A FATHER LOST IN TIME
I suppose it all started several Augusts ago, back to the day I found my Dad or rather I ran into him. Let’s just say I was brought up in the wrong family. I’ve known the people who called themselves my parents, weren’t my parents since I was about 10. But they never left any hint of me being adopted, and I never brought up the subject. It was around that time I figured out that my best friend, Nidia, may just be my sister as her parents decided that was the best time to tell her she was adopted. We always laughed at how much we looked alike despite not being related. So, the chances we’re sisters were high. Then there were our Powers, we could read each other’s minds, cast magic and so much more. Then we found other people who also have Powers, including a boy we thought to be our brother, Peter, due to the red hair we share. The others are Jason, his sister Rachel, Kat, and Debs. We’re all quite close and run around the town with us all time, I suppose it gets us out of the house. Especially since none of us was brought up by our birth parents. They all died as a result of mysterious circumstances (or in our case, simply disappeared). Debs’ had been hunted down by a group called the Rebel Raiders, Kat’s had been in an arson attack, Jason and Rachel’s Mum died in a car crash, and they never knew their Dad. However, as for Nidia and me, we simply didn’t know.
We were getting chased by a flock of gargoyles when we decided to split up. Thanks to the gothic history of Europe, people like me continually get chased by these creatures who catch a whiff of our scent every time we pass any building where they stand. It makes it nigh impossible for us to have a proper walk around a city or enter a gothic architecture. Sometimes we would agitate them just for fun or to test ourselves. We could use our magic to destroy them or blast them with something. However, then the humans would wonder why there were gargoyle remains scattered around town and missing gargoyle statues from buildings. Gargoyles become invisible to human eyes when moving. However, people like us can still see them, and they are trained to ward off any magical beings. I have no idea how humans got this arrangement but chasing us is now a frequent activity of theirs. As I was running, I took a glance behind and bumped into a man. After a quick look, he grabbed me by the arm and forced me behind him, where I stayed watching him just stare at the gargoyles. That was all it took, and they flew away in fear.
“You should be a little more careful, I might not always be there to save you,” he said, turning to me. He was middle-aged, tall, brown hair and blue eyes, wearing a casual suit and a long coat. He looked like someone important and trustful, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was I trusted about him.
“What did you do?” I asked.
“I have a history with gargoyles, plus my I have a reputation which some people find a bit scary, especially bad people”. He replied, indicating that he had knowledge that I probably wasn’t human.
“Well, thanks, but you should know that I can take care of myself, I was just about to lead them into the mall and lose them.”
“Very smart, apart from the fact that they have a perfect sense of smell.”
“Well, there’s a spell for that.”
“There’s a spell for everything these days, I even heard there was a coven who could cure some deadly diseases. Now wouldn’t that be a godsend for the world, if only they knew about us.”
“I’m Alaїs,” I said holding out my hand.
“Call me, Captain,” he replied, ignoring my hand, and walking down an alleyway beside him.
I was astounded, the crones tell us stories about a man called Captain. They always said he was a traveller who saved people when conflicts between our world and the ordinary world happened. The stories never mention his real name, and he always seemed to turn up at the right time and place. There was said to be many holding the title throughout time, as stories about him span from ancient times to the present day. I ran after him, and that’s where I saw the Star Flyer, his ship, squeezed into a tiny alleyway. Everyone who hadn’t met him thought the Star Flyer was a boat of some sorts and that he was just another one of us, probably with Powers of magic and the mind, but no-one knew for sure. I followed him inside and simply stood in awe at what was in front of me. A whole spaceship, bigger than should be able to fit into the space available, hidden invisibly, shaping the alleyway to look shorter than it actually was. It was like I’d been here, but I knew that was impossible. I went around touching buttons and nobs around the place but never changing their position. Captain, however, just sat there and looked at how I was fitting in, then the alarm went off.
“Oh, don’t mind that,” he said, going to the computer screen, “it’s just telling me that I have a visitor. Just a simple body scan, tells me everything I need to know.” He did a few taps on the keyboard, screwed his face up in a confusing manner, shrugged it off and turned to me. “You know I rarely get someone new in here that looks so at home. Also, you haven’t asked the usual questions.”
“What like, how did you fit it all in here?” I replied. “That’s easy, you don’t want others knowing you have a spaceship, so you hide it, and the physics of space doesn’t matter. Then there’s the question of your name. Another easy answer, you hold a secret, and by revealing your name, it would in part lead others to work the rest out.”
“Smart answers,” he remarked. “You have a logical brain, something some people tend to lack. You’re a curious little thing, how old are you?”
“Alright, how about a trip, I saved your life, now I owe you a trip to get your mind off things, name your place and I’ll get you back five minutes from now.”
“What about my brother, sister, my friends? We all had gargoyles behind us.”
“Well according to the computer there isn’t a gargoyle chase going on within a five-mile radius, actually make that twenty, they must have given up. So, do you want a trip or not?”
“Alright, let’s go. Somewhere exciting, somewhere that I can roam about, and be myself without having to hide my Powers all the time.”
“Alright, here we go!” He said as if to start a rollercoaster. He clicked a few buttons and pulled the lever and off we went, just like that. I still had no idea why I trusted him so much, why I was running away with a complete stranger. However, I trusted my instincts, which were always right, and they were saying just to go for it.
The Star Flyer was amazing; too many rooms to count, even Captain didn’t know his full way around it. However, it was organised practically; bedrooms just off the control room, as was the library. Everything else was messed up and was linked together with a labyrinth of corridors. When we finally landed, Captain let me open the doors and look out onto a new place.
We were on the edge of a forest, with a beautiful view out onto the afternoon sky in the distance, I could see a medieval city with a castle and everything. Captain just stood behind me and told me I was in Thelga, the high kingdom of Avalonia, the country people like us, those with enchanted powers, originated from. Before the war, the war that forced us to hide amongst humans permanently. It was supposed to be a place of sanctuary for all Avalonians and enchanted beings and beasts that didn’t fit in with the normality of Earth; a place where they could live in peace. The Avalonian community always lived in the company of humans (since portals were invented) but as the human population grew, so did the hatred against us. Here I was, back in time, in a place I could always be accepted, although I knew I would have to go back to the present. Nevertheless, I ran out to enjoy the past while I still had it. I couldn’t believe that not only was the Star Flyer a spaceship but a time machine as well, no wonder there was such a vast time of stories about Captain.
The city was a mass of mud-brick homes with thatched roofs and stone businesses surrounding the market place with many stalls selling tons of food of all different varieties. Which reminded me of the fact I hadn’t had lunch. Captain was fast on the mark as he soon had a medieval pizza type thing in my hands, without even asking if I wanted food in the first place. It was delicious and allowed me to concentrate on the rest of the wonders the city possessed. All the stalls were magical, each selling their product and the customers asking to magically customise it. Everything was ever so colourful, from the stones on the pavement to the clothes. The clothes were even more glamorous than those on Earth, oh yea BTW Avalonia was on another planet, Cantainia, connected to Earth by portals. Girls wore long dresses of bright colours and patterns threaded in gold and silver. The women had them down and walked calmly through the crowds whereas the young ones had them tucked up along the waist so that they could run freely, a smart idea if you ask me. The boys just wore medieval-style trousers and shirts, but at the same time stood out as glamorous as the girls. Occasionally I saw other styles that originated on Earth and assumed these were people of Avalonia and allies seeking a time of peace. Here I was, however, in modern jeans and jumper looking totally out of place. I never thought I would ever meet a native Avalonian citizen as they all died out in the war.
Suddenly, an excited cry went through the crowd, and the people rushed towards the main street leading up the hill towards the castle. It took a while for me to register that the Queen was in the area. Instead of following the crowd, I flung myself onto the slate rooftop of the market hall and looked out to the high street. It took a bit of time for Captain to catch up, but when he did, he gave me the same look I saw when he said I had a logical mind. I knew I would never get a chance to see anything if I went with the crowd, so it was reasonable to assume that I had to find my own viewpoint.
Spotting the Queen wasn’t hard; she was the best-dressed person I had seen so far. Her curly, Autumn-red hair was styled, and a simple gold crown nested in it. Her dress was red with gold thread with a white centre, which sat well with the red sky as evening fell. I then noticed she was walking, and her horse was trotting behind her, it was like she was saying to the people that yes, she was the Queen, but she placed herself at the same level as her subjects. I then jumped onto the next roof to get closer to her and get a look at her face. Before I saw it, I knew it would be like looking in the mirror. I had already seen her hair was like mine as was her height. She was very young for a Queen but looked like she knew what she was doing. Indeed, her eyes were the same dark brown that I had, and even her nose was the same, the only noticeable difference was her freckles, to which I had none. Captain seemed to notice this as well and, so he explained.
“Queen Anna the second,” he clarified. “The last Queen before the war, supposedly she had Powers that outmatched even Hecate, our first Queen. There is a legend that she had a daughter that she smuggled to Earth during the war and that daughter grew up, survived, and still has descendants on Earth. You might just be looking at your long-lost relation. As for the Powers, such has not been seen since the war. They are said to only reawaken once the correct combination of her descendent and someone of the same origin as her father has a child. I have no idea what her father was, but he wasn’t from Cantainia or Earth that’s for sure. You notice how young she is, yet she has years of wisdom behind her and has two grown children, she must have a father from a different planet.”
I looked back at her and really wondered if I could be related to her. If so, were the Powers starting to reawaken? Debs had told me that normal Avalonians only have three Powers max, and to have four or five was extremely rare. However, before the war, there were two other races – demigods and those who were native to the planet but didn’t have Powers. The demigods were the children of the Olympian gods. But our people do not regard them as such, they’re just very powerful and long-living, therefore we call them the Eternal Ones. Nonetheless, there were rumours that they were back in existence and kept their existence secret even from us. The people without Powers, on the other hand, were never second-class citizens as they contributed well to society and could still fight. The Royal Family, however, were in a league of their own, as to have five or more Powers was a sign of nobility. The Queen was said to be at the top with anything from seven to every Power. I now really wished to find out more about my real family.
After the Queen wandered through the gates to her castle, Captain took me on a tour of the city, but I wasn’t really concentrating. I kept wondering if this trip could explain all my siblings and mine’s puzzles. If we were descended from the Queen or a relative of her, that would explain why some Powers came early, compared to what was normal. Therefore, it must mean that our Avalonian parent married someone from the same planet as the Queen’s father thus allowing the royal Powers to reawaken. Queen Anna could have known that if her Powers were detected on Earth, then it would draw the war to them and put innocent humans in danger. Therefore, she must have placed some spells on her daughter. So that when the Avalonian race and her father’s race met again, the Powers would awaken and hopefully by that time the threat would be over. No-one really knew who it was that brought war to our sanctuary but what we do know is it was a foreign army and some anti-royalists. It was rumoured that an Avalonian general was on the invading side and that they betrayed us.
I was also wondering what type of person Captain was. He obviously wasn’t Avalonian, I knew that much. How else could he have come across a time machine? However, he must have some form of Powers to enable him to do all the stories say he does. I didn’t know much about the alien races outside our world, but then neither did anyone else I knew. So, I was afraid I would never understand what he was. Nonetheless, that all changed at our last stop before going home.
Captain seemed to know the city well, I guessed he had probably been there before. He bought me a dress; similar to the Queen’s which made me curious to as he was so nice to me. In fact, I did notice that such events only occurred after he saw what was on that screen. Did the computer detect where my family came from? He wasn’t telling me, but I suppose he knew that I didn’t know what exactly I was. The last thing the Captain did was to drop in on a friend as some people knew him here and they would pester him if he didn’t visit and they found out he was there. We paid a visit to an older couple, and it just so happened that the grandchildren were over, so naturally, I was roped into one of their games. It looked like the old man was the person Captain really wanted to see, and his wife was more than happy to have us around. At first, they thought I was the Queen, but then they noticed I was a bit younger. The Queen looked more in her late 20s rather than her teens. But they welcomed me in any way.
Once they thought I was out of earshot, they started talking about me. I was in the middle of entertaining the kids with some magic, so I let the spells continue and listened in “Who is she?” the old man asked putting his cup down on the table.
“I have no idea, she just appeared to me, and I felt obliged to help,” but the man was looking for more. “Her name is Alaїs, she’s from 21st century Earth, and as you can see, she’s pretty acclaimed in her magical skills. However, when my computer scanned her, it showed more, another half she probably doesn’t know about. She’s a Kairosa, one of us, which is impossible. I saw them all die and there wasn’t any left after the black hole took our planet. My daughter and I were the only survivors, and she soon went on her own adventures. I met up with her years later to find her a fully trained soldier. But she died in my arms, saving my life from a bullet. I married a human after the black hole and had three children, all Kairosa. A boy and twin girls, which were killed along with their mother in an attack. She’s too young to be anyone I know, an impossible child.”
That was all I needed to know, a boy and twin girls. Captain was my father but believed me to be dead. I had a Mother who could still be alive, if she could fake our deaths, she could fake hers. The life of Captain just sounded so unfortunate, losing all that family. I was glad that I was gonna bring some happiness into his life once more. Maybe that was why he travelled so much to take his mind off his grief. But I wondered who these people were, how could Captain tell them about the future when they obviously live in the past.
“Oh, come on now, James, you forget the world we live in,” the women said. “Just look at her, she’s the image of Innanma, do you not remember the reason why we were placed here?”
“Yes, you are here to ensure that the Queen’s line is carried on, to ensure a future of hope. And, yes before you ask, I do remember your suspicions on her father’s kind. Just remember that I married a human, not an Avalonian. I have no idea why the authorities came after us, but I don’t think they could have discovered the DNA of my children so fast. Anyway, the Council doesn’t even know I’m Kairosa.”
After that, they just caught up on each other’s ventures before the children were due to go home, and we had to go. I was sure to show no sign that I had heard anything as we walked back to the Star Flyer. The clear stary night sky was looming overhead as we walked back to the ship and it was there I decided to confront him. But not before I asked who our hosts were.
“Who were those people, and why did they call you James?” I asked.
“You caught that, huh?” he replied, opening the door, which was well blended into the tree. “They’re old friends of mine, he’s from my planet, and she’s Avalonian. He and I went to school together, back on our planet. He used to travel around Europe in the Renaissance, calling himself the Count of Saint Germain. He came here on a mission, to implant himself into the Royal household and organise safety for the youngest daughter of the Queen before the war. Their daughter is a nurse in the castle, delivering the babies and looking after the nursery. James is a name I took a long time ago on Earth. Not many people call me by that these days,” he ended on a sad note, which added to my reasons to make him feel happier. So, I continued my path.
“Why are you nice to me?” I asked. “First you save my life, then Cantainia, the food, the dress… You never owed me anything, I should be the one doing you a favour in return. It was only after you saw my biomolecular structure on your computer that you started being nice to me. Also, after you saw what I was, you asked how old I was, a question not related to the conversation of logical minds. Why did my age and DNA indicate that you owed me a lot more than just my life?”
“I knew you would work it out, especially with your brain,” he replied, giving me a faintly familiar look. “You think a lot like myself, of which I am not surprised. Before I tell you, I would like to indicate a few things so that you believe more than a computer’s word. You were probably a very healthy child, and have suffered no severe illnesses, as your immune system is adapted to survive any planet. You were probably ahead of your class throughout school and could read others quite well, maybe even hear their thoughts. You would also have been very good at languages. As you have an inbuilt translator that enables you to understand any language, however, it may not be fully developed. Kairosa and Avalonian are not as simple as other languages, so they might take more time to learn. Finally, although you may not have noticed this, your heartbeat and body temperature are lower than that of an Avalonian or human, which enables us to survive longer and in harsher conditions. In short, you are a Kairosa, one of my kin.”
It was all true, apart from the part about my body. I’ve never had a stethoscope placed on my heart, nor have I had a proper examination of my body temperature, so I couldn’t confirm that. I put my hand to my chest to see if I could feel the difference and in response, Captain pulled a stethoscope from inside his jacket. First, he listened, then handed the ears to me. Indeed, my heart was like a slow march as if it was waiting to redirect the energy elsewhere when the fight called for it. I know I had heard all the evidence while I was in the other room with the kids, but now, I had the proof. So, I decided to tell him about my theory.
“I never died that day, all those years ago as a baby. I told you I had a sister and a brother but what I didn’t tell you is my brother is one year older than me, and my sister is my twin. We can all read each other’s minds, amongst other things. Can’t you see, it may have been long since you’ve seen my Mother but surely, I must look something like her? I never knew her, but the likeness must be there.”
“Indeed, you do, in fact, I had my suspicions from the start. When you bumped into me, all I could see was Emmeline staring right back at me, just like the day I met her. However, she was human, the computer said so. When I saw you being chased by those gargoyles, I knew you were Avalonian and therefore could never have been hers. Then the computer told me what you were and that complicated things even more. Your age and your siblings just added to that. Yes, my youngest two would be sixteen now, but again the fact that Emmeline was human came into play.”
“You said earlier that there’s a spell for everything,” I explained. “There’s a spell that makes DNA tests come out as human, and it works on computers, very useful for when an Avalonian body gets caught in a morgue. Something must have tricked your computer into keeping it all a secret. I know now after being to Cantainia, I’m Anna’s descendent, a secret that could never get out, especially when someone like yourself takes a liking to my Mother. I have no idea if you are from the same race as Anna’s father, but you may be, Dad.” The name did not seem weird on my lips, but natural. He looked at me and came towards me; I thought he was going to hug me or something. But he yanked a hair from my head, took one of his and placed them on a scanner. Only once the computer had confirmed it, did he hug me. It took us quite a while to get over the reunion, we cried and laughed. Neither Captain nor I could believe that such was possible. After living with humans for sixteen years, I had come to think that they were my only family, even if I was magically forced to live with them. Now I had two families, one human, and my real family; I couldn’t wait to get home.