Ashanna wants to wait till Sunday at dawn to perform Lairelindë’s manifestation ritual. It gives Saturday the time for my godmother and I to plan out what I’ll need to consume an entire blood fruit - without it killing me. So we prepare the spells and material components needed. The easier would to juice the fruit. I don’t need the pulp for the spell, just the liquid.
First, I’ll need Guidance and Resistance to bolster the initial shock, Bear’s Endurance to bolster my constitution, and finally Delay Poison. The last spell will delay the toxic effects of the blood fruit, long enough for Lairelindë to manifest, so that she can cast Neutralize Poison herself. Without the last spell, the fruit could kill me. It would certainly leave me ill, but I’m not yet powerful enough to cast Neutralize Poison myself. My godmother uses this ritual as an example of why she needs to be present during my transformation. The casters in the ritual cannot perform the spell we need.
Luna is ignoring me today. I can feel that I upset her, but she won’t talk about it. I think I’ve developed an empathic bond with my sister. I can always feel when she’s near, what she’s feeling, how she’s doing. So this is how she finds me in school all the time. Her bond developed faster than mine. I wish she would talk to me about this constant jealousy she has for Sala. I don’t want to choose one love over another. Okay, I’m admitting it. I love them. My beautiful sister and my darling girlfriend. How could this be happening to me?
Why does my heart feel so torn? “Because your sister doesn’t approve of your girlfriend, and the feeling seems mutual.” Lairelindë reminds me. I’ve had female friends, but girls never really looked at me as a romantic interest before I moved here. Now, suddenly, I have two fighting over my heart.
I distract myself with calling Sala. We work on homework via video call, it’s not as nice as doing homework together, but it’s better than nothing. I still haven’t found a good way to approach Kevin. Between subject matters, Sala is helping me build a new social media page, using pictures from the dance in my profile. Looking at my old profile as I delete it. I almost don’t look like the same person with makeup on. The dress definitely is nothing like I would have worn as a boy - none of my wardrobe is. As a boy, I wore loose, baggy clothes. My feminine attire is all form-fitting, showing what little curvature my hips provide, giving a pear-shape to my body. Emenya says that, with natural breasts, I should end up with an hourglass figure, so not to be jealous of Luna and Sala, I will soon join them in looking just as beautiful. It’s interesting how she can always tell when I’m insecure about my body.
I’m awoken just before dawn. It’s time to give my godmother her freedom and finally get her out of my head. She reminds me it will truly never separate us. When I’m wearing the emerald drop pendant, it will be like we are now, her riding along and seeing what I see, hearing what I hear, and feeling what I feel. Even bound to the pendant, there will always be a part of us that stays connected. Our connection to the Dream will never completely fade.
I prepare the tea that I need to drink for the Delay Poison spell. The tea also includes the material components my godmother will need for the next task. It’s not exactly what I call a tasty mixture, but we require it. I’m sitting on the couch, and Ashanna hangs the pendant a meter away on a post. No one else is closer, so that the pendant becomes the target of the spell. I mutter the four spells, feeling the Bear’s Endurance kick in. I suddenly feel like I can take anything thrown at me. I then down a blood fruit cocktail, making a sour face as I force myself to drink it all. I’m already feeling dizzy. I have little time to voice the spell that Lairelindë needs:
“From the Dream to the Soul, from the Soul to the Mind. I release you from your binds. Find the gem and find your freedom.” My stomach is knotting, I concentrate as I repeat the words in Elvish to complete the spell.
“I Olallo Feanna, I feallo sàmanna. Leryanldë var avaleryalda. Hirimiril ar hir senaldë.”
I feel like a part of me is being torn from my body! I hold back a scream and grunt, feeling my stomach drop as the blood from the fruit is drained to complete the spell. I can’t open my eyes, the pain is too great, I ‘feel’ myself touch the gem, and then suddenly slump forward as I feel Lairelindë leave my body. Luna is quick to catch me from falling to the floor. I feel her laying me down on the couch, my body is sweating, I feel feverish.
“Envinyataldë Sangwa” I hear Lairelindë say softly as she touches my forehead.
I open my eyes and there is she is, mostly solid, my godmother all in colour and grace. She combs my hair, giving me a motherly smile. “That was very brave of you, my child, and it was hard to witness the pain this caused you, but now I am free.” She smiles.
“You’re speaking common.” I frown I go to get up but my head hurts too much.
“We shared information.” She smiles. “As I shared my mind with you, so did you with me. And so I learned your languages, and the history you knew. I still find these things you call computers and phones confusing, though. I will gladly keep to my books.”
My godmother gets up, turns, and gives Ashanna a hug. “And thank you, for everything you have done.” They hold each other’s shoulders. “For giving my godchild a home, for allowing me to finally see the world through my own eyes again. It has been so long since I have seen the sun.”
“You’re not fully solid.” Luna remarks.
The elf turns. “Sadly no, I am not actually alive, I am just no longer bound to the Dream.”
“So, you’re like a ghost?” Luna probes.
“Fairë are free spirits, so I guess you could call me a ghost.” She says thoughtfully. “I can touch, feel, smell, even eat. I am as physically alive as I can be. The difference is that I am tied to the stone. Where it goes, I go. I cannot leave the house unless someone brings the amulet with them. I can only go 25 meters from the gem. After that it pulls me back.”
“So you can roam the house, and some of the yard, to go further, you need to be carried?” Ashanna asks.
“Yes, I cannot carry the stone myself, it is the one thing I cannot touch or pickup, to touch the stone, is to return inside it.” she replies.
I don’t know when I fell asleep, but my family was deep in conversation when I drifted off.
I wake up suddenly. I look around and no one is in the room. I don’t see the gem. Panic slips in and I’m about to call out when Lairelindë soothes my worry.
“It’s okay, child. I asked them to put the pendant on you while you slept.” She says in a soft, motherly voice. I touch my chest, feeling the silver-wrapped, tear-shaped pendant and relax, taking a deep breath. “The ritual wore you out, so we let you rest. It is nearly noon. Are you hungry?”
“Yes. I actually don’t remember having anything more than the tea and the blood fruit to eat today.” I say as I get up, I’m still a touch dizzy, but feel better.
“Put me down in the kitchen, and I’ll make you something to eat.” She says in a soothing tone.
I head into the kitchen and slip the pendant off my neck and place it down on the island. Watching Lairelindë manifest is an amazing sight. She looks around to get her bearings and then makes me some pancakes. She’s about halfway through cooking when the smell of lunch calls Luna and Ashanna down from upstairs.
“Some pancakes and some of that imitation bacon for brunch.” My godmother announces as the rest of the family comes to join us.
“It smells delicious.” Luna says as she sits beside me. “How are you feeling, nettinya?” she asks, putting a hand on mine. She looks at our cook. “You look solid now, I can’t see through you like I did this morning.”
Lairelindë turns as she serves me first. “It is necessary in order to touch things.” She smiles and then turns to get the next batch going. ”I can mostly appear as solid as you, but my fairë nature will always be noticeable."
Ashanna watches her as she gets some blood fruit out and some berries to use for the pancake topping. “Will my daughter look as beautiful as you? I cannot believe that, after two millennia, how much you both look alike. You definitely look related.”
“As an elf, she will look like my daughter.” Lairelindë responds.
“We should hear from Lyric Eversong soon, maybe as early as next weekend, she’s trying to get here as soon as possible.” Ashanna answers as she then gets juice out. “Mélodie has asked to be part of the ritual.”
“Is that wise?” Lairelindë asks as she serves Luna next.
“Both her and her wife are powerful casters, the strength that they would lend to the ritual is definitely worth the risk of them knowing about all this.” Ashanna smiles.
She looks thoughtful. “Yes, we’ll need five for the ritual to be cast properly. And at least three pints of blood for the transformation to be a success.” My godmother responds.
“That would drain Simiathlas of over 30% of her blood count, considering her size and weight.” Ashanna looks shocked.
“I read something in one of Simiathlas’ science books, about a blood transfusion. That would be much more effective and faster than consuming the blood, otherwise we would need more.” My godmother is calm.
Ashanna looks like she is about to object. “I…. That would work…” she says thoughtfully. “Which would mean that we would need two to three donors, so as not to put them in duress.” Have you ever thought of helping in medicine?”
“Of what Simiathlas knows of modern medicine, current doctor practices are primitive compared to nature’s ability to heal through magic.” Lairelindë responds, almost insulted.
“Yes. But we can’t let the public know of magic…” Ashanna warns her.
“Yes, I read of your Dark Ages, the inquisition, and my own experiences with the Romans… humanity fears what they don’t understand. It is only a select few who would not take great joy in destroying the world you have built among them.” Lairelindë replies sadly. She turns and serves Ashanna a plate, leaving a small plate for herself.
We sit down and eat, and these are amazing pancakes! So fluffy, so tasty. I only hope to cook as well as my family does one day. Lairelindë hmms.. At the food. “It has been so long since I’ve not had to imagine the taste of something.” She sighs. “Though I don’t need food for sustenance, I do so miss the taste of it!”
“I can’t even imagine what two thousand years floating in a dream world would be like. Even when I watched over Simiathlas’ dream, I still knew that some of me was tied to reality. You didn’t have that. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for others.” Ashanna comments.
“I’ve only been able to meet a few within the Dream. It is hard to communicate across the realm, each of us has their own dreamscape. Reaching out to one another was akin to telepathy. As we couldn’t actually see one another.” She replies as she munches on her brunch. I swear, the more she eats, the more real and solid my godmother looks. She is so beautiful, and she says I’ll look almost like her one day.
After lunch, Luna and I leave our mothers to talk with one another. With Ashanna being a little over a thousand years old, there is a lot of history that the two of them can share. More than I’ll ever know, that’s for sure! They can’t share magic, Ashanna is an arcanist, and only the simplest of spells are similar, so we’ll all be leaning on my godmother for magic that I can use. I can still see her spellbook in my mind. A side effect of sharing ourselves.
We’re downstairs playing a game together, and I finally have to say it. “So you’re talking to me now?” I prod with a touch of annoyance.
“I…” Luna hesitates. “I’m sorry nettinya, but seeing Sala kiss you like that, I was so jealous that she could give you what I can’t.” Luna pleads.
“I thought we weren’t supposed to display our affection for one another that way?” I frown.
We’re between levels, and suddenly Luna takes the controller out of my hands, I look up as she straddles my lap. “Nettinya. I love you.”
“I love you too. I know I shouldn’t say this, but I can’t stop what my heart feels for you.” She gives me a loving smile, I can feel her emotions change as I confirm she’s not alone in her feelings. “Just, I also love Sala, can you understand that?”
Luna frowns and then sighs. “I suppose I can understand why the Fae loves you. You are a strong druid, you can protect her, she feels safe in your arms. She leans on you as she is vulnerable. And in that vulnerability you want to protect her. Are you sure that is love that you feel?”
“Just as I lean on you to protect me.” I say tenderly. I never admitted this before, but I would trust my life on Luna. She will always protect me. "Would you not call what I feel for you, love?"
She smiles that lovely smile, and my heart reaches out to her. “I shouldn’t do this…” she says affectionately, then leans down for a kiss.
We share a deep, loving and passionate kiss. I thought kissing Sala was good, this was amazing! The feelings we share in our embrace, that empathic connection as our hearts connect to a degree I’ve felt for no one else. I don’t know how long the kiss lasted, but Ashanna calling us upstairs breaks us from our embrace.
“Coming.” Luna calls up and then looks down at me. “I probably shouldn’t have done that, but I’ve been wanting to kiss you since the night we met.” She says tenderly, caressing my cheek. “Forgive me my transgressions.”
I find my voice. “Only if we can kiss like this again when we can find time alone.” I know I shouldn’t have said that. What we just shared shouldn’t have happened, nor should it happen again, but I can’t help the love I feel for Luna.
She smiles, gives me one last kiss, climbs off of my lap and offers to pull me up off the couch. I give her my hand and she lifts me with ease, pulling me into a hug before breaking away. She holds my hand as she leads me upstairs.
As we reach the main floor, Rose greets us in the kitchen. I let go of Luna’s hand but not before being noticed, Rose gives us a smile before becoming serious.
“The police are canvassing Hillcrest, looking for you, or anyone that knows of your whereabouts.” Rose says with concern.
“If my daughter were to take hormones, what would her progression look like?” Ashanna asks.
“I’m glad you asked.” Rose smiles as she pulls a laptop out of her bag.
Rose has this piece of software that gives a best look at what a male would look after transition. She feeds my old picture in and lets the program change my face to that of a girl. “One thing about boys to girls, is that your muscle groups, and fat deposits change, girls also have 30% less muscle mass.” Rose explains as the program is slowly morphing my face. “Given that your face will change through puberty as it is. Starting blockers so early, we’ve stunted a lot of your secondary male traits, your bone density is only half of what it should be compared to an adult male… this should be what you would look like come the Winter Break.”
Once the software is done, the face looks like a relative of mine, but definitely doesn’t look like the boy I was. I look more like my godmother than I do my own parents. “Good.” Ashanna nods. She takes Lairelindë’s pendant. “You are to wear your godmother with you in public, I’ll cast an illusion for you to appear like the girl in this photo… the spell will take days to fully change your features, so your friends shouldn’t be too shocked.”
“It helps that they are still looking for a boy. I’ll be going to court on Tuesday, I expect your parents have kidnapping charges filed with the police. They don’t have a person to charge, so I expect them to contest the emancipation order, and pull us into court next week. You’ll have to prove that you want to stay here and that we’ve not coerced you.” Rose says in a worried tone. “I was hoping to avoid this. But unless they drop the kidnapping charges, are you ready to go to court against your parents? Cause they are going to say you’re not competent enough and call you crazy for what we’re doing here.”
Luna’s hand takes mine, and she gives it a comforting squeeze. “Yes, I’m ready if it comes to that.” I say with more bravery that I feel. “I will not lose what we’ve done the past weeks because my parents refuse to believe me. With what we have planned, my parents would never agree to what we want to achieve here.”
“I’m glad that I’m still part of this plan.” Lairelindë smiles.
“What we did today is just the start of many great things to come.” I reply. “What we want to achieve won’t work with my parents’ narrow-minded beliefs. No one believed what I wanted till I meet all of you.”
Rose looks at Lairelindë for a moment. “I can see you, but not truly feel you. Having you physically here, but not, is really confusing for an Empath.”
“Well then, you will have the comfort of feeling me as part of Simiathlas as usual at school. Seeing as Ashanna has asked her to wear me. I am, for all intents and purposes now, the pendant. They bound my soul to the gem, I can only go where it goes. It limits the body you see here in how far away it can roam. I am but a manifestation of my true self. It’s the gem that is my essence. If it were to shatter, I would be lost to the Ether.”
“I see. Let’s hope that Simiathlas here is a lot better at keeping track of her jewellery that some other girls in school then.” Rose teases me.