Magic Portal by Kaitlynn
Bright lights flash before him. White, green, purple, red. When he thought his eyes caught on a single color, everything shifted. A slight wind began blowing, and it was something he only realized in the back of his mind. He couldn’t focus on anything but the whirlwind phenomena before him.
Ren couldn’t even begin to fathom what was happening, or what he had done to trigger it. But his almost immediate thought was that he cracked. A stress induced mental breakdown was catching up with him, and he was hallucinating. A part of him thought everything going down around him was far too vivid to be a simple hallucination, but what did he know? He was just glad he had avoided this during SAT season.
Curious to see just how extensive his delusion was, he reached out to touch the swirling pool of light and color before him. As soon as he moved, the wind increased from a simple breeze to a dull roar that whipped around him, sending his hair flying into his eyes. Ren paused, suddenly. Illusions and hallucinations, by definition something that did not exist, definitely could not physically blow his hair. Still, going against his better judgment, he continued to reach out. And maybe that was the real break in his psyche: knowing that what was in front of him broke about a dozen laws of psychics that he knew of, yet basically deciding that the situation couldn’t possibly get any weirder.
He was wrong.
As soon as his fingers brushed against the massive pocket of energy and light, he felt a pang of frigid numbness crawl up his arm. Then, everything went black.
Bursts of gleaming sunlight came to him, intercepting long periods of dark unconsciousness. In those moments, he thought he felt something warm against him, even though his skin felt so cold. Just when he thought he could hold on to the sliver of lucidness, he had consciousness slip through his grasp.
Ren felt himself snap back into his mind in a moment. He was suddenly aware, but his eyelids seemed too heavy to blink open. A dull ache moved its way across his forehead before it burrowed deep in his skull. He winced, putting great effort into opening his eyes. His first attempt was futile; he pried his eyelids open only to immediately shut them. The light was more than he was expecting, and his eyes stung. The second time, he did it slower, gradually blinking his eyes open, letting the blurry shapes around him come into clear view.
Ren yelped. Above him, a face stared, unblinking. Even at his surprise, the figure did nothing. Her face was dark tan with hair falling uncoordinatedly around it. She squinted at him.
“Oh. You’re not dead, then. That’s good to know.” The voice was higher pitched, but sounded like the rhythmic pull of a cello. The person-woman? – must have been a doctor or nurse. Obviously, he had hit his head, or fallen when he had been imagining that … whatever that was. He looked around, seeing only bare stone walls and an archway that led into a different room. The room looked warn, and the stone looked like something he’d see in an old cheesy King Arthur movie. Even the air smelt off; Ren swore he could smell fire, or smoke. He was lying in a bed, more comfortable than any hospital bed he’d ever been in, adorned in soft white silk and what felt like feather pillows. There were no machines, or anything that even closely resembled a place of medicine. Everything seemed warm, where every hospital he’d ever been to radiating a sharp coldness.
“Excuse me, miss,” Ren asked, and waited for the woman to turn around for him to continue. “Where am I? Am I at a hospital? What kind of place is this?” He tried to sound light, but even he could hear the taut tension in his voice as his questions came tumbling out of his mouth. The woman, who, he was beginning to realize, was younger than he first thought, simply stared at him, eyes widening. Without answering any of his questions, she left through the low stone archway at the far end of the room. She didn’t seem flustered, Ren thought, but she didn’t exactly seem like she knew what to do.
Ren sat back on the bed, with more questions than answers. Everything about this place had an air of mysticality, like it wasn’t even real. Even his clothes were strange here. He looked to be dressed in a tan tunic, which meant he had been changed by strangers while he was unconscious. Ren shuddered at the thought.
In a matter of moments, the girl walked back in the room, this time with someone in tow.
“Look at him, Mikali. His face,” She whispered, and Ren squirmed in place. He didn’t like how they were staring at him, like he was a tiny goldfish in an oversized fish bowl. The guy she had brought in didn’t look much older than Ren, but he had an air of agelessness about him that Ren couldn’t quite place.
“Kaidan will want to see this,” the man said, who Ren assumed was named Mikali. He had no idea what was going on, and it was starting to get on his nerves. He was so used to being the person in the room who knew everything, and this was a drastic change.
“Wait, wait, wait. Hold on. Where am I? What city is this? Where is my mother? One of you has to tell me something.” Ren looked from one to the other, gauging the possibility of either of them actually telling him anything. He was coming to a dawning realization that something was wrong, very wrong. This wasn’t any kind of hospital, and he knew if things were all right his mother would be here. However, the pair just looked at each other and exchanged a glance. Ren couldn’t tell what was being passed between them, or what the looks meant.
“Kaidan should talk to him,” the girl, still unnamed, said, obviously avoiding any kind of explanation.
“Yes, that would be best. Don’t want our fearless brother mad at us now, do we?” Mikali smiled, the two sharing an inside joke that went over Ren’s head. They took one last glance at him before they both promptly left the room.
Ren was left sitting, waiting on someone he didn’t know, or had any faith in, to show up. He just wanted to go home. He wanted to see his mother. He wanted this sick anxious feeling in his gut to disappear before he started freaking out. Before long, however, a teenage boy, who didn’t look older than anyone else he’d seen, walked into the room. He walked in smoothly with a confidence that Ren had never possessed. With a start, Ren realized that the boy’s ears curved into a chiseled point. He shuffled back in his bed, only stopping when he hit the edge.
“What- what are you?” he stuttered, wanting to jump out of the bed but feeling the ache in his joints that could only come from being in one position for too long. The boy only cocked his head.
“Well, that’s very rude. I believe even in human custom, it is considered polite to introduce oneself when meeting another person,” He said, taking a single step forward and staring Ren down. He felt his face heat up in aggravation and annoyance, but his mind snagged on a single word. Human. Implying that these people, whoever they were, were not.
“My name is Ren,” he said a bit unwillingly, if only to try and get any information out of his current situation.
“Ren Alrice,” he repeated when the other boy just stood there, staring at him. “Who are you?”
“Kaidan Aquila, at your service,” he did a mocking half bow before returning to the condescending gaze he had worn when he walked in.
“Where am I? Did you bring me here? Where is my mother-”
He was cut off by Kaidan thrusting his arm forward, steam rising slowly from his fist, followed by a short puff a flame that danced over his fingers before quickly dispersed into fading embers. It was over before Ren could really understand what he had just seen, but it had affected him nonetheless. Kaidan, however, looked embarrassed.
“It was supposed to be better than that,” he mumbled, pulling his hand back and looking distraught. He gave his hand one last look before returning his attention fully to Ren.
“Despite what you just saw, I am not one to be reckoned with. You do not get to ask the questions here, human. I do. I’m what you might call a King,” a pause, “Almost, anyway. You’re going to be the one to help me get there.” He gave Ren a look that was probably meant to be awe inspiring, or proud. At the very least, it wasn’t condescending. But it was the tipping point in the cauldron of this very weird experience, and Ren couldn’t handle any of it.
He laughed. Loud, maniacal, chortles that sounded as if he had gone mad. And maybe he had, but it was just too much, all at once. None of it seemed real, yet it was too strange for his unimaginative mind to make up or hallucinate. He saw Kaidan reel back inch by inch, eyes darting to try and catch whatever he thought was making Ren hysterical.
“I’m sorry, it’s just…I’ve really lost it, huh? First the lights, and now, you said you were a King?” Ren rambled on as soon as he had calmed down enough to form words.
“Not quite,” Kaidan murmured, eyebrows knit together in blatant concern.
“Oh, right, of course. You’re almost a King, and I have to help you become one. How, may I ask, am I supposed to do that?” Ren was still riding the high of laughter, and said it all with a bemused tone of voice, which did not seem to amuse Kaidan at all.
“Because,” he huffed, “you are the first human here in centuries. No one knows why, but per everything I’ve ever been told as a child, a human must help me ascend to the throne.”
“You must realize that I have no idea what you’re talking about. But I doubt that really matters when I’ve probably already gone insane,” Ren remarked, settling into a feeling of uneasiness with the whole thing. If he was really losing his mind, would he be aware of it?
“I assure you, human, you are perfectly sane,” Kaidan grumbled, crossing his arms and pouting just a little. He looked to Ren like a child who wasn’t getting his way, and was about to throw a tantrum.
“And the rest of it? All of my questions that you all seem adamant to leave unanswered?” Even as he asked, he knew there was little chance of getting an answer. He’d been repeating himself since he had woken up, and all he’d gotten was the barest of names and information. Surprisingly, though, Kaidan sighed and began talking.
“For most of our history, the Elven lands have been hospitable and received travelers of every kind. Human, fae, dwarf. Mages and paladins alike. Humans almost exclusively traveled here. We were a central ground for chivalry between all peoples. But then, sometime near two hundred years ago, humans disappeared. All at once, it seemed, they vanished. No one knew what had happened; humans were always kind to us and we to them in return. It made no sense. The worst of it, however, was that the other races began blaming the Elvish people: they spread lies and slandered our name and reputation. The Fae called us killers, believing we had killed all of you out of spite, or misguided envy. We were the only ones with powerful enough magic to accomplish it, they said. After that, none would listen when we tried to defend ourselves. We could barely defend ourselves. The dwarves barred us from the throne, and the mages put up wards that kept us away from power. The Fae formed a horrible oligarch, taking the country that was rightfully Elven. Any magic we had once been able to wield was gone. The past two centuries have not been kind to us.” Kaidan looked rightfully upset, and Ren found himself sympathizing with every word he spoke, no matter how outlandish it all seemed.
“Even if I believed any of that, how am I supposed to help? Sorry to disappoint, but you might as well be speaking a foreign language to me. I hate fantasy books.” Ren was trying to think of a way out of here, but also found himself to be rather curious. It was like being stuck in a strange dream: he knew he needed to wake up, but he also wanted to continue sleeping just long enough to see how everything pans out.
“That, actually, is quite simple. The only way an heir to the Elvish throne could ascend again is with the help of a human, chosen by the Maker, who proves we were innocent all along. Someone to prove that we didn’t kill you all, or bar you from traveling here. That humans, for whatever reason, left on their own. Rogue mages who sympathized with our cause have been sending out signals and portals for years, searching for this person. You, it seems, are the person I’ve been looking for.” Kaidan looked at Ren with grudging admiration, but Ren only felt like laughing once again.
“I’m supposed to be this ‘chosen one?’ Fine, sure, say I believe you. Say I help you, and you reclaim your throne, or whatever. I’ll be able to go home, right? I just got into MIT, full scholarship. I’m going to be a neurosurgeon, I can’t stay here playing Lord of the Rings or something.” It suddenly became clear to Ren that the only way out of this mess was through. His mind was still reeling from the revelation of magic and elves, and a whole other world he wasn’t aware of, so he decided he needed to focus on that one goal.
“What,” Kaidan enunciated, “is a neurosurgeon and why do you have to go to this M-I-T?”
“You’re avoiding the question. Will I be able to go home?” Ren repeated as he pulled himself out of the bed, coming face to face with the alleged elf. He still felt weak, but tries not to show it.
“I’m not sure,” Kaidan mumbled. When he saw Ren’s look of disbelief and anger, he raised his hand to quiet him and continued. “None of this has ever happened before. I’m almost as lost as you. All I can know for certain is that you are marked by the Maker, and that a portal found you. As soon as you arrived, magic returned to my people, though most of us have little ideas about how to use it.” Ren could see how much Kaidan was as genuinely perturbed by everything as he was. It was strangely nice to have someone to share your confusion. But one thing, at the very least, made less sense than anything else.
“Marked by the Maker?” Ren parroted, suddenly remembering the reaction of the pair that visited previously. The girl had been astonished by his face. As if reading his thoughts, Kaidan pulled from his tunic pocket a small handheld mirror, embossed with over the top carvings.
Ren took it from the other boy’s hands before nearly dropping it when he saw what it pictured. His face was the same save for several intricately curved and connected diamonds that were inked from his cheekbone and to touch his temple. He looked up at Kaidan, and he seemed to sense his astonishment. It looked less like a tattoo and more like a series of interlocking scars that had yet to fade.
“My brother Mikali and sister Kala found you half dead in a field. You were mumbling nonsense, and they brought you here. They had their suspicions about who you might be, but did not tell me until the Maker’s mark manifested itself on your face. It is a great honor, to be chosen by her.” Kaidan gave him a slight smile to accompany his words, and Ren was struck with the odd surprise that the elf even could smile.
“The Maker…is that some sort of god?”
Kaidan nodded, face growing serious.
“She is as her title suggests: the maker of all things, of all peoples. Some, like the Fae, claim her to be a myth, but the Elves still sing her praises. She created this world, your world, and every land besides. You are not the first to be given her mark, but you are the most recent since the Elven-Fae War four centuries ago.”
“This is a lot,” said Ren, running his hand across his face. He felt like a ton of bricks just fell on his head. But something nagged at him, and he couldn’t shake the feeling. “I don’t know what I can do, but I’ll help you even if this is some bizarre delusion.”
Ren never imagined he could actually get bored in a fantastical land that was now full off magic, but he was. He could only watch as Kaidan stood in the center of a training ring, and tried to control his new-found abilities as best he could. Fire wielding was impressive at first, but when it was his only entertainment, he found himself growing bored of it. Without any substantial mystical powers of his own, Ren just watched as Kaidan slowly grew better at bending flames with his bare hands. It was almost unreal how fast he was picking it up, but then again, everything here seemed to be beyond normal.
It had been like this for two weeks, all four of them plotting and figuring out how exactly Kaidan was going to become a king. It was taking so much longer than Ren had imagined, and he was beginning to get worried. About his mother, his lost life in the human world, about what it was going to be like when he went back. He wouldn’t even allow himself to think about the possibility that he might not be able to make it back. Against his own determination, however, he began to see parts of this mystical world that he grew to enjoy. He had yet to meet an unkind elf, and it was hard to believe that anyone would think that they had killed an entire race. It was even harder to believe, though, that humans had once been able to access this place. How had they just let power like that slip through their fingers?
“He’s quite the stubborn one, isn’t he?” Ren jumped at the voice, as Mikali appeared, seemingly out of thin air. He nodded in the direction of Kaidan, who was practically dancing in and out of white and blue flame.
“I guess,” was Ren’s only response, having known Kaidan for a few weeks at most. “You’re siblings then? You, Kaidan, the girl who was there when I woke up,” he asked, feeling uncomfortable in any lull in conversation.
“Kala, that’s our sister. But yes, we’re related. Born within minutes of each other, though we don’t look it,” Mikali said it casually, but Ren whipped his head around to look at him.
“You’re all triplets? Then why is Kaidan the one becoming King? Why not you? Or your sister be Queen?” It made little sense to Ren that Kaidan would be the one out of the three of them that was fit to rule. From what small bits of information he knew about them, Kaidan would have been his last choice. He was condescending at times, and too arrogant. Mikali, at least, seemed calm and collected. But what did Ren know about any of it, anyway?
“We didn’t know who the heir was, not really. The title itself was becoming arbitrary, given that people were losing faith in an elf taking power again. But Kala and I had our suspicions that if it happened, it would be Kaidan. He was born first. When you arrived, and brought magic back to us, Kaidan’s hands burst into blue flame. Kala and I could do nothing at all. That is always how rulers are chosen; fire magic runs deep in our family, and all the great kings had it. Most trained with it since they could walk, but my brother seems to be managing fine,” Mikali nodded his head to where Kaidan stood making massive progress. Ren watched as he made a curtain of orange flame part for him as he walked through it towards them. In his hand, he held a perfectly circular ball of white hot fire, tossing it into the air and catching it with his other arm. Ren wanted to smack the arrogant smirk off his face.
At the same time, Kala appeared at the doorway of the small training room, and made her way over to them. Together, they were an odd group. A human, thrown into a world he hadn’t known existed. A would-be king, discovering new abilities at an ever-increasing rate. Two siblings forgotten to the shadow of their brother and a stranger. Kala placed a hand on Ren’s shoulder, and glanced at him.
“I want to apologize for before. As soon as you woke up, I saw the mark, and I wasn’t sure what to do. I had spent three days monitoring you, and I honestly thought you’d never wake up. You’ve been a surprise to us all.” She looked genuine, and there something about her nutmeg brown eyes and small grin that made Ren trust her.
“Yes,” Mikali concurred, standing a little straighter. “It was quite awful of us to leave you to Kaidan. That’s something I wouldn’t wish on my greatest enemy.” He said it completely straight face, with no trace of humor in his tone, but Ren found himself laughing along with Kala at his words. Mikali cracked a smile when Kaidan lightly punched his arm. In a matter of weeks, it was like they were all old friends. They stood together in a calm silence before Mikali and Kala shared a look and walked off, mumbling between themselves as they did.
There was a still quiet as they retreated and Ren was left standing with Kaidan.
“I assume I should also apologize,” he said, making Ren’s eyebrows shoot up in surprise. He would have assumed that Kaidan would have had too much pride to humble himself in an apology.
“I was brash and brazen when we first met. I didn’t even consider how it must bode for you, being thrown into my world. I was self-centered and I’m sorry for that, truly.” His head was bowed slightly, causing his black hair to fall into his eyes. Without even hesitating, Ren forgave him. Because, for whatever reason, he was coming to enjoy Kaidan, and both his siblings. When he said as much to the elven boy, he only nodded in response.
“Mikali and Kala think we should make our stance against the Fae oligarchy tomorrow night. It is our annual night of peace, commemorating the day the Maker created the worlds, and it would surprise me if they fought back, especially with you at our side. But if they don’t take you as evidence enough, I don’t know what we’ll do.”
It was a simple enough plan. Kaidan, Mikali, and Kala were going to present Ren to the three Fae who had temporarily taken over the Elven throne. A high Fae called Marge was going to be their biggest threat, according to Kaidan. She had been the one to begin the blight against the elves.
There were already whispers throughout the Elven community, calling Ren the fallen savior. While Kaidan could barely see past the image of himself on a throne, Mikali and Kala had their suspicions that things would hardly go over so easy. Ren was growing more anxious than ever about the potential for a fight. Mikali had told him that he knew his way around a sword, but Ren could crash and fall if it came to anything physical. He was all brains, no brawn.
“You don’t have to look so sick, Ren,” Kaidan laughed, Ren realizing how he must have looked. Furrowed brows, slightly pouted lip; identical to how his mother looked hunched over bills. The thought hurt. Thinking of his mother sent a pang of homesickness through him that he hadn’t felt since the day he arrived.
“I just,” he started, unsure of how to continue. “My life wasn’t perfect. But I felt like I was going in a direction that made sense. More sense than any of this.” He spoke again, trying to form his anxious thoughts into coherent words.
“It doesn’t seem as if you liked your life at all,” observed Kaidan. Ren felt an undeserved rush of anger at the elf for being so spot on about his emotions, when he himself was not. He smothered the feeling, knowing he was being unfair.
“You could say that. My life there was…stressful to say the least. I felt like everything had been planned for me, without my say so. Did you know that I don’t even want to become a neurosurgeon?” Ren said it offhandedly, but came to the realization of his words only as he was saying them. Kaidan just laughed.
“I still don’t know what that is, or why you’d want to be one. Is it dangerous? Will it grant you respect and prestige?” He sounded more and more excited as he spoke, and Ren was amused by how Kaidan reacted to thinking his new human friend was some kind of warrior.
“No, nothing like that. I would help people, fix things that are wrong with their brains. Really, I want to study it for the money. Coming from a poor family, I’ve always enjoyed the notion of more money than I knew what to do with.” It was more than he meant to divulge, but something about this place-with its magic and general sense of wonder- felt like a homecoming to a home he never knew. It was comfortable, and that was the problem.
Kaidan gave him a look that Ren couldn’t decipher. It was questioning, but also evaluating. Ren felt like he was under the guise of a microscope.
“You could always stay here when we’re done. Since we’re still not sure if any of the mages can create a portal to send you back. You’d be well compensated, if you’re worried about that in particular.” He paused, giving Ren a strange look. “Mikali and Kala have grown to like you, you know. It’s been a harrowing few weeks; they might even miss you.”
“And you?” Ren replied, curious to see what his new begrudging friend thinks of him now, when he held an obvious discontent for him before.
“I tolerate you,” Kaidan said, but with a slight curve of lips and lightness in his tone. “But even I will admit, you haven’t been awful to have around. It would be nice, to have you around, even after things calm down.” It was strange to hear even a half compliment from Kaidan, and Ren just blatantly stared at him, open mouthed and grinning.
“Oh, shut up, human,” Kaidan griped, while turning away to train again.
“Are you ready?” Kala asked him, and they faced the doors, where they would either succeed without a problem, or go down in a pyre of Kaidan’s fire. The day had been longer than Ren could imagine; all four of them were desperately waiting for the sun to go down so they could finish what Ren was apparently sent to do.
“Not at all,” Ren replied honestly, getting a chuckle out of Mikali and a small smile out of both Kala and Kaidan.
Nevertheless, Kaidan pushed open the heavy oak doors that led to the center of the night’s proceedings: the church of the Maker. The sacred ground of the highest power. It was another reason they had chosen this night, and this place. The less chance of violence, the better.
The heavy bang interrupted the thick silence, and sent every head in the room flying in their direction. Ren had to give it to Kaidan, he really knew how to get a crowd’s attention.
“Kaidan Aquila, why am I not surprised?” A woman gave them a withering look as she walked through the lined pews towards them. Ren was set back by her face, all sharp angles and dark shadows. He couldn’t look her in the eye, but found he couldn’t look anywhere else, either.
“Marge, a pleasure, as always,” Kaidan twitted back, crossing his arms over his chest.
“And what is this?” Another Fae asked, male this time, coming to them from the same elevated dais that Marge had come. He was followed by a smaller, quieter Fae, both sporting that cold features of the first.
“This,” claimed Kala, shoving a power into her words that Ren hadn’t seen from her before, “is what you’ve wanted for more than two centuries, is it not? A human, marked by the Maker, finding himself in our kingdom after all these years. The one thing standing between my brother and the throne you usurped.” She took a step forward, commanding a presence that had even Ren shook to his core.
“A-a human?” cried the male Fae, stuttering and taking a small step back. “How preposterous. You lot killed them all, you-”
The man stopped cold when Mikali gave Ren a hard shove forward and he stumbled into the light. The design on his face was clear for everyone in the church to see. The sign that was carved on half the wooden fixtures in the room, declaring the place home of the Maker.
“This is blasphemy! The Maker shall not be desecrated like this! Guards, take the heathens out of this holy place,” cried Marge, who didn’t look all that horrified at what was going on around her. More like smug.
Seemingly out of nowhere though, Fae in armor carrying swords appeared behind them, making their presence known. The people in the church pews-mostly elves – were growing restless, casting worried glances at each other. It was obvious they knew who Kaidan was, and had heard the rumors of Ren, but weren’t sure if they believed it for themselves.
“Did you think I hadn’t heard rumors of these games of yours, young ones? Did you not think that I knew you would try this tonight? How foolish,” Marge whispered so only the four of them would hear it, and Ren began to see exactly how the elves had lost their kingdom to foreigners. They were too kind, and the Fae too ruthless with a talent for propaganda.
Without much warning, Ren saw Kaidan launch himself at her, fire blazing up the entirety of his arms. Faster than a bullet, she dodged him, putting on a mask of concern and horror. She signaled something with her hand, and suddenly Ren was alone.
Kaidan had barreled past Marge, right into the tight grasp of the two other Fae. Kala was yanked by the hair and then restrained by a guard who was hidden moments before. Two of the three guards standing behind them had grabbed Mikali, and were each holding one of his arms.
Ren was alone, without magic, without the ability to fight, in a political battle he was all too unfamiliar with. He opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. He made eye contact with Kaidan across the small room, and he saw his own doubt echoed there.
“Kill the imposter,” Marge said without any emotion, and Ren’s mind went blank.
He was distantly aware of Mikali and Kaidan struggling all the more against the men who held them in place, but Ren barely gave it any thought. His thoughts only went to his mother. He had left her alone, without any answers. He was going to die without saying goodbye. He was going to die in a foreign world, and his mother would never know what truly happened to him. Nothing from his other life brought him any regrets but this, and he almost choked on the emotion it brought up in him.
A guard stepped in front of him, holding the biggest sword Ren had ever seen. It was wider than his arm, and sharpened to a hideous point. He gulped, searching for something, anything, to say. There was nothing. He took in a deep breath and braced himself as the Fae in front of him drew the sword higher. He waited for it to drop.
But as the great sword was on its downward arc towards his neck, there was a glowing canary light all around him, and the world seemed to exist in slow motion. The sword was still coming directly at him, but slower, and the closer it got the brighter the light became. Ren was aware that he should move or get out of the way, but there was a voice in the back of his head telling him to stay. That he’d be safe, and there was no need to run. So Ren stayed put, against every instinct shouting at him to avoid the incoming pain.
But as the blade got close to his skin, it began to shatter as it met the orb of yellow light around him. Impossibly, Ren saw the metal of the sword come apart piece by piece once it came within a foot of him, the light acting as some sort of translucent barrier. Then everything came back into focus and in real time as he was showered with the shining metal remains that was a sword only seconds ago.
Ren blinked. He was still alive. Whatever that was, he was still alive. The Fae holding Kaidan loosened their grip in surprise, and he ripped free, barreling towards Ren. Kala and Mikali did the same, rushing towards him, disbelief written all over their faces.
At the same time, the elves who were sitting in the pews now looked at Ren with a look of wonder. They looked at him like he was the answer to a question they had been asking themselves for years. Then they turned to look at the Fae, at Marge, with fury bottled in their eyes. Collectively, they outnumbered the Fae five to one, and the guards had started taking notice. One by one, they slipped out of the church, leaving only the three Fae leaders to bask in the mess they had made.
“Your move,” Kaidan said, standing next to his siblings and Ren in move of solidarity. He connected with the elven people all throughout the church, and Ren could finally see the makings of great King in him.
Kaidan had taken down Marge with swift but excessive force, throwing hundreds of years of aggravation into a single capture. It had been a week, but Marge and the rest of the oligarch were taken down. The Fae occupiers of the Elven land were beginning to vanish back to their own. Everything was wrapping up like something out of a Disney movie, Ren thought. Everything except for one.
“I don’t understand why you can’t stay,” Kaidan whined, pestering Ren for the thousandth time. They were on their way to a portal a mage had created to get Ren home, and Kaidan was still trying to persuade him. Kala and Mikali had voiced their offer of having him stay once, but had quieted when Ren rejected the offer. Kaidan couldn’t take a hint.
“I’ve been over this. I can’t leave my mother. At least not without saying goodbye. Things would be different if it was in two months, and I was going to leave for college anyway, but I can’t do that to her.” If Ren had been some penniless orphan, he may have stayed. It was a world ripe with magic, straight out of some fairytale. Not only that, but he was the chosen one here, which was finally proved to him when he was told the Maker’s mark on his face created the magical shield that protected him from being beheaded. It was a lot to give up.
But he knew he could never leave his mother without any answers. Not that he knew what he was going to tell her yet. Maybe he’d figure it out while he was passed out from this next portal experience.
As they reached the mage standing by the giant swirling ball of light, Ren felt sick to his stomach. He had almost forgotten what it felt like to travel through one of those. He looked over to Kaidan, Mikali, and Kala to say goodbye, and found they all looked fairly sullen. He sighed.
“You know what Kaidan?” He asked, seeing the elf perk up on the chance Ren had reconsidered. “Find me in a couple of months. Maybe I’ll join you after things cool with my mom. You think your mages can handle that?”
All three of them grinned like maniacs, but Mikali and Kaidan were quick to smother their expressions. Kaidan nodded to him, a promise. Ren gave them one final wave before turning back to the mage.
He took a deep breath, and stepped into the void.