Chapter 03- Summons of the Elm'drya
A week in Mwanje Kottrheim passed by like a fleeting dream. Leandra stayed with us the entire time, but she wouldn't sleep with us no matter how I flirted with her. She made it known that per their customs she would keep an appropriate distance, and let me and Bastet enjoy our honeymoon. When we returned to Valeheim, it was with many wedding gifts that would take days to sort out, and then there were gifts from mother and father, so I left the task of decorating our new rooms in the east wing of the Vale house to Bastet while I searched out my father.
I found him in his study sitting behind his desk with Andra nearby awaiting orders. As soon as I walked into the room I felt the magic in the pit of my stomach rouse and sit-up attentively. As I crossed the room I could feel Summerset's magic stretching out and suppressing mine. Where my magic felt like a kitten in my belly, his seemed like an ominous mountain overshadowing and crushing me. By the time I reached his desk I was breathing hard and sweating with effort.
"Good morning son," He greeted me as I approached.
"Good morning father," I answered breathily as I put a hand on the desk for support.
With a shake of my head I tried to stoak my magic into a more lively and roaring flame. At first it shrunk away, but as I wrestled with it I was finally able to grab a hold and somehow excite it into growing larger. Power and strength surged through my arms and legs, and my father's oppressive presence lessened. My eyes became green fires burning in my eye sockets as magic began to lift off my arms, shoulders, and back like green smoke.
"Ah, I see you can finally feel my aura," Summerset said with a nod and motioned for Andra to leave, "You're dealing with it well though. Reaching inside to fortify your body before it crushes you."
"T-this is just your aura," I hissed, "Leandra was right. You are a monster!"
"No, not a monster, a Guardian of the forest," Summerset answered with a warm smile, "and, one day, you will be as powerful, and maybe, even more so."
"I-I came here to tell you," I growled with the effort of trying to maintain my power as I spoke, "Although I understand the reason for your test, I'm still upset with you. If you had just talked with me, gotten to know me better, you would have known the man I have become!"
Summerset nodded and smiled. He knew I would be mad at him and he was willing to accept that, "Surely you understand that son's can become tyrant's that their father's were not. Surely you know wealth and entitlement corrupt good families all the time, and the ones that pay for that sin are always the commoners, and those that fall even lower than that. Surely you understand that we have an entire race of people enslaved. Who do you think would suffer the most if you, my heir, were to become a despot?"
I nodded that I understood but growled back anyway, "You could have talked to me..."
"You're right," Summerset agreed with a nod, "I could have, but then, you could have lied, and I never would have known until it was too late."
"So," I sneered sarcastically as I looked at the documents on his desk, "Do you trust me now? Am I worthy of being in your inner circle?"
Summerset's smile fell at the sarcasm, and his eyes reflected his irritation as he answered, "Despite your blatant disrespect, yes, I feel like I can trust you now with more of the...adult...affairs of the farm."
"Like what," I asked marginally less aggressively.
Summerset stood up and walked around the desk to a side door leading to the adjacent room. When he reached the door he turned back, "Come along, I have something to show you."
I pushed away from the desk and followed him, and the longer I stayed in his presence, it seemed to get easier to maintain the power level of my aura so that he wasn't crushing me as much as before. There was a short hallway leading around the back-to-back fireplaces between father's study and the adjacent room. As I stepped in I saw a large table filled with maps with military pieces strewn across them while others had circles and arrows illustrating troop movements. On the far end of the room was an even larger table with a holographic globe hovering above it. As soon as I saw the hologram I ran forward and reached out in amazement and fear.
The planet that hovered in front of me was earth. Every continent and ocean was exactly where it should be. I had thought I was transported to another world all these years, but I hadn't been. I was still on earth.
"Earth," I whispered as Summerset walked up with a smile, though his eyes were sharp, "I'm still on earth..."
"What do you mean, "I'm still on earth"," He asked as he raised his hand and with a wave spun the globe.
"Oh, um, nothing," I answered with a shake of my head, "It's nothing, I misspoke. So, where are we?"
Summerset gave me a sharp look, but he decided not to pursue my comments and commanded, "Global map."
The globe immediately disappeared and the earth was laid out. It was amazing. It was a high-definition satellite quality map of Asia, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America along with all the islands and Antarctica.
Summerset reached out and pointed at the North American continent and said, "This is where we are," then he tapped the continent and commanded, "Enhance."
The map zoomed in and I immediately noticed that the state lines for Canada and the United States were completely different. He pointed to where Seattle was and stated, "This is Olympia, capital city of the lands of Folkvangr on the other side of the Dragon's Spine Mountains, and we...Enhance..." He zoomed in the map again, "...are here," He pointed to a small valley just on the other side of what I knew as the Cascade mountain range, "...just on the other side of the Dragon's Spine. Everything between the Dragon's Spine and the Dragon's Tail Mountains on the other side of the continent is called the lands of Annwyn, and they are all Svartalfar lands. On the other side of the Dragon's Tail Mountains are the lands of Thrudheim and the capital, Bilskirnir, is located here..."
Bilskirnir was located where Baltimore was in my previous world. It was fascinating how it seemed some major landmarks from my previous earth transferred to here while others were completely different. So the question was; was I in a different time; past or future? Or, was I in an alternate world, such as a multiverse?
"Wow," I gasped as I tried to move the map on my own. When I couldn't I asked, "So, where is Silvain?"
Summerset grinned and commanded, "Withdraw," and the map zoomed out. He moved the map back to Olympia and zoomed in on what I knew as the Port Angeles area from my previous life, "Here. In Olympia. Just one of many cities that is home to the Ljos and Nottalfar. Where the Temples of Marduk and Seline and their schools are located on the western shores. This is where your sister is."
"Will I be going there when I turn twenty as well," I asked as I rubbed the medallion on my left bracer.
"No, as a Villralfar we are not considered...enlightened enough to attend their schools," Summerset answered firmly, "Although Alfar claimed all forests to be our domain. The Ljos and Nottalfar quickly built coastal cities and capitals and locked themselves away, and left the tending of the forests to the Villr and the Dokkalfar. Ever since there have been two classes; the high class consisting of the Ljos and Nott, and the low class consisting of the Villr and Dokk. And technically, there is a third class; the dirty class consisting of the Svartalfar."
"Svartalfar, the black Alfar," I whispered to myself, "So there are drow on this world."
"Drow? This world?" Summerset parroted me with his brows furrowed, and stared at me like I was a stranger before musing out loud, "I know you are my son. I saw you birthed from your mother's womb, and yet, all your life you have said the strangest things sometimes..."
My mouth fell open and it felt suddenly dry. There was no denying my strangeness. I had in fact made comments all my life that the world around me found strange or new. Was this the day that they finally figured out I was a twenty-three year old man from another world? No...wait...I am eighteen here, so I am in fact forty-one.
"I know that Bifrost and Bilrost are closed, they have been since the Exodus," My father mumbled to himself as he turned away, "But the manuscripts speak of a third gate, Bivrost, could the Fallen have finished it in time? If they did, it would explain much. It could also be a precursor to invasion."
Turning back to me suddenly, Summerset fixed me with a fierce glare and asked, "I know you are my son, and yet, you are not. Tell me, who are you and where are you from?"
"I," I gasped in fear, my long held secret was finally revealed, and I couldn't speak. I felt like there was a hand wrapped around my throat as my mouth moved silently.
"Tell me now, and you retain my trust," Summerset growled as he took a step toward me and suddenly the aura of his magic was overwhelming, "Tell me now, or if you don't, you will lose my trust forever! Speak son!" He roared.
I fell back on my ass hard, and it seemed to propel the words right out of me, "I am from earth, but not from this earth. I am...I was...human. I lived in a city called Seattle, across the bay from mount Olympus. I was an alpha tester for a new computer game coming to market. It was revolutionary, but when I started to play the game, after I made my character, I hit the launch button and the gate came alive with colors and suddenly I was being born here!"
"Another earth," Summerset whispered, "So the history books are true. There really are other earths."
"Yes, and on my original earth there were only humans," I confirmed, "There were no Alfar, no Dvergr, or Animals."
"I see, so humanity somehow survived the cataclysm," He whispered as he mulled over the ramification of my being in this world. Then he turned to me and asked, "Were there any others like you? These...alpha testers?"
"I think there were ten of us," I answered, "But, I can't be sure."
"Ten," Summerset hissed, "A sacred number...then it has begun..."
"What," I asked in confusion, "What has begun?"
Summerset walked over to his maps and shuffled several as he looked at troop movements, "This explains so much! The Svartalfar have been restless, the Dvergr are agitated, and the Alfar...are...complacent...apathetic!"
"What are you talking about," I asked again as I picked myself up off the floor and trotted over to the map table.
"The gods are coming back," Summerset answered ominously, "The Races are amassing their militaries, and the Fallen are stirring in their shadow realm, and now humans have come from Midgard...albeit...partially."
"Yeah, so, what does that mean," I asked again.
"It means, son, that the march to Ragnorak has begun," He declared as if I am supposed to know the significance.
"So what do I do," I asked as I looked over the maps and saw a circle on a map in the Dragon's Spine with an arrow pointed towards Valeheim.
"You," He said as he looked over the maps, "You do nothing. You grow up. Enjoy your time with Bastet. Train with Leandra, and hope that the wars that will inevitably come pass over us."
"What about my power," I asked, "I'm a druid like you, I can be of help."
"Not at your current ability," Summerset answered as he pulled a large map out of the pile, "You will only get yourself killed."
"Then how do I become stronger," I asked instantly, slamming my fist down on the table.
Summerset stopped, and then looked at my fist, and then he looked into my eyes. Clear blue gazing into emerald green, and he answered in a whisper, "You want to know my secret to how I amassed my power?"
"I amassed it by sleeping with every female Animal I could seduce, buy, or force, no matter who they were; wives, daughters, mothers, it didn't matter because I was young and stupid and didn't realize what I was doing may be legal, but it was not moral," He sneered, "I purified them, and when I did their magic made me stronger. I am more Animal now than Alfar. Is that what you want?"
"I love them," I answered solemnly, "And, I am not prejudiced against them. I would happily be more Animal if it saves the ones I love."
Summerset smiled at me, then clapped a hand on my shoulder and squeezed, "You have no idea how happy it makes me to hear you say that."
There was a long pause as everything got weird and then Summerset cleared his throat and let go of my arm and looked back to his maps. I wasn't sure if I saw tears in his eyes, but as I tried to confirm it, he waved me away, "I hear you have a letter for your mother. Go see to it that your errand is completed."
"Yes sir," I answered with a nod and turned to leave.
I was at the door when my father asked his final question about my previous life, "Son? Did you have a human family that you left back on your earth?"
I didn't turn back as I answered, "My mother," and I closed the door behind me.
I found Glenna Moonlilly in her private temple to the moon goddess Seline. There was a reception area with a pool of heated water and a fountain. Above the fountain was a statue of a beautiful Nottalfar woman. Her hair rose above her head and split into two parts so that it had the appearance of horns curling around a moon that hovered above her head. She was completely naked, she had four arms, four breasts, a slim waist, lower legs that looked partly animal with cloven hooves, and a long tail with a broadleaf shaped tip.
To the right was a cleansing room, and to the left was a bedroom given for the purpose of holy blessings.
Glenna was in the pool bathing when I walked in. She looked up and smiled, and motioned for me to come forth. I walked in and she purred, "Take your clothes off son, and come bathe with me! It has been so long. Let me wash you..."
The way she said that left little room to misinterpret that she would do much more than that, and I wanted to so very much. However, instead I pulled out the letter in my pocket and held it out to her as I walked across the room, "Mother, before I bathe I must give you this. A white fox by the name of Huxian came to me while I was at Mwanje Kottrheim. She gave me this note and told me to give it to you as soon as I arrived home."
As I spoke, Glenna's continence changed from seductive to alert. She stood up out of the water and held out her hand to receive her letter. Her damp hands left water marks on the paper as she used a nail to break the seal, while as I watched the holy waters of the pool trickled down her softly curved, litely glowing, lower belly before finally dribbling from her hairless labia Glenna flipped open the single page and read its contents. With a hiss and a click of her tongue against her teeth, I looked back up into her black orbs just as she held out her hand to me, "Help me out, I must dress and we must leave as soon as I am ready."
"What is it, mother," I asked as I took her hand and pulled her up.
"A summons...from an old friend," She answered. Walking swiftly to her private bedroom, I followed and was about to step in when she held out a hand with a command, "Stop right there. Do not cross that threshold, unless you plan on paying the tithe and lying in that bed with me!"
"Do we have time for that," I asked, uncertain of what I should do. Of course I wanted to bed her, there wasn't a man alive, Animal or Alfar that didn't want to, but with whatever was going on; to just stop and have sex?"
"No, you're right, we don't have time for...that," Glenna answered with a shake of her head, "But these are the vows and covenants I live by to please my goddess. If you come into this room, you must pay the tithe, and we must lay together. Those are the rules, and normally I would be willing and enthusiastically obliged, but today we must make haste to our rendezvous."
I nodded that I understood and stood outside of her room as I asked, "Who...is this old friend we are going to meet?"
She chuckled as she pulled out a shear, white, cloak that settled on her shoulders and hung down her body to her feet, and then she clipped it closed from her throat to just below her crotch with small silver leaves. She slipped on several bracelets, a necklace, and earrings, and then she returned to me at her door and purred, "You will just have to wait and see."
She pushed me aside, and led me across the temple to the cleansing room. Once inside, she closed the door and pushed a hidden lever opposite of the commode. The false wall moved inward and to the side, and then she led the way down into a private escape tunnel.
Her glowing white skin shed plenty of light for her to easily see where she was going, and it was easy enough for me to follow her. Why she bothered to put on the diaphanous cloak, I hadn't a clue. She was completely, unabashedly, nude, and the cloak...was transparent. It did however make it a pleasure to follow her.
We walked for a long time in the absolute darkness of the tunnel, and just when I thought it wasn't ever going to end Glenna turned a corner and there was a hidden exit with vines and rocks strategically placed to hide the tunnel entrance. Leading the way, she squeezed her overly ample breasts through the vines as they tore all of her silver leaf clips off her cloak except the one at her throat. Picking them up I quickly followed as I pocketed them in a waist pouch, and then I ran to catch up as she walked quickly through the forest. We walked a long ways, circling around Valeheim until I recognized where we were.
"We're headed to Huxian's pool," I commented excitedly.
"So you've met that sly fox before the other day," Glenna asked in a knowing purr.
"Yes, a long time ago," I answered, "I was just ten, and I went out to hunt the ghost fox I kept hearing stories about."
"Oh," She hummed with a smile, "and she actually let you catch her?"
"Well, um, no," I admitted with an embarrassed grin, "I just happen to come upon her bathing in the pool."
"Really," She chuckled, and I got the feeling she knew something I did not.
It was dark and the full moon was rising by the time we reached the pool with Huxian patiently waiting beside it as naked as my mother, and twice as voluptuous.
"Good evening my Lady, Apostle Glenna Moonlilly," Huxian greeted with a curtsy, then looked at me and smiled as she continued, "and good evening to you young Virdy. Thank you for delivering my message so promptly."
"Good evening Huxian," I returned breathily, for she was breathtakingly beautiful tonight. She nearly glowed with moonlight like Glenna, and her eyes were bright, shiny chips of blue glacier ice, "It is good to see you again too."
Mama just looked from Huxian to me and then back to the fox before she interrupted, "Your not the one who summoned me. I take it you will lead us to her?"
"Yes, my lady," Huxian purred and turned and led the way. It was not as far a hike as it was to Huxian's pool, but it was close.
When we arrived we were standing beneath a towering sequoia tree. How it was growing here in this part of the country, I had no idea, but here it was, and butterflies and moths fluttered all around. I could hear song birds, and the almost magical voices of women singing high in the boughs. I should have seen this tree from town. It was taller than any structure and should have easily been seen for miles. So why hadn't I seen it?
"Because young Viridian Vale, heir to the Valeheim, Druid Guardian of the Forests, I don't just let anyone know that I am here," A soft whisper caressed my ear as a beautiful Alfar woman with a blood red body and golden legs and arms, and deep leafy green hair appeared beside me. Like most women it seemed on this earth, she was completely naked even though I was pretty sure she could conjure an outfit from the nature around her, "Yes, you are right," She continued, "I could conjure clothing...if I wanted to young Virdy, but, you don't really want me to, do you?"