse complained quietly to herself, holding the strands of hair in her hands and running her fingers through it.

 

 

 Grumbling, Mouse leaned over to brush the long hair forward with her hands, wringing it several times, making it leave a pool of water on the floor in front of her. Mimi stood abruptly and with a casual flip of her head, threw the now damp hair backward letting it settle evenly into place. She absently brushed her hair from her face with a casual hand. Turning to the bench beside her, she picked up the bundle of clothing that lay next to her. It consisted of a simple tunic top, soft trousers, a belt, and high boots made of leather. Quickly, she slipped them on, before attacking the woven leather straps, buckles and laces to secure them. Mouse then slipped the boots on her feet. After she was done, the youthful maiden stared at her small hands in silence, totally amazed by what she had just accomplished. Mouse now wore the strange clothing and had manipulated the fastenings as if she had worn it all her life, even though it was the first time ever she had worn this garb. She fitted the cloak over her shoulders and slipped the crescent moon and interlocked, rayed star clasp together. It hung almost to the ground, but she was considerably warmer.

           

 

 "My god," Mouse gasped, blushing as she quickly checked herself over, "I? I look like Natil and Rijiin! This can't be!"

 

 

The young woman suddenly wondered what she looked like in the mirror. Turning she walked with unnoticed silent steps to the end of the row of lockers where the mirror was attached. When she stepped around the corner, she gasped aloud at the image of a youthful elven woman staring back at her, wearing the unfamiliar green and gray leather garb. A smile appeared on Mimi's youthful, fair features reflected in the mirror. She was clearly unprepared to see the strange image in the mirror. As the youthful elf maiden examined herself, dressed in the strange garb, she noted it appeared to flatter the now many curves of her body and it seemed to be tailored in the right places. Here, she leaned forward to let her hair drape to the ground before standing up to throw it back over her shoulders. She noted visually that it naturally seemed to fall over the now tips of her pointed ears, and over her face which she absently brushed it aside. Mimi let out a loud gasp.

 

 

"Now what the hell, I have pointed ears?" Mouse asked herself, staring at them after pushing the hair back with her hands. Mimi could not believe what she was seeing, and had not noticed that change at first when she was nude and looking at the mirror.  She had been too wound up by the surprising look of her new form, despite what it all meant.

 

 

"Oh no, no, what have you gotten yourself into Mimi?" Mouse said with a gasp. The young woman shook her head and the long hair fell evenly in place over her slender ears. She was thankful for that.

 

 

"The garb fits as they say, like a preverbal glove." The young woman exclaimed to herself, "But hey, it's not too bad at that. It's doable and something to get used to."

 

 

Mouse, slowly turning in the mirror, inspected the garb in the reflection and she nodded in approval. The young maiden liked what she saw there, despite it looked so odd to be wearing such a garb in this day and age. Turning her head, Mimi heard voices that echoed in the locker room, and she realized she was not alone. Hurriedly, the youthful elf maiden walked toward her locker and with a scoop of her hands pushed the clothes she wore only this morning into it. Mouse closed the door with a reverberating thud.

 

 

The elf maiden then took up the strap of the backpack, slipping her arm through the loop, and hefted the bag onto her shoulder. She turned to walk, with still unnoticed silent steps, toward the main aisle way in which she would exit this building. Mouse considered slipping out the back entrance and making her way around this building but suddenly just shrugged. 

 

 

"Ah the hell with it, I'll probably regret this but I guess it's time to rejoin the human race for right now." Mimi thought, "Just until I find out what is going on. Funny, I wonder if anyone will recognize me, now that I have changed." She continued walking toward the trio of students who had entered for their first class of the day.

 

 

"Well, I'll know in a moment." Mouse muttered to herself, walking toward the students. All three had looked up in surprise as the young elf maiden approached, and Mimi smiled when she heard a low, but audible, sharp exhale from them. Mimi without a word passed them by, feeling their gazes as she walked through the door. The elf maiden smiled when she had seen their confused gazes, and continued walking the hallway through the double doors into the crisp cool air outside. The young elf maiden then took three steps toward the railing that surrounded the swimming pools and the bleachers, where she scanned the surrounding deserted quad quickly. People for her class, that she was missing, had already gathered on the pool deck on the shallow end of the lap pool.

 

 

"Well that was interesting." Mimi thought, smiling to herself at the encounter just a moment ago. She had to fight to refrain from laughing loudly inside the locker area. Standing at the rail, the young elf maiden continued to scan her surroundings, looking down at the few students who stood on the swimming pool deck, and noting a few by the offices on this end of the PE Quad. The young elf maiden realized that she would have to pass by several students, in order to return to the Main Quad on this end of the quad. Mimi immediately wondered if she would get the same reaction as the trio in the locker room.

 

 

"Let's find out." Mouse thought to herself, grinning briefly before turning away from the rail.  The young elf-maiden turned to walk along a cement walkway toward the instructor's offices located off of the covered walkway above the pool deck near the diving tower. Mimi suddenly sensed something unfamiliar to her and she frowned as she stealthily approached several students who stood around one of the offices. Mouse noted they did not seem to notice her until she was right up on them, and at first she did not understand why. It quickly dawned on her that her footsteps were silent on the pavement, despite it being wet from the water tracked from the end of the overhang. When the students finally noticed her, a surprised murmur rippled among them.

           

 

"Woaaah, hey baby." A shout said, and it was followed by a wolf whistle as she passed them by. The elf maiden turned her head, realizing she had been noticed, and at first she grimaced, embarrassed by the comments. Mouse felt a flush rise over the collar of her tunic and she flashed a silent grin at the speakers, nodding her head in a silent greeting.

 

 

            "Hey, hubba, hubba! Good looking!" Another voice said, and Mimi glanced at the speaker, blushing deep red as she managed a quiet smile at him. She quickly walked on, enduring the wolf whistles, comments and catcalls clear back to the Main Quad.

 

 

     "Oh brother, is this all there is to being an elf maiden?" Mimi asked herself, "A sexy seventeen year old fugitive from the 11th grade?" The young woman continued walking toward the end of the platform and turning to the left toward a path toward Science Quad (S-Quad) and the far side of the Administration building. Here she drew the hood of her cloak over her fair features. Walking along side of the familiar building, she saw the Main Quad in the distance, and she managed a silent nod. What used to take her over a half hour or more to get to the Physical Education Quad (PE Quad) and back, now took her very little time. Only fifteen minutes had elapsed. Mimi certainly wasn't used to the quickness she had walking on her own power. It astonished her.

 

 

     "I wonder what other abilities I will gain over time?" Mouse asked herself, walking along the path heading toward the Main Quad.

 

 

When Mimi finally made it back to Main Quad, she walked toward the Student Campus Center but instead of entering it, she passed it by. The young woman walked toward the Art's Quad (A-Quad) instead. Before she got there, however, she made a sharp left, walking down three steps into the Sunken Garden across from Flint Center. It is here that the young woman sat in the drizzling rain with her eyes closed, and let the sound of the splashing water sooth her senses. Mimi also used the starlight to try and decipher the events of the past two days. The young woman's hand absently found the pendant on the chain around her neck and as she touched it, the pendant flashed brightly in the morning light. She is quite overly nervous of what she had become, clearly unsure where her transformation was leading her to. Mimi thought of the others at the table who had seen the event of her transformation and wondered if she was alone or not when it came down to becoming an elf.

 

 

Mimi also tried to put in retrospect what had happened over these strange two days. She had started her miserable day by being dropped off in the wrong place by her ride share, dropped clear out on the edge of the Science Quad (S-Quad) near the forums building. During her travel in the rain to the Main Quad, she had an accident, breaking her leg after taking a tumble from her wheelchair, because of the construction on campus. A strange lady appeared in front of her and helped her back to her chair, the warmth of healing surrounding her as she helped to miraculously heal her leg. The woman disappeared in front of Mimi after reseating her in her chair. After her disappearance, a strange energy appeared out of nowhere to surround and transport her literally into time itself, making her appear over a great forest in what she did not know to be the Renaissance Age. There Mouse saw two strangers a man and a woman dressed in a green and gray garb, and the woman pointed at her to make her disappear into the swirling black energy that had brought her there in the first place. A few moments later, Mouse stood in the middle of a grassy plain under the star-filled night sky with the strange woman that helped her in the Sciences Quad (S-Quad.). She told her of a messenger that would come to her when she was ready and was returned to De Anza after meeting with her. The next day, Rijiin and Natil entered the Fireside Lounge.

 

 

"Yep, I am certifiably, one hundred percent crazy." Mimi thought, "A lot has happened that's for sure."

 

 

Mimi continued to stare at the starlight that soothed her senses and quelled the pent up emotion behind everything that happened in the last two days. As Mouse nervously fingered the pendant around her neck, hanging from its chain, the elven woman let her existence flow as she stared at the starlight in the darkness. It is here she found a star that twinkled brightly, and the young elven woman let it pull her toward it. Flying like a bird the young elf maiden entered the star, passing through the very center of it and the white burning fire that makes up its energy. A few moments later, Mouse ended up standing on a large grassy plain before the Lady. She dropped to one knee before her, just as Rijiin had, while they both were in the meadow during her transformation. Mimi looked up at the Lady's kind face and into her warm solemn gray eyes when she put her hand on her shoulder.

 

 

            "Beloved, you may rise." The Lady told her and Mouse did so, looking at the Creatrix of the elves herself. The elf maiden stared in silence at her, at the middle-aged, very beautiful woman, robed in a simple blue and silver that stood before her. She wore a waist guard made of gold, lined with emeralds her long dark hair is held by a golden clasp on one side as it spilled over her shoulders. Mimi met the gentle gray eyes that twinkled brightly with starlight and knew her name without even needing to speak it. The young woman knew fully that it was the Lady Elthia whom the elves worshipped and came to her, face to face for advice.

 

 

            "Mimitti, The Lady said, greeting her with an embrace.

 

 

           "I have come to thank you, uh Miss Elthia?" Mimi said with a question, pausing to shake her head before continuing, "For a brand-new chance at life, for sending Rijiin, and Natil for their help and healing."

 

            

          "You welcome my child." The Lady said, "I am glad you have accepted your change and the starlight. You are more beautiful than Rijiin has described in many words." Mouse blushed at the compliment. She also exhaled sharply, unaware that she stood in the same place as Rijiin a few minutes ago, kneeling before the Lady.

 

 

"He was here?" She asked, and the woman managed a silent nod.

 

 

"He was here. All my children can come to me for my council." The Lady replied, "However it was not I who sent Rijiin to you. He came to you of his own free will, risking the winds of time to assist you." Mimi frowned when hearing the Lady's statement and she exhaled sharply.

 

 

"He came to me of his own free will? Why on Earth did he? He didn't have to do that for me." Mimi stammered, uncomprehending what she was being told by the Lady. His ability to sense her over time was uncanny and very unnerving at times. Rijiin had known when she needed him, even through the winds of time, and just like before but this time Mouse did not know that he had traveled a long distance to be at her side. She grimaced, realizing she needed him now but it was not possible as he was far away through time and space, into what was.

 

 

         "Rijiin did indeed. He showed a lot of compassion about his friends and did it without regard for the circumstances, the risk to himself or his companions." The Lady explained to her, "The elf risked his very existence, his transformation as an elf, using the magical energy of the fair folk to heal and change you. Rijiin has focused upon his remembrance of your kindness and friendship to take such a great risk. He loves you more than you will ever know, and wants nothing but the best for you. He wanted to repay the same kindness you showed to him."

 

    

"Know this, he also sacrificed a lot for you, much more than you will know and has paid a heavy price to keep his very existence." The Lady continued, and with that she nodded her head a couple of times. "Rijiin L'Theil gave up the twentieth century, his human existence and his home where he had been born into, to give it all up for you. As you already know, a body was found dismembered, crushed and pulverized beyond recognition in gully near where you will soon start your adventures. The body found is all that remains of Rijiin's human self, the very scrap of soul that once was a part of his very physique. He is no longer human bound by your world but a traveler in another lifetime and dance. The person you once knew has perished and all that Rijiin is now remains. What was is still a part of him in many ways, but only as a memory."

 

 

             "Damn him." Mimi murmured, her eyes becoming misty as she met the Lady's compassionate quiet gaze. She could not believe what Rijiin had done for her.

 

 

            "Jesus ? Rijiin, what have you done?" Mimi murmured, "?and what have gotten yourself into."

 

 

         "Know this beloved that long ago elves existed in the world to help and heal." She told her, "They faded as the world no longer needed them and the human race persecuted them into extinction. The only retribution they will have for their return by the old blood that has awakened in mortals." The Lady paused to nod a few times meeting Mimi's aquamarine eyes. Mouse gasped at the revelation, she had not known that, and it made her wonder. "You are the beginning of that, changed by the ancient magic that once flowed. Use it and bear it well."

 

 

"Seek a high place in the east. There you shall find your answers what it is to be elven." The Lady told her, "You will seek this with a trusted ally who will be your companion to your mutual destination. You have a long road ahead and a lot of choices to make. I am confident you shall make the right ones, just as you gave yourself freely to embrace the light and your new existence to come to me. Know this it is not an easy path you take, but you will not be walking it alone."

 

 

            "Thank you my Lady." Mouse said, "I can see you again right?"

 

 

            "You can. You can always find me here." She said, "You have done well beloved. Go to your friends, they await your arrival, of your new existence."

 

 

            Mouse bowed, after embracing the Goddess, and she turned, letting herself be pulled away. The meadow faded around her and senses became aware of the water that flowed in the fountain in the center of the sunken garden. Mouse realized that she was once again on De Anza's Campus. The young woman regarded the fountain for a while and did not need to turn her head when she sensed Becky sitting beside her.

 

 

"Becky." She said without turning, greeting her friend warmly.

 

 

            "Mimi? Are you all right?" Becky asked, "When you did not return to the Fireside Lounge, I came looking to see if you were alright." Mouse was flattered by the concern.

 

 

"Everything is okay, really." Mimi replied, turning her head to meet the astonished expression of Becky who stared at the stranger's face. Only a vague hint of Mimi's original face could be seen, despite the changes that she still would be going through.

 

 

 "My god you look so different. Y-you're absolutely gorgeous, and are really young looking. If I may say so, you look about sixteen or seventeen years old." Becky declared, totally blown away by the changes Mouse had undergone in a few hours.

 

 

"I know?" Mimi replied, "I know damn it, with my thanks. I totally look like a fugitive from the 11th grade though." Becky managed a stifled laugh at her comment and Mouse merely grimaced at her mirth.

 

 

"Boy, you really look like Natil and Rijiin in that garb too." Becky observed and shook her head. She examined her with a long gaze, and noted the pendant of a crescent moon and interlocked, rayed star made of gold and silver that hung from the gold chain. Mouse glanced down at herself and the garb.

 

 

 "We're going to have serious problems with this transition I think. There is a lot more happening here than we both know." Mimi told her, "We are in, I dare say, the first half. There is much more to come I think. It's going to be difficult to explain to everyone what happened, how and why I have changed to look like this."

 

 

"Like how is it going to be difficult? A lot of people saw what happened in the Fireside, a few staff members saw the changes too." Becky told her, "Be at peace."

 

 

"It's a little more difficult that that Becky." Mimi replied, "There is going to be a lot of doubt by the college, even if a few staff members saw the changes. I have a reputation and responsibility on campus to uphold. The college just won't understand changes like this or accept them just like that. There will be many questions to answer and I don't know at this moment how to answer them. Not without making the college think I am defrauding them, or just plain nuts."

 

 

     "I know Mouse." Becky replied gently, "I don't think they'd go that far, kicking you out of school. Maybe take the job away from you on campus, but not classes. I wouldn't worry. If you have to get a job, I can bet you will get one really easy with your knowledge and qualifications." 

 

 

"I appreciate your confidence in me." Mouse murmured quietly, grinning at Becky.

 

 

 "If not the college, the second problem lies with my parents or my siblings. I don't know how they are going to take this change but I know they are going to freak out, that's for sure. I hope that I remotely still look as I did when I see them again. Just for now, so I can explain this to them."

 

 

     "They'll believe you Mouse." Becky told her, "You will make them understand, just have faith in your abilities. Rijiin said many changes will occur over time, maybe the one where you change fully into an immortal elf is still a long time off." 

 

 

"You don't understand. I don't know how my parents and sister are going to react or be able to handle that a seventeen year old girl was once their fifty year old daughter/sibling!" Mouse exclaimed, but suddenly stopped when she had half shouted, realizing her anger. It was not Becky's fault that this had happened.

 

 

"Be at peace Becky." Mimi told her, "I apologize. It is not your fault. I am stuck in a very bad spot thanks to Rijiin and Natil."

 

 

     "I understand, really." Rebecca replied, "All things are possible even Rijiin said that." She nodded quietly to Mouse who gasped at the statement. She remembered the conversation between her and Rijiin, a fair distance from the others in the group. He had told her many things and she understood enough to embrace him. Becky peered into her aquamarine colored eyes and quickly realized that she too would be facing the same thing herself very soon.

 

 

"And it's not going to be too far from now." Rebecca muttered, closing her eyes to stare at the dim starlight and in surprise at the images that opened before her. One of many possible futures appeared before her and Becky could see many avenues of choices, each with their consequence of choices made. She felt very small with the infinite possibilities around her, overwhelming her senses. Two hours had elapsed since Natil and Rijiin had been on the campus and so far many things have started to happen.

 

 

"If the magic is changing Mouse now, it will start to change us too, very soon in fact." Becky thought to herself, realizing that her parents would never understand the changes to their daughter either. She understood where Mouse was coming from about her family. Neither would her friends on campus, especially Robert nor her boyfriend, John. Seeing the starlight probably was the first step in the transition physically and later followed by spiritual changes.  

 

 

 "?The third trouble is the transition for SSI. It's going to be a bitch convincing them I am, who I say I am. I am no longer disabled though, thanks to Rijiin and Natil." Mimi complained, and she shook her head.

 

 

     "I don't know if Rijiin and Natil knew or not, but they just turned my world upside down." Mimi growled, "If he did know, I hope he made it easy to fix those problems. I didn't exactly want to become a young woman again, and lose everything I worked for."

 

 

     "Relax Mouse, you didn't lose anything academically, you still have your degrees and credits from this college. You still are Mimi Stewart. Nothing has changed except your age and looks. Everyone can get a makeover, including you." Becky declared with a smile. "Just be confident. I am sure there is work for you as a sexy seventeen year old elf female."

 

    

     Mouse glanced at her in silence, a look of contempt at the notion of a sexy seventeen year old female, Elf or not.

 

 

             "Well for all things considered," Mimi replied, "This is going to be one hell of time and trouble to straighten everything on this day. How about you and the others? What have you told Patrick, Steve and Cathy so far?" Mouse saw Becky's wide smile and guessed that it had been a battle to either tell them what happened or avoid telling them anything at all. Mimi did not know which path they had taken when it came to their friends.

 

 

"You mean Cathy the hun? Uhm? well? so far we have said nothing." Becky replied meeting Mimi's amused expression and both managed a laugh before becoming solemn. "Omar, Chris and Dave have been tap dancing around the questions like they are live landmines. Robert left the room for a while for one if his classes and so did Katherine."

 

 

"Robert of course is pissed off though and does not understand it, wanting me to explain it." Becky continued, "He accuses me of holding back stuff from him. He says you are not the Mimi he knows, you're an imposter." Mimi laughed briskly, joined in by Rebecca and they both tried to become solemn. Amused grins appeared on their faces.

          

 

"That's not true, but that's Robert." Mimi remarked, making Becky chuckle quietly beside her. The young woman standing beside Mouse noted an uncertain flicker of starlight in her friend's eyes. It is the same uncertain twinkle that Rebecca saw in Rijiin's eyes before the strange couple had started work, helping and healing Mimi. A lot had happened the last few hours. She didn't quite know what to make of it. Her changes were just beginning, however and a lot would start to happen in the days that would progress.

 

 

"I wonder who that Harper really was." Becky remarked casually, "I wonder where Rijiin found her at. She was really something."

 

    

"Yes, she was. I can only guess from the time and place where he found himself that she was there." Mimi mused, "I wonder what Nathaniel had in mind when he handed out the cards for that shop in Eastridge. It seems quite strange for him to hand out cards for a place in the mall, even though the human part of him died in a cement culvert across from it."

 

 

Mimi turned her head abruptly, scanning the area quickly before turning her head to meet the astonished look on Becky's face. Her jaw had literally dropped open when hearing the name of Mimi, Robert, Dave and even her friend who was said to have been murdered. It was told that he had gone there for a computer board's party/gathering of its members and that is the last time anyone saw him alive. The members of the computer system had been rounded up weeks later in connection to his death. According to the alibi of the members who were in attendance at the party, he had departed early but he was alive and well.

 

 

Becky remembered the day that her friend Nathaniel had been reported murdered. A body, his body, was found dismembered mutilated and laying face down in a cement culvert by kids across from Eastridge Mall. The authorities were called, and his body was left almost unidentifiable until the authorities found untouched his blood-covered wallet in his back pocket. Becky, like many of her friends, (Whom he called the De Anza Rat Pack) their morale dropped to an all time low upon learning of his death. Many questions were asked by family, even friends about his demise. All were wondering why he had been at Eastridge in the first place and that answer was easy: A party with the Bulletin Board System he was with. There was some piece of mind when it was reported that the owners and members of that Bulletin Board System were rounded up as suspects, for what the authorities had designated as a murder case. There were still no explanations of why it happened and the suspects had a strong alibi that they were not to blame for his death.  

 

 

     "Jesus, there is nothing like reopening old wounds." Mimi thought to herself and remembered that nightmarish day like it was yesterday. She met Becky's confused look. 

 

 

"Wait, he's dead Mimi." Becky whispered, "You said Nathaniel, don't you mean Rijiin? What did you mean by the human part of Rijiin?"

 

 

"Well, Rijiin is actually him." Mimi replied. Becky had turned her head, snapping it and a look of surprise had appeared on her face, "It is the human part and the very soul of Rijiin that was found in the cement culvert. It is hard to explain Becky." 

 

 

"T-that can't be possible Mouse." Becky stammered, staring at the calm and confident look on Mimi's face. "He's dead we both know that."

 

 

"Not now he isn't." She replied, "Rijiin is Nathaniel. I was not quite sure at first but when he called Robert, 'Unga' he confirmed my suspicion. Only Nate called him that."

 

 

"Holy shit." Becky whispered, "Are you sure? I don't believe it."

 

 

"It is him." Mimi replied confidently, "He has been through a lot and has given up so much in order to help me the way he did. Rijiin gave up his very existence as a human in this century and so much with his transformation that he is now a traveler in a different time and place, and dance."

 

 

"Have you been seeing starlight when you close your eyes?" Mimi asked suddenly and Becky turned her head, showing surprise. She remained silent for at least two minutes, as-if to contemplate her answer.

 

 

            "What difference does that make?" She demanded, studying Mimi for a moment, "Yeah, I see the starlight, but you didn't answer my question."

 

 

            "First, I see the starlight too." Mimi replied, meeting the look with a nod, "Second, that's how I know what I know. I saw it in the starlight."

 

 

"It happened when I was transformed and like an explosion the starlight seemed to fill my very soul." Mimi explained, "I stood on the meadow with the Lady with Rijiin and a young female who you see before you. I was filled with the power of the elves, by the Lady's hand." Mouse paused for a moment seeing the stunned reaction of her friend.

 

 

"You will be able to see images of the past, present, and future paths in the starlight. You will see events of others too and be able shift the webs of events at will." Mimi explained, "One of the first images I saw was Rijiin's transformation into an elf, his journey to Eastridge, his stepping through a portal of energy to walk and live in another time. I saw his death, transformation and rebirth. I know it sounds crazy, but have a look, you should be able to see the same images and start to have the same abilities if you try to utilize them."

 

 

Dubiously the young woman stared at Mimi and her explanation to shake her head slightly. A look of question appeared on Becky's face as Mimi nodded slowly to her. Rebecca, taking Mimi's instruction had closed her eyes, to peer at the dim starlight in the darkness. Dim images formed around her, swirling in and out in the dim light as they appeared and disappeared in wisps of smoke. The young woman saw the events Mimi had described in detail, seeing the whole event that Rijiin had undergone from beginning to end where he lay dying in a wooded clearing. The images after that became garbled and cloudy. She did not know what to say, but had yelped in alarm as the face of a woman flashed an appearance in the starlight. The woman who has long dark hair, solemn and kind gentle gray eyes, and there was a flash of blue and silver that followed. 

 

 

            "I don't believe it!" Rebecca declared suddenly, "Jesus, where the hell has he been and what has he gotten himself into?"

 

    

     "He has been living in different time and place." Mimi replied, "I know it's hard to believe but you have to trust me. The woman the Creatrix of the elves told me a few things too."

 

 

            "Is it a robe colored blue and silver?" Becky asked, finishing Mimi's thought and beside her, the youthful girl nodded slowly. Becky's eyes widened in silent astonishment, shaking her head slightly at the images she saw in the starlight.  

 

 

"Yes, she is a beautiful woman with long dark hair and gray eyes." Mouse told her and met the stunned expression on Becky's face. Rebecca bobbled her head in dumfounded silence at the vision and the familiar face she had just seen.

 

 

            "Who is she, Mimi?" Becky asked curiously, and Mimi quietly smiled.  

 

 

            "You have been blessed to see the Creatrix of Rijiin and Natil's people, the elves." Mimi replied, "The same Creatrix for people who practice Wicca too. She is the one who made the elves, who bind the elves together as a race."

 

 

            "So that is the Creatrix?" Becky asked, showing astonishment by the vision, "I never thought she would look like that, I only got a cloudy concept when I was learning Wicca with my boyfriend. He said you can manifest and bring her to you in the circle, but that takes a long time to learn how to do that."

 

 

            "It is. She is the Creatrix who made the elves, who are the elves." Mimi told her, "She is their goddess, who the elves can go to her for council and wisdom. Witches and warlocks worship her too. The elves though, are the only ones who can go to her and be face to face with her. The elves are very privileged to have the ability to do that. Even we can go to her if you want to."

 

 

            "H-How." Becky asked. Her voice was filled with emotion, "How do we go to her? I want to go to her. Have you gone to her Mouse?"

 

 

     "Aye, I have and I have found her comfort, felt her embrace and know of her unconditional love." Mouse declared solemnly, "Even after four hundred years, the elves have returned to the face of Earth, surviving because of descendents of the many mixed blood lines that flow through their veins."

    

 

"Come, close your eyes and find a star in the darkness you see now. Let its power find you and draw you in." Mimi said, "Come we'll do it together. Trust me Becky."

 

 

Mouse, still holding Becky's hands nodded slightly before they both closed their eyes and stared at the starlight. At first, Becky was surprised as she felt the energy sooth her senses and as she continued to stare into the darkness filled full of the dim starlight that a bright star twinkled there. She felt its energy draw her toward it. The young woman found herself afraid, for a reason she could not explain.

 

 

            "Let one call you and pull you." Mimi repeated, her voice echoing in the starlight and the energy around her, "Just relax and let it flow." Letting go of her fear, Rebecca followed Mimi as they were drawn toward a star. Together they traveled through the white-hot fire of its cornea until they appeared on the meadow a few minutes later. Becky jumped to her feet in a heartbeat, sprinting across the meadow toward the Lady standing with open arms. The young woman embraced her openly and wept as she held her tight.

 

 

            "My Lady," Becky whispered, "I cannot believe it's you. I am so glad to finally see you."

 

 

            "Welcome Becky. Welcome Mimi." The Lady said, "Be at peace, you both are welcome here." She held the sobbing young woman in her arms as she consoled her quietly for a few minutes. Mimi realized that her companion and friend had finally found peace for a troubled spirit. Rebecca realized too that Omar, Dave, Chris and Robert had been present when the elves had arrived into the Lounge. They too would face change by the elves' energy if they chose to let it. She wondered if they would go that far and embrace the energy that had surrounded them.

 

 

            As the young woman named Becky Mc Gough and the goddess Elthia of the Elves interacted, Mouse held back. The young elf-maiden stood nearby gazing up at the stars and staring off at the infinity that made up space above them. She was able to see many constellations, many planets that brightly reflected in the dark sky, and the infinity of many galaxies making up the universe before her. Mimi found herself feeling incredibly small in comparison to what she was seeing. The young elf maiden gasped quietly when seeing the even larger bodies of the universe above. Mouse saw whole worlds above them and shivered at the sight before her letting her awareness dance among them. The young elf maiden could see the events of the past, the present, and the future avenues. Mimi was capable to see the many events of what ifs that lay out before her that opened like a book. Even she could not say she was wrong for what she saw there, and what will be coming for her in the future. 

 

 

"So, where do the elves belong in the realm of a whole universe?" Mimi asked herself, unsure how to answer that or what she saw in the starlight before her.  The young elf maiden shook her head as she walked toward Becky and the Lady. The Lady turned her head to smile warmly at Mimi who approached them. The youthful looking elf maiden returned the smile with one of her own. Rebecca met the questioning gaze of Mouse and she nodded formally to her.

 

 

"I feel so strange, and what is going on with Mimi, She is not what she was this morning, I wonder if this is more magic?" Becky thought to herself, quickly sensing the feeling of déjà-vu as she stared at her friend whom the elves had healed. Glancing up at the heavens, Becky stared as Mimi did at the stars that twinkled brightly in the night sky. She suddenly felt quite small in comparison to the universe too seeing the infinity that lay out before them both. 

 

 

 "Damn, those changes today are remarkable." Becky murmured to herself, glancing at the Lady, who smiled as Mimi dropped to one knee before her. She placed a loving hand on Mimi's shoulder.

 

 

"You do me great honor beloved Mimi." The Lady told her and nodded her head to the young maiden, "Be at peace my daughter, blessings upon you this day." 

 

 

"Thank you my Lady." Mimi said, "Blessings upon you too."

 

 

     Rising, Mimi motioned to Becky, who took up her hand and around them, the meadow faded from view. Again, they found themselves in the sunken garden of De Anza College, the sound of falling water from the fountain and falling rain upon them. Both of the maidens sheepishly scanned the empty quad in silence, thankful that it remained devoid of people.

          

 

            "She is more beautiful than I ever realized." Becky exclaimed, "I never knew she looked like that!"

 

 

            "Aye, the elves are so privileged to have her for council and wisdom." Mimi replied, "I envy them, in many ways. I hope we will have such abilities, and be able to have council like that. We have a lifetime ahead of both of us if we chose to go to the light." 

 

 

"I know." Becky replied, "So do I Mimi. Be at peace." 

 

 

Mimi gasped, and turned her head to behold the woman beside her. She had used one of the elves' phrases, and it surprised her. Closing her eyes briefly, the young elf maiden saw the many patterns in the starlight that had made-up her friend and the many paths that lay out before her. Mouse saw many the images open before her like a book and it confused her, making her grimace in silence, despite it all.

 

 

     "You know, its funny how all this has happened. How Rijiin kept dropping hints at both of us until I finally caught on and realized who it really was who stood before us. I was skeptical at first but not now. He showed me what happened and I still did not believe him at first."  Mimi told her, "I am happy to know he wasn't murdered as the report said by the authorities and glad he's alive even if it's not in this century. I hope he remains safe wherever he is and I am also glad he found someone special to be with him."

 

 

     Becky had nodded in reply to Mouse's observation, "So am I, I am glad he's not alone where he is. She was beautiful, just like you." Mouse smiled at the compliment. 

 

 

     "Well you should tell me about being beautiful, I got wolf whistles and cat calls all the way back from the Physical Education Quad"  Mouse exclaimed. She turned to meet the grin Becky was trying to hide and they finally both gave up to laugh.

 

 

"Well you do look like a young high schooler." Becky mused, chuckling at the annoyed look Mouse gave her before she nodded quietly. "You are so way too young for taking classes here at De Anza College. Why aren't you in school young lady?"

 

 

"Are you going to bust my chops with that?" Mimi demanded in mock anger, hiding a smile of her own.

 

 

"You bet your cute ass I will." Becky replied in mock sarcasm, and again they both glanced at each before filling the garden with their loud laughter.

 

 

"Alas, so true?" Mimi said with a sigh, "More than you know."

 

 

"If I was you, I would not go back to the table dressed like that." Becky suggested, "You know what kind of reception you are going to receive when you walk into the Fireside Lounge by Cathy the Hun. She and the others are still there."

 

 

"No, my books are in there," Mouse replied, "We should go get them and I want you to walk with me to class. We have something to discuss, some travel arrangements that need to be made for going to Eastridge."

 

 

     "Okay, what is on your mind Mimi?" Rebecca asked curiously but already seemed to know from the starlight about the conversation happening right now and where this journey would be taking them. It would be heading northeast and heading to Eastridge Mall to check out the story behind Rijiin's shop, which he passed out cards for before his departure with his beloved Harper.

 

 

            "I just wanted to know if you wanted to go shopping tonight. It seems I am going to need a new wardrobe. I'd like to go in an hour or so."  Mouse offered, "And we need to figure a time to go to this place in Eastridge." She held up the card belonging to Rijiin, who had passed them out.

 

 

            "OOOH I'd love to? make you so damn sexy you will have to beat men off with a stick." Becky said, with a giggle. Mouse laughed, shaking her head at the young woman beside her.

 

 

     "And I knew that card would come into play. When do you think we sho?" Becky started to ask, but both maidens fell silent when they saw Robert appear from the door. Mimi's fiancé on the other hand, had spied them near the sunken garden and lumbered toward them. They glanced at each other before turning to face him. Mimi sensed his open hostility toward her, but despite the feeling, she chose to ignore it. Mouse glanced at Becky who noted a slight change as they stared at him.

 

           

"Becky. I need to talk to you inside."  He told her, turning to nod a silent greeting to Mouse, but he also waved his hand to casually dismiss her.

 

 

            "Hi?" Robert said, "Can you excuse us please? This happens to be a bit personal, and a tad bit adult." Mimi was offended by the implication of her youthful appearance, being a High School age student and resented being dismissed like she was. Mouse wanted to tell him where to go in so many words but suddenly found her anger a bit more volatile. She wanted to punch his lights out. Mouse, if she would have chosen to do so, could have accomplished that very task and could probably lay him out with one punch. She refrained, briefly closing her eyes and gritting her teeth to let the starlight sooth her emotions as-if to temper her anger like cold steel that Rijiin had carried at his side.

 

 

            "We'll both be there in a second Robert." Becky replied tightly, "Just give us one more minute."

 

 

             "Come on, talk to me. You are keeping stuff from me, and that is not right." Becky shook her head at the look Mouse gave her. Both heard the whine in his voice, and Robert glared at them with unbridled anger in his eyes when he saw their reaction.

 

 

            "Robert, please, not now." Becky shot back at him, "I want to finish this conversation with Mouse and it is as you said, somewhat personal." Robert turned his gaze upon the beautiful young woman who stood with her. He saw the twinkle in Mimi's eyes and the anger that clearly showed on her fair features. Through the transformation, her original face still minutely seemed to show, making her semi-recognizable but it would not be for long as the elves magic continued to change her. Little by little the familiarity of Mimi's face and original identity was fading away.

 

 

           "That's not Mimi, quit lying to me."

 

 

            "That IS Mouse and just go back inside. We will be there in a minute." Becky replied hotly, ignoring his whistle and his clucking his thumb toward the Student Campus Center. She even had the audacity to turn her back on him as she focused her attention back on Mimi.

 

 

           "Bobby, PLEASE!" Mimi grumbled, "It is important, and there is a lot going on that even I don't understand right now. When I know what's happening, you will know."

 

 

            Quietly, he shook his head, swearing under his breath as he lumbered off. Becky's eyes narrowed as they stood watching him as he departed. There was now something about him that both Mimi and Becky saw that was now very different from before. He seemed a bit better in the way he carried himself and both ladies noted that his stance is not as low as it usually is, caused by the Cerebral Palsy in his knees.

 

 

     "I wonder." Becky mused, "If Rijiin and Natil's power did that? you know." Mimi glanced in her direction.

 

 

"I know, but I do not think so." Mimi replied, shaking her head, and turned her head to watch Robert lumber over to his bicycle in the distance.  They watched him peddle and his bicycle with him on it disappearing into the Art's Quad (A-Quad).

 

 

Both had wondered if Rijiin had attempted to heal him, knowing the elves' power had spilled over the group and changing the others at the table, even Robert. Mimi and Becky both wondered what kind of changes the elf would have made to him if he would have proceeded in such an event. In truth, Rijiin had made the attempt to heal him when the magic of the elves spilled out over the group at the table. In the way of Robert, the elf had changed very little and had only improved his condition slightly from before. Rijiin and Natil's healing abilities were flatly refused by Robert and if they would have tried to push to heal him in force, it would have literally ripped away his very soul from him. The elf had been wise and backed off when he sensed the Robert's refusal of Natil and his healing powers. He even had briefly looked into the starlight at future events and saw the travesty that would be caused by such an event.

             

 

"How much more will we change I wonder?" Mouse thought and turning she motioned to Becky, handing her the note. The young woman examined it.

 

 

"What's this Mimi?"

 

 

"It seems to be a calling card." Mimi replied, "Rijiin gave me the green and gray garb. It seems he was thinking ahead for some reason, a journey perhaps."            

 

 

"What kind of language is that?" Becky asked, but strangely, she too could read it and had no trouble understanding it. 

 

 

"It is elvish?" Mimi replied, and Becky managed a shrug. The young woman smiled at the signature on the parchment, the elvish stilted but written with a strong hand.

 

 

            "Whatever it is, it looks very elegant." Becky observed, as she examined the note carefully.

 

 

            "On the Eastridge front, we should go as soon as possible Mouse." Becky suggested, "We really need to find out what's going on, and I have a suspicion the card he handed us and this note will show us what has happened today."

 

 

            "That's for sure."  Mouse grumbled, and here she turned her attention back to the fountain as did Becky. As they stared at the multicolored art deco design of the fountain, they stood there silently and both had many questions with no way to answer them all. They needed to go to Eastridge Mall, and that was a fact. When they would go was another matter. Mimi knew she could not do it right away because she had a two more classes to attend today. She found it hard to think about attending those classes, with the massive changes to her body and no way to explain them to her colleagues.

 

 

"I have class in a few minutes and I still need to get my books in the Fireside Lounge. Please come with me to go get them." Mimi said formally, "Don't worry about Cathy, Steve or Patrick. I can handle them." Mouse turned her head to grin when Becky's silently nodded. A few minutes later, they returned to the Fireside Lounge.

 

 

     When Mimi stepped into the dining room, everyone who was seated in the room looked up in astonishment at her entry. Cathy, Steve, Patrick, Dave, Omar, Katherine, 'Jello' Jen, and Chris turned their heads to look at the entrance too. At first, the group seated at the familiar table, did not say anything as Mimi entered the Fireside Dining Room, followed by Becky. They both walked silently to the table where the 'De Anza Rat Pack' now sits, and Mimi put her large pack on the table. There was an uncomfortable glance between her friends, before turning their full attention to the beautiful young woman who stood before them. It had been more than three full hours since Mouse had left the room, and the group at the table did not initially recognize her. They clearly had not expected someone like this to enter the Dining Room, and a hush fell over the room. Dave peered at her in genuine surprise, as did Chris and even Omar. All three finally recognized who it was that stood openly before them.

 

 

            "Wow. It's Mimi." Dave had murmured to Omar, who nodded in silent reply, having the same revelation. They noted the clothing Mimi wore was the same as the visitors a few hours ago who blessed them with their presence. The garb seemed to shimmer in the low light, almost with an aura around her. Mouse quickly closed her books and arranged her papers before putting them in her pack on the table. The elf maiden sensed discomfort by the group at the table and she glanced at each one of them with a smile and a nod.

 

 

           "Hey those are Mimi's books." Cathy warned without looking at the semi-familiar face first. She glanced in Mimi's direction and saw the now unfamiliar face, making her do the classic double take to look at it again. Mimi's best friend gasped loudly when realizing that it was Mimi herself who now stood beside the table and who gathered up her books. Cathy noted that her best friend was walking on her own two feet and there was no wheelchair. She also stared at the unfamiliar face, now looking quite different from what it was a few hours ago when she too arrived into the Fireside Dining Room with Patrick and Steve.

 

 

            "Holy Christ, is that you Mouse?" Cathy asked, looking at the now young woman who nodded her head slowly, standing beside them at the table. Mimi smiled slightly, glad that her presence was being acknowledged by other people instead of being called a fraud by Robert. She noted that her Robert was not at the table with the others and immediately suspected he had left campus in a huff when Becky slammed him pretty hard when they stood talking near the sunken garden. Mouse would have been right on that assumption, and did not need to look into the starlight to know that piece of information. 

 

 

            "What in heaven's name is going on here?" Cathy asked furiously, peering at Mimi who stood among them. Steve, sitting beside her was nodding his head, thinking the same thing as was Patrick. They had all done the classic double-take. The trio at the table sensed something was very wrong with this picture and the person they knew for a long time was not telling them everything.

 

 

            "Nothing is going on Cathy, I have to get to class that's all." Mimi replied with an ice-cold tone, motioning to Becky who stood beside her. Still seated in her scooter, Cathy tried to get her attention, tugging on the sleeve of her tunic several times. When Mouse turned finally to face her friend, Cathy reared up and exploded on her.

 

 

           "You have some explaining to do Mimi you're not telling us everything." Cathy shouted, "What's going on? How and why are you walking? Why are you not in your wheelchair? How come you look the way you do?" A flurry of questions assaulted Mouse and here she briefly closed her eyes. Mouse let the starlight comfort her. Keeping the image of starlight in a vision she opened them and calmly breathed out.

    

 

     "I don't know, but I like her this way Cathy." Patrick told her gently, casually flirting with Mimi as he always did. A mystified grin appeared on his face, "Although she is a little young looking for my tastes." His laughter echoed with the others at the table.  

 

 

"Yeah, Yeah, I am a fugitive from the 11th Grade." Mimi admitted and she laughed with all present. She placed a hand on Patrick's shoulder and managed a warm smile at him. Cathy did not laugh she was still grimacing, impatiently waiting for an answer.

           

 

"Cathy, the wheelchair is no longer needed." Mouse replied simply, "As you can see." The young woman with that notion had bowed slightly. She turned after she packed her backpack and walked with silent steps toward the doorway. Becky followed her. Mimi had more she wanted to tell Cathy, to explain it a bit better, but something told her to refrain and let it ride.  She was wise to retreat. 

 

 

"Cathy, we'll talk about it later, when I can explain what happened to me more accurately." Mouse promised, "I will, just trust me. I have to go now. If you want to meet later I'll be back here in the quad in a couple of hours."

 

 

Her friend was shaking her head, and Mimi knew that would not be good enough. Mouse and Cathy rarely had secrets from each other, having known each other for a very long time. This would be the first time in Mimi's life she refrained from telling her friend anything and held back information from her. 

 

 

"That's no answer Mimi." Cathy told her and Mouse only shrugged, "But... HEY?"      The young elf maiden had walked abruptly from the room through the doors into the quad beyond. Turning sharply, the duo walked down the steps, cutting through the bookstore into the backside of it that exited into the Arts Quad (A-Quad). Becky walked beside her, and noted her silent steps even on the wet pavement. Behind them, Cathy raced out of the Dining Room, through the electric doors into the quad outside the Student Campus Center on her scooter but here she stopped under an overhang, realizing that she had lost her. She headed to the bookstore's wheelchair access and hit the button to enter the store, Here she stopped, turning her head three-hundred and sixty degrees, not seeing them in the store and having no idea which way they went from here. Mimi's friend turned the scooter around in a huff, returning to the Fireside Dining Room. In the Arts Quad (A-Quad) Becky walked beside Mimi along the blacktop walkway toward the center of the Quad. The group who had seen Mimi's transformation had talked in low tones, at the dismay of Patrick and Steve who sat at the table. They were all unsure what they had just seen.

 

 

Mimi and Becky walked in the rain across the Art's Quad (A-Quad) and Becky noted her silent steps on the wet pavement.

 

 

 "This is fucking getting very bizarre." Becky commented, "You aren't making any noise as you walk."

 

 

     "Another ability of the elves I guess, they must have the ability of stealth." Mimi replied absently, "I actually like that ability, and also able to see in the dark. Both will come in handy when needed." Rebecca chuckled and nodded silently in reply. Mimi had noted the dim areas in the Student Campus Center's bottom floor as she peered through the windows into darkened offices and able to see the interior with no problem. She smiled at the ability.

 

 

"By the way, why didn't you tell them?" Becky asked, and Mimi turned her head, showing a surprised expression on her face. She quickly shrugged her shoulders. Becky already knew the answer, and had half-heartedly agreed with it.

 

 

"How can I?" Mouse replied, "Like the college, I can't explain to them what Rijiin and Natil did to me. I definitely just can't blurt it out that elves healed me and changed me into an elf like they are. Especially Cathy, she already probably thinks I am nuts and she of all people would get the college agitated to have me locked away. I just can't tell anyone what happened yet, not confidently. There are so many questions that I have to get answered first for my own sanity."

 

 

"Hmmm, that is a very good point." Becky replied, managing a laugh, "I wouldn't think she would go that far, but you never know."

 

 

"Let's head to my class and talk." Mouse said formally, "I just want to make sure of a few things. I actually want to go to this place in Eastridge tonight to find out what this is all about and what really happened here, but it is getting late. The mall would be closed by the time we would get there. Let's stick to going shopping though, and pick up that new wardrobe for me."

 

    

"What do you have in mind Mimi?" Becky countered, smiling broadly. "What time you want to leave?"

 

 

            "Traveling to Eastridge, how about we leave tomorrow morning at 9:00 am." Mouse replied, "I have only one class in the afternoon and I know I can skip it. It won't take a terrible hit on my GPA if I miss a day or so." The young woman beside Mimi managed a nod. They continued walking further into the Arts Quad (A-Quad).

 

 

"Shopping though meet me here in an hour or so." Mimi said taking in a breath. Becky nodded quickly, smiling brightly.

 

 

            "Good. I will meet you here." Becky told her, as they approached her class and here, Mouse turned to embrace Becky. Stepping back, she turned with silent steps walking toward the classroom door.

 

 

            "I'll see you here, one hour." Becky repeated, making Mimi nod and wave before disappearing through the doorway of her class. Becky was alone in the quad but was close enough to the door Mimi disappeared through to hear the reactions of her fellow students in her class. The young woman could hear the gasps of amazement, followed by catcalls and whistles. Rebecca managed a broad grin, and a quiet laugh as Mouse tried to answer the questions put to her by the other students and the instructor.

 

 

"I think they noticed you Mimitti." Becky thought and managed a quiet giggle.

 

 

Turning, the young woman walked toward the Main Quad from the Art's Quad (A-Quad) and toward her destination, the familiar area around the Student Campus Center. Before she walked up the steps by the ATM machine, the young woman turned sharply, to the right walking down five steps into the sunken garden located across from Flint Center. Here, Becky took seat on a bench under a thick tree that protected her from the falling rain, and reflected back what she and the others in the Fireside Dining Room had witnessed earlier this morning.

 

 

"It will not be if they allow it or not, this magic utilized by Rijiin and Natil. It is going to be a magic that will forcefully make changes and will be impossible to prevent." Becky thought to herself, "Christ, call that a raping of the soul. I truly hope it does not do that."

 

 

There was a lot to come for all of them, touched by the strange powers wielded by Rijiin and Natil. "And what is strange about this, is that it did happen, that is for a sure fact." Becky murmured to herself, pulling out the card, examining it and reading it several times, "This card is the key."

 

 

The young woman named Becky Mc Gough held the business card that Rijiin had given them, and like Mimi had sensed a slight shift in time. Everything had seemed to change in a strange way. The youthful woman sensed that time was uncertain for them all. They had no idea of the inescapable urge that would draw them on a journey to the East. She wandered away from the sunken garden, walking back into the Arts Quad (A-Quad) and turning to utilize a path that ran behind the Student Campus Center and the bookstore. It is one that will take her to the Language Quad (L-Quad) on campus and would drop her near the Advanced Technology Center located on the far side of the sprawling Student Campus Center. Becky deliberately avoided the Fireside Lounge for a reason, not wanting to be caught up in the heated discussion by Cathy, Patrick, and Steve about Mimi's transformation. She was deep in thought wandering the campus and not noticing that her steps too are now semi-silent on the wet pavement. Her thoughts are of what she and Mouse hoped to find in Eastridge Mall.

 

 

"God I hope this isn't something we are going to regret." Becky thought openly, and she managed to grimace, "We're probably going to find what Rijiin did and the reason for his transformation into an elf."

 

 

A half hour later, Becky wandered into the Physical Education Quad (PE Quad) of De Anza College and as she stepped through the gate from the walkway outside, like Mouse had, she stood leaning on the railing that separated the bleachers from the walkway that surrounds the upper portion of the Physical Education Quad (PE Quad). It is later in the day, there are more students sitting here on the bleachers that surround the pools, a few standing outside Instructor Offices on the same level Becky is on, a few standing on the pool deck and some actually in the pool itself.

 

 

"Where the hell am I?" Becky said with a snort, realizing that she had not been paying attention to where she was and it took her a moment to realize she was in the PE Quad.

 

 

"Okay, I'm in the PE Quad, what am I supposed to be doing here?" She mused, chuckling when realizing she had been aimlessly wandering about the campus. Becky had a lot on her mind, looking forward to the half hour when she and Mimi would be going shopping. Tomorrow Becky and Mouse would be going to Eastridge to find out what was going on with Rijiin and Natil who visited them and had healed Mimi using the elves' mystical magic. Shaking her head she quickly cleared her thoughts.

 

 

As she entered the women's locker room, the young woman made her way down the wide walkway toward the interior of the room. When she reached the row of lockers in the middle of the oversized room, Becky gasped loudly. Her eyes fell upon the image she saw in the full length mirror attached to the end of the row. Like Mimi, 'if confession were good for the soul' and that mirror the confessor, it definitely showed what goes on right now. Already the changes of her becoming an elf maiden had started to show and Becky could see a remarkable difference from what she looked like more than a few hours ago. The young woman realized she was much different from this morning when she awakened to come to school.

 

 

As Rebecca stared at the mirror, she immediately noted that her face and complexion had changed from what it was before. Her face is more rounded, and her complexion is quite fair. Becky turned her head to peer dubiously in astonishment at the long, darker colored hair that cascades to her mid-back in thick curls. Here she took it in her hands and silently examined it, realizing that it is free of the gray frosting that had peppered her hair before. Rebecca gazed again into the mirror at the strange reflection before her and met the twinkling, deep hazelnut colored eyes where the young woman thought she saw starlight there.

 

 

Becky realized that her change was thankfully not like Mimi's where the elves' magical energy forcefully had changed her into something else. Becky clearly could see the semi-familiar face she knew in the mirror but she also wondered how long that would be before even that would fade away, changing her into an elf like Mouse. She also did not realize that her Cerebral Palsy had been partially cured and would continue to be healed until it did not show as a strong disability that she had before.  The young woman's eyes caught sight of something else she had not been expecting to see. It had clearly startled her and made her do the classic double-take. Becky, with shaking hands, pushed back her hair to gasp loudly as she stared at her now pointed ears in astonishment.

 

 

"Holy shit! I have pointed ears?" Becky gasped, staring at her ears and touching them with her hands, "Oh no, no this can't be happening." She stared at the tapered ears in silence, clearly unprepared for this minor change happening to her body, her face, and probably to her soul. 

 

 

"Now shit is really starting to get weird. Whatever is happening to me, it is definitely changing me like Mimi." Rebecca murmured, shaking her head and watched as her already long hair thankfully fell evenly in place over her ears.

 

 

     "I wonder how much I will change. Will I still be recognizable to the people who know me?" She thought, a question that the young woman tried to answer herself and every time she thought it, the answer clearly was 'No'.

 

 

Great power had transformed Mimi clearly into an elf now it was changing her too. Becky thought of Dave, Omar, Chris and even Robert who had been seated at the table with Mimi. She thought of her boyfriend John, who joined her at the table and realized that he too was probably touched by the elves' power of healing. Rebecca wondered if they could see the starlight or noticed anything different about themselves. There was a lot happening and Becky managed an inward sigh. She found she could hardly wait for the trip to Eastridge. The young woman wondered if she could handle the fallout related to the transformation she is going through. Again the answer was clearly 'No'. It was something she would have to get used to and damn quick. Explanations later with her parents, and friends she knew would be very difficult. Many questions that would be coming up ahead of her and she had no idea how to answer them.

 

 

     Glancing at the clock Becky grimaced noting it is almost time for meeting Mimi in the Arts Quad (A-Quad) again and turning she made her way to the exit. As the young woman walked through the main hallway, she noted her footsteps are semi-silent on the cement floor. Before passing though the doorway, Becky could see clearly in the dim interior of several spare storage areas, all highlighted in lavender and purples. The young woman quickly realized that she had the ability to see in the dark on top of stealth. She clearly wasn't prepared for these abilities, finding herself blown away by them.

 

 

     "Wow, that's something new." Thought the young woman, as she stepped out into the light and turning she found her way past the instructor's offices. Even shadowed as they were by the overhang she clearly could see into each one. Rebecca walked past them and toward the gate that would lead her into the Sciences Quad (S-quad). She chose this way over the alternate route leading to the backside of the Main Quad/Language Quad (L-Quad) along the border walkway between the two quads. Either way would take her to the Main Quad located in then center of the campus.

 

 

Becky passed many students, who glanced in her direction and no doubt admiring the young woman's changing body. She grinned at them, and nodded a greeting as she walked past. Like Mouse, Becky wanted to run, leap, and jump to test the new abilities of her changing body. She suddenly felt energized by the changes in her body. The young woman would also have to, like Mouse, deal with the same issues with parents, the college, friends, and even her boyfriend who might not like the changes at hand.

 

 

"Oh brother, I hope this is not going to turn into a fiasco." She thought, thinking of the reaction that the others would have when they saw her. Becky thought of Robert and his reaction toward Mimi and her changes. The young woman wondered if she would be treated in the same manner.

 

 

Fifteen minutes later, Becky found her way to the Main Quad, walking along the border between it and the bookstore near the sunken garden. She walked down three steps and at the backside of the bookstore in the Arts Quad (A-Quad) where she would wait for Mimi to arrive. Here, the young woman closed her eyes, staring at the starlight in the darkness, letting the dim starlight sooth her senses. She suddenly felt hands on her shoulders and she whirled to face John, her boyfriend who stood before her.  He saw the semi-familiar face and he backed off in alarm, if not in fear.

 

 

"Sorry thought you were someone else." He stammered, and he paused a moment, blinking his eyes realizing it is who he thought it was.

 

 

"Becky?" He had to ask and she nodded. John could not say he was wrong when he saw a strange twinkle in his girlfriend's eyes and the strange semi-familiar face. He noted the many changes of his girlfriend, ones that he had not expected to see. He thought of earlier when everyone who sat with Mouse, graced by two strangers who had helped and healed her. They had changed Mimi drastically from what she was, into something totally different using their abilities and utilizing the elven magic to do so. The elves had a power that he understood from his studies in Wicca, but had never seen it used in this day and age. It is a power he knew only to be lost over the course of many centuries past.

 

 

"Blessed be, I am." Becky replied formally, "Be at peace John." Here, his girlfriend bowed slightly. He grinned uncertainly to kiss her on the lips. John stepped back to stare at her in silence, amazed like earlier at the changes enacted by the elves for Mimi.

 

 

"Holy Christ, you look completely different." He stammered, "What and the hell did they do to you? They didn't, you know change you too did they?"

 

 

"By 'they' you mean the elves?" Becky asked and she shook her head quietly, "No they didn't directly change me but the energy they used did spill out over the table to the others seated there. I was touched by the energy as was Dave, Omar, Chris, Katherine and even Robert. You should have it too. You were standing beside us."

 

 

He shook his head, "If it has, I am not seeing it yet. What kind of changes will I see so I will know?" John asked, very curious by what Rebecca had pointed out and the young woman pondered a moment.

 

 

"If you allow it to change you, which I doubt you can prevent it, you will be able to see starlight when you close your eyes. Your body will firm up, be stronger, nimbler, and you will have more abilities that you did not have before. You will also have the power to go to the Creatrix of the Elves, the goddess that is worshiped by them, warlocks and witches too."

 

 

Here, John managed a chuckle. The young man doubted that he could really take all this seriously, but then again, he had seen Rijiin and Natil's power, what they had done for Mouse. The young man could not exactly say that was made up, what he had seen with his own eyes. Mimi did not look like what she had been before all thanks to Rijiin and Natil.

 

 

"Will I look like an elf?" He asked with an infectious grin and matching his grin, Becky didn't shake her head negatively in response. Becky had paused to for a moment before she shrugged her shoulders. 

 

 

"That's hard to say beloved." Becky replied, "As Rijiin told Mimi, and you were there, that there are going to be a lot of changes in the next few hours, perhaps even days. Their magic is unpredictable and can choose different paths. It is hard to say exactly what path it takes or what changes will happen. Only time will tell what you gain. I think what they said is relevant for the rest of us."

 

 

John managed a nod, "I remember. So where are you off to right now?" He asked, placing a hand on her shoulder, gripping it gently. I was wondering if I could buy you dinner tonight. Becky shook her head slightly, flattered by the offer.

 

 

     "Mimi and I are going to Eastridge Mall tomorrow." Becky replied, "We're going to check out Rijiin and Natil's story. Find out really what's out there. Tonight we are just going shopping, and get her a new wardrobe." John smiled at the thought.

 

 

     "You are welcome to tag along but only if Mimi says its okay." Becky replied sharply, "Buy us both dinner, we need to seriously talk." Becky, as-if to sense Mouse had turned her head as Mimi walked toward them. John gasped aloud seeing Mimi for the first time since the visit by Rijiin and Natil. He stared in awe at the remarkable changes made to her, and like many others wondered about the couple who visited her.

 

    

     "Becky tells me you are going to Eastridge tomorrow." John said formally, "I am asking if I can tag along, maybe take you both to breakfast or lunch over there. Maybe take you both to dinner tonight. I want to make sure you both are safe as East side San Jose is not really a nice place to be in at any hour."

 

 

     At first Mimi pondered the request and almost shook her head negatively, but he was offering to actually voluntarily pay for a meal. The youthful elf maiden didn't like a feeling she had about his motives, to readily volunteer for anything without strings attached. Closing her eyes for a moment, Mimi let the starlight sooth her senses quickly learning to manipulate their powers to heal. The young elf-maiden could see feints and images in the darkness. She managed a grimace.

 

 

     "You have one chance." Mimi said impatiently, "Mess up and you are banished as you like to put it."

 

 

     "Good, I'll see you and Becky tomorrow then at?" John replied sharply. 

 

 

"9:00 am." Mimi told him, "Right here." He nodded a couple of times before he embraced Rebecca. He then put out his arm for Becky who laughed before taking it. He did the same for Mimi but she merely arched her left eyebrow at him. John and Becky managed a quiet laugh at the face Mimi made. The trio, Mimi, Becky and John walked together through the Arts Quad (A-Quad) toward the bus stop located on the Steven's Creek Blvd and Mary Ave side of the college for Bus Number 23. As they approached it, Becky grimaced at the sight before her. The stop was filled with many people, heading home and waiting for the bus that was scheduled every fifteen minutes at this hour.  They both knew the bus was going to be crowded and standing room only.

 

 

"There is a lot more than a crowded bus to worry about." Mimi thought to herself, "There is our whole life ahead of us, starting with my looking like a fugitive from the 11th grade and heading toward an unknown destination ahead of us tomorrow." 

 

 

She glanced up at the stop ahead of them and she grimaced seeing something she did not want to deal with. A scooter with her friend Cathy seated in it.

 

 

     "Oh fucking hell." Mimi said with an exasperated sigh, "Cathy is at the stop. This is not what I fucking need right now, is to answer a lot of foolish questions about my transformation. She's going to have a field day with all this stuff that happened over the last two days."

 

 

Mimi paused to take in a breath. "Maybe we can skip this bus and go on the next one in fifteen minutes." The young elf maiden suggested, but both John and Becky shook their heads.

 

 

     "Don't worry Mimitti, be at peace, we'll handle Cathy." Becky said, and she turned her head to wink at the young elf maiden beside her, making her laugh quietly. Mimi gasped after a moment, realizing that Becky again had used one of the elves' sayings.

 

 

     "We'll distract her if she looks up, so you can pass behind us in the crowd. It is the least we can do."

 

    

     Mouse, as she stood at the bus stop deliberately positioned herself behind the blue shelter with John and Becky at the front of the stop. She waited until the bus came, loading up her friend first in her scooter, and the others piled on behind her. Mimi slipped with the crowd to the back of the bus when her friend was not been looking. It had been just as Becky had said would happen. They had waited for Cathy's inattentiveness to move and swiftly utilized the opening. As the bus roared off, Mimi hunkered down in her seat to avoid being seen by her friend, and watching Becky wave back at Cathy when she had spied them on the back of the bus. The young woman beside Mouse leaned over to whisper to her.

 

    

     "She's looking. Stay low and we'll run interference until she gets off." Becky promised and Mimi nodded slightly, closing her eyes after drawing up the hood of her cloak. The young woman gazed at the starlight in the darkness, letting them sooth her senses. There were a lot of changes coming and Mouse realized that, staring at the patterns at the images that lay out before her like a book. Many of them were the paths she walked and each opening related to her decisions to come. Some of those involved Becky and John with her on their trip to Eastridge tomorrow. The couple and Mimi did not know they know they would all find the portal and step through the winds of time and space to where Rijiin and Natil came from. The young elf maiden was excited, hardly able to keep herself calm until tomorrow when they departed on their journey.

 

 

A solid half-hour had elapsed because of the rush hour traffic and at the stop on Steven's Creek Blvd and Saratoga Ave, Cathy got off the bus. Mimi looked up in the interior of the bus and smiled when her best friend got off the bus. The platform had quickly dropped her onto the ground at the stop. As Mimi's best friend moved away from the stop, toward the nearby intersection, she glanced back at the bus and at the back window. Cathy had gasped loudly, spying Mimi sitting in the back seat. She had not known Mouse was there, and only had seen Becky and John seated in the back of the bus. An annoyed expression appeared on her face. She realized that Becky and John had been running interference; distracting her while, Mimi rode the bus in the back.

 

 

"Hey Mimi! We gotta talk!" Cathy shouted, as she waved at the bus window and Mouse, meeting her gaze waved back with a smile on her face.  Her best friend hurled an insult at the bus in frustration. Cathy knew she would have to talk to her tomorrow, or at least call her when she got in to her apartment. She was unaware that Mimi was out for a shopping trip with Becky and John. Mimi's best friend, Cathy also had no idea that tomorrow that her friend would be out most of the day and on her way to Eastridge Mall in east side San Jose. She wondered why Mimi was dodging her and wondered if it had to do with her new appearance, and her walking instead of in her wheelchair.

 

 

Back on the bus Mimi sat upright, glancing at her companions to breathe out in an exasperated sigh. The young elf maiden was glad that Cathy had got off the bus, but knew if she was on campus tomorrow she might have to face her and answer her friend's many questions. Becky and John laughed, joining in with Mimi who chuckled quietly. When they reached the stop at Valley Fair Mall on Steven's Creek Blvd, Mouse hit the stop request and they all stepped off onto the platform. In the distance she peered at the Macy's Department Store  entrance on this side of the Mall and it was here where they would start shopping for her new wardrobe. As Becky promised, she took Mimi to Frederick's of Hollywood  to start the process of her promise to make her a looker and where she would have to repel men with a stick. Mimi shook her head in bemused silence.

 

 

Meanwhile, four hundred years in the past: At the same moment in time as a young woman named Becky Mc Gough, Mimi Stewart and a young man named John Stack exited the public transit at their destination. Natil and Rijiin stepped from the identical swirling energy that brought them from the future into the past, returning them to their home of Adria in the fourteenth century. They have just arrived into the same clearing where their adventures had begun and as they stepped into the familiar wooded clearing, the couple both showed surprise to see Terrill and Mirya waiting for them. The couple peered at the surprised looks of their kinfolk as Rijiin raised his arms in greeting. The familiar sounds of Malvern echoed around them, the rustling of wildlife in the brush and the sound of the wind as it rustled the canopy of interlaced trees above them. Rijiin smiled broadly at Natil, glad to be home with his beloved Harper.

 

 

            "Ah, it's good to be home." He murmured to Natil and the young maiden managed a quiet laugh and a slight nod. Mirya smiled openly when she saw the Harper safe and sound, running toward her. The maiden embraced Natil warmly and turned to greet Rijiin in the same manner.

 

 

            "By the Lady, you are both safe and sound." Mirya said, "Welcome home you two." 

 

 

            "Aye welcome home!" Terrill exclaimed, "I trust your mission was successful?" Rijiin faced Terrill and they shook hands warmly. He considered the question a moment before he looked into the stars, and at the time stream that lay out like a river flowing in its bed.

 

 

            "Yes, our mission to help and heal an old friend was successful." Rijiin replied, "Aye it was worth it." The elf peered at the starlight that burned clear and cold at him. He let them calm his senses, watching at images of the past, present and future open up before him like a book. He let his awareness dance among them. He couldn't say he was wrong for what he had done. 

 

 

     "I trust no more foolish adventures then Rijiin?"

 

 

"Perhaps there might be some in the fourteenth century Terrill, but none though the winds of time and space." He told them, and he cast a speculative glance at the Harper beside him. She was smiling at him, but her eyes were bright and laughing. 

 

 

Mirya's head turned in surprise, as did Terrill's. They both heard the inflection and accent strong in his voice. Both also saw the difference in his elven features. Totally different from what he was before his quest to the future with Natil. The couple both had exchanged a look, but knew exactly who and what they were seeing. Rijiin was an elf, with elven blood flowing through his body. Both could not say they were wrong who now stood before them, sensing that the human part of him had faded away completely. They were unaware of the mutilated, dismembered body found in a cement culvert somewhere in time, making it impossible to return to his time as the human he once was.

 

 

"Come, the others anticipate your return." Terrill said and together the four walked down the path, hidden and known only to the elves.

 

           

Before Rijiin left the clearing, he turned briefly examining it for a moment before he closed his eyes, letting the stars comfort him. A moment later, he turned his head meeting Natil's questioning, and loving expression. The elf nodded his head as he joined his beloved Harper, embracing her with longing in his eyes, and passionately leaned over to kiss her on the lips. Surprised, Natil had gasped when he kissed her, just as they had on the campus. When they broke, she blushed even more furiously as before. His laughter echoed through the wooded clearing among the canopy of branches above them.

 


     "Ed' i' arwen, amin mela lle, Natili." Rijiin told her, "Amin vesta na- ie' llea grauwus, sii' ar' ten'oio tenna' i' luume' en' i' edhelie telaea a'mael."

    

 

     "Vee' amin mela lle ar'ea, arn nessima  heru." Natil murmured back, "Sii' ar' ten'oio A'maelamin." She held up her hand. "Please, you can speak plainly here Rijiin."

 

 

The Harper took up his hand to walk toward Mirya and Terrill. The couple before them both exchanged a look before turning their attention back to the Harper and her companion. They had heard the elvish that he spoke fluently from his lips, as-if he had spoken it for years.

 

 

            "Amin ie' seere, amin tyav quateya, ar va on- ta de ten' ai' nat e' i' palurin, na sinome yassen lle." He replied, making her gasp and the elf smiled when he saw her reaction. He shook his head. "Sorry beloved."

 

 

            "Just so, Natil?  The only fear I have now is what I have to face, but so long as it is with you, I be blessed. Now the new beginning we face together."  Natil understood and embraced him.

 

      

            "You have a century or more to find your healing and understand your knowledge. You have all of us to help you find just that." She replied, in a soothing voice. Both turned their head at Terrill, who had paused with Mirya, at the forest's edge.

 

 

            "Aminea foya ar' sai  caidis, a'mael," Rijiin replied, as he held her. They heard a clearing of the throat.

 

 

            "Are you two coming?" Terrill asked, and he motioned to the couple in silence. He had been silent when he gestured to Rijiin, as if to test him, and have him lead them back to the encampment. Behind him the portal still was active and had not closed up. It is shrouded in the wall in the back area of shop called the Dungeon Gaming Company in Eastridge Mall and not over the entries to the virtual realty games that Rijiin had stepped through the first time. Here it would be waiting for Mimi, Becky, John, Omar, Chris and even Robert, if they chose to follow. The elf anticipated their curiosity about what they had seen when he and Natil had healed Mimi. He sensed the energy only after they had healed and changed Mimi, realizing that it had spilled out over the others present at the table.

 

 

           "Shall we go?" He asked, offering Natil his arm, and before taking it, she laughed quietly. They exited the clearing into the forest, quickly catching up with Mirya and Terrill who walked ahead of them.

 

 

           Less than a half-hour later, they walked into the encampment of the elves, entering the cave together. Varden, Sana, Cara, and Talla were there, as were a few others. They all warmly greeted Rijiin and Natil with silent nods of acknowledgement. Sana, Talla and Cara welcomed them with an affectionate embrace. The couple talked very little about the journey, silently taking a seat next to the fire and settling in for their first night home.

 

 

            "Did you??" Cara asked suddenly and Rijiin grimaced, but he managed an affirmative nod.

 

 

             "We did that and worse." He replied, sitting next to the fire and watched its flames. The elf knew he had something to look forward to now and no doubt expected his friends, whom he healed by elven magic, to come to him soon enough. Talla and Charity both glanced at each other, hearing clearly the thick inflection and accent. Like the others, they knew whom and what they were seeing. Both maidens could hardly say they were wrong either.

 

 

            "If they want to come, they can and are always welcome here." Rijiin murmured, "I wonder whether if they will??" Rijiin, at this very moment did not know that somewhere in the twentieth century, that three people would do just as he suspected they would. Together they travel to the mall and the portal that would bring him to this new century he called his permanent home. They would come to the clearing and know the way along the paths known only to Elves to the encampment where he would personally greet them.

 

 

           "Rijiin? Beloved, are you alright?" Natil asked, and he met her questioning look. The elf nodded to the Harper in reply. A mixture of the low firelight and starlight twinkled brightly in her eyes.

 

 

           "I am beloved. I am at home here, and at peace." He told her with a smile and a nod.

 

 

Natil smiled at him as he put his hand on her knee. Rijiin knew he had finished his inward transition of changing into an elf. He knew his home was here and knew what he was. There was nothing for him in the future but memories and the elf realized that he was free and ready to start this new beginning. It was here that Rijiin would remain in this time, his proper place and with the bound love of a certain young Harper. The elf did look forward to what was to come for him.

 

 

            The elf, seated next to Natil at the fire, glanced down at the pendant around his neck that brightly reflected the light before putting his arm about her waist. Rijiin held her warmly as both he and Natil accepted a cup of wine from Talla, meeting her amused smile. The Harper managed to laugh, and Rijiin joined in, a smile brightening their faces.

 

 

A moment later, Natil pulled out her harp, and her hands danced across the strings. The ripple of notes made Rijiin look up and smile as her hands danced across the strings, playing a healing melody for them all. The melody, for Rijiin, was a perfect start for the beginning of a new adventure that awaited them.

 

 

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Literary Notes:

 

 

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 that were not translated in story. 

 

 

(The Elvish phrase) = (English Translation.)

 

 

"Amin gorga mani amin besarcadu sii', i' winya yesta amin anta." = I fear what I embrace now, the new beginning I face

 

 

A', ikotane tanyaea mani Miryai ar' Terrilli eleea. = Ah, so that's what Mirya and Terrill saw.

 

 

"Amin ta ikotane a'mael,  =  I? It is so, beloved. 

 

 

Diola lle, Rijiini = Thank you Rijiin

 

 

Amin uuma merna a' entul eller. Eller na il- ai'nat' eller ten' amin sii'  = I will not want to return there. There is not anything there for me now.

 

 

Eller na il- ai'nat' eller ten' amin sii' = There is not anything there for me now.

 

 

A! I'- yeste elen. = Ah! the first star.

 

 

Ta I' alaseeien elen. = It/It is a radiant star.

 

 

Seasamin, A'mael = My pleasure Beloved.

 

 

Ta vanima = It/It is Beautiful.

 

 

Aye Natili, ta. = Yes Natili, it/it is.

 

 

Sai- saesaminien = Very pleasurable

 

 

Sai- saesu. = Very pleasant

 

 

Alanae ea yolisi Elthia! By our Lady Elthia!

 

 

Aye, Manea = Yes, To you also.

 

 

Lle creoso Natili. = You/You are welcome, Natil

 

 

Tanya naa amin quel edhel wen = That is my good elf maiden.

 

 

Tulien? = Coming

 

 

A! Quel, Diola lle, Tallai. = Ah! Good, Thank you Talla.

 

 

Ta yassen amin saesamin = It/It is my pleasure. 

 

 

Ta yassen amin saesa. = "It is with my pleasure."

 

 

na- ie' seere, Rijiini, Lle naa a'maelamin = Be at Peace Rijiin, You are my beloved.

 

 

"Amin nyarea lle, Natili," = I told you Natil

 

 

 "Amin sint mani lle cael elea. Lle quenea noldo nar sanda." I know what you have seen. I spoke wisely and true.

 

 

Lye raa? = You are.

 

 

Manke, Rijiini?? = Where Rijiin?

 

 

Tula/Tulaien, A'mael = Come/Coming, Beloved.

 

 

Lema ed'templa = Portal (Spell)

 

 

Ede lye arwin! = By our Lady!

 

 

Rijiini?! Mani, naa lle' umien a'mael? = Rijiin! What are you doing beloved?

 

 

A'mael. = Beloved

 

 

Manke naa lye sii' Rijiin?  = Where are we now, Rijiin?

 

 

ta ikotane a'mael, =  It is so Beloved.

 

 

Amin arwen, sinome na' I' men a' manke lye ant aut-. = My lady, here is the path to where we need to go. 

 

 

Tul-e Natili, Ta sina men = Come Natil, It/It is this way.

 

 

Tulunka, Natili = Steady Natil.

 

 

Ta ve' sina, ilya 'i coiasira. = It/It is like the time.

 

 

Rijiini, tir- iilea, astael. = Rijiin, watch your stars.

 

 

Amin fir neuma sinome = I/My/Mine sense a trap here.

 

 

Aye, Amin, fir-ta vithel.  = Yes, I/My/Mine sense it also

 

 

Eller re naa, a'mael. = There she is, Beloved.

 

 

A! = Ah!

 

 

"Ta yassen ilya amin sai- bragol thailon ar erya."  = It is with all my very strength and soul.

 

 

"Amin mela lle Natili ar il auta lle." = I love you Natil and not leave you.

 

 

Ikotane tanya naa mani nornhamae na. = So that is what wheelchairs be.

 

 

Iye Natilli, ta he nornhama = Yes Natil, It/It is her wheelchair.

 

 

Ile naa ikotane, n'ataya, a'mael? we/us/ours are so different, beloved.

 

 

Iye = Yes

 

 

"Ta il' deanam!" = It (is) not possible!

 

 

 "Amin uuma rangwa sina!" = I don't understand this."

 

 

Ta ilya forya, a'mael. = It/It is all right, beloved.

 

 

Seere a'mael. = Peace beloved.

 

 

Amin? Amin caela utue seere manke lle tul-a'... = I had to find peace, to come to.

 

 

Mani amin cael harya a'mani wanya naa ere'amin erin. = What I/My have left to come from departed and only I remain.

 

 

Lle Desiel? = You ready?

 

 

Amin' e Desiel. = I am ready.

 

 

Amin sandae mela lle, Natili = I truely love you Natil

 

 

Ilyamenea? Enyala sina vesta a'mael. = Always. Remember I this promise beloved.

 

 

Amin selya va' ranya hae. = I will never stray far.

 

 

N'uma Erma manke lye na lye selma tenn'oio na- alye'."  = . No matter where we go we will always be together

 

 

lle cael- ahya a're. = You have changed today

 

 

Sut um- lle tyav = How do you feel

 

 

Amin ie' seere, = I feel at peace,

 

 

Amin tyav quateya, ar va on-de ten'ai'nat e'i'palurin na sinome yassen lle = I am energized, and will not give it up for anything in the world to be here with you.

 

 

Amin gorga mani amin selya vela sii', i' yestien amin anta. = I fear what I will see now, the new beginning I face.

 

 

Amin ie' seere, amin tyav quateya, ar va on- ta de ten' ai' nat e' i' palurin, na sinome yassen lle. = Be at peace, I feel filled, and never give it up for anything in the world, to be here with you.

 

 

Lle cael mellone a' astya lle fallan- ar ten llea evinyatae lle sint. = You have friends to help you heal and for your renewal you know

 

 

Amin sinta a'mael = I know beloved.

 

 

"Aye Natili." = Yes Natil

 

 

Lle cael-il elea ai'nat' am, Natili. Feith, ner lirille yenya lye. = You have not beheld anything yet, Natili. Wait, more lies before us.

 

 

Iye? amin mela lle, Natili, sii, nae ten'oio? Lle ra' ikotane vanima nandaro. = Aye, I love you, Natil, now and always... You are beautiful Harper.

 

 

"A'mael, naa lle tanca ta de simomne?" - Beloved are you sure it is up here?

 

 

"Sina na aut-ien a' net sarda vee lye kam sina rosta." = This is going to get harder as we make this ascent."

 

 

"Ta il- fae Natili."  = "It is not far Natil."

 

 

"Amin mem- na salphadun a'mael." = "I want this to be a surprise beloved."

 

 

"Na ai' seere, eldalie naa sinta ai' auluva." = Be at peace, Elves are known to be inventive."

 

 

"Amin sintea mani lle cael elea-. Lle cael- quanta sii'" = I know what you have seen. You have full knowledge now.

 

 

Amin valin lle naa' sinome yassen amin, ale' ikotane an luume' ranaien. Sii ar' tenoio, A'mael."  I am happy you are here with me after a long time wandering. Now and forever, beloved.

 

 

"Amin melea lle il re, sii' naa ten'oio."  I love you every day, now and forever.

 

 

"Lle karn- bir kyermea- a' I' arwen Elthia." You make a prayer to the Lady Elthia."

 

 

"Diol lle a'mael, lye karnea- arn  lema seasuea."  Thank you beloved, you made my journey pleasurable."

 

 

Na ie' seere. = Be at peace.

 

 

Lle ar' creoso, Natili = You are welcome, Natil

 

 

"Manka lle merna, Carai, Tallai," He said, "Gorga il-? Amin cael- ilya desiel tanya, yamen' ar' luume' n'uma an-in kwarea amin. Amin rinien ere' rinea en' tanya yamen'." = If you want Cara, Talla.  Fear not? I have all ready, that place and time no longer holds me. I remember only memories of that place.

 

 

"Ay! Lema ed' templa!" Ah! Portal!

 

 

"Amin mela lle a', Rijiini." She replied, "Amin valin lle naa' sinome yassen amin, ale' ikotane an ranaien. Sii' ar' Ten'oio" = I love you too Rijiin. I am happy you are here after so long wandering. Now and forever.

 

 

"Lle lakwenien Rijiin? Sut alhalman lle quenea tanya yol sint-ien lle naa' ba?" = Are you joking Rijiin? How could he speak like that knowing you are dead?

 

 

"Aminea foya ar' sai  caidis, a'mael," = You are right and very wise, beloved.

 

 

"Na ie' seere, Amael. Utu- lleea elenea, uchman ron val pel- lle ar' utu- i'- silma quant- lle."  Be at peace, beloved. Find your stars, let their power encircle you and let the starlight fill you."

 

 

"Ed' i' arwen, amin mela lle, Natili." = "By the lady I love you Natil."

 

 

"Amin vesta na- ie' llea grauwus, sii' ar' ten'oio tenna' i' luume' en' i' edhelie telaea a'mael." =

"I promise to be at your side, now and forever until the time of the elves finishes beloved."

 

"Vee' amin mela lle ar'ea, arn nessima  heru." = "As I love you too, my youthful Lord."

 

 

"Sii' ar' ten'oio, a'maelamin" = "Now and forever, my beloved."

 

 

"Uuma ma' ten' rashwe." = Don't look for trouble.

 

 

"Ta luume' a' aut-" = It is time to go, Natil

 

 

Curtaman lle eller e' bir minya. " = See you there in a second.

 

 

"Antolle ulua sulrim" = Much wind pours from your mouth

 

 

Lle naa gujen dina, agaryulnaerien edan." = You are best to be silent, bloodsucking human.

 

 

"Kwarea on' a' llie aila grauwus, Natili." = Hold on to your back side Natil.

 

 

"Ta na bir an lema a'mael. Ta gujen lye asc'e manka lle saes, ri I' templa aa' ishitu." = It is a long journey beloved. It is best we make haste, if we please or the portal may close.

 

 

"Lle naa a'maelamin. Amin nagoti um- ai'nat a' = You are my beloved. I would do any thing to give you a hand

 

 

Dina, Ungai, Lle vanwa kolien usquentiri huan."." = Be Silent Unga, You over bearing smelly dog

 

 

"A', ikotane Tanya na' mani Miryai ar' Terrilli ele-ea." = Ah, so that is what Mirya and Terrill saw."

 

 

"Ile tanak- cael- jaraman ikotane  n'ataya  a'mael?" = You sure have become so different beloved.

 

 

"Sii' ar' ten'oio A'maelamin." = Now and forever my beloved.

 

 

Sinome, sina men, A'mael. Lle-cael aut' a' i' n'at sambe, imya tanya anon." = Here, this way, beloved. You have to go to the other room, through that door.

 

 

"Antolle ulua sulrim" = Much wind pours from your mouth.

 

 

"Lle anwaea aut dina, edan." = You really need to be silent, human.

 

 

"Ta luume' aut-, a'mael." = It is time to go, beloved.

 

 

 "Natea' naa sii' n'e en' cam. Lle auta yeste'." =  Things are now out of hand. You need to go first

 

 

"Tanya na ikotane, a'mael." = That is so beloved,

 

 

 "Na- ie' seere. Na- eller e' bir minya. " = Be at peace. Be there in a second

    

 

"Ta luume' a' aut- Natili." = It is time to go Natil.

 

    

Ta na bir an lema a'mael. Ta noldo lye asc'e manka lle saes, ri I' templa aa' quella." =

It I a long journey beloved. It is wise we make haste if you please, or the magic may fade.

 

 

'Diola lle ten' cor-ien amin a' sina yamen'. = Thank you for leading me to this place.