Hethurin Fairsong smiled sleepily as he curled his fingers between Terellion’s, and snuggled into his spot. Terellion rested behind him, one arm under the pillow, and the other draped around Hethurin. His breathing was slow and even. Hethurin knew he was already asleep. They had just made love, and Hethurin knew he would be following soon. He closed his eyes.
A loud noise stopped him from fully drifting off to sleep. If that wasn’t startling enough, at the same time that the noise was heard, he felt one of his wards break. He quickly sat up in bed, startled by the suddenness of it all. Terellion woke as well, but whether it was from the noise or his boyfriend sitting up quickly, Hethurin wasn’t sure.
“Did you hear that?”
Terellion answered sleepily, “Hear what?”
“There was a noise. It sounded like it was downstairs in the kitchen.”
“Is Tik still awake?”
“He shouldn’t be. One of the wards was broken too. It wasn’t just removed, it was like it snapped.” Hethurin said as he got out of the bed, finding one of his night robes to quickly throw over himself.
Terellion got up quickly as Hethurin mentioned the ward, and got his own night robe on. “You’re not going downstairs alone then. What if someone’s down there?”
“I hope they are so I can catch them.”
Terellion put himself between Hethurin and the door. “It could be dangerous. Let me go first.”
“If it’s a mage, I need to see them before they see us. That means I have to go first.”
“What if it woke Tik up, and he’s already checking on it? Besides, if they’re snapping your wards, they probably expect you to come to investigate. Please, let me go first.”
“We could go at the same time.” Hethurin said as he took Terellion’s hand and walked to the door. “But we do have to go now. I’d rather walk down, since we don’t know what is down there yet. Teleporting could be dangerous.”
Terellion nodded with a slight frown as Hethurin opened the door and walked out into the hallway.
They walked as quietly as they could to the stairs. Hethurin jumped as they rounded the corner to the stairs and met with another person coming to them from the other part of the hallway. He took a deep breath as he recognized the face in the pale light. “Renner, you heard it? Is everyone else awake too?” Hethurin whispered.
Renner looked at Terellion, then at Hethurin, “I heard it, yes. I’m sorry. I was the cause of it. I hope I didn’t wake any of the others. It was just a badly cast spell.”
Terellion frowned, “You snapped one of the wards with your spell.”
“I did? I didn’t know it did that. I’m sorry. Magister, may I speak with you for a moment, since you’re awake. Maybe you can help me with the spell.”
Hethurin looked at Terellion, “I’ll be back to bed in a bit. I should help him before he wakes up everyone else.”
Terellion nodded and headed back to the room. Hethurin turned back to Renner and whispered, “It wasn’t you.”
Renner shook his head as he turned towards the stairs. He started down them and whispered back, “That’s correct. They’re already gone now, but I’m hoping there is some trace of why they were here.”
“Whoever was here. They’re not of our time. I could sense it. There was more than one, but not many either. They–” Renner stopped talking as he entered the kitchen.
Hethurin followed behind him, pausing to stare at the portal swirling in the air beside the table in the kitchen. It wasn’t like any portal Hethurin had seen before. Most portals to places showed the place it went to. This one swirled with light. Hethurin wanted to ask why Renner hadn’t sensed it, but there was another person in the room, also staring at it.
“Magister, it appears something has happened in the kitchen. I heard a noise and came to see what it was. Is it supposed to be here?” Tik looked at Hethurin and Renner, his brow raised.
“It’s okay, Tik. I’ll take care of it. I think.” Hethurin frowned. He wasn’t quite sure what he was supposed to do about it. Could he keep everyone out of the kitchen until it was gone? Would it go on its own?
Tik nodded and started back towards his bedroom.
“Did you see anyone?” Renner asked before Tik could close his door.
“I saw someone going in that thing. Is it a portal?”
Hethurin looked at Renner, then back at Tik, “It’s a portal. What did they look like?”
“He was male, about average height and weight. I didn’t see him very well. He was already going in it when I came out to see what the noise was.”
“Was there anything else?”
“No, Magister. That’s all I saw.”
“Thank you, Tik. Get some rest. I’ll take care of this.” Hethurin nodded. He waited until the door to Tik’s room closed before turning to Renner. “So? What do we do now? Someone is breaking into my home, snapping my wards, which are very good by the way, making loud noises, and just leaving weird portals in my kitchen.”
“It’s a time portal.”
“Okay, time portals in my kitchen. That’s even worse. Will it go away?”
“Hopefully not before we find out where it goes.” Renner stated.
“I’m not going in it.”
“That would be the fastest way, but I agree it’s too dangerous. We don’t know who may be waiting on the other side. With longer lasting portals such as this one, the edges can crystallize and leave a fine residue. We need to collect the residue. We’ll be able to use that with the hourglass to give us a vision of wherever, and whenever, this portal goes to.”
Hethurin opened one of the cupboards and took out a bowl, “What if it’s to the future? You don’t want me to see that.”
“You know enough now to know the future is always changing. You know that whatever future we may see, if it is the future, may not be your future. I’ll make an exception for this.”
Hethurin nodded and carefully placed the bowl under the portal.