Lena Higgins nodded. She was glad she would be able to get in more practice before going after the rogue mage, Sanimir. Zarah had stressed how dangerous he was, and Lena wanted to be prepared. The goal was to eventually catch him, but Zarah didn’t think he would just give himself up. Lena didn’t either. He had killed others of the bronze flight. Lena was not going to let that happen to Zarah, but she needed more practice with her chronomancy to be able to catch up with him in the first place.
She let her conjured orb of light fade and darken the room as she cast a spell. Today, they were doing visions of the future. Zarah had chosen the subject, a sin’dorei toddler in the Ghostlands, who was the nephew of Hethurin Fairsong, the mage who’s double in another reality was causing all the trouble. She had learned that Hethurin was also a timewalker when she and Zarah had run into him, and another bronze dragon, while investigating one of the places Sanimir had been. Zarah had chosen the toddler as it was a great likelihood that Lena’s path would never cross with his, other than possibly running into his uncle again, and thus would not cause any disruption of time over knowledge of a future event, which could happen if Lena went to her own future, or to that of those she knew. This was safe. Babies were picked because it was fun to see where they could wind up. Because he was a sin’dorei baby, Zarah had suggested going seventy years ahead. Many young sin’dorei spent decades in general education before deciding what they were going to do.
The vision slowly appeared around them. Large, dark shapes of trees surrounded them along with a thick eerie fog. “Is this the Ghostlands?” Lena asked. She had never been there herself. At least, not in this reality.
“Yes. The forest isn’t much different from how it is today. There are more homes, but it hasn’t changed much past that.”
Lena nodded, then frowned slightly, “Did I do the spell wrong? Shouldn’t the boy be here?”
“Young man.” Zarah corrected as she looked up. “He’s here.”
Lena followed Zarah’s gaze up into the tree that branched out over them. She smiled upon spotting him. Her spell had worked. Rylad was just a few branches up above where they stood. The young elf had climbed out on one of the old tree’s limbs, and sat in a spot where the branch split with his feet dangling, as natural as if he was sitting in a chair. He looked a bit like his uncle. Lena recalled he has the same straight, dark red hair. Rylad’s was long and pulled back into a messy ponytail. A few strands hung loose. He had a bow, and wore similar armor to what Lena had seen other elven rangers wear. Behind him, on the same limb, a large, spotted, yellow cat lay, seemingly half asleep.
“This is the most likely future for him. His mother is a ranger. His father was a ranger. His probable step-father is, also, a ranger. He’s growing up around people he idolizes, and he wants to be like them.”
Lena smiled, “It seems he’s very ha–” She jumped as the boy nimbly hopped out of the tree, landing just a few feet in front of her. He didn’t know he was being watched, of course, so she could hardly blame him for startling her. It was just a vision, and Lena and Zarah weren’t actually there. He called up to his cat to follow him.
Zarah smiled back at Lena as the cat jumped down to follow its master, “He is happy, in this future.”
“I suppose there’s other possibilities.”
“There are.” Zarah replied as they walked to follow the young elf. He moved quickly ahead of them, his cat following not far behind.
It wasn’t long before they came to a clearing with a building. Rylad’s cat ran ahead, tackling another cat that laid on the grass. An older, blond elf came out of the building, “Rylad, where have you been? Your mother has been worried about you.”
“Sorry, Ann’da. I lost track of time. I was watching the one spot near the scar.”
The older elf nodded as Rylad joined him and went inside.
Lena turned to Zarah. “What is he watching for at the scar?”
“Scourge activity.” Zarah answered, “Even this far in the future there are small pockets of activity here.”
“You said this was the most likely future for him. Can we see some others?” Lena asked. It would be good practice to switch realities while in the future. Though she had already been to some other realities, it had always been with the use of portal dust left behind by the mage’s portals. While this future was merely within a vision, the principles behind the spell were the same.
Zarah smiled, “Of course. You went over the notes I gave you, right?”
Lena nodded, “I have them memorized.”
“Then let’s see some of the other possibilities.”
Lena cast the spell. The vision faded out around them as another faded in. They were inside now. It took Lena a moment to recognize the building. The one time that she had seen it from the inside, it had been in poor repair, and in another reality. Here, it was pristine, but the same banister on the staircase jogged her memory. The way the railing merged with the slats, and the circling of the vine carving around both reminded her. This was Fairsong Academy.
She could hear voices in the room across the hallway. She and Zarah walked past the stairs, and looked across to the other room. “That’s just Hethurin, right? Not Sanimir.”
Zarah nodded silently.
Lena walked in closer to see the class. Hethurin was teaching arcane theory to a class of seven students. She recognized the boy from the previous vision sitting in front, listening attentively. She smiled as she watched the girl sitting next to him pass him a note under the table. Her bright orange curls fell forward as she looked down to continue taking notes. Rylad opened his note under the table before picking up his book and holding it at an angle before sliding the paper up in front of his actual notes. He circled something. Lena couldn’t tell what was written as it was in Thalassian. While she did speak it a little, she couldn’t read it. Rylad passed the note back under the table.
Lena looked back at Zarah, “He’s a mage student in this one. Is he any good?”
“He’s likely good enough to become a timewalker like his uncle, if he takes this path, and if he can keep his mind on his studies.” Zarah paused to look at the girl sitting next to Rylad before continuing, “Let’s see one more before finishing for the day.”
Lena smiled, “Okay.” She cast the spell, watching as the room faded, and another room appeared. The young elf stood at a workbench, sanding some pieces of wood that looked like they were meant to be chair legs. A much older elf sat on a stool at another nearby workbench. He also worked on chair parts. Lena raised a brow, “He’s making chairs?”
“Yes. This is another possibility. His grandfather is a carpenter.” Zarah nodded at the older man as she mentioned him, “Rylad decided to become his apprentice in this timeline.”
Lena peeked out the window long enough to know they were in Silvermoon, “So he doesn’t stay in the Ghostlands?”
“In this reality, no. Other things influenced his decision to come here. He had little to keep him in the Ghostlands.”
“Oh.” Lena waited for further explanation, but Zarah offered none. She watched the young elf for a moment as he worked on his chair legs, wondering what could have happened to make him feel there was little to stay for when he had been so happy in the first vision.
“Let’s stop for today. We’ll have more to do next time.” Zarah said.
Lena cast the spell to end the vision.