A World Beside Our Own

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Falling into a Pattern

Fall forms a pattern now:

Mondays, I attend school, then go to Rose’s Tia Chi sessions. The first two weeks were tough, but I’m really picking up on it and enjoying it. Rose calls it meditation in motion. Almost like a fluid dance where you focus on your body and your mind and let it all flow.

Tuesdays have become movie nights. It started as a need to decompress during mid-terms and seems to have become a weekly thing. No Luna, It’s just my friends and I. Sam eventually asked Munroe out, so we’re eight of us now that go every week. Sala is loving date night. It doesn’t matter to her we’re four couples, all that matters is that she can snuggle and kiss me during the movie.

Luna loves Wednesdays. I come home after school, and she’ll often steal me away from my online gaming to play on the console together. I often have to remind her I need to do homework first, or else we will play games all night till she leaves for the club, and I’ll get none of it done. As mother predicted, Luna doesn’t behave for long. Half of the time we make out more than we play games, or we’ll snuggle and watch something. I’ve tried to resist her advances, but she knows all of my weaknesses, and found a few spots that make me melt in her arms. She has respected my request for no intimate touching, though. I'm sure it's frustrating her that I won't let her past first base, but I can't let my sister be that affectionate.

Thursdays are Aikido and Tae Kwon Do training. Rose likes to mix the two. Aikido is good for non-competitive self defence. As it features simple jabs, chops, but most of it is throws. The goal of Aikido is to take your opponent down with minimal pain or damage to yourself and your opponent. It also focuses on mobility and flexibility, helping keep my muscles lean. The mix of the martial arts is to allow for more violent kicks and punches - in situations where you need to hurt someone. Rose says that, with my progress, she’ll be starting me on fighting with weapons in the new year.

Fridays are some sort of date night, which my sister has come into the habit of hijacking most of the time. Mother doesn’t like us going out to dinner alone, but Luna keeps playing the innocent that she just wants to spend time with her sister. We’ve actually found two fun places to go to: One is a pub that features a live band. When the band isn’t good, we go two blocks down and sing Karaoke till she needs to head off and work at the club.

Saturdays are my dedicated game days. After the afternoon workouts and the music on Friday nights, I need to decompress. Kevin and Ruby really love my new voice and how often I giggle. I still work with my speech coach every Saturday afternoon, so I’m in fit form with a better sounding feminine voice by the time I join them in the game. I’ve told my friends and my guild as much about my life as I dare, Kevin’s loving my transition progress.

Sundays are my days with Sala. I usually go to her place. Her parents expect me for dinner now, and the one time I suggested I leave early, they insisted I stay and eat. I think her mom really likes me. More so that Sala is social, happy, and enjoying school. We've improved her Math and Science grades with all the time we spend studying.

November has flown by, and we’re moving into winter, which has Sala beyond excited. The first day it snowed, we had so much trouble trying to keep her inside. Every moment she could, she was out in the snow, dancing around. She is so beautiful when she is happy. Her smile is radiant and her eyes sparkle.

As we approach mid-December, Lairelindë calls for a planning session.

We meet one Saturday afternoon at our house, with Penny, Melody (we’re on a first name basis now), and Master Phan. Lairelindë writes the incantation and they spend over an hour together getting the words right. Once everyone has almost memorized the verse, we get into a star pattern, and Lairelindë is about to start us practicing the ritual. Suddenly she stops and looks at the door just before there is a knock.

Emmya answers the door and there is Lyric with three other elves: two female and one male. The male wears a crown of vines with golden berries. His stature denotes his station, and the two druids accompanying him are clearly his guards.

By the stars!” My godmother exclaims. “Dearest, I never thought I would see you again!” She runs into his arms.

He doesn’t hesitate to respond to her embrace and they hold each other for a long time. “When Lyric said she had found you, I just had to see for myself.” He says affectionately. “I’m sorry it took me so long to come here, you are not an easy Arch Druid to track down…”

My dearest husband, it has been too long.” She brings her face up and they share a long loving kiss. It’s so touching.

“Wait.. Something’s wrong…” he frowns and looks at her again.

I’m only an elder spirit now dearest husband. My life ended a few years after you and the others fled. When the Romans found out about the Elven exodus, and the sinking of the Tir, they hunted down those of us who remained.” She says sadly. “Two of the council perished within the first year. Many like myself fled to the mainland and hid among the Gaelic tribes. I was the last of the council to survive, and they sent an entire Legion to destroy the village I was protecting.” She caresses his cheek. “I spent two long millennia in the Dream, trying to find a way back to you.

“I’m here now.” He smiles. “Regardless, we are back together again.” And he kisses her deeply. “Come home with me?”

This is home, husband.” Lairelindë responds. “I am tied to that amulet.” She points to the gem around my neck. “I can only go where it goes, and I fear the bond may not survive crossing dimensions.

“And who is this child that Lyric speaks of? The one that you want to risk a rebirth transformation with?” He frowns.

“That would be the one she pointed to that’s wearing the necklace.” Luna says casually.

The Arch Druid stares Luna down, and then looks at our mother. “You’ve aligned yourself with Drow? Can you trust these creatures?!”

“These creatures.” Ashanna answers with a touch of annoyance, “Guided Lairelindë out of the Dream and have lovingly cared for your wife and your godchild for the past two months, I think it owes us a modicum of respect.”

“Godchild?” He raises an eyebrow.

Lairelindë waves for me to approach her, and I do. She puts her arm around me affectionately. “My love, this child is our descendant. She is the strongest of our progeny that has walked the face of this planet in two millennia. With the ritual, we can reconnect her to her Elven heritage. Her bloodline, our bloodline, can live again!"

“You have that much faith that the child can accomplish this.” He still sounds sceptical.

I would ask you to please stay here with me…” Lairelindë starts.

“But I have a nation to govern in Arborea.” He finishes. “By tradition, it is the Druid council who holds the seat and sees to the needs of our people.”

Lyric smiles. “Unlike the humans, there is no crime or poverty in Arborea. We all live in peace with nature and one another.”

“Humanity has tried to achieve such utopia in the past, sadly greed has a nasty habit of ruining even the best of cultures.” Ashanna says sadly.

“Yes, humanity has this unhealthy desire for wealth and power, you would bring our people back into a world like this?” He asks Lairelindë.

In my time here with our god-daughter, I have discovered a magic and paranormal society, living alongside humanity, hiding in plain sight. They blend in where they can, and use illusions where they cannot. Our people could live like this, start contributing to the world again. Maybe even clean up the mess humans have made of this planet.” She replies.

“And what do our people get out of this?” he asks sceptically.

A chance to rebuild the life we left behind. The Fae of this world have grown divided and almost warlike in our absence. They are just an example of the imbalance we face since our people left this world. Let us bring balance back to the world we lost. Dearest husband, can you not see what we can achieve here?” Lairelindë pleads.

“Who would sit on the new council?” He counters.

I would as an elder spirit, Simiathlas will become this realm’s first Arch Druid in millennia. As she’s coming of age, I will train Penny.” She finishes.

“Me?” Penny suddenly speaks up.

“Another human, will she undergo a ritual as well?” he challenges.

Penny is strong in earthly magic already. She has the potential of an Arch Druid, but it has been left untapped.” Lairelindë looks at my teacher. “She will make a notable seat when we sanctify the grove on the spring equinox. That she is human will form a bridge between our people.

“You have thought this through, haven’t you?” he looks at his wife.

Yàviersulë, my love, I have spent millennia slowly planning this out. I just needed a catalyst to get it all started.” She replies confidently. “Once I found my key..” She squeezes my shoulder. “Everything has been falling into place as I had hoped, and in some ways, better. Yes, I’ve allied with creatures outside of our Elven kin. I had to. There are no Elves left in this world! Our alliance shall make this world stronger!

He smiles at last. “You were always so ambitious, it’s what I love so much about you.” He takes a deep breath. “Very well, I will send two Druids on the winter solstice to assist in your ritual. More if I can find strong enough volunteers. While there are elves eager to come back to the mortal realm, finding powerful ones wanting to leave the comfortable life they now have… will not be easy.” He caresses her cheek. “I will do what I can and return in the New Year, to see how you are doing.”

Thank you for your blessing dearest husband.” Lairelindë smiles. “Together we will rebuild our people and watch over the lands as we once did.” She gives him a hug. “With our combined guidance, we will do wonders once again.

“It has been so long since I have seen your radiant smile.” He looks at her affectionately. “I’ve missed it so! I will do what I can to bring you the help you will need.” He looks around the room. “May I be witness to your dry run of the ritual?”

“By all means, come in, find a seat.” Ashanna smiles.

They go back into a star pattern, and Lairelindë starts the chant. She has them all using staffs as a focus. Amethyst is working on providing a headstone for each stave. One gem for each colour of the elements. My knowledge of Pagan beliefs, the way they are standing and the pattern of the ritual almost resembles Wicca more than the neo-druidism that I’ve been studying. I’m not officially part of the dry run… seeing as I will probably be barely conscious to actually add to the ritual. No, I’m the subject and the target of the spell - which doesn’t help ease some of my worry…. Particularly when the Arch Druid called it a rebirth ritual. This isn’t just transformation, I’m being reborn, like a targeted reincarnation. Will that change who I am?

I don’t voice my doubts, but Luna can feel my growing unease, and she sits beside me on the couch. I don’t hesitate when she puts her arm around me and I lean into her for comfort. She always makes me feel so good, so safe. Like nothing will go wrong in her arms. I think I understand better how Sala feels when I do this with her.

Two hours later, everyone is getting tired, they’ve taken a few breaks, but it’s getting harder to focus, so Lairelindë calls it a day. We’ll have one more practice session a few days before the ritual, just to get back in synch. We hug each other goodbye, it’s strange hugging my teachers. Penny gives a short warm hug, and Melody’s hugs are amazing. She puts her full body into the experience, it’s almost intimate. I can see why Penny fell in love with her, she is an incredible woman.

Master Phan doesn’t get a hug, I bow to him out of respect, and he smiles. I think I’m one of the few students who has picked up on his cultural beliefs. Because of our mutual interests in herbalism, we have grown rather close; I think of him as more like a mentor than a high school teacher. He has so much more to teach me than botany and history.

Once the Rivers and Master Phan have left, Lairelindë huffs and snuggles in with her husband. “Oh, I have so missed holding you.” She says happily.

Now that he’s not worried about interrupting anything, Yàviersulë looks over at me. “So, you are my descendant?”

“Apparently so.” I smile.

“Look at her closely darling.” Lairelindë says softly.

He gives me a long good look, and then gasps. “No, it can’t be, not after so many years! Even as a human she resembles our Laireonermi!” he says amazed.

And as an elf, she might as well be our daughter reborn.” Lairelindë nods. “Now do you see why she is so important to me? To us?

“Is that why you named her New Leaf in our tongue?” He smiles down at his wife.

Because she is just beginning on her journey, yes.” My godmother smiles at me. “Even with all that we’ve accomplished so far, you are still on the border of what is coming. Are you ready for it, child?

“I am taking this one step at a time, thinking too far ahead is just overwhelming.” I reply frankly.

“A fair answer, I appreciate your honesty.” He smiles. “Is this your mate?” He nods to Luna.

I blush. “No, Luna is my sister.” I reply. “I fled my birth family to start my journey. Luna found me in a dark wood in the wake of a storm, and most likely saved my life that night.” I recount my tale. “Since then, her mother, Ashanna, has adopted me as one of her own, and I’ve lived here for the past months.” I give Luna an affectionate smile and resist my want to kiss her right now.

When I first peered at Simia’s plight through the Dream, I thought we might have to use the Rasmussen’s blood for the ritual.” Lairelindë adds in. “Once I was free of the Dream and bound to her, I formulated another plan…. To reach out to our people across the void.

“Fortunately Lyric here is known to some people in our community, it made the link possible.” Luna smiles and our Elven bard nods.

The next step was to free me of our godchild, so that the ritual could actually take place. The manifestation ritual wasn’t easy, I didn’t have a body to return to, so we needed to bind my soul to something.” Lairelindë continues. “It was Ashanna that provided a proper vessel for my anchor.

“So, now you are bound to the pendant on her neck?” her husband asks, and my godmother nods. “May I hold my wife?” he asks me.

I look at Lairelindë for permission. She might know this Elf and trust him, but his sudden softening up from his original opposition has me doubting his motives.

She has fears you will take me away from her and never see me again. I can understand her doubts. I am going to apologize, husband, but so do I.” Lairelindë replies.

The Elf frowns and sighs. “I suppose I can understand your hesitation. This ritual is very important to you, and you protect her, as she protects you.”

Lairelindë blushes, I look at him confused.

I can see the ward on the pendant.” He replies. “Only those in your family may carry the pendant. Ideally so she doesn’t get lost or stolen by others, but it means I can’t carry her either.

“I placed that ward on the pendant.” Ashanna says as she comes into the living room. “It was to protect it from being lost or stolen, yes. You will forgive me if my trust is limited. Lairelindë is still partially bound to my daughter and has become an important part of our family. I protect the ones that I love.”

“I can understand a mother’s need to protect her family, I have waited two millennia to be reconnected with my wife, I can wait till the New Year to see if we can make other arrangements.” He bows slightly.

“If you touch the amulet, you will get the connection you seek.” I offer him.

He gives me a quizzical look, he hesitates, seeing as touching the necklace comes close to touching my chest, he doesn’t want to seem improper. I sit up straight and face him. Hoping he will see that as an invitation.

Come, join with me.” Lairelindë says. She touches the pendant herself and is drawn into the gem.

Yàviersulë gasps at the loss of her touch and doesn’t hesitate to follow her. He reaches out, touches the gem, and the three of us are pulled into her Dream home. I recognize the tree house and turn to see Yàviersulë looking around. I hold my hand out to him and ask him to follow.

“This is a copy of Lairelindë’s Dream realm. She created this so that she’s not just floating in an empty void while in the gem.” I reply.

“You’ve spent a lot of time here?” he takes my hand and I lead him to the house.

“My godmother has taught me a lot of my abilities this way. We can actually spend hours in this dream-state while only a few minutes have elapsed in the real world. Therefore, I’m a stronger Druid than most would expect for my age. I’ve probably spent over a year in the Dream where only two months have elapsed in the real world.”

We walk into the house and Lairelindë turns and smiles. “I’m so glad you followed me here.” She beams and runs into his arms for an embrace.

They hold each other for a long time; I decide to leave them alone and go to the bookcase and pick up where I was last reading about my Elven roots. The book is as much a family tree as it is a story. When I find and etching of Laireonermi, I can see what Aini’emenya means, I look a lot like her daughter.

“In here, I can truly feel you, like you are real. Is this going to be our future, only meeting part of you in the real world, and needing to come here to truly see you as I desire?” He asks.

“I’m sorry, my love, but yes. This is my existence now. While not all of me can manifest in the real world, I am still solid enough to do things and physically interact with others. Now do you understand why our godchild did not want to part with me?”

“Some of this is still her, isn’t it?” he queries. “They anchored you to the gem, but still bound to her soul, your first release from the Dream was into her?”

“It was, and it is. We will forever hold a connection. She accepts that role in her life.” Lairelindë replies. I look up from the book and smile.

I feel Luna’s presence, and I put the book down and look out the door. There she is. “Emmya says that supper is ready. Can you all come out for now? You need to eat.”

“We can continue this later, my love.” Lairelindë offers.

He nods, and we walk out of the house together. I blink, it always feels strange when I do this, you think I would get used to the transition by now, but every time I leave the Dream I feel like I’m dropping, and my stomach takes a while to deal with the vertigo. We get up and head into the dining room, where everyone else is already seated.

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