A World Beside Our Own

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Magical Introduction

We wait till his parents don’t look like they’ll double back to listen in on us, and then Kevin turns around. “Okay, I’ve been patient over supper, spill.” He says, with no delay.

I take a deep breath. “Emenya will be so upset with me doing this, but I don’t like lying to you.” I start hesitantly. “First, this is the important thing: Magic exists.” I let that sink in.

Kevin crosses his arms. Ruby looks at me, confused.

“You’ve been wondering how I became a girl in only three months, it’s because we did it through magic. I was serious earlier Kev, I am a druid.” He still looks unimpressed. “I fixed your pants this afternoon, you had ripped them halfway down the leg.” Still nothing. I frown. “Okay, fine, you need a live example... Laurë,” I say.

When I open my hand, there is a palm size flame sitting just above the skin.

“What!” he suddenly exclaims and Ruby puts her hand on his mouth.

“Woah!” she says, looking at the flame. “Why isn’t it burning you?”

“It’s a magic torch.” I explain, “it provides light, and some warmth, but this isn’t a flame, it won’t burn you.” She looks at the Light spell, then at me. “Go ahead, touch it, it won’t hurt you.”

Kev’s breath hitches as Ruby reaches out and she suddenly gasps. “Oh wow, this is so cool!”

“Go ahead, take it.” I encourage her. I maintain focus on the spell so that it doesn’t snuff out right away.

“What else can you do?!” Ruby says excitedly, playing with the Light spell, seeing if she can shape it, amazed at how I leave it anchored to her hand, so she can’t drop it.

“As a druid, my abilities focus on living things. I can control plants, the ground, I can heal, and have minor control over temperature. But this isn’t what I wanted to show you.” I say, and I dissipate the Light spell. Ruby looks disappointed that her new toy has disappeared. “I showed you a simple light cantrip to prove that magic can exist, it would surprise most people that 1% of the population has abilities to do what you just saw there, and much more.”

“You know if you don’t want to show us…” Kev gets annoyed.

“Keven, you do not know how much risk I’m taking showing you what I’m about to disclose.” I plead. “The reason I use the Elven language in everything that I do… Is that I have become one.”

“What?” my friends say in unison.

Much to Lairelindë argument, I say the magic words, and the illusion on my pendant turns off. My friends are speechless. “This is what you felt when you hugged me close, Ruby.” I move my head and show my Elven ears. “On the Winter Solstice, I shed what was left of my humanity to become what you see here.”

“You look like your character!” Ruby gasps. “Can I?” she reaches out, and I nod.

“Actually, it’s the other way around.” I correct her. “I had my character made to look like me. Rose is such an amazing digital artist.” Ruby is afraid to touch anything, she’s just feather grazing my features. “So, Kevin, during Winter Veil, you said that Simiathlas the Druid in the game was beautiful. What do you think about meeting Simiathlas the Druid in person?”

“You mean, this is you? This is your true form?” He says hesitantly.

I nod. “I didn’t just transition to no longer be male, I transitioned to no longer be human.” I reinforce the statement again.

“So that’s why you were so light when I pulled you off the couch?” he says, suddenly amazed. “Despite your strength, you are a good three quarters the weight as a human your size?”

“Yes.” I reply “So, now that you have met the real Simiathlas, with her illusions gone, and the smoke screen lifted, do you still find me attractive?”

“No.” Kevin says. “You aren’t attractive.” He says. Before I can react and be heartbroken by his statement, his face softens. “You are angelic! There is not a human on this planet who can come close to the beauty that you radiate!” he says affectionately. “What do you want from this frumpy transgender boy? When you can clearly have anyone you want in the world?”

“But I don’t want anyone in the world. I want my best friend to not be afraid of who I’ve become and still care about the real me.” I reply.

“Kiss her, you idiot.” Ruby whispers, “If you don’t I will!” She finally sighs and puts her hand on his back and pushes him into my arms.

This seems to break his stumbling block. He puts his arms around my waist, and I put my arms around his shoulders, he then looks at me and we kiss. It is hesitant at first, then he presses stronger. “Your lips are so soft!” he says dreamily. And then his kiss becomes more. My ears pick up a sound in the hall. I break our kiss just long enough to enable my glamour.

“Can I help you, Susan?” I ask as the door slowly cracks open.

“You were quiet in here…” She looks at Kevin in my arms. “Oh. Am I interrupting something?”

“They just shared the hottest kiss I have ever seen!” Ruby says while sitting on the bed.

Kevin opens his eyes to see my human visage and I can see the disappointment on his face. “Later my love, your mother can’t see my true form.” I whisper in his ear and I can see him smile and relax. “Perhaps we should go to the living room and watch that movie we intended, before Ruby feels left out?” I tease out loud.

“Oh. Yeah… good idea.” He says dreamily.

Kevin turns, keeping his arm around my waist, and I have one arm on his shoulder. I can feel him holding me tight. I don’t know if it’s a by-product of our kiss, or if he’s afraid I’ll disappear on him. With my free hand, I reach out to Ruby and she takes my hand. Susan backs up as Kevin opens the door more.

“Sorry.” I apologize. “I think I broke him for a bit, might take a while for your son to recover from that.”

Ruby giggles, and Susan’s eyes open wide before she gives me a coy smile. “You’re going to be trouble, aren’t you?”

“I’m only 15, Susan, kissing and snuggling will be as far as it goes. Scout’s honour. I’m not ready for more than that yet.”

“It’s nice to see a girl who knows her limits.” She smiles, and she goes into the bathroom as we continue down the hall.

We wait till the bathroom door closes and I hear her sit down on the toilet seat. Only then do I nod.

“That was a close call.” Ruby says concerned, “how good is that Elven hearing of yours?” She keeps her voice low.

“I’ve never tested its capacity, but I would say that it’s at least equivalent to a dog’s or cat’s, as I can hear everything that my cat does.” I reply in a hushed tone.

“That’s amazing!” Ruby says.

“You are taking this rather well…” I say to her as we sit down on the couch. She grabs the remote and turns on the TV so we can stop whispering.

“My best friend went for an effeminate male dork to the most beautiful creature I have ever seen! If Kevin hadn’t made his move, I was certainly ready to take his place!” she smiles as we flip through the channels, hoping to find some sci-fi we all enjoy. “So what part of you is illusion, what part of you is real?”

“The veil or illusion only covers my facial features. Hiding my ears, making my eyes blue again, and making my face rounder. Elves have more angular faces than humans, my eyes are an up-angled almond shape, almost like an Asian person’s, but with larger tear drop. The rest of me is real, my body, my skin…” Ruby is studying my long fingers. “Elven senses are easily twice that of a human. I can see in near darkness, hear and smell better, and can even pick up vibrations from the ground. I am 100% a girl, I could even have children if I wanted. It was a drastic change that nearly killed me.” I finish in a serious tone.

We’re quiet for a moment as Susan exits the bathroom, and goes back into her craft room, closing the door. We’re watching our favourite underwater sci-fi show. I’m sitting in the middle of the couch with both of my friends snuggled up against me. “So, your mother and your sister are pretty tall, they’re not human either, are they?”

“No, they’re Drow.” I reply without hesitation. “I’ll eventually reach their height, but Elves don’t mature as fast as humans. You would not believe the things I’ve discovered since I left here! I got caught in a thunderstorm cycling away from home. I was cold, I was wet, I was trying to dry off and get warm when my sister Luna found me. Since then it’s been a whirlwind adventure discovering that magic surrounds us, vampires exist, werewolves are real, and most of the creatures from fantasy books do or have existed in real life. There is an entire magical and paranormal society that lives alongside humanity, and you never see it, cause we hide in plain sight.”

“I have so many questions, I don’t know where to start.” Ruby says in amazement. “Wait, Rose has been helping you through this, so she knows about this?”

“Yep. I told you she’s a bard.” I smile. “And her wife Cassandra is a witch.”

“You mean, like magic follows D&D?” Ruby looks amazed. “She’s a magical bard, there are actual wizards, sorcerers, all those humanoid races….”

“And I’m a druid, yes.” I reply. “It might differ a little from D&D, though… I’ve not met a cleric yet, soldiers would be your modern-day knight or fighter. Bards and druids are the ones who focus on healing.”

“Did you chose to be a druid?” Ruby looks up at me, she’s been affectionately caressing my arm, loving the feeling of my soft skin.

“No, annoyingly enough, one doesn’t choose their magical vocation, it has to be discovered.” I reply. “My aura indicated I had a strong tie to earthly magic. Emenya Ashanna is a strong arcanist, as is my sister Luna.” I explain. “Penny and Melody Rivers are both mages as well, though Melody’s is on the dark side, while Penny’s is on the light side. Together they are two of the most powerful arcanist in the world. Five years ago, they made our history books by destroying the vampire collective, as they were becoming a threat to mages and humanity.” I look between Kevin and Ruby. “There is so much more going on in this world than people know about, it’s been almost too much to take in!”

“I’m not going to remember half of this tomorrow… it sounds all so incredible!” She’s thoughtful and then looks at me. “So, during supper, you said you were going out of town, and flying, where are you actually going?”

“Arborea, the outer Forest Plane.” I whisper. “When the Romans invaded Tír na nÓg, most of my kin escaped there, the others were hunted down and slaughtered. Other Elves fled underground to join the Drow. Christianity, during the dark ages, erased from the human history books all references of other races and magic. I’ve been taught that humanity still fears magic, which is why I was so scared to tell you two about any of this… but you are my best friends, and I trust you won’t tell any of this to anyone else.” I say in a serious tone. “I’m the first Elf reborn in our world in two millennia, and even then, it took magic to discover my hidden bloodline.”

Kevin is quiet for a moment, then looks up at me. “So... You have a girlfriend, right?”

“She’s a Winter Fae, her name is Sala.” I nod. “As a Sylph, she might grow a bit taller like her mother, but Fae are almost half the size of an adult Elf.” I can see him suddenly lose his question. “You’re wondering why I kissed you?”

“Yes. Thank you.” He says.. “She’s Fae?! Wow…”

I turn and kiss Kevin softly, leaving him with a dreamy look. “Kevin, I once told you I couldn’t date you cause I wanted to be a girl first. I am one now.” I start. “While I’m growing to love Sala, our relationship is diplomatic. Our union will finally bridge ties between the Elves and the Fae and hopefully end the war between the Summer and Winter Seelie Courts.” I let that sink in. “My trip to Arborea is to acknowledge our union. My godfather is the last Arch Druid of our people, and we require his blessing.”

“Acknowledge your union?” Ruby looks thoughtful for a moment. “Does that mean you are getting married!? At 15!”

I frown and Ruby looks embarrassed for blurting it out. “No, only engaged for now, thankfully. Old world medieval politics, arranged marriages suck.” I grumble.

We’re quiet for a few moments as we get back into the show.

“But Sala’s a girl, right?” Kevin asks, “and so are you.. How does your union help your people?”

“Yes, Sala is a girl, she’s the only heir to the throne of the Winter Court, and I’m the only Earthborn Elf. Fae on this world are mortal, and I think her parents are already halfway through their lifespan.”

“But you two will never have children…” he frowns.

“You know, we could never have children either, Kevin, but I still want to be with you. Sometimes relationships are for more than having babies.” I tease him.

Ruby giggles and Kevin blushes.

“So, you look like you’re twelve, and you have a high pitch voice…” Ruby starts.

“Because the ritual left me at the start of Elven puberty, thankfully. It would be horrible to have gone through all that and not end up with boobs in the end.” I smirk.

“Oh, you!” Ruby gasps and smacks me playfully. Ruby looks thoughtful. “How long do elves live Simia?”

“Wood-Elves live about a thousand years, like the lifespan you read in D&D.” I answer. “But the ritual connected me to my godparents’ bloodline. They are highborn. The Arch Druid is something like four thousand years old and still doesn’t look that much older than your parents.”

“So, you’re effectively immortal now?” Ruby glances at me.

“Effectively, yes. I can still die of injury, but I’m going to be a teen like this for decades. I’ll never grow old, or have grey hair, or really get sick…” I reply. “Ashanna is over a thousand, my sister Luna is at least two centuries old.”

“I’m jealous.” Ruby says looking at me amazed. “You talk about centuries like humans talk about years and decades.”

“So how long will Sala live?” Kevin gets curious. “You said she’s mortal…”

I look thoughtful. “I had this talk with emenya..” I start. “We figure they live two millennia. While they’re no longer immortal like their Sylvan ancestors, Sala’s mother boasted to me how they still live twice as long as a wood-elf.”

“And how old is Sala?” Kevin asks.

“She’s 15, like me.” I reply. “She’s in pretty much all of my classes. Fae don’t get modern math and science, so my tutoring her is pretty much how this all started.”

“Wow, talk about your long-term commitment!” Ruby gasps, then frowns. “So, Sala’s mother was boasting how Fae live longer than wood-elves…”

“Because she was mistaking me for one, and was trying to dig that her daughter might live longer than me, where in reality it’s the other way around.” I finish for her. “Her parents are so weirdly old school. To deal with them, I had to read up on medieval royal court politics. I’m always worried I’m still going to act too modern, or say the wrong thing to insult my courting of their daughter.” I frown. “It doesn’t help that Sala and I are both modern teens… I’ve seen her mother frown a few times about our attitudes.”

“How are you making sense of all this?!” Ruby gasps.

“Frankly, I’m flying by the seat of my pants half the time. It’s like walking around with a blindfold, only slowly figuring out what is what, while still not getting everything.” I sigh. “My godmother has been helping me a lot, we spend nights in the Dream where she’s been giving me a crash course of thousands of years of history, society, and mannerism. Yet, I still feel I’m going to do something to tick my godfather off. Then again, that would just make things even, considering this whole arranged union was his idea to begin with.”

“And you are the smarter one of the three of us.” Kevin smiles, his expression changes. “Do you have any friends in your new school, Simia?”

“Didn't I tell you?” I smile. “Tutoring Sala connected me to her friends. We started off as a small group of five.. Me, Sala, and her three friends Ginette, Lynn, and Sam. The girls are aspiring magi, and will start learning magic next year, but Ginette’s already been learning some on her own at home. Since the Harvest Dance, Ginette and Lynn started dating two of our other classmates. Sam finally got the nerve to ask Munroe out, he’s a sophomore varsity jock, so they only really spend time together during lunch and after school. Half of the reason I log on so late on Tuesdays is because we started doing movie nights with the eight of us.”

“Becoming a girl seems to have really improved your social standing.” Ruby teases. “Do you like Hillcrest?”

“It’s become my home. I’m probably not going to come back to the city outside of visiting, I’m sorry.” I say apologetically. “The one major perk with my new private school is that I know half of the teachers personally. That I know my teachers on a first name basis first made me the envy of the in-crowd, but lately I've become more accepted.”

“I still think having a long distance relationship sucks.” Kevin grumbles. “Why try to start one with me when you don’t plan on moving back here?”

“Relationships are like magic, Kevin.” I start and caress his cheek. “You can either ignore it, or embrace it and love that you find.”

“You are such a romantic.” He looks at me and we kiss again.

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