Return of Starlight

Sequel to Healing Starlight


5. Kirma Lempe: (Part Five)

     “You look great mistress Harper.” Mimi complimented and noted a blush on the Harper’s still confused face.

    The magic had changed them viciously into beautiful, youthful-looking elf maidens. Natil could not see anything of what she had remembered them to be. She smiled at the sight before her, shaking her head silently in disbelief.  

    “So do the both of you.” Natil replied, “A very welcomed sight.”

“So where is Rijiin?” Becky asked, and Mimi glanced at her. “Is he with you here in Denver?”

They both saw the grimace appear on the Harper’s fair features.

     “Nay, he is not. I…I do not know… where he is…” Natil replied, “He vanished into the forest a few months after we returned to Adria. He risked venturing into a blizzard to save a young child. He perished that night, and never returned. I suspect something must have happened and he was not able to find his way. There is always hope that he still lives, as it is very difficult to kill an elf. Perhaps he will end up here as I have. There is always hope.”

They bowed their heads in silence, stunned by the news.

“I hope so too Natil.” Becky replied, placing a hand on her shoulder.

“Come, we have a lot to catch up on and it is five o’clock. I shall take you to a place, a sanctuary where you will be safe.”  Natil explained, excusing herself to make a phone call. After she was done, she regarded the duo with a smile.

 “Will Talla and the others be there?”

The Harper gasped loudly, peering at them, as a pained look appeared on her face. She shook her head slightly, a grimace on her face. Memories of her family, four hundred plus years ago overwhelmed her senses and Natil had to shake her head, as-if to clear the harsh memories.

“Oh no, they have faded centuries ago…” Natil said, bowing her head, a look of pain still on her face, “I am, at this moment, the last.”  

She forced a smile, staring at them, people whom she had traveled the winds of time to help and heal with Rijiin. She wondered if Rijiin were out there somewhere, if so, where and how the elf would know to come to Denver. She wondered if he would make a grand entrance, a smile on his face and return to his place in her arms.

 “They are gone.” Natil said, “However, in light of that, there is a new chance for the elves, and they have gathered here in Denver.”

    Becky and Mimi had shown surprise at the statement.

 “How…?” Becky asked, “If you all were fading?”

“Yes, how can the elves return to the world, even though they faded long ago?” Mouse asked in half understanding, and met the slight nod of Natil.

“The new elves in this world were changed by the awakening old blood in them.” Natil told them, “They do not know what we had to endure so many centuries ago, and only now are learning of the lady. I have been extremely fortunate to find them here.”

      “Can you take us there?” Mouse asked.

      “We have a truck over there.” Becky added, “We can give you a lift if you like.”

      “It is greatly appreciated. In fact, I canceled my ride to the home, explaining I found another way of getting there.” Natil replied, as she hugged each one, still startled by their presence here. She wondered if this was a sign by the Goddess.

The Harper did not know that Rijiin was alive and well, somewhere in time itself.  She had no idea that he wandered through time, the world over and having to endure solitude of the many events around him. Her mate was certainly on his way, moving through time just prior to her coming to Elven Home.

As they walked toward the vehicle, they all began to chat amongst themselves, laughing and carrying on, glad to see the Harper who in turn was glad to see them too.

Many events and destiny were looking up for the duo, finding Natil. They were about to discover a new secret in the mountains of Colorado, a secret well kept from all but the few elves who resided in Denver. Mouse drove as Becky and Natil sat beside her, down Highway 70-West leading them toward the mountains, they made the transition to highway 6. They drove on for at least five miles before Natil motioned at the window at the curve in the road.

“Turn here.” Natil directed and Mimi complied.

“There is no road here.” Becky said as the truck disappeared into the forest and through the trees.

“I don’t know if this Uhaul™ beast will make it. But we’ll certainly try.”

“Be at peace, and trust me, we are on the right way to get to our destination.” Natil told them quietly.

The makeshift road went up the hill a ways and there in the trees that Elven Home appeared before them, surrounded by two vehicles.  A large tower rose from one wing, and silver filigree glistened just beneath the curved eaves. Everything gleamed: the walls, the slate roof, the windows… Both of them had expected a small cottage or a timbered lodge.  They both found themselves overwhelmed by the sight before them and stared blinking their eyes to wonder if this was just a dream.  

 “My god,” Mimi murmured, staring at the home, astonished by the almost fairy tale castle in the wood, “It is fantastic! It’s like a fairy tale castle!”

Mimi blushed slightly at the revelation. Natil was smiling. She had heard the words echoed by Sandy when she first arrived at Elven Home. The Harper gazed thoughtfully at the Home and managed a nod. She had never though of Elven Home to look like that, but somehow it was an accurate description of what people saw before them.

     “I think we’re home.” Becky murmured, amazed by this sight.

     Natil got out of the truck, Becky, and Mimi followed. At the door Ash, Hadden, Raven, Wheat, Laurie, Heather, Kelly, Dell, Web, Allesandro, Bright, Marsh and even TK were there. They were all there. All had peered at the truck that had rolled up to the clearing below the home and watched as Mimi, Becky, and Natil got out of the vehicle.

    “We go on foot from here…” Natil told them and they followed the Harper toward the glistening structure.

Both Mimi and Becky had found Elven Home and people they did not know. They had both found themselves welcomed with open arms, greeted as relatives who had finally come home and without question. Natil and the others had sat together and they talked, laughed and cried as they shared the woes of the world. Mimi and Becky both dreamed of starlight as they sat together in a nearby alcove, listening to the banter of the others.

For Mouse and Becky, Elven Home had become a haven for them both as elves once again returned to the world of men. It was strange, however for both Mimi and Becky to sit in one of the alcoves nearest to the main gathering room and listen to the others laugh and cry at the stories of the world outside Elven Home or a typical day in Denver. Many of the stories were mostly tragic and sad.

Becky realized she still had a lot to learn what it meant to be an elf and remembering the strong lessons four hundred plus years ago with the others in Adria. The elves that were fading even though Becky and Mimi traveled to the portal that would take them through time and space. Both of the elves from California were deep in thought as both sipped cocoa in a white mug, staring at the outside gardens. They were thinking of those travels, how much they learned from Rijiin and the others.

“You two going to sit there in that alcove all day or night, or are you going to join in?” Ash asked peering at the duo who at gazing lazily out the windows onto the garden that was highlighted in the moonlight. Mimi and Becky turned their heads, but not without exchanging a look at each other. Kelly ran toward them and bounced into each of their laps. Both maidens both chuckled as the young girl embraced them.

“Come its alright, you are welcome here.” She said with a smile and Becky nodded her head as Kelly took up her hands. The young girl pulled at them making her rise and she led her to a plush beanbag chair in the living area. Mimi stood up and followed her, taking a seat beside her and setting the mug carefully on the plush carpet.  Both of them smiled and managed to laugh at the others expressions.

    “We know Kelly.” Becky said, “Be at peace, and don’t worry. We are with you all. We just had a few things to sort out that we had been through before we came to Denver. We did not mean to offend by isolating ourselves.”

    “It’s not necessary you mean.” Hadden said with a smile and Ash turned her head to chuckle quietly. “You both need to come to term of your troubles. That is what we are here for, to help and heal. You both have not said very much how you found us and Natil.”

    “We’ve known each other for over a year and my friend and I both ending up coming to Denver on a whim. Something seemed to tell us that we needed to come here.” Mimi explained, “She came to De Anza with a young man from her clan and at the school I was a studying, as a student and employee.”

    “A companion…?” Hadden asked, making Mouse nod and everyone glanced at Natil who shook her head quietly. They noted she was flushing slightly.   

“He was Natil’s kinsman.”  Mimi replied with a smile.

    “Yes, a young man who is her kinsman from the past came with her. They traversed the winds of history itself to meet up with us, bringing help and healing to us.” Becky added.

The group glanced at Natil again who grimaced tightly and still was blushing.

    There were smiles by the group.

    "Ah a secret lover, Natil…?" Wheat asked, and Natil grimaced again, blushing even deeper red.

    “We used the power of the elves because of a sixth sense my companion had where he could sense Mouse and he sensed trouble.” Natil said with a casual nod, “He seemed to know her and had a strange connection with her, from his relationship before with her. It was an uncanny ability according to him.”

    This time it was Mimi’s turn to flush. The young teenagers nodded.  “Yes he did.”

    “Soooo… a companion…” Heather mused, and all were smiling at the young Harper, “A red hot lover Natil?”

The Harper grimaced as she shook her head, blushing as red as her hair.  

    “Oh no… He was my kinsman and a good friend, his name was Rijiin.” Natil said, and she glanced at Sana who was grinning, shaking her head.

    “I’m sure he was.” Sana replied, followed by a lot of banter and laughter, as the Harper was really blushing.

    “So we had power back then?” Laurie asked, “The starlight we are just beginning to see now?”

“We did and a few of us had the capabilities for magic and helping and healing.” Natil replied casually, “Rijiin… he gained it when the magic changed him while he lay dying in a forest clearing by my kinswoman. He had come through a portal of Elven magic that had opened where he was. As you said, it was like instant recognition like family. We seemed to hit it off and we had so much in common. We became fast friends. When he came through he had been human but that changed quickly after my sister, Mirya healed him.”

“Wow, how romantic.”  Heather said with a snicker meeting the grinning face of Hadden and the others.

    “Where are you Rijiin?” Mouse thought, grimacing as a steady cold rain fell from the dark clouds above the Rocky Mountains.  Mimi’s attention turned to a whimsical look from her friend and traveling companion. Her gaze also fell upon Natil, the resident Harper of the Home whom they both knew very well back at De Anza what seemed a lifetime ago.

Both cast a bemused look at the window at the falling rain.

    “He’s out there Mouse.” Becky said, “I just know it. Some place, some time, but he is out there. He is probably on his way, I expect him to make a grand entrance.”

    “I hope so.”

    “Me too…” Natil added with a smile, “He is probably living large and waiting for the opportunity to make that grand entrance.”

“Yeah that would be Rijiin alright, his style.” Mimi said with a laugh as a ripple of laughter echoed the room.

Mouse sat beside Rebecca with the others and they both cast a silent glance to the stormy weather outside. Cheers, laughter and sometime tears echoed the room as the conversation continued.  They teased Natil mercilessly about Rijiin and asked so many questions, ones that the Harper tried to answer, having hardly thought of the young man for a very long time.

    The next day they put a lot of Mouse’s stuff in storage in Denver, unloading the truck to turn it in and returned to the Home. However, somehow, Mouse seemed to know that Rijiin lived and was out there, even if it were out of time and space.

    Meanwhile, many hundreds of years previous: even through the zeal of time itself, Rijiin managed to stay alive and continued to wander the world over. He had traveled to many continents now, and having seen many places. He fought unwillingly in many wars, seen much death by plague, war and disease. He had also seen many a death, mostly of martyrs who would later die in battle as he fought beside them. It seemed to Rijiin, seeing the futility of the turbulent world, that it is the same ugly sorted history that he witnessed every day of his meager existence on Earth during the last few centuries.

A time, he recognized that elves did not belong now, since about thirteen hundred and sixty, when they long since faded away. He was the last of his people, not knowing about Natil, his beloved Harper who was a prisoner of time too and forced to wander the world over for a short time. He did not know about Elven Home or the future of the Elves that had returned to the world.

“And nothing changes, I can only observe and not able to make the changes necessary to make it better.” He thought, feeling the futility of it all, wanting more and more to fade into oblivion like the other Elves of Malvern. He felt the old, older than time itself, and powerless to stop the turmoil in the world. The elf felt the same futility of it all, as his kinsfolk named Varden had long ago and could only watch, wait and be unable to bring good into the world as they used to.

“So what’s the use if we cannot change what we are seeing, why haven’t I faded like the others?” Rijiin thought, not understanding the plan of goddess, their Creatrix known as Elthia. She had told Varden once that, ‘all her children would not be separated from her’ and she had told Rijiin that too. The elf wondered if that was true.

Rijiin also had in this time, literally jumped through history with the strange power of the elves. Many times, he would end up in the future, observing many events he had been a part of already or part of time, he would have read about in books.

Lately now, he tried to stay hidden from the world becoming a recluse from the shifts of powers and wars fought between many world nations. He stayed in a large cabin he built in the deepest forests he found in Europe and there the elf remained, staying strategically away from death, war and destruction that would make their mark in history.

It was not far enough though. It seemed like these events sought Rijiin out and somehow forced the elf to take an active part in these battles and wars.

The last historical event that Rijiin would have any consequence and part of would be his journeys across the Atlantic with Christopher Columbus who would discover the Americas. He would break off and spend a century traveling across the North American Continent, from the east, to the Mexican held west before returning to Europe to become a recluse.

    He avoided historical events of the eighteen hundreds, and remained isolated in the forests in Europe, until two world wars broke out and he discovered caverns, which he moved a lot of stuff into, remaining underground unnoticed.

While existing alone in the woods, the elf did not know he found himself into a turbulent time where the world was at war yet again. When he awoke once more from a period of sleep, he stepped outside the door of his hidden underground fortress as the sounds of war had come to his door. War ravaged the land as Germany had invaded countries, engulfed men women and children in the crematoriums of evil that sprung up around him after their death in the gas chambers of the many camps.

Starlight power of the elves that inhabited his very soul had long since vanished in now four hundred years he had been around in the world. He was completely and utterly alone with no sign of the Creatrix of the elves, or the starlight that inhabited his very soul. Rijiin unknowingly found himself living through the war and into the year nineteen forty-five, deep into Germany during the last days of World War II.

Rijiin walked often in the forest from which he lived freely. He would take many walks often in the forest, his home remaining hidden from the armies who had fought through them. It had been rare to find anyone about, as a war-torn land befell him. However, it is in the midst of his latest walk that he saw lights and almost invisible, one of the famed death camps of Nazi Germany.

Rijiin, as he approached the camp’s edge in the tree line, had sensed death, and saw bodies of those who had died here. The bodies of the dead lay strewn on the ground, rotting and unburied. The half-starved, living prisoners stood like zombies against the wire. Rijiin sensed disease that ran rampant here too and through it all, the elf knew he could not help them, as he had been able to before.

“Damn.” Rijiin muttered, shaking his head at the horrifying sight, stepping back as if to put a distance from the stench and the situation that now lay before him.

The elf, carrying his sword at his side, walked into the open near the gates of this hell and when he saw more prisoners and bodies, he let out a silent moan. The elf closed his eyes seeing only darkness, wishing that he could just fade like the others into oblivion. Although to the elf, if he had the starlight he could always help and heal, making a difference to change what is happening now, to put an end to this mess. Nevertheless, he could not do anything to help or change his surroundings.

Opening his eyes abruptly, he only saw the zombie figures of those people highlighted in the dim light and turning his head, he heard shouts as a few men in uniform charged toward him with dogs. The men held nasty looking weapons, shouting at him in German. Rijiin stood his ground as they approached and he held his blade ready to draw. When a soldier had stepped up toward him, he drew and beheaded him on the spot. The head rolled from the soldier’s neck and the face showing complete surprise.

Blood splattered across the ground as the body dropped limply to its knees and Rijiin sharply kicked it down with his foot. There was a gasp by all of the soldiers present, unprepared for Rijiin’s barbaric display as they saw him slice cleanly across the soldier’s neck and the blood spurting from his body, splattering the ground. The elf had shown little no mercy as he slew the soldier. Rijiin moved in a quick spin and in the same fashion pivoted to do the same deed to another soldier.

The elf stared at them in the dim light, holding his blade ready, almost daring them to approach. They saw Rijiin’s gray eyes seem to twinkle brightly, as if there were starlight there and the soldiers clearly saw death in the elf’s eyes. He did not know he was glowing slightly and the soldiers murmured in fear.  

Kneeling, he wiped the blade on the uniform of a dead soldier and closed his eyes to blot out the offensiveness around him. As he knelt there for a brief moment, he gasped as a flash of starlight flickered and burst in like an explosion throughout his body. It is something that Rijiin missed in now four hundred years, four centuries as he traveled across many nations, without the starlight of the elves and the power that bound them.

 “By our lady, why does the starlight always appear during a conflict? And why is it coming during this specific one?” He wondered, “Perhaps it is the lady looking out for me as she did before.”

Remembering the soldiers, Rijiin turned his head, and with eyes flashing, he knew what to do. The elf would do the same thing as he had done centuries ago. He would declare a one-man war and waste the soldiers where they stood, just as he had done through the ages he had lived through. He knew what stood before him, the Nazi Third Reich, mass murderers of a few million Jewish people who had no beef with the Nazis and he had an opportunity here to make a just a little of that right.

Holding his blade, Rijiin pointed it at the soldiers who fired their machine guns at him, and the bullets struck him. The elf stumbled, knocked down by the bullets, but was unharmed as he sat up, still grasping his blade in hand. The elf put some comedy to it, grinning at the soldiers, brushing off the bullets that fell on the ground with a metallic ‘click’ sound. Fear came over the soldiers as he silently stood up and he faced them. They fired again and with the same result.

The elf merely stood up and faced them. This time he let out a laugh at the soldiers as they glanced down at their weapons. It was a maniacal laughter. He put his blade to the ground and he drew a line, daring them to cross it.

“Now it is my turn.” Rijiin declared sharply, holding the blade ready, the razor sharp steel glistening in the light as he pointed it at the soldiers. He would now become their executioner.

Moving his hand, he pointed to the gate and it opened behind the soldiers, a stiff wind whistled through the opening. It made them murmur in fear as it rustled the leaves around him and the elf’s cloak. He charged them, pivoting as they tried to strike him and without a further word, he beheaded two nearest to him. He pointed the blade at the other soldiers, and they saw the now bright aura that surrounded the elf. There was a murmur of fear as they took one-step back as he charged again.

The elf’s blade flashed as it struck their hands, cleanly cutting them off, and the weapons clattered as they hit the ground. He ran the steel through their hearts watching the blood spurt as they fell to the ground to lie still in a pool of their own blood. Their screams echoed through the camp and around him, the prisoners watched as Rijiin charged the soldiers.

The elf cut them down with no mercy, ignoring the ones who surrendered to slay them too. He spun in to kick a third, making him fall and he thrust the steel downward to twist. Rijiin turned his attention to the remaining men, noting that many had seen the slaughter and retreated for reinforcements as he walked toward the nearest gate. The elf had no idea who was here, and how many countless people had perished in this place.  He was a healer, and all he really felt was the starlight power coursing through his veins.  

“ELTHIA!” His voice rang out as he charged and the cold steel cut more soldiers of the Reich down in cold blood.

Prisoners and soldiers alike had both looked up as the elf’s voice rang out. Rijiin continued his onslaught, leaving dead Nazi soldiers in his wake. Others soldiers watched in horror as the elf cleanly killed their comrades no matter they were armed or unarmed. He slew them anyway for the sheer sport of slaying them, knowing the evil they represented. It was the same way as the soldiers long ago, who were part of the Inquisition, the same slaughter, no mercy, and total revenge.

Then it occurred to the elf with a sudden realization of what he was doing and he gasped at the revelation.  

“Whose revenge would it be for, Elven or Jewish?” He thought, realizing he had slain the Nazi Third Reich soldiers after passing cold-hearted judgment and execution of each one.

“What right does it give me to pass judgment on mortals?” He asked himself, “I am immortal, and it is not my place to be judge, jury and their executioner for what they have done and are not a part of. I am a healer, and have been for centuries. It is my place to help and heal, not kill. No matter if they be German, Polish, French, Jewish, any nation, it should not matter at all.”

The elf felt a chill sweep through his bones, and he shivered slightly at the feeling deep down inside. He knew he would have to answer to the goddess, if she still existed, and silently sought renewal and peace next May 1.

“But then again, what right does the Nazi have to mass murder millions of Jewish people in other camps like this one and who will stop them and not let them get away with it?  What is one less Nazi to sleep in hell tonight for his actions against others?” The elf did not know the answer. He would not understand until much later when he stood before the Lady in blue and silver many years from now.

Right now, however, the elf continued walking further and further into the camp, passing the soldiers as his blade continued to flash. When it was over, the elf held the blade in hand, walking toward the bunch of tents that made up this horrific sight around him. Rijiin peered in at the ghostly, startled faces that stared back at him. His hands began to glow and he closed his eyes, letting the starlight flow. Rijiin felt a tug on his arm, and the elf knelt beside a young girl, perhaps thirteen years old who stood at his elbow. He let the healing energy cascade over her.

  “Are you American or the British?” The voice asked, Rijiin cocked his head, and he shook his head.  

 “I am not. Be at peace, the war is over for you.”  Rijiin said, letting the healing touch flow over her.  “…And for you all!”

The elf frowned when he did not hear a cheer, only seeing the effects of abuse, the haunted and hollow stares. The young girl gasped as she felt warmth of healing energy touch her very soul. The disease, sickness, and starvation vanished.  Rijiin turned to another, and he let the power flow freely over them. More people walked toward him and the elf healed them too, going from tent to tent examining each person.

      “Come be healed and we shall leave this terrible place.” He told them, “Come with me if you want to live.”

Rijiin kicked open the door of one barracks in the compound, amidst the remains of unburied bodies. He walked among the half clothed females who squealed in terror as they saw him enter, holding his blade ready in his hand.  He sheathed the blade, speaking in their native language. In his travels, the elf had learned a lot about the world he lived in, and was able to catch on and quickly learn many languages. The elf kept his wits about him as he walked into the structure.

“Come, be healed, and be whole.” Rijiin murmured as he went to each bed, examining those who had lay on them sick or dying. The elf let the power of healing flow as he healed them, the glow of starlight flowing through him. He cared for the sick and dying as Mirya had centuries ago, or even perhaps Natil who would have harped for them. He suddenly wished the young Harper were here with him right now, finding it difficult to ignore the horrors of war around him caused by the needless persecution of another culture and race.

“All based on hatred.” Rijiin thought as he remembered it was just like the Elves, only much worse, and the only difference it is in a different time and place.

“By our lady there is so many.” He thought, “Natil and I together could heal quickly if she assisted on the harp.”

The elf grimaced as he turned, continuing his task of healing. As the young traveler did so, he did not recognize two young women who lay sick and dying on the bed before him. Rijiin, as he healed found himself overwhelmed by the abuse conducted here by the Nazis. He was unaware that it was Margot and Anne Frank who lay unconscious on the beds before him, and he was in Bergen-Belsen the famed camp where they would die. The young elf let his healing powers flow over them, unaware of their identity and when he finished, he had nodded to Anne whose eyes fluttered open a few minutes later. He moved to finish his task in this shanty, healing many more prisoners who were crammed into this confined space.

When Anne sat up, her dark eyes found the elf nearby healing fellow prisoners. She peered at the solemn gray eyes, filled with the twinkle of starlight as he worked over another female prisoner. Smiling, the elf nodded a silent greeting to her and his face showed a hint of recognition, feeling a strange déjà-vu at the familiar face.

 As Rijiin walked toward her, the others around him watched the elf curiously. He knelt beside Anne’s sister Margot who remained unconscious. Shaking his head, the elf picked her up in his arms, carrying her to the door with the multitudes of survivors he had managed to save from certain death. Outside, the elf spying the arrival of reinforcements, he had put down Margot and he motioned the prisoners back. He drew his blade and he stood alone to face them. His blade gleamed brightly like the starlight in his eyes.

“It is not right that life’s blood, being precious, be spilled this day and you have committed acts of vulgarity to the rights of humanity.” He shouted loudly, “They shall now be avenged!”

Rijiin, felt the starlight grow, and a glow appeared around him. He stood with his blade drawn as the soldiers opened up with their machine guns on the elf. Their bullets seemed to stop in front of Rijiin, as if time became frozen. There were gasps of amazement all around by soldiers and prisoners both. The elf stood facing them, with the power of starlight strong in his eyes. He stared at the bullets that seemed frozen in time before him and he reached out to take one, examining it before he dropped it onto the ground. The rest dropped to the ground with the same metallic click.

Rijiin raised his blade to point it at the soldiers.  They looked down at their weapons as he approached them. Fear and amazement rippled through the soldiers and prisoners.

    “It is enough. You now all shall die, quickly, mercifully and painlessly.” Rijiin declared, “Revenge for the millions you have murdered in cold blood for I am the eleventh commandment: Thou Shalt not get away with it.”

The elf spoke clearly, his accented voice filled with starlight as it carried no hatred, anger, or mercy when he charged the soldiers, cutting each one down in cold blood. A few of them cowered in fear and Rijiin felt their terror as he slew them. Turning, he beheaded another soldier who stepped toward him with his arms up in surrender. Each soldier died without a sound as he had promised.

The elf stood before the Commandant of the camp who pulled his pistol and shot at Rijiin. The elf took three bullets without stopping and placed the blade at the commandant’s throat. The elf saw fear in the human’s eyes as he realized that Rijiin was not affected by his bullets or could be harmed by mortal man. The elf with one swipe, took his head that rolled from the neck of his body.

When he was done, bodies lay at his feet, as did body parts and here he cleaned his blade of blood on their uniforms with two strokes.  The battle had finished, Rijiin and the prisoners were the only living things behind the wire of this camp.

Turning he walked back to the stunned and perplexed Anne who knelt beside the unconscious form of her sister Margot. Rijiin met her dark eyes in silence and merely nodded a greeting to her. Around them, everyone’s attention now focused upon the elf. He was the one man who had walked alone through the camp, continuing an onslaught against the Germans with no mercy or compassion. Rijiin glanced at Anne who watched him continue to help and heal every prisoner still living.  They had heard his statement, and most had curious looks on their faces.

 “Why did you kill them?” Anne asked, “You slew the unarmed soldiers who dropped their weapons and raised their hand in surrender. Aren’t you going to take prisoners?”

  “Be at peace.” He said, “Revenge for persecution me’ lady, as it was with my people once, it is with yours. We share a common goal mistress, for you, your sister and the many others now standing about you.”

The young woman showed surprise as the elf spoke to her. She heard the unfamiliar accent in his voice, stilting his German and she raised an eyebrow. He had not answered her question, but had deliberately avoided it. By his action, and the violence around him it clearly had spoken his intent that there were no quarters or captives taken this day. The elf knew by this action he was no better than the Nazi, murdering in cold blood. The Reich though, Rijiin realized was pure evil, needing removal like a virus and the elf was the tool to do it.

He frowned slightly at the idle thoughts and realized that he could always escort Anne and Margot to their home in Amsterdam when it was time. Right now, he could only offer the many survivors safety in his spacious fortress, well stocked of provisions.

  “By the way, how did you know that she was my sister?” Anne asked curiously and she pointed at the unconscious form lying on the ground.

Rijiin’s face showed question at first, staring at the face, the dark eyes, and the hint of black hair on her shaved head. The elf stared into the dark eyes for a long moment before he grimaced. Turning his head, he glanced at the other prisoners who had watched the carnage and the elf as he sheathed the blade. He had a sinking feeling.

 “Anne Frank? I presume?” He asked, suddenly recognizing her and he pointed to Margot who lie motionless on the ground.

 “Margot?” He asked again, and he turned to see her timidly nod to both accounts.  

The elf let out an exasperated breath.

“Do I know you?” Anne asked and he said nothing, staring at the young woman in silence as he contemplated his answer.

“No mistress you do not, I am a traveler as you will, and have come to spirit you and the others out of here. I felt your need and traveled to you.” The elf replied politely as he knelt beside her sister who moaned.

Slowly, Margot opened her eyes and they focused on Rijiin and Anne standing over her. Rijiin suddenly realized he seriously changed history and events where Anne, Margot and many others would die of typhus, starvation and other diseases. The elf had helped and healed just as he been able a long time ago, giving them all another chance at life. Rijiin, because of his healing, left shadowed and uncertain sixty-years for them all.

 The elf helped Anne’s older sister to a sitting position and he nodded to her when she looked up into his gray eyes. They twinkled uncertainly in the dim light.

  “I don’t understand. Who are you? What are you?” Anne asked, and Rijiin managed a slight grin.  

 “My name is Rijiin.” He told them, speaking to them in their native tongue as he helped Margot to her feet, “I am an…”

      “Are you an angel? Are we dead?” Anne asked, and Rijiin smiled, shaking his head with an amused chuckle.

      “No. Not now.” Rijiin replied absently, “You are very alive and well now. As for me, I am a traveler, an immortal from the winds of time who has come from the past, four and a quarter centuries. Like you I am a prisoner, but not with walls, or a fence but a prisoner of time itself.”

They let out a low gasp as they stared at the elf.

      “What does that mean?”

      “I have lived a long time.” He declared sharply, “And today I made an error that has changed the future, from which there is no balance or a way out. Be at peace, you both shall live now, live again and conduct yourselves with a new chance at life. You shall both have a long life and a new future.”

     “I don’t understand.”

      “You died in this place, along with many others.” He told them, “Because of my disrespect for history, that you and your sister and many others have been granted a second chance. There are still many to bury here, which I was too late to help. In one possible future, the Allies will place a marker at the front of this place marking your presence in a mass grave.”  

      What?” Gasped the young women and they glanced at each other, “W-we died?” Rijiin met their curious looks.

      “Aye, it is so, until I rewrote history and that timeline no longer exists. You should be dead but are not now. You now stand together, alive and well.” He said, “Thanks to an ability of healing I learned a few centuries ago. Be at peace, you will be returning home soon, the Allies will be here in a couple of weeks to liberate the camp.”

    “H-how do you know that?” They gasped, and many questions overwhelmed the Elf.

    “You must be American or British.” Anne declared, eyeing the elf suspiciously “What do you know about the war.”

    “I am neither.” He said in their native language, and then he smiled slightly. “The Germans have lost the war and you both are free.”

The elf had said it in perfect English, accented slightly, with the slight inflection of the elves that he still had despite his travels across the world. It made them gasp openly.  

    “You are American!” She exclaimed, but frowned when she heard the strange unidentifiable accent. He thought a moment before answering realizing the young girl was right. Rijiin realized that he had come from a town far away, on the west coast of North America, but he found that he was hardly able to remember that time and place. The name of the town even eluded him, thanks to the centuries of wandering the world.

“Perhaps I was once,” He replied, managing a quiet laugh “But that was a very long time ago.”

He saw their smiles. There was a pause as Rijiin turned to face them.  The elf pushed back his hair behind his slender ears and met their startled expressions. The sisters stared at his fair features in silence, and the bright twinkle of starlight in his gray eyes. They sensed more to this stranger than met the eye.

“Come my friends, let us journey away from this place and return both of you home where you belong.”  He said putting out his hand and both young women took it as they stood up. Anne and Margot smiled at Rijiin and both embraced him.

Here, the elf took Anne and Margot by the hand and he spirited them aside before the Allies would arrive. The Allies would find many German soldiers slain along side of the multitude of death around them. Severed arms, legs, heads, and severed torsos littered the ground through the compound. The elf’s action had gained great notice by the Allied army. Rijiin left only dismembered body parts as a calling card in the worst and vicious massacre the Allies had ever seen.

As for Rijiin, he led the sisters to a safe place. Here, they would wait together until the Allied army liberated cities around them before they attempted the route home. He told them that they, with their father, are the only survivors of their family. The sisters learned the fates of the Van Daans, their mother, and Mr. Dussell. Their reaction would be astonishment and then sadness.

Little did they know that Otto Frank, their father would return home first and he would meet with Miep who would give him Anne’s diary. Both he and Ms Gies are unaware that both Anne and Margot now lived. He too would learn the fates of the others who were in hiding with his family and of their deaths in the camps.

Like a shadow, the elf blended in with time and space as he faded into the winds of history. He would travel through war torn Europe, passing the German Army fighting the Allies, and the Allied armies as they continued fighting the Germans. He found himself disgusted by the whole event, knowing that it would be a long tedious time to destroy this evil with a terrible cost of life.

“And I can only exterminate the Nazi murderers who are behind this and perhaps rescue a few more Jews if they can be located.” Rijiin thought and he walked on.

What he was thinking would be the death marches of the prisoners forced to walk by the Nazis to the west. It would be an almost needle in a haystack to locate these people in time but Rijiin also knew he had a mission and work to do.

The elf would use Elven magic to intercept the marches and rescue other prisoners whom would surely die. He had turned his sights east, traveling to the locations he knew by reading and learning history. Instead of bodies of prisoners lying dead on the ground, soldiers of the Reich lay butchered instead, the ground stained red by their blood. The elf would help and heal, leading the rescued prisoners to the Allies. Many times, the elf also would leave the same calling card as he had at Bergen-Belsen, leaving dismembered soldiers lying dead in the mud just like the camps he would wipe out single-handedly.

Rijiin slew many German citizens and soldiers in his travels without question too. The elf took the fight back to the Germans, paying back a five to one ratio for every Jew killed, that five German citizens/soldiers died. The action alone sent an unrelenting, bone-chilling, message through the Reich that Rijiin was out to target each one of the thugs and murderers out there.

He was also evening the score for the relentless murder of whole families. His message had been crystal-clear and of his intentions. The elf would travel to other camps and here he would help and heal those in need. Soldiers and upper echelons of the Nazi party, already aware of the massacre of Bergen-Belsen, would send reinforcements only to find the places they were reinforcing already massacred in the same way.

Rijiin sometimes would slay the reinforcements operating as an unstoppable killing machine, taking life from the Nazi and giving it to the prisoner subjected to a terrible evil. It was payback time and Rijiin was their champion taking the fight back to their oppressor.

The elf would destroy the camps who dealt with plain gassing and elimination of the Jews too. He stopped the needless slaughter of thousands a day and turned it around against the Germans. Rijiin knew if he could stop the execution of thousands a day there would be a lot to be stand against those in charge of the camps at the end of the war. The German leaders he knew most would face their fate at the end of the war.

Although according to history there were a few that slipped away during the mass confusion of retreat. He grimaced realizing that he had to intervene and eliminate them himself.  

The elf also realized that for his actions in this time, he too would have to stand accountable before the Goddess of the elves to find renewal next May. Right at this moment, however, the elf continued his one-man war taking it to the upper echelons, eliminating a few of them one by one. The Allies called him a renegade but the elf was doing what they could not with little fear of death. He had lived so many lives and through so many bloody centuries before this one. It was the price of his immortality.

“What is another bloody event?” The elf thought, “It is a service to the world that I am providing. But then again, the Nazi soldier is only human, mortal and following what he believes is right, told to him by his superiors. He knows no difference, maybe I should concentrate on those who actually participated in the killings.”

The elf considered what he was doing at this point and realized how far he had come. He knew there was no turning back, deciding to take it all the way to the top if possible. Because the elf left a massacre of soldiers or citizens at every place he fought, more and more soldiers surrendered to the Allies instead of fighting. They were afraid of losing their lives at the hands of the ‘gray ghost’ as he was nicknamed by the Germans.

Rijiin on the other hand, successfully saved over fifty thousand people, and slew more Nazis than any part of the Allied army in history. He worked behind the lines, moving fast and efficiently picking up the trail of his target and eliminating them with extreme prejudice.

The elf left a number of massacres at cities across Poland, deep into Germany and leaving destruction in his wake. He massacred men, women and children just like the Nazis. Because he killed five to every one Jew they murdered, the Germans accused the Allies in their own propaganda of illegal and inhuman conduct to soldiers and citizens of the fatherland. The Allies denied Rijiin’s existence, his conduct as a renegade, with no official ties to the Allied forces. The American and British had used Rijiin as perfect weapon to bolster their own forces morale. Both sides offered a bounty for the capture of the ‘Gray Ghost’ as a propaganda tool on either side.

The elf would return to his fortress quickly and when it was time, he would personally escort Anne, Margot and several others to Amsterdam and other cities. The elf, with the sisters in tow, soon stood with them as they walked together toward the building containing the Secret Annex and their home before betrayal to the Nazis.

Anne and Margot both smiled when they saw it on the outside and both were glad to be home after their ordeal of the two or more years in the concentration camps. They both were thankfully alive and well because of Rijiin who stood beside them. He stood beside all the survivors there, rescuing them from the jaws of death, helping and healing as elves once did in the world before they faded long ago.

They stood outside for several minutes, waiting for the right moment to surprise all hands inside the building. Rijiin smiled at the thought.

“Now…” Rijiin said, and they all crossed the street and headed to the door leading into the business of their father.

When the elf and the sisters entered, they walked into the building unseen. Here they stood quietly waiting as everyone turned their heads to stare at them. He led them into the office area. Two of Otto Frank’s business associates looked up from their desks at the doorway, showing astonishment. Miep had appeared at the door and she let out a yelp of astonishment.

Tears appeared on Miep’s face as she stood shaking her head, unable to believe her own eyes.

“Anne? Margot…?” She asked, “Is that you?”

“Miep…!” Anne and Margot replied, running toward her, warmly embracing her in the middle of the room. She turned her head and with tears in her eyes, she called to the other room.

“Mr. Frank, your daughters are alive and here!” Miep called out, "They said they had been killed!"

There was a commotion next door, as more people rushed toward them.

Turning her head, Miep let out a fearful gasp of astonishment as Rijiin stepped in the door from the shadows and he stood there like an avenging angel behind the sisters near the door. The elf is clad again in his green and gray with the gray cloak that he wore over it, held together by the gold and silver clasp of an interlocked, crescent moon and star. The clasp brightly twinkled in the light and so did the starlight in his eyes on his fair featured, battle-worn face. The long brown hair, streaked with silver, fell smoothly to his shoulders, pushed back over his slender ears, revealing whom and what he is: an immortal elf.

He held his head high, defiant and proud, as he had long ago unafraid of mortals. At his side is the blade he wore openly, the instrument used as the gray ghost who had slaughtered Nazi soldiers in cold blood with no quarter of mercy. Miep, like the others stared at the stranger among them and turned as Otto Frank entered the room, gasping loudly as he saw his daughters.

Everyone clustered around the young women, and Rijiin stepped back allowing them to do so. He stood aloof and silent, the vision of the starlight clear and cold in the darkness as it had been over four centuries ago.

“PIM!” Anne had cried, running toward their father and embracing him. Margot followed suit.

“Anne! Margot!” He replied running to embrace his daughters. The elf silently watched as Anne and Margot emotionally and tearfully reunited with their father Otto.  

Rijiin still said nothing as he stood nearby, holding himself aloof, aware but dreaming as he bathed in the starlight. He closed his eyes briefly letting their power calm the turmoil inside him and quietly relieved that everyone in the room seemed to ignore him for the moment.

As the elf stood near the door, he wondered how his changes would affect the world. The diary no doubt still found publishing in the same way but not with the same moral outrage as it had previously because of her youth and unthinkable death at the hands of the Nazis.

It is a cloudy future for both sisters and the multitudes that he had helped and healed. Even Rijiin himself, an immortal elf, could not see what would be shadowed for the next sixty plus years. He could not say he had been wrong for what he did, changing history in this manner. The elf wanted to change history and make things right, especially during his wandering. Rijiin had already been an observer for the last four-hundred years, witness to more atrocity, bloodshed, death and violence than the Nazis accomplished by murder in the entire few years it existed.

“Aye but even still, I botched the whole idea of what I am supposed to do.” The elf thought, “Healing, comfort and aid. I changed history unknowingly and rewrote it where people lived where they should have died. I butchered mortal men, just as I had centuries ago after passing judgment upon them.”

With that, Rijiin grimaced slightly at such thoughts. Otto, Anne, Margot, Miep and others turned, finally glancing at the stranger who stood near the door. Rijiin saw them turn and he touched his forehead, bowing slightly, as he turned to leave.

“Please wait, Rijiin.” Anne called, making him stop, half turning to face them, their father, and the others present. The elf met the youthful, faces of the sisters and he managed a grimace despite the surroundings he found himself.

    “Please.” Otto said in an askance tone, motioning for him to come toward him. The elf walked confidently toward Otto, Miep, Anne and Margot, but he also kept a respectful distance.  His eyes flashed as he met the dubious expressions of everyone present, staring at his fair features in question.  

“Mistress, you have a need?” He asked politely, meeting their smiles.

“Thank you for your helping us, and doing what you did, saving us.” Anne said.

“Yes, thank you.” Margot told him.

Anne and Margot both embraced the Elf. Otto put his hand on his shoulder.

“You have my thanks.” He told the elf, “For returning my girls to me.”

Rijiin smiled.

“Be at peace, it is the least I could do.” He told them. Everyone raised an eyebrow, hearing his silted German, slightly accented with the inflection of the elves.

“Where they were, there were many casualties of this war and many people died there. If I had not happened across their camp, they too would have perished.”

 His statement made them all smile.

 “You should and please find happiness.” Anne said as she embraced the elf again and he peered into her dark eyes. Rijiin nodded, laughing aloud and it echoed the interior of the office.  

 “Alanea ea Yolisi, Elthia, sii’ naa ten’oio.” He murmured, “Namaarie Annai, namarrie Margotti.”

Turning he exited through the door, and he headed east outside Amsterdam moving quickly across the lines of war as the allies pushed farther into the Rhineland. As he walked, he felt an odd energy surround him as if an electrical current ran through his body. Rijiin felt the winds of time pulling at him and he suddenly realized that he was being pulled again through time and space at the hand of the Lady.

The elf thought he finally was getting his wish, to fade from this world to join the other elves who he knew from the past. He did not realize that he was only was stepping out of time, merely drawn to a far away land. The Lady had stopped his onslaught and changing of time, taking him forward to his destination.

Back at Elven home at the same moment: Mimi stared out the window as she sat in the many alcoves of their new sanctuary and stared at the window to the mixed sleet and snow that fell outside.

They had been here a several months now, and both Mimi and Becky both had managed to secure jobs. The maidens had also become permanent residents of the home, like Natil, safe from the hostile and turbulent world. Mouse sat alone in her favorite alcove and glanced periodically to the main living room where on weekends, like this one, the others sat together. She was engrossed with mixed up memories. The others were in the main room of the home.

“We still owe Rijiin a lot for our change.” Mouse thought, “For our healing and everything. I’d love to repay him for that, he deserves it.”

Her gaze fell on the large snowflakes that fell onto the cold ground outside and the young elf maiden shivered at the thoughts. She glanced to the warm interior of the Home, suddenly aware of her mood change.

     “Perhaps it is Elven home that affects me like this.” Mimi thought, seeing her reflection of beauty in the windowpane and she managed a pleased smile.

“There’s another thing I must thank Rijiin for.” Mimi thought, turning when sensing someone at the entry to the alcove. She stared at Becky and Mouse noted how different she looked from what she had been before. Becky is still medium height but is very slender now, with brown hazel eyes and long curly auburn hair that cascades to her mid-back. Mimi saw the light shining brightly in her eyes. The magic had surely changed Rebecca as it had changed Mimi and her friends, who had been present when the elves had come to De Anza. Mouse met Becky’s gaze with a silent smile.

“Becky,” Mimi said, “What’s wrong?”

 “Nothing, it is lunch.” She said, “Just wondering if you would like anything.”

“Yes, a cup of cocoa,” Mouse replied, “I’ll be there in a second and get it.”

Mimi rose to her feet smoothly, wrapping the warm blanket around her shoulders as she grimaced, still not used to being able to stand and walk on her own power. Mimi followed Becky to the kitchen and both were standing waiting for the kettle to hiss when quite suddenly a strong disorientation hit them. It had made them both stagger and they met each other’s startled expression.

“What the hell was that?” Becky asked and Mouse shrugged.

“I feel strangely, don’t you?” Mimi asked suddenly and Becky regarded her for a moment to nod slightly.

Turning to the kettle, Becky picked it up and poured water into their cups. Mimi glanced at the window as she stood there, staring out at the steady falling sleet and snow outside. She saw a flash, one that she had at first thought to be a lightning flash, hearing a thunderclap shortly after. Mouse saw another flash and this time the silhouette of someone caught her eye.

A flash of green and gray appeared as a cloaked figure appeared about a hundred yards from the home. She gasped when she figure.

    "What the fuck…?"  Mimi had gasped, staring through the window at the figure for at least a minute. Becky stood beside her, a look of astonishment on her now fair features. The figure had fallen, and slumped to their knees against a large rock. Both Becky and Mouse glanced at each other and back to the window.

    “Who is that?” Becky asked and Mimi shrugged. However, both instantly recognized the familiar garb of green and gray, also the gray cloak. They knew of only one person who would be wearing that garb. His name came instinctively to Mimi’s lips.

“Rijiin…?” Mouse gasped, and exchanged a look with Becky.

    “No it couldn’t be…. Could it?” Becky asked and both women stared at each other for a long moment. A sudden realization hit them, like a lightning bolt.

     “Good lord! It just might! Dear Lady!” She shouted and both the maidens had bolted, putting down their cups to run toward the door. The others who had been in the main room of the home turned, seeing the commotion as Mimi and Becky had ran toward the door.

    The others were on their feet and they all ran toward the door confused what was going on.  When the group saw, Mimi and Becky kneel toward a figure in the snow that Ash and the others came when they waved at them.

    "We need a healer!" Mimi shouted, waving her hands.

    Mouse turned to the unmoving figure in the green and gray, gasping at the blood-covered face of Rijiin L'Theil.  The others in the home had run out into the snow and toward Mimi and Becky who knelt beside the figure in the snow.

The Harper ran into the falling sleet/snow mix toward the cloaked figure and she did not care it was snowing/sleeting, her thin shirt revealing more than she wanted to show but she was first on the cloaked stranger.

The maiden had gasped loudly, yelping when she saw the green and gray garb, something she had not seen in four hundred plus years. He wore the familiar gray cloak held closed by the gold and silver crescent moon and interlocked rayed star.

"W-who is it?" Ash asked, kneeling at his side, but glanced at the others who peered at Natil who was stunned by the figure.

She knelt beside the unmoving form, and grabbing the broad shoulder, the Harper turned the stranger over.

    “By our Lady…” Natil gasped with a yelp, spying the red blood that covered the front of the stranger.

"B-but it cannot be!" She exclaimed, putting her hand to his neck. Natil felt a semi-strong rock solid heartbeat. The maiden was amazed by the garb, completely stunned by it in fact, as it was something she herself had worn openly not long ago and over four hundred years ago.

A moment later, Natil gently pulled back the hood of the cloak to reveal the weather beaten, blood covered and fair features of Rijiin L’Theil. She recognized him immediately and a surprised look of wonder appeared on her face, tears forming in her eyes.

“By our lady…!” The Harper exclaimed, “Rijiin!”

She had let out a loud yelp as she peered at the familiar face, making Ash and the others glance at her. They grimaced when she embraced the limp form of the elf she had not seen in four hundred years.  She held him and was weeping, as he did not move, clearly unconscious. Their gazes moved from Rijiin, back to the Harper several times.

They all had peered at the elf laying on the rock in the snow, and all had instant recognition of the stranger, thrown into this time after over five hundred yers, traveling, living through history.

 “I-It cannot be.” The Harper replied, clearly stunned by Rijiin’s presence, whom she thought lost a long time ago. She nodded her head.

“It is Rijiin, my… kinsman… my beloved… who disappeared over four centuries ago.”

 Natil looked up at the others to meet their surprised but amused smiles. Her cheeks reddened slightly in a furious embarrassed blush, after realizing what she had said. They had only known when Mouse had brought up the revelation of them coming from time and to the campus.  The elves of Elven Home would not have ever known about Rijiin fully otherwise. A few smiles passed between the other elves who gathered around Rijiin. They watched in silent amusement as Natil’s finger traced his jaw as she searched vainly for a pulse and exhaling sharply when she found it.

            Becky and Mimi had tears in their eyes as they peered at their friend, their benefactor and friend who had been killed in their century, giving up everything to be out of time, and traversing the winds of history to help and heal them both.

 “Natil is right he lives still, but his condition is currently unknown.” Ash announced, “We will need to get him inside where he might require healing.”  

The elf maiden turned to the others, meeting the glance of Hadden and the other elves of Denver who had gathered around him. He managed a slow nod to them. The elf lay pale and unconscious as Dell, TK, Hadden, Marsh, Tristan, Web and all the elves helped carry him into Elven Home. Inside the home, they put him in a room, stripping off the bloody garb and Ash healed him of his wounds. All of them looked after him in shifts and all hands thoroughly astonished by his presence.

         “Where the hell has he been?” Becky gasped, staring at the face, the scars on his hard muscular body, old scars that had not faded after and during the times not protected by starlight.

    “I have no idea, but look at his jaw, it clenches even in an unconscious state.” Mouse observed, “He must have gone through hell out wherever he came from…”  

    “Oh my beloved,” Natil murmured, “Where have you been?”

Sana smiled as she saw Natil exit for a moment and returned with her harp. The maiden hugged it before sitting down in a chair she had brought to his side. Her hands rippled across the bronze strings and she played for an hour, feeling the healing energies swirl about her. When her hands fell silent on the strings, she peered at him and frowned. His wounds were many, and deep. All of them found healing by Ash’s abilities but the elf remained in an unconscious state.

Natil had attempted to heal his mind and soul, which she sensed was among them, but was unable to wake.

        “Rijiin,” She murmured, as she felt small hands on her shoulders. Turning her head, she met the pensive look of Sana.

    “He’ll be okay Natil.” She told the Harper, “With all of us here, he is in good hands.”

    “Alright, we’ll take it in shifts to make sure if he wakes, someone is with him.” Hadden suggested, “Let Natil have the first watch, maybe she can harp some more and bring him out of it to perhaps give us some answers.”  

Everyone cleared the room except for the Harper, and she watched Rijiin for any sign of life that he would stir and wake. She sat beside him on a stool and she played her harp for him. The Harper played the same way as she had healed many others, a long time ago in the village of Saint Brigid, helping him as she had helped the flowers at the college, Rag’s bloody paws, and even Terry Angel.

         “Rijiin, can you hear me beloved?” She asked, her tone showing the worry in her voice. “Please come back from wherever you are.”     

Several days elapsed as each of the elves took shifts to watch Rijiin who remained motionless in the bed. Natil had taken many of the shifts herself, not leaving his side in many days. The Harper looked exhausted, but she tried not to show it to the others.

 “Natil you need to eat.” A voice said and the Harper jumped in her chair.

 Natil looked up turning to see Laurie standing at the doorway with a grin on her face.

“That’s twice you almost jumped out of your skin.” Laurie said with a laugh and the Harper forced a grin. Sana, Wheat, and Ash stood with her as a cheer sounded from the downstairs.

 “He will be alright Natil.” Sana said, flashing a grin when she saw the young Harper nod slightly.

 “I’ll mind him, and if anything happens I will call you.” Sana offered, and she stepped into the room. She met the relieved expression of the Harper who walked toward Laurie and the others at the door.

 “Thanks.” Natil replied, “But only for a few minutes.”

 “Just one thing,” Laurie asked, “I know Mimi told us of your origin, and you were from the past, but why didn’t you tell us you had a young man? Are you holding out on us again Natil?”

Sana caught herself as she laughed loudly, peering at the blushing face of the Harper.  

“You have good taste Natil.” Wheat teased and she grinned broadly at the Harper, “I thoroughly agree with it, he is quite a find and quite a sexy hunk.”


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