Healing Starlight

Fan Fiction from Strands of Starlight Series - (Gail Baudino) Takes place between 1st and second books of series. Help, Healing, Redemption, and 2nd chances from Renaissance Age to the Modern Age

0Likes
0Comments
960Views
AA

3. Tenso

"These are the doors that you must go through to get to the exit on the other side." Rijiin directed the maiden, "Be at peace. Nothing can harm you here."


He pulled at the handle of the door before him, and it smoothly opened. The elf grimaced at the septic smell that assaulted his senses and turning his head, nodded to the young elf maiden. Natil followed his lead to open the door before her, but she hesitated. Rijiin understood immediately.  


    "Go through and I will meet you on the other end." He instructed, "It will be fine, there should only be a few people here at this hour."


    Natil grinned before passing through the door.


    As she walked toward the other end of the locker room, she glanced at the other young women who were changing. Several of them were in an undressed state and embarrassed for a second, the Harper walked quickly on without comment. She easily found the far exit, pushing the door and opening it to step out into another hallway. Natil met the smiling face of Rijiin who waited for her.


     "Tula, a'mael." He told her as he sensed her discomfort, and took up her hand after embracing her. The Harper smiled and bobbed her head slightly. Rijiin had told her to be steady.


    The elf led as her guide in this century and quickly accompanied her through the maze of partitions leading to the entry to the Holodeck Gaming area. As the elves walked along the partition hallway, Rijiin and Natil passed open areas in the maze where many humans played DND games. The elves passed them by without comment and they were not noticed by anyone until reaching the entry point of the partition maze.


When the couple rounded the corner, a low hush quickly had fallen over the entry area as the elves appeared with silent steps. Rijiin nodded respectfully to the other people standing here as they passed them by. The young Harper stared at the strangely clad humans unaware how modern this time was in comparison to her own. The only difference the maiden could see was there were no weapons as a common sight as they were in her own time. She glanced at Rijiin and realized he had smartly concealed his sword under his baggy cloak.

            
"You used to live in a very strange place Rijiin." The maiden told him, and he grinned.  

Together they walked through the exit area, turning into a short hallway along the front wall of the store that took them to the main section of the Dungeon Gaming Company. Rijiin could see the sea of shelves that make up the interior of the store, the main desk in the center of the room and the open areas where many people stood engrossed in the games offered here in the store. He thought of her comment as he watched the people check out at the register, shop or play the games with others before he shrugged slightly.  They had paused to peer at the interior of the store, and Rijiin suddenly felt unnerved by the sea of people and it being crowded here.


"No beloved, not so strange." Rijiin replied, contemplating his answer, "This is normally how life goes on for the human race, which has progressed a long way in four hundred, plus years. They just have become more complex as time moved forward. A lot of inventions in science, health and they grew as a people over those years. They progressed but not without war, famine, death, and self-destruction as a people to be sure."    


"It is a miracle that humans managed to make it this far, after what we both have seen, with the Inquisition and humans." Natil commented, and Rijiin managed a slight nod.  


    "Aye, true enough, but they seem to continue." Rijiin replied, "They seem to manage, just like the Elves once did. Despite everything they are, humans do not have any memories of the burning times and do not remember what they did to our people. I have thanks for that."


She turned her head in astonishment at his statement when he mentioned their people. She realized that he had accepted his situation and his new surroundings in the past four hundred years ago and his transformation. Natil sensed he was at peace, physically and spiritually.  

    
    When the elves stepped into the store's main floor, a hush fell over the entire room. Players, shoppers and employees gawked at the couple in the unfamiliar garb as they walked with silent steps toward them. There were sporadic curious murmurs among the people gathered here, and some choked laughter. Rijiin ignored it and the thoughts of the many people in the store as he quickly scanned the interior. The elf saw what he was looking for, in the form of the entryway nearby and walking with Natil beside him, they both stepped through it.


Continuing to ignore the surroundings and other people, they passed through the entry into the cavernous interior of the Mall. Behind the elves in the store, no one suspected who and what they were. They did not realize that they had seen immortal elves from the winds of history that now graced this century with their presence. A stunned silence remained over the room. Rijiin also realized if this had been any other time, they would be hunted and persecuted by humans.            


"Be at peace Natil." Rijiin told her, "This place cannot harm you."


The elf sensed her discomfort, and he nodded in silent agreement with her. Rijiin did not like the thoughts of the surrounding people in the room. He did not like the ignorance to their presence either, and his instincts had kicked in when he sensed something very wrong with the surroundings. An unspoken warning triggered his senses and his reflexes to be ready. The elf half-turned, sliding a confident arm around his beloved Harper's waist and saw the flash of a knowing smile appear on her fair features, as they walked through the cavernous interior of the mall together. Natil had already shaken out her hair, covering her ears by habit and Rijiin had followed suit after they had arrived. He grimaced.
 

    "You need not worry about shaking your hair out here, Natil." Rijiin whispered quietly, "The humans in this century have no bigotry or racism against elves. Be at peace. It will not be too long, and soon we will finish our task. Together we will be home again in Malvern underneath the trees and put this trip behind us."

    
The statement made Natil give him a surprised look with her mouth open slightly. He certainly had surprised her this time, as it was not even five minutes that elapsed and he already had desired to return home to Malvern.


They stood together in the main part of the interior of the mall, the maiden scanned it in surprise. It was brightly lit, open and airy. Her eyes moved to the first and second floors then to the few shoppers who walked here and who paid little attention to the elves presence. Natil smiled at two elderly people who sat nearby who smiled back, admiring the elf maiden in silence.


"What a handsome young couple." The first woman said to her shopping companion who looked on and who nodded in response to her friend's comment. Natil smiled, silently nodding to them.


Rijiin, holding his beloved Harper's hand, quickly gathered his bearings and his eyes found the long dim corridor that would take them to the outside of the mall. Together, Rijiin and Natil walked toward, through and arrived quickly at the doors that led to the outside. Here the elf pulled up his hood over his fair features, motioning to Natil who followed his lead as he led her through the doors into the falling rain and the bright daylight.


Natil suddenly realized they were in a city that was much larger than Hypperex, the capital city in Adria. Rijiin had a grin on his face when he realized where they were, but that faded abruptly when he turned his head in astonishment. Sitting on the bench nearby, two of the Bulletin Board System (BBS) members, he knew a year ago sat there. Both were smoking as the elves appeared from the doorway and the elf met their startled expressions with his cold gray eyes. Nodding to the Harper, Rijiin led her down the sidewalk as the pair of humans, behind them, watched the couple depart with curious expressions on their faces.


"By our Lady, Rijiin," Natil declared staring at the surroundings, "You did not mention we would be in a city."


     "Aye, we are in a city called San Jose, it is much like the Capital of Hypperex in Adria, but certainly nothing like it. It is much larger than your capital city and spread out over a long distance." He told her, "It is also at peace, and considerably more modern. The human race has come a long way from the Renaissance Age."


Natil heard the traffic and saw many automobiles that rushed along the expressway nearby. The Harper saw a few moving along the surface roads that surround the mall and some entering the spacious parking lot to join the few that were already parked here. From the cars parked here, they brought many shoppers to this place so early in the morning. The automobiles perplexed the young Harper. Rijiin sensed her discomfort by the surroundings and here he grimaced before giving her an affirmative nod of understanding.


"This century is more complex than your century Natil." Rijiin explained to her, "What you see before you are called automobiles, and they came about several centuries after yours. We are in the year of the blessed Lady, nineteen hundred and ninety three or maybe even four.”


    "Ah. I see." Natil murmured, taking in the sight, sound and her surroundings with great curiosity. Her blue eyes widened when they fell upon each surprise that appeared in this century before her. The Harper managed a grin as she watched them race by.


Rijiin's first plan of action was to walk to the bus station and utilize, by habit, the transportation system found in the city. The station however, lies on the eastern end of Eastridge Mall across the parking lot from JC Penny's Department store. The elf held his Harper's hand as he led her through the steady drizzling rain along the sidewalk that bordered the parking lot, instead of inside. The elf did not realize they were being shadowed by the pair of humans who were seated at the doors where they had come out. It also did not occur to him, they were walking toward The Red Robin restaurant™ where the elf had come a year ago for the Bulletin Board System (BBS) Party that was held there then, and a new gathering is being held their now.

 

 When the elves rounded the corner, Rijiin suddenly realized where he was and quickly recognized the many people from the Bulletin Board System that stood outside this familiar eating establishment,


"By our Lady, I am at the Red Robin™ of Eastridge…" He thought, "And there is another gathering? Or is this a different one?”


Quickly, Rijiin glanced at the surroundings in silence. At the very moment the thought crossed his mind, the elf was immediately thankful for their silent steps that kept them from being noticed right away. He quickly considered retreating inside the mall to cut through the JC Penny's Department Store on this side of the mall. It would have provided some cover, and keep them away from the restaurant where the members of the computer system are now gathered. The thought came too late, however, as the BBS members started to notice the elves' presence. Rijiin suddenly realized that this was a different gathering, at a different time but at this familiar location. It had been a long time since his departure into the winds of history.


 As Rijiin approached the group, leading the young Harper in tow, he respectfully acknowledged their presence as they passed by. The elf, seeing the familiar faces had grimaced, his mind racing, as he wondered if they would stop him. He also wondered if they would link him his former existence to the persona he had built in the electronic world. Rijiin heard the comments that followed, with muffled snickers and chuckles among the group. The elf was thankfully that no one moved to stop the elf and his companion for the moment. He briefly closed his eyes, letting the starlight he saw there calm his senses. When they moved to intercept him and his traveling companion, the elf grimaced, reaching for the dagger on his belt.


"Okay, here we go." The elf thought with a grimace, and he held his beloved Harper's hand holding his head high as they continued walking along the sidewalk to their destination.

    
The first thing that this couple had reminded the Bulletin Board members of is when they had been rounded up by the FBI, a couple of weeks after their fellow member's departure from the last party he attended a year ago. Kids had found the body of their fellow member, his body, in a cement culvert across from Eastridge Mall. It had been brutally dismembered, and mutilated to near unrecognizable proportions, making it difficult for the authorities to identify him at first. The authorities had only succeeded to identify his body after finding his identification in his wallet located in the rear jeans pocket, by fingerprints and dental records. Nothing was missing in the wallet, completely left intact by the people who found him, which made the murder even stranger.


The information released by the FBI to the Bulletin Board System's members had startled them, all knowing that it had made them suspects in connection to his murder. They were even put under a polygraph system and they actually admitted openly not liking him. The FBI had grilled them hardcore, indicating that disliking someone could be a strong motive to murder, despite their strong alibi that placed them in the restaurant, then the shop during the time when the killing was probably committed. When the others of the Bulletin Board System had seen him last, it was as he left the party, they had all said and all agreed that he was alive and well when he left.


Joe, or Joe Boo (his screen name), shook his head, as if to clear the harsh memories, grimacing at the strangers who now stood before them. He stared at Rijiin, clad in the green and gray garb, with his hooded gray cloak over the top of it. The elf’s cloak is held together by a clasp in the shape of a crescent moon and interlocked, rayed star. Joe stared at the very sight that his friend and fellow member used to describe himself on line. His eyes fell to the other person beside him, and he wondered who it really was under the cloaked hoods. He, like the others, could not believe their eyes, knowing and remembering the description on the online system. Monte and Lithium, standing with many others around them had instantly sensed that the couple was different and clearly did not belong here.


 "Hey everyone, check out the two weird people out here. They are dressed in costume and must be coming from the RPG shop over by Sears." A voice exclaimed, and a rush of people came to the window. A wave of curiosity and emotion moved through the group.  The couple kept walking, the elf looking at their destination in the distance, the bus terminal that was built on the edge of the parking lot. The elf sensed that the members of the Bulletin Board System were watching him and his beloved Harper. He also sensed that a few of the members discreetly followed them. Stopping suddenly, Rijiin stood his ground as he met the Harper's questioning look with a grimace and he shook his head at her.


"Who is it that interferes with the affairs of others?" He announced, his voice carrying the hint of the inflection of his kinfolk in Malvern and even perhaps a hint of annoyance of them following them.


The members of the Bulletin Board System had stopped their approach a short distance from the couple and all had heard the elf, a murmur of bewilderment rippling through the group. They had not been expecting to hear the slightly accented and inflection in his voice. Rijiin spun on one foot abruptly facing them and reached up, with a flair for drama, slowly pushing back the hood of his cloak. The elf met their dumbfounded looks as they stared in astonished silence at his fair features, gray eyes and long hair brown hair streaked with a hint of silver in it. They did not expect to see the unfamiliar face of Rijiin before them.  


"Well?" He demanded, with a tight, but respectful tone, "Whom do you think you were seeking?"


There were amazed looks on the member's faces when he answered the questions that burned in their mind.


     "I-I… uh… we… are seeking a fellow member of our Bulletin Board System." Chelle stammered, "We apologize… we thought you were someone else."


The elf nodded slightly, meeting the young woman's stunned expression and slowly panned a rapid glance at each of the humans that stood on the threshold. He met the look of Lithium, Monte, Chelle, and Joseph. His glance also moved to others who stood nearby and they equally were all stunned by the elf's presence. A low murmur of confusion rippled through the group.


The owner of the board remembered the store where they had found him going to, having virtual reality RPG games and there Rijiin had lost them to the technical world of the games. He and Chelle had gone that direction on a hunch and had seen him enter the store. When they reached the members area, they were forced to buy a membership and register in order to enter the restricted area where they knew he had gone. By the time they had received the memberships and entered the restricted area, they had lost him. They had not lost him to the games and technology here at the store called 'The Dungeon Game Company' but into the winds of time itself.


It finally dawned on Joe that they had pretty much shunned him by ignoring his presence at the gatherings and it had made him want to leave. It was not until they were rounded up and questioned by the FBI, that everyone in the group sensed something had gone seriously wrong. They had learned that their fellow member had been found dead in a cement culvert across from the mall. It was hard for them to digest that he had died and a lot of them thought it was a fraud. When they saw the culvert with Joe and a police detective, the truth was a harsh reality painted in the red of his blood. Joe shook his head after a moment to clear the harsh memories and his attention again focused upon Rijiin who stood before him with another cloaked person standing beside him.

          
     "…Then keep us no more." Rijiin declared, "The hand of the lady be upon you."


He touched his forehead, bowing wide and low before he took up the Harper's hand. Both turned away from the group and took a step to continue walking toward their destination across the parking lot. Joe stepped forward, reaching for the Elf as if to signal him to stop. Rijiin turned his head.


"Uh, please wait." He said quietly, "Please. Nathaniel, is that you dude?"


Rijiin had heard the question in Joe's tone and the elf shook his head in response. The young man that Rijiin knew from school had grimaced when he saw the response by the elf. Joe had given it a chance to find out even though he knew the answer he probably would receive.


"Be at peace, I am not who you think I am. You clearly are mistaken." Rijiin politely told them, "I do wish you luck in your search and hope you find who you are looking for."


The group exchanged looks between them as the elves attempted to walk on. An uncomfortable silence followed as the elves took a couple of steps to go onto their destination across the parking lot. The elf motioned to the cloaked figure beside him, who took up his hand and they walked toward the eastern bus station. A chuckle rippled through the group.


All three humans took a half step toward the couple, intending to follow, and Rijiin's hand had moved to the sword blade under his cloak instead of his long dagger, unsnapping the guard. He readied it to be drawn at a moment's notice. The elf sensed violence from two of them, but understood they were just curious about their presence here.  The elf sensed there was something more about to happen, and he had his guard up, ready for them.

        
A moment later, Monte and Lithium were the first two to take a step forward toward Natil, and they reached out to grab her. Rijiin without warning promptly drew the blade from its scabbard with a metallic rasp when they moved, and it flashed twice, as he stepped forward between them, and his beloved Harper. Everyone jumped back, seeing the blade that flashed twice, the first stroke expertly slicing and removing the eyebrows on Monte's face. He let out a yelp of terror as he felt the sharpness of the blade and heard the blade whistle as it moved past him. Rijiin pivoted and his blade quickly ended up at the neck of Lithium, at his jugular, making him freeze in alarm. The elf maiden, pivoted and ended up behind Monte, drawing her dagger, holding it to his neck.  


The battle was over in a heartbeat and a look of fear appeared on both of their faces. The group had paused, seeing the look of terror in Monte's eyes as he dropped his hands to his side from his face, now devoid of hair over his eyes.


“I also do circumcisions." Rijiin declared solemnly, “Now, I think you need to just leave us alone and go about your business.”


The elf heard a gasp by all when he mentioned circumcisions, and the men present took a quick step backward when they realized what the elf meant by that. Chelle and Joe and about twelve others had gathered before the elves.


"And also remember this, as I said many times to you humans, life is freely given to you but it is also freely taken. I suggest since you only have one life that you use it wisely in the future." Rijiin said with the inflection clear and thick in his voice.


    “Come Natili, we should go.” He said, “We are finished here.”


The Harper had backed up a few steps after pushing Monty toward his friends and stood ready for them with the long elfish dagger in her hand. Rijiin had pushed Mike toward them as well as they backed up slowly. The elf's readiness warned them that a trained stood before them, and they should not to provoke him. Joe knelt to take up his friend's eyebrows that now lay on sidewalk.


    The elf had only reacted to the situation, defusing it before it got out of hand, and using anything and everything, he knew to protect the young woman who traveled with him, knowing of the consequences that could befall him.


Rijiin elf moved back to stand beside his beloved Harper, as he held his blade ready as he took up her hand, meeting the startled expressions on their faces. They all took a step toward Rijiin and Natil after seeing to their friends.


"Kwarea on' a' llie aila grauwus, Natili." He whispered and his companion glanced over at him with a questioning expression. “We will not get to our destination with a melee with so many.”  


“Aye, Rijiini.” The Harper grimaced at the group before them.


“Iirma haeannon!" Rijiin said sharply, calling for the Dimension Door spell and a moment later, an energy gateway appeared out of thin air. There was a yelp. Fear moved through the group of humans who stood before the elves on the sidewalk. They jumped back as the energy opened with a thunderclap and swirled in a bright white light then pulsated with color. Energy tingled on everyone's skin as it swirled before them all. Rijiin and Natil both backed up and they stepped through it. A thunderclap boomed and echoed across the parking lot as the portal immediately closed behind the elves, leaving the members of the computer system alone where they stood. There was a gasp by everyone present. The elves safely appeared on the bus terminal across the parking lot of Eastridge Mall.


The elf his head and stared across the parking lot at the group that had been before them only moments ago.
    

"By the Lady, That was too close…" The elf glanced at his companion, seeing Natil smile at the thought. He sheathed his blade, reorganizing it to hang concealed under his baggy cloak.  


"I should apologize beloved for not avoiding all that. I thought they would leave us alone and let us pass. I should have been a little smarter, retreating back into the interior of the mall. I would have taken another route through the other department store and bypassed all of that nonsense." The elf told her, "We would have probably found less harassment and would not have such an uncomfortable melee against so many."  


"Beloved, fear not, you did the right thing. You avoided the use of force toward them and dispersed a hostile situation." She told him, "You were very wise. I know what you saw in the starlight. Be at peace. That event of you slaying one of them would have happened only after many choices were made and you had no other choice. It would have been a last resort."


Rijiin, closing his eyes, stared at the starlight and he let them sooth the fatigue after casting such a draining spell. He also saw many avenues of images in what the elves called the dance, and the images changing ever so slightly in few instances and others changing a lot. The elf shivered at the images he saw there and opened his eyes to cast a puzzled glance at the Harper, sensing her discomfort. He still saw the images of himself slaying one of the BBS members in cold blood and taking a life to keep the Harper safe. He did not understand why he was still seeing those images.
 

     "Rijiin are you alright?" Natil asked and he looked up to meet her blue eyes with a smile with a polite nod.


"We are still are not out of the clear beloved." He replied, "Our adversaries are just over there."


Natil nodded, turning her head and she could clearly see the restaurant from the bus terminal.  The many people who stood outside the Red Robin™ still stood at the spot where the elves vanished before them. After a moment, they turned to walk slowly toward the gathering of the rest of the members who had stood at the windows to watch the whole event lay out before them.  

    
Around the Elves, another sea of cars filled the expressway and whizzed passed them. This time a couple of transit buses rumbled into the terminal, stopping at the platform and a sea of people stepped off the transit. Rijiin and Natil stayed close by each other, standing behind the blue bus shelter as the crowd passed them without a second glance. He had wisely concealed his blade under his cloak and prepared himself to act when the platform finally cleared.

 

Five minutes elapsed and once again, the platform was empty save only a few people who finally went toward the mall behind the crowd.  The Harper watched as one bus moved off a few feet, the other left the platform and continued on its journey to its destination. Natil's blue eyes fell upon the speeding sea of cars that passed by them on the expressway.


"This is a strange world you lived in Rijiin." She said, "Though it is quite a large place, but tell me this, why are they always in a rush?"


    "Even I cannot answer that." He said, "It was not easy to live in this place Natil. It was much harder in many ways than your century, and yet in other ways easier. There have been inventions over the centuries, putting away such things like swords, armors and replaced with firearms, automobiles and airplanes that still kill, but a lot faster. Personally, I prefer the simplicity of the fourteenth century as home rather than this century." The Harper nodded slightly in agreement and in surprise by his revelation.

         
     "We have a few florins, probably worth more than current currency." Rijiin muttered to himself, "Better not to change time, and history by their use."


    The elf paused for a moment, taking in a breath and exhaling slowly, preparing himself for what he was about to do next.


"Besides, we are elves. Why should we ride the transportation system when we have the power of Elven magic?" He declared, opening his eyes and he put out his hand.             


"Ay! Lema ed' templa!" He exclaimed, as a portal shimmered and appeared in a thunderclap. Luckily, for Rijiin and Natil, the stop remained deserted when his voice commanded the magic, and he felt a shift all around them.
    
        
     "Ede lye arwin!" She breathed, "Rijiini?! Mani, naa lle' umien a'mael?"


    Natil had the hint of dismay in her tone, and she showed equal bewilderment when she saw him opening a portal.  The young elf maiden asked what he was doing. Rijiin walked toward the portal.


    "Ta na bir an lema a'mael. Ta noldo lye asc'e manka lle saes, ri I' templa aa' quella." He told her. Rijiin paused, unable to find words in elvish. "Besides, we should not alter history by using free town money. We should keep a low profile. Please make haste beloved, before we are spotted."  


     The elf's head turned when he heard a loud screeching noise, and the sound of breaking glass that followed. There were shouts of anger for several minutes before ominous silence followed. People on the expressway had spotted the real culprit of their accident and they stared in disbelief at the bright glow of the portal opened by the elves nearby. Rijiin realized that they had been spotted and he motioned with his hand to Natil. The young Harper sprinted across the platform toward the energy portal. Turning their heads the elves saw a group running across the parking lot toward the platform. He recognized it as the BBS members whom they had an encounter with a few minutes ago. They had seen the glow of the portal too. He let out a soft groan of frustration.


    "Ta luume' aut-, a'mael." He whispered, "Natea' naa sii' n'e en' cam. Lle auta yeste'."


    "Tanya na ikotane, a'mael." Natil whispered back with a nod, "Na ie' seere. Na- eller e' bir minya. "
    

Grinning, the elf bowed slightly and together they stepped toward the disk of energy. Rijiin turned his head in alarm, quickly motioning to Natil who disappeared through the portal. He followed and he stepped through the portal behind her. It closed with a thunderclap behind them.  


Simultaneously at another location, another portal opened, bridging a distance of perhaps thirty miles and together the Elven couple appeared on the campus of De Anza College their destination. When they appeared again, they appeared once more in the rain, the portal disappearing behind them in a flash.


Natil managed to shake the disorientation off quickly, and cast a glance at Rijiin. The elf had slumped to one knee, his strength drained after casting another powerful spell. He shook his head, steadying himself on the door behind him and feeling the exhaustion after casting the spell.

He had protected them both from the melee of the Bulletin Board groupies and anyone else who had challenged them. For the moment they were safe on the campus he knew as DeAnza.  


     "A'mael." She murmured, "Beloved."


    Slowly, he raised his arm and motioned to her. The elf crouched a moment before pushing himself upright.  


     "Amina ilya forya Natili," He said, telling her he was all right. "Amin na-elle necujen, Naa lle ilya forya?"


He had asked if she was all right. The Harper smiled, finding herself flattered by the concern. She had frowned at him. Rijiin was more worried about Natil than himself.    


"Manke naa lye sii' Rijiini?" She asked and managed to scan the deserted green meadow and to the tree covered quad in the middle of the buildings. She asked him where they were.


     "We have made it to our destination beloved. A placed called the De Anza College Campus." Rijiin replied absently, "It is a place of learning that I spent a lot of time at and partially called home in the twentieth century. This is where my friend is currently attending. Besides it was my thinking also, that we not attract too much attention by using the transportation system using free town money of Saint Brigid that is why I cast the portal spell."  


         "It is alright beloved." Natil said, "I understand now and it is appreciated. You got us here and it was a fine accomplishment, even if many people saw it."


She turned to embrace him, but her eyes also darted about the surroundings, silently inspecting the interesting Spanish architecture. The young Harper stared at the meadow of Sciences Quad (S-Quad) at the many trees, the grassy areas and the many buildings that surrounded this quad. Her eyes peered at the round roof of the Minolta Planetarium on campus that reminded her of the many Cathedrals in the north like Hypperex and Maris. The trees reminded her of Malvern and Beldon Forests.


    "What you did is an amazing feat for someone who is just now learning the ways of our people. You have gained many abilities in a short time." Natil said, "You are learning and giving yourself a little more each time you use them. It is helping you learn and fully understand what it is we do as elves."

           
     "I learn quickly." He said, "Moderate and relaxation. Fighting only drains you more. I still have so much more to learn, and that might take a couple hundred years. It won't be bad so long as it is with you."  


    Natil blushed as his laughter echoed the quad.


    "We are here. So what do you think of this place?"


Natil had been examining the surroundings in curiosity, and a wide mysterious grin appeared on her face.


"This area reminds me a lot of home Rijiin." She declared, and Rijiin, standing beside her chuckled quietly. Turning his head, after a moment, he also panned a gaze to the surroundings before nodding in agreement. He had never really thought of looking at the campus like that, but neither had he thought of living in the forest in the fourteenth century either.


    "Now that you mention it, it does remind me a lot of Saint Brigid." He replied, studying her face, and managing a slow nod.


    "It is a mix. The trees remind me of Malvern and Beldon Forests." She said, "The buildings remind me of Maris and Hypperex, the cathedrals for the round domed building over there."


    She pointed at the Minolta Planetarium.


    "Ah, that's the planetarium." He told her, "For Astronomy classes and light shows."


    "It is amazing humans still use the same architecture, from our own century." Natil replied and smiled warmly at Rijiin who nodded.  


"I sense your unease Natil. This place cannot harm you. Be at peace."


Sharply, the Harper met his smiling face as he studied the surroundings. Slowly, and silently, the young Harper agreed with a slight nod, but her face had a look of admiration and respect on it.


    "It is a very large place, and with unexpected wonderful things at every turn." She replied, "I am glad I came along."


    Turning, Rijiin placed his arms around her waist and smiled as he held Natil in the semi-dark overhang to peer lovingly into her blue eyes. She did not move or struggle out of his grasp and he held her in his arms.

    
"I am glad you are here Natil." Rijiin told her, "At least you are a better traveling companion than Terrill would have been, or even Mirya. But then again she can help and heal which is required on this trip. I doubt she would have wanted to leave Terrill for this long trip anyway."


The Harper laughed quietly. She remembered the discussion between Rijiin, herself and Terrill. It had been a fight because Terrill had wanted to come to this time planning to continue training Rijiin. The new elf had pointed out that their mission was to help and heal, that it would take healers to help his friend if she needed it. Natil could heal with the use of her harp, and had done so often. They stood together under the overhang and just stared into each other's eyes. His hand touched her cheek gently, caressing her smooth skin and he managed a thin smile when she slightly flushed.


"I need to tell you something." He began, "I may falter this a bit, but please let me finish before you respond."


     "I am in love with you, young Harper." He told her, "I am certain of it and every day I fall deeper for you. There is a day I cannot go without thinking of you. I enjoy your company and council. I have loved you since I met you, even more so than the different lifetime we were in together."


    She gasped, and he smiled when he saw her reaction.


    "Yes, mistress once upon a time in this century we met in a different lifetime and existence. We shared a relationship that was somewhat close." He explained, "When I lost you, my life had become empty and hollow. I have lived a time and have seen what it was like without you… As a different side of things, and it was not pleasant, not expecting to come to your time to find you there.   I don't want to lose you…"  


    His voice faltered and the Harper perked up when she heard the tone. Although he did not utter the word 'again', she heard it, and it seemed to hover in the air for a long time.


"I shall be yours always until time ceases to be, as I am falling in love with you too Rijiin." He held her as she wept openly. He was about to reply to the Harper but the tender scene was interrupted as footsteps of someone approaching them could be heard nearby. His reaction was quick.


"Someone is coming." He murmured and glanced once in the direction of the footsteps.


Before she could turn her head, Rijiin embraced the young Harper closely against him and their lips touched in a passionate kiss that would have raised the temperature in any frigid room. What happened is the elf had heard the footsteps and quickly had made a split second decision.


    "Perhaps it will fool the people who have discovered us here and maybe it will make them think they were interrupting a tender moment between two lovers to depart with no questions." Rijiin thought, as their lips touched seconds later.  


     Natil at first had been surprised, grunting in disbelief when he had kissed her. The Harper let the feeling of shock subside and the white-hot anger and embarrassment take over. She had struggled at first, trying to break his grasp but quickly relaxed putting her arms around him. His kiss was sweet, filled with a promise as-if it were made between two lovers. The elves both heard a chuckle from the students who ran across them and a muttered 'Tsk, Tsk…' followed a moment later.  The students walked on with a smile on their faces.


    Rijiin, realizing his gamble had worked, stepped back and released the youthful Harper from his embrace.  


Natil saw his apologetic expression in the dim light and a bit of a crimson flush rising over the collar of his tunic. She managed a coy smile as she stood there staring at Rijiin, someone who loved her without bounds or limitations, an unbridled love between them that he had for her without question, across two timelines.   


"I am so sorry." Rijiin murmured, "It was a ploy to disguise and mask our presence here on campus."


    The Harper said nothing at first, feeling strangely, as an odd burning of desire welled up inside her, and Rijiin's kiss had triggered it. She shook her head before carefully setting her harp near the door, and the young Harper turned back lunging forward, embracing him into the same kiss. Holding each other tightly, their hands moved along each other as they changed positions, kissing hungrily and passionately.


As Natil kissed him, she gasped first, seeing the images of their meeting from the other time line. A burst of starlight exploded in the darkness and she reeled as full memories moved through her brain like lightning. The youthful maiden understood the passion he felt for her now and she smiled. The elf maiden understood the hell he lived through without her and how her visit had changed him. Rijiin felt her hands caressing his back, and he likewise, did the same. They both held the passionate kiss for a few seconds longer.  She smiled, feeling his warmth, his desire, and in her mind, heard his thoughts that made her smile inwardly.


Natil exhaled sharply when she felt Rijiin's caress give, and he fell to the ground. The Harper sensed fatigue as the cause, realizing it was one of the powerful spells he had cast earlier and the one that had brought them to this time. When her lover opened his eyes, he awoke in the darkened classroom with the young Harper kneeling over him. She had a look of alarm and concern on her face.


     "Rijiin…?" She repeated desperately, "Rijiin… Please… RIJIIN!"  


Rijiin, after ten minutes, had slowly opened his eyes. As his vision cleared, he managed a smile on his face when meeting the concerned fair and beautiful features of the maiden whom he loved dearly.


    "Are you alright, beloved?" She asked, and Rijiin met her blue eyes with a weak nod. He heard a strong hint of relief in her voice, and he could sense her worry. The elf tried to sit up, and he found no strength to do so.


    "I am just a little weak beloved." He said, apologizing, "Perhaps it was not wise to have cast that portal after all, especially after the one bringing us here to this century."


    "Be at peace, you did fine. Time will allow you to master it, and I am relieved you are alright." Natil said, "You lost consciousness outside, and I brought you in here to keep anyone from sounding the alarm. You are disoriented, just lay there and let your strength return."


    Rijiin looked up at the loving expression on her face as she bent over to kiss him fully on the lips. His eyes widened at the kiss and when he peered into her eyes, the elf saw her smile. She felt the tears welling up.


     "I love you, young Lord." She said, "My beloved… I never thought I would find someone I could love, but here you are. I never knew that someone could love me the way you do."


Smiling, he reached up and put his hand to her face. The Harper grinned as a flush appeared on her cheeks. Hearing voices, the young maiden turned her head and through the shuttered windows, she could see the students who waited for the class assigned to this room.


    "It looks like we have company? I think we'd better be going." Natil suggested, "Can you stand?"


Turning his head, Rijiin could see the students who gathered outside this classroom. The young elf nodded as the Harper's strong-arm helped him to a sitting position.


When finally Rijiin gathered his strength after a few moments, the elves stood up together. Quickly, the couple pulled on their cloaks and he turned to hand her old harp. The maiden gladly took it, and she held it under her arm under her long cloak. As he opened the door, the elf motioned to her and allowing her to exit first with him close behind her. The couple had startled the people outside who were waiting. No one expected them to be in the room.

                
"Excuse us please." Rijiin nodded to the young Harper, and they both stepped into the falling rain passing through the crowd of gathered students who stood here. The gathered crowd watched the elves walk away from the room, and he felt their gazes burning into him.


"Na ie' seere, Amael." She whispered to him, "Utu- lleea elenea, uchman ron val pel- lle ar' utu- i'- silma quant- lle."  


Looks of astonishment appeared on the faces around the couple as they stood outside the room and all hearing the strange language spoken between Natil and Rijiin. They glanced at each other and back to the departing couple.


Quickly, Rijiin complied to close his eyes and found the familiar starlight in the darkness. He let the light sooth his senses and stared at wisp of images that flashed, appearing and disappearing like puffs of smoke. The elf opened his eyes and he scanned the area, finding the familiar round roof of the Minolta Planetarium nearby. The elf, from here, had taken up Natil's hand to lead her across the meadow of the Sciences Quad (S-Quad). He followed Mimi's very steps, as she had done the same thing earlier yesterday morning. The couple both headed toward the De Anza Library that stands next to the Main Quad and turning at the steps leading into it, walked toward the Student Campus Center. Rijiin, as he guided her, gave her a brief overview of the campus while attending here at this place of learning.
    
       
"There it is." He announced merrily, "The Student Campus Center, better described as the House of Klaus by the students. Klaus is the man who runs that whole building."


Rijiin pointed at the building, and Natil peered at the large two-story building in front of her, built partially into the hillside and then to the outside eating area shaded by huge trees that towered over it.   

            
"It is quite a place." The Harper replied, staring at the building, "And it seems to be a very large. Are you sure she is here?"


He pondered for only a moment, before nodding. "She is. It would be one of three places to find Mimi at this hour on Campus and probably enjoying a cup of coffee from the stand inside."  


"What is this building used for anyway Rijiin?" Natil asked, and he smiled.


"It is very much like the Inquisition council rooms, used in the same way, a place for the students to interact with the staff members of the college. It is also used for meeting rooms of outside organizations to do presentations, food service for the students and staff, special events, the Inter Club Council or ICC, the Student Senate and the Student Council who works with the administration staff."


    "It is amazing, all that just for the students. It must be quite a place to house so many things." Natil replied, and he nodded.


     "Be at peace, even though it is large, I can sense her in this place. She is here." Rijiin replied simply, "Mimi, my friend, is probably is in one of the two dining rooms in the building over there." With that, he pointed at the Student Campus Center.


    Natil grimaced dubiously, and he returned her look with a slight reassuring nod.

 
"I used to be able to sense her thoughts, and always know when I was needed." He explained, "Call it a sixth sense, a strange and uncanny ability I once had between us. Be at peace, we'll find her." Rijiin grinned broadly.


    "I understand the sixth sense, but was it because you were lovers or just friends?" She asked and he waved his hand.


    "Oh no, we were just friends." Rijiin replied, "Really good friends."


"Oh yes, I almost forgot, Natil. One thing you must know… Klaus is a man who is very hard to deal with." Rijiin said, "You don't want to be on his bad side, so try to stay out of trouble."


    Natil cast an amused look at him, and her look said it all. 'Don't I always?'


    He grinned able to hear her laughter echo in his head. He turned to put his hand on the handle of the glass door leading into the Main Dining room of the Student Campus Center, but something made him pause. He had a brief feeling of dread and he shook his head to clear the feeling after glancing at his traveling companion.


"Tul-e Natili, Ta sina men." He said, "It is going to be very intense in there. Be at peace and know that this place cannot harm you. The human race, short sighted that it is, does not remember its history nor do they remember the persecution of our people. It is the use of fine control here. I know Natil. Na ai' seere, eldalie naa sinta ai' auluva."


    She need not translate now, his Elfish improving as hours passed and it is as if he had been speaking it for years. He had told her to be at peace, that elves were known to be ingenious.


Natil smiled at his statement as he opened the glass doors and stepping aside, he allowed her to enter the building first before following in behind her. The door closed behind them and here they entered into the hell of the Campus Center. The sounds of loud voices and chatter echoed the room. Many people sat in this room, and all here early in the morning for classes scheduled at various times on campus.

The Harper, startled by the noise and commotion, stepped back into her lover’s arms. The elf sensed the Harper's fear and he put his arms lovingly around her, examining the familiar design of the room before he shook his head quietly. Rijiin also noted that the few people who occupied the room did not notice them.


"It is the same as it has been. Nothing ever changes." The elf thought, peering at the Spanish architecture throughout the room. His eyes found the overhead skylights, that made the room bright despite the stormy weather outside and large chandeliers made of rod iron that hung from the ceiling from thick black chain. Rijiin glanced at his companion who panned a sweeping gaze about the room at the surrounding people and Spanish Architecture. He followed suit, scanning it quickly for his friend and the elf shook his head when he did not see her.


     "Tul- sina men, A'mael. Lle-cael aut- a' tel' I' n'at sambe, imya tanya annon."


The elves stood at the door several minutes before he took up his beloved Harper's hand and with a purpose, he walked a little further into the room along a walkway between the tables. When they were finally noticed, a hush fell over the entire room before a low murmur and muffled laughter rippled through the room.

 

Feeling all eyes burning into her, the Harper's eyes moved back and forth to the many faces of the people who sat here. She felt uncomfortable by the low hush and murmurs among the people in the room. Natil was also perturbed by the sensed thoughts regarding their presence. Walking beside her, Rijiin felt the same discomfort as she did, and casually reached down to unfasten the blade, now at his side, leaving it loose. The elf would be able to draw the blade at a moment's notice if he needed to. The maiden had glanced at her traveling companion when his hand moved to the blade at his side, and she grimaced when he unfastened it. He shook his head when returning her look. Rijiin had only done it to put the maiden's anxiety at ease, showing he was ready to defend and protect her as needed. Both elves had seen a flash of the future in the starlight patterns, and in one instance had seen themselves mobbed by the many people who had gathered here.


"It is a precaution." He murmured, "I sense their unease, and I am ready for them if they choose to stop us."


The maiden frowned at the elf's intention, but their mission was to provide life today, to help and heal, not take it. It was widely known in their century, that elves did not kill unless they had to. There was only one incident and that had been with Varden and Terrill who watched Mirya tortured, raped after being caught unarmed. They had descended upon a farmhouse of humans, after spiriting her body away, to enact revenge with deadly precision. Terrill had retained his blade while Varden had put his away forever. They cremated her body in a forest clearing, lying atop of a funeral pyre. The Harper had placed her harp on the fire and not touching another one for many years. The elves scattered her ashes in the forest.


The incident, Rijiin remembered as it was told, is long before Miriam came to Saint Brigid as a battered black hair, dark eyed, healer girl and her transformation into an elf with red/gold hair, by Varden's magical abilities.   


Pausing at the doorway, Rijiin met the astonished looks of the many people who had stood up in the Main Dining Room. As he stepped through the door into a foyer beyond, a ripple of comments and murmurs of astonishment echoed behind them. No one intervened or interfered with the task they were here to do. The same silence dropped over the T-Shaped foyer where they entered next and Rijiin quickly scanned the foyer, examining the familiar room in silence. It had not changed in the year he had been away: The vending machines stood on the south wall, next to the Main Dining Hall entryway. Across the room, the Fireside Lounge entryway and the gift shop make up the north wall. The room smelled strongly of coffee and his eyes fell upon Ian's coffee stand close to the main staircase that dominated the center of the room. The entry to the De Anza Cafeteria is on the east wall. The glass exit doors were located on the western wall of this room. Below them, through the stairwell, Rijiin could see the Inter Club Council chambers (ICC) room doors across from another information booth next to the stairwell below.


Like the Main Dining Room where the elves had come, there was the same stunned silence in this foyer. All eyes were on the elves and Rijiin grimaced at that fact, turning his head to meet each look by the people standing in this foyer. Even Ian stood behind his stand, stunned by the sight of the elves. All eyes intently watched them and everyone present noted the peculiar garb, the cloak over it and especially the sword at Rijiin's side.    
         

     "Eller re na, a'mael," He whispered to Natil, pointing at Mimi. Beside him, Natil's head turned and she looked upon the middle-aged woman seated as usual in the wheelchair inside the Fireside Dining Room. The Harper was honestly surprised at what she saw before her and had not been expected the familiar form of Mimi's wheelchair, as described by Mirya and Terrill. She understood immediately after seeing it for herself.


     "A', ikotane tanya na' mani Miryai ar' Terrilli eleea." She whispered and he nodded.


"Aye Natili, ta he nornhama." He started to tell her. He grimaced as he shook his head, trying to search for words in Elfish to describe Mimi.


     "She has to use it, because of a disability called Cerebral Palsy." He explained, and Natil heard his tone, glancing at him. "I know she looks fine, but there are many times that appearances can be deceiving. There has been many a time she has been in agony and always kept it to herself. It is because she is seated in that blasted chair but after today, I hope to change all that."


     The Harper, who stood beside him, had narrowed her eyes as she examined the woman in the wheelchair. Rijiin had closed his eyes to focus inwardly, staring at the complex webs of patterns and the matrix that made up Mimi Stewart, already planning what he wanted to do. He planned his changes carefully, knowing what he was about to do could potentially be dangerous and potentially jeopardize her very existence if he changed too much. Varden would have stopped him if he had been with them, warning them against such matters. Rijiin shook his head.
          

"It will be a long difficult task ahead." He said, "Perhaps with some manipulation we can make her life a bit better. However, as Varden always has said, there are consequences of each action. We must take care in what we do for her and how much change we manipulate."  


The Harper was startled to hear Rijiin say those very words, quoting their kinsman, and speaking about such matters without anger or hatred. He was already known among the elves of Malvern, also the free towns of Adria for his slaying, with deadly precision, the Inquisition soldiers and clergy without hesitation. Even in his year living in the fourteenth century forests of Malvern, he had quickly learned to hate humans, especially the Inquisition who ran rampant across the land. He would witness many atrocities while traveling in the north and with his own eyes, watched many a burning by the Inquisition while visiting Hypperex and Maris. He quickly learned that the Inquisition organization was nothing more than greedy, blood-sucking butchers who condoned murder of innocent lives in the name of God.


Their actions had turned Rijiin against humanity, his resolve to avenge many of those atrocities committed by the Inquisition and for killing innocent people. The elf would declare war on the Inquisition organization, protecting what the church called heretics (persons who had abilities and gifts from god), known witches, warlocks, midwives and also kept them from persecuting into extinction his brothers and sisters (The elves). Even though he was originally from the twentieth century, he had already seen how the human race had been there first hand in his own century and now while living in the fourteenth century. It would be no different here than the future. Humanity would still be bloodthirsty, greedy, self-centered, self-absorbed, arrogant, twisted, perverted, murderous, and sadistic even after four hundred plus years.


"And it won't change in the time to come. Humanity will just get worse and worse." The elf thought and managed a grimace.


However, there was some hope for Rijiin, who also in the last year would find a touch of compassion, humanity, and perhaps patience even though he is an elf. He would learn it while living in the fourteenth century and it would be in the form of Sana, and Charity. Both are witches, and one is a midwife. The both of them would teach Rijiin a few things about humanity while living in Adria during his transformation into an immortal. They always said there was good in everyone. All you had to do is seek it out. He suddenly was reminded of the twentieth century, and a few good people he overlooked while he was there. They came in the form of Mimi Stewart and Robert, her fiancé, his best friends. It would be on the campus of De Anza where he would meet them, long before his transformation and transport into the past through the portal bringing him to Adria.


Compassion and understanding would be the main reason that Rijiin volunteered to traverse the winds of history, and time when he felt Mimi's thoughts on that snow covered winter's day in Adria. He would do anything to help and heal his best friend, thanks to her long lasting friendship. She and her fiancé had shown him friendship and fellowship when he was new to the college where he met them. They had started talking to him, introducing themselves and putting out their hands in friendship without strings or conditions.


Mouse and Robert had brought him into an inner circle of their group, introduced him around and helped him get used to life on the campus. Something the elf would never forget. Now, as an elf, it was Rijiin's turn to give it all back starting with Mimi and the others. He wanted to give the same courtesy, kindness and friendship. Perhaps even able to use his new ability as an immortal elf to help and heal. Here was his chance to do just that and he had traversed the winds of history and time to accomplish his mission.
 

"Ile tanak- cael- jaraman ikotane  n'ataya,  a'mael?" Natil told him and she managed an impressed nod, followed by warm smile.  
    

         "Aye Natili," He replied, "I have changed a lot in this last year, thanks to you all." Natil met his expression with a nod.

                                                                                                                                                        
    "Mirya was right, it would take time but I have found what it means to be immortal and accept what this life has to offer. You all have shown me there is more to just being an elf over this last year." He paused, "Sure. The elves' took my humanity, but just as well. Call it a gift perhaps, what I plan to give back to these humans despite the evil of this world. Maybe we can make these humans better, or worse. It depends on how they use what we give them."


    "Beloved, you speak wisely." The Harper replied, embracing Rijiin before walking with him toward the steps from the doorway. He slid an arm around her narrow waist, and together the couple walked down a small set of steps, then up, approaching the entrance to the Fireside Dining Room. Behind them, everyone in the room, standing at the doorway of the Main Dining Room, in the foyer and even the Cafeteria entrance, watched the elves closely.  


     As Natil and Rijiin entered the Fireside Dining Room, the few who were in the room who had gathered here on this cold, December morning had looked over at the doorway. Rijiin's first reaction had been to ignore the low murmur of the few people gathered here, walking with silent steps toward the table where Mimi sits in her wheelchair, surrounded by her longtime friends on campus. Here the elf silently stood next to her chair, until Mouse turned her head, curiously looking up at the cloaked figure standing beside her.  Behind him a few students, including a few staff had gathered at the doorway to peer at the cloaked figures in astonishment and raising an eyebrow at the blades at his side.


Rijiin, with a flair for drama reached up slowly to push back the gray hood of his cloak revealing his fair features. He managed a nod of his head to Mimi and then glanced silently at the group around her known to him as the *De Anza Rat Pack, who are all seated at the table. Their reaction was silent surprise as they stared at his unfamiliar face. Mimi looked upon the elf, noting he was very handsome with his fair features, his long brown hair that cascaded to his shoulders, streaked and sprinkled with silver. She also peered into his solemn gray eyes. The middle-aged woman saw their laughter and a twinkle of what she thought was starlight there. If Mouse had known the elves, she would have been right.


    *Authors Note: De Anza Rat Pack consisted of Mimi, Robert, Dave, Becky, Chris, Omar, Vi, Steve, Patrick, Cathy, 'Jello' Jen, John, Ray, Christopher, and Katherine as named in story.


Low murmurs echoed the Fireside Dining Room and both of the elves let the many comments pass without response. Everyone present had their eyes locked on Rijiin for several minutes until they finally glanced at Natil who stood beside Rijiin with her cloak’s hood shadowing her fair features.


Rijiin's eyes then fell upon Becky Mc Gough, a youthful woman who sat beside Mimi. The young woman is someone whom he had met not long before his journey into a past and showing recognition, he nodded silently to her. Rijiin smiled when realizing that she had not changed during the year he had been away. Becky is the same, average, heavyset woman, with hazel colored eyes and long gracious brown hair that spilled to her shoulders. She is clad in a striped t-shirt, black knit pants, sandals, and a thick purple coat.


Becky, like the others present, was speechless at the sight before them all. Her first reaction to the elves had been to gasp loudly, immediately recognizing the strange green and gray leather garb the elves wore, also the pendant that hung around his neck. The young woman had gained a lot of her knowledge to identify the garb and pendant from her boyfriend who practiced the ways of Wicca. Even with some of what he had taught her, she was unsure exactly whom or what she was seeing. The garb, Becky knew, had not been around for four plus centuries and neither had pendants, cloaks or swords. The young woman had not expected to see the garb or the pendant that Rijiin wore about his neck here in this century, neither the sword at his side. She shook her head in misunderstanding.


Sitting on her right, Robert, Dave, Chris and Omar were beside her at the table. Katherine, Jen and Vi sat on the other side of the table. They are all astonished to see the cloaked figures, and then the elf’s face as Becky was. Rijiin likewise met each gaze with a slight nod of his head and realized they are his friends that he had not seen in a year, having changed only slightly than he remembered them.


"Blessings upon you this day Mistress Stewart, the hand of the Lady be upon you." He said quietly, speaking with a calming tone. The elf touched his forehead to bow wide and low.


Everyone sitting with Mouse at the table, including Mimi herself smiled at the old-fashioned motion. Becky smiled at the use of the ancient witches greeting. 'Merry Met.' As the elf stood bent over beside Mimi's chair, many more students and staff gathered around them. They had stopped, curiously staring at the couple who are dressed in the strange garb and to their surprise had noted the sheathed blade at his side. An uncomfortable silence followed for a moment.
            

    Becky had responded to the greeting but found herself shaking her head too.


"No way… It cannot be."  Becky thought to herself with a gasp.
            

     As for Mouse, she intently looked upon the elf's fair features and his ghostly familiar face. The middle-aged woman did not understand why at first she was startled. Mimi then remembered the hallucination she was having yesterday and it had been the one where she found herself spinning in a vortex. She then found herself flying high above an unfamiliar landscape below, a journey where Mimi had ended up landing in a forest clearing and where she saw two people, like this young man and his strange companion who now stood before her. Around the neck of Rijiin, the pendant of a crescent moon, and interlocked, rayed star made of gold and silver hung there from a gold chain. Mouse was astonished, as she peered at the familiar pendant that seemed to twinkle brightly in the fluorescent light.


     Quickly, Mimi unzipped her belt pouch to withdraw the same piece of jewelry from the main pocket. Mouse's eyes darted from Rijiin's necklace to the pendant and chain in her hand. She realized it is the same necklace as the elves wore. Strangely, the pendant in her hand began to glow brightly with an almost incandescence and Mimi gripped it tightly.


    The middle-aged woman suddenly remembered the woman clad in the blue and silver robe, her statement about a messenger being sent to her. It made Mimi suddenly wonder, making her tilt her head as she looked upon the fair features of Rijiin.


"Oh my god," Mimi thought, "The meadow, forest, castles and sea I looked down upon wasn't a dream. I wonder if he is the messenger that the robed woman spoke of."


Mouse cast a puzzled look at the other cloaked figure standing beside him. No one had known about what Mimi had experienced a day ago, and she had told absolutely no one about it. It would have been uncomfortable for her to explain something that she could not exactly understand herself.
      

"Rijiini, tir- n'ea…" A voice said softly in elfish and he turned his head to meet curious students, a few staff members of the college, and four security officers who stood around them.


His expression and solemn gaze met their gazes. His look had silenced them from speaking to him, the flash of starlight in his eyes indicating that he was someone not to mess with, and someone who had seen a lot of violence in his travels. The security men sensed death before them, and they did not intervene for the moment. Rijiin did not intend to take a life, but he certainly could if he were provoked. The elf turned back to Mimi who sat there staring at him.


Mouse heard the name and curiously looked at him. Her expression had been puzzlement, and undying curiosity about these strangers.


    "Thank you for that greeting, I think, uh… Rijiin, is it? What kind of name is that anyway? D-do I know you?" Mimi croaked, "Have we met before? I certainly don't remember you."


    The elf said nothing at first, formulating his answer before he smiled.


    "Indeed we have Ms. Stewart. We met once a long time ago, but you might not remember me." He replied smoothly, making Mimi smile when she heard the strange accent in his voice.


    He managed a thin, almost pained smile.


    "I am Rijiin L'Theil, the Just and I am at your service. This is my traveling companion, kinswoman and my beloved wife, Natil." Rijiin glanced over to Natil, nodding slightly to her. The Harper, with the same flair for drama, reached up and she slowly drew back the gray hood of her cloak. There were several low murmurs as everyone realized it was a beautiful young woman who stood beside him.


Mouse frowned slightly, confused by the couple and stared in wonder at them like the others who had gathered here. Robert pursed his lips exhaling a sharp breath at the young-looking and shockingly beautiful elf-maiden who stood beside Rijiin. Dave, seated beside Robert grinned openly. Chris and Omar on the other side of him, gasped aloud. Vi, Jen, Becky and Katherine exchanged silent glances at each other, turning their full attention to the couple who stood before them.  


Mouse found herself staring blatantly at the elf maiden.


    "My god she's beautiful. She is just like the red/gold haired maiden I saw in the clearing the other day with the handsome black haired young man." The disabled woman thought as she shook her head. Mimi blushed, unable to take her eyes off the strange woman beside Rijiin.


    Natil heard her thoughts and nodded to Mouse. Both of the elves realized what Mimi was describing to herself, happened to be Mirya and Terrill before they arrived back at the encampment.


"You have my thanks Mistress Stewart." Natil said aloud, smiling at her and making Mimi grimace, sensing something amiss when realizing that she had read her thoughts.


Everyone turned their heads when they heard the Harper speak, her accent and inflection strong in her voice. Something about her intrigued everyone in the room, a stamp of strangeness fell over everyone present in the Fireside Dining Room. Smiles appeared on many faces of the people who now gathered about the room, who stared at the young immortal elves who graced the Fireside Dining Room with their presence.


"I-I really do not know you Rijiin or you Natil… Who are you?" Mimi asked, "Where did we meet?"


Mouse sensed their obvious knowledge and acknowledgement of her. The disabled woman was confused and the only link was the pendant around their necks.


"Be at peace Mimi, we are here to repay an old debt to you. It is one that I owe a lot to you and will repay it with healing, comfort, and aid. Something my people are known for." He declared solemnly, "Be at peace, no harm will fall upon you dear lady, as I sensed your need and traveled a fair distance to come to you. Among my people you are well known for your courage, kindness, compassion, generosity, and understanding."


Mouse sat quietly in her chair, coloring slightly with his compliments before looking up at Rijiin's strangely familiar fair features. Beside her, Becky was shaking her head.


"Rijiin, what old debt," Mouse questioned, "I just do not remember you."


She turned her head to frown at the couple. The elves both met her expression with a shrug and his eyes seem to twinkle brightly with starlight.


"Aye, we do." Natil murmured softly, "Please be at peace Ms. Stewart and trust us that what we say is true."


To answer you question, beloved Mimi, we met here at DeAnza, a few years ago." He told her, "The first person to actually take me by the hand and show me the ropes of this place, and I never forgot that kindness."  


    "Mimi, do you know this couple?" Dave asked, "Who are these people?"


    "Yeah they seem to know you very well." Robert added, "Are you holding out on us again?"


    "I am not sure Dave, Robert. I can't remember where I met them here on campus." Mouse lied, already knowing that the couple is probably from the same place she had encountered Terrill and Mirya in what she considered a hallucination.


    Robert studied the couple and his eyes moved back to Rebecca then to Mimi and back again. He saw a look of astonishment appear on the face of Becky, and her narrowing her eyes as if to examine the couple who stood before them all.  


    "I don't know, but you seem familiar to me too, Rijiin…" Becky stammered, frowning confused at the couple.


Behind Mimi, in the doorway of the internet room, John, Becky's boyfriend, had opened the door to start the day in the Internet Lab. As he opened the door, stepping through, he had glanced only once to the table where he saw his girlfriend sitting with Mimi and the others. He did the classic double take when he looked again, seeing the unfamiliar faces of Rijiin and Natil who stood beside them, surrounded by many others. John's eyes fell on the elves and he stood watching the couple, startled as Becky did and the others had been seeing them for the first time. He did not move from the doorway, something about the visitors had intrigued him for reasons he could not explain.  


    "Talk about a blast from the past." John thought to himself, shaking his head as he looked at the couple, "It cannot be."


Becky's boyfriend found himself looking back in his memory remembering what he read about elves and the folklore legends in one of his Wicca books. The texts that were about the goddess that warlocks, witches and folklore legends like elves worshipped which happened to be a woman. It also talked about their ability in magic. He had known about the old stories and wondered if this was truly, what he saw here before him.

            
"Okay, this is getting to be very weird." John thought, grimacing when he saw his features clearly and they matched a spell book illustration he had bought from a magazine located in a Colorado based store.


He approached the table, and moved toward Rebecca who sat on the one side.  Before he sat, they glanced at John and he acknowledged the couple with touch of the forehead, a wide-stance and low bow to them. He noted the pendant that was described belonging to their deity, their Creatrix whom they worshipped and he stood beside Becky who sat at the table.  


"Alanae ea yolisi, Elthia, Vayna oea…" He stated, greeting them formally, " Mae govannen."


Becky gasped as he spoke Elvish and the couple nodded formally to him.


"Ve' noldo…." Rijiin replied, making the group, and even the room gasp.


"John? Do you know them?"  Becky asked, and he glanced at his girlfriend.  

He shook his head at her.

"Never met them until now, but it is the proper custom how to address them." John stated solemnly, "With no disrespect fair ones."

His  mind was a whirl of emotion, grimacing at the couple, very amazed that he was seeing something that should not belong in this century.  Becky gasped openly by the meaning of her statement and narrowed her eyes in astonishment, as did Katherine whose family was druid, religion, but even she understood whom and what they were seeing here at this very moment.


"Yes, Cathy, it's me, Mouse." Mimi replied casually, motioning with her hand, "Here as always."


    "Wow! What happened to you?" Cathy asked, I go on vacation, and don't see you for a while, you change your hairstyle, lose weight and look like a teenage supermodel."


 The table laughed loudly, and Mimi blushed deeply.


    "Thanks Cathy." Mimi said with a sporadic burst of laughter, "I just had a makeover. I changed my hair, had a touch of makeup, and lost a bit of weight is all. So what do you think?"


    "I love it!" Her friend exclaimed, holding Mimi's hands as she peered into her eyes.


    Patrick and Steve both were nodding their agreement. Her clothes she wore, thankfully still disguised the massive changes to Mimi's trim form, barely fitting her however. Mouse suddenly reminded herself that she had a date in the Physical Education (PE) Quad and the locker room where she knew there was a full-length mirror. She wanted to see the extent of the remarkable healing and changes that Elven magic was doing to her even now.


     "Mimi you are a real knock out. Whatever you did, it was a great job." Steve told her. Mouse, on the other hand, smiled slightly. The newly transformed maiden remembered Rijiin's words.


    "…Our power is unpredictable. It will choose different paths, and it is hard to say which path it will take. Only time will tell what you gain." The elf’s voice echoed in her head and Mimi found herself shaking her head slightly at the thought.  

          
    "Do you really like it?" Mimi had asked with a thin amused smirk, "Honestly now."


    "You look fabulous." Steve replied, "It's amazing what these change did. It'll be a while for me to get used to it."


Mimi’s friends grinned nervously, laughing as he leaned over to whisper a couple of words to Patrick, who sat beside him.


       Becky nodded.


    "For all of us..." She murmured, and the table nodded silently. Cathy, as always did not quite catch the differences she saw in her best friend and of the group here.

     
"Did I miss something?" She whispered to Omar. He shook his head in silence at her.


"You didn't miss too much." He replied, and with that, Omar shrugged. Cathy had never been too bright, and Omar really did not know if he could explain to her what went on earlier this morning. Even he found himself unable to comprehend what had happened here today. Chris, Becky, Dave, and Katherine too, they were in the same company and had the same doubts. It certainly had startled everyone present at the table.


A few minutes elapsed and Mimi excused herself, pretending to wheel herself out so not to alarm the trio. When she reached the other room and entered the Main Dining Room, Mouse stood up out of the chair. She gasped when she almost lost her pants onto the floor from her small frame. Mimi quickly adjusted the drawstring as tight as it would go, and she put the backpack easily on her shoulder and pushed the wheelchair while walking behind it. As the now young woman walked to the foyer on the east, side of the building where the elevator is located and it would take her to the lower floor of the Campus Center.


As the youthful elf maiden walked behind her wheelchair near the wall, she passed the entry of the lunch area but even before that, as she entered the Main Dining Room, she panned a sweeping look around the room. She met the grins and stares of the other students who sat at the tables nearby. The dining room to Mouse seemed smaller, more accessible now that she was able to walk and it would be something she would definitely have to get used to over time.
            

"I don't need my wheelchair now." She muttered, pushing it easily ahead of her, "Perhaps someone else, who really needs it, can use it. Maybe the Student Health Center can use it for around the office."


       Five minutes later, Mouse stood in the large open foyer on the bottom floor of the Student Campus Center. Here she stood in front of the doors to the elevator, and quickly her aquamarine colored eyes scanned the room. They fell upon the glass doors of the café they put in downstairs and then to the doors leading out of the Campus center to a set of stairs leading up to the ground level.


    She noted immediately her sense of smell had become more acute as was her hearing and vision. All three senses were drastically improved as textures and color perception was more defined. Mimi found that she could hear the conversations clearly of those over ten feet away. Areas she once knew to be limited because of her wheelchair had also become smaller and accessible to her.


    "A lot of changes I will have to endure." Mouse thought with a grimace, and she squirmed uncomfortably. She suddenly became aware of the pain in her left shoulder. Scowling, Mimi realized the weight of the backpack that hung from her shoulder that was causing the pain. The young woman never really knew the true weight of her pack until she had hefted it onto her shoulder, as it had always hung from the handles of her wheelchair. The now youthful, elf maiden had to pause and she lowered the pack to the floor in frustration.


     "Jesus." The elfin woman complained, "What is in this backpack?"


She dropped onto one knee and grabbed the tab to pull open the zipper. When she unzipped it, she examined the contents in silent astonishment. She peered at a bundle of green and gray leather that now was placed inside her pack, along with a hooded gray cloak. Sitting on the bundle is a note written in a strong hand.  It had been placed their by Rijiin, who utilized the Elven magic that had changed her.

   
     "A note?" Mouse asked herself, and she scanned it quickly. "Wow, what a beautiful language."


Mimi realized suddenly that she was reading Elfish and having no trouble translating or understanding the language she now saw before her.    


    "Melda Mimitti, sinome qua caibre nat tanya aa' na- ner maara ten' llie behare ar' winya quenat. Lann- sen buisenea ar' amin faith- llie raktea. Mela illyamen, Rijiini."


     "Dear Mimi, here is something that may be more useful for your needs and new body. Wear them proudly and I wait for your arrival. Love always, Rijiin."


Mouse gasped seeing the signature. The young elf maiden yelped, pulling the bundle from her pack to examine the strange leather attire. Things seemed to fall into place as she stared at the note and the clothing that magically had been placed in her pack. Thanks to Rijiin and Natil.


"My god, it's the same attire that Rijiin and Natil wore!" Mouse exclaimed, pushing the bundle back into her pack and zipped her pack up. She understood why when she looked at herself. The clothes she wore, at this very moment, were becoming looser and looser on her with all the changes happening to her body, now that Elven blood coursed through her veins. The young woman suddenly realized that she definitely was not human anymore. She realized that a little more, she would not be able to wear the clothes on her small body and Mouse needed to move quickly to avoid that.


    "Oh…" Mimi murmured with some realization, and suddenly was glad for Rijiin thinking ahead.


    Quickly, Mouse pushed her wheelchair to the Health Office located on the lower floor of the Campus Center, across from the Club Affairs Office.


When the youthful elf maiden arrived she entered the office, standing behind her wheelchair, she greeted the startled student.  The young student volunteer sitting behind the desk had not expected someone so young, fair, and beautiful to enter the office. Mouse's eyes quickly darted around her surroundings quickly examining the interior of the Heath Center. The waiting room is setup with several chairs for people to sit, and adjacent to them are shelves where health related literature lay in neat piles. A long counter is here with a small opening on the far end. It is the desk where the receptionist on staff usually sits, greeting the students and patients.


      "Can I help you?" The student asked politely and Mouse only flashed a smile at her.


    "I wanted to make a donation, please." Mimi replied, "My old wheelchair."


    The maiden motioned to the chair that lay discarded beside her and turned to leave, but the student volunteer motioned for her to wait.


    "Oh? Can you please wait?"  The student replied, "I don't know if we can use it. Let me check."


    She opened a loose-leaf pad and flipped through several sheets of laminated pages.


     Behind Mouse, the nurse and receptionist stepped through the door into the Heath Office of De Anza College. Both of them are returning from a meeting in the administration building and the staff members, Mimi's colleagues, did not recognize the semi-unfamiliar face as they stepped through the door. They had only glanced once at Mimi's face and the empty wheelchair before doing the classic double take. Turning their heads, they quickly examined the youthful looking fair features of Mimi who stood next to the counter but had quickly recognized the familiar wheelchair that sat discarded nearby to know who it was before them.


     "Mimi? Is that you?" The nurse asked, a surprised look appearing on the Receptionist and Nurses' faces when the fair featured teenager nodded affirmatively to the question.          


    "Yea, uh…" Mouse replied as she smiled at the dubious looks between the people she had known for a while. They recognized the semi-familiar voice behind the new face, frowning when they heard the unfamiliar accent and inflection slip in and out of it.


    "Jesus, you go on vacation for a little while and come back looking like a genuine super model." The receptionist complimented, "Is it me, or do you really look young?"


The nurse, beside her, narrowed her eyes, as she looked Mimi over, making Mouse blush slightly. They had echoed the same words as Cathy and it made Mimi quietly chuckle.  


"It's the light, and the makeover, the hairstyle makes me seem younger than I am." Mimi replied, but quickly wondered to herself if that was true or not. Placing her hand on the counter, Mimi turned her head to the student and her colleagues.


     "Here I don't want anything for my wheelchair." She told them, "Perhaps you can use it for someone better suited than I."


 Mouse spun on her heel, walking with silent steps toward the door. All of a sudden, an uncomfortable silence encompassed the office. Everyone present had sensed something was amiss.


         "HEY! Wait a second... How can you? WAIT! What about…?" They walked toward Mimi but the elf maiden at this very second did not wanted to answer their questions. The staff members, her colleagues, she knew well for a long time would never believe her and even Mimi herself was hardly able to answer the many questions she had. She decided to quickly exit instead.


    "Please do me a favor, put the receipt in the Ham Radio Box." Mouse suggested politely as she headed toward the door. "I have an errand I must to run right now and I do appreciate it. I'll see you all later."


"But Mimi, wait a second… What's going on, what about your chair?" The nurse and receptionist had spoken in unison, but Mimi had already disappeared through the door.


The staff members bolted to follow but when they reached the hallway, she had already turned the corner. Mimi walked toward the lower café on the bottom floor across from the elevator.  


     "Boy there is a lot of things I will have to get used to." Mouse murmured, refraining from wanting to run, jump, spin and dance to test her body fully of its abilities. She glanced down at herself. Mimi suddenly felt strangely, as she met the smiling faces and admiring glances from the people who stood in the corridor or walked past her.  Mouse each time, smiled politely at the people she encountered and nodded her head in a silent greeting.

    
“First thing," Mouse said with a glance downward at her clothes, "I'd better change."


The young woman found herself at the elevator, by routine habit pushing the button and waiting for the cab to arrive. It was a second or two when Mimi realized what she was doing, and shook her head to turn away from it. She had to grab the waistband of her pants to keep them from slipping off.


      "Oh for Pete sake," Mouse murmured in chiding sarcasm, "You can walk now. Just walk up."


Pushing the door nearby, it opened easily allowing her to walk through it and up the short stairs into the light. The young woman stepped away from the stairs, standing in the Language Quad (L-Quad) located on this side of the Campus Center. She stood across from the outside of the Advance Technology Center and Mimi from here, could see the Physical Education (PE) Quad in the distance through the sea of buildings.


Fifteen minutes later, Mimi found herself at the Physical Education (PE) Quad of De Anza College and she smiled as she entered through the gate, walking toward the rail surrounding the diving pool and the lap pool located on the level below her. Surrounding the pools are cement steps, bleachers where spectators would sit during the many competitions that De Anza has in water sports. Directly across the quad, she could see the entry to the Men's Locker Room. To the right of the Men's Locker Room entrance, in the corner of the quad are the entry doors of the Women's Locker Room.

A walkway surrounds the entire area, and on this level, scattered around it are the many offices belonging to the Instructors. There are several gymnasiums located here on this side where classes are held. It is here that Mimi turned to her right, following the walkway quickly and soon entered the Women's Locker Room. Thankfully, the quad was semi-deserted at this hour, and no one seemed to notice her presence here or her plight.

As the young woman entered the interior of the Women's Locker Room, she did so deep in thought. Even though she had embraced Rijiin after their discussion outside the range of others in the Fireside Dining Hall, she still was reluctant about her transformation into an elf and did not understand why she felt this way only knowing that she would have a lot of explaining to do when it came to her peers, family and friends. As for what had happened, everything should have been in order at this very moment when it came down to her healing and her new existence. To Mouse, however, it was not in order. The now young maiden found herself in a dilemma, if not entrapped by the whole affair that happened over the last two days.


"This definitely is going to be difficult to explain." Mimi grumbled to herself, as she quickly navigated the aisle, way and she put down her backpack in front of her locker. Mouse opened it and she stared at the interior. Her gym clothes lay neatly folded in the locker bottom and her swimsuit hung from a hook above them. Quickly, Mimi glanced down at the trim figure in amused silence and back to the swimsuit that hung limply like a second skin inside it. She shook her head negatively as she reached out and examined it.


“There is no way in hell that is going to fit me now.” Mimi said, chuckling as she peered at the swimsuit.


Mouse suddenly remembered what she had come here for. She had come here to look in the full-length mirror located in this locker room and to see the changes that made to her physical body. Turning her head, Mimi's attention fell on the bench nearby and to her backpack that lay discarded. The young maiden let out a startled gasp. The pack seemed to be glowing incandescently and pulsating in the dim light. It was something that Mimi had not been expecting to happen at this very moment and she stared in silent wonder at the pack.


"What is that?" Mouse asked herself. "Why is it glowing like that? What does all of this mean?"


Deliberating what she should do next, Mouse took a half step toward the pack. Gingerly, she placed a hand on the material of the pack only to withdraw it a second later.


"The pack is warm." Mimi thought to herself, "Okay this is a little strange."


Mouse reached for the zipper with a shaking hand, and she unzipped it, peering inside. Putting her hand in the main pocket of her pack, she grasped the bundle as she pulled it from within and turned the glowing clothing end-over-end in her hands. A moment later, the glow faded away but it still shimmered strangely even in the dim light of the locker room. Mimi felt strangely energized by the material as she held it.


"Perhaps it is a sign I should change into the garb." Mouse thought to herself, "And become what supposedly I am supposed to be, an elf maiden."


The young maiden glanced once at herself, grimacing at the sight of her new body and at the clothes that now barely fit her. Mimi immediately understood what she must do, silently placing the bundle and backpack into the locker. Hastily, Mimi stripped and put a towel around her thin youthful body before walking through the aisle to a shower area nearby. She had decided to shower before trying on the garb and prepared herself to face what lay in store for her. When the young elf rounded the corner, she encountered a full-length mirror attached to the end of the locker row. Her reaction to the image was a total and utter recognition. The maiden gasped loudly.   


Mimi finally came face to face with her own confessor, and as someone once said, that 'if confession was good for the soul,' and the mirror was that confessor, it now revealed a lot about the image reflected in the mirror. She stared at the reflection in silence for over fifteen minutes, unable to believe what or whom she saw there. She let the towel drop and peered at the image before her, showing a very young woman with a narrow, trim, but muscular hourglass figure, a rounded fair-featured face, slender tapered ears, long, having pushed back the gracious curly brown hair that spilled down to her mid back and a noted reduced cup size. Her crotch was sparsely hair covered. Mouse definitely realized that these changes were going to be difficult to explain to peers, family and friends. She had no idea where to begin when it came to this point and decided to take one thing at a time, starting with her mother and father who would never believe that this teenager was once their forty plus year-old daughter.


Mouse stared into the aquamarine colored blue eyes in the mirror and immediately she noted they seemed to have a strange light about them. She shivered, staring at the youthful face in wonder. Mimi reached back to take the long hair in her hands and immediately noted three things about it. First, it was definitely longer than she was used to. Secondly, it was finer quality than she remembered. Lastly, it absolutely had no silver in it. Her small tapered hands instinctively touched her youthful face again. She turned several times to inspect her nude body, and a smile of acceptance appeared on the strange face in the mirror.  


"H-holy hell, I'm young again!" Mouse exclaimed as she continued to examine her new face and body. "Is this what you meant by our discussion Rijiin? What am I supposed to do now, dance on flowers? How am I going to explain this to people when I look like a teenager? I am a fugitive from the eleventh grade and High School! Jesus Rijiin!"


She suddenly had a sinking feeling in her gut, and it took Mimi several minutes before she could force herself to walk away from the mirror and the strange images she saw there. The now youthful woman quickly adjourned with silent steps to the nearby shower area, and for the next twenty minutes, she let the blazing hot-water cascade over her new form. It seemed to energize her body as she showered but even as Mimi did that, there was a lot on her mind, more than she was prepared for.


"There is so much Rijiin didn't tell me." Mouse thought to herself, "Perhaps he is waiting until I am fully transformed."   


When the youthful elf-maiden was finished, she walked to her locker. Here, she pulled the green and gray garb and the note from it to examine them both. As Mimi did that, she ran her fingers through her long hair. The young maiden glanced expectantly at the note.


What was she really hoping for from the note that lay before her written in a pseudo-stranger's hand? What was she expecting to find at the address listed on the card that Rijiin had given to them? Mimi certainly had many questions for Rijiin and Natil right now. What lay ahead for her and the others at the table? Mouse was unsure of many things. He spoke of a path. What path was she supposed to take? Would there be signs to tell her what choices to make? She felt lost.


Mimi barely understood where to begin when it came to her brand-new existence as a youthful young maiden… elf? Rijiin only told her a little bit of information to help her accept her new form, but not enough to cope with the fallout that would come with the transformation ahead. She found herself overwhelmed with a lot of emotions and many questions. Closing her eyes, the young maiden peered at the starlight that twinkled clearly and coldly in the darkness. A hollow voice echoed through the darkness, as face of a woman appeared there, helping sooth her senses.

    
"Peace." Her voice commanded. Mimi recognized it as the voice of the Lady who stood in the meadow. The now beautiful, fair, and young looking Mimi realized the Lady used the same word spoken during her transformation. The flurry of doubt, questions, inner voices, and the overwhelming emotions, seemed to calm down as she stared at the starlight.


Opening her eyes, breathing calmly, Mimi returned her attention to her hair and dabbed it dry with her towel.


"Jesus, it's going to be hard to get used to having hair like this." Mouse complained quietly to herself, holding the strands of hair in her hands and running her fingers through it.


     Grumbling, Mouse leaned over to brush the long hair forward with her hands, wringing it several times, making it leave a pool of water on the floor in front of her. Mimi stood abruptly and with a casual flip of her head, threw the now damp hair backward letting it settle evenly into place. She absently brushed her hair from her face with a casual hand. Turning to the bench beside her, she picked up the bundle of clothing that lay next to her. It consisted of a simple tunic top, soft trousers, a belt, and high boots made of leather. Quickly, she slipped them on, before attacking the woven leather straps, buckles and laces to secure them. Mouse then slipped the boots on her feet.


After she was done, the youthful maiden stared at her small hands in silence, totally amazed by what she had just accomplished and now wore the strange clothing of the past.  the young maiden had been amazed, having manipulated the fastenings of the garb as if she had worn it all her life, even though it was the first time ever she had worn it. She fitted the hooded cloak over her shoulders, slipped the crescent moon, and interlocked, rayed star clasp together. It hung almost to the ground, but she was considerably warmer.
           

     "My god," Mouse gasped, blushing as she quickly checked herself over, "I… I look like Natil and Rijiin! This can't be!"


The young woman suddenly wondered what she looked like in the mirror and turning she walked with unnoticed silent steps to the end of the row of lockers where the mirror was attached. When she stepped around the corner, she gasped aloud at the image of a youthful Elven woman staring back at her, wearing the unfamiliar green and gray leather garb. A smile appeared on Mimi's youthful, fair features reflected in the mirror.


She was clearly unprepared to see the strange image in the mirror. and blushed crimson how beautiful, so young she had become.


 As the youthful elf maiden examined herself, dressed in the strange garb, she noted it appeared to flatter the now many curves of her body and it seemed tailored in the right places. Here, she leaned forward to let her hair drape to the ground before standing up to throw it back over her shoulders. She noted visually that it naturally seemed to fall over the now tips of her pointed ears, and over her face which she absently brushed it aside.


Mimi let out a loud gasp. The young maiden could not believe what she was seeing, and had continued looking at the mirror.  She had been too wound up by the surprising look of her new form, despite what it all meant and grimaced when a feeling of reality moved through her senses what this all meant.


"Oh no, no, what have you gotten yourself into Mimi?" Mouse said with a gasp and shook her head, letting the long hair fell evenly in place over her slender ears. She was thankful for that.  It was long and draped to almost her mid back too. She merely shook her head in disbelief.


"The garb fits as they say, like a preverbal glove." The young woman exclaimed to herself, "But hey, it's not too bad at that. It's doable and something to get used to."


Mouse, slowly turning in the mirror, inspected the garb in the reflection and she nodded in approval. The young maiden liked what she saw there, despite it looked so odd to be wearing such a garb currently in the twentieth century. Turning her head, Mimi heard voices that echoed in the locker room, and she realized she was not alone. Hurriedly, the youthful elf maiden walked toward her locker and with a scoop of her hands pushed the clothes she wore only this morning into it. Mouse closed the door with a reverberating thud and locked it.


The elf maiden then took up the strap of the backpack, slipping her arm through the loop, and hefted the bag onto her shoulder. She turned to walk, with still unnoticed silent steps, toward the main aisle way in which she would exit this building. Mouse considered slipping out the back entrance and making her way around this building but suddenly just shrugged.  


"Ah the hell with it, I'll probably regret this, but I guess it's time to rejoin the human race for right now." Mimi thought, "Just until I find out what is going on. Funny, I wonder if anyone will recognize me, now that I have changed."


She continued walking toward the trio of students who had entered the locker room for their first class of the day.


"Well, I'll know in a moment." Mouse muttered to herself, walking toward the students.


 All three had looked up in surprise as the young elf maiden approached, and Mimi smiled when she heard a low, but audible, sharp exhale from them.


The young maiden, without a word, passed them by and felt their gazes seem to burn into her as she walked through the door. The elf maiden smiled when she had seen their confused gazes, and continued walking the hallway through the double doors into the crisp cool air outside. She then took three steps toward the railing that surrounded the swimming pools and the bleachers, where she quickly scanned the surrounding, deserted quad. People for her class, that she was missing, had already gathered on the pool deck on the shallow end of the lap pool.


"Well that was interesting." Mimi thought, smiling to herself at the encounter just a moment ago. She had to fight to refrain from laughing loudly inside the locker area.


Standing at the rail, the young elf maiden continued to scan her surroundings, looking down at the few students who stood on the swimming pool deck, and noting a few by the offices on this end of the PE Quad. The young elf maiden realized that she would have to pass by several students, in order to return to the Main Quad on this end of the quad.


Mimi immediately wondered if she would get the same reaction as the trio in the locker room.


"Let's find out." Mouse thought to herself, grinning briefly before turning away from the rail.


The young elf-maiden turned to walk along a cement walkway toward the instructor's offices located off the covered walkway above the pool deck and near the diving tower. Mimi suddenly sensed something unfamiliar to her and she frowned as she stealthily approached several students who stood around one of the offices. Mouse noted they did not seem to notice her until she was right up on them, and at first she did not understand why. It quickly dawned on her that her footsteps were silent on the pavement, despite it being wet from the water tracked from the end of the overhang.


When the students finally noticed her, a surprised murmur rippled among them.
            

"Woaaah, hey baby." A shout said, followed by a wolf whistles as she passed them by.


The elf maiden turned her head, realizing she had been noticed and at first she grimaced, embarrassed by the comments. Mimi felt a flush rise over the collar of her tunic and she flashed a silent grin to the speakers, nodding her head silently greeting them.


    "Hey, hubba, hubba! Good looking!" Another voice said, and Mimi glanced at the speaker, blushing deep red as she managed a quiet smile at him. She quickly walked on, enduring the wolf whistles, comments and catcalls clear back to the Main Quad.


    "Oh brother, is this all there is to being an elf maiden?" Mimi asked herself, "A sexy seventeen year old fugitive from the 11th grade?"


The young woman continued walking toward the end of the platform and turned to the left toward the path taking her into the Science Quad (S-Quad).  She followed it toward the Minolta Planetarium, and shifted to her right to another path leading her to the far side of the Administration building.


Here she drew the hood of her cloak over her fair features and walked along side of the familiar building until she saw the Main Quad in the distance. Mouse managed a silent nod. What used to take her over a half hour or more to get to the Physical Education Quad (PE Quad) and back, now took her very little time. Only fifteen minutes had elapsed and Mimi certainly was not used to the quickness she had walking on her own power. It astonished her.


    "I wonder what other abilities I will gain over time." Mouse asked herself, walking along the path heading toward the Main Quad.


When Mimi finally made it back to Main Quad, she walked toward the Student Campus Center but instead of entering it, she passed it by. The young woman walked toward the Art's Quad (A-Quad) instead. Before she got there, however, she made a sharp left, walking down three steps into the Sunken Garden across from Flint Center. It is here that the young woman sat in the drizzling rain with her eyes closed, and let the sound of the splashing water sooth her senses.


Mimi used the starlight to try to decipher the events of the past two days. The young woman's hand absently found the pendant on the chain around her neck and as she touched it, the pendant flashed brightly in the morning light. She is quite overly nervous of what she had become, and clearly unsure where her transformation was leading her. Mimi thought of the others at the table who had seen the event of her transformation and wondered if she was alone or not when it came down to becoming an elf.


The youthful elf maiden also tried to put in retrospect what had happened over these strange two days.

She had started her miserable day being dropped off in the wrong place by her ride share, dropped clear out on the edge of the Science Quad (S-Quad) and near the forums building. During her travel in the rain to the Main Quad, she had an accident, breaking her leg after taking a tumble from her wheelchair, because of the construction on campus. A strange lady appeared in front of her and helped her back to her chair, the warmth of healing surrounding her as she helped to miraculously heal her leg. The woman disappeared in front of Mimi after reseating her in her chair and after her disappearance, a strange energy appeared out of nowhere to surround her. It had transported her literally into time itself, making her appear over a great forest in what she did not know to be the Renaissance Age. There Mouse saw two strangers, a man and a woman dressed in a green and gray garb. The young maiden had pointed at her to make her disappear into the swirling black energy that had brought her there in the first place and moments after, Mouse stood in the middle of a grassy plain under the star-filled night sky with the strange woman that helped her in the Sciences Quad (S-Quad.). She told her of a messenger that would come to her when she was ready and returned to De Anza after meeting with her. The next day, Rijiin and Natil entered the Fireside Lounge.


The young maiden did not know what to make of all of this, and of the events that happened to her over the last two days.  


"Yep, I am certifiably, one hundred percent crazy." Mimi thought, "A lot has happened that's for sure."


She continued to stare at the starlight that soothed her senses and quelled the pent up emotion behind everything that happened in the last two days.


As Mouse nervously fingered the pendant around her neck, hanging from its chain, the Elven woman let her existence flow as she stared at the starlight in the darkness. It is here she found a star that twinkled brightly, and the young Elven woman let it pull her toward it. Flying like a bird, the young elf maiden entered the star, passing through the very center of it, and through the white burning fire that makes up its energy. A few moments later, Mouse ended up standing on a large grassy plain before the Lady. She dropped to one knee before her, just as Rijiin had, while they both were in the meadow during her transformation. Mimi looked up at the Lady's kind face and into her warm solemn gray eyes when she put her hand on her shoulder.


Little did she know that she had vanished from the campus.


    "Beloved, you may rise." The Lady told her and Mouse did so, looking at the Creatrix of the elves herself. The elf maiden stared in silence at her, at the middle-aged, very beautiful woman, clad in a simple blue and silver robe that stood before her. She wore a waist guard made of gold, lined with emeralds, her long, dark hair, is held by a golden clasp on one side as it spilled over her shoulders. Mimi met the gentle gray eyes that twinkled brightly with starlight and knew her name without even needing to speak it. The young woman fully knew it was the Lady Elthia and she is the Creatrix whom the elves worshipped, coming to her face to face for advice. Mouse felt at peace here, in front of her.


      "Mimitti, The Lady said, greeting her with an embrace.


      "I have come to thank you, uh… Miss Elthia?" Mimi said with a question, pausing to shake her head before continuing, "…For a brand-new chance at life, for sending Rijiin, and Natil for their help and healing."

            
     "You welcome my child." The Lady said, "I am glad you have accepted your change and the starlight. You are more beautiful than Rijiin has described in many words."


Mouse blushed at the compliment but she also exhaled sharply, unaware that she stood in the same place as Rijiin had a few minutes ago, kneeling before the Lady.


"He was here?" She asked, and the woman managed a silent nod.


"He was here and all my children can come to me for my council." The Lady replied, "However, it was not I who sent Rijiin to you. He came to you of his own free will, risking the winds of time to assist you."


Mimi frowned when hearing the Lady's statement and she exhaled sharply.


"Rijiin came to me of his own free will? Why on Earth did he? He didn't have to do that for me." Mimi stammered, uncomprehending what she was being told by the Lady.


Mimi knew his ability to sense her over time was uncanny and very unnerving at times. Nevertheless, the elf had somehow known when she needed him, even through the winds of time, and just like before he had come to her.  Mouse had not known that he had really traveled a long distance to be at her side and managed a grimaced. The young woman realized she needed him now but it was not possible for him to come, as he was far away through time and space, into what was.


    "Rijiin did indeed. He has showed a lot of compassion about his friends and he traveled to you without regard for the circumstances, the risk to himself or his companions." The Lady explained to her, "The elf risked his very existence, his transformation as an elf, using the magical energy of the fair folk to heal and change you. He has focused upon his remembrance of your kindness and friendship to take such a great risk. He loves you more than you will ever know, and wants nothing but the best for you. He wanted to repay the same kindness you showed to him."

    
"However, know this, he also sacrificed a lot, much more than you will know and has paid a heavy price to keep his very existence." The Lady continued, and with that, she nodded her head a couple of times.


"Rijiin L'Theil gave up the twentieth century, his human existence and his home where he had been born into, to be placed in the past, giving up his own humanity to be changed to what he is now. He has risked that very existence and his new chance, through the winds of history, to give it all up for you.”


“Oh my…” Mimi gasped, shaking her head as she thought back to the day they had found Nathaniel in the culvert, dismembered and laying in a pool of his own blood.


“As you already know, a body was found dismembered, crushed and pulverized beyond recognition in gully near where you will soon start your adventures. The body found is all that remains of his human self, the very scrap of soul that once was a part of his very physique. He is no longer human, bound by your world but a traveler in another lifetime and dance. The person you once knew has perished and all that Rijiin is, now remains. What was his own persona is still a part of him, in many ways, but only as a memory in other ways."

 
    “Damn him." Mimi murmured, her eyes becoming misty as she met the Lady's compassionate quiet gaze. She could not believe what Rijiin had done for her.


   "Jesus … Rijiin, what have you done?" Mimi murmured, "…and what have gotten yourself into."


    "Know this beloved that long ago elves existed in the world to help and heal." She told her, "They faded as the world no longer needed them and the human race persecuted them into extinction. The only retribution they will have for their return by the old blood that has awakened in mortals."


    The Lady paused to nod a few times and met Mimi's aquamarine eyes. Mouse gasped at the revelation, as she had not known that, and it made her wonder. "You are the beginning of that, changed by the ancient magic that once flowed. Use and bear it well."


"Seek a high place in the east. There you shall find your answers what it is to be Elven." The Lady told her, "You will seek this with a trusted ally who will be your companion to your mutual destination. You have a long road ahead and many choices to make. I am confident you shall make the right ones, just as you gave yourself freely to embrace the light and your new existence to come to me. Know this it is not an easy path you take, but you will not be walking it alone."


    "Thank you my Lady." Mouse said, "I can see you again right?"


    "You can. You can always find me here." She said, "You have done well beloved. Go to your friends, they await your arrival and welcome you in your new existence."


    Mouse bowed, after embracing the Goddess, and she turned, letting herself be pulled away. The meadow faded around her and senses became aware of the water that flowed in the fountain in the center of the sunken garden. Mouse realized that she once again was on De Anza's Campus having reappeared out of thin air. The young woman regarded the fountain for a while and did not need to turn her head when she sensed Becky approach and sit beside her.


"Becky." She said without turning, greeting her friend warmly.


    "Mimi? Are you all right?" Becky asked, "When you did not return to the Fireside Lounge, I came looking to see if you were alright."


    Mouse found herself flattered by the concern.


"Everything is okay, really." Mimi replied, turning her head to meet the astonished expression of Becky who stared at the stranger's face. Only a vague hint of Mimi's original face could be seen, despite the changes that she still would be going through.


     "My god you look so different. Y-you are gorgeous, and are very young looking. If I may say so, you look about sixteen or seventeen years old." Becky declared, totally blown away by the changes Mouse had undergone in a few hours.
 

"I know…" Mimi replied, "I know damn it, with my thanks. I totally look like a fugitive from the 11th grade though."


Becky managed a stifled laugh at her comment and Mouse merely grimaced at her mirth.
 

"Boy, you really look like Natil and Rijiin in that garb too." Becky observed and shook her head. She examined her with a long gaze, and noted the pendant of a crescent moon and interlocked, rayed star made of gold and silver that hung from the gold chain. Mouse glanced down at herself and the garb.


     "We're going to have serious problems with this transition I think. There is a lot more happening here than we both know." Mimi told her, "We are in, I dare say, the first half. There is much more to come I think. It's going to be difficult to explain to everyone what happened, how and why I have changed to look like this."


"Like how is it going to be difficult? A lot of people saw what happened in the Fireside, a few staff members saw the changes too." Becky told her, "Be at peace."


"It's a little more difficult that that Becky." Mimi replied, "There is going to be a lot of doubt by the college, even if a few staff members saw the changes. I have a reputation and responsibility on campus to uphold. The college just will not understand changes like this or accept them just like that. There will be many questions to answer and I do not know at this moment how to answer them. Not without making the college think I am defrauding them, or just plain nuts."


    "I know Mouse." Becky replied gently, "I do not think they'd go that far, kicking you out of school. Maybe take the job away from you on campus, but not classes. I would not worry. If you have to get a job, I can bet you will get one really easy with your knowledge and qualifications."  


"I appreciate your confidence in me." Mouse murmured quietly, grinning at her friend.


     "If not the college, the second problem lies with my parents or my siblings. I do not know how they are going to take this change but I know they are going to freak out, that is for sure. I hope that I remotely still look as I did when I see them again. Just for now, so I can explain this to them."
 

    "They'll believe you Mouse." Becky told her, "You will make them understand, just have faith in your abilities. Rijiin said many changes will occur over time, maybe the one where you change fully into an immortal elf is still a long time off."  


"You don't understand. I don't know how my parents and sister are going to react or be able to handle that a seventeen year old girl was once their forty-plus year old daughter/sibling!" Mouse exclaimed, but suddenly stopped when she had half shouted, realizing her anger.


“It is not Becky's fault that this happened.” Mouse thought and she grimaced, peering apologetically at the young woman beside her.  


"Be at peace Becky." Mimi told her, "I apologize. It is not your fault. I am stuck in a very bad spot thanks to Rijiin and Natil."


    "I understand, really." Rebecca replied, "All things are possible even Rijiin said that."


    She nodded quietly to Mouse who gasped at the statement. She remembered the conversation between her and Rijiin, a fair distance from the others in the group. He had told her many things and she understood enough to embrace him. Becky peered into her aquamarine colored eyes and quickly realized that she too would be facing the same thing herself very soon.


"And it's not going to be too far from now." Rebecca muttered, closing her eyes to stare at the dim starlight and in surprise at the images that opened before her. One of many possible futures appeared before her and Becky could see many avenues of choices, each with their consequence of choices made.


She felt very small with the infinite possibilities around her, overwhelming her senses. Three hours had elapsed since Natil, Rijiin had been on the campus, and so far, many things have started to happen.
 

"If the magic is changing Mouse now, it will start to change us too, very soon in fact." Becky thought to herself, realizing that her parents would never understand the changes to their daughter either and understood where Mouse was coming from about her family. Neither would her friends on campus, especially Robert nor her boyfriend, John. Seeing the starlight probably was the first step in the transition physically and later followed by spiritual changes.   


     "…The third trouble is the transition for SSI. It is going to be a bitch convincing them I am, who I say I am. I am no longer disabled though, thanks to Rijiin and Natil." Mimi complained, and she shook her head.


    "I don't know if Rijiin and Natil knew or not, but they just turned my world upside down." Mimi growled, "If he did, I hope he made it easy to fix the problems. I didn't exactly want to become young again, and lose everything I worked for."


    "Relax Mouse, you didn't lose anything academically, you still have your degrees and credits from this college. You still are Mimi Stewart. Nothing has changed except your age and looks. Everyone can get a makeover, including you." Becky declared with a smile. "Just be confident. I am sure there is work for you as a sexy sixteen/seventeen year old elf female."

    
    Mouse glanced at her in silence, a look of contempt at the notion of a sexy sixteen/seventeen-year-old female, Elf or not.


    "Well for all things considered," Mimi replied, "This is going to be one hell of time and trouble to straighten everything out on this day. How about you and the others, what have you told Patrick, Steve and Cathy so far?"


Mouse saw Becky's wide smile and guessed that it had been a battle to either tell them what happened or avoid telling them anything at all. Mimi did not know which path they had taken when it came to their friends.
 

"You mean Cathy the Hun? Uhm… well… so far we have said nothing." Becky replied meeting Mimi's amused expression and both managed a laugh before becoming solemn. She paused.


"Omar, Chris, Jen, John and Dave have been tap dancing around the questions like they are live landmines. Robert left the room for a while for one of his classes and so did Katherine."


"Robert of course is pissed off though and does not understand it, wanting me to explain it." Becky continued, "He accuses me of holding back stuff from him. He says you are not the Mimi he knows, you're an imposter."


Mimi laughed briskly, joined in by Rebecca and they both tried to become solemn.

Amused grins appeared on their faces.
          

"That's not true, but that's Robert." Mimi remarked, making Becky chuckle quietly beside her.


The young woman standing beside Mouse noted an uncertain flicker of starlight in her friend's eyes. Rebecca saw the same uncertain twinkle in Rijiin's eyes before the strange couple had started work, helping and healing Mimi. A lot had happened the last few hours. She did not quite know what to make of it. Her changes were just beginning, however and a lot would start to happen in the days that would progress.


"I wonder who that Harper really was." Becky remarked casually, "I wonder where Rijiin found her at. She was really something."

    
"Yes, she was. I can only guess he found her wherever he found himself, arriving in his new time." Mimi mused, "I wonder what Nathaniel had in mind when he handed out the cards for that shop in Eastridge. It seems quite strange for him to hand out cards for a place in the mall, even though the human part of him died in a cement culvert across from it. He isn’t human anymore you know."


Mimi turned her head abruptly, scanning the area quickly before turning her head to meet the astonished look on Becky's face. Her jaw had literally dropped open when hearing the name of Mimi, Robert, Dave and even her friend who was said to been murdered.


Becky remembered the day that her friend Nathaniel had been reported murdered. A body, his body, was found dismembered mutilated and lying face down in a cement culvert by kids across from Eastridge Mall. The authorities were called, and his body was left almost unidentifiable until the authorities found untouched his blood-covered wallet in his back pocket. Becky, like many of her friends, (Whom he called the De Anza Rat Pack) their morale dropped to an all time low upon learning of his death. Family asked many questions, even friends about his demise. All were wondering why he had been at Eastridge in the first place and that answer was easy: A party with the Bulletin Board System he had joined. There was some piece of mind when it was reported that the owners and members of that Bulletin Board System were rounded up as suspects, for what the authorities had designated as a murder case.


There still was no explanation of why it happened and the suspects had a strong alibi that they were not to blame for his death. They had all claimed that he was alive when they last saw him, in front of the shop in Eastridge which was cleared of any suspicion by the logs, records, video and other security features that were demonstrated to the authorities, indicating he could not leave without swiping his card, neither all the emergency exits had not been tampered with.


When he had entered it, he had lost them, into the winds of history.    


    "Jesus, there is nothing like reopening old wounds." Mimi thought to herself and remembered that nightmarish day like it was yesterday. She met Becky's confused look.  


"Wait, he's dead Mimi." Becky whispered, "You said Nathaniel, don't you mean Rijiin? What did you mean by the human part of Rijiin?"


"Well, Rijiin is actually him." Mimi replied simply.


Becky had turned her head, snapping it and a look of surprise had appeared on her face, meeting the confirming nod of Mimi.


"It is the human part and the very soul of Rijiin that was found in the cement culvert. It is hard to explain Becky."   


"T-that can't be possible Mouse." Becky stammered, staring at the calm and confident look on Mimi's face. "He's dead we both know that."


"Not now he isn't." She replied, "Rijiin is Nathaniel. I was not quite sure at first, but when he called Robert, 'Unga' he confirmed my suspicion. Only Nate called him that."


"Holy shit… T-that's right…!" Becky whispered, "Are you sure? I don't believe it."


"It is him." Mimi replied confidently, "He has been through a lot and has given up so much in order to help me the way he did. Rijiin gave up his very existence as a human in this century and so much with his transformation that he is now a traveler in a different time and place, and dance."


“You mean he is permanently living in the past?” Becky gasped and the young elf maiden nodded slightly. “H-how did he get there? Why didn’t he return…?”


The young woman paused, finding herself choked up at the notion his friend was alive and well.


“When…?” Becky asked, almost demanded, “I-I don’t understand.”


“He has undergone changes and ended up in the Renaissance Period of time.” Mouse replied, “About thirteen hundred and fifty A.D. He risked his very existence, coming through time and using their magic to help me. He has changed a lot in the process of when he did so. Rijiin did not return because when he found healing because it separated his humanity and left him fully Elven. He would have died returning to this time through the way he ended up there, therefore he stayed. The body found was in the culvert was his, but it is the remnants of his humanity.”


Mouse’s friend only gasped in silence and stared at her.


"He changed us all you know." Mimi pointed out and she grimaced.


"Have you been seeing starlight when you close your eyes Becky?” Mimi asked suddenly and the young woman beside her had turned her head, showing surprise. She remained silent for at least two minutes, as-if to contemplate her answer.


     "Yes, but what difference does that make?" She demanded, studying Mimi for a moment.


     "I see starlight and you will too the same as I will, bright in the darkness." Mimi replied, meeting the look with a nod, "That's how I know what I know. I saw it in the patterns of starlight. Its power can manipulate the very fabrics of time."


    Mouse paused to wave her hand but also managing a shrug at the questioning look of her friend.


"It happened when I was transformed and like an explosion the starlight seemed to fill my very soul." Mimi explained, "I stood on the meadow with the Lady, with Rijiin, and a young female who you see before you. I was filled with the power of the elves, by the Lady's hand, changing me as I am."


Mouse paused for a moment seeing the stunned reaction of her friend.


"You will be able to see images of the past, present, and future paths in the starlight. You will see events of others too and be able shift the webs of events at will." Mimi explained, "One of the first images I saw was Rijiin's transformation into an elf, his journey to Eastridge, his stepping through a portal of energy to walk and live in another time. I saw his death, transformation and rebirth. I know it sounds crazy, but you should have a look, when it is time, and only then you will understand."

 
Dubiously the young woman stared at Mimi and her explanation to shake her head slightly. A look of question appeared on Becky's face as Mimi nodded slowly to her. Rebecca, taking Mimi's instruction had closed her eyes, to peer at the dim starlight in the darkness. Dim images formed around her, swirling in and out in the wisps of haze, appearing and disappearing before her.


The young woman saw a few of the events Mimi had described in detail, seeing part of it for herself. What Rijiin had undergone in the beginning, where he lay dying in a wooded clearing. The images after that became garbled and cloudy. She did not know what to say, but had yelped in alarm as the face of a woman flashed an appearance in the starlight. The woman had long dark hair, solemn and kind gentle gray eyes, and there was a flash of blue and silver that followed.  


      "I don't believe it!" Rebecca declared suddenly, "Jesus, where the hell has he been and what has he gotten himself into?"

    
    "He has been living in different time and place for the last year." Mimi replied, "I know it's hard to believe but you have to trust me. The woman the Creatrix of the elves told me a few things too."


Becky's eyes widened in silent astonishment, shaking her head slightly at the images she saw in the starlight.   
 

"Yes, she is a beautiful woman with long dark hair and gray eyes." Mouse told her and met the stunned expression on Becky's face. Rebecca bobbled her head in dumfounded silence at the vision and the familiar face she had just seen.


     "Who is she, Mimi?" Becky asked curiously, and Mimi quietly smiled.   


     
"You have been blessed to see the Creatrix of Rijiin and Natil's people, the elves." Mimi replied, "The same Creatrix for people who practice Wicca too. She is the one who made the elves, and she is the elves. It is she who binds them together as a race."


     "So that is the Creatrix?" Becky asked, showing astonishment by the vision, "I never thought she would look like that, I only got a cloudy concept when I was learning Wicca with my boyfriend. He said you can manifest and bring her to you in the circle, but that takes a long time to learn how to do that."


     "It is. She is the Creatrix who are the elves." Mimi told her, "She is their goddess, who the elves can go to her for council and wisdom. Witches and warlocks worship her too. The elves though, are the only ones who can go to her and be face to face with her. The elves are very privileged to have the ability to do that. Even we can go to her if you want to."


     "H-How…?" Becky asked, her voice filled with emotion, "How do we go to her? I want to go to her. Have you gone to her Mouse?"


    "Aye, I have and I have found her comfort, felt her embrace and know of her unconditional love." Mouse declared solemnly, "Come, close your eyes and find a star in the darkness you see now. Let its power find you and draw you in. Come we will do it together. Trust me Becky."


Mouse, still holding Becky's hands nodded slightly before they both closed their eyes and stared at the starlight. At first, Becky was surprised as she felt the energy sooth her senses and as she continued to stare into the darkness filled full of the dim starlight that a bright star twinkled there. She felt its energy draw her toward it. The young woman found herself afraid, for a reason she could not explain.


     "Let one call you and pull you." Mimi repeated, her voice echoing in the starlight and the energy around her, "Just relax and let it flow."


Letting go of her fear, Rebecca followed Mimi as they were drawn toward a star. Together they traveled through the white-hot fire of its cornea until they appeared on the meadow a few minutes later. Becky jumped to her feet in a heartbeat, sprinting across the meadow toward the Lady standing with open arms. The young woman embraced her openly and wept as she held her tight. They had vanished from the campus, fading like a shadow.


"My Lady," Becky whispered, "I cannot believe it's you. I am so glad to finally see you."


     "Welcome Becky. Welcome Mimi." The Lady said, "Be at
Peace. You both are welcome here."


She held the sobbing young woman in her arms as she consoled her quietly for a few minutes. Mimi realized that her companion and friend had finally found peace for a troubled spirit. Rebecca realized too that Omar, Dave, Chris and Robert had been present when the elves had arrived into the Lounge. They too would face change by the elves' energy if they chose to let it. She wondered if they would go that far and embrace the energy that had surrounded them.


         As the young woman named Becky Mc Gough and the goddess Elthia of the Elves interacted, Mouse held back. The young elf-maiden stood nearby gazing up at the stars and staring off at the infinity that made up space above them. She was able to see many constellations, many planets that brightly reflected in the dark sky, and the infinity of many galaxies making up the universe before her.


Mimi found herself feeling incredibly small in comparison to what she was seeing. The young elf maiden gasped quietly when seeing the even larger bodies of the universe above. Mouse saw whole worlds above them and shivered at the sight before her letting her awareness dance among them. The young elf maiden could see the events of the past, the present, and the future avenues. Mimi was capable to see the many events of ‘what ifs’ and perhaps ‘what could be’ lie out before her that opened like a book. Even she could not say she was wrong for what she saw there, and what would be coming for her in the future.  


"So, where do the elves belong in the realm of a whole universe?" Mimi asked herself, unsure how to answer that or what she saw in the starlight before her. The young elf maiden shook her head as she walked toward Becky and the Lady. The Lady turned her head to smile warmly at Mimi who approached them. The youthful looking elf maiden returned the smile with one of her own. Rebecca met the questioning gaze of Mouse and she nodded formally to her.


"I feel so strange, and what is going on with Mimi, her personality is not what it was this morning. I wonder if this is more magic that is changing her there too?" Becky thought to herself, quickly sensing the feeling of déjà-vu as she stared at her friend whom the elves had healed. Glancing up at the heavens, Becky stared as Mimi did at the stars that twinkled brightly in the night sky. She suddenly felt quite small in comparison to the universe too seeing the infinity that lay out before them both.  


 "Damn, those changes today are remarkable." Becky murmured to herself, glancing at the Lady, who smiled as Mimi dropped to one knee before her. She placed a loving hand on Mimi's shoulder.


"You do me great honor, beloved Mimi." The Lady told her and nodded her head to the young maiden, "Be at peace my daughter, blessings upon you this day."  


"Thank you my Lady." Mimi said, "Blessings upon you too."


    Rising, Mimi motioned to Becky, who took up her hand and around them, the meadow faded from view. Again, they found themselves in the sunken garden of De Anza College, the sound of falling water from the fountain and falling rain upon them. Both of the maidens sheepishly scanned the empty quad in silence, thankful that it remained devoid of people.
           

     "She is more beautiful than I ever realized." Becky exclaimed, "I never knew she looked like that!"

     
"Aye, the elves are so privileged to have her for council and wisdom." Mimi replied, "I envy them, in many ways. I hope we will have such abilities, and be able to have council like that. We have a lifetime ahead of both of us, immortality, if we chose to go to the light."  


"I know." Becky replied, "So do I Mimi. Be at peace."  


Mimi gasped, and turned her head to behold the woman beside her. She had used one of the elves' phrases, and it surprised her. Closing her eyes briefly, the young elf maiden saw the many patterns in the starlight that had made-up her friend and the many paths that lay out before her. Mouse saw many the images open before her like a book and it confused her, making her grimace in silence, despite it all.


"You know it is funny how all this has happened. How Rijiin kept dropping hints at both of us until I finally caught on and realized who it really was who stood before us. I was skeptical at first but not now. He showed me what happened and I still did not believe him at first."  Mimi told her, "I am happy to know he wasn't murdered as the report said by the authorities and glad he's alive even if it's not in this century. I hope he remains safe wherever he is and I am also glad he found someone special to be with him."


    Becky had nodded in reply to Mouse's observation, "So am I, I am glad he's not alone where he is. She was beautiful, just like you." Mouse smiled at the compliment.  


    "Well you should tell me about being beautiful, I got wolf whistles and cat calls all the way back from the Physical Education Quad!"  Mouse exclaimed. She turned to meet the grin Becky was trying to hide and they finally both gave up to laugh.


"Well you do look like a young high schooler." Becky mused, chuckling at the annoyed look Mouse gave her before she nodded quietly. "You are so way too young for taking classes here at De Anza College. Why aren't you in High School young lady?"


"Are you going to bust my chops with that?" Mimi demanded in mock anger, hiding a smile of her own.


"You bet your cute ass I will." Becky replied in mock sarcasm, and again they both glanced at each before filling the garden with their loud laughter.
 

"Alas, so true…" Mimi said with a sigh, "More than you know."


"If I was you, I would not go back to the table dressed like that." Becky suggested, "You know what kind of reception you are going to receive when you walk into the Fireside Lounge by Cathy the Hun. She and the others are probably still there."


"No, my books are in there," Mouse replied, "We should go get them and I want you to walk with me to class. We have something to discuss, some travel arrangements that need to be made for going out to Eastridge."


     "Okay, what is on your mind Mimi?" Rebecca asked curiously but already seemed to know from the starlight about the conversation they were having. She already knew where this journey would be taking them. It would be heading southeast and heading to Eastridge Mall to check out the story behind Rijiin's shop, which he passed out cards for before his departure with his beloved Harper.
 

    "I just wanted to know if you wanted to go shopping tonight. It seems I am going to need a new wardrobe. I'd like to go in an hour or so."  Mouse offered, "And we need to figure a time to go to this place in Eastridge."


    She held up the card belonging to Rijiin, who had passed them out.


    "OOOH I'd love to… make you so damn sexy you will have to beat men off with a stick." Becky said, with a giggle. Mouse laughed, shaking her head at the young woman beside her.

    
"And I knew that card would come into play. When do you think we should…" Becky started to ask, but both maidens fell silent when they saw Robert appear from the door. Mimi's fiancé on the other hand, had spied them near the sunken garden and lumbered toward them.


They glanced at each other before turning to face him. Mimi sensed his open hostility toward her, but despite the feeling, she chose to ignore it. Mouse glanced at Becky who noted a slight change as they stared at him.

            
"Becky. I need to talk to you inside."  He told her, turning to nod a silent greeting to Mouse, but he also waved his hand to dismiss her.


     "Hi…" Robert said, "Can you excuse us please? This happens to be a bit personal, and a tad bit adult."


Mimi found herself offended by the implication of her youthful appearance, being a High School age student and resented being dismissed as she was. Mouse wanted to tell him where to go in so many words but suddenly found her anger a bit more volatile. She wanted to punch his lights out. Mouse, if she would have chosen to do so, could have accomplished that very task and could probably lay him out with one punch. She refrained, briefly closing her eyes and gritting her teeth to let the starlight sooth her emotions as-if to temper her anger like cold steel that Rijiin had carried at his side.
 

     "We'll both be there in a second Robert." Becky replied tightly, "Just give us one more minute."


    "Come on, talk to me. You are keeping stuff from me, and that is not right." Becky shook her head at the look Mouse gave her. Both heard the whine in his voice, and Robert glared at them with unbridled anger in his eyes when he saw their reaction.


    "Robert, please, not now." Becky shot back at him, "I want to finish this conversation with Mouse and it is as you said, somewhat personal."


Robert turned his gaze upon the beautiful young woman who stood with her. He saw the twinkle in Mimi's eyes and the anger that clearly showed on her fair features. Through the transformation, her original face still minutely seemed to show, making her semi-recognizable but it would not be for long as the elves magic continued to change her. Little by little, the familiarity of Mimi's face and original identity was fading away.


     "That's not Mimi, quit lying to me."


    "That IS Mouse and just go back inside. We will be there in a minute." Becky replied hotly, ignoring his whistle and his clucking his thumb toward the Student Campus Center. She even had the audacity to turn her back on him as she focused her attention back on Mimi.


    "Bobby, PLEASE!" Mimi grumbled, "It is important, and there is a lot going on that even I don't understand right now. When I know what's happening, you will know."


    Quietly, he shook his head, swearing under his breath as he lumbered off. Becky's eyes narrowed as they stood watching him as he departed. They both saw that was now very different from before. He seemed a bit better in the way he carried himself and both women noted that his stance is not as low as it usually is, caused by the Cerebral Palsy in his knees.


    "I wonder." Becky mused, "If Rijiin and Natil's power did that… you know." Mimi glanced in her direction.


"I know, but I do not think so." Mimi replied, shaking her head, and turned her head to watch Robert lumber over to his bicycle in the distance.  They watched him peddle and his bicycle with him on it disappearing into the Art's Quad (A-Quad).


Both had wondered if Rijiin had attempted to heal him, knowing the elves' power had spilled over the group and changing the others at the table, even Robert. Mimi and Becky both wondered what kind of changes the elf would have made to him if he proceeded in such an event.


In truth, Rijiin had attempted to heal him when the magic of the elves spilled out over the group at the table. In the way of Robert, the elf had changed very little and had only improved his condition slightly from before. Robert flatly refused the Elven couple’s healing upon him and if they had tried to push to heal him in force, it would have literally ripped away his very soul from him. The elf had been wise and backed off when he sensed the Robert's refusal of Natil and his healing powers.


He even had briefly looked into the starlight at future events and saw the travesty that it would cause by such an event.
              

"How much more will we change I wonder?" Mouse thought and turning she motioned to Becky, handing her the note. The young woman examined it.


"What's this Mimi?"


"It seems to be a calling card." Mimi replied, "Rijiin gave me the green and gray garb. It seems he was thinking ahead for some reason, a journey perhaps."             


"What kind of language is that?" Becky asked, but strangely, she too could read it and had no trouble understanding it.


"It is Elfish…" Mimi replied, and Becky managed a shrug. The young woman smiled at the signature on the parchment, the Elfish stilted but written with a strong hand.


    "Whatever it is, it looks very elegant." Becky observed, as she examined the note carefully.


    "On the Eastridge front, we should go as soon as possible Mouse." Becky suggested, "We really need to find out what's going on, and I have a suspicion the card he handed us and this note will show us what has happened today."


"That's for sure."  Mouse grumbled, and here she turned her attention back to the fountain, as did Becky. As they stared at the multicolored art deco design of the fountain, they stood there silently and both had many questions with no way to answer them all. They needed to go to Eastridge Mall, and that was a fact. When they would go was another matter. Mimi knew she could not do it right away because she had a two more classes to attend today. She found it hard to think about attending those classes, with the massive changes to her body and no way to explain them to her colleagues.
 

"I have class in a few minutes and I still need to get my books in the Fireside Lounge. Please come with me to go get them." Mimi said formally, "Don't worry about Cathy, Steve or Patrick. I can handle them."


Mouse turned her head to grin when Becky silently nodded. A few minutes later, they returned to the Fireside Lounge.


    When Mimi stepped into the dining room, everyone at the table, again seated together in the room, looked up in astonishment at her entry. Cathy, Steve, Patrick, Dave, Omar, Katherine, 'Jell-O' Jen, Vi and Chris turned their heads to look at the entrance too.


    At first, the group seated at the familiar table, did not say anything as Mimi entered the Fireside Dining Room, followed by Becky. They both walked silently to the table where the 'De Anza Rat Pack' now sits, and Mimi put her large pack on the table. There was an uncomfortable glance between her friends, before turning their full attention to the beautiful young woman who stood before them. It had been more than three full hours since Mouse had left the room, and the group at the table did not initially recognize her. They clearly had not expected someone like this, so different, young and beautiful to enter the Dining Room. A hush fell over the room. Dave peered at her in genuine surprise, as did Chris, Vi, ‘Jell-O’ Jen, and Omar. All present finally recognized whom it was that stood openly before them. Jen and Katherine just stared in silence.


     "Wow. It's Mimi." Dave had murmured to Omar, who nodded in silent reply, having the same revelation. They noted the clothing Mimi wore was the same as the visitors a few hours ago who blessed them with their presence. The garb seemed to shimmer in the low light, almost with an aura around her. Mouse quickly closed her books and arranged her papers before putting them in her pack on the table. The elf maiden sensed discomfort by the group at the table and she glanced at each one of them with a smile and a nod.


     "Hey those are Mimi's books." Cathy warned without looking at Mimi first. She glanced in Mimi's direction, in a casual chat with Steve, Patrick, and the others. Her back, like Steve and Pat had been to the door and all three now peered at the unfamiliar face, making them do the classic double take to look at it again. Mimi's best friend gasped loudly when realizing that it was Mimi herself standing at the table.


As Mouse stood beside the table and gathered up her books, Cathy noted that her best friend was walking on her own two feet and there was no wheelchair. She also stared at the semi-familiar face, now looking quite different from what it was a few hours ago, when she too arrived into the Fireside Dining Room with Patrick and Steve.


    "Holy Christ, is that you Mouse?" Cathy asked, looking at the now young woman who nodded her head slowly, standing beside them at the table.

    Mimi smiled slightly and glad that other people were acknowledging her, instead of being called a fraud as Robert had by her presence. She noted that her Robert was not at the table with the others and immediately suspected he had left campus in a huff when Becky slammed him hard when they stood talking near the sunken garden. Mouse would have been right on that assumption, and did not need to look into the starlight to know that piece of information.  


“What in heaven's name is going on here?" Cathy asked furiously, peering at Mimi who stood among them. Steve, sitting beside her was nodding his head, thinking the same thing, as was Patrick. The trio at the table sensed something was very wrong with this picture and the person they knew for a long time was not telling them everything.


     "Nothing is going on Cathy, I have to get to class that's all." Mimi replied with an ice-cold tone, motioning to Becky who stood beside her.


    Still seated in her scooter, Cathy tried to get her attention, tugging on the sleeve of her tunic several times. When Mouse turned finally to face her friend, Cathy reared up and exploded on her.


"You have some explaining to do Mimi you're not telling us everything." Cathy shouted, "What's going on? How and why are you walking? Why are you not in your wheelchair? How come you look the way you do?"


A flurry of questions assaulted Mouse and here the young woman briefly closed her eyes. Mouse let the starlight comfort her. Keeping the image of starlight in a vision, she opened them and calmly breathed out.
    

    "I don't know, but I like her this way Cathy." Patrick told her gently, casually flirting with Mimi as he always did, and a mystified grin appearing on his face.


     "Although she is a little young looking for my tastes…"


His nervous laughter echoed with the others at the table.    


"Yeah, Yeah, I am a fugitive from the 10th or 11th Grade." Mimi admitted and she laughed with all present. She placed a hand on Patrick's shoulder and managed a warm smile at him.


Cathy did not laugh, however, still grimacing impatiently as she waited for an answer.
            

"Cathy, the wheelchair is no longer needed." Mouse replied simply, "As you can see."


The young woman with that notion had bowed slightly. She turned after she packed her backpack, hefting it and walked with silent steps toward the doorway. Becky followed her. Mimi had more she wanted to tell Cathy, to explain it a bit better, but something told her to refrain and let it ride.  She was wise to retreat.  


"Cathy, we'll talk about it later, when I can explain what happened to me more accurately." Mouse promised, "I will, just trust me. I have to go now. If you want to meet later I'll be back here in the Main quad in a couple of hours."


Her friend was shaking her head, and Mimi knew that would not be good enough. Mouse and Cathy rarely had secrets from each other, having known each other for a very long time. This would be the first time in Mimi's life she refrained from telling her friend anything and held back information from her.  


"That's no answer Mimi." Cathy told her and Mouse only shrugged, "But... HEY!"


 The young elf maiden had walked abruptly from the room, through the doors, into the quad beyond. Turning sharply, the duo walked down the steps cutting through the bookstore into the backside of it that exited into the Arts Quad (A-Quad). Becky walked beside her, and noted her silent steps even on the wet pavement.


Behind them, Cathy raced out of the Dining Room, through the electric doors into the quad outside the Student Campus Center on her scooter but here she stopped under an overhang, realizing that she had lost her.


She headed to the bookstore's wheelchair access and hit the button to enter the store, Here she stopped, turning her head three-hundred and sixty degrees, not seeing them in the store and having no idea which way they went from here. Mimi's friend turned the scooter around in a huff, returning to the Fireside Dining Room.


The group who had seen Mimi's transformation had talked in low tones, at the dismay of Patrick and Steve who sat at the table. They were all unsure what they had just seen.


In the Arts Quad (A-Quad) Becky walked beside Mimi along the blacktop walkway toward the center of the Quad.


     "This is fucking getting very bizarre." The young woman commented, "You aren't making any noise as you walk."


    "Another ability of the elves I guess, they must have the ability of stealth." Mimi replied absently, "I actually like that ability, and also able to see in the dark. Both will come in handy when needed."


Rebecca chuckled and nodded silently in reply. Mimi remembered that she had noted the dim areas in the Student Campus Center's bottom floor as she peered through the windows into darkened offices and able to see the interior with no problem. She smiled at the ability.


"By the way, why didn't you tell them?" Becky asked, and Mimi turned her head, showing a surprised expression on her face. She quickly shrugged her shoulders but Becky already knew the answer, to half-heartedly agreed with it.


"How can I?" Mouse replied, "Like the college, I can't explain to them what Rijiin and Natil did to me. I definitely just cannot blurt it out that elves healed me and changed me into an elf as they are. Especially Cathy, she already probably thinks I am nuts and she of all people would get the college agitated to have me locked away. I just cannot tell anyone what happened yet, not confidently. There are so many questions that I have to get answered first for my own sanity."


"Hmmm, that is a very good point." Becky replied, managing a laugh, "I wouldn't think she would go that far, but you never know."


"Let's head to my class and talk." Mouse said formally, "I just want to make sure of a few things. I actually want to go to this place in Eastridge tonight to find out what this is all about and what really happened here, but it is getting late. The mall would be closed by the time we would get there. Let's stick to going shopping though, and pick up that new wardrobe for me."

    
"What do you have in mind Mimi?" Becky countered, smiling broadly. "What time you want to leave?"


         "Traveling to Eastridge, how about we leave tomorrow morning at 9:00 am." Mouse replied, "I have only one class in the afternoon and I know I can skip it. It won't take a terrible hit on my GPA if I miss a day or so."


    The young woman beside Mimi managed a nod. They continued walking further into the Arts Quad (A-Quad).


"Shopping though, meet me here in an hour or so." Mimi said taking in a breath. Becky nodded quickly, smiling brightly.


    "Good. I will meet you here." Becky told her, as they approached her class and here, Mouse turned to embrace Becky. Stepping back, she turned with silent steps walking toward the classroom door.


    "I'll see you here, one hour." Mouse’s friend repeated, making Mimi nod and wave before disappearing through the doorway of her class. Becky was alone in the quad but was close enough to the door as Mimi disappeared through it to hear the reactions of her fellow students in her class. The young woman could hear the gasps of amazement, followed by catcalls and whistles.


Rebecca managed a broad grin, and a quiet laugh as Mouse tried to answer the questions put to her by the other students and the instructor.


"I think they noticed you Mimitti." Becky thought and managed a quiet giggle.
 

Turning, the young woman walked toward the Main Quad from the Art's Quad (A-Quad) and toward her destination, the familiar area around the Student Campus Center. Before she walked up the steps by the ATM machine, the young woman turned sharply, to the right walking down five steps into the sunken garden located across from Flint Center. Here, Becky took seat on a bench under a thick tree that protected her from the falling rain, and reflected back what she and the others in the Fireside Dining Room had witnessed earlier this morning.


"It will not be if they allow it or not, this magic utilized by Rijiin and Natil… It is going to be a magic that will forcefully make changes and will be impossible to prevent." Becky thought to herself, "Christ, call that a raping of the soul. I truly hope it does not do that."

 


There was a lot to come for all of them, touched by the strange powers wielded by Rijiin and Natil. Becky knew it, as did Mimi. As for the others she could not be sure.


"…And what is strange about this is that it did happen, that is for a sure fact." Becky murmured to herself, pulling out the card, examining it and reading it several times, "This card is the key."


The young woman named Becky Mc Gough held the business card that Rijiin had given them, and like Mimi had sensed a slight shift in time. Everything had seemed to change in a strange way. Rebecca had sensed that time was uncertain for them all as Mouse had. Both she and Mouse had no idea they would be drawn into a journey that would take them to the East. She wandered away from the sunken garden, walking back into the Arts Quad (A-Quad) and turning to utilize a path that ran behind the Student Campus Center and the bookstore. One will take her to the Language Quad (L-Quad) on campus and would drop her near the Advanced Technology Center.


Becky deliberately avoided the Fireside Lounge for a reason, not wanting to be caught up in the heated discussion by Cathy, Patrick, and Steve about Mimi's transformation. She was deep in thought, wandering the campus, and had not noticed that her steps too are now semi-silent on the wet pavement. Her thoughts are of what she and Mouse hoped to find in Eastridge Mall.


"God I hope this isn't something we are going to regret." Becky thought openly, and she managed to grimace, "We're probably going to find what Rijiin did and the reason for his transformation into an elf."


A half hour later, Becky wandered into the Physical Education Quad (PE Quad) of De Anza College. As she stepped through the gate from the walkway outside, as Mouse had, she stood leaning on the railing that separated the bleachers from the walkway surrounding the upper portion of the Physical Education Quad (PE Quad).


It is later in the day and there are more students sitting here on the bleachers that surround the pools, a few standing outside Instructor Offices on the same level Becky is on, also a few standing on the pool deck. Becky peered down at the few who were actually in the pool itself.


"Where the hell am I?" Becky said with a snort, realizing that she had not been paying attention to where she was and it took her a moment to realize she was in the PE Quad.


"Okay, I'm in the PE Quad, what am I supposed to be doing here?" She mused, chuckling when realizing she had been aimlessly wandering about the campus. Becky had a lot on her mind, looking forward to the half hour when she and Mimi would be going shopping. Tomorrow Becky and Mouse would be going to Eastridge to find out what was going on with Rijiin and Natil, who visited them, and had healed Mimi using the elves' mystical magic.


Shaking her head, she quickly cleared her thoughts, and perhaps doubts on her mind.


As she entered the women's locker room, the young woman made her way down the wide walkway toward the interior of the room. When she reached the row of lockers in the middle of the oversized room, Becky gasped loudly. Her eyes fell upon the image she saw in the full-length mirror attached to the end of the row.


Like Mimi, 'if confession were good for the soul' and that mirror the confessor, it definitely showed what is going on right now. Already the changes of her becoming an elf maiden had started to show and Becky could see a remarkable difference from what she looked like more than a few hours ago. The young woman realized she was much different from this morning when she awakened to come to school.


Rebecca stared at the mirror, immediately noting that her face and complexion had changed from what it was before. Her face is more rounded, and her complexion is quite fair. Becky turned her head to peer dubiously in astonishment at the longer, darker colored hair that now cascades to her mid-back in thick curls. Here she took it in her hands and silently examined it, realizing that it is free of the gray frosting that had peppered her hair before. Rebecca gazed again into the mirror at the strange reflection before her and met the twinkling, deep hazelnut colored eyes where the young woman thought she saw starlight there. Her body was leaner than it was before, changing slightly into an hourglass figure. She had drastically changed in a few hours, and was still changing as she gazed into the mirror.


Becky clearly could see the semi-familiar face she knew in the mirror but she also wondered how long that would be before even that would fade away, changing her into an elf like Mouse. She also did not realize that her Cerebral Palsy had been cured and would continue to be healed until it did not show as a strong disability that she had before. Becky, with shaking hands, pushed back her hair to gasp loudly as she stared at her now pointed ears in astonishment, having spotted them and doing the classic double take.  Her gasp had echoed the gym, and sheepishly she glanced around her, thankful that it had not attracted attention of anyone in the locker area.


"Holy shit…! I have pointed ears?" Becky gasped, staring at her ears and touching them with her hands, "Oh no, no this can't be happening. Oh my goddess, why have you changed me into this form? I do not understand… Please help me understand."


She stared at the tapered ears in silence, clearly unprepared for the minor changes happening to her body, her face, and probably to her soul.  


"Now shit is really starting to get weird. Whatever is happening to me, it is definitely changing me like Mimi." Rebecca murmured, shaking her head and watched as her already slightly longer hair thankfully fell evenly in place over her ears. Around her, an invisible aura swirled around her, changing, healing as it changed her.


    "I wonder how much I will change. Will I still be recognizable to the people who know me? Like my parents?" She thought, a question that the young woman tried to answer herself and every time she thought it, the answer clearly was 'No'.


Great power had transformed Mimi clearly into an elf, now it was changing her too. Becky thought of Dave, Omar, Katherine, Jen, Chris and even Robert who had been seated at the table with Mimi. She thought of her boyfriend John, who joined her at the table and realized that he too was probably touched by the elves' power of healing.


Rebecca wondered if they could see the starlight yet or noticed anything different about themselves. A lot was happening and Becky managed an inward sigh. She found she could hardly wait for the trip to Eastridge. The young woman wondered if she could handle the fallout related to the transformation she is going through. Again the answer was clearly 'No'. It was something she would have to get used to and damn quick. Explanations later with her parents, and friends she knew would be very difficult. Many questions that would be coming up ahead of her and she had no idea how to answer them.


    Glancing at the clock Becky grimaced noting it is almost time for meeting Mimi in the Arts Quad (A-Quad) again and turning she made her way to the exit. As the young woman walked through the main hallway, she noted her footsteps are silent on the cement floor. Before passing though the doorway, she could see clearly in the dim interior of several spare storage areas, all highlighted in lavender and purples.


    The young woman quickly realized that she had the ability to see in the dark on top of stealth, just like Mimi and the elves.  She clearly was not prepared for these abilities, finding herself blown away by them. It is as Mimi had indicated, that was clearly added to her abilities.


    "Wow, that's something new." Thought the young woman, as she stepped out into the light and turning she found her way past the instructor's offices. Even shadowed as they were by the overhang she clearly could see into each one. Rebecca walked past them and toward the gate that would lead her into the Sciences Quad (S-quad). She chose this way over the alternate route leading to the backside of the Main Quad/Language Quad (L-Quad) along the border walkway between the two quads. Either way would take her to the Main Quad located in then center of the campus.


Becky passed many students, who glanced in her direction and no doubt admired the young woman's changing body. She grinned at them, and nodded a greeting as she walked past. Like Mouse, Becky wanted to run, leap, and jump to test the new abilities of her changing body. She suddenly felt energized by the changes in her body. The young woman would also have to, like Mouse, deal with the same issues with parents, the college, friends, and even her boyfriend who might not like the changes at hand.


"Oh brother, I hope this is not going to turn into a fiasco." She thought, thinking of the reaction that the others would have when they saw her. Becky thought of Robert and his reaction toward Mimi and her changes. The young woman wondered if she would be treated in the same manner.


Fifteen minutes later, Becky found her way to the Main Quad, walking along the border between it and the bookstore near the sunken garden. She walked down three steps and at the backside of the bookstore in the Arts Quad (A-Quad) where she would wait for Mimi to arrive. Here, the young woman closed her eyes, staring at the starlight in the darkness, letting the dim starlight sooth her senses. She suddenly felt hands on her shoulders and she whirled to face John, her boyfriend who stood before her.  He stared astonished at the semi-unfamiliar face and he backed off in alarm, if not in fear.


"Sorry thought you were someone else." He stammered, and he paused a moment, blinking his eyes realizing it is who he thought it was.


"Becky?" He had to ask and she nodded. John could not say he was wrong when he saw a strange twinkle in his girlfriend's eyes and the strangely semi-unfamiliar face. He noted the many changes of his girlfriend, ones that he had not expected to see. He thought of earlier when everyone who sat with Mouse, graced by two strangers who had helped and healed her. They had changed Mimi drastically from what she was, into something very different using their abilities and utilizing the Elven magic to do so. The elves had a power that he understood from his studies in Wicca, but had never seen it used until currently. It is a power he knew only to be lost over the course of many centuries past.


"Blessed be, I am." Becky replied formally, "Be at peace John."


Here, his girlfriend bowed slightly and he grinned uncertainly to kiss her on the lips. John stepped back to stare at her in silence, amazed like earlier at the changes enacted by the elves for Mimi.
 

"Holy Christ, you look completely different from this morning." He stammered, "What and the hell did they do to you? They didn't, you know change you too did they?"


"By 'they' you mean the elves?" Becky asked and she shook her head quietly, "No they didn't directly change me but the energy they used did spill out over the table to the others seated there. I was touched by the energy as was Dave, Omar, Chris, Katherine, Jen and even Robert. You should have it too, as you were standing beside us."


He shook his head, "If it has, I am not seeing it yet. What kind of changes will I see so I will know?" John asked, very curious by what Rebecca had pointed out and the young woman pondered a moment.


"If you allow it to change you, which I doubt you can prevent it, you will be able to see starlight when you close your eyes. Your body will firm up, be stronger, nimbler, and you will have more abilities that you did not have before."


Here, John managed a chuckle. The young man doubted that he could really take all this seriously, but then again, he had seen Rijiin and Natil's power, what they had done for Mouse. The young man could not exactly say that was made up, what he had seen with his own eyes. Mimi did not look like what she had been before, all thanks to Rijiin and Natil.


"Will I look like an elf?" He asked with an infectious grin and matching his grin, Becky did not shake her head negatively in response. She had paused to for a moment before she shrugged her shoulders.  


"That's hard to say beloved." Becky replied, "As Rijiin told Mimi, and you were there, that there are going to be a lot of changes in the next few hours, perhaps even days. Their magic is unpredictable and can choose different paths. It is hard to say exactly what path it takes or what changes will happen. Only time will tell what you gain. I think what they said is relevant for the rest of us."


John managed a nod.


"I remember. So where are you off to right now?" He asked, placing a hand on her shoulder, gripping it gently. “I was wondering if we could have dinner tonight.”


Becky shook her head slightly, flattered by the offer.


    "Mimi and I are going to Eastridge Mall tomorrow." Becky replied, "We're going to check out Rijiin and Natil's story. Find out really what is out there. Tonight we are just going shopping, and get her a new wardrobe."


    John smiled at the thought.


    "You are welcome to tag along but only if Mimi says it’s okay." Becky replied sharply, "We should all have dinner together, as we need to seriously talk."


Becky, as-if to sense Mouse had turned her head as Mimi walked toward them. John gasped aloud seeing Mimi for the first time since the visit by Rijiin and Natil. He stared in awe at the remarkable changes made to her, and like many others wondered about the couple who visited her.

    
    "Becky tells me you are going to Eastridge tomorrow." John said formally, "I am asking if I can tag along, maybe take you both to breakfast or lunch over there…"


    At first, Mimi pondered the request and almost shook her head negatively, but he was offering to volunteer and pay for a meal. The youthful elf maiden did not like a feeling she had about his motives, to readily volunteer for anything without strings attached. Closing her eyes for a moment, Mimi let the starlight sooth her senses quickly learning to manipulate their powers to heal. The young elf-maiden could see feints and images in the darkness. She managed a grimace.


    "You have one chance." Mimi said impatiently, "Mess up and you are banished, as you like to put it."


    "Good, I'll see you and Becky tomorrow then at?" John replied sharply.  


"9:00 am." Mimi told him, "Right here."


He nodded a couple of times before he embraced Rebecca. He did the same for Mimi but she merely arched her left eyebrow at him. John and Becky managed a quiet laugh at the face Mimi made. The trio, Mimi, Becky and John walked together through the Arts Quad (A-Quad) toward the bus stop located on the Steven's Creek Blvd and Mary Ave side of the college for Bus Number twenty-three. As they approached it, Becky grimaced at the sight before her. The bus stop was filled with many people, who are heading home, wait for the bus scheduled every fifteen minutes at this hour and all knew the bus was going to be crowded, standing room only.


"There is a lot more than a crowded bus to worry about." Mimi thought to herself, "There is our whole life ahead of us, starting with my looking like a fugitive from the 10th or 11th grade and heading toward an unknown destination ahead of us tomorrow."   


She glanced up at the stop ahead of them and she grimaced seeing something she did not want to deal with. A scooter with her friend Cathy seated in it.


    "Oh fucking hell." Mimi said with an exasperated sigh, "Cathy is at the stop. This is not what I fucking need right now, is to answer many foolish questions about my transformation. She's going to have a field day with all this stuff that happened over the last two days."


Mimi paused to take in a breath.


"Maybe we can skip this bus and go on the next one in fifteen minutes." The young elf maiden suggested, but both John and Becky shook their heads.


    "Don't worry Mimitti, be at peace, we'll handle Cathy." Becky said, and she turned her head to wink at the young elf maiden beside her, making her laugh quietly. Mimi gasped after a moment, realizing that Becky again had used one of the elves' sayings.


    "We'll distract her if she looks up, so you can pass behind us in the crowd. It is the least we can do."

    
    Mouse, as she stood at the bus stop deliberately positioned herself behind the blue shelter with John and Becky at the front of the stop. She waited until the bus came, loading up her friend first in her scooter, and the others piled on behind her.
 Mimi slipped with the crowd to the back of the bus when her friend was not been looking. It had been just as Becky had said would happen. They had waited for Cathy's inattentiveness to move and swiftly utilized the opening. As the bus roared off, Mimi hunkered down in her seat to avoid being seen by her friend, and watching Becky wave back at Cathy when she had spied them on the back of the bus. The young woman beside Mouse leaned over to whisper to her.

    
    "She's looking. Stay low and we'll run interference until she gets off." Becky promised and Mimi nodded slightly, closing her eyes after drawing up the hood of her cloak. The young woman gazed at the starlight in the darkness, letting them sooth her senses.


There were many changes coming and Mouse realized that, staring at the patterns at the images that lay out before her like a book. Many of them were the paths she walked and each opening related to her decisions to come. Some of those involved Becky and John with her on their trip to Eastridge tomorrow. The couple and Mimi did not know they know they would all find the portal and step through the winds of time and space to where Rijiin and Natil came from. The young elf maiden was excited, hardly able to keep herself calm until tomorrow when they departed on their journey. She really wanted to find out about this new life and the path she now walked.
 

A solid half-hour had elapsed because of the rush hour traffic and at the stop on Steven's Creek Blvd and Saratoga Ave, Cathy got off the bus. Mimi looked up in the interior of the bus and smiled when her best friend got off the bus. The platform had quickly dropped her onto the ground at the stop. As Mimi's best friend moved away from the stop, toward the nearby intersection, she glanced back at the bus and at the back window. Cathy had gasped loudly, spying Mimi sitting in the back seat. She had not known Mouse was there, and only had seen Becky and John seated in the back of the bus. An annoyed expression appeared on her face. She realized that Becky and John had been running interference; distracting her while, Mimi rode the bus in the back.


"Hey Mimi…! We gotta talk!" Cathy shouted, as she waved at the bus window and Mouse, meeting her gaze waved back with a smile on her face. Her best friend hurled an insult at the bus in frustration. Cathy knew she would have to talk to her tomorrow, or at least call her when she got in to her apartment. She was unaware that Mimi was out for a shopping trip with Becky and John. Mimi's best friend, Cathy also had no idea that tomorrow that her friend would be out most of the day and on her way to Eastridge Mall in east side San Jose. She wondered why Mimi was dodging her, if it had to do with her new appearance, and her walking instead of in her wheelchair.


Back on the bus, Mimi sat upright, glancing at her companions to breathe out in an exasperated sigh. The young elf maiden was glad that Cathy had got off the bus, but knew if she was on campus tomorrow she might have to face her and answer her friend's many questions.


 Becky and John laughed, joining in with Mimi who chuckled quietly.  They had sensed her aspirations toward Cathy the Hun and how difficult for Mouse to keep things from her best friend.


"Thank you both." Mimi told the couple and they merely grinned.


When they reached the stop at Valley Fair Mall on Steven's Creek Blvd, Mouse hit the stop request and they all stepped off onto the platform after the bus rolled up to it. In the distance, she peered at the Macy's Department Store entrance on this side of the Mall and it was here where they would start shopping for her new wardrobe. As Becky promised, she took Mimi to Frederick's of Hollywood to start the process of her promise to make her ‘a looker’ and repel men with a stick. Mimi only shook her head in bemused silence, peering at the slinky undergarments, and cute clothes in this store.


Meanwhile, Four hundred years in the past: At the same moment in time as a young woman named Becky Mc Gough, Mimi Stewart and a young man named John Stack exited the public transit at their destination:


Natil and Rijiin stepped from the identical swirling energy that had brought them from the future into the past, returning them to their home of Adria in the fourteenth century. They have just arrived into the same clearing where their adventures had begun and as they stepped into the familiar wooded clearing.


As their booted feet stepped from within the portal that the couple both grimaced at the disorientation from the use of the fair folk’s magic. They both turned their heads, as they stepped away from the portal. The couple peered at the surroundings of Malvern, and the quiet rustle of the trees and the sound of nature that echoed or the crack of the undergrowth by the animals that lived here.  They both let out a sigh, both glad to be home after their long journey.


Rijiin sensed his kinfolk, and both turned their heads, surprised to see Terrill and Mirya waiting for them. The couple peered at the surprised looks of their kinfolk as Rijiin raised his arms in greeting, smiling broadly at them.


“Terrill… Mirya…!” Rijiin exclaimed, “Alanae ea yolisi Elthia!”

 

He turned to embrace the Harper, his mate, and held her tightly as he peered into her blue eyes. He kissed her and stepped back, nodding to his one true love.   


    "Ah, it's good to be home." He murmured to Natil, "I agree whole heartedly beloved."


    The young maiden managed a quiet laugh and a slight nod.


    Mirya had smiled openly when she saw the Harper and Rijiin appear unharmed from the portal, running with Terrill toward them. The maiden embraced Natil warmly and turned to greet Rijiin in the same manner.


    "By the Lady, you are both safe and sound." Mirya said, "Welcome home, you two."


"Aye welcome home!" Terrill exclaimed, joining Mirya at her side, "I trust your mission was successful?"


Rijiin faced Terrill and they shook hands warmly. He considered the question a moment, before having looked into the stars, at the time stream that lay out like a river flowing in its bed.


    "Yes, our mission to help and heal an old friend was successful." Rijiin replied, "Aye it was worth it."


The elf peered at the starlight that burned clear and cold at him. He let them calm his senses, watching at images of the past, present and future open up before him like a book. He let his awareness dance among them. He could not say he was wrong for what he had done. Rijiin grimaced in wonder about the transformation of Mimi and the results by it that would change time itself.


"I trust no more foolish adventures then Rijiin?" Terrill asked, grinning at their new kinfolk.


"Perhaps there might be some in the fourteenth century Terrill, but not any though the winds of time and space." He told them, and he cast a speculative glance at the Harper beside him. She was smiling at him, but her eyes were bright and laughing.  


Mirya's head turned in surprise, as did Terrill's when they both heard the inflection and accent strong in his voice. Both also saw the strong differences in his Elven features. Very different from what he was before his quest to the future with Natil. The couple both had exchanged a look, knowing exactly who and what they saw. Rijiin was an elf, with Elven blood flowing through his body and both could not say they were wrong of who stood now before them. Terrill and Mirya sensed the human part of him had faded away completely. They were aware of the mutilated, dismembered body found in a cement culvert somewhere in time, making it impossible to return to his time as the human he once was.  He was home here.


"Come, the others anticipate your return." Terrill said and together the four walked down the path, hidden and known only to the elves.

            
Before Rijiin left the clearing, he turned briefly examining it for a moment before he briefly closed his eyes, letting the stars comfort him. A moment later, he turned his head meeting Natil's questioning, and loving expression. The elf nodded his head as he joined his beloved Harper, embracing her with longing in his eyes, and passionately leaned over to kiss her on the lips. Surprised, Natil had gasped when he kissed her, just as they had on the campus and held it, sweet, filled with promise. When they broke, she blushed even more furiously as before. His laughter echoed through the wooded clearing among the canopy of branches above them.


    "Ed' i' arwen, amin mela lle, Natili." Rijiin told her, "Amin vesta na- ie' llea grauwus, sii' ar' ten'oio tenna' i' luume' en' i' edhelie telaea a'mael."
    

    "Vee' amin mela lle ar'ea, arn nessima heru." Natil murmured back, "Sii' ar' ten'oio A'maelamin."


She held up her hand. "Please, you can speak plainly here Rijiin."


The Harper took up his hand to walk toward Mirya and Terrill. The couple before them both exchanged a look before turning their attention back to the Harper and her companion. They had heard the elfish that he spoke fluently from his lips, as-if he had spoken it for years.


    "Amin ie' seere, amin tyav quateya, ar va on- ta de ten' ai' nat e' i' palurin, na sinome yassen lle." He replied, making her gasp and the elf smiled when he saw her reaction.


He shook his head, frowning when he had spoken Elfish again.


"Sorry beloved." He told her, “Just by habit.”


Natil smiled at him and nodded. He shrugged at her.


       "Just so, Natil…  The only fear I have now is what I have to face, but so long as it is with you, I be blessed. Now to the new beginning we face together." He declared, and Natil understood, embracing him.

      
     "You have a century or more to find healing and understanding to the knowledge provided. You have all of us to help you find just that." She replied, in a soothing voice. Both turned their head at Terrill, who had paused with Mirya, at the forest's edge.


"Aminea foya ar' sai caidis, a'mael," Rijiin replied, as he held her. They heard a clearing of the throat.


    “Are you two coming?" Terrill asked, and he motioned to the couple in silence.


Rijiin’s teacher and kinfolk had had remained silent, hearing the exchange between them, and gestured to the now transformed elf, as if to test him to lead them back to the encampment.


Behind him, the portal still was active and had not closed up. It is shrouded in the wall in the back area of shop called the Dungeon Gaming Company in Eastridge Mall and not over the entries to the virtual realty games, which Rijiin had stepped through the first time. Here it would be waiting for Mimi, Becky, John, Omar, Jen, Katherine, Chris and even Robert, if they chose to follow. The elf anticipated their curiosity about what they had seen when he and Natil had healed Mimi. He sensed the energy only after they had healed and changed Mimi, realizing that it had spilled out over the others present at the table. The elf wondered where it was going for them, his friends when it came to time and that even included the Elves of Malvern. He cast a glance about the clearing and he grinned.


      "Shall we go?" He asked, turning to offer Natil his arm, and before taking it, she laughed quietly. They exited the clearing into the forest, quickly catching up with Mirya and Terrill who walked ahead of them.


      Less than a half-hour later, they walked into the encampment of the elves, entering the cave together. Varden, Sana, Cara, and Talla were there, as were a few others.     Sana, Talla and Cara welcomed them with an affectionate embrace. Varden embraced Natil and shook hands with Rijiin. The couple talked very little about the journey, silently taking a seat next to the fire and settling in for their first night home.


"Rijiin, did you…?" Cara asked suddenly and Rijiin himself had grimaced, but he managed an affirmative nod.


     "We did, that and worse." He replied, sitting next to the fire and watched its flames that licked the wood, the embers that glowed and the sparks that flew up into the large cavern they all inhabited.


The elf knew he had something to look forward to now and no doubt expected his friends, whom he healed by Elven magic, to come to him soon enough. Talla, Sana, Varden and Charity all exchanged glances at each other, hearing clearly the thick inflection and accent in his voice. Like the others, they knew whom and what they were seeing. Both maidens could hardly say they were wrong either.


"If they want to come, they can and are always welcome here." Rijiin murmured, "I wonder whether if they will…?"


The elf, at this very moment did not know that somewhere in the twentieth century, that three people would do just as he suspected they would. Together they travel to the mall and the portal that would bring him to this new century he called his permanent home. They would come to the clearing and know the way along the paths known only to Elves to the encampment where he would personally greet them.


     "Rijiin, beloved, are you alright?" Natil asked, and he met her questioning look. The elf nodded to the Harper in reply. A mixture of the low firelight and starlight twinkled brightly in her eyes.


“I am beloved. I am at home here, and at peace." He told her with a smile and a nod.


Natil smiled at him as he put his hand on her knee. Rijiin knew he had finished his inward transition of changing into an elf. He knew his home was here and knew what he was. There was nothing for him in the future but memories and the elf realized that he was truly free of that time. He was ready to start this new beginning and it was here that he would remain in this time, his proper place, bound with the love of a certain young Harper.


The elf looked forward to what was to come for him.


The elf, seated next to Natil at the fire, glanced down at the pendant around his neck that brightly reflected the light before putting his arm about her waist. Rijiin held her warmly as both he and his Harper accepted a cup of wine from Talla.


The couple met her amused smile. The Harper managed to laugh, and Rijiin joined in, a smile brightening their faces.


A moment later, Natil pulled out her harp, and her hands danced across the strings. The ripple of notes made Rijiin look up and smile as her hands danced across the strings, playing a healing melody for them all. The melody, for the elf, was a perfect start for the beginning of a new adventure that awaited them all.

 

 

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...