A World Beside Our Own

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There Once was an Elf

I wake up in the morning feeling much better, and very thirsty. Getting up out of bed, I pad over into the bathroom and get some water. I look into the mirror and see the green ring in my blue eyes. I guess that is permanent.

I wash my face and when I look back at the mirror; I see Lairelindë just off my shoulder and try not to jump. “You’re not actually there, are you? You’re using the mirror to project yourself?”

Very acute Indyonya. I was expecting you to jump at seeing my image. But with all that you have been exposed to lately, you are very brave.” I can hear her voice in my mind, not behind me.

She just called my grandchild. Interesting. “Why are you doing this?” I frown.

I have been trapped in the Dream for millennia, child. My bones are beyond dust, I have no body to return to, but you have potential.” I look unimpressed. “You are asking why you? Why now? You are coming of age, and you are the first of my bloodline in centuries to show potential. I couldn’t just leave your gift to go to waste. You want change, I can provide you change.

“And for what price?” I ask suspiciously.

The price is my servitude, I am tied to you. Even when I am fully free of the Dream, I will have no body to contain my Essence. I will be but a fairë. I will need something as an anchor to not fade into the Ether.” She replies.

“How is that better than living in the Dream?” I frown.

Through you, I can see the world again. I can guide you down the Druid path. Teach you lost lore, and abilities that have been forgotten. If, in you, we can reawaken the Elven race, it was a risk I needed to take.” Her voice is sincere, almost pleading.

Luna enters the bedroom. I hadn’t closed the bathroom door. “Who are you talking to, Nettinya? We need to get ready for school. There is breakfast downstairs and tea to help settle your stomach.”

“Aini’emenya can project her image on reflective surfaces, though I suppose you can’t see her, and it still looks like I’m talking to myself.” I turn to look at Luna.

Luna gives me a sympathetic look, wanting to understand what I’m going through, but unable. “Emmya ordered some clothing in your size. In the meantime, I found some of my older clothing that should fit you. They are a lot more feminine than what you wore yesterday, but the school knows that you are transitioning. I’ll see what I can do for makeup before we leave.” Luna’s smile is radiant this morning, and my heart melts. No, stop falling in love with your sister! I say to myself. “Oh, and I washed the cycle outfit you wore that first day, you’ll need that for gym.”

“Okay. Thank you.” I smile back and go to the chair beside the bed.

Luna goes downstairs while I change and I come down feeling very feminine in the form-fitting black sweater and skirt that she had left for me. The shoes she left me are a bit small, but aren’t uncomfortable. As requested, I pack my cycle gear and sneakers into my backpack for gym.

Breakfast is something: simple yogurt, berries and a muffin, while Luna has more blood fruit salad. Once we’re done eating, Luna fusses with some eyeliner, green eye shadow and lip stain to give me a more feminine look. She finishes by painting my nails before we head off to school.

I meet Sala in homeroom and she says I smell different today, more earthy and lavender. I blame the lavender on Luna’s soap and smile.

First class is gym, and Rose asks me to change in the single use washroom in the coach’s office. She assures me I don’t want to be stuck changing with the boys in that skirt. She shows me better tucking techniques, so I don’t have a lump in my shorts, it’ll help me look more feminine. She has us run around the gym to warm up before starting on volleyball. I do my best, but sports really aren’t my thing. Rose is very fit and strong for a woman. I wonder how often she works out to keep her shape?

I discover Penny is also my Language Arts teacher and, today, we’re doing literature. Fortunately, they are studying the same book that I was in school, so I’m not behind in my reading studies, and it’s quick to plunk myself into where they are.

Sala is never far away from me, and I’ve even gotten to know a few of her friends. Lynn, Ginette and Sam. They are standoffish at first, and I tell them I’ll explain more about myself during lunch as we make our way to Math class.

Come lunchtime, it surprises Luna to see me seated with four other girls, and she asks if she can sit with us. I explain to my new friends that I’m starting my transition, and one of my options is reconnecting with my Elven heritage.

“So that’s why you picked New Leaf as your name?” Ginette asks.

“It is.” I smile.

Sala has been quiet for a moment and finally comments. “You did something with your eyes today, and it’s not just the makeup.”

I nod thoughtfully. How do I explain this? So I use the best explanation I have. “It’s part of the process I’m going through, it’s slowly changing my body.”

I still don’t have the other girls convinced that I’m transgender, but Lynn and Ginette look like they won’t argue with Sala, who seems to be very much infatuated with me - though I still can’t figure out why.

Today’s science class is chemistry, and I’m a little behind on the subject. Dee is patient with me as Lynn helps me catch up. My teacher is impressed by how fast I catch on.

In art class, I meet Melody Rivers. She is beyond beautiful! With ivory skin, long wavy purple hair and amethyst eyes, she is outstandingly beautiful. She could be a model. She has the same scent around her as my adopted family, so I have to remind myself that it’s the fruit that makes her alluring, and not fall under its influence. She has me start on some basic shapes, as the class is currently working on some sort of papier mâché project. This gives her a chance to see my art skill level and to tailor a program to fit my talents. She’s impressed by my use of texture and shading. She looks at me for a moment, as we’re finishing up class.

“I want you to stay past the bell. Do not worry about History class. I will let Master Phan know why you are absent. He will make an exception for me.” She says in a quiet, provocative tone. Her voice is low, I don't think even Sala hears her request.

I say goodbye to Sala and her friends; she doesn’t have history next period, so I won’t see her again till tomorrow. Once the class is empty, the teacher closes the door.

“My little Winter Fae seems quite fond of you, and I can see why. I have never seen a druid of your potential at such a young age. You must be of Elven blood….” She looks closely at my eyes, “or have a mentor of Elven blood.”

She takes a step back and mumbles something in a language I’ve not heard; I feel a strange pull, and a moment of dizziness when suddenly a transparent version of Lairelindë is standing beside me.

What is this?!” my godmother exclaims.

“A simple manifestation spell, you are still bound to her luv, but I thought it easier to talk to you without having to use our darling Simiathlas here as a translator.” Mrs Rivers smiles.

My vision shifts and I see many swirling colours around my teacher, mostly dark purple and black. “I will teach you how to read the aura later, indyonya,” she says to me, then turns to Mrs. Rivers. “You have the most interesting combination of powers - for an art teacher.” Lairelindë says in a sarcastic tone.

“Yes, I am both vampire and of Fae blood, if that is what you are implying.” Mrs. Rivers responds. “I guess there is no hiding what I am from an Arch Druid. You are amazingly powerful. Do you intend to make our young Ms. Rasmussen your next in line?”

If we can find an Elven host to provide the blood I need for the spell, yes.” Lairelindë responds.

“Elven blood?” Mrs. Rivers raises an eyebrow.

Well, it is that or use her adoptive mother’s blood, cursing her to a vampiric drow existence. Which would you prefer?” Lairelindë frowns.

“You know, being a vampire does not have to be a curse. I have learned to quell the beast within and be beneficial to humankind.” She looks thoughtful for a moment. “Is it because her true Druid ability is tied to your Elven bloodline? She is only powerful as she is right now, as your connection ties you to her essence?” Mrs. Rivers queries, pacing the room thoughtfully.

You’re quite observant, for a Fae…” Lairelindë digs.

“When you have been around for five centuries, you learn a thing or two.” Mrs. Rivers gives a sly smile. “I have not always been a teacher. I have been an artist, a singer, a performer, a countess, and a representative of the Earthen Realm on the council of the High Magi.” She replies, pacing slowly. “My wife is a white witch with druid potential. If it is an Elf you want, then there are Elves within reach from the Realm of Sanctum that we can contact.”

I would rather us not have to shift to another plane for this.” Lairelindë looks worried. “My power has always been bound to this realm. I do not know what leaving the mortal coil would do to us.

“You are one of the original Elves of the Tir!” Mrs. Rivers gasps. “My lady, it is an honour to make your acquaintance.” And she bows in front of my ghostly godmother. “It would explain your slight rudeness towards me. Rest assured my Fae bloodline is not from this world.”

Are Fae that different in other realms?” My godmother walks around my teacher, examining her. Again my vision shifts, showing me swirling colours that confuse me. Mrs. Rivers is infused with black, grey, silver, purple, red, and brown.

Mrs. Rivers giggles. “I suppose we are not. My earliest studies were in manipulation and force magic. The Grotto Fae of my home realm are powerful in elemental and arcane powers.” She looks thoughtful. “There is an elf that roams realms. A bardic chronicler, Lyric Eversong. My wife’s good friend Angel Goodson could reach out to her. I am unsure how long it would take her to respond. “

“Angel Goodson?” I gasp. “THE Angel Goodson!? Celebrity entertainer, world champion gamer, and heiress to Goodson Beverage Co.?” I say, all excited.

“I think we have a fan.” Mrs. Rivers smiles and winks, making me blush. “I am not of any small repute myself, child.” Mrs. Rivers reminds me.

“Sorry, yes, I know how you and Penny are celebrities and many students often wonder why you are teaching when you could easily enjoy a comfortable life.”

“I do not teach for the money, Luv.” She smiles. “There comes a time when the lifestyle of the rich and famous becomes dull and tedious, having to keep up with appearances and all.” She sighs. “No, I have had enough of that life. Inspiring generations of aspiring artists to reach the fame I have experienced repeatedly in my life? That is the payment I look for in what I am doing here.”

Fame brings attention.” Lairelindë comments. “And attention brings questions on where you come from, and why you don’t appear to age.

“You caught me at my game.” Mrs. Rivers smiles. “Yes, one can only live so long in the limelight before one needs to fade away from high society. I have played this game for centuries, and found I can only stay popular for about a decade, maybe two. Then the questions start. It is best to wait for a generation and start anew. Humans have such short memories.”

“So long as you can gain enough wealth to live outside of society for four to five decades, then come back as your child or relative.” Lairelindë catches on. “Clever, something that my child will have to learn, for - drow or elf - she will live many human generations.”

“She has already taken the first step. Choosing the Rasmussen as her adopted family, she will have the protection and wealth she needs to live a long and fruitful life.” Mrs. Rivers smiles. “Did you know what you were embracing when you chose that last name?” she asks, looking at me.

“It was more of a feeling. I felt safe with Luna and her mother. I somehow knew that they would take care of me.” I reply.

“Ah. It was Luna, was it?” She probes and I blush. “Yes, she is exotically beautiful and alluring, though you really should try not to fall in love with your new sister. At least, not in that sense.”

“Was my comment that obvious?” My blush deepens.

“Yes, but it is not a course you can follow. I ask that you stick with our young little Sala. She is growing quite fond of you, and she is no older than you. She will need your protection and care. She is vulnerable in our world, that charm she wears on her neck, is not as powerful as she thinks.” Mrs. Rivers says in a motherly tone.

“Sala latched on to me yesterday.” I say thoughtfully. “Luna thinks it is my Elven bloodline. Sylvan creatures and Elves are distant relatives. I feel comforting to her with what I am.”

“You are very observant for such a young thing. I believe your elder godmother may have been seeding your dreams.” She says with a smile.

She needed to be prepared for what was to come.” Lairelindë nods.

“And what if she had not run away from home?” Mrs. Rivers looks at my godmother. “Much of her future depends on her transformation. Were she still living under her unforgiving parents’ roof, you would not have had this opportunity. Who knows how many other generations you would have needed to wait for a chance like this to arise again.”

Mrs. Rivers seems to know a lot about my situation. Did Rose reach out to her, or am I the gossip of the school’s staff?

I have waited over a thousand years, and would wait thousands more if needed.” Lairelindë answers. “She is still young, and I could have waited a bit more, but transition may have hampered her transformation. I needed her to know there were other options besides medicines for her to rise to womanhood.

“How long have you been lurking in her dreams?” Mrs. Rivers frowns.

Since birth, but it was not till the past two years that I felt the shift I was looking for.” My godmother answers without hesitation.

“Which is when I started having my transformation dreams. You didn’t start them, did you?” I look at Lairelindë accusingly.

I did not start them child, I started hinting at magical transformation this past year in them, though. You have always felt at odds with your body. You were never a boy. I merely hinted that you need not be trapped in that shell all your life. With your ascendance as an Elven maiden, you will find the true power of your Druid ancestry. I hope to bring some of our wayward people back home and restart our society anew.” Her tone is sincere and I can feel the caring and hope behind her message and smile.

“You have a grand design in play, which is why you wanted to escape the Dream? To mentor her directly?” Mrs. Rivers catches on. “You want my pupil to be the catalyst of Elven revival?”

If possible, yes. She has such great potential. With your help, can we see it blossom?” Lairelindë looks to Mrs. Rivers for her support.

“Now that I know what is going on, I will work with the Rasmussen to see what there is to be done.” My teacher smiles.

The bell ringing surprises my godmother. I suddenly feel her being sucked back into me, like a part of me falling back into place. I catch the edge of the teacher’s desk to settle myself. “Oh! Let’s not do that too often.” I say, as the room stops spinning.

“You will feel better in a moment.” Mrs. Rivers smiles sympathetically. “Now, go find Luna. Teleportation is not a Druid’s ability, you will need her to get you around.”

“Thanks.” I smile. I can’t just leave my gratefulness as it is and step forward, giving her a hug.

“Oh. But we have just started my child. Thank me when we pass the next stage in your adventure.” Mrs. Rivers smiles. “Now off you go.”

I smile and grab my bag, heading out of class to meet Luna almost outside of the door. “I felt you were nearby.” She smiles.

“One day I’ll figure out how you always find me.” I smile affectionately.

“If I told you everything, it would ruin the fun and mystery of it all.” She gives me a coy smile and pulls me in for a hug. “Let’s go home.” She releases her hug but keeps her arm around my waist. “Tentalmë bar” Luna says, and the school disappears.

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