Hethurin Fairsong decided to try at the inn first. He had overheard the workers talking about a boy who was going with them to town and being left at the inn in the morning, so it made sense to look there first for Vaildor. Lanthiriel had been doing a lot for the boy since he had come into her care, and Hethurin didn’t think it was so odd that she would take him with her. He secretly wished she wouldn’t yet. No doubt the other students had at least heard something by now, and there was likely a lot of talk about where he came from amongst people who had no business discussing it.
Hethurin knew the truth about that, but it was a truth he felt few others would accept. Vaildor wasn’t supposed to be alive, and if he was, he was supposed to be much older. It was hardly Hethurin’s fault that he had been taken just before his accidental death, switched with another Vaildor who hadn’t lived, and raised in an alternate future. Hethurin still didn’t know why his alternate self had done that, but hopefully they were getting closer to finding out where he had went. Perhaps after they found him, they would get some answers.
That wouldn’t solve the problems the boy had created though. Hethurin cast his teleport, arriving just outside the inn. He glanced down the road, and seeing no sign of his sister, he went inside. The boy was there, with some papers in front of him. He was writing, or trying to. Hethurin sat down at the table across from him.
Vaildor looked up, startled, “What are you doing here?”
“I’ve come to see you. We need to talk.”
Vaildor looked back down at his papers. “I have work to do. Aunt Lani won’t let me have my sketch book until I’m finished.”
Hethurin glanced at the paper that Vaildor had been writing on. The edges were covered with doodles. “I’m not trying to get you in trouble with Lani. I just wanted to let you know that I found out who your real father is.”
Vaildor looked back up again. “Who?”
“You know I’m not your father. You know the one who was raising you also wasn’t your father. I’ve went to some of the places that the one who was raising you went. I found out where he took you from.”
“Took me? I was stolen? Kidnapped?”
Hethurin frowned, “Sort of, yes. Actually, you weren’t supposed to live. You wound up with a blanket wrapped over your face in your crib at night. You were already dead in the first reality he visited. He took the that version of you and left him here in this reality, where he kidnapped you before you could die from it. You’re my brother. You’re from this reality. This is where you belong, sort of. You’re in the wrong time, but there’s not much to do about that. If I take you back, and our parents accept that you really are the son they buried, then I won’t be born. If I’m not born, then I can’t take you back. That would create a time anomaly, and that’s a really bad thing. Or I could take you back and they would reject you, then you would have no one to take care of you and send you to school. It’s best if you stay in this time.”
Vaildor frowned, “But no one will believe that. No one believes me now. Even Aunt Lani thinks–” he paused, “She’s my sister.”
“Can I meet everyone?”
“Yes, eventually, but as you said, no one will believe it. I’ve decided to go along with what Lani already thinks.”
“She thinks you’re my father, but you won’t say it.”
Hethurin scrunched up his nose. He hated that people would think that he’d actually do something like that, but he did feel partially responsible for what happened to Vaildor, even if it wasn’t actually him. He saw it happen. He did nothing to stop it, though Renner would have had a fit if he had tried. Still, there was that guilt of seeing something happen and not stopping it. “You’re my brother, and I want you to be part of the family. I think telling everyone the truth will be the difficult way of going about that, and may never work. Our parents buried a baby that looked just like you because he was you, just from another reality. It’ll be easier if they think I had some experience with a girl, and you’re the product of that.”
Vaildor frowned, but nodded.
“I need you to be able to play along with it. Let Lani continue to think you hit your head and don’t remember your mother.”
“Can I meet my real mother?”
Hethurin twitched an ear. “You don’t really want to, trust me, but we can arrange it. For now, do your work on your writing. I’ll go find Lani and tell her that I’m your father.”
Vaildor frowned, but nodded again.
Hethurin stood and teleported. He appeared near the work site where they were building the new clinic in town. Lani had taken an active role in helping to build it. He found her with the others, building one of the frames with a hammer in her hand.
She looked up as he approached, “Hethurin, hi! I didn’t expect to see you here. Don’t you have classes to teach?”
“Not on weekends. I’m usually around to help if they need it for practice, but I wanted to talk to you. Do you have some time now?”
Lani put the hammer down, and started walking away from the others with Hethurin, “I do. What is it?”
Hethurin hesitated. Once he said what he was about to say, he’d have to tell everyone else the same thing. There wasn’t going to be any way to go back on it. He took a deep breath, then said, “I’m Vaildor’s father.”
“You are? And where was he born?”
“Who is his mother?”
“A girl I met at the library.”
“Did you know she got pregnant?”
“No, I just met her that once.”
Lani looked at him, her brow raised, “Then how is his name Vaildor Lightmist?”
“I lied and told her my name was Vaildor. She must have wanted to name him after me because he looks like me, or something.”
“Where is his mother now?”
“Oh, umm, she said she was dying, so she’s probably gone.”
“What was her name?”
Hethurin shrugged, “She didn’t say.”
Lanthiriel frowned, “So his name is Vaildor Lightmist, and he was born in Silvermoon city, but you don’t remember his mother’s name, nor does he.”
“That’s right.” Hethurin nodded.
“No. I’m not.”
She glared at him. “Sanimir Lightmist, if you know the truth about him, light help me, you better tell me. He’s a sweet boy and he doesn’t deserve to be tossed around from home to home like this. I want to officially adopt him, but I can’t until I can prove his parents are gone or he’s abandoned. I wrote to the spire. There is only one record of a Vaildor Lightmist ever living in Silvermoon, and that was 127 years ago. Who is he really?”
Hethurin was jarred from the use of his real name, and her tone. She was angry, and perhaps, rightfully so. “He’s really Vaildor Lightmist.”
“But what is the name that I should be looking for in the records?”
Hethurin paused before mumbling, “Vaildor Lightmist. He’s our brother.”
She blinked at him. “I’m serious.”
“So am I.” Hethurin frowned. This hadn’t gone the way he had planned. “I should get back to the school.” He quickly teleported before Lani could say anything more.