Luke Pane and his Anomaly Sister

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Saving Mom and Dad

There was a HUGE clap in his ears and a sudden blast of air shot him in the face, making him fall off Alarich with a big THUD. He grunted and heard the horse shout and take off running. He snapped his head up, reaching out. “Alari-!” But it was then, he realized, he was suddenly back home. He was just outside of home. The warmth of the sun, the sweet nostalgic smells carried in the wind, the sounds of the villagers walking, talking, working, laughing, and playing in the distance... the familiarity of the soft grass and dirt under his palms.
Home.

The worry in his eyes was slowly slipping away, replaced by surprise and warmth. He let his hand fall and he looked at the ever-glowing necklace in it. “I-... I made it,” He shut his eyes, holding it against his chest and squeezing it. “I made it.” He let out a soft ‘huh’... and kissed it. Alarich turned and looked at him. Still with his eyes tightly shut, Luke tilted his head and let out a long sigh, then... he slowly stood up and puffed his chest out, a teary-eyed smile adorning his face. “Alarich...” he walked over to him and petted his neck, “You’ve been a great companion... Let’s go finish this.” He took his reins and walked him up the road on the way to the house.

Some of the villagers he passed stared at him very curiously and most didn’t say a word. He could hear the gossip between a few. One woman said, “Luke, where’ve you been! I heard about your parents! The whole village is concerned!” He waved at them, “Everything is going to be just fine. Everything will be back to normal soon, you’ll see!” A lot of them were taken aback by the things he carried and the fact he had Mr. Thomson’s horse.

“Luke!!!” He heard a little girl and saw Agatha running up. She jumped on him, “Luke, Luke! You’re back! I didn’t think you would be back!” He placed his hand on her head and she beamed her bright eyes up at him. He slowly smiled at her. “Yes Agatha, I’m back... ” He withdrew his hand and tucked her hair behind her ear. “I have to go home... We will spend time together soon, I promise.” She searched his eyes and a faint blush appeared on her little cheeks. Lowering her head, she took a step back and he gave a last warm smile before walking on.

While he walked, his thoughts about how his sister and parents would look the moment he saw them again gave him butterflies in his stomach. Thoughts of the things he’d been through, things he felt, and seen ran through his mind and the idea of it all was so overwhelming he could barely believe he did all that.
As he approached the house, he looked it over as if greeting it like an old friend. Home.

He said, “Don’t go anywhere, ok my friend?” Alarich bowed his head.

Luke went to the door and knocked.
“Not now!” He heard Esmé shout. It gave him a smile.
“Esmé, it’s me!” he yelled back. A moment went by and he heard things fall over. Shortly after, the door was ripped open. Her eyes were huge and her mouth was hanging. “Luke!” She yanked him into a hug. He wasn’t expecting it. She let him go and looked at his hands. “Are you alright? You’re in one piece! You did it! I’m so proud of you!”
“Yes,” he laughed, “I made it.” He held the necklace out, “Here it is... Do you know what to do?” She gently took it and gazed at the glowing gems. “...Mother Gianna explained a lot to me while you were gone... She said once I hold it, my power will be awakened and all I have to do is focus on what I want most when I use it. I don’t feel any different.” Luke slightly frowned. “Well we need to try it now. Let’s go. Time is wasting.” He walked inside and she followed close behind.

His stomach was wrenching even worse now that he was in the house. He was feeling sick. It was at its worst before they would step into their parents’ room. Esmé moved past him and waved him inside. He toughed through it and slowly walked in.
As soon as his eyes fell on them, he instantly went into a cold sweat. He could have sunken through the floor. They looked exactly the same as they did before he left. He looked at Esmé and she nodded at him. She clasped the necklace on and put her hands on the gems. “Mom, Dad... you’re going to be just fine.” She closed her eyes and then looked at them again, lowering her shoulders as she breathed out comfortably. Luke watched her and them, waiting anxiously.

The silence in the room was becoming very tense. Nothing was happening. They waited. And waited. And... waited. Luke fell into a chair. “I went all that way... only to have an old dead man—a ghost!—whisper into that little piece of jewelry and then I traveled back here to have my heart completely ripped out?!” Her head suddenly flung back and the gems in the necklace shot light into their parents, causing them to arch their backs high above the bed. Luke gasped, leaning forward, “Esmé?!” He jumped out of the chair and ran between her and their parents. “Mom, Dad?!” They started to sound like they were having a hard time breathing and Esmé was shaking as the light continued shooting into them. Then suddenly, her head flipped back to the normal position and all light went out in that moment, making the room completely dark.

“Es- Esmé?” He looked around.
He heard her start coughing and a candle was lit. She was holding it. “Esmé... Esmé, are you ok?” he went over to her. “I’m fine. I’m fine. Check them!” He quickly looked at their parents.

They started opening their eyes. His heart began to race. Esmé put the candle down, nearly dropping it as she watched them and brought a hand up to her mouth. He pulled her into an enveloping hug, hardly able to believe what he was seeing.
“Luke? Esmé?” Fiona said. Esmé let go and hurried over to give her a hug, pushing her nose into the pillow. Luke began to cry as he saw Jeremiah open his eyes and look at him. “...Hi Dad...” he said. Jeremiah looked around, a little confused. “What happened...?” Luke stepped closer and Esmé stood up.

When everybody looked at him, he read all their expressions and started to smile. “...It’s a long, long story that I will explain later... because it’s quite a tale to tell.” Jeremiah blinked at him, then shook his head and winced a little as he sat up. “Crazy boy... I feel like I’d been asleep for days. What are we doing here? We were weeding.” Fiona also sat up and rubbed her eyes. “I know how you feel...” The twins made knowing looks at each other.

Jeremiah swung his leg around and started to get up. Luke grabbed his shoulders, “Wait. Not yet. Let me get you something to drink first.” Jeremiah was puzzled at what he said.

“Luke, why are you dressed like that? Aren’t you kind of old to be playing around like that?” Fiona asked. Luke glanced at her and then at the cape hanging off his side. Letting off his father’s shoulders, his brows lifted and he sighed. He thought about it.
“Let me get you some drinks, and then, I’ll explain everything.” He raised a finger at them and then motioned Esmé to go with him. She smiled at them and went with him into the kitchen.

“Esmé... I can’t tell them everything right now. They need time to relax first.”
“Then don’t tell them yet...”
He then looked at her necklace. “That was a very spectacular thing you did. You really are magical... Now you have to be very careful. I was to tell you these instructions. We must protect it from all magical beings... all of them.”
“Even Gianna?”
“Yes. She is a Dryad—a tree spirit. Nothing from the gods. Someone told me along the way. I ran into a lot of things and different people during that journey and the world is nothing like you and I thought. Tanimil is like it said in the books, but the other places... some are terrifying and others, very strange. I’m not sure if Gianna poses a threat, but I think we should keep it from her as well. You need to clean it often for better strength, and when you do that, say the word ‘iasthai’. That means ‘to heal’.”

“You saw a lot...” she said while watching his expression. “You’re not the same. You’re different than before. Much different. Luke, did you get hurt...?”
“Yes... a few times... but I made it. I’m fine. I don’t have a scratch on me because someone helped me. That’s another story that I’ll explain later—only to you.” She started to smile at him. “Yes, of course... The necklace—where should I hide it?”
“For now... let’s just see to it Mom and Dad are safe and comfortable.”
“Ok. Good idea.” She held the end of the necklace and admired the gems. “Glowing red rubies... how beautiful...”

He gradually smiled back at her and then hugged her, “I can’t tell you how happy I am... to be back home.” She hugged him back and patted him on the back. “I have something of an idea.” She said.
He suddenly opened his eyes. “I left Alarich outside. Oh no.”
She laughed, “I’ll get the drinks.” He nodded and went outside.
“PBBBT!”
“Sorry buddy!”


-In Tanimil-
Brim

The sorcerer rode off west of Tanimil to the ancient stone temple. It was somewhat out of the way of the fairies. The road was long and had many curves and was always shaded by trees. However, it was still illuminated by the lanterns, putting out just enough light for him to see where he was going. He ran through falling leaves becoming puffs of mist and could only think of Luke... that special human boy. Luke would consider these surroundings ominous, but breathtaking. That young adventurer turned out to be more than Brim imagined he would be. Surely though, he could not be intelligent enough to fully understand how to protect something as powerful as that necklace. It’s pure luck that he is mostly among humans. Gianna may be there, but she would not have any desire to take it. Enchantments don’t work on Dryads. She would protect him. Again, pure luck.

Brim slowed down as he came up to the stone towers around the temple. So many memories he’s had with this place. He’s learned a lot here. With a single dip of the head, he went on and entered the courtyard.

Monks were spread about the grounds, some talking to each other and others walking with books in their hands. He got off his horse and patted his side as if telling him to stay and then he went up the steps into the holy building.

Just as he remembered, it was bright inside with the sun shining down through the many skylights, and the scent of flowers and spice permeated the air. Very few fairies were in here. He soon found the high priestess standing at the altar on a back wall on the right. She turned around to him, sensing his presence right away. “Good day, Brim.” She said.
He bowed, “Your Holiness.”
“How can I help you, my son?”
Knowing she had recently taken the place of the late high priest, Brim explained in a quieter, more careful voice, “I have searched high and low. I have studied for years for a cure to reverse what I have done; I no longer possess the power I used to have. I have come, knowing you are closer to the Herec... I wish to pledge my loyalty to them if they can do this for me.”
“Such a great thing you are about to take on. I am also surprised you have not already.” She said, “Come with me to the beacon room. Let us see what they will say.”
“Yes, your Holiness.” He bowed again, and went with her around a corner, upstairs into a long narrow room that had a black, waist-high rectangular beacon shooting sparkling light up into the sky through a small square in the ceiling. He’s never been in this room before. Why has he not seen that light? Was it because he once lacked a bit of faith and the Herec were angry with him? Why was he seeing it then? He wouldn’t ask until he got his answer from them.

The high priestess led him to the beacon and opened her hand to it, “Speak into the light. Let them heed your prayers and wishes. I will leave you. Good luck, my son.” She backed away and exited through a door straight ahead. “Yes... thank you.” He then stepped up and the magic emitting from the beacon stirred his senses like bees in a beehive. He wanted to jump in and embrace it fully until he became the light. ‘Steady Brim... steady...’ he thought. So overwhelming it was for the sorcerer.
“O’ great Herec... forgive me, for I have sinned. From now until the end of my days, I am your humble servant. I vow to never work against your rules. I ask of you, only one thing... please reverse what I have done to myself many years ago.” He knelt before the beacon with his head down. The room was silent. He sat patiently for a long time, thinking about what he said. He didn’t feel any changes. Not even in the slightest. A long time passed. He waited and waited.

He frowned up at the square in the ceiling, “...Is there no way? Have I done wrong?” There wasn’t even a slight spurt in the stream of light. He slowly stood up. “I must be an abomination to you.” He turned, lowered his head in sadness and then went back downstairs. The high priestess was nowhere to be seen. The monks watched him leave the building, get back on his horse and ride back into the trees.

There had to be another way. He knew it, and did not need the Herec to find it.

As he sped away, a sudden thought came to him. What if he put the necklace on? It was a necklace of regeneration; that spell renews things and it was magical. Was that all it could do? If it was, he could possibly find a way to have another enchantment put on it and create the perfect one to reverse his problem. He began to smile and leaned in closer to his horse, “We are going to find Mr. Pane.” He spurred him, snapping his reins, “YAH!”


-Joby-

The little imp hid behind some bushes as he watched Luke walking Alarich to Doctor Thomson’s house. His beady eyes squinted with glee seeing his best friend back home. He wondered what all Luke went through while he was away and he imagined the things he’d seen over the years; the things Gianna told him to do, and the places she made him go. He never went past the Goblin village. Usually, she told him to bring back potions and things like that... but it was rare. The goblins didn’t really care much for his company. He never understood why.

His tail wiggled a little as he saw Luke walk around a corner. He wanted to welcome him back and congratulate him, but he couldn’t. He scurried away to Gianna’s tree.

When he got there, he noticed her head was down. She must have been thinking about something. He ran up and said,“He’s back! Luke’s back!” She quickly looked at him. He waited for her to speak, but she never said a word. He began twiddling his thumbs, “He looked completely unharmed and happy... I think everything must have worked out.” She leaned back in her seat with her viney hand up to her mouth. “Good... good boy.And now it begins...”
“What’s that mother?”
“My plan... it’s now set into motion. Bring Esmé to me.”
Her actions made him very curious. He didn’t understand the mysteriousness about her. It was far different than ever before. Whatever it was though, she seemed to be satisfied by it... and that’s all that mattered to him.
He bowed his head and hurried off.

While running down the road, he looked at all the people walking around and smiled at them, waving excitedly. They waved back and laughed a little. Everybody loved him.
He arrived at the house and knocked on the door. “Esmé! Esmé!” A minute later, she answered and smiled a bit at him. “Hey Joby.” He nodded at her, “Mother Gianna wants to see you!“That flabbergasted her for a second. “But I’m busy.” She said.
“No, she needs to see you! Come on.” He took her hand.
“Joby, I have to take care of my parents.” She told him. He pulled at her, “Come with me.” She made a sudden noise as he took her away from the house.

He rushed her all the way to Gianna and then the moment they were through her gates, Esmé felt a sudden strange feeling when she looked into the dark hood of the tree spirit. It was then she saw her face. It made her gasp and yank her hand out of Joby’s grasp. Her eyes were massive. Gianna had a long, extremely narrow face with a pointy chin and her eyes were two slits; green eyes with no pupils. Her skin looked like tree bark. How could she be seeing this? Joby stared up at her oddly for how she was behaving, then he looked at Gianna and backed away from Esmé a little.

“Don’t be afraid...” Gianna told her.
“How am I able to see your face? Are you showing me it?”
“No, dear... You are now completely magical. You’ve unleashed your power. You can see me for who I really am now.” Gianna looked at the necklace and then up at her again. Esmé held it, a troubled grimace on her face.
“...What does that mean? I’ve done what I needed to do.”
“Yes you have... Congratulations. But there’s more...”
“More...?” Esmé questioned.
“Yes... and I will show you. You are so very special, child. So very special... I will show you just who you really are. I will make you go down in history as the best enchanter that ever lived.” The astonishment in Esmé’s eyes grew. Many images flooded her imagination at those words the tree spirit spoke. The sincerity in her voice was as intense as getting a taste of the whole universe in less than a second. How would she do that?
“I will teach you.” Gianna said.

Esmé slowly looked down at her hand, at the necklace held somewhat loosely in her fingers. “But what about mom and dad? And Luke? They won’t understand me.”
“Oh sweetheart they will be so proud... They will. Don’t say a word to them until I give you permission.” Esmé started to smile. A smile of adoration to the thought.
“Will I travel? To Tanimil?” she asked.
“One thing at a time...”

The girl looked up at Gianna again. Gianna nodded with a broadening smile.“That’s my girl... But today... take care of your parents. We will start your training soon. You will have much to learn.” She waved toward the gates. Esmé’s gaze fell, trailing left to right and then she smiled at the tree spirit again before running out of the gates, on her way back home.
She couldn’t tell a soul—yet. This was exciting news... This was extraordinary news! If she could become the greatest enchanter that ever lived, she could travel the world and learn so much! So much to do, so much to see! So much to learn, taste and feel! Her heart pounded with pure bliss and excitement. She felt like she could absorb the light from the sun and explode it out everywhere.

As Gianna and Joby watched her leave, Joby wondered about that happiness she felt. He’d never seen her quite like that. Just what was about to happen?

He turned to Gianna, “Mother, are big things about to happen?” Still looking after Esmé, she nodded calmly, “Big things are about to happen soon.”
“Will she become a legend like you said?”
“Yes of course, Joby.” That made him smile again. He walked over to her and sat at her feet, holding his legs and looking up at her. “You’re going to be so happy mother... I’m proud of you.” She lowered her head and tilted it, warmed by what he said. “I’m proud of you too son, for being such a good boy.” He closed his eyes, purring.

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