Things aren’t going well. I mean, the students are good. Terellion is fine. Everyone’s fine, but there was a portal in my bedroom in the middle of the night. Terellion saw it. He saw someone who looked like me drag something to the sofa and teleport away. I saw it too. Then someone who looked like Renner followed him.
Of course, that’s not the worst part. The ‘something’ that the someone who looked like me left on my sofa is actually a someone. He called me his father.
I’m no one’s father. I’m angry that he called me that. I’m still angry. He’s still in the bedroom. I don’t want him interacting with the students and telling them that I’m his father too, but I don’t want him here anymore either.
The alternate me, or the one who looked like me is his father. He says he doesn’t know who his mother is.
Oh and another bad part, his name. Vaildor. Why would alternate me name him after my dead brother? I was going to try to keep him away from family too, but that was before he fell out the window.
He’s such a big baby about everything. Oh, he wanted to leave. Well, why didn’t he just follow his father through some portals, or something. I don’t want him here either. He’s caused so many problems already. I have to keep Tik from coming in the room, which did turn out easier than I thought. He thinks I broke the bed. I told him we’re fixing it before he sees it and he just shrugged and went about his work. Someone has to be here to watch him, but only people who know he’s here, so that’s me, Des, Renner or Ter, and I don’t want to leave Ter alone with him too long. To be honest, I don’t like leaving Des alone with him either. If his real father comes back while she’s watching him, then it’ll be my fault if something bad happens.
Anyway, he broke his leg when he fell out the window. I have no idea where he intended to go, but he’s not going anywhere with a broken leg. I worked at my father’s office when I was much younger, but I don’t know how to set a broken bone. I had to get Lani.
So, Lani was surprised to see me. She didn’t know anything about him and I had to explain how I have to keep a teenaged boy in my room, and keep it a secret. She wanted to ask more questions at first, like, why is there a teenaged boy in my room and why can’t she tell anyone, but I reminded her that his leg was broken. Then she wanted to know how he broke his leg.
I wound up explaining a lot of it to her. I told her that he was from another reality. Actually, I think she stopped believing me at that point, but I continued and told her that a portal had opened in my room late at night and someone who looked like me just left him there. I also told her that he wanted to call me father at first.
I got that look from her that I was weird, so I just reminded her that he has a broken leg and really needs her help. I made a portal, and finally she went through it.
The first thing she did was ask him his name. Even with all of her questions, I kind of left that part out. She looked at him after he told her like he was crazy too.
- She did help, and she set the bone and made a splint. She said she’d be by during the day to make a cast. She wants to make sure he’s healthy and everything. She also wants to ask me a lot more questions. I told her that everything I said about the portal was true. I don’t think she believes me. I just hope she doesn’t tell anyone until we figure out where he belongs and get him back there.
Hethurin Fairsong watched anxiously as Renner covered the windows in his practice room. “Do you think we’ll find any clues?” he asked as the last window was covered. He quickly conjured a globe of light while waiting for Renner’s answer.
“I hope so. We’ll find out soon enough. I’d rather proceed this way than to jump right into other realities without knowing what’s there first.”
Hethurin nodded, and turned the hourglass and cast the spell to start the vision. There hadn’t been much residue left from the portal that had appeared in his room, and for a moment he thought there wasn’t enough to proceed with the vision, but then the image of a different room started appearing around him.
“This is my sister’s house. The kid said they usually stay there.” Hethurin remarked. It was decorated differently here, but the layout of the house was the same as the one at the bottom of the hill next to the stable. Again, there were drawings posted on the walls, similar to the ones that had been in the previous vision, but not the same ones. “This is where they came from, not where he went to. I don’t think the kid is from this timeline. Can we just put him back here anyway?”
“He doesn’t belong here either.”
Hethurin frowned as he looked over what he could see. It was a vision so he couldn’t touch anything, but he hoped something was left where he could spot it. He wandered to the small house’s kitchen. “He left in a hurry. There’s food left out.”
Renner joined him, regarding the vegetables out on the cutting board. Some had been chopped, but others hadn’t. “But you said the boy was sleeping when you first found him, right?”
Hethurin nodded, “He was just waking up. My alternate self, or the person who looked like me, dragged him to my sofa and left him there.”
Hethurin frowned in thought. It was possible, but unlikely the other mage was cooking in the middle of the night. He looked again at the vegetables, but not for very long. Something outside the window over the cutting board caught his attention. “Renner…” He trailed off as he pointed at the large bronze shape near the stable.
Renner frowned as well as he looked, “Get us closer.”
Hethurin cast the spell to move the vision outside near the stable. There, a medium-sized bronze drake lay on his side. “Is it…” Dead. He knew it was. Something this large would certainly need to take a breath now and then. It definitely wasn’t breathing.
Renner nodded and quietly answered, “He’s dead. Judging from his injuries, it was mostly magical damage done to him.”
“He’s not you, right? Is he from our reality?”
“He’s not me. It’s hard to say in a vision where he’s from.” Renner paused as he looked around. “You can end this vision now.”
Hethurin cast the spell to end it and conjured the globe of light to light the room while Renner went to one of his shelves, and removed a scroll. “I want you to study these spells. Don’t use any of them yet. Also, if you can, practice undoing your wards. I’d like to try going for real, soon.”
Hethurin took the scroll and nodded.
Hi. I really liked your letter, and though I think I’ll be visiting soon, I’m writing anyway. I would have written sooner, but my father was here. Between patrols and trying to figure out where Ann’da took Rylad, I haven’t had much time to write.
Everything is going well so far on the patrols. I think the trainees are slowly beginning to learn the route, and considering all my daydreaming lately, I think that’s a good thing. Gaelardrim seems to be picking it up faster than Tylenthis was, but it may be because Lin was teaching him before.
About him and Lin, he gets very defensive if I bring it up. I did manage to get him to talk a little about it one day. He’s mad because she expected him to talk to her first, and he thought she should have recognized him or something. It sounds all so stubborn and childish. I asked him if he had thought of any ways to resolve the issue. He said he was going to lie to her, and tell her he was wrong. I guess, if it helps them get along, it’s not so bad, but I do think he should mean it when he says something like that. He definitely shouldn’t be telling other people that it’s a lie, at least.
We have seen Vallindra a few more times, mostly working around the Scar. I really wish she wouldn’t. Of all the places to be sticking markers in the ground and standing around taking notes, I’d think the Scar is the worst. Well, the second worst. I think the ziggurat outdoes the Scar on danger, just a bit. I suppose, I haven’t seen any bats or cats or other animals along the Scar though, so maybe she is safe there… as long as no Scourge wander close, but she claims to be able to handle those on her own too. She probably can. I have not spoken to her since seeing her at the ziggurat, but Gaelardrim and I have followed her from a distance.
No one’s told Hethurin about her being nearby yet, but I am fairly confident that all she is doing is ley-lines. I think it may be best if Lani tells him. I think he trusts her the most. I’ll talk to her about it.
I’m not sure where the demon symbols came from. She seemed to happen upon them herself, but I will keep a closer eye on the area around the school. It is very concerning if Hethurin’s wards are being broken, and is even more reason to let him know. I do worry that he’ll overreact. I hope he won’t.
I’m looking forward to cleaning out the spider nests. It’s not the spider guts that bother me. It’s cleaning up after. You’re right that we should use fire, depending where the nests are. It’s been a bit dry lately so we’ll have to make sure the fire is well-controlled.
I’ll be by soon for supper. I’m really looking forward to it.
Fairsong Academy was quiet and dark on its perch on the hill overlooking the sea. It was well past midnight, but it would be a couple of hours before dawn yet. Most of the residents were sleeping, except a small rat in a cage. Even Nosey was tired and had only gotten out of his nest for some water. Soon, he crawled back into his nest and was fast asleep.
Somewhere else, and some when else, someone was not at rest. He worked quickly to undo the ward keeping him from making his portal into the reality where Fairsong Academy existed. He had been there before, even if only briefly, but he knew it was the right one. He couldn’t help being jealous. There, the dragons were helpful. Here, he had already needed to ward several timelines from their tampering, as well as kill several of the dragons who tried to stop him. Things had definitely not gone as planned either. If they had, he wouldn’t have been stuck running with the boy for so long.
He cast another spell, imposing it upon the ward to quietly cancel out part of it. The ward still held, but it was weaker now. The boy still slept next to him. He reached over to brush his hair back away from his face. None of this was his fault, and this wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.
He started to cast another spell to gently unweave the next part of the ward. It was a ward he was familiar with. These wards were done in his own style after all.
It was then that he felt it. The traces of magic in the air started to swirl. He could feel the time bend in one spot in the room. “He found us again. Time to go.” He quickly finished his cast then another to force through the rest of the ward. Then, while holding the sleeping boy in his arms, he cast his own portal.
Hethurin Fairsong woke with a start in middle of the night. It was the noise again, the same one he had heard only a few weeks ago when a portal appeared in the kitchen. This time it was much closer. In addition, his ward had snapped, the same as last time.
Terellion woke as well, but Hethurin was already peeking out of the curtains at the foot of the bed. Terellion joined him. He whispered, “What was that?”
Hethurin gestured to Terellion to be quiet. He peered through just a small opening between the two curtains. Terellion looked as well.
There was a time portal. Hethurin knew what it was, but someone was there. He was carrying something. He seemed to have trouble moving the weight as he dragged it to the sofa in the farther part of the room. He left it there and cast a teleport. Standing near the portal as he focused on his cast, Hethurin could see who it looked like.
So could Terellion. “That’s you.”
“It’s not me. I’m here in bed.” Hethurin whispered back.
As Hethurin’s double disappeared, another figure emerged from the portal.
“Hey, that’s Renner.”
Hethurin was thankful that Terellion still whispered. They both watched as Renner also teleported away.
“That wasn’t Renner, I don’t think.” Hethurin said at last, sticking his head out of the curtains in an attempt to see what was left on the sofa. There was a knock on the bedroom door. “But that probably is.”
Hernester ducked as another book flew towards his head.
“Those elves! Those loathsome, meddling elves!”
Hernester honestly couldn’t remember what they had done this time, but Master Bartlan was certainly upset about whatever it was. He ducked again as another book flew his direction.
“Can’t they keep to themselves? Why do they have to interrupt my research now?” Bartlan picked up one of the stakes on the table. It looked like one end had been shoved in the ground.
Hernester paused as he thought about the stake. They looked familiar. Oh yes, he had brought some just like those to Master Bartlan earlier. No, that wasn’t right. Master Bartlan was with him. He had carried them.
“Do you know what this is, Hernester? Do you?” Master Bartlan held the stake up, shaking it in the air.
“A stake, sir.”
“It’s an invitation to war, Hernester. That’s what it is.”
Hernester paused. That’s not the way it was, was it? “Aren’t they allies, sir?”
Bartlan continued as if Hernester hadn’t spoke, “How dare they mark my ley-line? They’ve been in the ziggurat as well. They will pay!”
Hernester ducked as the stake flew his direction.
“Don’t just stand there, you mindless sack of bones. Get out there and watch the ziggurat. I need to know who’s poking around my business.”
Hernester scurried out of the house. Watch the ziggurat. He could do that. He started down the path away from the house.
I’ve been working for a while getting all the pieces together that I wanted for Xyliah’s transmog. Finally, it’s complete!
Hethurin Fairsong looked around the room as Renner covered the windows. Desdeyliri stood next to him at the table in the center of the room. It was the first time that he would be demonstrating the visions of alternate realities to one of his students, but he wasn’t nervous. Desdeyliri was, or seemed to be. Perhaps she was just excited. He conjured a globe of light as Renner covered the last window.
They would be using the dust again that they had gathered from the strange portal that had appeared in the kitchen one night a few weeks ago. It had lasted a few hours, and they knew now that it had led to the past as well as an alternate reality, one where Tik hadn’t lived through the Scourge attack. The school in that reality, wasn’t a school at all, and never would be. It sat unattended, and in ill-repair.
“Let’s begin.” Renner said as he joined the elves standing at the table. Hethurin let the globe of light fade as he turned the hourglass and cast the spell. The room changed around them.
“This is the kitchen, isn’t it? It looks different.” Desdeyliri said as she looked around.
“No one lives here.” Hethurin answered. “Remember, it’s just a vision, so you can’t touch anything. We can walk around and look at things though.”
Renner nodded towards the dining room, “I’d like to pick up where we were last time.”
Hethurin whispered the spell that took them directly to the other room. The dining table had been broken. The chandelier had fallen in the middle of the table, and there among the remains of the table and the chandelier was a single bronze scale. Hethurin bent to look at it closer. “Did you find out if this is yours or not?” he asked, looking at Renner.
Renner opened his mouth to answer as Desdeyliri knelt by Hethurin. He didn’t get a chance to answer right away, as Desdeyliri spoke first. “Is that…” she looked at Renner, her eyes wide.
“It appears to be. Whether or not it’s mine, I don’t know. If you saw a flake of skin on the ground, would you be able to identify it as yours?”
Hethurin frowned. “Then how are we supposed to find out?”
Renner shrugged, “We should look around more. Even if it is mine, I doubt I made the portal in the kitchen. We should figure out who did that first.”
Hethurin nodded in agreement and stood. As he did, Desdeyliri jumped up, and walked towards the windows. They had been broken here, most of the panes were shattered on the ground. Hethurin knew there was no danger of getting cut, so he didn’t stop her. He followed instead. “Did you see something?”
Desdeyliri nodded as she looked out into the over-grown garden. “I don’t see anything now, but I was sure I saw something move out here”
No sooner had she finished her sentence, when a shadow fell over the garden. The beating of large wings came from above. Desdeyliri stuck her head out and looked up with a gasp, “Look!”
Hethurin looked as well. A bronze dragon, not too large, but large enough slowly came to a landing behind the house. It was the same color as the scale, and about the same size as the broken window. “Renner? Is that you?” He looked back as Renner approached the window as well.
Again, Desdeyliri spoke before he could answer, “Is it? Can I ride him?”
Renner raised a brow. “It is me, and no.”
Hethurin added, “We’re really in Renner’s practice room. This is just a vision of another time and reality. It would be a tight fit if our Renner turned into a dragon in his practice room.”
“That’s a very good point.” Renner nodded.
“But this alternate Renner is what you really look like?”
Renner paused in thought as he watched his dragon form in the garden. “Yes, but that’s really me, not an alternate me.”
“How can you tell?” Hethurin asked.
“I just can.”
At that moment the other Renner seemed to realize that he was being watched. He looked directly at the dining room window where three stood.
“You’re sure he can’t see us, right? He’s just a vision?” Desdeyliri asked as she took a step back.
Renner nodded as his other self turned and spread his wings. “I appear to have recalled that we’re watching.” His dragon self lifted from the ground and circled the house once before disappearing over the trees to the north.
Hethurin stepped over the broken glass and into the garden. Renner followed him. Desdeyliri went last, but was the first to gaze on the fresh dragon tracks. She knelt and held her hand to one of them.
It wasn’t the dragon tracks that got Hethurin’s attention, but rather the smaller shoe tracks. “Renner? How big are your elf feet?”
Renner walked over to where Hethurin stood and looked at the prints with him. He put the heel of his boot on the heel of the track. “These aren’t mine.”
“Your feet are smaller.” Hethurin put his own foot on the track. It was a match.
“These are older tracks though.”
Hethurin nodded, “They go towards the trail that leads to the stable.”
“Let’s check that out.”
Hethurin cast a spell to change the location to the bottom of the hill where the stable and one of the small houses were. His sisters lived here in his time and his reality, but in this one, the building looked just as abandoned as the school.
Until they went inside. Someone had been living there, and fairly recently. The first room had some old, but usable furniture.
“Do you think whoever was staying here is gone?” Hethurin asked.
“I don’t see anyone.” Renner answered.
Hethurin walked around the room, looking for any further clues. The only art on the wall was some poorly done drawings on some old paper. He couldn’t find anything that was written and out in the open. Of course, searching through drawers was difficult in a vision. He heard Desdeyliri call from the kitchen.
“There’s food here, but it doesn’t look good anymore.”
Renner nodded as she returned to the first room. “Whoever was here is gone then. Try not to yell. Remember we’re in my practice room. Hethurin, have you found anything?”
“I don’t think…” Hethurin trailed off as he did find something. A name in the corner of one of the drawings. Vaildor. “Yes.”
“What is it?” Renner walked over to see. Upon viewing the name, he said, “Try going to your parents’ house in Silvermoon.”
Hethurin nodded and cast the spell. The vision started to change, but snapped back to the small house at the bottom of the hill. “What am I doing wrong?”
“It’s nothing you did. It’s warded. Let’s take a break for today. I think I smell supper.”
Hethurin cast the spell to end the vision.