Return of Starlight

Sequel to Healing Starlight


3. Kirma Nelde: (Part Three)

 “Arae ea circa.” Rijiin said, “Let it come forth. Let time restore to what it was this day.”

    “Hold it right there!” An authoritative voice shouted, “Drop that stone!”

 “HEY! What is…?” A voice shouted and there was silence as the elf turned his head and flashed a smile.

There was a scream as Rijiin stretched up and as he threw down the orb. A white-hot energy blew outward in a great explosion where the elf stood as the power surrounded the bodies of those slain by Tantras. It blinded everyone as it swirled brightly in a large flash. Rijiin suddenly realized he was doing the exact same thing that Varden had done long ago. He remembered the story of Charity. It had been on a cold winter’s day when his kinsfolk handed the orb to the blacksmith, a protection of magic against the leather woman who lived outside of the village of Saint Brigid. He had been helping her, patching her house, giving her food. The blacksmith had confronted her when she had appeared outside her doorway, and keeping the peace, he handed the orb to her. She threw it down and there was a great explosion. The disfigured woman had vanished and Charity had been borne.  

      On the other side of the large gym, in the building next door, the loud explosion echoed as the energy raced across the snow and it literally shook the ground. The students of the Junior High next door and staff had ran to the windows and saw a wave of energy appear, shaking the ground as it rolled across each building. As the hot energy flew outward, striking the buildings, there was a flash and silence. Rijiin was standing in the small field outside when the flash cleared, waiting for the effects to wear off and he stared hard at the snow. Time had shifted and everything had seemed different. He looked upon the empty ground at the white snow, then looking up he saw Emily, Stephanie, and the others killed here, standing nearby. He smiled broadly. The vehicles had vanished as time was reverted backward.

“By our Lady…!” The elf thought, “Natil! They’re here!”

His mind had shouted out in relief as he had stood watching them. Their expressions had been surprise.

The students killed by Tantras’ arcane magic had been staring at each other in bewildered silence, unable to comprehend what had just happened. Their last memories had been their attacking the wizard, a flash, and then nothing else. Slowly they turned their heads, peering in astonishment at the elf who stood there smiling with Janae, Katie, and several others that burned with them. Blood still stained the snow where the two students, their friends and classmates had fallen.

They turned to glance at the silent stone expression of Rijiin as a cold wind whipped around them, rustling the elf’s gray cloak. Large flakes of a steady snow began to fall from the clouds above. Time changed back, reverting to what was and the memory of what the wizard had done to the students was fading. There was surprise from inside as Rijiin glanced at the faces behind him in the doorway and to the few who were outside.

     “W-what happened?” Katie whispered, “What the heck did you do?”

     “I was able to help and heal. I changed the time stream and pulled back time to what was. I saved Emily and the others from death and changed the history timeline that we had traversed.” Rijiin murmured, “They have been restored to what was. They died in this place by a man who had come for me and that was not the focal point of this time stream.”

The elf glanced at the confused expressions everyone present, who had heard the elf’s explanation. Other students and staff clustered about the elf, the two young women and the few who had been hurt here today. There was a lot of shouting and embracing, especially for Emily, Stephanie and the others. Everyone that had seen them fall, students and staff were glad to see them. Emily and the others turned to the elf as he managed a grin of his own as they clustered about him. The elf stepped back.   

“Be at peace you are safe, and I must leave. The time stream has been restored to what it was and the evil that happened here is no more.” The elf exclaimed, and he turned with only a swish of his cloak.

    “H-how did you do that?”

    The elf sighed.

    “Humans,” He said, and grinned.   

    “Thank you, I think.” Emily said embracing Rijiin warmly and even kissed him on the lips. There was a smile and laughter, whistles, catcalls even an ‘Oooh and Ahhhs’ out of the crowd.  They held it for a full five minutes.

    “Thank you Rijiin.” Emily whispered lustily, returning the smile the elf gave her.

    “You are quite welcome me’ lady.” He replied, bowing slightly. Janae and Katie also tried to embrace the elf but this time their hands passed right through him.

     “What the…” They both gasped, as a Cheshire cat grin appeared on Rijiin’s face and he felt the winds of time pulling him. Emily put out her hand.  The others looked on in silence, as the elf nodded slightly to the groups gathered, and the staff.

    “Fear not. You shall see me again if you desire to do so. I shall be waiting west in a place called Wilcox!” Rijiin told them and pausing he saw Emily’s hands out and the sad expression on her face.

    “Don’t worry.” He told the group, “Hey it’s a kind of magic…”

With that, the elf smiled at the group gathered before he disappeared in a flash.

     Lying in the camp he had made, back in the fifteenth century, Rijiin stirred from his sleep and slowly opened his eyes.  He sat up and panned a long astonished look to the familiar trees and forest around him. Slowly he stood up, and cleaned his camp before turning to walk not more than fifty paces. Here he would stand again at the remains of Saint Brigid. The elf felt confused by the memories and images of battle. Rijiin wondered if while he had slept, he dreamed the whole thing. He closed his eyes to see only blackness there. Even the starlight had been a possible hallucination or part of a dream.

    “The memories were so vivid and real.” Rijiin thought, “Was it?”

He did not know or could not be sure if it were a dream or not.

 A few minutes elapsed before Rijiin had traveled back to the remains of Saint Brigid and there in the falling sleet and rain he stared at this depressing sight. Rijiin stood as Natil had, at least a hundred years before him, at the edge of the remains of this village. The elf touched his forehead and bowed slightly. A solemn scene remained there as rain fell upon it and the drops pelted the hood of the elf’s cloak.

 “I must go.” Rijiin said, “It is here that I say goodbye and I shall never forget you all. I must leave now, and you take care wherever you are.”

With that, the elf turned and he walked away from the remains of Saint Brigid. Rijiin had done the same thing as Natil had done too. She had said goodbye to the town and the people who had known the elves and accepted them as is. The Harper then moved off to the northeast. He unknowingly followed his beloved Harper’s steps, as she had traveled the same direction to leave Adria all together.

    Walking alone, the young elf journeyed along the eastern road that would take him again to the north, leading to another village not unlike Saint Brigid, called Furze and here he traveled alone through the falling snow. A couple of hours elapsed and he soon came to the familiar fields of Furze. He stepped up to the bridge that would cross the Malvern River into the village itself, walking the road openly and undisguised. The young elf had pushed the hood of his cloak back, and adjusted his hair to revealing his fair features, clearly showing he was an elf as he threw the penny toll into the basket. He glanced at the astonished guard who stood on watch. The guard stared incredulously at Rijiin and the elf only nodded respectfully to him as he crossed the bridge.

    The elf, as he entered the village met the many expressions of the village folk that lived here, as well as soldiers and clergy who had walked through the streets. They eyed him suspiciously and the Rijiin sensed their hatred, disapproval, even fear of him. The people knew who and what he was.

He remembered the Inquisition and the conditioned fear that had gripped this village. As for the common-folk, they looked away when they saw the elf, or moved aside to wait for him to pass. Mothers grabbed their children, drawing them back against them. Many soldiers scowled at the elf, and low murmurs echoed by the people present through the town. Rijiin realized he is getting the same reaction as he had seen in the northern-western town, Maris.

    “What do they fear?” He thought, as he nodded to a Dominican Priest who walked toward him.

    “Blessings upon you this day good priest,” He told him and the priest only grimaced as he passed the elf. Behind Rijiin, the priest had suddenly paused realizing that an elf, a heretical being they were out to vanquish from earth completely, had passed him. He turned and frowned, staring at Rijiin like the common folk of the village.

    “A heretic!” exclaimed the priest, as other clergy joined him and a low murmur passed through his small group. The priest glanced at the guards who stared at him too.

     “What are you waiting for?” He shouted, pointing at Rijiin with a shaking finger, “Arrest that creature in the name of God!”

Screams followed as soldiers ran from all directions and Rijiin drew his blade. He parried the attacks with speed and precision, slaying each soldier with without a word. Rijiin with his blade still drawn and still in his hand he walked down the middle of the street.

    “Come and fight me damn you.” He snarled at the soldiers who put up their hands and withdrew from the street. He lashed out and his blade flashed as another soldier fell. Others fled from his presence when they realized that this being was not going to give them mercy.

    “No not you!” A voice said. “Please sir, mercy!”

    Rijiin said nothing and slew him anyway as he continued walking to the far end of the village. The elf headed to the eastern gate that would take him out of here. He fought only the soldiers who had been brave enough to challenge him and others he left behind their lack of action allowed them to watch a wake of violence move through the streets.

    Rijiin sensed they were allowing him to leave despite the urging of the clergy who screamed curses at them and at the elf. The elf n turned, tired of the shouting and he charged the clergy. Sword flashing he slew each one and they fell in a bloody heap. He held one and he had the point of his blade at his throat. Fear gripped the clergy as he raised his hand to motion the soldiers back.

    “Next time, be wary.” Rijiin snarled, “I give you back your life. Easily taken and now freely given. May you use it wisely in the future!”

“You never had it Satan.” Spat the priest, “It is not yours to give or take.”

Rijiin grimaced as he roughly grabbed the priest’s collar front, and in front of the many soldiers and common folk, he ran his sword through him. Blood splattered from his body onto the ground and there was a scream.

“Then die.” The elf said coldly, “And vengeance to my slain brothers and sisters, and their needless persecution. For, I am the last of those folk to roam these woods.”

The priest heard the words and a smile of triumph appeared on his face then a look of fear. The common folk had heard his words and frowns appeared on their faces, a growing hostility toward the clergy and the Inquisition. Rijiin sensed death sweeping in to take the soul of the priest a moment later, and he pulled out his blade from the corpse wiping the blood from it onto the dead priest’s robe before standing upright.

The elf held the blade ready as he made his way to the edge of town, walking down the middle of the street. He glanced on either side at the common-folk who stood watching him and soldiers who stood back away from him. When the elf reached the gate, he met the look of some soldiers on the gate who had seen the violence in the square and they drew back, allowing him to pass.

No one challenged him, no one followed in pursuit, having heard the words of the elf who spoke clear, concisely and his tone ice cold. Rijiin returned a respectful nod to soldiers at the gate as he passed and disappeared into the falling snow.  

A few hours later, the immortal elf found himself far from Adria on the road to the east where he would travel for  full day before he camped. He managed to make it this far without incident, leaving the control and realm of the Inquisition forever.

As he sat alone, beside his makeshift cover in his camp and next to a warm fire, he sat with his eyes closed to stare at the darkness. The elf wished he could see the starlight as the elves could a long time ago and wished he could go to the Lady, clad in blue and silver robes to seek her council and wisdom. All he saw was darkness, that power having long since vanished over the many centuries of wandering by the elf.

Opening his eyes at the sound of the crackling fire, he stared at the burning wood and embers as they traveling upward into the star filled sky. The elf thought of the trip to the future that he had undertaken with Natil and wished that he could return to those times when everything made a difference. A time where there were few elves left gathered in the thickest forest of Malvern.

He was alone with no star to guide him in a now vast world of men.

In the future, at the same moment in time, that a lone truck from Uhaul™ lumbered down the highway known as 50-East as it crossed the long stretch road across the desolate part of Nevada. It is heading east toward the next town called Ely and inside the cab, Becky and Mimi occupied it. Together the young women travel together with no idea where they are going or a reason why. They both found themselves drawn by an irresistible urge to head east, just as Rijiin had told them they would. Together it would take Mimi and Becky four months after not finding the portal to pack up everything they owned, put it in a truck to depart abruptly from California without warning to anyone.

As Becky sat behind the wheel, Mimi peered out ahead as she took pictures with her camera and they entered the outskirts of the town of Ely. Each one took turns driving while the other sat with their eyes closed idly staring at the starlight that seemed to twinkle in the darkness or continue to take pictures, idly chatted with each other or listened to the radio. They had a power they still did not understand, one given to them by Rijiin and his beloved Harpers' healing powers several months ago on the campus of De Anza College. A power of help and healing that would change them both into what they were supposed to be, immortal elves.

The elves magic had changed Mimi first but as they did so, the powers swirled and surrounded the rest of the group present. Mimi and Becky both could see the starlight that the firstborn elves could see, its power changing them as the weeks and month progressed, but the starlight still troubled them both. They did not know what they were supposed to do as elves. Both had traveled frequently to Eastridge and had found the portal that took them through time and space to the past. They had arrived many times, four hundred plus years where Rijiin and Natil welcomed them warmly with the other elves. Lately, however, they found themselves left empty and hollow after not able to find the portal to take them to Adria. Only this trip had brought them closer together in knowing what they were looking for.

Mouse also knew also that by now that Robert would be going ape shit frantic, finding and reading the note, she left him. Mimi had told him that she loved him, and needed to seek out what called to her. Mimi omitted deliberately her destination, who she traveled with, and when she would return. She closed her eyes, letting the starlight touch her very soul and it seemed to calm her excitement and uneasiness of what they expected to find ahead of them.

“Where the heck are we Mouse?” Becky asked, and Mimi turned her head, opening her eyes and reached out to grab the map.

“We’re 5 miles from Ely, Nevada.” She replied, “We’d better fill up, it is a long way to the next town in Utah.”

As they entered the city of Ely, there is a main drag for buildings, a downtown, and many casinos line the streets. It is an old town, most of the buildings dingy from the heat of summer, and the harshness of winter. Ely is a former mining town that would be their waypoint to fill the Uhaul™ truck’s huge fuel tank and their stomachs.

As Mimi pumped the gas, she stood at the station’s pumps taking pictures with her camera while Becky grabbed some snacks for them to eat on the way. When it was finished fueling, Mimi locked the truck and walked into the convenience store to the bathroom. She returned a few minutes later as Becky stood outside the truck, stretching her legs, arms and back as they prepared to continue their journey.

“I got you a Dr Pepper™, some chips and some candies.” Becky offered and Mouse smiled, “Also got you some more film.”

“With thanks.” Mouse replied, stepping up to seat herself in the driver’s side while Becky took up the passenger seat.  The inside of the cab was rather spacious, despite the camera bag, purses and grocery bags that sat on the floor between them. It had a standard two-bucket seat setup, with a bench fold down for a third passenger.  It was quite roomy for a truck.

“Say, did you call Robert?” Becky asked suddenly, “Let him know we made it to Ely?”

Mouse shook her head negatively.

“No way, I told him why I left and omitted our destination, since neither of us knows where that lies.” Mouse replied, “Actually I should, but I don’t think he wants to speak with me. After all, he thinks I am not me, but someone else. He obviously didn’t like what Rijiin and Natil did to me I guess.”

    “I can bet that he didn’t like you leaving either.” Mouse added, making Rebecca laugh.

“I’ll talk to him.” Becky offered, and Mouse shook her head again.

“Let’s call him when we reach the next town and stop for the night.” Mouse suggested, “We have a lot of miles to go.”

She was suddenly thankful that she had avoided the abuse she would have had to endure, taking to Robert. Mouse found she was glad to be away from that influence to find their true calling of where they now belonged.

“Off we go then.” Becky declared with a grin and nod.

Mouse turned over the engine and it idled quietly before she put it into gear. Hitting the accelerator, the truck slowly crept forward onto the driveway. Mimi kept watch for traffic before punching it and the truck roared back onto the 50-East. Once again, they sped down the highway and Mimi sipped at her Dr. Pepper™ while Becky closed her eyes, to gaze at the starlight she saw there. She thought of Natil and Rijiin, and even she wondered if they were alive and well, and wondered if they would find them at their destination.

“They said they were immortal.” She thought, “I wonder if they survived through the centuries. I hope we have someone to greet us at our new destination.”

As Becky sat in the seat, she reminisced back to when Natil and Rijiin entered the Fireside Dining Room. She stared at the starlight that twinkled in the darkness and remembered the look on everyone’s face who had gathered in the Fireside Lounge on De Anza’s campus on a cold, December morning. As they looked over at the doorway, there was a low murmur and Rijiin's first reaction had been to ignore the low murmur of the people gathered here, walking with silent steps toward the table where Mimi sits in her wheelchair, surrounded by her longtime friends on campus.

    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, 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.

Becky understood immediately and her head snapped in their direction.

"Excuse me, Rijiin, are you and Natil…?" She started to ask, and her voice seemed to fail, falling off into a whisper. The elf turned his head, smiling slightly as he nodded.

       Rijiin nodded, sighing quietly. "It is true mistress." He whispered, only loud enough for the table to hear him, "We are elves, and we are here to help and heal. From out of time and space, we have come to help Mouse."

"You are such a liar John." Robert snapped, "Shut up you asshole. It's probably dunderheads friends dressed up like this and are pretending to be something else."

     "Robert, that was not nice, and to your information, if anyone is a dunderhead it is you…" Becky snarled, "I don't think my boyfriend here would do something like that. I have a news flash. I think we are looking at the genuine article."

Becky, however, did glance at Rijiin for confirmation. She saw Rijiin manage a slight smile and a nod to the young woman who was seated at the table.

         "I am neither the people you speak of mistress, nor have I been paid to impersonate such a thing. I am as I am." His voice stated evenly.

    An aura shimmered around the Elf. Becky's face showed a smile, but it suddenly faded as this strange aura began to grow around him. It became bright and incandescent as it started in his hands first, then fully surrounding him.

The faces of the others, including John, had shown alarm and confusion, making them all back away from the table. The security men and everyone had backed away from them.

     "Be at peace, I am here for a reason." Rijiin said suddenly, turning to Mimi, who sat in her chair, "Time is short…"

            She had her eyes tightly closed when his hands touched her shoulders.

"Just relax beloved Mimi." He told her, letting the energy and starlight flow through him, as he utilized the healing powers of the elves of the fourteenth century. Mouse suddenly was reminded of someone else she knew and she instantly thought of her friend, who willingly massaged her shoulders for her. Mimi realized that Rijiin had the same gentle touch as she remembered her friend to have.  

    Rijiin suddenly grimaced, hearing her thoughts and turned his head to focus upon the disabled woman. Natil heard her thoughts too, showing surprise, but also a sad expression appeared her fair features. Rijiin met the Harper's expression in silence as he managed a shrug.

    Mimi had been thinking of him when he was human and when he was reported deceased and murdered a year ago. The San Jose Police and the FBI had been called because neighborhood kids found an unrecognizable body, his body, lying in a nearby cement culvert across from Eastridge Mall. They had identified him by his wallet found in his pocket left untouched. The elf suddenly realized, other than the portal not being there, this was the main reason why he could not return to the future. Everything suddenly made sense to Rijiin and this new fact suited the elf just fine.

"Ta ilya forya, a'mael."  He murmured with a sigh, "Reea forya Natili. Mimitti quenea I'-zuz, taea e' I'- silma. Amin curtamanea ta eller."

Rijiin told her it was all right, Mimi spoke the truth. It is in the starlight. I saw it there. The Harper picked up his meaning, and his reaction to it. The reaction to this piece of information, confirmed by Rijiin, was not the one reaction she expected him to take. He had just confirmed Mimi's statement, quickly able to look into the starlight where he could manipulate images of the past, present, and future. He let his consciousness move among them effortlessly. Rijiin managed an affirmative nod to Natil when he met her questioning expression.

"Seere a'mael, amin cael- utue amin telaien, amin yestaien. Amin utuea amin yamen e' I' palurin. Ta uumea il'- karn bir n'atyaea tanya amin gurthea. Amin valin- ta tele- ar' amin naa ie' seere yassen ta." Rijiin replied, telling her to be at peace, I have found my ending, my beginning. I have found my place in the world. It does not make a difference that I died. I am happy it is finished and I am at peace with it.

Becky heard Natil gasp aloud when she heard his answer and slowly nod.

 The Harper had not expected to hear this answer from him. A look of respect, admiration and deeper love for Rijiin appeared on her face. Beside the elves, Mimi's friends and Mouse herself listened to the strange language they spoke between them. There were murmurs among the gathered people here, who heard the curious language between the elves, and how it freely flowed. Becky found the words eloquent, and beautiful.

    "What language is that, is that elfish?" Becky asked, and there were murmurs throughout the room. Everyone was equally curious about the couple and the strange glow and power they wielded like a double-edged sword that he carried at his side.  It surrounded the group at the table an spilled outward, growing and expanding.

     "What did you tell her, it was absolutely… amazing…"

Rijiin had not answered Becky's question as he turned his attention to Mimi, and he placed his hands back on her shoulders. Everyone watched as the incandescent glow appear around them, and it swirled about the elf, Mimi and her friends who sat with her. Rijiin shook his head after a moment and turning his head, he grimaced at the Harper.

    "I don't know about this." Katherine said, "If I am up on languages, I think he told her to be at peace that he found his ending something about a beginning and something about his death that he is happy it happened…"

    "Lle quena eldalie?" Rijiin said, turning to Katherine and she smiled. He asked if she spoke elfish.

    "Bir -elle." She replied with a bow, "Quenjen rangwea I' quenjen en' yuuyo palurinea. Firya, Eldalie… nae Taur’Amandil…”

She told him that she spoke a little that it is best to understand the best of both worlds. Human, Elven… and Druid…" Rijiin nodded with a smile, glancing at the smiling Harper.

"There is a lot to do still Natil, and I am growing fatigued. Perhaps if you play something on your harp, we can help her together. There is a lot more to do than I can do alone."

Becky turned her head as he spoke to the Harper and the elf maiden considered his request for a moment had nodded in agreement. She took a seat in an open chair to pull out her harp from under her cloak. The first reaction of everyone present was a questioning look when everyone saw the harp, but soon understood that the Harper was going to play something on it. Becky watched as she took a seat in an open chair. Her hands danced over the strings as she quickly inspected the cherry wood frame and the bronze strings. She quickly tuned the instrument.

"Naa lle desiel Natili?" He asked her, the Harper met his look with a grin and a silent nod. He asked if she was ready.

     "Amin' e desiel, Rijiini," Natil replied, still smiling as she put the harp in her lap, and quickly she readied herself to play. She had informed him that she was ready and positioned her hands on the strings of the harp.  

Becky noted that the room's attention focused on Natil when her fingers rippled off a couple of notes. Mimi's friends sitting at the table had smiled when they heard the notes. Around the room, there were quiet murmurs, before silence completely fell over the entire room. It would be a feat, to Mouse's knowledge, only the second time ever to happen in this dining hall. The Harper's hands expertly moved across the strings with a ripple of notes. As the elf maiden began to play, she played one melody written at the beginning of her existence and the world. The notes were a familiar melody that Mimi recognized from the other day in the quad. The old song came to Natil easily and fluidly as she played, her hands dancing across the bronze strings.

"Ele asta a mirurore,

Cira a ciraie,

Elthiai calasiuove,

Marithae dia."

Natil sang the words quietly in elfish as her hands danced across the strings of the small cherry wood, and bronze-strung harp. She had played the healing notes, as Rijiin's starlight energy remained focused into Mimi and it spilled unknowingly into the others around her.

Mouse of course, felt the warmth in her limbs and the others watched in silence at the strange aura that seemed to surround her and everyone at the table. No one in the room interfered or moved. Students and staff around them looked on as the mysterious young woman played a strange melody on her harp, shifting with several variations. The people who had gathered did not understand what was happening and did not understand that she, with her companion, was helping and healing Mimi.

Becky's head turned slowly, casting a sweeping look about the room, watching the many faces in the Fireside Dining Room and she smiled. The silence in the room was ominous as the only sound was Natil's harping echoing through its interior. Katherine was listening with her eyes closed as she felt the power of the elves, helping, healing Mimi.

    "Such great power," Becky thought as Natil played her harp for a half-hour, helping and healing Mimi with Rijiin. She watched in amazement as the healing energy flowed over her friend, becoming a low swirling white energy.

"Healing, comfort and aid, that's what it's all about, and I can help them if I so choose." Rijiin murmured, suddenly feeling differently and now fully understanding his purpose as an elf.

He realized that as an immortal he had potentially great abilities and power to change anything he wanted. The elf had that ability and free choice if he wanted to help the world, giving back a little hope to make it a better place. The question that he asked was what time would he help change and make better… Would it be the past or the future?

Rijiin also found himself one with his new existence as an elf, the scrap of soul he had as a human, finally leaving him and his transformation now complete into becoming fully Elven. The elf also realized that he no longer belonged here in the twentieth century and only belonged in the fourteenth century.

Time seemed to shift around him as the Elven couple sat in the Fireside Lounge. The Elf turned his head to peer at the Harper who sat across from him and he smiled at her. He had found love too, the purest, truest love. He would be with her forever, living out his days with his promised mate, which suited him just fine too.

     When Natil sensed his thoughts, the Harper looked up with a smile, her hands continuing to dance skillfully across the bronze strings as she played the melody on her harp to its climax. The energy she sensed around them swirled, having already became a bright incandescent light, as it shifted in many patterns and in an array of color. It enveloped Rijiin and Mimi completely until, a moment later, when Natil let her hands drop from the harp strings, that the room became abruptly quiet.

The only sound within the room now was the murmur of astonishment by everyone who had seen the elves help and heal today. There was not a dry eye in the room as the Harper hugged the harp, and she watched the swirling energy around them fade away. There was scattered applause that followed at first, echoing through the room as it became louder as more people joined in with their applause. The loudest had been Katherine and she managed to whistle as she applauded.

    "Beautiful…" Katherine murmured, "Absolutely beautiful."

Sitting across from Natil, Becky saw the Harper smile when she heard it. The young Elven woman nodded to the group and to the other people present, who showed their appreciation of her music. The Harper's next reaction had been to turn, casting a quick look at Rijiin. Natil gasped aloud as her friend, kinfolk and new lover lay sprawled out on the floor, succeeding in his task to help and heal his friend. He had unthinkably changed the patterns making up the woman known as Mimi Stewart and when Natil saw him sprawled out, she feared the worst.

The Harper feared that Rijiin may have given himself too much and possibly sacrificed his life for Mimi's, which he openly said he would do if necessary to protect his best friend. Natil immediately hoped she was wrong with her assessment of the situation.  She rose and moved to his side, kneeling next to him.

"What's the matter with him?" Robert asked, and the group turned to stare in fear at Rijiin, who was slumped forward on the floor. They glanced over at Mimi who was slumped forward too across the table, both having been totally enveloped in the swirling mass of energy for several minutes.

    "Rijiin," Natil whispered, as she reached over to shake him with no response.

    "Oh dear Lady," She murmured, "RIJIIN!"

    Tears formed in the Harper's eyes as she lightly shook him several times, again with no response.   

 Katherine understood what had happened and what she had witnessed, the use of a power that had not existed in at least four centuries.

     "Aye Natili… Please be at peace, I am all right." He told her, pushing himself up and sitting on the floor.

Natil immediately heard the change in his voice, thick with the strong inflection and heavily accented like her kinfolk. Everyone around them fearfully looked at Rijiin and Mimi several times in silent disbelief.

"Jesus, what was that?" Chris asked, everyone very stunned by what had happened here this morning was thinking the same thing.

The Harper had shown surprise on her face when hearing the strong inflection in his voice. The energy that bound the elves had changed him fully, the semi-recognizable face from earlier had gone away, leaving someone completely different. It had surprised the group and strangely Natil too.

"Oh my Lady," Natil murmured, "What has he done? Did he do what I just think he did?"

The Harper's face softened in understanding.

Becky stared at Mimi who at this moment sat slumped face down on the table, still half-stunned and disoriented because of the massive healing she had undergone. As Mimi lay there, her first sensation was a tingling throughout her body. The maiden opened her eyes, her blue eyes focusing on the table.

    "What's going on?" Mimi thought, "What happened to me? I must have blacked out or something."

    The disabled woman tried to make sense of what happened to her over the last few minutes and realized she could not account for herself.  It would be a few minutes before she would regain full awareness of event while on the campus of DeAnza College.

    Mimi and Rijiin, in the period of many minutes they were enveloped by the incandescent energy, both standing on the grassy meadow with the Lady, the Creatrix of the Elves. As Mimi stood here, the moon glared down as if in judgment. Mouse knew what was about to happen and she returned the glance by Rijiin and turned to stare at the Lady's gray, solemn eyes.  

"I'm not afraid." She whispered, "Please."  

The Lady stepped up to stand beside Mimi, her blue and silver trimmed robe shimmering in the darkness. In her hand, she held a staff of pale wood. The Lady's face looked neutral with no emotion that Mimi could see on her fair, kind Elven features. Closing her eyes, the Creatrix whispered something to herself in her own language; and with understanding that the light in her mind had given her. Mimi caught a brief glimpse of a teenage girl clad in green and gray garb, a crescent moon behind her and a star in her hand. The Lady finished the prayer and looked down at Mimi who knelt before her. The Lady nodded gravely and rested a hand on Mimi's forehead.

     Relaxation flooded into her body, as though every nerve and muscle fiber had been oiled, warmed, and massaged into limpness. Mimi sighed softly and almost drifted into sleep, but the woman's soft voice brought her back.

"Blessings be upon you and within you, now and always."

She sighed, bowing her head for a moment then gestured toward the moon. It hung at the zenith, full and round, though she did not recall that it had been in that phase when she appeared on the meadow the first time with the Creatrix.

"This is the Night of Completion. Mimi." The Creatrix of the elves told her. "Watch the moon. Relax and let her light fill you. Let it protect you. Let it empower you."

The Lady smiled at Rijiin who stood nearby, nodding to him in silence. He had his eyes closed, using his abilities from his transformation to help with her change.

Mimi shifted her gaze to the shining disk, breathed regularly, and felt as though she were glowing. The Lady stepped out of her vision, but the quality of light changed and the middle-aged woman realized the staff was brightening as the Lady held it over her head.

Mimi kept her eyes on the moon.

A tight feeling gripped her. Mimi found she could not have moved if she wanted to and could not even blink. Eyes locked on the moon, she felt herself drawn toward it. It grew larger, filling the sky and her vision, the white light blazing through her, harrowing her soul and mind with a seething glory.

Mimi wanted to close her eyes, to look away, but she might have been stone for all the movement she was capable of at this moment.

"I trust her. I trust the Lady. But I am scared…"

She heard the sea, the sound growling as rapidly as had the light, the waves rising about her until, invisibly, they overlapped the meadow and flooded her, turning the moon into a featureless sky of white mist.

Mimi almost lost consciousness, but the thought of being unaware terrified her into full cognizance. She realized she was looking into the mist-shrouded face of a teenage girl with blue eyes, the color of aquamarines and long dark brown hair. The form of the teenager smiled at Mimi and reached toward her with a strong hand.

"I am not afraid." Mimi said, extending a hand and in her mind, a voice answered her: Good. Their hands met and gripped. The strange teenage girl smiled again and her lips silently formed the syllables of Mimi's name just before her fingers tightening for an instant. She was swept forward to merge with her.

A jolt racked Mimi's body as though she had been struck, and the white mist fled from her sight. The stars appeared, shining, glorious, their brilliance as razor-keen as a warrior's sword.  Transfixed by their light, she saw, unfolding like a flower before her, an infinite complex of futures in which all potentials and possibilities bound and connected by a vast web of starlight. It went on and on, each future merging with another and with yet another, a convoluted knot of maybes, and might-bes, and … and …one reality…

Mimi screamed, muscles spasmning, as she fell to the ground and she rolled to the side, fetal, fighting for sight, for thought. A river of starlight poured over her. Something widened within her, and the light-flooded in.

"Elthia… Rijiin…! Please help me!"

A hand came down to touch her on the head, and her spasms stopped abruptly.

"Be at peace… Mimi."

Mimi lay for sometime on the ground, waiting for her heart to calm. Behind her closed eyes, the stars shone, and the tenuous arm of a nebula shimmered in the distance. Her thoughts slowed gradually, and she forced herself to feel the grass beneath her, replaying the day's events to re-link her with the world.

Opening her eyes she could see the ghostly shape of her former self as she walked away from her, and disappeared in a flash of bright light. The young girl was nowhere to be found and that puzzled Mimi. Only the Creatrix of the elves and Rijiin stood in the meadow with her at this very moment. Mimi frowned as she peered in wonder at the flash after the girl had disappeared.

“Have I been hallucinating? Who was that young girl?” Mimi asked herself, her mind racing with questions that burned in her mind.

Mouse, however, had been surrounded in the purest starlight energy. She had found a semblance of peace despite her many questions that echoed through her mind. The Lady helped Mimi to her feet, and together they stood on the threshold, chatting with each other The now youthful elf maiden turned her head to smile at Rijiin who stepped up to kneel before the Lady who put a loving arm on his broad shoulder. The Lady nodded as he looked up into her gray eyes. Standing, Rijiin nodded to Mouse before stepping into the shadows.

A moment later, the meadow faded around her too and Mimi slowly opened her eyes, quickly realizing she was slumped on the table in the Fireside Dining Room of De Anza College. She had been enveloped in the energy, an almost blinding light as she was transformed before everyone's eyes. Mimi had opened her eyes, her vision quickly clearing as she focused on her hand, her hand that sat a few inches from her face, lying on the table. Gingerly, she flexed it, turned it, touched the tabletop, and watched the fingers move according to her own will.

However, she did not recognize the hand at all.

It was still obviously the hand of a woman, but that was all she could find in common with it. Medium and strong, it looked very capable of wielding a sword. The fingers were long and tapered. In the moonlight, they had looked like they were carved out of ivory.

It took her several minutes as she lay there, flexing them, before pushing herself backward with the help of a firm arm of Rijiin, who helped her into a sitting position. She had no idea that she had been changed by his use of the elves' magic. The now youthful maiden's aquamarine colored eyes darted to the pleased expression of Rijiin, who sat nearby. The newly changed elf, Mimi, noted that he seemed different from before and his face no longer what it was when he had first arrived at the dining room. He seemed different to her in many ways, even on the meadow where they stood with the Lady.

     "What did he do to me? I really feel so strange." Mouse thought, hearing a gasp and turning she met the astonished look everyone present around her. Her gaze turned back to Rijiin, who still was smiling and he silently nodded to her.

"Huh? What's wrong?"  Mimi asked, "Why is everyone looking at me?"

Mouse turned to scan the room meeting the astonished faces of those who knew her and others not. She fell silent when hearing her voice, it had changed to a smooth contralto instead of a rough soprano and it was accented ever so slightly. She was amazed by it.

Becky had watched Mimi push herself back from the table, with Rijiin’s help. Now she looked down at herself. She could see the relief on the now young woman's face, thankful to find her body still in one piece, but realized that something was definitely amiss. Rebecca watched as Mouse examined herself, lifting her shirt to peer at her waist and her curved figure. Pulling at the neck of her shirt, she peered down at her now B cup breasts. Feeling a weight on her head, she took a handful of her now long dark hair in her hands. Gasping in realization, Mouse turned her head at the strange face of Rijiin and over to Natil who sat across from him. The elf managed a slight nod in response to her questioning expression. She suddenly realized that it was not her body.

"Holy… Shit! What the fuck is going on here?" Mimi exclaimed in a panicked voice, rising to a standing position and catching sight of her reflection in the glass of one of the pictures on the wall. An unfamiliar face appeared there and Mouse gasped in realization what was happening. Mimi realized the face in the reflection of the picture's glass is not her own. She could partially see in the reflection that it is rounded, fair-featured and she now has aquamarine colored eyes. She had noted the long deep dark hair that fell in curls down to her mid back. Mimi stared at her new face and body that was very unfamiliar to her. Mimi had exhaled sharply, putting a hand to her face as-if to stifle it, having full realization of what was happening

"Oh my god, it is the face of the young girl who was wearing green and gray garb!" Mimi thought, "What the hell is going on here? No wonder all attention is focused on me!"

Mouse placed her hands on her face, as-if to examine it. They touched it several times, as she stared at the look of astonishment on her face, reflected in the glass of the picture frame. Mouse turned her head regarding the unfamiliar face of Rijiin who was smiling.

"W-what have you done to me?" Mimi sputtered as her head swam with overpowering sensations and she was giddy with disorientation. She tried to pull back, but looked down only to realize that he had taken her hands. Rijiin had sensed panic in her voice and he touched her head silently.

“Peace.” The elf said simply, and the feelings of panic and confusion subsided.

     "W-what you have you done to me?" She demanded again and Rijiin gravely met the clear, bright and piercing, aquamarine colored eyes in silence. "W-why have you done this to me?"

     The elf silently met the look of anger on her face, and he casually dismissed it.

    "By the lady, you look so different Mimi." Katherine told her, staring in silent astonishment the fair features of her friend that she had witnessed changed in the matter of an hour and a half, before her eyes.

"Peace, I healed you Mouse." He told her, his voice thick with the inflection and accent, "Call it a gift if you like, but I settled our long outstanding debt with help and healing. It is today that I give you back a new chance at life."

    Mimi raised an eyebrow at Rijiin's explanation, closing her eyes only briefly before gasping loudly. She stared uncomprehending at the twinkle of starlight that filled in the darkness and perhaps her very soul. It is the very same light Mouse saw when she stood with Rijiin and the Creatrix of the elves on a meadow under a star-filled sky. The sight of the stars seemed to calm her disorientation and Mouse did not understand their meaning quite yet, so she kept it to herself.

    "There is something strange about the starlight, a meaning behind it perhaps." Mimi thought, opening her eyes curiously meeting Rijiin's smile with a tilt of her head.

    "Be at peace Mimitti, there will be no harm to you, only truth, as you and I always kept that between us. Remember that I never will candy-coated an answer to your questions." Rijiin replied with a warm smile, "I am here to help you and answer any questions you have."

The elf let his awareness flow out and over her. Mouse suddenly knew the truth of the matter as images of his journey began to form in her mind. She gasped loudly, peering dumfounded at the elf, her mouth dropping open in complete surprise as she watched the images.

Across the table, a look of rage appeared on Robert's face, annoyed by Rijiin's openness with his best friend and fiancé, Mimi.  He did not understand who it was, or that it was indeed Mimi sitting in her chair.  The elf, his companion had been enveloped the entire table in an energy sphere and in an hour and a half had changed Mimi before everyone’s eyes. Robert thought he had taken Mimi away from him by his demeanor, trying to help her understand the last hour and a half.

Rijiin, had merely opened his mind to utilize the starlight and show Mouse his identity, before his transformation into an elf. It would also explain a few things to her after his jumping through time and space to help her. The images were like a high-speed movie camera flashing images in her brain at double speed. Mimi now had full knowledge as Rijiin promised her, knowledge of his journey but they were like a whirlwind in her brain. Mouse tried to make sense of them, but she was unable to put them in order like a giant jigsaw puzzle with matching pieces. Mimi turned her head to meet the smiling face of Rijiin who sat next to her.

"This can't be!" Mimi exclaimed, shaking her head, "But he, you are dead! How can you be him, it is not possible!"

"Be at peace mistress Stewart, I am who I say I am." Rijiin replied, nodding a couple of time despite the dubious look on her face.

"Can't be who Mouse?" Robert asked, as the others turned to the young woman and all were nodding in agreement. They wanted to know what was going on. Rijiin could hardly blame them for wanting to know what he had just showed her. The elf considered what he could do, and almost showed the others in the group, but he did not want to cause a riot in the Fireside Dining Room. That would not be constructive use of the time allotted to help and heal his friend.

"Who are you talking about Mimi?" Omar asked, and a chorus of voices bombarded the young woman all at once.

     "Come on Mouse, I am who I say I am." He whispered, making a motioning sign with his hands, "You can do it. You may tell them, beloved, although they might not believe it."

"He is what? Who is this person?" Robert asked, "Mimi you are not making sense."

"I can't Rijiin, it's just not possible." She replied, falling silent as tears formed in her eyes, "Your body was dismembered beyond recognition.”

Mouse began to weep as she covered her face and everyone peered at Rijiin, a look of anger, perhaps misunderstanding on the faces present.

“Please do not make me live through that nightmare again. I finally got over it."

"What the fuck are you doing to her Rijiin?" Robert snarled angrily.

"I am not doing anything to harm her, Ungai." The elf replied sternly. Rijiin turned his attention back to Mimi whose eyebrows had climbed in absolute astonishment followed by a large grin. Mouse had gasped when Rijiin had called Robert the nickname he had given him a long time ago.

Katherine, across the table had briefly yelped with laughter. There was a chuckle among the group. A long time had passed since they had heard the nicknamed used for Robert. The elf briefly turned his head to meet Becky's puzzled frown as she sat next to Mimi. He then turned to the others who watched the exchange between himself and Mouse. They only suspected that it was their friend, the only the person they knew had called Robert ‘Unga’ but they realized that person had died.

 It was also very difficult for Mimi to believe it was her friend. Mouse even found that she could not accept the changes to her mind and body. Let alone having to accept the changes of Rijiin, her best friend in the world like the ones on De Anza's campus. What the elf did for her, however, had happened and she could not deny it with what she saw in the reflection in the glass of the picture nearby.

    "It is true mistress. I was he, but no longer." The elf told her with a nod, reading her conflicting thoughts (as the elves could), "As you already know."

Mimi regarded the elf for a moment, grimacing but managing a nod back. She need not ask him where Rijiin had been, already knowing the answer to that question. Mouse was just glad to see him and she stood up and embraced him warmly, tears filling her eyes.


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