Return of Starlight

Sequel to Healing Starlight


2. Kirma Atta: (Part Two)

Inside one of the classrooms, however, Janae Dorn had been working on her paper for her class. Feeling chilly, she had glanced up once to the window as a thick blanket of snowflakes fell outside. Here, she turned her head, and her eyes fell briefly upon the elf, clad in the green and gray leather clothing. She resumed her work but had done the comical double take and stared at Rijiin for a long time.  He caught her breath in silent surprise, narrowing her eyes as she peered at the elf.

“Who on earth is that?” Janae thought, and she took a quick look at her classmate sitting next to her.  

    The young woman, her classmate, Amy Solomon, and another, a young man named Brian Sanner sat adjacent to her desk.  Janae stared at the window quite stunned by the site of the elf before her.  

    "Jesus…" Janae murmured, "Who the heck is that?"

    Amy glanced up from her work, as did Brian, both noticing that Janae was peering at the window and had an astonished look on her face.

    "Janae are you alright?" Amy whispered, and glanced at Brian who met her look with a questioning look.

    Amy peered in the direction of her classmate through the window and there her eyes focused on the stranger in the snow, peering up at the mascot in the snow, clad in the strange garb.  She let out a gasp, as did Brian who as equally surprised as Janae and Amy were.

    The class turned and everyone now saw the elf.  Several snickers, sparse bursts of laughter and curious murmurs rippled through the room like wild fire as everyone peered at him from three classrooms. An insensible curiosity swept through the rooms as they peered at the stranger in amusement. Janae noted his odd, old-fashioned garb that included the cloak that draped down to his legs from his back. The students and now staff stared at him, watching him, as he staring transfixed at the mascot standing on the roof of the building and all had begun to wonder why.

Rijiin finally realizing he was on display, had felt their gazes burning into him and at first, he did not acknowledge them.

Turning his head finally, he grimaced at a few of the familiar faces before him, and after a moment, he managed to casually touch his forehead before he bowed wide and low to them.  He straightened, and his gray eyes had focused upon Janae, his jaw twitching when he recognized her from the past, or in this case future. If their gazes could have sparked, it would have caused fire. Rijiin, despite his strange plight had handled this strange predicament very smoothly and he managed a polite smile as he quickly recovered from his surprise.

As for the students, who peered at the elf, there were many mixed reactions by each person. They all, even Janae, had never seen such solemn gray eyes, or handsome fair features like Rijiin’s before. The young woman also felt a strange déjà-vu feeling when her eyes fallen upon him for the first time. Beside her, she and the others in the classrooms sensed a strange spark of energy ripple through them.

Rijiin casually placed a hand on the handle of the blade he openly wore at his side. His attention moved to his surroundings quickly and then back to the mascot. They saw the elf grin openly at the mascot, exhaling silently, as if he were relieved to be here.

 “Relax, and be at peace,” Rijiin silently thought, hearing the silent words of Varden and Terrill. “This time does not hold you.”  

He turned his head, ignoring the comments, laughter and their stares at him.  Rijiin’s gaze remained transfixed on the mascot. Inside the classrooms, there was great conversation about the strange visitor who now stood outside.

 “Who is that?” Ms. Zerkle asked, “Why and what is he doing outside? Have any of you seen him before?”

 “I don’t know Ms. Z.” A voice replied.

“He’s very handsome, that’s for sure.” Ms. Z said, “Is he a student? Why is he looking at our Eagle like that?”  

 “I don’t know.”

      “That’s one hell of a costume though.” Another student commented, “Right down to the sword and dagger at his side.”

      “A sword…? What sword?” Ms Z asked, and she looked again, gasping to realize indeed, there was a sword visible from his cloak. An ivory handled sword and its sheath.  Janae’s gaze fell upon the handsome features of Rijiin and something told her there was something more to the young man she was gazing upon.

      “Perhaps he’s a visitor.” A student said, “He looks like he has a purpose here.”

      “You know, you may be right, but we’ll see.” Ms. Z said, “OK… Let’s get back on the task please and take your seats.”

She headed for the door.  

       Rijiin turned his head when he had seen Ms. Z and two of the other teachers exit their rooms. He knew in a second they would all be out here and this situation clearly would be out of control. He quickly remembered her as one of the tougher staff members at this institution of learning.

Stepping forward three steps, he entered the door of the gym in front of him. As the students all retook their seats, Janae watched him for a moment, before he took several steps toward the gym entry and then turned her focus back to her work. As Rijiin stepped inside the gymnasium, he cast a sweeping gaze at the interior surroundings and he managed a quiet polite laugh.

“Some things never change.” He thought and shook his head.

It is the same as he remembered when had attended here. The building has a large cavernous interior, open and airy, the same large steel girder beams, and large spotlights above. Large bleachers, facing the basketball court make up the one side of the room, and the other side was the stage. He noted the stairways on either side of the bleachers and stage, recognizing they led into the locker rooms and storage areas below. A large wooden floor made up the basketball court and walking on it he moved to the center where a large purple spot marked the center court. There in gold black and white was the familiar logo of the mascot of this place, a Golden Eagle. Rijiin, kneeling beside it let his fingers brush across its purple and gold surface.  

 “So it’s true.” He murmured, “I am really here, I have jumped time, but when? …And why I am I here again? This really makes no sense.”

Standing up, he turned his head when he heard voices behind the stage curtain. Quickly, Rijiin spun on one heel, walking, half running with silent steps toward an inner door. Behind him, Reynolds, Zerkle and one other teacher had followed, after a student n the class had pointed at the gym. They entered, but they did not see the elf exit through the far door.

Outside the gym in a hall, he crouched by a heavy piano that obscured the hall and waited. The elf peered into the deserted dim hallway, watchful for anyone who might have seen him. Behind the elf, in the large auditorium, students appeared after a workout on the stage and he watched them walk to the locker room. No one seemed to notice the elf standing in the dim hallway or partially peeking into the doorway. He had withdrawn behind the piano when he saw the three teachers walking toward the hallway. They passed him by, not noticing him behind the piano, his cloak blending in with the walls.  They returned to their classes, puzzled by the stranger who had graced his presence upon them on this cold morning.

 At this point, he peeked in the door, and then turned away, stepping back from it and slowly his eyes moved within a familiar long hallway. Quickly Rijiin traversed the hallway, passing the doors of the Art and Music Departments. He quickly arrived at the first cross of the hallways running the length and width of the building. Standing near the edge, Rijiin stood away from the center of the hallway cross and adjusted his bearings. He peered down the hallway at the far end, able to see another set of doors and outside light visible there where he knew the other hallway crossed this one. His head turned to stare down the hallway toward the front of the building where he knew the office to be, the tutor room and the lunchroom. He then turned his attention to the double doors entering the library. Rijiin stared at the short hallway, recognizing this hall and it made him smile.

The elf had recognized two familiar voices that echoed from within the classrooms nearby.

    “Ms. Long.” He murmured, “Ms. Bender, no way.”

The elf had to make a big effort not to look in on the classrooms as he remained near the edge of the wall, his cloak allowing him blend into the darkness and provide him some concealment. Rijiin, as he stood beside the wall, he let out a sharp silent exhale as a student and staff member passed him. The elf watched as they continued on their way and he managed a grin. He was thankful they had not noticed him and he let out a breath, surprised to realize that he had been holding it.

Quickly, Rijiin walked past the first cross in the hallway, into a brightly lit section of this hallway near another office. The elf noted a nearby alcove, next to some exit doors to the outside and he headed toward it. His being in the alcove kept him clear of the main hallway, offering some additional concealment and it quickly allowed him to gather his bearings from his memories of this place.

“Okay, this is the freshman/sophomore hallway.” Rijiin thought quickly, remembering back when he served here, “Down that way is the junior hallway that parallel the senior one to the front. Right now, I am near the counseling office.”

His gaze scanned the tiled, white walls and the lockers of the freshman/sophomore hall, decorated in the festive orange and black of Halloween. The elf remained in the empty alcove next to a door that exited to the outside. Sure enough, he had recognized the doorway of the counseling office on one side of the hall, opposite to a row of lockers and the windows. As he continued to watch, peeking out of the alcove, his gray eyes silently studied the surroundings as strong memories of this place overwhelmed his senses.

“This is so strange,” Rijiin murmured, “Being back at Bellbrook.”

His eyes beheld something even more familiar to him and he smiled when he had seen it, leaving the alcove to walk up to it. Rijiin’s hand touched the metal door of his old locker and his fingers brushed its metal surface. He had been so engrossed in his nostalgia that he did not sense the two people who had appeared from the counseling office doorway behind him. Maryanne Martin, one of the councilors here, had appeared at the door with a student.

As both of them stepped into the hallway, they had not sensed Rijiin standing there.  They turned their heads, their eyes focusing upon him and both had let out a startled gasp. Martin, who stood beside the student had exchanged a glance with the student, both raising their eyes in surprised question. .

 “Damn, that’s a cool costume.” The student murmured and the councilor beside her had nodded silently in agreement. Both the councilor and the student stared at Rijiin strangely, unable to take their eyes off the handsome stranger in the odd garb.

“Who is that, do you know him?” Martin asked and glancing at the student, the freshman shrugged. Rijiin, when he sensed them, instinctively reached for his now concealed blade under his cloak as he turned.  He relaxed his hand, quickly closing the cloak when he recognized the familiar face.
 “WOW.” She said, walking toward Rijiin, studying his fair features, “That is a great costume… Did you make it? Who are you under that makeup?”

Rijiin stared at the face, his mind searching for a name. He finally raised an eyebrow when he realized whom it was who stood before him.

 “Maryanne Martin, Councilor.” He murmured under his breath,  shaking his head in response to her questions.

Beside her, the young student had heard him speak and she had raised her eyebrows as a surprised look appeared on her face. She had heard the strange inflection and accent in his voice.  The young woman had let out a silent breath and realized that something was amiss about this stranger, that he did not belong here.

 “But how does he know Ms. Martin.” She asked herself, and shook her head in confusion.

Rijiin forced himself to relax, keeping his reflexes ready to spring at a moments notice. The student noted his stance and his readiness.

“Come here for a moment please.” She said, motioning to him to follow. Rijiin walked confidently with her in the hallway, and the freshman student studied him, her eyes moving from his face to the garb he wore.

"Jesus, he looks really leathery and so battle-worn." She thought.

The student did not realize she had been correct, and noted the patches in his garb, repaired by Rijiin’s own hand. The student also did not realize that he had fought so many terrible battles against so many enemies, in distant wars long ago, throughout his aimless wandering in the last century and a quarter away from his home.

 “…Look at this fantastic costume Jane.” Chortled Martin, pointing at Rijiin to the secretary he knew as Ms. Jane Sparrows of the Counseling section. The secretary looked up and gasped. Beside her, the freshman, one of the class members of ninety-two smiled at the reaction by the older woman.  

Rijiin studied her reaction in silence also, managing a grim smile despite the situation.

“Wow, she has not changed.” Rijiin thought to himself, and peered at the older woman.

 Jane Sparrows is tall and lean, has white hair, and is clad in pseudo business casual, wearing a simple white blouse, black pants and dark framed glasses. Her dark eyes narrowed, studying the elf as if her piercing stare could look through him.

Rijiin took a step back instinctively.

 “Now that’s a costume don’t you think?” Martin asked and the secretary, seated at her desk had managed a slight nod.

 “Wow that is really well done.” The secretary replied, nodding her head in agreement, “You will win the costume contest hands down. What are you supposed to be?”

She had addressed Rijiin and he met her piercing stare. At first he was silent, considering for a moment the question asked by the secretary, and he grinned in spite of himself.

 “I am a folklore legend, an elf.” He said, his accented voice echoing in the room.  

Everyone showed equal surprise when they heard the inflection his voice, and the realistic, thick accent.  They had not expecting to hear the accent or inflection and it had caught them clearly off guard.

 “That is a wonderful accent.” The secretary complimented, “It sounds like it is real.”

Suddenly there was a shift as they all felt something was amiss about this stranger. Rijiin nodded slightly at the woman behind the desk, her questioning expression. She studied the fair features of Rijiin, and the twinkle of what seemed to be starlight in his eyes.

“My thanks, it is indeed.” He replied simply.

An astonished expression appeared on Ms. Sparrows, Martin and even the student’s faces by his answer. It was an expression that that made the elf smile. Another uncomfortable pause rippled through the office.

“So where are you supposed to be now?” She asked, “uhm…”

“Rijiin, Rijiin L’Theil the Just and I am at your service.” The elf prompted and quickly bowed slightly. There were grins at the unusual custom and it had reminded them of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn.

“What kind of name is that?” Sparrows asked, “Who are you really? You are playing your roll well.”
“It is my name…” Rijiin began. He stopped speaking, feeling a chill in the air and suddenly realizing this was clearly getting out of hand. The elf felt the need to withdraw.

There was surprise on everyone’s face.

“That is an unusual name, if it truly is your name.” the student commented. She gasped when the elf nodded.

The elf grimaced to shake his head, falling abruptly silent.

“Rijiin, you are really familiar to me, have we met before?” Martin asked, suddenly feeling strangely by the elf's presence, as did Ms Sparrows.

The elf himself paused, briefly nodding to the startled councilor who peered at him in surprise by his answer.

“Aye, I was here a while ago, but you might not remember me though.” He responded formally, “A lifetime ago perhaps.”

“A Lifetime ago… What do you… mean by that? Martin asked and Rijiin waved his hand.

"It is a figure of speech." He replied, "Be at peace. I am only here for a moment, visiting to this place after many years away and to me it feels like a lifetime ago, another place and time…. it is not important."

"You are really doing well in your role, but where are you supposed to be now, Rijiin…?” Martin asked, smiling, amused by the role she thought he was playing, “Please get your stuff and go there.”

“Aye, I was in the process and shall.” Rijiin replied, “Be at peace. The hand of the Lady be upon you.”

He stepped away from them, and without turning, he paused. His eyes fell on the opening door to a tall muscular, man with a handlebar mustache and sandy blond/graying hair and brown eyes. The elf smiled seeing the man nod to him politely before turning toward the door. He remembered another name, Bob Yux, one of the other coaches and councilors here at Bellbrook.  

There was astonishment by his statement and a suppressed laugher that followed. Rijiin withdrew and stood in the alcove across from the old locker unobserved. He let a breath out in silence.

“That was too close.” He thought, “Why was I not found out and questioned more? That made no sense.”  

Rijiin scanned the notice he had taken from the board next to the office door as he had stepped out of the door.  

  “October 31st, 1989.” The notice said, and Rijiin nodded in half understanding.

 “It is a year and a few months after I left but it still says nothing of why I have arrived back at this place.” He thought, “At least it tells me when.”

The elf quickly folded the page and placed it into the pouch that hung from his side. Rijiin withdrew a bit further into the alcove when he heard a bell, and he grimaced, realizing it was the bell for changing of classes. He had forgotten about that and Rijiin’s gray eyes found the clock on the wall that read ‘11:30’. He shook his head in amused silence.

“Oh, it is the lunch period.” He muttered, “Just great.”

He watched as a sea of students filled the hall and the elf managed a silent smile at the costumes. Rijiin remembered the certain day they dressed up.  

 “Ah yes, I remember now, its Halloween.” He murmured, “I will fit right in…”

With that, he glanced down at his costume, the one he had worn for a long time as he had traveled Europe. It was patched in a few places, having taken damage from battle in which he had fought. Rijiin scanned the hallway and smiled at the students who were in full form of the Halloween spirit. Many memories flashed in his brain and names of those he now gazed upon that he had not seen in a long time.

As they passed the elf, he flashed a grin as he recognized them, knowing a few by name, and others not. The students began to notice him and a low murmur rippled in the hallway as they stared in confusion at Rijiin.

 Upper classman had also seen the elf, and they grimaced at the sight of him. They all stared at the green and gray garb, his cloak. They peered at his fair features, they all assumed as makeup. They decided to play a prank, part of the trick portion of this day and throw eggs at him. Their intent was to ruin his costume, and make him look like a fool.

They stretched back as they took aim, unaware that they were in for an abrupt wake up call. Rijiin had had his back partially to them when he sensed the incoming food and had pivoted slightly, letting it splatter on the wall next to him.  There had been a pause as the upper classman glanced at each other, and they had thrown a couple more eggs. The elf, this time in a leisurely maneuver had moved and his hand caught the eggs, one at a time, without breaking them and he threw both eggs back at them.  One hit one upper classman on the forehead and another in the face. There was a gasp by all who looked on in silent amusement and great laughter followed.

The elf’s back was again turned partially to them as they approached, intending to start a fight. He had not particularly been interested in fighting with anyone, as that was not his purpose here today, but it seemed to come to him nevertheless. The elf sensed a fist moving in toward him, and with little effort, he dodged effortlessly letting the hand expel into the air, another hitting the wall. A yelp followed as it hit the wall covered by egg that ran down to the floor. The elf dodged again as another punch moved in and pivoted to block it. He let yet another punch move in and this time the elf grabbed his hand, stopping it in mid flight. He grabbed the assailant’s wrist, pivoting to slam the young human’s face into the wall next to the raw egg that ran down the tiled surface.

There was a gasp by all as the elf held him there with one hand, his grip, to the student, was like iron.  

“You forgot your egg.” Rijiin snarled, “And you are way over your head boy.”

He stepped back as others moved in to help and he swept the knee from under the student, striking him in the chest, knocking him down onto the floor. The others who had ran into to join the fight had thrown punches too. Rijiin with confidence had stepped in, his hand flashing to block one punch and with amazing speed, catching another other in mid-flight with a strong grip. There was a gasp and the hall was still as the elf held him effortlessly with one hand. The fight had ended abruptly as it had started, the visitor holding the struggling human, squeezing his hand and inflicting great pain on his wrist as he brought him to his knees. The student he held screamed, and glanced at his companions who stood around silently. Rijiin heard his finger bones giving way with a loud crack.

 “What are you waiting for, hit him! Hit hi…AAAGH.”

 “Enough.” Rijiin exclaimed, cursing softly under his breath.

Around him, a low murmur echoed from the gathered crowd. He turned his head and met each one’s gaze, all surprised by his accented voice and at perhaps the hint of starlight that had twinkled brightly from his eyes. The elf turned his head, coldly staring at the melee of upper classman who stood around him.     

 “I would suggest you move along.” Rijiin said coldly, the inflection of the elves strong in his voice, “Before you get in over your head and take this punk with you.”  

 With that, he opened the cloak and revealed the long dagger on his belt, but his sword that hung inconspicuously at his back. They took a step back and he pushed the student toward them. The upper classman he had been holding rubbed his hand, cradling it as they slowly moved away. He stood in a posture, showing his readiness and the body language that clearly said to ‘Back off.’ Reluctantly the other upper classman backed off, leaving Rijiin well enough alone as he stood his ground. Mixed applause and mutterings followed.   

 “Are you alright?” A voice asked.

Rijiin turned as Katie Roth approached from the sea of students and he managed a smile, staring at her familiar, youthful features.  He remembered her enduring, bright and enthusiastic spirit that was enough for the whole class of ninety-one at Bellbrook. He managed a silent nod.

 “That was amazing, are you new here?” She asked, “I have never seen anyone fight like that or have seen you here before.”

“It was indeed!” Another voice chimed in and Rijiin glanced at several people, recognizing many of the familiar faces as they clustered around him.  The young elf stepped back into the alcove as another sea of people crowded by him, who glanced at him before passing him by. For many, there was intrigue, wondering who it was behind the costume and what they thought was makeup.

Rijiin had not hurt the human, able to break his hand if he chose to. He was a healer and it was not for him to cause pain. The young elf could heal, having done so many times in the century that he called home and a region known as Adria. It was a memory of a place that was far away for the elf, and he passed a hand over his face as if to clear the harsh memories.

 “My name is Rijiin, Rijiin L’Theil.” He told her, bowing slightly, and she smiled at the voice as she glanced at the others.

All had heard the accent and thick inflection in his voice. Surprise had appeared on their faces. They had not expected someone like this to grace Bellbrook and be in their presence today.

    “Katie Roth.” She said, turning to a few of her friends and even fellow classmates who had seen the fight.

“Jade Claycraft… Melinda Morris… Kathy Lehman… Amy Panstingle… Stacey Warner… Rob Paisley… class of ninety.” The voices said, taking turns and Rijiin bowed slightly. He exchanged handshakes.

“Good to meet you.” The elf said but his reply made them frown.

Even though he had not said it directly, that the word ‘Again’ seemed to hang in the air around them. To the students and others who approached him he seemed very familiar to them.

     “So where are you from?” Katie asked, “That is a wonderful accent.”

    “I am from all over.” He said, “Many different places across the Atlantic.”  

    “Oh you are from Europe.”

    “Aye,” Rijiin said, “Mostly near the Mediterranean area, close to Greece and Italy out of Spain. I lived in an area called…uh Adria.”

     The elf’s voice trailed off, his eyes betraying the surprise on his face when they fell upon a familiar face, one that he would think never to see again in a lifetime. A face whom he remembered from his time here and as he faced his own death while lying somewhere in time in the midst of a forest clearing in Adria. His eyed fell upon and beheld a familiar young woman named Emily Montgomery, who had been walking with her friends in his direction.

The young woman met his look with no sign of recognition, nodding to a now stranger who wore a unique costume thought for the day. He quickly remembered his homeroom class with Ms. Hill and the young woman was in her class next door. They had waved to each other every morning.

    The others turned their heads to smile when they realized whom he was staring. He touched his forehead as he silently nodded his head at the young woman. Stephanie Riner, standing nearby had seen the motion and smiled.

Janae Dorn had been walking the hallway to her locker, and had turned the corner to see the stranger. She had immediately realized the cloaked man standing here had been the same person in front of the school a bit ago, dressed in the fantastic but strange costume. Angie Stethem, Christine Zucker, Steven Herres, Mark ‘Boz’ Alsobrook and others, all had watched in astonishment of the entire event a few minutes ago. They stepped toward him too.

    “Oh my god he was real!” Janae thought, her expression showing surprise. It had been no dream. More people had started to notice Rijiin now. Doug Woolard, Steve “Twinkie” Gardnier, Denise “Watts” Watson, and Reggie Wax, in addition to others the elf knew well in another life, another time, perhaps a another dance. Seeing these people again had unnerved him and he overheard the many comments about his old-fashioned costume.

As Emily had approached him, the elf stepped back as he drew them into the alcove and letting others pass in the hall behind.  Around him, he sensed a faint shimmer of magic.

“Hello.” She said, smiling at him. Rijiin in turn had managed a slight grin, staring at the face he had not seen in a long time.

“Blessings,” He replied. The young woman grinned when she saw the motion, of touching his forehead first as he bowed slightly. The others around him grinned at the custom.

“Nice costume.” She said, “Who are you… Are you from the Senior Class? Who are you under all that makeup?”  

Rijiin only managed a grin, and shook his head in a silent reply.

     “It is with my thanks.” Rijiin replied, as the students stepped forward, clustering about him. “But as I said, I am not from a class here, I am a…”  

     With that, he paused, contemplating his answer quickly and wondered how much he could divulge in information that would not harm the time stream. Rijiin thought of the many science fiction shows that came to mind and how in each program that a minor slip could disrupt future events. As for Rijiin, he had almost slipped and caught himself before saying an ‘Elf of Malvern.’ Here at this place of learning and among the now large group gathered here, he would not have been out of line to say it. The elf sensed no bigotry, racism, or persecution here. His only crime would have been their doubts of his identity.

      “… a visitor and old friend… We met a long time ago and you may not remember me.”  He continued, slowly panning to meet the smiling faces of those clustered around him.

     “A friend,” She replied with a smile, “It must have been a while ago.”

     “It is so.” Rijiin replied remembering someone else who had said the exact same thing, “It has been a long time, and I did not look like I do now.”

     “Oh… Well, I’m Emily.” She said, and Rijiin took up her hand, kissing it gently as he bowed. The young woman had blushed at the old-fashioned custom and everyone around them smiled in amusement.

    “It is a great honor,” Rijiin said, “To meet you all, and make your acquaintances.”

    Although Emily and the others present did not hear him say it, they had heard the word ‘again’ indicated again, a moment after he had replied to their chatter.

Rijiin turned slightly, keeping the blade hidden under his cloak as he nodded to each one of them.  His words hung in the air a long moment, before turning to meet each face. He managed a nod to each one.

    “Alas, they are young.” Rijiin thought, as he stared at them, “So young.”

     “So, you were the one in front a while ago weren’t you?” Janae asked, as the rest of the group walked up to stand beside him. Rijiin slowly met the familiar faces of Katie Roth, now Steph Riner, Angie Stethem, Jen Metzler and now Reggie Wax. He spied Brian Sanner, Brian Rupp, Brackney Cooper, Doug Woolard, Casey Hess, and countless others peering at him from their places down the hall.

The elf felt uncomfortable, he felt old and only nodded his head positively to the young woman. More students who are more familiar to the elf had walked up.

     “Aye,” He said, and her face showed surprise, “I was.”  

    “Why were you looking at our mascot, the eagle like that?” She asked.

    She glanced at the others.

    “He was outside earlier, probably just arriving here and he was staring transfixed at our mascot.”

Janae glanced at Rijiin.

     “That mascot reminded me of something very old, from my past ages ago.” The elf replied, “I was not sure if I had been to this place before. It has been a very long time since I saw your mascot or that sort of thing in my travels.”

     “Huh?” Janae asked, and he shook his head, as if to again clear harsh memories.

     “It is of no consequence. I am here.” Rijiin told them and grinned. “Be at peace.”

     Smiles appeared on everyone’s faces. They did not quite know what to make of Rijiin and his presence here.  The elf had intrigued them by his presence, his garb, looks, even his accent. They were not sure whom it was that stood before them. Rijiin wondered if he could tell them without disrupting the time stream.

 “You are so strange… I have a feeling I know you from somewhere…” Angie said and the elf managed a quiet chuckle. Others present had nodded in agreement.

         “You must be a student here, but your costume looks, and your accent sounds so real. Are you sure you are not from the senior class?”  

“More than you know.” the young elf thought as he met her smile, “If you only knew.”

He only shook his head in response to the many questions.  

  The elf met the surprised, but dubious expressions on their faces. He smiled when he saw Rachael Fabrick and Dawn Fader walk up toward him. Doug Lehman followed with Joe Laux.

    “So Rijiin what brings you here?” Emily asked, intrigued like the others and curious about this stranger. He glanced up, almost replying without thinking, but fell silent as he contemplated his answer.

Rijiin then sensed something he had not felt in a long time. It was a powerful sensation, one that made him gasp aloud. The sensation seemed to overwhelm his senses.

“By our lady,” He gasped, shaking his head as he reached out to steady himself on the wall. Rijiin gasped when his inner sight kicked in and he felt an overwhelming sense of a sinister evil approaching. It is the same feeling he had felt well over one hundred years, when he had traveled across Europe and an evil power that the elf would fight a long time ago and thought destroyed by his own blade.

Outside, as it snowed, a clap of thunder boomed across the landscape and the clouds seem to billow violently. Everyone heard it, a few who were near the doors peered outside. The sky had grown dark and the clouds billowed, an almost purplish in color.

Inside Rijiin swooned, holding onto the wall.

“But that was a long time ago.” He thought, “That cannot be what I am sensing.”

“Are you alright, Rijiin?” A voice asked, watching Rijiin and seeing the astonished, pained expression on his fair features. He turned carefully in a circle as his head and eyes scanned the hall. Everyone present laughed, other present had stared in astonishment when the elf straightened and readied for a fight.

“Correction, it is here,” Rijiin declared suddenly, knowing he had a job to do and would have to fight the evil he now sensed. There was no escape from it, and he only suspected what the evil was, a name coming to mind.

“Katie, Steph, Emily, Angie, everyone clear the hall… Quickly…!” The young elf exclaimed, reaching back to draw the blade from the scabbard with a sharp metallic sound. There were gasps of alarm as the onlookers saw the blade, and realized it is a real one.

 Rijiin slowly turned, holding the blade ready and his eyes ever watchful for any signs. It was here nearby, probably watching and waiting.

“I can’t see you, but I know you are here.” Rijiin said clearly, ducking as the whistle of a blade whipped over his head, and a loud clang that followed. Rijiin rolled clear, onto his feet, and held his blade ready. The elf had surprise on his face at what he saw, a man whom he had not seen in over a hundred years and he thought to be dead. It would not be unlike the elves starlight, green and gray garb, gray cloaks and their magic, all having perished a long time ago.

The wizard was quick to get his blade free, moving in on the elf and Rijiin barely able to react except by instinct. Sparks flew as their blades struck several times, and he pivoted to kick the wizard in the chest, making him back up a few steps. He suddenly remembered the name when a dark overlord named Tantras of Thay whom had forcefully took control of a realm and tried to enslave the common folk. The elf had fought against everything the wizard stood for, having seen his harsh methods of control and death among men, but also not limited to women and children too. He managed a grimace.

    “Nice to see you… Tantras…” Rijiin exclaimed sarcastically.

    The wizard’s name instinctively came to his lips as the wizard stood before him, clad in the familiar red robes. The elf knew who he was, the purest evil the elf had ever encountered or known in his travels. He held up his blade in a side stance his blade straight up as he stared at Tantras’ leathery face. Rijiin noted the complex scar at his neck, where a long time ago he had cut him the last time they had fought, in which he thought he was slain by his blade.

“By our lady, the man has not changed,” He thought grimacing, “Still twisted and evil.”

        “Rijiin,” Tantras exclaimed, his voice a mere growl and he turned to glance at the crowd of onlookers. There were murmurs among students and staff who had heard the growl by the figure cloaked in red. They glanced at Rijiin who stood fast, holding his ground as he faced down the figure in red, showing little emotion or fear. He held his blade, gripping it easily, as he stared into the almost flaming albino eyes of the evil wizard.  Tantras snarled and he raised his staff as he stepped in toward Rijiin.

Quickly the pair fought, exchanging flashes of steel that resonated through the hall. Sparks danced from the blades as they met, and a crackle of static electricity echoed through the air. A ripple of fear by the many students moved through the hallway, having retreated. They sensed the hatred between these two and knew that it was deadly real and this was not staged or were they friends.  Many of the students had departed to get their lunch and quickly returned only to see this unholy situation brewing before them.

    The elf relied on his deftness of foot, his skill at steel-play and his knowledge of battle as he fought Tantras. Many times, Rijiin let the powerful strikes expel into the open air, the wizard’s blade whistling loudly as they came within inches of his person and others he skillfully parried. He spun like a cat in place, letting Tantras’ blade whistle along his back. This fight would be nothing like he had encountered in his travels or like the last time the young elf and Tantras would clash.

Before when the elves fought, they relied on the starlight that helped them in battle, but again that was a long time ago and there was no starlight now. The power of the elves long since had faded at the end when they gave themselves to oblivion. Strike after strike the elf parried or dodged the wizard’s strikes, pivoting away from him. The whole time, with each motion, Rijiin lured and drew him farther down the hallway deliberately away from the crowd, his intent to protect them so that no innocent blood spilled on this day.  The crowd around the elf and wizard dodged and cleared the hallway as they continued to fight.

A door opened and two staff members stepped through the door, gasping aloud when they saw the unholy situation of violence brewing here. They stared at Rijiin a sword in hand, who squared off with Tantras a bladed staff in hand, as live steel exchanged between them. The elf could see the Martin and Sparrows stood too close to Tantras, who lunged at them, trying to distract Rijiin’s attention to get an underhanded strike at him. The elf blocked one blow that had almost taken Martin’s head off and he pushed her aside knocking her clear. He moved to block as Yux appeared at the door. All three were shocked at what was happening here.

 “I beg your pardon messier, mistress.” He told them as his fist connected with the wizard’s chin and the elf grimaced when it made the wizard back up three steps.

 “Please Maryanne, please Bob, keep the students back, and the staff needs to stay back too,” Rijiin growled, “This is my fight, and I cannot allow anyone to lose their lives, not to this man. I am the only one who can defeat him. Fear not, I will protect everyone from him.”

“Who the hell is that Rijiin?” The councilor stammered, “What is going on here?”

 “Maryanne, please,” Rijiin said, making her look up, hearing the urgency in his tone. The other councilor heard his tone too, seeing the look the elf gave him and both gasped that he used their first names. The elf shook his head at both of them.

The young elf stepped forward bravely and brought the blade up to block and sparks appeared, lancing out to kick him, pushing him back three feet. The wizard stood there stunned for a moment or two. Martin and Yux both suddenly sensed there was more to Rijiin L’Theil than she understood, and gasped to realize he was no student.

“Much more,” She thought, frowning as he stepped forward toward the figure cloaked in red.  Moving in they exchanged several more shots and the clashing of the blades and the thunder outside could be heard throughout the hall.  

“Jane, you’d better call the police.” Martin said and the secretary turned. She paused a moment when something extraordinary caught her eye and realized the elf was glowing slightly with an aura. Blinking her eyes, she looked again for confirmation. The students and staff saw the same thing and stared in silent wonder.

“He’s glowing?” Thought Sparrows, “What the heck is that about?”

She found herself unable to move for some reason.

“What on Earth is that?” Martin exclaimed as more staff appeared from the hall and rooms around them.

Rijiin had heard Martin’s instruction, and he almost laughed aloud at the absurdity of the thought, knowing fully well that the police would not be able to take Tantras by normal means. He would slaughter them just as he had men, women, and children over a hundred years ago. The wizard, the elf knew, was uncontrollable by mortals or anyone and he had shown that during his evil reign over a kingdom he had taken over.  He dodged several more strikes by the evil one in red, lunging to thrust his blade forward.

    “I wouldn’t bother with calling your authorities…” Rijiin told them, “They will die the same way as you all will if I fail to stop him.”

     “I-I don’t understand, why is it your fight Rijiin?” Maryanne asked, “What do you mean you are the only one to stop him?”

“He has come for me,” Rijiin replied coldly, “Be at peace, he cannot harm me, Tantras of Thay is a known killer and has been after me for a long time now, for almost a hundred years. He is the purest evil you will ever know. You humans have one life, and if you value it I suggest you all stay back.”  

The elf had echoed the warning by Conner McCloud from the Highlander movie.

     “What!” Gasped the councilor, a look of surprise on her face, “T-that’s c-crazy, that’s impossible!”

 “Not if you are an elf and an immortal.” Rijiin said, as he held his blade ready, “I am Rijiin L’Theil. I was borne at in the year thirteen hundred and fifty two in the forest of Malvern. I am immortal and I cannot die.”

 He paused, turning toward the wizard and glanced at the startled expressions around him. Rijiin pointed the blade at Tantras and then put the blade against the floor as if to draw an invisible line on the floor in front of him. He straightened after the motion and held the blade, daring the wizard to cross it.

     “Come wizard, take me if you can,” He challenged and the wizard grimaced, snarling venomously. There was surprise by the staff member and the students present who heard Rijiin’s challenge. He stepped forward, trading steel and he cut the wizard on his shoulder. The elf had followed through and had stepped back from Tantras. Everyone saw the bloody slash, the very real blood on the red robe and the splattering of it onto the tile floor. A low murmur followed as the wizard’s blood dripped onto the floor.

    “First blood, don’t bother to yield,” Rijiin exclaimed sharply, as he had spun away after following through and stood with his blade ready. Tantras snarled, quietly cursing before he moved in, trying to hit the dodging elf with flashes of magic that he cast upon him.  As Rijiin backed, he moved from side to side, letting the blade expel into the empty air and his spells. Students and staff moved aside in all directions as they fought. He motioned for the wizard to follow, drawing him back, and leading him toward the alcove on the far side of the hall. Other staff members had come into the action, and the elf parried to move back, standing between them and the wizard.

     “What the heck is going on?” A shout asked as many others had come from all directions.

    “There’s two people sword dueling in the sophomore’s hallway.”

     All eyes had turned, watching the sword battle and the flashes of energy from Tantras. Rijiin continued to trade steel as he backed down the hall, leading the wizard along with him. Many times people scattered to avoid being taken up in this violence, and elf had made sure to head for the door taking the fight outside. Sparks lanced out from the blades as they struck in the cold air.  Above them, thunder boomed despite it was cold and snowing. The clouds seem to be billowing and seemed to be reacting to each strike.  

There was astonishment throughout the whole building at the thunder and lightning that boomed and the lightning that crackled overhead. Staff appeared at the door, as did the students, watching in silence as the two circled and fought. The elf dodged and did the splits and with a lunge, he pushed and flipped in mid air over the blade of the wizard. There was a gasp and cheer by the students and staff.

    “Very well done, Rijiin…!” A voice shouted as cheer resonated across the field. The elf grinned as he landed on his feet to turn and parry Tantras’ blade, sparks appearing in the open cold air.

         “You still are as good as you were centuries ago.” The Mage grumbled, “But you are still weaker than I and are still weak for keeping the wrong company. We pathetic humans killed your people into extinction a long time ago, and yet you still care for them.”

Rijiin listened carefully to the statement, as did the others around him. There was a low murmur echoing through the group who watched.  

     “You are dead.” The wizard said, as a strange aura surrounded him.

     “Save the empty threats, as it has been tried before and that has failed. Come and fight if you dare wizard.” Rijiin challenged.

     Tantras snarled and leapt in, Rijiin barely dodged the reckless move that would have severely damaged him.  The two circled and Rijiin slipped in and he cut Tantras again, his blade slicing cleanly on his throat.  A scream echoed the field from the spectators as blood spilled from the wound. Grimacing, the evil wizard’s face showed rage as he staggered backwards.

     “Hurt?” Rijiin taunted sarcastically, thinking of the character Ramirez from the Highlander movie. He had taunted the Kurgan character in the fight between them in the movie when he cut him across his throat. He grinned in spite of the situation here. His life certainly had been like the Highlander movie for the years he had been alone, traveling and living many lives. There was a sporadic chuckle from the spectators, recognizing the statement from the Highlander Movie.     

     “Die elf!” Tantras coughed.

     “My cut has improved your voice.”  Rijiin sarcastically taunted and he smiled again before ducking the blade as it whistled over his head. The elf had just barely moved the blade in the parry. Again, they circled and Rijiin waited for the right move that would make him victor to this fight, if it were possible.  Rijiin dodged as Tantras cast his arcane magic making steaming holes in the snow where it struck. The elf staggered backward as the wizard’ blade flicked out and cut Rijiin’s arm, before the point found home in his chest. Rijiin had only let out a sharp grunt, and staggered falling to his knees as the wizard found himself tackled from behind. He heard the scream and voices from the group now gathered and from others who ran toward the elf.

     “Leave him alone!” A voice shouted, as five people had tackled Tantras, including a staff member.  

     “MISHEAR!” Tantras’ voice thundered and a moment later, he saw the five people who had tackled Tantras, thrown back ten feet.  The elf heard a curse, as Janae tackled the wizard, and he watched as Katie followed suit followed by two other upper classman. The wizard drew a dagger and without a word, he cut Janae’s throat, thrusting it Katie’s chest. Blood spurted from the wounds, and both had no chance to cry out.  Others were on him but promptly thrown off. Students and staff stood their ground in front of the wizard as a ball of energy appeared over his head as he cast a spell.

     “Poran cir argos!” Tantras snarled as the energy thrust out, throwing them back. Many dodged but in the path of the fire, several were not so fortunate.  There was a loud scream, as many burned alive. More students and staff squared off before the wizard, much more cautious now as a few of the students tried to help the wounded. He saw Katie and Janae’s classmates held something against the wound in her chest.
A staff member and a couple of students had charged the elf to help him and they knelt beside him.  

    “Rijiin,” A voice said. The young elf turned his head and saw no one near him.  

    “Get up Rijiin.” Her voice commanded, echoing in his head.  “You must help them.”

    “I am finished, my Lady, let me fade.” Rijiin replied, “Let me join the others.”

    The group gathered beside the elf heard his reply and raised their eyebrows, wondering who he was talking to. Rijiin closed his eyes for a moment.

     “Get up Rijiin! Damn you…” Another voice echoed in his head and he raised an eyebrow when he thought he heard the voice of Mirya, Terrill’s lover. The elf turned his head and thought he could see the images of Sana, Cara, Talla, Terrill, Varden, and Mirya nearby.

Rijiin lay back and closed his eyes. He gasped when he saw something he had not seen in over a hundred years. He saw starlight burning brightly, clearly and coldly in the darkness. He let the starlight flow, something else he had not done in centuries and as it filled in, it did so in a burst of energy. Slowly he sat up, startling the several people who stood or knelt beside him. As he stood up Rijiin motioned with his hand and the blade carried by one of the students flew from his hand.

    “Wait, you will bleed if you get…”  A concerned voice said and the elf met the speaker with a silent shake of his head. They let the elf stand on his feet, and they saw the blood had stopped, only covering the leather tunic he wore. The wound was gone.

“Oh my god…!” A voice said, and all attention focused upon Rijiin. Time seemed to stand still, as he began to glow and an aura of starlight energy appeared around him. A wind whipped from behind the elf, making the falling snow swirl across the field.

 “What the f…” A voice exclaimed, “Oh my god, he’s…”     

The voice fell into silence as the students, and staff who surrounded Tantras, had stopped and turned. Everyone present had been astonished, seeing Rijiin standing alive, well and walking toward the evil one in red. The wizard himself had also turned, seeing his adversary standing there and his jaw had dropped open at first. Quickly recovering himself, his mouth twitched slightly.

“No.” Rijiin declared solemnly, “I cannot allow this, this is a time that has never known battle and should remain as it is. It shall remain without bloodshed. Come and fight me wizard.”

The young elf had challenged and he pointed the blade at him, “If you dare, because Lord Tantras, you have chosen the wrong timeline and focal point!”

Another shift in time seemed to happen.

 “You now have two troubles Lord Tantras.” He challenged coldly, the inflection strong in his voice and full of starlight, “Swords and Elven magic.”  

Everyone around them heard Rijiin’s words, the cold icy tone that filled his voice, and he kept the blade pointed at the wizard. Staff and humans looked on as he walked between the bodies of Katie and Janae. He let the power of starlight flow over him and the wizard did not move until Rijiin stood practically in front of him. Tantras roared as he jumped in at the elf, thrusting his weapon toward him and Rijiin had already connected to the stars when the wizard had lunged. The elf expertly brought up his blade easily in one motion to block Tantras’ blade.

Quickly, Rijiin felt the power surge from within and the starlight flowing fluidly through him. The elf moved in easily, able to see images of battle lay out before him. He knew what the wizard planned even before Tantras knew himself. Rijiin’s blade flashed as he dodged, parried or blocked the motion of the wizard as they circled. Both traded steel shot for shot, and Rijiin did not budge letting most of wizard’s powerful strikes expend cleanly into the air.

Tantras swung his staff across the body and tried for a head shot. The wizard had to step back quickly, almost breaking his own neck to avoid Rijiin’s blade moving in toward him.  The elf lanced out with another spinning kick, hitting the wizard in his sternum and he flew backwards five feet to land with a hard thud in the snow. Tantras sat in the snow dazed for a moment, and he reached up to touch his throat when he felt a dribble of warmth on his neck. He stared at the blood, his own blood that now was on his hand and realizing the elf had cut him again.  He jumped to his feet.

     “Damn you elf.” Tantras spat as he stood there facing the calm expression of Rijiin who waited. The wizard muttered a spell and multiple times his arcane magic and his staff lanced out at the elf with no avail. The wizard’s face showed frustration, as the elf calmly stood there and his bladed staff whistled as he lashed out. Rijiin danced away as Tantras moved in and lifting his leg, the elf drove his knee in his sternum. The wizard exhaled sharply and Rijiin threw him clear. The mage was on his feet, and left then right the elf parried the onslaught by Tantras with his bladed staff.

“This shall end now.” Rijiin exclaimed as their blades clashed loudly. Every strike seemed to resound with thunder across the field as they fought. Lighting and thunder crashed above them, the clouds still billowing as they fought.

“ELTHIA!” The Elf’s voice rang out clear and cold. Students and staff had heard the voice of Rijiin to look up as he parried the bladed staff of the wizard. Rijiin stood his ground his blade at ready. Tantras charged in toward the Elf a second later he saw his opening. He pivoted on one foot as his blade lanced out, slicing the wizard across his throat. Rijiin followed through and pivoting in behind, he let his blade flash as it sliced again. The wizard staggered forward as a grayish complexion appeared on his face and around them time seemed to stop.

No one moved for several seconds as everyone stared at the wizard then to Rijiin. Slowly the head of the wizard, as if in slow motion, slid from his body from the neck.

A scream sounded as Tantras’ head rolled three times, and the body fell behind it.  It was over and Rijiin stood beside the wizard’s inert body.

“There can be only one!” Rijiin declared solemnly as a glow appeared around the body of Tantras. It became incandescent as the body began to rise upward. White energy and sparks had appeared from the neck of the body that moved outward toward the elf. Students and staff all stared in silence, as the energy enveloped Rijiin and the elf closed his eyes as he soaked in the white energy. He shook as he took in the electrical energy and a moment he screamed as a wind whipped around him. Windows from the nearby buildings blew outward covering everyone in glass. It was same scenario from the Highlander movies after the battle ended between two immortals. Rijiin brought up the blade to his forehead as another burst of energy swirled about the elf before he sank to his knees. Clearing his head quickly, glanced at the others around him, the other students who watched this event from the beginning to end.  He stared hard at the body of the wizard.

“What the hell was that?” A voice asked, as a low murmur rippled through the gathered students and staff.

“The battle has ended and Rijiin has won.” A voice said, “Just like the movie Highlander.”

“No, I will not heal you, damn you.” Rijiin said, almost with a growl, still kneeling over the body of Tantras, his voice filled with cold starlight, “This and your life line will end now.”

Students and staff present had heard him, and they turned, eyebrows raised. The elf’s voice had been hard, without mercy and yet tempered like the steel he held in his hand. Again, glances went from Rijiin to the wizard and back again. The elf, sheathing the blade had turned to walk toward the bodies of those fallen and toward the humans who had gathered around the bodies of their friends who lay in the snow.  The staff members and students were baffled. Everyone stayed where they were, as they watched the elf in astonishment and all surprised by what they had just seen.

The elf sighed before he turned and walked to the first two bodies. Here he knelt beside Janae first. Rijiin glanced up at the people who had knelt beside her and they met his look.  

“What are you?” A voice asked, “Who was that? Why did you kill him?”  

Rijiin said nothing, as a hard look appeared on his face, and an incandescent aura seemed to flow from his hands. The power in his hands seemed to shift as it surrounding him, making him glow brightly. They jumped back as he let the starlight flow and were silent as the strange glowing aura surrounded the bodies of Janae and Katie lying in the snow.

 “HEY what are you doing?” A voice asked and Rijiin turned to see Steve Herries standing over him as well as Val and others. Many of the young women were weeping over the dead who lay in the snow. There was a white flash, as if a flash of sunlight pulsed in the cold daylight, the aura still surrounding Rijiin.

 “I am and elf and healer.” He replied, “I can help and heal. A talent, I shall lend to repair this madness.”

Rijiin had spoken quietly, and matter-of-factly as he looking up to meet each expression of sorrow.

 “But they are dead.” Val said, and Rijiin shook his head. Staff members stood like the students, watching what he was doing, unsure what to do.

      “You humans give up too easily.” The elf murmured, “It is so, Val, but death is only a condition that can be reversed.”

Rijiin pushed back his hair, and revealed his slender ears that showed clearly.  They stared at the elf’s fair features in astonishment. They realized there was something more to Rijiin. His statement had been true.

      “What does that… uh… mean?” The young man had been startled to hear his name and like several others had never told Rijiin who they were.

    Val, like the others had realized that Rijiin had already known who they were from his time together at Bellbrook and where he had been a part of these people’s lives.

They had stared aghast at the energy now swirling in a sphere around the elf and their fallen classmates. Rijiin focused the starlight, seeing the wound closing up before his eyes and he felt the young woman’s presence once again before him. Turning he let the incandesce strike Katie and healing energy poured over her. He sensed them both here and living again. Rijiin allowed himself to smile, as time seemed to freeze. He could almost hear the hymn of the Lady sang by Natil as she played her harp, a long time ago.

 He looked down at the young woman named Janae and over at Katie who lay in the snow, knowing they could feel healing warmth coursing through their bodies. Slowly both opened their eyes and turning their heads, stared at the face of Rijiin.  

     “W-where am I?” Janae whispered, “What happened? It’s cold…”

She tried to sit up but Rijiin gently pushed her back. The young woman had a surprised look on her face.  

     “Just lay there a moment and relax, until you both gain your strength again.” He said, and turned his head to regard Katie who had opened her eyes too.  They remembered the last images as a dagger flashed. Everyone looked on in amazement at what had happened. Rijiin had brought them back from the dead, and healed them.

      “What’s going on?”     

      “Oh my god they’re alive! Look!” A shout said and everyone ran toward Janae Katie, and the others.

    Janae turned her head. “What’s wrong? What happened, why are you all staring at me?”

Katie had the same question on her face and they turned to regard Rijiin. They heard the shouts, their classmates and staff members clustering about the two young women. Their eyes never left the elf, kneeling beside them.

“You were both dead.” Rijiin whispered, “All is well, I… I brought you back.”

     “I… We were dead?” Katie asked, glancing at Janae, but both did remember the flash of a silver dagger and a brief pain from their slash wound.

     “But…h-how can you be alive, we saw you stabbed in the chest!” Katie stammered, staring incredibly at the elf, “You should be dead! I saw the wound!”

     “Be at peace, it is very difficult to kill an elf.” Rijiin replied, “Ta nae seasamin. Lle anta est.”

     Rijiin spoke Elfish to them, as fluently as he had centuries ago. There were cheers, yelps of joy, shouts echoing around them as Janae and Katie sat up. He stood up, walking toward the others helped up by fellow students. The two peered at the place in the snow where they had fallen over fifteen minutes ago and both wincing at the blood, their blood, that still stained the snow.  Many voices echoed across the field, trying to explain to them that they had been dead for ten minutes. Katie’s first reaction was a puzzled glance down at her shirt, seeing the hole and blood on it.  Her mouth was open as she pulled the top of her shirt open and peered down at the sound flesh there.  

“There is no wound!” Katie exclaimed to herself, still peering at the sound flesh. Her gaze fell upon Rijiin, walking a short distance to the others who had fallen here today and he knelt beside the charred remains of what had been Emily, Stephanie, Brian, Mark and several others, even a staff member or two. Without another word, he reached into his pouch and withdrew an amber stone.  The sphere of energy seemed to fill into the stone as he knelt there and it began to glow. Students and staff had turned to stare at Rijiin and had drawn back when they saw the stone he now held in his hands.

 “Oh my god!” Janae and Katie exclaimed, their smiles fading when they saw the glowing stone. Rijiin sensed their fear and all eyes had turned to stare at him. He thought he heard the harp music somewhere.

“What is he doing?”

“Be at peace.” Rijiin declared, pitching his voice loud enough for them to hear, “I shall deal with the others who perished here this day.”

Closing his eyes, the elf let the starlight flow through him and the orb began to glow dully. There were murmurs of question, yet no one moved, they were just aghast, staring at the strange energy that surrounded Rijiin. Murmuring, he recited the words that belonged to the hymn of the Lady.  The aura around the stone grew white hot and he turned to regard the faces of the people around him as he held the orb. He was ready. Outside at the parking lot that he saw the flashing lights of the police and rescue.


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