Luke Pane and his Anomaly Sister

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Welcome to Tanimil

“Are there other lives after this one?” Luke asked while following behind Brim.
“There are, Mr. Pane. This life we live now is only the beginning.”
“Where do we go after this?”
“Earth!” Brim replied with a smile soon after. “Or so I’ve heard.”
“Do you know anything about that?” Luke asked.
“It’s only a myth. I’ve heard when we move on to the next life, we are born again, but as a different species. You never know what you will be.”
“I hope I won’t be something small and insignificant.” Luke mumbled.
“Yes... me too. I do quite enjoy having these talents of mine.”
For a while, the two listened to the loud insects and occasional tree pixie noises above. They were being watched. Their path was beginning to seem never-ending again; things were looking the same as before. Luke thought and hoped that maybe his mind was playing tricks on him. He was trying not to believe Brim was unsure about where they were going, even though he said he’s been through here before. Luke was a worry wart.
But, once they traveled a little farther, a road was starting to appear. And sooner than imagined, they had made their way out of the forest into wide open land filled with great rolling hills. Luke’s eyes filled with such light and glory. Happiness. It felt so fresh and free. There were few trees out there, and almost every inch of the land had flowers of many different colors on it. It was beyond beautiful to Luke, and Brim smiled slowly, though the thought of his moment with the Herec remained at the top of his thought list.

“We are on the direct path to Tanimil now.” The sorcerer said. Luke uttered a long ‘whoa’ to himself. He could tell they were very close now. There was just something about it that made him so sure now.

“Well, what are we doing just standing here? I said we can’t stop!” Brim waved a hand. Luke thought of his parents and sister; how very much they would love to see this. His eyes watered a bit and he smiled, “You’re right.” He spurred Alarich.
As they followed the road, every breeze was a gentle caress through their hair and clothes, and laced within it was a soft, soothing smell so refreshing Luke almost wanted to stay out there and lay down for a long time. It was almost like he was being lured away to somewhere else, but he stayed focused.
They saw snakelike things in the distance flopping around in the flowers and jumping up to catch the insects, and Luke soon found something quite familiar—a flock of those things the Ti-Goblins call Ti-Shenku... all walking around in herds. A small smile graced his lips as he remembered they were the first things he faced on this journey. He was so afraid of them. He’d seen so much by this time... the thought of them now gave him a little laugh. He was amazed at himself, now realizing how this journey had changed him.

The road was starting to go uphill. Whatever would be on the other side made Luke both anxious and excited; he couldn’t wait to see. It was a strain on their horses but they were making it. They could see the top of a large tree up there; the leaves were pink. With a little bit of a closer look, Luke noticed tiny firefly-like lights surrounding it. It was so very stunning... Those couldn’t be fairies, could they? He glanced at Brim, inspecting his expression. He appeared to be entirely consumed by his thoughts. Whatever went on in that head of his made Luke wonder a little more about the sorcerer’s past.

They soon met the peak of the large hill and saw everything. The tree was huge, way above their heads. There were others like it too, but all were different colors and spread out. Ahead, there was an old stone bridge over a lake that led to a city enshrouded by these type of trees. They had strings going from one tree to another. Lanterns hung from them, illuminating the small roads, log cabins, and many people were walking around in colorful clothing. Luke looked up and recognized the firefly lights were leaves evaporating into little puffs of mist as they gracefully floated down. The sun was making the puffs seem like they were glowing.

Brim smiled, “Welcome to Tanimil—the land of fairies, and... my home.” A gust of wind blew by, carrying the puffs west. Luke’s eyes followed them to a large waterfall with flowers and bushes on both sides. “Your home is... breathtaking. The very definition of magnificent...” he murmured. In that same moment, something else caught his eye; to the right, there was a tall stone with swirls etched into it and a turquoise gem in the center. It was making a magical chiming sort of noise. He asked Brim what it was used for. Brim said, “It’s a security and defense mechanism.”
“It’s not an altar of some sort?” He was intrigued.
“They use it to keep enemies out.”
“Anything with a vibration it doesn’t recognize. Depending on the vibration of whatever tries to cross into the city, it will shoot them with an incinerator beam. We have these stones on all sides of the city.”
“That’s... extreme. What about me?” Luke slowly looked ahead.
“Your vibrations are very close to mine. You’ll be fine.”
Luke found that a little odd, but quite interesting.

The two crossed the bridge and went into the city. The fairies were very humanlike in size and behavior. Their eyes were bright, bright green, their faces were long and narrow, and their skin had a pinkish, sometimes purplish hue. They were beautiful... heavenly-looking creatures. Like angels.
The farther they went, the more Luke was falling in love with this place. He had no idea this is what he would see or experience. In fact, it was far beyond anything he’d ever imagined. The curious people watched them pass and started whispering to each other about the sight of a human accompanying Brim. Luke remained silent while following the sorcerer into a large roundabout that had trellises and a skinny water channel around it. Again, he looked up, and this time, he saw this was one of the only spots no trees were overhead.
“Mr. Pane... we must stop here.” Brim said, carefully pulling back on his horse’s reins, “Dismount your steed.” Luke raised a brow at him and a fairy man came into the roundabout with a warm smile, slightly raising his hands, “Master Brim... welcome home.”
“Avdon, thank you.” Brim smiled back in the same way.
Avdon then said, “Allow me to take your horses to the stable.” Brim bowed his head to him slowly and Luke observed the exchange in a quiet, thoughtful way. He dismounted Alarich and Brim waved his hand forward, “We don’t stop here Luke; Johann is a few cabins north.” Luke nodded and they carried on as Avdon walked their horses away.

“I really appreciate all that you’ve done for me. I would probably still be out there... Nowhere near here, maybe.” Luke said.
“You would have been dead, or caught up somewhere.” Brim laughed.
Luke sighed with a nod, “I know... Why have you been so generous toward me?”
“Well in all honesty, I have matters to take care here too.”
“I thought you said you didn’t have anywhere to be.” Luke said.
Brim thought about what the Herec told him, and again, he fell silent for a moment. Luke looked at him a few times and asked what was wrong. Brim smiled shortly and then shook his head at him, “It’s just been a little while since I’ve been here. I’m just imagining the welcome wagon I’m going to get from some old friends. My task here is to speak with the high priestess.” That made Luke dart a questioning look at him, but the sorcerer only kept his attention on the fairies in their yards or walking together up the road.

“To reverse what happened to you...” Luke assumingly said. Brim then patted his shoulder. “Clever boy you are.” Luke smiled up at him slowly.

Soon, they were coming up on a small stream with a white bridge over it; something about the first cabin on that other side made Luke sure it was the one. Excitement was building up within him so much he accidently tripped over his feet when he pointed it out, “That must be it! Am I right?”
“It is indeed Mr. Pane.” Brim replied with a small chuckle. It looked so friendly, so homely, so wonderful. Smoke from the chimney gave the air a nice autumn sort of smell. Small birds were flapping their wings in the birdbath, singing graceful little songs. The closer they were, the more they could smell... pie! A nice pumpkin-like pie smell. It very much reminded Luke of home. They went over the bridge to the front door of the cabin.
Luke raised his hand but Brim caught it and shook his head. He knocked and the young adventurer eyed him suspiciously. The door slowly opened and there stood a fairy-like woman. Luke’s brows furrowed immediately. She was taller than most fairies, she wore a white gown, her hair was long, brown and wavy, and her skin had an ever-shimmering way about it. It was bronze. But her face… it was blurry. Luke couldn’t understand why. He had fallen speechless. Brim could see her face though. It was soft, defined at the cheekbones and nose, and she had plump, rose colored lips… She was angelic.

“Yes? May I help you?” she said. Brim knew very well she wasn’t a fairy. She was something entirely different. This was quite unordinary. He cleared his throat and smiled softly, “Hello madam, I don’t believe we have met.”
“No, but I am aware of who and what you are.” she stepped back and waved inside, “Come inside. A word with you would be most delightful...” Brim and Luke exchanged glances. Then they went ahead inside.

As Luke shut the door, the woman said, “I know you are Brim—a fairy/elf sorcerer. A very talented and special one.” then she looked at Luke. He kept quiet as he tried to look into the blurriness of her face. “He is my friend.” Brim said, stepping closer to him. She met the sorcerer’s eyes again, “I am aware of that... My name is Lorendia; I am a spirit of life.” Luke’s mouth fell open a little. Now he knew why he couldn’t see her face! She’s a spirit! Brim’s brows raised in interest.
“A life spirit... Wow!” Luke gulped, “Wow… Why are you here at Johann’s cabin?”
“Well...” she smiled.
“Where is he?” Luke asked.
“He has been dead for days now.”
“Yes... it was his time to go. He is in the process of moving on—spiritually.” Luke stared at her and his eyes began to dance with defeat and deep sorrow. His gaze fell as he felt his heart tightening. His throat was closing up and his mind was starting to scatter. Images popped into his head one by one of how his parents would die now that he has no way to save them. They would just fade away. There was no way now... He squeezed his hands into fists, his forehead wrinkling in distress and self loathing. Brim frowned slowly at him and then looked at Lorendia who observed the boy with a curious stare.

“...You are about to lose some very important to you.” She murmured. Luke wouldn’t look at her. She said, “Two people. It has been your quest to save them and Johann was your only chance... You seek something to be enchanted so you can save their lives...” Luke closed his eyes, tears rolling down his cheeks. Brim was instantly stunned. Two people?
Luke sniffled and nodded, “...My parents...”
“Yes... But you aren’t the one that will use the enchanted object... You can’t. Your sister... she’s the one... because she’s an anomaly.”
“An anomaly?” Brim quickly said.
“Yes...” Luke wiped his face and finally looked up at Lorendia. She read his eyes and started to smile, giving a small tilt of the head. “Why... isn’t this something? Fear not, young one... there is still time for your family. Come inside and you will see. I don’t mind.” She turned and started walking down a hallway. Luke and Brim looked at each other again and slowly followed.
She took them into a round study filled with windows that had lit candles in each one. There was an alchemy table in the center of the room. It looked like Johann was working on something and stopped in the middle of what he was doing.
“His soul is traveling into the next life. He is still in the process of moving on. Spiritually, he is still here enough to have one last conversation. What is it you need enchanted?”
Luke sighed to calm himself and said, “This...” he reached under his cape, opened his pack and took out the necklace, “I need this... to become a necklace of regeneration.” Lorendia studied it for a few moments, as well as Brim.

As Luke watched the two, he began to think their behavior meant they were in awe of the power the necklace will have. It was a little unsettling. He started putting it away.

“I am only a guide for souls. My duty is to help ones come into this world and to lead others into the next life.” Lorendia explained, “However... though it is against the rules, I will bring Johann back for you, but only for a short time. He has made his decision to move on and I cannot allow any serious interruptions in his passing.” Luke’s gaze hardened. He stepped closer to her, looking up into her eyes. “Please,” he whispered, “please... bring him back... just for this moment.” Lorendia focused on his features, and began to read further into him—his deep anguish; she saw a soul so young, so pure, delicate, and lost in this large world of wonder. There is so much he has yet to see and he was willing to fight and lose his life for the sake of others much older than him; for those who are nearly to the end of this life. A gentle smile slowly graced her lips yet again and she blinked calmly at him. “Both of you... close your eyes.” Luke slowly did as he was told, and Brim followed. The atmosphere suddenly started to change. It felt as if the gravity was loosening its hold on their bodies. It was a feeling as though making one move would make them float. It was otherworldly in every sense of the word.

“Now open them.” She said.
Luke opened his eyes and saw an old man in front of the windows wiping his face as if he’d been sleeping. The weightless feeling was still there. It was not an easy thing to tolerate. Brim didn’t react to it very much though; he was amazed to see the enchanter again.

“Johann,” Lorendia approached the old man’s side and whispered something in his ear. He looked at her, then at Brim and the astounded Luke. It confused him to see them. Lorendia bowed her head permissively at the two, backing away from him.

“Will I float if I move from this spot?” Luke asked. Lorendia laughed, “Why no—you are in between moments. It’s alright.”
“In between moments...” he mouthed. Then he refocused and stepped forward, observing everything about the old man who seemed so strong and wise. Swallowing with a little difficulty, he said, “Mr. Johann... I have traveled a great way to find you. Please... please, I need your help... please enchant my sister’s necklace. Make it a necklace of regeneration. My parents suffer from the death sleep... and only she can save them. She is an anomaly like you. Just like you... but she just discovered this about herself...”
Johann slowly lost his smile. “...I am taken away from my path to the next life... to save two more mortals?” he turned to Lorendia, “What is this?!”
“Johann!” Brim said, causing him to jump and glower back at him. “You do not have much time.” Brim glared darkly at him, “Do this and you will continue your journey. If you don’t, you will be lost forever in purgatory.”
“Preposterous! I was promised the next time I woke, I would be elsewhere! I don’t want to see this world again!”
“Please!” Luke begged. Johann angrily looked at him, then down at the necklace in his clenching hand.

He inwardly growled and thought about it. “If I do this, I will not be disturbed again, will I?” He asked Lorendia.
“You will not.” She said.
“Very well...” He took the necklace in both hands, breathed in deeply, and then cupped it around his mouth, shutting his eyes. Brim and Luke stood perfectly still, engrossing in what he was doing. They could hear him breathe out slowly, and whispers were filling the room. Luke glanced up at Brim and saw he was lifting his chin, also closing his eyes, taking in the magic in the air. He longed to have that power back. He yearned for it. It was refreshing to feel something of it again.

Johann’s lingering breath slowed to a stop and the room fell silent. The candle flames were flickering in unison and the gems in the necklace were red. He held it out to Luke, “It’s quite warm. Give this to your sister and tell her these instructions; she must keep it out of the way of any magical being, clean the gems regularly for maximum strength, and whisper this word to it; ‘iasthai’. It means: to heal.” Luke slowly took it, his lips parted and eyes fixed on the gems. “Thank you... thank you...” he breathed out a little shakily, then he quickly looked up at Johann, shaken up with deep emotion. “Why... why is it red? What is wrong with other magical beings?”
“That is the color of regeneration. Other magical beings can sense my enchantment. Regeneration spells are rarely used because if everyone regenerated themselves so many times, they would become close to immortal. It would be extinction for all mortal races as you know it. Your sister is very special.” Johann said, “Don’t let this power go to her head, whatever you do.” Luke then looked down at the necklace again, “Yes... of course...” He carefully stowed it away in his pack.

Slowly, he looked at the old man again and then at Lorendia and Brim. Lorendia turned her head slightly, then she said, “Johann, your time is almost up.” Luke immediately smiled and then quickly reached out to hug him, “Thank you so much... Thank you-!” but the moment he wrapped his arms around his body, Johann became dust and fell to the floor, but then he quickly reformed. It shocked everyone, and thrilled Brim. “Well, I have never seen that before.” The sorcerer remarked. Johann grimaced in annoyance.

“How did you give me that necklace?” Luke asked Johann.
“He could because of magic.” Brim simply said with a wave of the hand. Lorendia walked over to Johann again and held his shoulder, “It is time to go now.” He smiled up at her, and she did the same in return. “Close your eyes dear. You are almost to your new home.” Luke and Brim watched him breathe out one last time as he closed his eyes.

“Luke and Brim... we will meet again one day. Close your eyes.” She said. They did as she said and the weightless feeling was slipping away. The sounds of outside were coming back and the cabin felt like an average home. They never heard her tell them to look again.

“Well... I suppose we can leave now.” Brim said. Luke looked around and then up at him. The sorcerer motioned toward the door, amused at the boy’s innocent demeanor.
“Right.” Luke said, then he walked out the door.

As he was going up the hallway to the foyer, he thought about what Johann said; ’keep the necklace out of the way of any magical being.′ ...Brim is a magical being. He was awfully curious about the necklace once he explained the situation with his sister and parents. But as he walked with Brim behind him, he knew if the sorcerer wanted it, he could’ve done something just after Lorendia and Johann left. ...And nothing happened.
When they left the cabin and went back on the road to retrieve their horses, Brim said, “It was not exactly magic that made it possible for Johann to give you that necklace. I bet you’re also wondering how it is he and I could see her, but you couldn’t. I’m a magical being, and so is he… but since his anomaly gene is active, he is able to see her. He’s magical.”
“Oh… I see…” Luke felt a little inferior when hearing that. It didn’t feel good to him... Here his sister was an anomaly and he was nothing but an average human. That way of thinking disgusted him right away. He supposed then… that’s how life is. It wasn’t anything he could change.

Then he thought about what the sorcerer said about how Johann could give him that necklace. He asked, “What happened then?-About Johann?”
“Well, from what I remember studying long ago, if you are in between moments, you have entered a certain dimension where spiritual and physical do not matter. I know it must be hard to believe, but that is what you experienced. It never lasts long, however.”
“...That is fascinating...”
“Indeed Mr. Pane. Indeed it is.”
As they returned to the busier roads, the fairies they passed still gave them odd looks. Luke had to ask, “They are magical... Do they sense what I have?”
“Yes, but they are no threat to you. They protected Johann, remember?”
“I thought Johann said to keep it away from all magical beings.”
“He did. As long as you continue to talk this way, you will create a problem for both of us.”
Luke pursed his lips at that.

When they arrived at the roundabout and approached Avdon in the center, Luke noticed he only bowed his head and walked away.
“He is going to get our horses, right?” He asked.
“The way back will certainly be interesting. I’ve gone through a lot... I just really hope I will get back in time. That’s my only problem now. Thank you Brim, so much, for everything you’ve done for me.”
“No Mr. Pane...” Brim smiled, “Thank you for being my friend. I have another way for you...” What he said made Luke shoot him a questioning glace. Brim winked at him, “You’ll see.”
Avdon soon returned to the roundabout with their horses. “They have been fed, groomed and pampered. They are very happy.” The fairy said. Luke laughed gratefully as he took Alarich’s reins and Brim humbly thanked him. Avdon placed a hand over his own chest with a bow and backed away.

Once the two mounted their horses, Luke said, “Lead the way Brim...” Brim nodded and snapped his horse’s reins. They rode up the road, passing many homes, stores and other buildings. It seemed these places were getting taller. Fairies jumped out of their way in shock as they dashed by. There were so many trees, lines with colorful hanging lanterns and pretty dragonflies and butterflies everywhere. The road was guided by a small unpainted fence on both sides.

They were riding toward a stone building with many, many stories. It looked like a castle of a sort. Luke’s mouth was falling open as they got closer to it. “What is that place?” he asked while they slowed to a steady pace and soon stopped outside the entrance. It didn’t have a door. He could see the first floor was octagon-shaped, made of grey marble, and lit candelabras in each corner. “It is our travel station. You must step in the center, state where you wish to go and it will take you there.”
Luke looked at him. “That simple? Wow...”
“Yes, that simple.” Brim smiled. Luke did the same back, but then he started to frown, “We depart here? Will I ever see you again?”
“I am afraid so young adventurer.” Brim said, “It has been a great pleasure accompanying you on your quest. I think we will meet again one day, soon.” He moved closer to him and took a hold of his arm, “Stay safe Mr. Pane. Remember what Johann told you. I truly hope your sister saves your parents and that all will be well again, soon.” Luke stared up at him and bowed his head slowly. “Thank you...” Brim bowed back and waved toward the building, “Ride on... young adventurer.” Luke turned back to it and calmly proceeded inside.

When he got into the circle, he glanced back at Brim one last time. When will he see him again? How would things have gone if he didn’t meet Daniel and never met him? The sorcerer raised his hand as a final goodbye. Luke waved back with a heartfelt smile. Brim turned away and carried on down the road. Luke then looked up at the coned ceiling. “...Alright... Arkenshire Village... I want to go home now. Please, take me home.” He then heard low swooping noises around him. Nothing was there—just those noises. He looked around quickly, a little fearful and nervous. Alarich didn’t like it too much either. He felt energy building in the air and something strange consuming him. That energy was taking a hold of his body. Alarich was getting antsy, neighing and moving his head around. Luke felt like he was being sucked toward the sky, but he wasn’t. His belly started feeling queasy and his equilibrium was going far off balance. He fell over on Alarich’s neck, holding his stomach and breathing coarser by the second. With a shaking hand, he reached into his pack and took the necklace out, holding it tightly. With almost a death grip. “Esmé, I’m coming!”
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