A World Beside Our Own

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Freedom of a Sort

Sala asks if I can go over to her house on Monday. Video chatting just isn’t the same thing. As we have no other plans, emmya agrees. I’m a little apprehensive that the Nixës want me over for supper, but I guess this is an opportunity to meet with her father.

“How will you get there?” Luna asks as I pack my laptop and the books we’ll need for today.

Is there a large tree by her house?” Aini’emenya asks me.

“What would a tree matter?” Luna looks at my godmother, confused.

While Druids cannot teleport, stronger ones such as myself can tree-stride as long as we know where the destination lies.” Lairelindë answers. "But is has to be large enough to walk into."

I call Sala asking if there’s a large tree by her house, like an oak she can’t put her arms around. She is thoughtful for a moment and says there’s one in the park down the street. With encouragement, I have her take a picture of the tree and to stay there to wait for me. I ask her if she’s alone in the park, and she confirms.

I put Lairelindë on my neck and go outside. There’s a large oak on the east corner of our lot. When we approach the tree, my godmother appears beside me.

VantaTaulë” She commands, and an archway opens in the tree.

I step through the archway, trusting my godmother. I walk out the ‘other side’ of the tree to face Sala only a few meters away. To say my girlfriend is shocked at seeing me walk out of a tree is an understatement.

“That was amazing!” Sala finally says as I smile. She runs up to me and gives me a big hug. “Who’s your friend?” Sala asks, holding on to my waist.

“This is my godmother Lairelindë, the one I told you about.” now that I can make formal introductions.

Sala curtsies in response. You never touch the hand of a court Fae unless you are courting. “Amma is expecting you, but not your godmother, is she coming with us?”

I am tied to the gem. Where it goes, I go.” Lairelindë responds. “But I don’t have to be visible. If you need me, just call.” With that, she touches the emerald pendant with her hand and is ‘sucked’ inside of it. I feel the comforting presence of her in my mind and I smile.

“That’s incredible!” Sala gasps. We continue to walk. “So.. How does that work?” she asks after a moment.

“It took two rituals to allow my godmother to escape the Dream.” I explain. “The first, as I told you, had her bound to me. Yesterday morning, we performed the ritual to bind her to something else.” I point to the emerald hanging from my neck. “She’s tied to this stone, where it goes, she goes, she can’t go far from it, but now she can manifest at will and appear solid.”

“Why did your godmother want to escape the Dream?” Sala’s eyes are wide in amazement.

“To help me become an Elf.” I smile. “The spell of transformation will reconnect me with my Elven bloodline. Without her, I would be stuck taking hormones and waiting till I’m adult to be female.”

“Is it dangerous?” Sala asks, concerned.

“Aini’emenya believes it will go well. She’s not worried, I’m not worried.” I say with more confidence than I feel.

“Oh! Your eyes have changed!” Sala suddenly says as she looks at my face.

“The green ring was her presence inside of me. My eyes will be blue till my transformation.” I reply.

“Your face has changed as well.” She says examining my features.

“Emenya added an enchantment to the necklace that will slowly shift my features to be more feminine.” I reply.

“So that people will believe you more when you say you are a girl.” Sala nods.

“I just hope that my transformation won’t change how you feel for me.” I say hesitantly.

“Why would you being an Elf change how I feel for you, you’re still going to be the same person, right?”

“I will, but I’ll… smell different. Right now, I still have male pheromones. The part that draws you to me on a physical level. If I change, will you still be attracted to me?” I say in a worried tone.

“I don’t have an answer for that.” Sala says leaning against me. I lean down and we trade a loving kiss. I hope I won’t lose her affections with my transformation, I’m rather fond of my little Fae.

Sala’s house is this simple two-story colonial house that doesn’t really look different from any other house on the block she lives on. The first thing I notice as we step through the door is the temperature. It’s like stepping inside of a refrigerator!

I shiver a bit and Sala looks up at me. “Sorry, Amma keeps the house cool so that we are comfortable. If you find it too cold, we can go outside.”

I shake my head, seeing the spell in my mind: Thank you, Aini’emenya. I say to her. “Vorima Lurë” I say out loud. This will help me endure the cold and I relax. “Much better.” I smile.

“What did you just cast?” Sala gets curious.

“Endure Elements, something I could cast on you if you ever feel yourself too uncomfortably warm,” I smile down at her.

“I’ll remember that.” She smiles.

We settle on the couch with our books on the coffee table, leaning over as we do our work. I had offered to work at the dining room table, but she finds sitting cross-legged on the couch, leaning on me, with the book between her knees, just as comfortable. We get through math, I’m finding this a little hard on my back, being almost twice her size, but I try not to complain. I can see the reason for the couch when we work on our literature next. I’d gotten up to get something to drink and go pee. When I get back to the living room, Sala pats the couch and asks me to face sideways. When I do, she climbs into my lap and we cuddle as we read the book together.

And this is how her mother finds us, cuddled together reading, making small comments to various passages as we go.

“I wasn’t too keen on my daughter dating a mortal, but you two look adorable cuddled up on the sofa like that.” Miahna says looking at me. “Wash up, it’s time to eat.” She smiles.

We’re in the bathroom washing our hands. “You know, when I become an Elf, I’ll be just as tall as Luna, is that going to bother you?”

“What does height matter when I can do this?” Sala asks when we get into the hall. Her wings spread out, flutter and hum. They sound so melodic. I watch as she drifts up to my eye level, and she gives me a loving kiss. I smile as she giggles, then lowers herself to the ground.

“You are adorable.” I smile as she takes my hand, leading me into the dining room.

There is a male Fae sitting at the table when we enter the room. Judging by the shape of his chin, I would say he’s Sala’s father, but that seems to be the only facial feature they share, otherwise Sala’s a spitting image of her mother.

“So you are this schoolmate my daughter speaks of so fondly?” He comes straight out.

“I am Simiathlas.” I smile and give a small bow.

He’s scanning your aura.” Lairelindë says in my mind.

“Impressive, I’ve not met a Druid of your skill in one so young. Your family must be proud.” He smiles suddenly, warming up to me.

“Thank you. I don’t know what I did to earn Sala’s attention, but from the moment we met, we have been close.” I smile.

“No harm in being drawn to someone who you feel can protect you, even if that is developing a romantic interest.” Her mother says as she serves our plates. She serves her husband first, then us, then finally sits down with her own plate. I wait till they’re eating, before taking a bite.

“My sister sees our relationship much the same way.” I say between bites. “Sala was drawn to me as someone who can help and protect, and I feel drawn to provide such.”

“It all started with me asking if she was good at math.” Sala blushes.

“Then she met my sister and sort of, well, got scared and clung to me.” I blush.

“You didn’t mind…” Sala looks up at me with a worried look.

“Why would I? You are so cute and adorable. It surprised me at first, now I love with when you hold me close.” I say tenderly. We look at each other lovingly, and she leans up. I give her a soft, loving kiss. Her father raises his eyebrow. “Sorry, Sala and I kissed Friday night, I hope that her having a girlfriend doesn’t bother you.” I say, suddenly worried.

“I’m wondering what it is about your sister that made her feel she needed protection.” Her father frowns.

Miahna answers before I can. “Her adopted family are vampiric drow, they have apparently shown her more care and affection than the human parents who abandoned her.”

“How so?” he looks at me.

“I’m a transgender girl.” I start. “My parents refused to believe me, calling my feelings childish, that I would forever be stuck as a boy, and to just grow up. So…” I look around at the table. “I ran away. Luna saved me from hypothermia and probably werewolves in the woods that night - seeing as it was a full moon. When I meet her mother, Ashanna, she said there was something about my aura that was strange. It has begun a long chain of trying to discover and reconnect to an elven blood line I didn’t know I even had.” I blurt out. “Since that night, I’ve discovered I have an ancient godmother from the Dream realm who is looking to restart her lineage.”

“The elves haven’t been seen in the mortal realm in nearly two millennia.” Her father answer. “What makes her think she can succeed?”

May I come out and explain it to them?” Lairelindë asks me.

“Maybe I should let her explain it to you. This weekend we pulled her for the Dream and bound her to my pendant.” I take the pendant off of my neck and place it on the table beside Sala’s father.

Sala’s father looks at me, then looks at the pendant. He hesitates for a moment before putting his finger on it. His eyes turn opalescent as he and Lairelindë enter a discussion. At least I think that’s what they are doing. She said that she can communicate with me when I wear or touch the pendant, I’m assuming that feature is not exclusive to just me. Everything is quiet for several moments, I can see his eyes shift, like he’s looking at something, and his mouth moves, but no sound comes out of it.

Finally he takes his finger off of the pendant, and his eyes return to the pale sky blue they were. “Amazing! Simply Amazing!” He looks at me. “Your ancestor has a grand design in mind, are you ready for the responsibility she is thrusting on you?”

“I honestly don’t know, but I will not deny her if this is my destiny.” I reply without hesitation. My godmother and I have had a lot of discussions about what she has planned for me.

Sala looks pensive for a moment. “You have the same hair colour, and some similar facial traits. Will you be as pretty as her when you go through your transformation?”

“Aini’emenya says I’ll look like her daughter, which I find pretty amazing. After two thousand years, that we would look so much alike? It sounds incredible.”

“Almost unlikely, but - as my daughter says - you look related as it is.” Her father answers.

“Really? I’ve not met her yet.” Sala’s mother says. He taps the gem and Lairelindë seeps out of the gem to stand behind me, holding my chair. “Amazing!” Miahna gasps. "Genetically that's unlikely, but the genes are strong in your family!"

Simiathlas could be considered the resurrection of my daughter, the markers all match. Once we have re-awoken her true form, then she will look like the daughter I lost two millennia ago.” Lairelindë looks down at me affectionately. “Now you understand why she is so important to me.”

Sala’s parents both nod, then her mother gets curious. “And what is my daughter’s role in all this?”

My godmother looks down at Sala and gives her a motherly smile. “Truth is, she is but a romantic interest. Together, however, they could do many wonderful things.” She looks up at the table. “An Elf and a Fae together, bound by the heart. The unification of our two houses could give the Winter Fae the strength it needs to reassert its seat in the Seelie Court.

I try to sit there and calmly eat as the adults decide my future, but inside I’m freaking out…. That sounded almost like a marriage proposal. And I’m only 15! Aini’emenya better know what she’s actually getting me into!

“That is an interesting proposition.” Sala’s father smiles. “We’ll consider that offer.”

Yep, she’s offering my hand off in marriage. Gods, this is what I get for letting my godmother do all the talking! I’m going to play it cool, till Sala’s family offers a dowry, this is all talk, nothing is decided.

I look down at my darling Sala, and she is thrilled about the way this conversation is going. Of course she would be. If her parents agree, we’re going to be together for a long time. I do care for her deeply, but I’m too young to get engaged in an arranged marriage! My mind goes back to my history books, and I realize my godmother is playing old world high society politics. And I’m her pawn.

I look up at my godmother questioningly, and she just gives me a warm smile. We’re going to have a long talk after this.

The rest of supper continues with Lairelindë inquiring more about the Seelie Court. In over two millennia, she needs to know how the game has changed. Who’s running the show, how many are left…. The winter court is small and contained, as they still live on the old continent, hidden in Sherwood Forest, there is no place for the court to grow, outside of abandoning the old magic grove, and starting a new one further north of the Great Lakes, where the human populations are sparse. As a precaution they have started a village there, regardless.

The summer court has moved south into the tropical jungles, where there are few scattered human villages. There, they found many ancient ruins with powerful temples and sources of magic. There they found a Mayan-like people who worshipped the sun. They now control a large ley-line intersection and have overthrown the balance of power in their favour.

“So, you came here to Hillcrest...” Lairelindë comments. “To stay up in Sherwood, you were a target. Hiding up north is merely admitting your defeat. Bringing your daughter to a small school where there were no Fae, you could protect her.”

“Only to find something more with her newest classmate.” Miahna smiles.

I blush. Yep, way in over my head now. Sala tries to comfort me by snuggling against me. I put my arm around her and smile. At least her love in uncomplicated.

After supper we gather up our things and Sala wants to walk back to the park with me. We hold hands and smile at each other.

“My parents really like you.” Sala beams, she’s happy about this. I’m probably the first person to come this close to her that her parents approve of.

“Well, after my godmother offered my future hand to you in marriage, I can understand why.” I say with a frown.

“You’re not upset with this, are you, Simia?” Sala asks, suddenly worried. She steps in front of me and stops us from walking further.

“I love you, Sala.” And my Fae relaxes. “Just the prospect of marriage is a little frightening.”

“My parents haven’t agreed to anything, it was just an offer, we don’t have to worry about that yet.” Sala says trying to calm my nerves. “Lets just take our relationship one step at a time.” She offers.

“Sure.” I smile. She pulls me down for a loving kiss. And we continue walking.

“So it’s just the prospect of marriage that’s frightening?” Sala tests to see how much I love her.

“Sala, I will love and protect you, I have felt this way since the dance.” I respond. “I just think we’re too young to think about marriage.”

“Okay.” She smiles happily.

Sala sees me to the tree to bring me home. We trade a long loving kiss, the passion my little Fae has for me is enough to take my breath away! She waves goodbye and heads back home. I see her father hanging back just outside the park. Good, she’s not walking home alone. Knowing that my darling Fae is safe, I let Lairelindë open the archway and we tree-stride back home.

I don’t mention Lairelindë’s unconventional offer during supper when I talk to Ashanna that night. But my godmother and I have a real heartfelt discussion about using me and promises of marriage. This is not how the modern world works. I’d like to choose who I’m going to marry, not just be promised off for a power gain. My godmother assures me she had no true intention on her offer, it’s just how the Fae work. She needed something to bargain for their support. I remind her that my hand is not a bargaining chip in the future. She’s lucky I love my little Fae, or she would have made this situation even more awkward.

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