A World Beside Our Own

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The Dream

I can’t settle down. My mind is full of so many hypothetical situations that my mind won’t calm down.

Ashanna comes into Luna’s bedroom with a large cup of tea. It smells pungent and sweet. She offers me the cup to help settle my nerves.

“What’s in the tea?” I ask as I take a deep breath of the warm liquid.

“Mugwort, chamomile, mint, lavender, and a bit of honey,” she says softly. “We refer to Mugwort as the ‘dream plant’ it should help strengthen the dream. It should also help any further digestive trouble that the plasma fruit may cause you tonight.” She puts a comforting hand on mine. “I will be here beside you should anything go wrong, now, be a dear and drink it all up.”

I drink the whole mug down, grateful that I had gone to pee before deciding to lie down. Ashanna has me lay down in bed. I take a deep breath. The tea is helping me relax. Ashanna’s soft voice is going through a meditative process. As I focus on her voice, I can feel my body relax further, then my mind calm, and then drift off to sleep…

Lariomar ahimer…” I hear the words as I fall into a dream state. “Lariomar ahimer…”

I follow the voices and soon find myself in front of three strange creatures. Their lower bodies are that of a spotted deer. Instead of a neck, they have a centaur-like body of a dark-skinned elf. They are beautiful, with glowing golden eyes, and long green hair. Dryads, the voice in my mind comments.

Ayar hén o i glad, afadamen.” They say together. “Hail child of the forest, follow us” I hear in the back of my mind, I recognize the voice, but I don’t see her. I nod to the dryad and follow them.

Laiomar ahimer.” Say three times more. I follow them deeper into the forest. “Ahyanë indóme ontuva míotye.” Again the soft female voice speaks in my head. “Hear the voices. Change will be created inside of you.”

I feel something around my neck; I take it in my hand and look down. It is some sort of dream catcher, a stone half moon wrapped in leather, beads and feathers form a stylized star pattern. The dryad draw me into the middle of a beautiful flower filled glade. They dance around me and chanting.

O a adan ana adeneth. Adanath nosted mir edhil. I edhel lantuva mir lumbë tuvu cuil uireb.

They repeat the chant five times as mist draws itself around me. I reach out and can feel my body change. I can see it in my hands first, the skin darkens to a charcoal grey, growing claws, the change climbs up my arms, as I look down, I can see the same happening to my feet. When it reaches my torso, I feel pain in my crotch and chest as my body is being morphed and changed; I fall to my knees as my scream comes out in a woman’s tone.

“What is happening to me?” A soft female voice comes out of my lips.

“From a man to a woman. Woman birthed into an elf. The elf will fall into shadow and find life eternal,” The dryad are still speaking elvish, but I can understand them as if I speak their language. “Only once the full transformation is complete, will you find peace and unity. Trust those around you to guide you into your new life.”

“But I just wanted to be a girl.” I say pleadingly.

“It is all or nothing, there is no deviation from the ritual. Complete it or do not attempt it at all.” The dryad warn me. “Incomplete, it will cause pain and death.”

The dryad fade away, giving me the ingredients to the ritual.

“You will need the blood of your Elven kin, it is for this that the ritual is such.” They warn me as they fade away completely.

I wake up, and Ashanna and Luna are by my side. They have a look of concern and relief on their faces. It’s still dark outside. How long did I sleep?

“Do you remember your dream, Simon.” Ashanna asks.

“I do. It was so clear, unlike the other dreams, it felt as if I was awake and aware of everything.” I say in mild surprise.

“I can see why your dream changed when you met us.” Ashanna says thoughtfully.

“Why?” I say, confused. “Were you there? In my dream?”

“I was, and the dryad warned you, that once started, you will never be the same. Part of the ritual means you need to consume the blood of your ancestors to complete the change.”

“Okay…?” Not quite getting it.

“How many Elves do you know, Simon?” Ashanna inquirers.

“None.” I say, frowning.

“Who’s Elven blood is the most easily available in this case?” she continues.

I suddenly look at her in realization. “I will become one of you! As the Drow are a matriarchal society, your blood would transform me into one of your daughters.” I start.

“Now you understand your dream, even while not understanding magic.” She smiles.

“But our blood’s now vampiric.” Luna says with worry. “Wouldn’t that?...”

“Turn our dear Simon into a vampire as well, yes. As the dryad warned, unless we can find another source, you take all that is offered by becoming my child - or none at all.”

I look at Luna and her mother. I would get more than I ever imagined with a transformation. So, I either become a Rasmussen, or I accept Rose’s offer to start a traditional medical transition - meaning I won’t have breasts till I’m 18 or 19… From what I read of teenage transition support, I would just be on hormone blockers till I’m an adult.

“I’m going to need time to think about this.” I say after a moment.

“Of course, this is a big decision. Take all the time you need.” Ashanna smiles.

Something is nagging at me. “You said my dream changed when I met you.” She nods. “But how did my dream know what would happen, is my dream a connection to something else, something outside of me?”

“You are now started to unravel the mysteries that surround magic.” Ashanna smiles. “There seems to be a deep part of you that is far more experienced in the universe than your young age implies.”

“Like reincarnation? I hold an older soul?…” I ask, thinking of what one of my friends told me once on the subject.

“More likely a spirit of the past that is looking for a way to reconnect with the living world.” Ashanna finishes for me. “Once you magically awaken, through either my blood, or that of another elf, you will awaken a consciousness that could be millennia old.”

I chuckle. Remembering one of my favourite science fiction movies. “I have a Force ghost guiding my path, like some lost padawan.”

Luna giggles, she knows what I’m talking about. “That would be a close analogy.” She smiles.

Ashanna pats my leg. “A conversation for later perhaps, it is still early, get some more rest before school.”

I nod. “Thank you.” I say to her as she walks away. “For believing in me.”

“You are most welcome child.” She closes the door.

I look over, Luna is already at her computer, I am not alone. Her presence helps calm my worry, and I drift off to sleep.

I am walking through mist into a sunlit glade.

Hilyata nin óma” says a soft voice of a woman. “Follow my voice.” I hear again in a language I understand.

I follow the voice till I reach a house? It’s built into the tree, no it is the tree. Like the house and the tree are the same, I open the door and find myself in an ornate sitting room or lounge. An elven woman is sitting in a comfortable chair by a hearth. The room is a combination of organically carved wood and stone.

“At last we meet my child.” She smiles. “For many moons I have watched your world through the window of your dreams. Thank you for finally opening it for us to speak.”

The woman stands up. She is a tall, graceful elf, with green eyes and soft golden hair. Her clothing is a combination of leather, silk and gold embroidery. She approaches me and I can feel her hug as her arms draw me in. I return the affection. She smells so nice.

“Wait, how did I open it?” I say now confused.

“The blood fruit, it gave me the last ingredient for my spell.” She smiles. “I am Lairelindë, high priestess of the druid order of the 2nd age. Apparently you are my descendant.”

“How is it none of my family ever mentioned any of this?” I say confused, I already know the answer, but I want to hear her view on it.

“I shall start with a tale, please sit.” She says and goes back to her chair. I take a seat opposite to hers. “In a time that humanity seems to have forgotten. There was an island across the ocean from here that the Fae called Tír na nÓg. It was a magical place, where creatures lived as one with nature, and we lived in harmony with the natural world.” She reaches down for a cup of tea and sips.
“Then humanity came, in a large, bulky ship. We greeted them in kind, as we would any other creature, for the elves believe in the goodness of all people - till shown otherwise. The humans were friendly, they were looking for trade, and brought us goods we had never seen before. We shared what we could with them, but the one thing they were most interested in, we could not provide: magic.”

“Soon, more boats came to our shores. The humans eventually created a port, which grew into a settlement, then into a town, and they kept on growing. Compared to most sylvan creatures, humans are short-lived and reproduce quickly. Eventually deep friendships became deep bonds, and some humans bred with our people. It is then that they discovered the bond with magic and nature that they needed. The mixed-blood were strong in magic, and they soon designed a hermetic order. Calling their new talent arcane magic. They learned fast, and the elves were quick to quell research into the darker aspect of our mystical nature. Our lands would flourish with their new discoveries. We lived in harmony for many or their generations.”

The elf drinks some tea, and I discover I have a cup as well on the table beside me. The tea is pleasant: mint with honey and lemon.

“Then one day, a different ship appeared over the horizon. This was not a trade vessel, they armed it with weapons, its crew were angry and cruel. We sank the hostile ship and returned to our lives.” This is where Lairelindë’s face grows sad. “Upon the next new moon, a fleet of ships with the same flag appeared over the horizon. We used our magics as best we could, but more ships kept coming. And eventually they pillaged the riches they sought. In order to reduce our defences, the invaders deemed magic illegal. First, they denied ritual and blood magic, so that we could not see them coming. Then they limited hostile spells, magics that could control weather, water. With each new decree, we lost more and more of our freedom. We were to follow these laws or perish. Those that could, fled to the outer plans, beyond this reality.”

“Those that were left behind, dealt with the laws of the new world and blended in as best as they could. I never intermarried with the other races, but apparently one of my daughters, or my daughter’s daughters, has. For here you are, as human as can be. There is still a trace of your Elven heritage in you, which is what allowed us to form a bond. Does your family have a longer lifespan than others?”

“Women on my mother’s side easily live to see a hundred. And my great grandfather on my father’s is 110 and still kicking.” I reply.

“Ah, so Elven blood on both sides of the family. That would be how you birthed different from your predecessors.” She smiles.

“I know most of my relatives to be tall, lean, fair skinned and stubbornly healthy.” I nod.

“Stubbornly healthy?” She queries in a confused voice. I’m not sure what to answer in that regard when her expression changes. “Oh, that would be your sylvan heritage.” She smiles. “Elves are long lived and don’t fall ill easily. In my age elves only died of injury, we did not grow feeble with age, nor did we get ill when the humans came, rife with germs and diseases the isles had never seen. Our virulence and tolerance to pathogens was the envy of many sailors.”

“When I get sick, it’s short-lived and I get over it faster than anyone one else in school.” I say thoughtfully. “I guess I have you to thank for that.” I smile.

“Sadly, there is little left of my heritage in anyone.” She says mournfully. “After passing on from this world, I’ve learned that the isles have changed, transformed by the humans, and lost most if not all of their magic. Humanity erased us from the history books for fear that knowledge may bring forth a new age of magic. From time to time, two strong bloodlines will marry. This will cause a new magically adept child to be born. If they are lucky, and found by the right people, they are raised and taught how to use their gifts. For such, the magical have quietly lived among the mundane, blending in, hiding ourselves, and continuing our heritage despite the heathens that would destroy us. Many elves like myself lay trapped in the Dream realm, waiting for windows to show younger generations that this is not new, but an ancient power they have inherited, and to use their gifts with wisdom.”

“So why come to me? While Ashanna says my aura is unique, she said it’s not as strong as other, more magically adept people.” I say confused.

“We don’t choose our progeny.” My ancestor says. “You are of my bloodline, and for that I shall assist you. I believe you have greater potential than anyone else notices, you just need to tap it.”

“The transformation dreams. Is it because I am trapped in this body that my ability has been reduced or limited?” I ask.

“Yes. You are not of a male mind, which is limiting your potential. You need to align your mind with your body to find your true potential. Your new friends have given you choices, it is now up to you which course you will follow. One will lead you to happiness and comfort. The other will tap into a greater potential. It means becoming one of them though. The Dark Elves are the only ones in your sphere of knowledge, that possess enough pure blood to make the transformation possible.”

“I don’t suppose there are any Elves exist in the world that could take their place?” I ask hesitantly.

“Not in this realm.” Lairelindë says sadly. “And I do not have the power to extend into the others. The Dream is attached to the material realm of your world.”

“I see…” I say thoughtfully.

Two choices. I wonder how long I’ll need to decide? I’m already leaning on the people who have helped me most. While Rose is offering me traditional support, the offer of a greater potential is appealing.

“Simon… Simon, wake up!…” I hear a distant voice.

“Simiathlas, she calls to you, it is time to go.” The elf gets up.

“But I have so many more questions!” I say now that I’m getting comfortable in my dream realm.

“We will speak again.” She smiles at me.

I can feel myself being pulled away from the house, from the glade, it all becomes a blur till… I wake up. Luna is hovering over me, there is a look of concern on her face.

“Do you usually sleep so soundly, Simon?” She asks, her voice filled with worry.

I take a deep breath and shake my head. “I had another dream when I fell asleep. I was deep in the Dream realm.”

“What did you see?” She asks me as I sit up.

“My ancestor, or so the woman in the dream said she was. She was this beautiful lean elf with blond hair and green eyes. She said she was a druid, and I was of her bloodline.” I start rattling off before I forget the facts.

“You have some most interesting dreams, dear Simon.” She smiles as she stands up. “Come, you’ll need to get ready for school, Rose will be here in less than an hour, did you want to shower?”

Luna reaches to a hook, and hands me a soft terry bathrobe. It smells of lavender. “Here, take this, I’ll see if I can find some clothing that will fit you.”

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