The Last Elentrice
‘Many decades ago, before even I was born, the discovery of another dimension was made by a man named Michél Tranzuta. This other dimension he found was here; the world you and I live in,’ the old lady explains. I listen intently, hoping her story might answer some of my many questions. What is the portal? Where does it lead? What is a Spee’ad? And maybe, just maybe, who the man of my dreams is; literally.
‘When out walking one night, testing a device he had developed, Tranzuta stumbled through the portal and fell face first on to the ground by Beatrice Brook,’ she continues to explain.
‘I live by Beatrice Brook.’ I cock my head to one side, thoughtfully; could that explain those hooded figures I saw so many years ago?
‘Well, my dear girl, you live extremely close to a historical landmark,’ she shrugs, ‘though I suppose now it is just a dusty old lake by a deserted path, long since forgotten.’
‘Shortly after Tranzuta made his discovery, the two dimensions coexisted; the Coltis and the Corporeal, as they named us. A footpath was made, streetlamps set up and so it was. The Coltis would attempt to teach us their extraordinary abilities and some would succeed. We in turn would teach them about our ways, such as electricity, building and so on. It was a mystical time. The Elentri were my favourite empire within Coldivor. They were in fact everyone’s favourite.
‘The Elentri were kind, gentle and held more power than the other seven empires put together. They were stronger than the strongest, faster than the fastest, could jump higher than the highest...you get the gist. This of course was all prior to the reign of Vildacruz.’
‘Vildacruz?’ I cross my legs, prop up my elbows and cup my chin in my hands.
‘Terrorists,’ she hisses. ‘When the day of their ascension dawned, all sorts of creatures were somehow freed from Vedark, the realm of the sinners and betrayers: Borum Wolves, vampires, warlocks and exlathars – you don’t want to know. Only the Elentri held enough power to defeat them, so naturally, the Elentri were the ones they destroyed, men, women, and children.’
‘That’s horrible,’ I frown.
‘Oh yes.’ She nods. ‘But it was paramount for the Vildacruz’s survival. You see, on their eighteenth birthday, an Elentrice is gifted the power of their forefathers at a famed three day ceremony called The Elenfar, making each generation stronger than the one before.’
I’m not quite sure I am buying this story but am enthralled all the same. Some batty old lady’s explanation for the odd occurrences in my life is far better than the complete lack of one I currently have.
‘When the Vildacruz finally took over, Earth promptly discouraged all ties with Coldivor and forbade anyone to pass through the portal,’ she goes on. ‘No one was allowed to enter and none were allowed to leave. This is the reason I am here.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Five years ago I was caught returning from Coldivor. I had no trial, no jury. I was simply tossed in this cell and the keys thrown away, I’m sure.’
My eyes widen. To think all this was going on is shocking but surprisingly not unbelievable. ‘Why did you even come back?’ I ask.
‘If it were my choice, I would have stayed there forever, but sadly one can only pass through the portal for ninety minutes. To try to stay on either side for longer would surely end in death.’ She appears to consider her words as she licks her cracking lips. ‘You see, dear, every human has a counterpart. Someone seeming just like them but not them, living in a parallel universe. Both counterparts cannot co-exist for more than two weeks together in one dimension.’
Before I can interrupt, she holds up a bony finger to silence me.
‘Ironically, the portal takes two weeks to appear during which time you both grow weaker. Unless you are strong enough to pass through it on the fourteenth day, which most are not, you are best to spend no more than ninety minutes and then return to where you belong before the gateway is gone.’
‘There must be some way?’
‘Believe me, many have tried.’ She half chuckles, shaking her head ‘Some succeeded and some failed; killing themselves and their counterparts.’
Brutal! This fantasy land with all the answers, real or otherwise, is sounding a lot less attractive.
‘And nothing can change this?’
‘No,’ she sighs ‘though there is legend of a set of matching necklaces: the Provolian Pair. If each counterpart wears one, they can supposedly live harmoniously in the same realm.’
‘Really?’ I ask, intrigued.
‘Nothing but hearsay and tittle-tattle.’ She flaps her hand dismissively. ‘Find the portal, have your ninety minutes then be on your way.’
‘How did anyone else ever find it? The portal.’
‘Everyone was given a device.’ The old woman smiles, clearly enjoying the opportunity to share her stories.
‘The device Tranzuta made and was testing the night he found the portal,’ I say, nodding.
‘Exactly. A device known as the gethamot which was also destroyed by Corporeal and forbidden, along with the book written by Tranzuta himself, detailing how one can develop and operate his invention.’
My mood drops. ‘So no more exist.’
‘My dear, how do you think I crossed world’s five years ago?’ and she raises a sly eyebrow. ‘Now, naturally mine was taken away when I was brought here, but there remain many people out there who still have theirs and pass in and out of our dimension when the mood strikes.’
Throughout the conversation, we grow more comfortable, sat together on the springy mattress of my bed, sipping on lukewarm tea an officer eventually brings us.
‘So, Lexovia, she is an Elentrice?’ I ask the old lady, whose name I have learned is Imogen.
‘The last Elentrice,’ she nods. ‘As I said, the Vildacruz were quick to destroy the Elentri, leaving very few survivors which, over the years, they managed to wipe out entirely, all but Lexovia. The resemblance between you two is uncanny; the mere difference is her nose is pierced, her eyes like liquid fire and she prefers to keep her hair short and sable.’
I subconsciously smooth back my scraggly tresses. The police made me remove my hair tie on arrival, making it look even worse.
‘She also has the mark of an Elentrice: pointed ears.’
My eyes widen as I try to imagine her.
‘The Coltis have devoted their lives to protecting Lexovia, and many lives have been lost because of it,’ Imogen says. ‘For a long time, the Vildacruz were not aware she lived, and as long as the Coltis remained in Melaxous, the poorer side of Coldivor, they would do them no harm, well, not until feasting season.’
My stomach lurches. I know autumn, winter, spring and summer, but feasting season is new to me, and I’m certain I don’t want to know.
‘However, Lexovia, being the rebel she is, got herself discovered a few days before I got there, and the hunt for her began. I suspect it still continues if it’s not turned into a fully-fledged war by now. With the onset of her eighteenth birthday, the Vildacruz must be growing desperate.’
I pause, debating whether or not to mention my own upcoming birthday. Deciding not to, I cross my legs and ask, ‘How did Lexovia survive?’
‘Well, like mother like daughter, dear. Lexine, Lexovia’s mother, who is also quite rebellious, was one of the few Elentri who were not on the empire’s sleeping grounds where she should have been when the Vildacruz attacked. When word spread of the Elentri passing, she hid in Telathrodon; another kingdom in Coldivor, and there gave birth to Lexovia.
‘Unfortunately, a few years after, Lexine attempted to battle the Vildacruz on her own, unaware that Exlathars possess many of the same powers as the Elentri. One Elentrice was no match for them.’
‘What are the powers?’ I ask, now realising I have no idea.
‘There’s the Teltreporthis; those with the ability to teleport. The Ochis, they can alter the temperature of things. Spee’ads have incredible speed.’ Imogen closes her eyes as she lists them off. ‘Premoniters; premonitions, Fuertés; ridiculous strength, Prevolids; ability to see through objects and… there’s one I’m forgetting.’
Imogen waves a hand. ‘They go without saying. There’s another one but I can’t remember.’ At last, Imogen shrugs, admitting defeat.
‘And so the Elentri, they could do all those things?’
Imogen nods. ‘All that. And they could fly too.’
‘You’re late,’ Mr Bramble scolds as Lexovia and Milo stroll into class, though he is not even a little surprised. It would not be an ordinary day in Melaxous if those two actually showed up on time. The day is brighter. There are no clouds in the slightly purple-shaded sky and no layers of ice on the dusty ground. A cool breeze enters the class as the door swings shut behind them.
‘Begging your pardon, sir.’ Lexovia curtsies sarcastically and scurries to her desk in the back of the room.
‘Sorry.’ Milo nods and follows after her.
‘Good morning, Milo.’ Patrice Middleorf, a blonde, curly haired dwarf bats her eyelashes as he walks past her desk.
‘Hello, Patrice.’ Milo nods back.
Lexovia shakes her head. It always amuses her how girls fawn over Milo and his endearing blue eyes. ‘Hello, Patrice,’ she calls, loud enough for Patrice to flush and turn away.
‘As I was saying,’ Mr Bramble returns to addressing the entire class, ‘today we are conducting an independent experiment which will make up twenty per cent of your final grade.’ A chorus of groans sound throughout the classroom.
‘I can’t believe this,’ Yvane Mace grumbles from beside Milo, raking her fingers through her black curls; the one lock of red coiling around her finger.
‘Take out your manuscripts and turn to page three-seven-five please,’ Mr Bramble continues.
‘Now I remember why we rarely attend Potions,’ Lexovia murmurs as she takes her ‘Potions in Motion’ textbook from under her desk.
‘What are you complaining about?’ Yvane cries. ‘You are a natural at these things.’
‘No speaking,’ Mr Bramble warns.
‘There is nothing natural about determining ones future and ones capabilities in life...’
‘Based on the outcome of a thirty minute test,’ Milo finishes for her.
‘Did you just mindle me?’ Lexovia says in surprise.
‘No.’ Milo chuckles, ‘you are actually just that – predictable.’
‘What’s mindle again?’ Yvane queries, idly flipping through her textbook.
‘No speaking!’ Mr Bramble is extremely tall and easily glares over the heads of the other children, at the three of them in the back row.
‘Sorry,’ they each mumble and try to appear so.
‘Now, using the guidelines in the book, I would like each of you to develop a Revergra from the following ingredients.’ Mr Bramble waves his fingers and a collection of vials, gurgling pots, burners, odd-looking tinkering appliances with abnormal lumps, curves or flicks here and there, pipettes, funnels and so on appear on each desk. ‘For those of you who do not recall, a Revergra is the contraption Dreldaras use to capture dreams. You may feel it is somewhat advanced for you but you should have no trouble if you have been revising the pages, which I trust you have.’
‘Clearly he trusts too soon.’ Milo furrows his brow as he tries to make sense of what he is reading and the materials set in front of him.
‘Here he stands; the definition of gullible.’
‘Dezaray Storm.’ An officer bangs on the bars of my cell, causing Imogen and I to wake. ‘You’ve made bail.’
‘I have?’ Groggily, I clamber out of bed and towards the door as the officer unlocks it.
‘Remember what I told you: Feranvil Farm,’ Imogen whispers. I nod and promise I will come back to visit her.
Blinking incessantly as I struggle to adjust my eyes to the florescent lights in the reception area, I am shocked to see Drake standing there with a policeman.
‘You came for me?’ I say, disbelievingly.
‘Why would I do anything else?’ He unexpectedly wraps an arm around my shoulders, his expression loving as we stroll from the building.
‘I thought you would rather have left me in here.’
‘We will talk at home,’ he murmurs, squeezing me just a little too tightly as he waves to a passing cop.
We arrive at the car in silence. I am sure, once we are inside, Drake will let me have it, a threatening lecture and a good few punches, but he simply plunges the key into the ignition and drives away.
Then we round a corner onto a narrow road, out of sight of the police station, and the whole world for that matter. I hold my breath. Drake delights in any excuse to clobber me and this one is outstanding. We pull in behind a parked car and I flinch as he leans across me and yanks open the glove compartment. My eyes glaze over and a cold sweat teeters on my brow as I watch him pull something out. It’s a cable. My heart flips.
He’s going to strangle me.
Without words, he sits upright once again, inserting one end of the wire into his phone and the other into the stereo before continuing to drive.We are not far from the house now and I can hardly breathe. I’m almost desperate for him to yell something hateful and ram the car into the side of a building or off a bridge. I have no idea how much more anticipation I can take.