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Rated: E · Novella · Fantasy · #2278603
Sequel to Return of Starlight, FanFic from Strands of Starlight Series - G. Baudino
The nurse nodded as she recorded it in the computer.

“The doctor will be in as soon as he can.” She chirped and the trio glanced at each other, managing a grimace.

The doctor a few minutes later arrived and examined the three travelers who had defined all odds and had managed to make it across the expanse of the Pacific. He ordered tests and transferred them to a four bed room in the hospital. Police were placed outside to allow them to rest.

A few hours later, the trio woke from a sound sleep by the doctor who entered with two nurses. He greeted them warmly.

“I'm Doctor Mick Drunden.” He said greeting them. Rijiin, Natil and Katelyn all murmured a greeting.

“So how are you all feeling.”

“A little tired doc.” Rijiin said, “So how are we?”

“Well, by the looks of you three, you appear to be a little dehydrated, and a bit under nourished, but seem to be in good health otherwise.” The doctor commented, glancing at his machines. “What on Earth happened out there? What happened to the ship to put you in the raft in the first place?”

Rijiin described the explosion that night aboard the ship, fire sweeping across the yacht, and the people thrown from the deck, trapped below in which he had rescued, including the Captain. There were gasps at his vivid descriptions. A low murmur rippled through the medical personnel at the couple's responses.

“It seems you all three have been through a lot.” The Doctor told them as he moved to each one to do a vitals check. He peered at Katelyn's leg that still healed from a fracture now placed in a cast and the red spot that Natil had sutured together.

“Any pain?” He asked and the trio shook their heads.

“You three get some rest.”

The doctors ordered more blood tests and fluids for the three of them as they relaxed in their room. As soon as they were gone Rijiin took up his place next to Natil in a chair and held her hand as they talked among themselves. He glanced at the young girl who lay back and fell right to sleep. He smiled at his wife who kissed him passionately.

Over the next few days, news people from around the world were there and they were interviewed by the reporters. They knew that no doubt their pictures would be on the front page of every civilized newspaper around the country they represented and on television news. They told an amazing story to the reporters and that tale of their survival.

The were promptly shooed away by the doctor who came in with the nurses.

“Hi, name is Doctor Roberto Del Suan.” He said, introducing himself. "I am the assisting Doctor."

The couple murmured greetings to him.

“We completed the tests finally on your three.” He told them and both Natil and Rijiin glanced at each other to cast a smile between them.

“How are we doc?” Rijiin asked, and Natil nodded in agreement.

“For being out at sea for the time you were. I am surprised how well you three are recovering.” He told the trio, meeting each gaze, “It is a miracle and probably a world's record for traversing the Pacific like that and with minor wounds you all sustained from your ordeal.”

The doctor paused as he met Natil's gaze.

“I am especially surprised for you Mrs L'Theil.” He chortled, “With your unique condition.”

Natil frowned, and stared at the doctor with a questioning look on her face. His statement perplexed her, and so did the smile that he and the nurses had on their faces. He walked further into the room toward the Elves. The Harper turned her head to meet the grimace of her husband who was just as perplexed as she was.

“Oh don’t worry, you are both fine, But didn’t you know, Miss L'Theil?” The Doctor asked, turning his head to Rijiin and then back to the worried expression on Natil’s face.

“Know what?” Natil asked, finally breaking the silence, and there was laughter.

“Oh my god, you didn’t know.” He replied with a chuckle, and the nurses joined in. He stepped in and silently held out a series of ultrasound pictures. Here, the Doctor pointed at the picture. Natil and Rijiin both frowned as they peered at it. When they saw what he was pointing at, both had gasped loudly.

“You’re pregnant my-dear.” The doctor said, “Approximately two months and a half. Times two...”

He turned to eye the astonished maiden who sat with her mouth dropped open. Natil glanced at Rijiin who showed equal surprise, and he met her gaze with a dumbfounded look. Congratulations went all around by everyone to the young looking couple who had not been expecting this to happen.

“Oh dear lady,” Natil whispered, “I-I don’t believe it.”

“You’d better believe it. You are lucky, you are only eight weeks, I am surprised you did not miscarry with the strain of the shipwreck, and by swimming a lot to gather food. You are a very lucky young woman.”

“Also I am very astonished too.” Natil added, as she lay in the bed and he sat beside her on a stool.

“Wait times two?” Rijiin asked, and Doctor Del Suan nodded.

“MMMhmmm two heartbeats were detected.” He said and there was another loud gasp by the couple. Rijiin turned and shot her a look and saw she was blushing slightly.

“T-twins?” Rijiin asked, and his mouth dropped open in silent astonishment,

“Oh... by our Lady.” He murmured and cast a look at his beloved Harper who was grinning broadly at him. She could not help it and laughed out loud.

“Congratulations!” The medical staff exclaimed, and they shook hands and the nurses embraced her warmly.

“So Rijiin, how does it feel to be a dad?” The nurse joked but Natil had to nudge him, making him shake his head and turn his head back to the discussion at hand.

“Beloved?”

“I’m alright Natili.” He whispered, “This just caught me a little off guard.

“Caught you off guard?” Natil said in mock sarcasm, and a mystified grin appearing on her face, “You’re not the one who ended up pregnant.”

Rijiin met her look with a grim expression, but he caught the meaning of her statement almost immediately. He nodded and smiled at her.

“Aye, I grant you that, beloved.” He told her politely, “But, as I used to say though, it always takes two to tango.”

Natil stared at her husband in silence only for a moment before she laughed again. The statement had struck her immediately funny, even though Rijiin was being quite serious. He embraced his lover warmly and they both kissed passionately many times. Natil had wondered why she looked like she was gaining a pot-belly and it had never occurred to her this would happen and so quickly. The Doctor presented Rijiin with a cigar and the Elf laughed when he saw it, making him feel much better somehow.

Katelyn was smiled at the couple.

“That in itself is a miracle Natil.” She said, “I never knew and you did all the fishing too.”

“I am still flabbergasted.” Natil admitted, “But very happy.”

“Me too.” Rijiin replied, “It looks like we have to break out the baby name books my love.”

Natil smiled at the sentiment and held Rijiin's hand warmly.

“I already have been thinking about it.” She said, “I have a few ideas that have come to mind but we'll discuss it when it gets closer to the time.”

Rijiin nodded.

“I hope its a boy and a girl.” He said, “A beautiful young maiden and a strong healthy son.”

Natil, still smiling hugged him and kissed him.

“I hope so to Rijiin but it its two girls or boys that is perfectly alright too.”

“Hell yea.” He replied and smiled broadly at her.

Their conversation was interrupted by a nurse who peeked in the door.

“Excuse me, Ms Grace your family is here.” She said and the teen got up and put on the robe around her. She was put in a wheelchair and headed to the door.

Before she exited she paused and met the still strange couple that she had got to know during their adventure at sea. She nodded to them when they gazed at her.

“If I am finally released from here and return to L.A I want you both to know you have my extreme thanks for looking after me. You Natil for saving my life …” Katelyn said, “Always… And if you are in L.A look me up. I'm not about to go back out there after all this... not for a long time.”

“You are quite welcome.” Natil said, “Your father would be proud. You looked after me, a passenger, just as you were supposed to. You are quite a young woman.”

Katelyn blushed and looked at the floor.

“It was you looking after me in the raft that saved me.” She replied, “I would have died if you didn’t remove that sliver of wood and patched me up.”

“Very true, us being here is thanks enough. I will be glad to be home with my husband and my little ones.” The Harper replied and the young teenager looked up startled.

“That's true.” She mused, “I hope they are strong and healthy.”

“Our thanks.” Rijiin said as he waved to her, “See you later maybe.”

Katelyn was wheeled into the hall and as she exited the young woman nodded to the couple. Rijiin and Natil both turned their attention back to their discussion of children’s names.

Outside the room, they did not hear the shouts outside at first, or then the heated words exchanged by Katelyn and her sisters outside. They turned their head when they finally heard shouting and weeping. Rijiin sat up, grabbing a robe and he crept silently to the door to open it a crack. Here the Elf saw her being wheeled away back toward the room. The Elf grimaced, glancing at his wife then peeked again to watch as Katelyn’s older sister, Barb, departed with her middle sister.

“What is wrong, beloved…?” Natil asked and he managed a heavy sigh. He heard weeping in the other room.

“Apparently Katelyn’s family just denied her being alive, even though her identification and presence proves otherwise. All the papers they did on her to bring her back to life with us, wasted.” Rijiin replied absently, “The older sister obviously would not let her leave with them. After what she had been through with you, the best medicine I would think, is to be with family to get her through this.”

“I agree, beloved.” Natil replied, “If they won’t let her go home with her family, she has nowhere to go. Perhaps she can come with us then, so she has a place to be.”

“At Elven Home…?” Rijiin asked, and his wife nodded.

He managed a smile when he quickly considered the suggestion.

“She won’t be alone then, she will be protected, and have a place to be with friends.

“A good idea,” Rijiin mused, “The least we can do for her, after everything you and she have been through.

“And you too, beloved.” Natil added, sweetly and she smiled.

“But we do not know the entire exchange, or situation, between her and her family.” He said, “It might be premature to suggest such a course of action.”

“Aye you are right, beloved. I sense she will come to us in time and tell us what happened. We should fake innocence to get the whole story.” Natil replied.

Rijiin grimaced but he also agreed with a short nod.

“We’ll be out of here soon, I think.” The elf commented absently and Natil let out a gasp turning her head.

“H-how do you know that?”

“I just have a feeling, just wait and see.” He replied, falling silent as the door entered and the wheelchair entered containing Katelyn Grace. The Elves could see she was unhappy her face wearing a pensive unhappy frown, instead of a smile she had lately when notified her family had been called from the states.

“I guess you heard the commotion outside a few minutes ago…” She said lamely, and Rijiin glanced at Natil who nodded slowly.

“We did, but we were not sure what was going on… A problem usually finds resolution from a friendly ear.”

Katelyn considered the suggestion and nodded.

“It seems my family rather I be dead.” She intoned, “At least my father and older sister. I guess there was more money in insurance with a death of a family member, and they received a substantial amount of money from the insurance company. They are calling me an impostor and already fighting the discovery of my being alive.”

“I don’t have anyone else to stay with in the family. They are just as greedy as my father and sisters. If I have no one, then where do I go?” She whined, “It looks like I am stuck, and I might as well should be dead.”

“Steady. Don’t talk like that…” Natil coached, and she motioned to the young woman, “You are going to come home with us, you are more than welcome to come with us to the home.”

“You guys live at a home?” The girl asked timidly, disbelievingly, “You are both a little young for living in a home aren’t you?”

Both elves glanced at each other and both managed a large smile before they both laughed heartily by her question. It had been innocently asked and the couple shook their heads.

Katelyn frowned at their mirth.

“Oh no... it’s the place we call it, our sanctuary and place we share with others in a family group. It is a Chateau in the Rocky Mountains.” He said, “And since you have nowhere else to go. You are welcome to stay there as long as you like.”

“Oh…” She replied with a grimace, and she shifted in the wheelchair.

“On that note, you both will be out of here Wednesday.” A voice said and Rijiin, Natil and the young girl turned their head to the clear English voice of a man clad in a suit and tie. The man is an older gentleman with a full beard, mustache, and sideburns. The suit is an old style double-breasted suit, colored gray and his tie is a deep red color. The older man had a sprinkling of gray in his dark brown hair, making him look even older.

“I AM Sam Gray, from American Embassy in Sidney.” He said, bowing slightly at the waist.

“It is a pleasure to meet you, Mister Gray.” Rijiin said, glancing at his smiling wife, “What is the news, good I trust then?”

“Excellent news… You three have been renewed to living status and will be returned home to the United States.” He said with a chortle, “Colorado was it? Ah yes, great skiing there and the young teen was California right?”

The Elf smiled broadly and both nodded slightly.

“So, how does this work, we leave from here or the embassy?” The Elf pressed, “Forgive me, as I never had to deal with an embassy before.”

“Well yes, once the papers are processed, we send you from here. Unless there is a reason to hold you over then you will be taken from here to the Embassy here in Sidney.” He said, “So far, nothing seems to be out of order.”

He bobbed his head.

“Miss Grace is coming with us.” Natil said formally, “Since she had nowhere to go, and her family has disowned her as an imposter…”

“We can’t release her to you, unless we get a release from her family.”

“There was an altercation between her sisters and young Grace.” Rijiin informed him and brought him up to speed of the incident. Katelyn filled him in also and he frowned at the vivid descriptions given to him by the young teen.

“And after all the yelling and screaming I just went through, and a family who wants nothing to do with me… you can take that release and…” Katelyn started to reply sharply, but it was cut off by Rijiin clearing his throat.

“Be at peace.” He said simply, “You still will go, release or not.”

“Thanks Rijiin, I’ll take you up on that offer…”

“Be at peace, everything will work out.” He replied and he moved toward the wheelchair to stand beside her.

“I can’t allow that unless we get a release from her folks allowing her to leave with you, after all she is only thirteen.” Gray said openly, “She will be returned to the states, but put in protective custody first.”

A look of fear crossed Katelyn’s face, and she shook her head. Rijiin raised his hand and motioned to her to be quiet and she did so. He continued to fill them in on the procedure and they acted as if they were listening but clearly were not. The Elves were excited to return home, and ready to show Katelyn her new home at Elven Home.

“Be at peace beloved, we will come for you and take you out of here. You shall not endure anything like that.” Rijiin whispered and the young girl exhaled sharply, staring at Natil’s husband in silence.

“It will be good to be home again.” The Harper commented, “To be able to put this nightmare behind us.”

“Yes.” Rijiin replied casually, winking at Katelyn.

Sam turned to the couple, and nodded his head. “The papers, notices, and passports should be here in a day or so.” He told them, “Be prepared to leave, immediately from here. We will provide you one set of clothes and a slush fund to get supplies for your return trip home.”

“Thank you, Mister Gray.” Rijiin said, and he paused.

“Don’t thank me yet, till we get you all out of here.” He said and he exited the room, passing the guards, posted at the door. Rijiin’s wife was openly smiling.

“What about Katelyn though.” The Harper asked, her smile fading and a look of concern setting in, “You said you had a plan?”

“Aye, I do, but not here.” Rijiin replied, “Not until we are alone.”

As two days elapsed quickly, the passports were delivered by Sam Gray from the U.S. Embassy in Sidney, as was the other papers stating their living status, and returning them to a living state. Natil hugged Rijiin as she excitedly saw the papers and the passports that would allow them exit from the country. She wanted to go home, and Rijiin smiled in understanding at her excitement. He peered at the third passport for Katelyn who lay asleep in her bed. The elf grinned when he saw it.

“Shhhh….” He said, “The ambassador and I both agree, that if you want to be an adoptive guardian until she’s eighteen, he has no objection. Just keep it quiet. We really do not want her to remain in an orphanage here on Australian soil or back in the states. We would rather she have a good family that can look after her until she is old enough to make decisions on her own. A bad business between her family, and a bonehead play on their part. So we made other arrangements I think will benefit both parties.”

He nodded to the couple.

“Just promise to be the best parents she has ever had.” He whispered, “You folks seem like level headed and very intelligent so don't let me down, okay?”

“I will endeavor to provide that guardianship, and much more, Mister Gray.” Rijiin whispered, “You can count on it.”

The aide laughed and nodded his head as he placed a hand on his shoulder. Rijiin moved to her side as she slept in the bed.

“Wait other arrangements?” Rijiin asked suddenly, “What are you...”

He opened the passport and read the information.

0982155312 - USA - Type P:

Surname: L'Thiel
First Name: Grace
Nationality: United States of America
Date of Birth: 12 April 1981
Place of Birth: COLORADO, USA
Date of Issue: 21, June 1994
Date of Expiration: 21, June, 2004

Rijiin let out a gasp as Natil joined him and he showed it to her. Likewise his love also gasped, both glancing at the Ambassador's Aide in astonishment.

“I had someone in the state department push it through and got the information changed.” Sam told the couple, “As far as she knows, Katelyn Marie Grace is now deceased, and identified to her family as a mistaken identity. Grace Anne L'Theil now lives with you and is in your custody. And I think she'll like the name.”

“That means...” Rijiin began and the aide nodded.

“She now has a new identity, social and name, may she use it well for the time ahead.”

“It is a beautiful name.” Natil said with an sharp exhale, “A fitting name.”

“Agreed.” Rijiin said, as he closed the passport and stood beside her bed. He nudged her and the young girl opened her eyes. She met the beaming smiles of delight of the couple and the Aide who stood before them.

“We have our papers and we can go home.”

“You mean you both have them.” Katelyn countered and the he shook his head.

“No, you are coming too.” Rijiin said, as he handed her the passport making the teen gasp loudly. “Holy shit, h-how did you manage that? I thought I was going to be stuck here for a while.”

“With the ambassador's approval and push through the state department we issued all three of you a new social security card, Identification/driver's license and passport. For you a new one for a minor change.”

“Open it.” Rijiin prompted and the young teen did so. She scanned the name and information with wide eyes.

“What the...” She prompted and met the nod of the aide who stood next to her.

“In order for you to leave here and not be stuck on foreign soil, you an American Citizen, we made arrangements and pushed the information through for a name change and information change. You have a whole new identity now.”

“But why?” The young girl asked, “Who is Grace L'Theil?”

“You are.” The aide told her, and he explained the reasons, prompting her to ask many questions which he answered. He handed her the paper with the social security card and she peered at the full name on the card.

'Grace Anne L'Theil'
'559092215'

She was about to ask another question but refrained, as she thought of the interchange with her sisters and the turmoil they had put her through.

“I love the name.” She prompted. “You used my last name as a first name... It is a beautiful name.” With that the young girl began to tear up and weep in happiness.

“You all have one thousand dollars to get supplies and someone will be here tomorrow with a set of clothes so you can go out and shop.” Sam prompted, “Treat yourselves to something good and enjoy your remaining few days in Australia.”

“We'll do that.” Rijiin prompted and the aide turned and glanced at his watch.

“Excuse me, I must leave.” He told them, “Another appointment.”

“Mister Gray.” Grace said and he paused.

“What happened to Katelyn Marie Grace?” She asked.

“Inconsequential.” He replied, “The Embassy's position is they made a mistaken identity and the person you were is still missing, presumed dead. The hospital has already been informed of your new name. So don't worry.”

Grace gasped loudly as she peered at him. She found it hard to believe that she was dead and the new identity was given to her. The young teen wondered how they were able to justify the new name.

“You just heal, Miss L'Theil, and live in peace with your wonderful and loving family.”

Grace choked up and began to weep again.

He smiled and nodded as he waved, exiting the door a moment later.

Grace peered at Natil and Rijiin, her new parents. She wiped her eyes with her hand.

“It's nice to be free isn't?” Rijiin prompted, “Before I became to who I am, I was human like you and went through a same transition. I lost one identity and gained another. It will be difficult to handle Grace, but I have no doubt you can excel at this.”

“Yes, I think I can.” She prompted and smiled, “Dad.”

She turned to Natil. “And you too Mom.”

“You both have my thanks.”

She hugged them both warmly.

“Amin mela lle, Grace.” He prompted as he held the young woman, and his wife in a group hug.

Two days would elapse quickly, where Rijiin, Natil and Grace would be going home to Denver. They had received one set of clothes, delivered by a messenger by the Embassy on the day of their release from the hospital. They were put up in a decent hotel and the next two days they explored, and bought more supplies for the trip home. The day after they were escorted to the airport where all three would be leaving Australia for home.

As they stood at the same gate as Grace's former family, she peered uncomfortably out at the airplane that sat at the gate. She wondered what she had gotten herself into, despite she was okay with his arrangements, and what Elven Home looked like. She had so many questions and found herself eager to see for herself where they were going to be living.

Rijiin wondered how he could explain their swift adoption of Grace and the turmoil of the shipwreck had caused among her family. He knew that when they returned to their home, they would be getting a call from the Embassy in Australia to explain that there had been an error and mistaken identity. Little did Grace know that Rijiin had used his powers to help and heal her leg and side. She had started to change into something else, just like Mimi and Katherine from DeAnza who had been touched by his healing power and the grace of the goddess that bound the elves. She was unaware that Barb had seen a different face on the small body of the teenager, that she did not recognize and that was the reason for her denial of her existence as her sister to her and Theresa.

The young teenager was deep in thought as she peered at the tarmac of the airport, and grimaced when she saw her reflection in the glass of the window. She seemed to find herself looking a little younger than she was by the look of the reflection in the glass.

“Boy its been a strange journey.” Grace thought, as she peered at the planes that moved along the taxiways, “But at least I am not trapped anywhere down here or back in the states in the way of an orphanage. I have been given a new life, and better start enjoying it.”

Here she shook her head, and glanced at Rijiin and Natil who watched her carefully. She walked over to Rijiin and Natil and stood with them as people started to line up for boarding on the 777 aircraft that would take them to San Francisco then another flight would take them on to Denver and home.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Theresa Grace sat in the bedroom of their home on shore and peered at picture albums, thinking of her younger sister. The one they had just come back from Australia and the same one that Barb, the eldest denounced as an impostor after meeting with her.

“But that was her. I know my own sister.” Theresa thought, as she peered at the pictures, and remembering the warm heart-felt hug she gave her when she spied her. “I know it was, but why does Barb think it isn't her?”

Even after they had received a phone call from the U.S Embassy of Sidney and the report of an error and mistaken identity, the young middle sister still did not believe what they had reported and vowed to find her sister, no matter what it took or where to look.

“That cannot be anyone else... Since when it money more important than family.” She thought, “Has greed taken over the good graces of common sense?”

She was totally in disagreement with her older sister, who had reported that it was her to her father, and now confirmed by the embassy who had reported that it was a young girl named Grace L'Theil who had been on the boat with them.

“Somehow I don't remember that person in the registry, but a lot happened, it could have been.” Theresa thought, “But they were on their honeymoon, why would they bring their daughter if that was true.”

She shook her head as she thought about it.

“No I don't think they were.” the young woman thought, “I can't remember if they were or not. All I remember really about them was that was their first cruise.”

Theresa continued to flip through the pages of the album and closed her eyes as she peered at the darkness, letting her memory take over of their meeting in Sidney.

“No that was sis.” She thought, “I am sure of it. I remember she had a birthmark on her left elbow.”

Her memories were interrupted by Barb who opened her door, when seeing her light on.

“Theresa, can I come in?”

The young woman nodded.

“I just want to talk.” She prompted, “I know you hate me for what I did, but that girl was not Katelyn. She might have resembled her, but it was not her. She is still listed as missing and there is still hope. I want you to know I am not the enemy here but you need to come to your senses about her. If she didn't make it, or is lost you need to come to terms with that loss.”

“I know sis.” She replied, “But I am doubly sure that was her, and not someone that looked like her. Even though it was confirmed by the Sidney Embassy for the mistake, I just can't get that person out of my head.”

“She sure looked like her didn't she.”

“She sure did.” Theresa replied, “I don't hate you sis, you were just making sure and I understand. I just miss her and I feel we made a big mistake. You need to have more faith in whom you would know to be her or not. Not denounce everyone because they say so. You know blood and DNA and all that.”

“There wasn't time for that, it would take weeks to get an answer and I didn't do that because I don't love her and trust my own eyes. I just wanted to not be infiltrated by a stranger on the basis of the money we got from the insurance. Just have faith and hope she'll be found soon. There is always hope you know.” Barb told her and nodded as she rose, “Just think about it and get some sleep, you have school tomorrow.”

“Okay.” Theresa replied and clicked off the light, but found she could not sleep that familiar face still burned hotly in her memory. She lay awake in the darkness and pondered the words by her sister. She didn't want to give up, not yet. She fell asleep and dreamed of the young girl she had seen and still was one hundred percent positive on the one fact she held true. It was her sister.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco airport: Rijiin, Natil and Grace all three got off the plane and with their bags, started to long walk to the next gate across the many terminals of the airport. As they walked together, they laughed and joked as Rijiin told her many things about Elven Home, and the new arrangement that had been made by Sam Gray before they had left Sidney. The young girl was glad to be off the airplane and looked forward to this new chance, unaware that Theresa still questioned the decision of the U.S Embassy in Australia.

“I am sure glad we’re going to be going home after all we’ve been through. It will be good to settle back into the routine of being home.” Natil said, and Rijiin laughed.

“Aye, it will be good to be home.” He replied, “We can tell of our adventures on that island. It will be hard to believe, but we three know…”

“Yes, but what a shame, it was too beautiful to destroy.” Grace added and there were nods by her new adoptive mother and father.

“Too bad we could not have saved it and my destroying it was unnecessary. It would be one hell of a fishing spot.”

“Yeah, that is one place I will not be able to forget.” Grace said, “A hell of a place to recover from an injury with one hell of a family.”

She peered at Rijiin, at his eyes that seemed to twinkle brightly with what she thought was starlight in them, and she could not take her eyes off him. It was the same with his wife. As she passed a mirror, the young woman paused as she peered at the strange image there. It was not her face, or her hair, something about the image was different and she had caught it, making her gasp aloud.

“What the hell is happening? “ The girl thought, as he checked her hair and peered at the now strange face she did not remember having while they recovered in Australia. She turned as they motioned to her and she ran to catch up with them.

“I just wanted to check something.” She said, “Sorry Atar. I feel a bit strange all of a sudden.”

Rijiin and Natil both gasped as the term Atar which meant father in Elvish.

“Gracetti, lle quen Eldalie?” Rijiin asked and the young girl gasped as he spoke to her in the different language. Strangely she seemed to understand perfectly.

“Amin inty amin um- atar.” She replied, “Mani ar' autien no'? Manan na' sina... martien a' amin?”

Rijiin and Natil both gasped loudly as she asked them that she guess she did and what is going on. Why this was happening to me?

Rijiin and Natil both glanced at her, and the different face they both remembered on the island.

“Apparently the Goddess has granted you the same change and chance as so many we have helped and healed. By giving you a new face and now a new life as an... er Elf rather than human. Be comforted my daughter, you have been granted to be able to speak another language and understand it as well. The Goddess and the old blood seems to be with you.”

“What old blood?”

“Centuries ago blood was mixed with the immortals, which you know we are, and passed from generation to generation. It has and seems to have awakened in you and is changing you.”

“So I'm not human anymore?” Grace asked, and here Rijiin and even Natil shrugged.

“That remains to be seen, and a path we will have to discover.” Natil said, clearly stunned, “Do you see starlight when you close your eyes? A starfield in the darkness?”

Grace briefly closed her eyes and shook her head.

“Why, should I be?”

“It might be too early to tell the changes. It took me a while to see the starlight.”

“I am stunned my love. But it is the same as the others.” Natil told him and he nodded.

“Fear not, when you see them, embrace them fully and know their power that will guide you to abilities you did not have before.”

“First I lose my face, my family and now mortality?” She murmured, “What next? I go dance on flowers now?”

“No my daughter, you will become one of us and live for all times rather than one life time.” He said, “Just as I did from my lifeline as a human, I have lived for over five centuries, and Natil much longer.”

“You said you were immortal but I didn't realize for that long.” Grace said, “Who is the goddess you speak of?”

“She is the divine light and lady.” Natil said, “She is the elves and powers that make up us. She is our creator, she is us.”

Grace gasped at the statement.

“Be at peace. When it is time, we will show you.” He said, “We will be with you and be at your side the entire transition time from one state to the other. Do not fear, we are with you.”

“Thank you atar, atara.” she said, “For that... Amin mela lle yuuyo.”

Rijiin continued to tell her many things of what to come as they approached the gate that would take them to Denver. The young teen was totally unprepared for the information at hand and he gasped many times as he responded to her many questions. He motioned to her to hold her question as they arrived at the next gate and they all three approached it.

“Welcome to American Airlines ™.” She said, “We will be boarding in about twenty-minutes... so you need to hold on to those.”

“With thanks.” Rijiin said, and stepped back bowing slightly to her. The stewardess grimaced uncertainly at the old-fashioned custom.

Grace and her folks stepped back and stood near the gate with their boarding passes in hand. They all peered out the window as the busy airport, the jets taking off and landing was a hustle of activity. The Elf put his arm around Natil and held her on one side, and Grace on the other.

Deep down inside, Rijiin remembered this place well. A place he had spent a lot time in when he was a human over five centuries ago and when he had stepped through that portal in a town fifty miles south of here. He often thought of what he was, a young loner with no friends and a good family only to find himself whisked away from that life into something totally different. A fleeting memory now since he had been forced to stay in the past five hundred years, and then lived through time itself to the present where he made a full circle with major changes along the way. He wondered if they still lived in the south bay as they did before and wondered if he was even still living as a human in a different time and place. The elf also found it hard to believe that he was back here, after so long away and standing with Natil in this place.

His beloved wife turned to stare at him as she she sensed his apprehension by being here in the city. She realized it is the very place he had described to her and the others five hundred years ago in which he had started his journey into time itself. A place which even he did not know he would see again after having traveled through the ages.

The Harper frowned by the sudden shift in his mood.

“Rijiin, are you alright?” She asked, turning her head, and he nodded quickly.

“I am fine, beloved.”

“Uh-huh.” Natil replied, unconvinced.

“It’s time to board.” Natil informed him and he nodded his head.

The Elf walked with them toward the gate, where all three showed their boarding pass to the flight attendant, who took them and handed back their ticket.

“Have a good flight to Denver.” She chirped politely.

“Thank you.” Rijiin said with a smile, walking behind his wife and his adopted daughter into the Jetway through a doorway. They moved quickly with many other early boarding families down the walkway that led to the aircraft. They waited in line as people filed in one by one into the 757 aircraft that would take them to Denver and home. They found their seats and Grace took the window, while Natil sat in the center, and Rijiin on the aisle. Quickly they stored their stuff under the seats that appeared to be close to the starboard, forward emergency exit. Grace pulled out the seat belt and buckled in like Rijiin and Natil then turned to the window where she peered out onto the tarmac of the airport. He glanced at his wife and adopted daughter to nod to them. They all three relaxed in the seats as Grace watched out the window. She had never been to San Francisco and what she had seen made a mental note to return her when she was older to explore the city. A beautiful city of many sights that she peered at when they came in from Australia.

“Beloved, I trust you were able to get through to the college when we were here in Frisco?” He asked.

“Yes, they were relieved that everything is okay and our deaths were a mistake.” Natil replied, “They, no doubt, are going to have a welcome home party for both of us like the others. They are waiting for our return.”

“Hell, I am looking forward to it.” Rijiin said with a laugh, and it made the young maiden laugh too.

“I thought you would embrace it.” Natil replied with a smirk and he managed a polite nod of agreement.

“You know I would.” Her husband replied, and the Harper laughed quietly again, taking up his hand to grip it, staring into his gray eyes.

“It is our beginning, Rijiin.” Natil told him quietly, “As it was in the beginning, Arae ea circa.”

“Aye, and I like where this is going.” He replied, “We have our lives ahead of us... All of us.”

“I know, and I cannot wait.” Natil shot back, “I am nervous and excited to see what is ahead. Although I was thinking about Varden and what he would have said, had he been able to see ahead for the future of the elves of Denver?”

“He would have embraced it as we have, but would have said the ways are cloudy ahead.” The elf replied, “But I would disagree, the ways have been clearer than even we have foreseen. It is a new time and place for us both but uncertainty still lies ahead for us as a people.”

“You seem to think they have found renewal.” Natil quietly stammered and gasped when he nodded.

“I am sure of it. They are out there, somewhere.” He said, “And I hope for their sake they come to Denver soon as turbulent times are ahead in this world, as it was back then, and what is happening now in this time for the Elves.”

Rijiin thought of Talla near the encampment in Adria, living secretly among the trees and as a farmer in the middle of what was forest for them long ago. A land that had drastically changed over the centuries with shifts of power, modernization, and progress. What once had been wild to the elves back then, was tamed drastically through the centuries. He wondered if she would find her way to Denver also, despite what she had already seen and been though like Rijiin and Natil had found living through the ages.

A thunk sound interrupted his thought and he glanced at his wife.

“By our lady…!” Natil said, as the plane began to push back, and the engines began to whine as they powered up. She turned her head to glance nervously out the window of the aircraft.

As for the young teenager, she glanced intensely at the couple, upon hearing the Elfish words, spoken by them. Grace still did not know what to make of the couple that she had met for the first time on the ship, or on the island, then in the hospital where they were checked out from their ordeal of being shipwrecked. They were strange, but refreshing old-fashioned couple, who she knew had seen a lot in their travels together and apart. She was nervous and excited at the same time, half hoping to know what Elven Home was like. She could only use her imagination to picture it and found she could not wait to see it for herself.

“I sure hope it is what they said it will be.” Grace thought to herself, “I guess I can only wait and see.”

When they landed, they disembarked, greeted by the cold stiff Colorado draft on the tarmac as they walked up the ramp toward the terminal.

The elves smiled, and the trio headed toward the exit of the airport, to the bus stop, boarding, and riding one of several that would take them home. As they rode the buses, they talked quietly among themselves, the trio at this hour the only passengers left when they reached the last stop of the bus.

“This couple is so strange, but so nice for doing this for me.” She thought, “Anything is better than being trapped in a different country and not allowed to leave. They certainly are my benefactors in that department. I hope they are right about this home, and what they described.”

The young woman felt a tingle of excitement as she hobbled along with the crutches, pausing every so often to reposition herself and to rest with the added exercise walking with the crutches. As they continued to walk, she listened to the banter between Natil and Rijiin, who were discussing baby names. She added her laughter to the few names they had come up with for their children who were very much on the way.

Meanwhile at Elven home: Mimi waited on the outside of the home, sword drawn, expecting Tantras to appear any time to keep his promise to destroy it if they did not turn over Rijiin. A problem that the Elves faced, not knowing that their family members were alive, well, and on their way home. The now young woman would be forced to fight for the honor of Elven Home in which she would try to take Tantras’ head to protect everyone now gathered in this mountain home. Mouse shivered in the mountain air, unnerved by the feeling she was having with her inner thoughts.

Since her healing, the youthful looking woman felt strong, and healthy, thanks to Rijiin. He had changed her for the better, into something Elven, and far surpassing her human part that long since had faded away. Her form completely changed from what it was and recognized as from the long past. Now, she hoped that his training, and skill, passed onto her, was and would be enough to protect them all. Even Rijiin and Natil whom she thought still here in spirit rather than in person.

“This is it.” Mimi thought, as she repeatedly checked the blade that shone brightly in the light, as it was very sharp and and very keen. Sharp enough to take the wizard without hesitation.

Turning her head she scanned the open clearing outside the home, at the cars parked a distance off and then to the forest that surrounded the home. Above them the clouds billowed, and violently churned colored an almost grayish, violet color. It was very strange coloring. Mimi seemed to sense the wizard and panned a long stare to the surroundings in silence. She wondered if it had been the same way when Rijiin fought the evil wizard not too long ago, in a place far away.

“He’s here, I know it.” Mouse thought, “He’s studying us. Damn Rijiin, I wish you were here to take this person on.”

“Have confidence in yourself and your abilities and you be just fine.” Rijiin had told her many times, as he trained her in the dark ages, using a wooden blade from which he showed her the motions of the dance. Mimi shook her head, clearing the idle thoughts and chatter of misdirection that echoed in her brain and she felt a little braver than she had been in the last few hours. As she stood there on the common of the Home, Katherine silently walked up beside her, followed by Sana and Ash.

When Katherine touched Mimi’s shoulder, Mouse jumped. She immediately brought the blade instinctively to slice blindly at her friend’s throat in next to a heartbeat reaction. Young Katherine saw it coming, dodged, and was panting in an almost panic as she crouched at Mimi’s feet. Mouse had gasped, stopping the blade instantly in one motion and lowered it, holding it in hand.

“Whoa! Jesus! Are you alright Mouse?” Katherine asked and Mimi glanced at her in silence.

Ash and Sana had gasped too when they both saw Mimi turn and bring up the blade the way she did. It was as-if she was expecting someone else and thought her friend had been Tantras trying to sneak up on her.

“Sorry Chaos, but I am a little nervous.” Mimi complained.

“Why?”

“Tantras, he’s out there.” Mouse said with almost certainty, “He’s watching us.”

“How do you know?” Katherine questioned, as a surprised look appeared on her face, “Are you able to sense him?”

Mimi did not reply, only nodding a couple of times with her head.

“I just know.” Mimi said with urgency, holding the blade, as she scanned the surrounding forest, and the clearing carefully, narrowing her eyes each time. Chaos noted Mouse’s reaction to the surroundings and watched the clearing.

“How do you know?”

“I just know it. He’s out there.” Mimi repeated, “I only hope if I am strong enough to take him, and follow the training that Rijiin gave us both.”

“You must have confidence.” Katherine replied solemnly, nodding her head, “Rijiin would not have trained you if he didn’t think you were able to learn. Look at yourself and your education. You are a powerhouse, just focus on what you know and you will be all right. You can do it, I know you can, just have confidence in your abilities and you can accomplish what you put your mind to."

A moment later, there was a flash and there the evil wizard stood, clad in solid flaming red attire, a red hat and with his pale complexion, albino eyes, and white beard that fell like a waterfall across his chest. The elves only glanced at each other in silence before turning their focus upon the figure in red.

“Holy shit, he’s here.” Katherine breathed, as she took up the spare blade and she pulled it from the scabbard with a metallic rasp. She stood her ground with Mimi.

“Make sure he does not get within ten feet of the home.” Mimi whispered, “Kill that son of a bitch if I fall.”

“I have your back, Mouse.” Katherine replied, glaring at Tantras as she placed the blade over her arm.

“Behold, I am here.” He snarled, “Times up, you have now five minutes to deliver him, or I destroy you.”

Just as Mimi and the others stood their ground against Tantras, that Rijiin, Natil and Grace appeared in the woods, not far from the hostile scene. Together they looked on, glancing at each other as they saw the melee between Mouse and someone Rijiin thought to be dead by his hand. Rijiin had bolted toward the clearing and crouched behind a downed log near a thick grove of trees.

“What the fuck is this…Tantras…? That can’t be possible, I killed him while wandering and at an old place I once called home.” The Elf started to say and he stepped forward. An arm held him back, however. Natil saw the melee too and held him back. He then realized when he turned back time that Tantras had been resurrected and his appearance and their fight had not happened, his healing flash also healing him fully. He glanced at his mate who was shaking her head.

“Don’t. You do not know what is going on and it might be a trap. Watch and wait. Mimi, you trained yourself, and she has your blade.”

The trio knelt behind a log covered in snow. They listened to the conversation that seemed to echo the clearing. Katherine, Ash, Sana and Mimi stood on the threshold as Mouse held the blade ready. The same blade that had taken Tantras a numerous amount of times and it was her turn to fight him for the honor of Elven Home.

Rijiin could see the confidence on Mimi’s face, and her readiness.

“Excellent, she is keeping cool and waiting.” He thought, “She is heeding my words, the many times about patience during training.”

“…Lord Tantras, he is not here, I keep telling you that those graves are real, and he died by another hand, by the hand of the sea.” Mimi shouted, “But if you insist, we can settle this, or are you cowardly to fight against a woman?”

Tantras gritted his teeth and snarled, closing his eyes, barely containing the rage that he felt. He raised his staff as he began to glow red around him, and his eyes glowed brightly from underneath his hat.

Behind her, Katherine chuckled, as did Ash and Sana at the barb in Mimi’s statement.

“Good one.”

“Insolence…!” Tantras replied, “You will pay for that insult. I hope you enjoy pain, death and welcome it. You will die slowly, I will see to that.”

Tantras mumbled the words of the arcane magic that he possessed, able to destroy them at will. As he cast, that Mimi motioned Ash and Sana back.

“I’ll say hello to Rijiin and Natil for you when I see them then… in that case…” Mimi said solemnly, raising the blade and gritting her teeth as she preparing to charge the red wizard alone.

“Mimi… No, you’ll be…” Ash and Sana said, starting to protest, but stopped as they spied a snowball that struck the wizard on the back of the head.

Natil had held Rijiin’s arm when he had knelt down and picked up a handful of snow. The Elf turned his head, and shook it as he smiled broadly at his companions. Both caught on what was about to happen, and could not contain a chuckle as Rijiin threw it from his place from the trees. It struck the wizard on the back of the head.

Tantras gasped with the cold wet that now ran down the back of his head, and now distracted, his magic was interrupted. He snarled as he closed his eyes, trying to cast again, but another snowball pelted him on the back of his head. The wizard glared at the four who had all moved back and they put up their hands, as if to signal their innocence for the deed. They had smiles on their faces, and laughter about to burst from within.

“Alright, who is doing that?” Tantras shouted, and he turned his head, pelted on the side of his head by another snowball. It made the evil wizard grit his teeth, as an unnatural glow appeared all around him. He suddenly realized that he stood alone on the threshold before the home. The four had withdrawn and now were quite of distance out of range. He had missed his chance to kill them, when he had the chance of doing so, which was fortunate for Mimi and the others.

“Bragollach en’ templa!” he shouted but another pelt of snow continued to strike Tantras of Thay. The wizard turned to the trio, raising his staff and he began to cast quickly. Another snowball struck him, this time right between the eyes, and he closed his eyes impatiently, wiping the snow from his face.

“Come out, or I will kill your friends and destroy this place!”

The only response was a bigger snowball, whacking Tantras hard in the head. He roared, as laughter erupted from the four of the maidens whom he could hear a distance off from him. They had watched the snowballs continually whack Tantras and could not contain their mirth.

“Who the fuck is doing that?” He shouted angrily.

Laughter continued to echo the trees. Katherine and the others could see his insane rage, and tolerance about to break from their places near the corner of the Home.

“I did!” Rijiin shouted finally, his voice thundering as it echoed through the woods. “For it is I… Rijiin of Elvenhome…!”

“It’s… It’s Rijiin!” Mimi gasped, “And Natil! They’re alive?”

Her statement had been more of an astonished question than a statement.

Ash, Katherine, Mimi and Sana bolted toward the trio, whom they thought were lost, from their hiding places near the home. They had ran to embrace each one of them and their chatter of greeting echoed across the common.

When others saw Rijiin, Natil and Grace, from inside, they appeared outside and all rushed toward the Elf maiden and the young teenager who stood beside Ash, Mouse, Katherine and Sana. They stopped when Rijiin snapped his fingers and Mimi, realizing what he was going to do, had smiled as she tossed him his blade, which he caught. The elf turned to walk into the clearing, standing twenty feet from the others who moved out of the way, and his gray eyes twinkled brightly as he stared at the wizard.

Natil, standing a distance off behind him, was embraced by Katherine and the others, who welcomed an astonished Grace who had not been expecting something like this in the woods. The Harper gasped as she embraced Talla hard, holding her tightly, weeping openly in the arms of her once sister from long ago. Alive, well and with two children whom she been saved by Rijiin during the big war fifty years ago. She had realized that he was partially correct about faith and renewal, in which they were given another chance to find life and purpose on Earth.

The group peered at Rijiin who stood waiting for the evil wizard to make the first move. He held his blade in his hand as the wizard managed a thin grin as he held his staff out, the point facing at the elf.

“Prepare to die, you fool.” Tantras snarled, and the Elf yawned sarcastically at the statement.

“Why is it the same cliché with you, Tantras?” The Elf said with a sigh, “Can’t you come up with something different, even after five hundred years?”

Tantras showed surprise by the Elf’s statement and he snarled.

“This time Lord Tantras, no tricks, let’s see what kind of man you really are, if you can truly can take me in a fight.” Rijiin challenged, “Be wary, and glad I stopped the fight with the young maiden, she would have slain you easily.”

The wizard showed a sarcastic expression on his face, then a look of rage, realized he had been insulted in front of the others nearby. They chuckled quietly at Rijiin’s statement. Katherine stood with the blade in hand near Mouse and the others and met Rijiin's glance with a nod.

“Insolence…! You will pay for that disrespect, Elf.”

“Tinechor.” Rijiin muttered, and a shield shimmered about him. The elf sarcastically made a face, taking up an easy stance and ready for the first move of the Wizard whose duplicate had been no match for the elf’s skill with a blade.

The wizard stepped toward the Elf with his staff and the blades sparkled and rang out loudly as they traded steel. They circled and sparks visibly showed as more steel was traded. There were cheers and shouts from the other Elves as they circled and fought.

“Lova Handasse!” Tantras shouted, and a beam struck the Elf’s shield, harmlessly deflected away from him.

“Ah, only a coward fights with a shield.” Tantras snarled, making the Elf grimace.

“A fool fights unprotected, when the odds are fixed.” The Elf replied, and he stood his ground, pivoting slightly to let Tantras’ blade expel cleanly into the air.

“Thanga yassen templa…” Rijiin said solemnly, and a lightning bolt shot out to strike Tantras. It made him stagger backwards. The Elf moved in and brought the blade expertly down upon the wizard. Tantras of course expertly blocked the movement, deflecting the blade and swiping his bladed staff across Rijiin’s chest. It made the Elf gasp, as it left a bloody gash on his chest.

Rijiin staggered backwards, but nimbly dodged the next swing by Tantras, as he swung his staff several times. The Elf dodged the strikes that could have easily taken his head and he brought up his blade to thrust outward. The motion found its mark across his throat. The wizard staggered backwards, suddenly advancing less aggressively and more strategic than his moves before. The Elf grinned openly as he held the blade. There was a gasp by the on-lookers. The loudest had been from his wife who looked on concerned.

“Hurt?” The Elf said with a grin on his face, taunting Tantras again with the very words from Ramirez from the Highlander movie when he taunted Kurigan. Rijiin stepped back and spun his blade, motioning the wizard to come to him.

Again, Tantras swung his blade in, and the Elf dodged effortlessly, until he brought it behind his body, slicing his arm. Rijiin dodged and parried, slicing the wizard on his arm back. The two fought and circled, exchanging steel. The Elf bounced around and constantly moved deliberately away from Tantras, letting each strike expend into the open air after each exchange.

Mimi and the others looked on in silence, shouting comments and cheering him on. Mouse glanced at Natil, however, seeing the worried expression on her face about her new husband, who had taken superficial damage in this fight. She grimaced at the sight of his blood covering his shirt.

“It is time to die, Elf!” Tantras said, as he swung his staff, the blade finding its way home across his chest, cutting the Elf again.

“Hurt?” Tantras said, with a grin and he grabbed the Elf. Taking his staff’s blade he thrust it toward the elf, attempting to ram it through Rijiin’s back into his chest. However, Rijiin was too fast for him, quickly moving under the wizard, pivoting to throw him over his shoulder.

“Lema ed' templa” The Elf whispered and he vanished, to appearing behind the wizard as he rammed the point of his blade through the wizard who cried out. Blood splattered from his body, as the point of Rijiin’s blade stuck out the front of it.

There was a surprised gasp by the gathered members of Elven home.

“YESS!” The Elf shouted as he twisted his blade sharply and there was a crunch. The wizard screeched in pain, struggling to get free from the elf’s blade.

The Elf pulled his blade from the wizard’s body, turning slightly and they exchanged steel one more time before he finally saw the opening that he waited for. It was the final exchange when the Elf and Tantras’ blades locked together and there was a loud clang as they struck for the last time. The Elf merely grinned as the wizard struggled to free his blade. When the blade finally released, with a rasp of metal, Rijiin unleashed with every ounce of energy as his blade flashed. He stepped in forty-five degrees, as the blade found its mark and there was a crunch as the blade cut deeply and on target.

“Elthia…!” Rijiin called out sharply, as he moved like a cat to pivot and his blade flashing again in the other direction. A scream echoed from one of the Elf maidens and they quickly covered the eyes of Kelly Blues who had come outside. They instinctively protected her young eyes from the violence and bloodshed from Rijiin and Tantras' fight.

"Go in the house Kelly." Laurie told her, "Please... now."

Kelly grimaced as she was turned and ushered into the home.

Time seemed to stand still for several seconds as the head of the wizard slowly slipped from Tantras’ shoulders and it fell to the ground with a thud, rolling twice. Tantras' body fell a moment behind head. An energy seemed to pour out of the body as Rijiin knelt on the ground and it swirled around him.

“There can be only one.” Rijiin exclaimed, as the energy seemed to form around him. The others looked up as they heard his words and a frightened look appeared on their faces as the energy became a tornado of white energy. It made the ground shake, and the trees rustle violently as it passed through their friend and fellow resident of the home.

“Rijiin!” Natil shouted.

“Atar!” Grace shouted.

Shouts from the other echoed around the clearing and the home as the energy continued to pass around and through Rijiin for five minutes. A moment later there was silence as the white energy disappeared and Rijiin crumpled to lay motionless on the ground. It was several minutes before anyone moved from the edge of the Home.

“What the hell was that?” TK asked, as he stood up and met the many glances were exchanged by the other residents of the Home.

“I don’t know TK.” Sana said, “I have never seen anything like that except from…the Highlander Movies.”

Everyone turned as Natil and Grace sprung to their feet and sprinted across the clearing toward Rijiin who now lay on the ground. Natil, was at his side first and Grace was right with her. She put a hand on his back.

“Is he alright?” Grace asked, “Is he alright? What on earth was that?”

The young teenager felt tears welling up in her eyes.

The others gathered around Rijiin and peered at him in stunned silence.

“Rijiin, beloved can you hear me?” Natil asked with a tone of concern in her voice.

Around him, the elves stood helplessly by as Natil shook her husband slightly, trying to turn him over.

“What the hell was that about?” Dell asked, “There can be only one? One what? What does it mean?”

“That is a question that only Rijiin seems to be able to answer.” Hadden said, as a low murmur echoed through the clearing.

“Somebody has seen the Highlander movies too much.” TK said jokingly, “But that was one hell of a fight. I didn't know that is part of being immortal.”

“I don't think it is TK.” Marsh added, “It is something that is far beyond any of us.”

Hadden and the others frowned at Rijiin who lay motionless on the ground.

“Why isn't he moving?” Laurie asked, “He can't be dead. No I won't accept that.”

“He isn't.” Grace said, “I can feel him breathing”

“Rijiin… My love?” Natil asked again, her hand on his broad shoulder. She could see he was breathing, the grass moving under him, but he was just not responding to her. Still leaning down, the Harper rolled him over onto his back and the group present stared at him in astonishment. His face was different that what it had been before. He seemed to be younger looking that they remembered, like he was in his early twenties.

Natil gasped loudly when she peered at the face and put a gentle hand on his cheek before she smiled broadly. She peered at Talla who placed a hand on her shoulder and nodded in response to her questioning glance.

“He'll be okay Natili. Wait and see.” She murmured and the Harper grimaced as she met her gaze.

“Why the hell does he look like that?” Heather asked, as she shook her head. Another low murmur echoed among the residents of Elven Home.

They all noted that the wounds that he sustained, the bloody gash on his chest given to him twice by Tantras, had vanished, as did the other cuts and damage to his body. There were no scars or marks, just clear skin and he seemed very different from before.

“The slash wounds inflicted upon him, by the wizard, they’re gone!” A voice said, “How did it… What does it mean…?”

The Harper’s eyes widened in astonishment, as Rijiin opened his eyes and he smiled as they focused upon her. Natil then watched as he sat up and peered out at the surroundings in the distance. He let out a silent breath then took in a long inhale.

“Area ea circa.” He murmured, and smiled. “Thank you my goddess.”

Rijiin turned his head to meet the expression of his beloved Harper who peered at him in astonished silence and then to Grace who knelt on the other side of him. He warmly embraced them when he sensed their worry.

“I-I’m alright.” The Elf murmured after a moment. “Be at peace.”

“By our lady, what does this mean?” Natil thought, “He seems so different... What happened when the energy struck him and why does he look like that?”

The residents of the Home turned to peer at Rijiin who was still staring at the surroundings in silence, taking in the beauty of the few snow-covered trees, and letting the cold wind hit him in the face. She moved to his side and he put his hand around her waist to hold her for a moment before turning to face her, peering into her blue eyes and smiling as he lifted a hand to touch her face with a gentle hand. He kissed her passionately, making the others grin as he drew back. He nodded his head to her in silence as she gasped and peered into his bright gray eyes.

“What happened... to you...?” She asked, staring at him in astonishment, and fell silent. The Harper just could not believe what she had just seen and the results. She could say she was wrong however.

“So, do you think he is dead this time Rijiin?” Hadden asked casually, addressing him. The elf turned to gaze at the astonished faces of Elven Home. He cocked his head, as he thought about it for a moment and he managed a shrug, but not without first glancing at his beloved Harper and teenage daughter.

“It is hard to say. I took his head, and you saw what happened. Honestly, I am not sure, but I think it’s over this time for real.”

“Please explain all that energy that swept through and around you.” Marsh said, speaking up, “It’s not normal to do that as an immortal is it?”

Rijiin smiled and shook his head. He did not elaborate what had transpired between himself and Tantras of Thay, but it had transpired before two other times they had fought throughout history.

“Beloved I certainly hope it’s over for you. At least you will find peace now, and not have worries that keep you under stress. You can relax and focus on the adventure to come.” Natil said, and he nodded in silent agreement.

“Aye, I can spend all the time with you and Grace. But first things first.”

With that, Rijiin turned from her as he took up the body of Tantras and placed it on his shoulder. He held the head in his left hand, holding it by the hat still worn by him.

Natil and the others had a questioning look on their faces.

“What are you doing with Tantras, beloved?” She asked, “What are you going... planning to do?”

“Just so, I am going to lug the guts into the forest and dispose of it, once and for all. Be at peace, I doubt anyone will notice his absence from the world.” Rijiin said, “It is only proper we give him a decent burial, even though he was out for revenge for those many fights he lost. So I will return when it is done.”

Natil peered at her husband, grimacing at him and had cocked her head by his statement. She saw him adjust himself under the weight of Tantras before he walked into the woods nearby. The others adjourned into the Home and Grace wanted to go with Rijiin. Natil, however, shook her head as she motioned for the teen to follow.

“Be at peace Grace.” She said, “He'll be alright. He is going to burn the body and scatter the ash, as it is a custom of our people to do so.”

Grace nodded and followed Natil inside, but not without glancing at the forest's edge in grave concern.

In the forest, Rijiin found a large clearing and here he built a funeral pyre, placing Tantras on top of it after an hour of gathering loose wood from the forest floor, as elves did not cut a living tree. With his work complete, he peered at the face and body of his

“Forgive me old friend.” Rijiin said, “But you would not listen, and I had to destroy you. May you find peace in the next world.”

“Tincya en' russe tuulo' moriloomir…!” Rijiin said sharply and there was a flash, followed by a clap of thunder as a bolt of lightning streaked down from the sky. The bolt struck the pyre and ignited it, as Smoke and flames spread rapidly among the dried wood. Within fifteen minutes the pyre was a roaring blaze as Tantras' body was consumed by the flames. A few hours later, Rijiin scooped up the ash and he carried it in a bucket to a nearby overlook and he released the ash into the strong wind that whipped across the cliff where he stood. It was nightfall when he finally completed his task and as he turned to adjourn to the home. As Rijiin walked he glanced up at the star-filled sky and he spied again, Mirya's star that burned bright and cold above him.

“Ah Miryai.” He murmured, “The death of one life, and renewal of another, I hope you and Terrill are safe wherever you are and found renewal together. I hope you both find your way to Elven Home.”

The elf found the path easily that led to the home, and as he approached he smiled as he saw it. He was grateful for its warmth and protection that it provided, also the seclusion of the group who came to its protective walls. He entered the side door quickly and silently, walking toward the living space where the other elves were sitting on the beanbag chair laughing and chatting among themselves. At first they did not notice him enter the living space, except for Grace who rose to embrace him warmly. He moved to his beloved Harper and embraced her also. Rijiin sat in silence as he listened to the banter of the other residents.

“So Rijiin did you finish your task?” Laurie asked abruptly, and she saw him turn his head to regard her for a moment, before nodding.

“I did.” Rijiin replied simply, “At the cost of many lives avenged.”

“You mean from your wandering through time?”

“Aye, the longest bloodiest conflict without a star to guide me, and seeing the worst of the human race. Thankfully now this is over, I might find peace finally and at least the dead may rest easier.”

His gaze moved to each of the residents of the Elves as they showed their astonishment.

“Multitudes of war, battle, death and destruction.” the elf declared, “I hope they can rest in peace in a good way with no more conflict.”

Rijiin turned his head as he noted Grace sitting alone in the one of many alcoves that made up the home. He excused himself and rose,m walking toward her. A moment later he stood over her before placing a loving hand on her shoulder.

“Cosmic thoughts, Grace?” He asked, as she turned her head to meet his gaze with a smile, “If you are having problems adjusting, remember you have forty ears to help listen.”

Grace laughed quietly, and managed a shrug.

“Just thinking of my middle sister Theresa.” She replied, “We were very close. I just miss her I guess and I am just a little concerned with everything you have done for me.”


“Be at peace.” He said, “It will take time for you to adjust and find the path that now lays before you. I had a similar event in my life also where I had to adjust, just like you are now.”

“You?”

“Yes, I was human once and found the path after it ended in a faraway place.” Rijiin said, “I found a portal that unthinkably transported me out of time and space, away from my life where I was subjected to time itself. I was stranded there, and almost died and healed just as you were. I had lost my life but given a second chance by the Elves' Goddess.”

“S-so what did you do?”

“I embraced the new path with open arms because of the support of Natil's friends in her century.” He said, “They showed me there is much more to life and they helped me see the path to take. I also found abilities and conditions I never knew. I found I was capable of loving someone, my beloved Harper Natil and found friends who were there with me when I needed them and could count on. True friendship. Plus the abilities I found with the change. You will see them as they come, count on that my daughter.”

She stared at him with her mouth open, surprised by the concept, and realized they were all with her. They were tight knit group who looked after each other in tough times, just as she had done with Natil on the boat and then on the island.”

“Yes... You are starting to see.” Rijiin murmured, “And you will have that support unconditionally.”

Grace felt herself tear up and rose to embrace him.

“And if you need another cup of cocoa, I am going to the kitchen and I will get you another one.”

She glanced down at the cup, despite he was over five feet away. The young girl gasped and stared at him disbelievingly. He merely grinned and returned to the group, taking a seat near Natil.

On Monday, like clockwork, everyone left for his or her jobs in Denver, and even Grace had joined Natil and Rijiin at their jobs. She was set about enrolling in the local High School near Kingsley College located in the city to finish her schooling. As she joined them on the bus, she nervously glanced at her family who sat together in silence, hand in hand, as they always were, since his coming to Denver. Natil glanced at her, sensing her nervousness, shaking her head in silence at the young teen.

“Be at peace, you will be magnificent.” She said, “You have to finish up your four years. It will be over before you know it.”

"I know Natil, and you guys always have my thanks for your taking me under your wing." She said, "You both are so good to me, and will be fantastic parents for your little ones."

The couple blushed at the compliment and they all talked quietly among themselves, while the bus continued on its way, finally arriving at the stop for Kingsley College where they all got off.

“I am not due back to work until tomorrow, beloved.” He said, “I will see to Grace and her education. I will be back here in an hour, and meet you for lunch in a while.”

“I will see you here then.” Natil said, and half turned to scan the campus in which she called home. It strangely was empty, the campus usually busy in mid quarter, but no one seemed to be around. Both the Elves exchanged a puzzled glance at each other. Natil smiled when she saw Ramon, one of her crew and he ran toward the Harper, embracing her warmly, kissing her hands.

“Welcome home, Boss.” He said, as the others ran toward and clustered around her. She laughed as they greeted her warmly, speaking Spanish to them, thanking them for the warm welcome home. They greeted Rijiin too with handshakes also.

A few minutes later, Rijiin turned as he motioned to Grace, and he escorted her from the campus. They walked down the street to the local High School that was not far away from Natil and Rijiin’s work.

“Just do your best, mistress. If you have trouble let me know, I remember my nightmare of High School too well in California.” He said, “I can and offer my help anytime you need.”

“Thanks Rijiin.” She said as he walked with her to the office, and together they stepped through the door.

“May I help you?" the Secretary asked, and the Elf bowed slightly to her.

“Aye, I am here with my daughter, to enroll her as a new student.” He said formally and the woman smiled.

“Outstanding. Welcome.” She said, “What is your daughter’s name? Miss?”

“Grace Anne L'Theil.”

“Do you have any transcripts?”

“Los Angeles High School…” Grace answered, “Under Katelyn Grace. Grace Anne is my adopted name.”

The woman nodded and smiled.

“We’ll have you enrolled soon, Miss L’Theil. Take a seat as we process.”

He and Grace sat in the office, as students entered and exited, as did teachers. A couple of students and staff walked past Rijiin and eyed him curiously. They peered at the youthful face and then to the young teenager beside him in wonder. It made the young woman beside him a bit nervous, and uneasy. Rijiin sensed it too, but he chose to ignore it.

“Steady, mistress.” The Elf whispered, “All will be well. They just do not know you yet, be at peace.”

“I know Rijiin.” She replied as the secretary walked back to the counter and motioned to them. She handed Grave a piece of paper and she studied it for her classes as a Freshman. She managed a nervous sigh as she turned, nodding to Rijiin.

“All done… Your first class for today should be History.” The Secretary said, “Books will be issued when you get to each class. Right now, it would be English.”

“Great!” The young teenager said elated, and she was smiling openly. Rijiin handed her a few bills.

“I know you have money in your account, but we didn’t have time to get to a bank. Here is some cash for lunch.”

She peered at the young elf and embraced him warmly.

“Thanks Rijiin, for everything.” She told him, “You both have made me see a lot of good out of this. And thanks for standing up for me.”

“It is my pleasure, Arn tinu.” He said formally, making her gasp, but nod.

“I like that.” She said, “I will see you this afternoon, Arn Atar.”

“Have fun.” Rijiin said and he watched her depart. He nodded slightly to the secretary who watched the tender scene, and he walked purposely toward the door to exit.
Walking back the street quickly he returned to Kingsley, entering the campus, and toward the shack belonging to Natil where he would meet her to take her for lunch.

“Are you all done?” Natil asked, and Rijiin smiled as he nodded warmly to her.

“Done…” He replied, “We should talk about something over lunch though and it is something that might surprise you.”

Natil gasped and turned her head.

“Alright, what’s on your mind?” She asked, and he motioned to her.

“Let’s talk over lunch.” He said and glanced at his watch, nodding to her. The elf took up her hand and walked hand-in-hand toward the cafeteria on campus with her. When they entered the cafeteria, no one seemed to notice them as they walked to the far end of the large chamber, and as they took up a large tray. Both ordered a quick sandwich as always and they took a seat nearby in the now crowded cafeteria. A moment later, there was a cheer, as a banner was held up and whistles as the people in the cafeteria cheered and applauded for the Elves who sat stunned, looking about the room. They saw the banner, ‘Welcome home, Rijiin and Natil.’

Both exchanged a glance and then both laughed as they stood and people gathered around them. Handshakes, hugs, embraces and back slaps went all around as the Elves were welcomed home to Kingsley in grand manner by students and staff who waited for their return from their unexpected long honeymoon. Other students applauded as a cake was brought out and Natil fought down a smile, and blushed seeing the cake.

“Welcome home you two!” A voice said as Dean Del Mari approached and shook their hands warmly.

“Oh my word…” She said, “You all didn’t have to do that.”

“It is our pleasure, master gardener and to you Mister L’Thiel.” A staff member said, and they sat it on the table, as applause thundered in the cafeteria.

“Thank you all.” Rijiin said formally, and he took up the knife, cutting the cake quickly. It served the students, staff and many more who were in the cafeteria, with some to spare. He and Natil felt honored by the recognition for their return to Kingsley. After lunch, he walked with Natil back to her shed, and then went over to the lab in which he worked in the Information Technology Department. He sat at his desk, typing memos and e-mails, also answering all the mail that had accumulated for him at the college. Hours later, he stood up and stretched, glancing at the clock.

'Three o’Clock.' It read, making Rijiin grimaced, remembering it was time for Grace to arrive at the college. He looked up and was about to go meet her at the entrance of Kingsley, but there she was standing with her a handful of books. She smiled at the Elf.

“How was your day, beloved Grace?” Rijiin asked sweetly.

“Harsh.” She replied, “I didn’t fit in very well, and got in a couple of fights over stupid shit.”

“I am sorry to hear that.” Rijiin said, motioning to her, and she entered the office.

The young woman took a seat in the only extra chair located between the battered filing cabinets stuffed in his little office.

“There would be nothing to talk about, Rijiin.” The young woman said, “I was an outcast, my first day and alone.”

“I understand.” He elf replied, “Be at peace, they have yet to get to know you, it may take them some time, you have to allow for that to happen. Do not let ignorance and stupidity rule the day.”

“That’s easy for you to say.” She replied, and he grimaced, shaking his head.

“I was like you in many ways, outcast and alone. I was hated for no rhyme or reason.” The Elf replied, “I know what it is like to be alone.”

“You…?” Katelyn gasped, and the Elf nodded slightly.

“So what did you do?” She asked, “How did you overcome?”

“I turned my back on them and walked away and did my own thing, did my time and immersed myself in my studies, and my writing.” The Elf replied, “That is one thing they could not ever interfere with when I was busy composing. I could snub them and not answer them or pay attention to them. So much so that they would get angry and offended but usually left me alone.”

“How would that work for me, Rijiin?”

“Immerse yourself in your talents, things you like to do.” Rijiin advised, “Something that they cannot interfere with and take away from your time and cause harm with their comments. They eventually will go away and leave you alone.”

“You know, I’ll try that.” Katelyn said, “I like map reading, and navigation. I’ll try to do something and study something that takes up so much time that I don’t have time for anyone else. I like to fly too, maybe I should study for my private pilot’s license.”

“Exactly…” Rijiin replied, “Whatever you want, babe, I’ll back you up fully.”

The elf grimaced, concerned by the unfavorable report his adopted daughter and she had been treated so poorly by the others. He was concerned that she might not heed his words and try to fight back and try to take them on in which she would find trouble than resolution.

“What can I do to make it better for her?” The Elf asked himself and he pondered the question as he assisted her with her schoolwork.

“She needs to know that things will not be as bad as they were today.” The Elf thought, “It will be hard to convey that over what happened today.”

Rijiin shook his head at his thoughts and he glanced repeated times at the young woman whom he considered to be his daughter. Only because she had nowhere else to go, and not knowing that it had been the older one who had denounced her, unaware that his magic had made her practically unrecognizable. He gasped to realize that his daughter

“Hmm, what we always have with humans and their dark emotions.” The Elf thought, and he grimaced, picking up a book to read while she worked, helping her with her homework. He looked up to see Natil standing in the doorway in what seemed like a few minutes later but two hours had passed.

“By our lady…! Five o’clock already?” Rijiin mused and looking at the clock it showed the time that confirmed the answer he sought. He turned to the young woman at his desk.

“It’s time to leave, get ready.” He told Grace, and she packed in her books. The maiden smiled at Natil.

A half hour elapsed, and they soon were walking together across the sprawling campus of Kingsley in which the trio headed toward the battered blue van belonging to Hadden and Tree Star is parked nearby. As they boarded the Harper took up the driver’s seat, turning over the motor and shifting into gear. Together they sped off down the highway to get off at the second to last stop before the main highway, picking up Mimi and Katherine at their jobs before heading to the mountains together. As they sat in a parking lot at each stop, Mouse and Katherine boarded the van. Above them, the dark clouds billowed above them and the city of Denver, threatening a storm.

“Cold enough for you…?” Mimi asked, as she boarded the van and there were chuckles by the occupants.

“Colder than a witch’s titty, on glass…” Katherine commented, “It must be seventeen degrees.”

“Or colder…” Rijiin replied, “Nothing like a warm fireplace at the Home and hot cocoa for all of us.”

“MMM, that sounds delightful.” Mimi replied, “Do we need anything in the way of supplies? I’ll spring for it.”

“No, we should be good in the way of supplies, beloved Mimitti… We should be at the home before the storm hits or lest we will be stuck in the snow on the way.” Natil replied, as she merged onto the highway. They drove as snow began to fall upon them near the edge of the mountains.

“By our Lady, just what we need. Watch for ice beloved, with conditions like this, it can get dangerous.” Rijiin warned, “Especially as it gets dark.”

“That’s for sure.” Natil said turning the wheel as the van started to slide. She straightened out the van and drove onward, as snow began to fall on them in a thicker curtain. The blue van continued to slide left and right down the road, making Natil compensate with each slide, slowing until the wheels grabbed onto the dry pavement. Behind them, everyone just held on for dear life, as Rijiin continued to watch ahead, despite the thick falling snow.

“There’s the turn off.” Rijiin prompted.

“I can barely see it.” Natil replied, “But here it goes.”

The Harper slowed, to turn the van but it slid around in the snow, its wheels spinning.

“Whoa.” Rijiin said sharply, “Watch it babe, its going to be slick.”

“I know.” Natil replied, nodding, “Hold on everyone. It’s going to get rough from here.”

“Jesus, can this beast even make it?” Mimi asked, her tone showing fear. She referred to the battered blue van that was their wheels on this cold night, heading to Elven Home.

“Be at peace, it has never failed before.” Natil said, as the van disappeared into the woods on the makeshift road that went up the hill toward the home.

The van bounced, slid, and skidded as it continued forward through the woods along the road made to get to Elven Home. When they pulled into the clearing, everyone sigh a great relief seeing the shimmering glow of the home in the dark background by the trees. As they opened the door to the van that a cold wind whipped through the trees and across the clearing, making the temperature drop even further.

“Damn…” Katherine grumbled, “I swear it’s much colder.”

“Let’s get inside.” Natil said, leading them to the home where they entered the pseudo warm interior. Rijiin turned on the light and moved to the fireplace, quickly lighting and stocking it. Warmth flooded the living room. The group was in the kitchen, sitting on the bar stools taking in a light dinner as he worked and he joined them shortly after. After dinner, the group adjourned to the living room where they sat listening to music and they chatted informally among themselves. Rijiin held his wife warmly in his arms, as they listened to the crackle of the fire and stared into the flames, hardly speaking between the both of them. It had been only a couple of months, and already the Harper was showing, but not significantly to alert anyone at the home of her impending pregnancy.

As Rijiin stared at the fire, however, he began thinking of the past when he wandered through history, through many lands. He thought of many people he had met in history, whose faces appeared and disappeared like ghosts in the smoke of the fire. He thought of William Wallace, Henry Caisson, Joan of Arc, Robert the Bruce and countless others that had been through history whom he had met and enlisted in their ranks to fight along side in their causes and see them die in which history had been portrayed.

“By our lady that was a long time ago.” The Elf thought, grimacing at such memories. “I thought I had forgotten them, but alas it appears I have not. Perhaps I miss them a little, as soldiers, in a familiar hostile world.”

“Rijiin…? Are you alright?” A voice asked, and he turned his head, meeting the perplexed frown of Natil, his wife, who had sensed the drop in his mood and having seen the grimace on his face. He nodded his head in reply to her.

“Fine beloved,” He replied, “I was just…”

But before he could answer her further that he turned his head to stare at the window where lights flashed against the wall, making shadows upon the walls. He had heard the approach of two vehicles coming up the road toward the home.

“Hmm, it seems we have company.” The Elf said solemnly.
He glanced at Natil who frowned and nodded her head slowly. Getting up, he went to the room converted into his office, and he grabbed his blade, checking the edge as he returned to the foyer and walked toward the front door.

“What are you going to do, beloved?” The Harper asked, glancing at Katelyn who stared in confusion at Rijiin, who was about to go out and meet the visitors head on.

“I am going to meet our visitors.”

“That might be the others coming to the home, if it is, try to give them a warm reception instead of the reply of cold steel.” Natil advised.

Rijiin grimaced, but nodded slowly.

“If it is not, I will welcome them with the fear and cold revenge of Elven Magic.” He replied as he disappeared through the door into the darkness.

Outside he stood in the darkness, blinking his eyes a couple of times to orient himself to the darkness around him, and the moonless night from which made up this cold winter’s night. Turning his head, his eyes quickly fell on the three vehicles that lay in the clearing not far from the home that seemed to glow in the darkness from its many windows.

Rijiin drew his blade sharply, as people approached the home, and with one step he stepped into the dim light of the home, placing the blade across his arm. The group who had come from the vehicles stopped in the open snow and a gasp echoed in the open air.

"Who is it that treads on holy ground?" The Elf challenged, holding his blade ready as the group stepped closer.

“Rijiin…?” Sana asked, “Rijiin! It is me Sana. It’s us.”

Rijiin lowered the blade, and sheathed it quickly. It was the others. The other Elves, all nineteen of them had come to the home. However, it was Wednesday, and Rijiin suspected that something had happened, to bring them to the home in the middle of the week. He counted and everyone was present. The Elf stood there confused.

“Jesus Rijiin, how long have you been there, creeping in the night?” Laurie asked sarcastically, “Sheesh with a challenge like that who needs it to be snowing and cold?”

The others chuckled quietly among themselves.

“My apologies...” Rijiin replied, “It’s a Wednesday night, I wasn’t expecting all of you here.”

“It is okay.” Hadden replied, placing a hand on his shoulder, “I know you had other concerns. You were only looking after the place which is appreciated.”

Rijiin replied with a nod.

When they all entered the home, they were greeted warmly by Mimi, Becky and Natil. Hot cocoa was distributed to all, and coffee in which they all got comfortable.

“So, it’s Wednesday, so what brings you all up here?” Natil asked, “It’s unlike everyone to come in the middle of the week.”

“A snow day…” Hadden said, “the roads and everything will be shutting down during this bad snow storm, best to come up here while we can.”

They had unloaded their cars, and brought a lot of supplies to stockpile food and drink and other provisions to wait out the storm if they too were trapped up here at the Home.

“Be at peace, everything is fine. We all felt that we needed to gather.” Hadden replied, “Sometime there is a need for enlightenment and encouragement among friends, if not family.”

The Harper sensed the low mood in the room and turning at the nudge of Rijiin, she glanced at him, smiling, knowing what he was thinking for her to do about it.

“What they need is a little music.” Rijiin murmured, “Something for a little helping and healing of the soul.”

“I agree.” She replied, “A very fine idea indeed.”

The young maiden disappeared into their room and soon returned after fetching her old harp. As she took a seat in the center of the circle of the group, her hands moved across the bronze strings with a ripple of notes, pausing as she tuned it.

The others turned and stopped at ripple of notes, and they grinned as the Harper began to play a healing melody for them all. They all listened to it in silence. Rijiin quickly went out between songs and fetched his soprano sax and as he put it together, soon he provided a melody to Natil’s notes. There were smiles on everyone’s faces, especially Mimi and Katherine, as the couple played together.

Natil and Rijiin played together for a half hour, hitting a few Kenny G tunes, in which he played the melody and she provided the backup. When they were finished, there was silence in the room, except for the sprinkle of applause by the others in the room with them. When they did Christmas music, Cantique de Noel, they played, and there was stunned silence, as energy surrounded them when they played Ave Maria.


A smile appeared on Natil’s face as it swirled around them. Tears appeared on the faces of the other Elves, as such, beauty filled the room and them full of peace.

“Ele, Elea, Rijiini…” Natil complimented, and he nodded silently to her. The Elves played far into the night, the melody a healing one, as it seemed to uplift the very soul. A melody that was played many times as Rijiin traveled the world, among hostile places that would have considered his music as witch’s music. In addition, when dawn encroached on the eastern sky, that they all adjourned on the outside, midst the new snow that had fallen and they watched the red, blue, orange and yellows as the sun peeked on the horizon of morning.

“Glorious.” Hadden said, as he stared at the sky, at the thick white clouds and the field off white that now surrounded the home.

“Wheee…!” Kelly said sharply, smiling at the snow. She and the others ran out into it, laughing and throwing it at each other. Some were making snow Elves (Laughingly doing so). Rijiin, Natil and Grace joined them and the young woman threw a snowball at Rijiin, striking him on the back. Rijiin returned with a few of his own. He hit Hadden in the chest, making Marsh laugh loudly. They got into a massive snowball fight. There was great mirth that followed. Of course, Natil’s husband grabbed a shovel and began clearing off the cement walkways of snow as the others played.

A month rapidly went by, and Natil, now showing a little more went to work as usual with Rijiin as Grace went to school. Little did anyone know that her middle sister, Theresa, has come to Denver again looking for her kid sister. She did it despite the wishes of Barb, the eldest, and their father who still pilots a ship to Mexico. She wanted to see her sister, who was confirmed to be dead, but Theresa did not want to believe that and said that she was alive and well.

“Who has disappeared off the face of the planet, since our summoning to Australia, to the Hospital to find her alive and well.” The young woman thought as she got off the plane, stepping out onto the atrium and walked up into the terminal. Beside her, she carried a small suitcase with her. Grace's former middle sister had no idea where to start looking, but something had brought her to this place, after contacting a private detective. He had found her in Denver, digging deep into the system with contacts in the Government that confirmed she was alive but using a new name assigned to her by the Aide of Australia. She was also told that her sister had left with Rijiin and Natil, ending up living in the mile high city. Here she managed a frown, grimacing at the sight before her, at the mountains in the distance of Denver and wondering why on Earth that her sister would come to this place and not forcefully come home.

“Well she can’t, Barb wouldn’t let her or lest we lose the money for her death.” Theresa thought, shaking her head. It had always been money and greed when it came to the family. Now she was in an alien city, looking for a needle in a haystack.

“How I should start is to probably track down that couple, the L’Theils.” She thought, “…And go from there. She was only Thirteen, almost fourteen. They might be holding her for as a sex slave or something.”

Walking down the terminal of Stapleton Airport, she took a bus to the city, finding a motel near the airport. She found a phone book and tried looking them up only to find they were not listed. The young woman grimaced at the feeling she was having, she just wanted to see her sister. The young woman shook her head slightly.

“This isn’t going to be easy.” Thought the young girl and walked down the corridor to ground transportation where she got a cab to the downtown hotel where she was staying and where she would start looking in the morning.

Meanwhile, Grace walked to the college from her school, not far away, and waited for Rijiin and Natil. As she waited in the shed for Natil, she did her homework quickly and easily, using the Harper’s desk. She was busily scribbling as Rijiin entered the building.

“Hi Grace.” Rijiin said, as he entered and she looked up to nod a greeting to him.

“Hi Rijiin…” She replied sweetly.

“Where’s Natil?” He asked, “Not here yet?”

She managed a shrug. “I just got here. I suspect she’s still out on Kingsley’s Campus somewhere.”

“Ah.” He replied, heading toward the door, and here he peered out of the window beside it. A cold snow and ice still blanketed Denver and thankfully, it was Friday night. Everyone would gather at the Home tonight, just as the Elves always had. Grace thus far had been enjoying her exile from her family at the Home, and the unique personalities among the elves.

“It will be good to be with the others and in our sanctuary.” Rijiin thought and nodded slightly in private approval. He turned his head as Natil appeared at the door and he moved aside, letting her enter, but not without a warm embrace.

“It was getting cold out there, are you alright Natil?” Rijiin asked, and she shot him a questioning glance.

“No problems here.” She replied, moving to her desk in which the young teenager relinquished quickly. As she did her paperwork in silence, Natil’s husband watched her with their soon to be adopted daughter. Rijiin sensed something was amiss and he glanced at the young woman who was frowning, as-if to sense the same feeling. Both had a feeling of doom and gloom from the Harper, now showing three at months with Rijiin and her twins. She was acting peculiar, like something was wrong but the both of them could not seem to put a finger on what was going on.

What Rijiin and Grace both sensed, was her withdrawal, and felt the cold chill the young teen got being around her. Both of them glanced at each other in silence, in which Grace only managed a shrug and he nodded silently in agreement. Rijiin cocked his head in silent concern for his wife’s strange behavior on this cold blustery night. She was a little disoriented and down during her pregnancy, a normal phase of the natural cycle of life.

Fifteen minutes later, after she was done, Rijiin drove Hadden’s battered blue van down the road. He held the steering column, gripping it tightly as they sped down the highway, and getting off they stopped in two places, picking up Mouse, Katherine, TK and Rags on the way to the home. As they sped down the highway, they are unaware in the next few minutes that the drive would be and almost cost them their lives.

At first it had been a simple slip. The van hit a black ice patch, and the wheels slipped on the pavement. The van careened sideways, making Rijiin gasp and grip the steering wheel hard as he fought to regain control of the vehicle. He turned the steering wheel right and left many times compensating quickly for the slide as the van’s back tires fishtailed, slid and screeched along the pavement.

“Whoa!” He called, “Everyone hold on and buckle up, its ice and its going to be slick!”

Those were the last words to be said as the sound of squealing tires could be heard from the interior. Rijiin fought to control the vehicle quickly, turning the steering wheel rapidly left and right, compensating for the slide, quickly trying to regain control to no avail. Outside they could hear the tires squeal many times as he touched the brake. A second later, the van was on its side, as the occupants inside rattled and were thrown around the interior. The van careened and rolled multiple times before it came to a stop one hundred feet from the spot where it went over onto its side. Silence followed as other drivers stopped and ran toward the wrecks, helping those who could be helped.

When Natil finally opened her eyes, she lay on a blanket outside, staring up at a tarp that had been setup to cover her and the others against the snow. She lies next to the ambulance that is parked near the accident, its lights flashing and as she lay there, she felt tingly from her back to her legs. The young Harper shifted herself slightly trying to move and found that she found not from the waist down, restrained to a board with straps. Katherine and Grace sat over her as she lay there and turning her head, the Harper met their worried expressions with a small pained smile.

“Natil!” Katherine gasped, placing her hand in the Harper’s hand, noticing she was awake. She embraced the young Harper warmly.

“Mom!” Grace also exclaimed and she embraced the Harper, her friend and adopted parent.

“You were thrown from the vehicle.” The teen warned, “You might be injured, so please do not move.”

“Where are we? What happened?”

“It seems we had an accident, Rijiin tried to recover when we hit some black ice and did, but lost it when we hit another patch and the van rolled over.” She explained, motioning to her arm that now hung in a sling.

“We’re all banged up but alive.” She said, “Thanks to Rijiin.”

“H-how’s Mimi and TK?” Natil gasped, as she tried to sit up again and found she could not move. “S-say what’s wrong with me?”

“You are hurt Natil, rest.” Grace said, “Worse than all of us. There is a doctor here. He says you might be temporarily paralyzed.”

“What about my children?” The Harper asked, and Becky managed a grim smile despite the pain, anguish and chaos that seemed to be going around her.

“They do not know at the moment.” Katherine soothed, “We’re going to the hospital soon, and they are trying to free TK and Mimi from the van right now.”

The Harper saw the yellow tarps on the ground nearby and she grimaced realized it was a tarp to cover a body lying in the snow. The van had rolled into on coming traffic and had clipped several cars as it spun out of control on its journey to its final resting place. It had literally smashed into several cars to end up on top of one of them. Natil had a sinking feeling seeing the tarps.

“Rijiin? How’s Rijiin?” Natil gasped, her voice pained as she struggled to move.

“He’s…”

“Dead?” Natil asked suddenly, almost discouraged.

“Uh…” Grace began and glanced at Katherine who had a grimace on her face as well.

“What are you not trying to tell me?” Natil asked, almost demanded, and gritted her teeth as she used her arms to proper herself up. She regarded Katelyn with a silent frown.

“I-I…” Her adopted daughter began and tears formed in her eyes.

“I-I can’t.” She said, tears streaming down her face.

“Oh dear lady,” Natil murmured, “It cannot be.”

Grace and Katherine had seen them pull Rijiin’s body from the smashed wreckage of the van that lay on its side. As they covered him with a tarp, the two were stunned to see the half-mutilated body that made up Rijiin’s body.

They did not see the glow under the tarp, as the Elven Magic formed around his body.

As he lay there, Rijiin stood on the threshold of the grassy plain, before the woman in blue and silver, as her healing powers struck him, enveloping his entire being. As fifteen minutes elapsed, he finally lay on the grass, not moving until he opened his eyes slowly, his vision focusing on the stars above him as the woman had a deep concern in her gray eyes, flicking brightly with starlight.

“Rijiin.” She whispered, “My beloved son, Rijiin, be healed, be whole. You must awake and must rise.”

He turned his head, and he saw her concerned look as she knelt beside him. She put her small hand on his chest. He glanced at the faces that stood next to her.

“Am I healed?” Rijiin whispered, lying on his back in the grass of the plain.

“You are indeed, are you alright?” She asked, and he shivered.

“I am, what about the accident?” He started to say and she shook her head.

“Be at peace, my son.” She said, “You are safe, and you are healed. Your immortal body is now healed and you are in no danger. You should return, lest the others think you are deceased and grieve so.”

“You have my thanks, my lady.” He said, “I owe you big this time.”

“You need not owe me. I do it out of love for you and all my children.” She said solemnly, “I am pleased you thought of the others, to act in this capacity, and everyone is safe. You are not expendable though, and must return, your daughters and son need a dad and my beloved Harper needs a husband. You must rise and return.”

Rijiin smiled, as he slowly sat up, and glanced down at his now healed body. The elf glanced at the smiling goddess before him and he colored slightly in a furious blush. He peered astonished at the youngsters who stood beside her. They ran to hug him, making him grin broadly. He knew they were his children and Elthia laughed at him as he hugged them both. He felt recharged and complete again, the pain vanished as her power was great to heal him. Standing on his feet, he embraced her, kneeling before her still covered in the bloody clothes that he wore on his body. Limbs, that were torn off, and ground flesh was repaired as if nothing had happened.

“Do not be embarrassed Rijiin. Your daughter and son already know me. loving me the same, with full knowledge.”

She said and noted the blush as he peered hard at her. Rijiin smiled at his youngsters who held him tightly.

“Arn Atar!” They said together and he gasped, holding them.

"You are blessed and shall have two fine children, they will know me as you do and come to me when it is time." Elthia said, "In addition they will be immortal as you are but remember the young woman you took under wing. "

He nodded and they talked a few more minutes before he knelt beside them.

I shall see you both very soon my son and daughter.” He told the youngsters, “Mind the Lady, she is very wise.”

“We know.” They said as Rijiin stood as the goddess raised her hand as the energy that surrounded him, and climaxed brightly. As the meadow faded around him, he smiled as he nodded to her in thanks.

He opened his eyes, lying on the cold ground and in the blood-covered grass where he had placed next to an ambulance that was to take him and several others to the morgue. As he lay there, he let out a breath, as he tried to move his arms, and legs, pushing back the yellow tarp. He sat up slowly, turning his head to scan the dimly lit surroundings, as the lights of the sirens and the safety lights of the open back illuminated the snow-covered ground. Other tarps covered bodies lying on the ground where he had just been placed too.

“That was very strange.” He thought as he shivered, rolling to his side to crouch a moment before he stood up. He spied Katherine, and Grace, near Natil, as they knelt beside her. His beloved remained lying prone on the ground, covered in a blanket. He examined the few others, and grimaced seeing the mutilated crushed body of the humans that had been in the cars where the van had come to rest upon the top of them or had smashed them in its journey to its final destination.

“By our lady…! What a mess.” He murmured, realizing they were gone and he could do nothing for them. He felt bad that it happened and such things would and could happen to mere mortals. However, again he was one too once, subject to the same mortality and damage that could end their lifelines. The authorities had been told by Katherine and Grace, when interviewed, and both indicated the black ice in which they spun out of control at slow speed, unable to recover control of the vehicle.

“Natil…!” He muttered, as he walked toward her, but paused, as he knelt down to quickly fold down his yellow tarp neatly, smiling as he chuckled quietly. The elf turned to walk toward the trio, resting at the ambulance, and as he had approached, had grimaced when overhearing Grace's statement.

“...He’s dead, Natil!” She sobbed, as she knelt beside his beloved Harper.

Rijiin had frowned as she said it, seeing the tears of Katherine and even Natil who wept quietly. He walked silently toward them and sensed that his wife was hurt badly. The elf glanced at the van as they carefully cut the doors, allowing extraction of Mimi and TK. He shook his head, letting out a sigh of disgust at the damage inflicted on the several cars that the van had hit and came to rest upon. He grimaced at the death and destruction around him, reminded of the many wars, battles and conflicts through time itself in the world’s history that he had been sucked into to participate as a solider. Nevertheless, here he was, an immortal elf with others returned to the world as also immortals in a modern time from ages past.

“…I don’t know what we’re going to do now.” She was saying and he frowned, remembering her statement about his death.

“I’m hardly that my daughter.” He said, and there was a pause. Blinking suddenly, Grace and Katherine glanced at each other then at Natil who gasped like the others, they all turned to see Rijiin standing nearby, leaning at the side of the ambulance, using it as a crutch. Apparently, he was healed of his wounds, the non-seriousness faded away, and the starlight strong in his voice and body.

“Rijiin!” She and Katherine had gasped. They saw him approach and they embraced him warmly. The elf knelt beside Natil and peered lovingly into her eyes. he smiled slightly, taking her hands into his.

“But you were dead!” The teen said sharply, “I saw them pull your body from the van!”

Katherine had also seen them pull a mutilated body of Rijiin from the van too.

“Yea…” She replied, “How are you able to manage that?”

“Well, yes, I was… but not now I’m not.” He replied, “The starlight is strong in me, and the Lady. I let her healing power take and heal me. It is also very difficult to kill an elf.”

He smiled as he echoed the words of Varden who had said that many times over in Adria.

“But that’s not possible...?” Katherine asked, and shook her head in confusion. She seemed to understand, but not, having only been changed by Rijiin when he appeared one day at DeAnza College with Natil.

“You guys are really strange.” Grace commented, “But the more around you I am, the more I know and seem to understand.”

“We are as we are.” He said, “We are Elves and are here to help. Like now.”

Rijiin placed his hands on Natil and he closed his eyes, focusing on the starlight. A white flash of starlight seemed to appear for a moment and it surrounded the Harper. As for his wife, she could feel a warming sensation filling her body, as she lay there and when he opened his eyes, she had leaned back and closed her eyes, falling into a healing sleep.

“Hey! Who took the body of Mr. L’Theil?” A voice shouted and the Elves all grinned as they turned to see the EMT who walked by see the tarp neatly folded back but empty. Rijiin looked down at the tatters of what were left of his clothes, grinning sheepishly.

“It appears they found my empty tarp.” He said, glancing down at his bare foot, and the toe tag that he wore there. Leaning down he removed it at the silent amusement of Katherine and Grace. He found his sock and shoe in the ambulance next to his beloved Harper's sleeping form. He put it on quickly.

“Be at peace, I will see to TK, Mimi and Rags, also the others.” Rijiin said, smiling.

“Rijiin…?” The teen questioned, and here he paused.

“Just so... Relax my beloved daughter. I am doing what every Elf should and does in times of need, help and heal.” He said. A grin appeared on Katherine and Grace's faces, both glancing at each other to snicker loudly. His presence had astonished the EMTs who had seen the body, but he indicated that they had mixed it up and he had been at the triage group the whole time. He assisted pulling Mouse and TK out of the Van, holding a torch as he cut the doors off to get them clear. He assisted putting the bodies in bags and helped them carry them to a truck where they were taken to the Denver hospital to be placed in the morgue.

Hours later, in his Harper's room, Rijiin knelt beside her bed as each one of them was checked out at the hospital. As he knelt there, he held the hand of his Harper tightly, as they made her comfortable and in the room, three other beds, one belonging to Grace, across the room the others to Mimi and Katherine who were also hurt from the accident. Rijiin had his head down, as if he was in prayer when Natil slowly opened her eyes and lovingly peered at her husband, who grasped her hands. She managed a weak smile at him, sensing his worry, despite he had would have been DOA on arrival if not for the starlight and the Lady healing him of his wounds.

The elf sensed she was awake and raised his head, meeting the bemused silence of his new wife.

“Are you alright, beloved?” He asked, and she nodded.

“Never felt better.” She replied, “How are the others?”

“Mimi has a few lacerations, and a mild concussion. She will be staying for a few days. TK ended up with some broken ribs, bruises and was discharged. Rags the dog is not hurt at all, taken to the Home with Laurie and Heather. Katherine broke bones in her arm and one leg. Grace only broke her arm.

“I will be out of here soon, beloved and on our way to the home too. Do not worry so.” The Harper told her husband and he managed a nod as he smiled crookedly.

“I know, beloved.” He replied, “I wish we could go now.”

“Do the others besides Grace and Katherine know of you being… you know… healed?” She whispered, aware of her surroundings.

“They do indeed…"

“I know what sex our child is, Rijiin my love.” Natil said, “Changing the subject, if you want to know.”

“Let me guess, female?”

“Why yes.” Natil said with wonder as she stared at him in silence, “How did you guess?”

“The Lady told me.” He replied, "We need to name our son too."

Natil gasped as she peered at him, already told by the doctor in Sidney that she was having twins. It had astonished the heck out of her that he actually knew it would be one of each and she smiled broadly at him. His eyes twinkled in the fluorescent light.

“But now we know. Any ideas which name you would want?”

“I really like Cara.” Natil replied, “What about you?”

“How about Najalie, an off-chute of her beautiful mother's name.” He said, grinning as his wife blushed deeply. She peering at her love and smiled brightly.

"I love it…" Natil replied, "And you my husband…"

With that, she paused, thinking for a moment and smiled.

"Our son should be named Rajaan." She suggested, an off-chute of his handsome father."

“It is a fine choice.” He replied, "He'll be a chip off the old block."

Natil laughed quietly and he held her hand tightly.

Rijiin had not indicated when he went to the Lady, that he stood before her, and met their children, holding and hugging them warmly. They had been as he had hoped to see with his own eyes. Both Elves turned their heads when the Doctor, followed by Hadden and Marsh arrived at the room. Next to Natil, Grace was the next to wake and turn her head. She smiled at the familiar form of Rijiin who stood beside the bed. Across the room, Mimi opened her eyes and stretched, as did Katherine, smiling at the group that entered.

“Greetings all, welcome back!” Hadden and Marsh said together. Rijiin stood slowly and he shook hands with both of the men. They were followed by the other twenty Elves, and they all piled in the room. There were embraces and hugs to be sure. All were glad to see the four, alive and well. Rags jumped into Mimi’s lap and licked her in the face, pleased that she was well, he circulated to the others.

“He’s glad to see all of you.” TK said, smiling at the wiggling little body of Rags who whimpered in pleasant tones.

“I can see that.” Mimi replied, and nodded to TK who took up the dog who lay on the floor at the foot of the bed.

“So how are you all feeling?” Heather asked, “Are you alright?”

“Sore as hell, but I am all right.” Mimi replied, grimacing as she lay back.

Same here, a little sore and banged up, but not too bad.” Katherine observed as she wiggled her hand in the cast-covered arm.

“We are looking forward to you guys returning to the home soon, your absence is so noted.”

“I miss you all too…” Mouse replied with a nod and peered at Rijiin and Natil who returned their gaze.

"Rijiin…!" Mimi gasped, as she tried to sit up.

“Don’t get up Mistress Stewart.” The elf warned, and he walked to her, taking her hand.

“But you were killed, saving us?” Mimi stammered, “How? Where?”

“It is no consequence.” Rijiin replied, “It is very difficult to kill an elf. Be at peace. I am glad to see you are alright.”

“Thanks to you, yes.” She replied.

The elf glanced back at his wife who grimaced, and he nodded his head,

“We have an announcement for you all, some news.” He announced, “It looks like Kelly will have playmates at the home soon.”

There was a pause as all faces stared at the beaming couple.

“Huh?”

Natil over the time from their return had been keeping her baby-bump hidden and concealed it from the others by wearing baggy clothes.

“What does that mean?” Heather asked, then gazed at Natil almost in astonishment when it struck her.

“Oh by the Lady!” Heather gasped and peered at the couple who nodded slowly to her.

“You aren't... You... are making it up... No fricking way!” She exclaimed, gasping loudly, as did the others.

“No fricking way is right!” Laurie had stammered and there was an astonished silence to follow.

“You guys are having kids?” Marsh asked, “No way... you're bullshitting...”

A low chatter echoed through the others, a ripple of plain astonishment.

“Nope, we're going to be parents.” Rijiin told them and there yelp followed by a rowdy cheer, an astonished one, as they stood there around Natil hugging her and their chatter was a mile a minute.

“It looks like we are going to have a daughter.”

A cheer echoed through the room as chatter of mirth filled the room.

“Did you both decide on a name?”

“We did, we are going to name her Najalie.”

“Najalie…?” Sana asked, and he nodded.

“It is an off-chute to Natil." He explained and grinned brightly, his eyes twinkling in the light.

“It’s a good name.” Laurie commented, “A fine Elvish name.”

"Our son, however will be named Rajaan." He exclaimed, and the others gasped loudly in surprise. He had said it deadpan serious, a grin peeking out on his face as they glanced at each other then all yelped loudly as chatters of mirth echoed the room.

"Twins…?" Marsh asked, "No bullshit? Rijiin, now you are seriously bullshitting… Shieeet maaaan."

Rijiin shook his head silent, and let out a silent breath.

“Oh no way...” Ash commented, glancing at Hadden who was beaming in delight at the couple. He had suspected something was up and noticed the slight belly on the Harper, but did not say anything. Natil smiled at him, knowing he knew all along and played along that he did not know. She was thankful he had not said anything.

"Yes, twins…" Natil replied, beaming as the Elves of Elven home all had let out the loudest gasp again, and another rowdy cheer echoed the room.

"You dirty dog... Rijiin." TK joked, "Shieeet…"

“Yeah no shit.” Marsh laughed as they shook Rijiin's hand warmly.

Hadden hugged the resident Harper tightly. He kissed her on the cheek.

“Thanks Hadden.” Natil whispered and he met her look with the biggest grin that almost went ear to ear.

Talla had embraced her sister of yesteryear warmly and smiled as she winked at her, her bemused expression making the Harper laugh. Sana was weeping as she embraced her friend and teacher. The others embraced Natil multiple times too and so happy this happened. It was a first for the members of Elven Home where there was more happiness in the world, than sadness that they experienced on a regular basis.

Natil and Rijiin smiled, as he took up her hand and held it as another cheer echoed the room. Chatter by the group echoed around the room, as the news was discussed by Rijiin and Natil’s closest friends that were considered family at Elven Home. They laughed, they cried, and there were smiles all around that the Harper had finally found happiness, a long time ago, finding a man she could love so much. The news of twins had astonished them all and could hardly wait for their arrival. Especially for the couple.

The Harper turned her head to look upon her husband in bemused silence, as he was laughing and carrying in with others gathered here. She knew that he had traveled to the meadow, and to the Goddess when he was injured, if not had found death and again rebirth at her hands. There he had been healed and told many things of the future, for the elves and his children who were on the way. Natil knew that he could not have survived his severe wounds, in an almost fatal accident, that had taken so many mortals on the highway unless it had intervention by the Creatrix. She did not know that he had met their little ones and held them, kissing them gently.

A few days later, they were released, and everyone like clockwork resumed their lives in Denver, gathering on weekends on at Elven Home. Rijiin and Natil became even closer in that time and she always asked what the Lady had said to him that day he had been hurt. The elf remained silent, remembering well, the conversation that he had with the Creatrix, and one he would never forget. He held back his answer to her questions, as-if he was almost afraid to tell her and it just drove Natil crazy, not knowing. They held each other and Grace, as she lived at the home with them and who considered Rijiin and Natil her parents, giving her a home and chance to be somewhere instead of nowhere. Her life also improved at school, finally making friends to a point, and ignoring the people who bullied her. She took up her interests in navigation and piloting, studying manuals, and even writing poetry for fun. They had left her alone for the moment but Rijiin already training her in the martial arts, so she could defend herself in times of great need.

Eight months elapsed quickly in a whirlwind of routine and soon Najalie L’Thiel and Rajaan L'Theil were born to Natil and Rijiin. Everyone rejoiced as the pair's cries could be heard in the operating theater of the hospital in which they came into this world. As Rijiin held them, he remembered the words of the Lady, and could not help thinking of the first borne elves that had faded into oblivion five centuries ago. Who now was given a second chance in this new age to travel the road with the others members of Elven Home.

“Melda Najalie, melda Rajaan, na- beleg ten' ilya coiasirea alye'.” Rijiin murmured, “Na- beleg tinu, nae utinu, san- malia ten' mani na' a' tulea.”

He whispered the prayer in Elfish, as he held his daughter and son. He wrapped them both in their blankets, as he held them, kissing them both gently on the forehead. A nurse was standing nearby when he spoke the prayer to them in Elvish, making her frown questionably at him. She had not understood his words that he had said to his infant daughter and son.

“What was that Mister L’Theil?” She asked, turning her head and he shook his head at her.

“Nothing…” He replied, “Be at peace.”

Here he embraced his daughter and son, again, before handing the infants back to the nurse, who handed them to a tired Natil, laying in the bed. Together they were wheeled out of the room to take her to a room somewhere in the Maternity Ward of the hospital. Rijiin glanced up at the operating theater at the other Elves who were laughing and carrying on in celebration for the birth they had witnessed from the theater’s observation room. Rijiin touched the button of the intercom nearby when Hadden motioned to it.

“Get up there with Natil... We’ll meet you at the room Rijiin.” Hadden said into the intercom, “It is going to be limited personnel in the room now that Najalie and Rajaan are here, so we won’t stay long.”

“We’ll see you there.”

He nodded and smiled when Hadden held up the cigar.

“Thanks for the smoke.” Hadden said, with a grin, “The others too.”

Rijiin chuckled and nodded to the smiling residents of the home. He moved in step toward the exit behind Natil's gurney that was wheeled into the corridor beyond, Natil smiled at Rijiin, who walked beside it and he frowned, noting the twins were not in her arms. She read the look quickly and nodded her head.

“It’s all right beloved. The twins are being checked over and will be brought in later.” Natil reported, and he pumped her hand.

“How do you feel my love?”

“Tired, so tired, beloved… But extremely happy and they are so beautiful.” The Harper replied, sighing.

“You just rest my beloved wife.” He told her, “I'll be right here with you.”

She nodded to close her eyes as they wheeled her into the room a few minutes later. When they were alone, he sat in a chair as he watched her sleep and the nurses as they checked her vitals every hour.

A few minutes later, Hadden and the others walked into the room and Rijiin motioned them to be quiet. They only stayed a few minutes when they saw her resting and chatted with Rijiin, their laughter and cheers held back as they clustered around the room. Meanwhile, as they visited, Rijiin held his beloved Harper's hand as she had her eyes closed, focused on the starlight as it recharged her very soul after a tiring ordeal.

“We'll be back and let Natil rest.” Hadden suggested. “You both are missed at the Home. For now we'll see you tomorrow sometime.”

They all filed out of the room and a few minutes later Rijiin turned as a nurse entered the room with a cart containing two small beds where the twins slept peacefully.

Two days elapsed and Natil woke every day with Rijiin sitting beside her. She smiled at her husband, as he held Rajaan in his arms or Najalie his daughter, passing them back and forth as they nursed their mother. She held them both many times as she sang quietly to them and rocked them to sleep. Rijiin joined in making Natil smile as he joined in the choruses.

They turned their heads as Hadden and the others entered the room a moment later.

“How you feeling Mistress Harper?” Hadden and Marsh said, greeting the couple as they walked toward the bed. Natil glanced at Rijiin who was smiling.

“I dunno Hadden.. She looks strong enough to rip off the ears off a gondark.” Marsh said, as he smiled. The couple, especially Rijiin laughed openly.

“Funny Marsh, right out of Star Wars.” Rijiin joked back, “Han Solo you are not.”

Laughter echoed from the group, especially Hadden and Marsh who were grinning ear to ear. He turned to the others who all clustered around them, camping literally out in their room. Their laughter and mirth echoed the room as they peered and ogled the twins who were held by Rijiin and Natil.

“Oh god they are both so damn cute.” Laurie said as she approached the Harper, kneeling before Najalie who was held in her mother's arms. “A knock out... just wait when she starts dating you'd better have to keep the shotgun handy and sit on the porch at night after every date,”

Rijiin and Natil both laughed openly.

“She will be brought up for right and wrong, you need not worry.” Rijiin announced, “I'll have the hide of anyone who messes with her in that capacity or tries to take advantage of her.”

There was laughter by all hands and comments which Natil and Rijiin both bantered also.

Rajaan murmured and peered at Rijiin to smile at him. The elf picked up and held his son in his arms, peering at him as his boy touched his nose to squeeze it. Marsh, Hadden and the other's laughter echoed the room, joined in by Rijiin and Natil also.

"Oh, he so takes after you beloved." Natil told him, “Your quirky sense of humor.”

Rijiin laughed again, hugging his son.

“My son.” He murmured, as he held him and rocked him in his arms.

"He is a chip off the old block." Marsh joked and Rijiin colored slightly, ultimately nodding to him with a huge smile on his face. Both twins murmured and he handed him back to Natil. They nursed her as the others bantered and laughed.

Rijiin glanced at the window in her room and peered out across Denver at the sea of lights. He then peered at the dull twinkle of the stars despite the orange glow of the city. Even in the dim star field above, he could still see the infinity of the universe that lay before him and the countless galaxies, planets, stars, and far off worlds that were there. He still felt small compared to what he saw, as his consciousness danced among them and as he held his son or daughter in his arms when they needed to be held and lulled to sleep, he still could not say he was wrong in what he saw. It was a new generation of elf being born on this day, and a new cycle of life being lived also.

He proudly gazed at his wife and then to their beautiful kids.

“Area ea circa.” His thought said and he smiled at them.

“Beloved?” Natil asked, and he glanced at her.

“You alright?”

“Fine my love.” He replied, “Everything is just fine.”

He walked over to sit next to her and held her hand. In love with her for now an eternity and many lifetimes to come.

When she was discharged from the hospital Natil stayed on maternity leave from her job and remained at the home, as Rijiin worked at Kingsley College. All through the first nights, Rijiin sat with Najalie or Rajaan or both in his lap as they laughed and he rocked the young twins. They were loved by everyone at the home, for being so handsome, beautiful, and so Elven. There was always great discussion as each on of the residents held the twins as they took turns holding the pair in their arms. Natil and Rijiin both switched off changing either Najalie and Rajaan. After that was done, in the evening after dinner, usually Natil sang to them often or she played her harp to lull them to sleep before the proud parents placed them in their cribs in the nursery. Both Natil and Rijiin both hugged each of the twins before laying them down. Rijiin held and kissed her warmly as they both watched the twins sleep for a few minutes before returning to the living area where the others chatted, laughed and cried as they usually did for the woes of the world around them.
However, at the somewhere in Denver, however, a young man with black hair, gray eyes, tall and lean stands on the corner, peering at the surroundings around them. He stands with a young woman, a beautiful one, with long blond/red hair, and green eyes. A familiar pair who would be joining them too, brought here by the power of their goddess, and given redemption into a new world, for all times. They wore green and gray, and at their throats were the pendant of a crescent moon and interlocked, ray star made of gold and silver… It was family of long past who had come home and soon join them in a new world and place for the Elves.

Wc-52,324

Literary Notes:
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Story is based on Gail Baudino's Series Strands of Starlight, Maze of Moonlight, Shrouds of Shadow, Strands of Sunlight, and Spires of Spirit. This story is a fan fiction that takes place in 40 years between first and second book. The next story is taking place a year or more after the last book. It is dedicated to Miss Baudino and the Elves, because something in the story was able to touch me, and allow me a bit of healing too. It uses and features, three dialects of real elfish tomes, based on Tolken, Gray Company and Quenya Elvish.

This is a FICTIONAL, Fan Based story and it may or may not be accurate to the storyline. Amin hiraetha (I apologize to Ms. Baudino and the Elves, in advance)

Obituary for Mimi Stewart (Character and real person)

Mimi (Maribeth) Stewart Born Christmas Day 1954, passed away Palm Sunday, April 5, 2009. A fighter all her life, Mimi came into the world 10 weeks early, spent her life in a wheelchair with quadriplegia cerebral palsy, and defied all odds by fighting colon cancer for almost four years. Always the pioneer, Mimi was one of the first students in the Palo Alto special education program designed for the physically challenged. Upon graduation from Palo Alto HS, was one of the first students in a prototype program for the physically challenged at DeAnza Junior College, located in Cupertino.

Over the past 35 years, she was a fixture at De Anza while she earned her Liberal Arts Degree and many certificates. (Including Art History, Recreation, Painting, Photography), created and presided over the Disabled Student Unlimited Club (DSU), helped make the campus wheelchair friendly, and opened the eyes of many as to the incredible abilities of those that "appear" to be challenged.

For many years, she also worked for both the City of Palo Alto and Cupertino Recreation Departments as a Rec. Counselor for their programs for the physically and mentally challenged.

Her motto always was: Never judge a book by its cover.

Gifted with a photographic memory, Mimi never forgot a face, a name or a phone number. She met everyone with a twinkle in her eye, a smile on her face and an outreached hand. Her independent and outgoing personality will be missed by her many friends, teachers and family.

Mimi had moved to Santa Rosa five months ago to be closer to her mother, Heloise Stewart, who moved from Palo Alto to Santa Rosa in September 2008, and her sister Sue (Randy) Coleman. She is also survived by her nieces Shannon Coleman (Los Osos, CA) and Cristin Coleman (San Francisco). Her father, Howard (Hy) Stewart, preceded her in death in May 2005.

The family would like to thank Dr. Jim Ford and Dr. George Fisher and their staff (Stanford Oncology Center) for their unwavering faith that Mimi could survive her cancer. Dr. Helen Collins and her staff (Redwood Regional Medical Oncology Group) for their determination to find her next successful chemo, Dr. Mitchell Bailey, whose surgery kept her alive five days after she moved to Santa Rosa, and the Nursing Staff from the oncology wing of Memorial Hospital that supported her first and last trips to the hospital. We would also like to thank her wonderful family of caregivers, Jesse, Lena and their baby, "LJ", who surrounded her with love, laughter and prayers during her last 4 months.

(The rest was removed for the respect of the family’s privacy)

Rest in peace Dear Lady, You deserve it... Amin Mela lle, Mimittti.

(FA N.A. Miller, USN Ret.)




Below are some phrases that were not translated in story.

(The Elvish phrase) = (English Translation.)

Dina, Ungai -- Be Silent, Unga.

Ro va nolya nae amin detholea sii’ um sina, nan ta caelea na- umea. Amin now- lle uuyoo ant- a' yeno n'alaquel. Ta autien sii' net- ascara. Dina ar' na- kuile.

He will not learn and I hate now to do this, but it must be done. I think you both need to stand back. It is going to get violent. Be silent, and awake.


Na- ae’ seere, Beckai, Mimitti, -- Be at peace, Becky, Mimi.


“Faila I’ men amin vet ta.” Just the way I like it.


“Natili, Na ta lle?” Mimi asked, “Ya ae lle atara?” – Natil is it you? Mimi Asked, “Who
is your mother.


Vee’ Amin Natili. He told her Vee’ amin.” – So Am I Natil, So am I.


Nae saian luume'. Amin sal mela lle.” - Be at peace. I still love you.


“Amin ele- astael” – I can see starlight.


“Alanae ea Yolisi, Elthia, sii’ naa ten’oio.” He murmured, “Namaarie Annai, nanmarrie Margoti.”

“The hand of the Lady be upon you, now and forever. Farewell Anne, Farewell Margot.”


“Beloved, ta I’ entul en Mirya Astael!” - Beloved, It is the return of Mirya’s star!


“Lema ed' ando en' templa.” – “Journey by gate of magic”


“Amin mela lle, Natili” – I love you Natil.


“Amin mela lle, Rijiin.” – I love you Rijiin


“Oio vor iire omentien lle I’ yeste’ luume’.” – Ever since the first time meeting you.


“Na- ae’ seere, Beckai, Mimitti,” = Be at peace, Becky, Mimi.


Ro va nolya nae amin cael n’umo detholea sii’. Amin cael a’ magh poldor a’ kam ho selya.” = He will not learn and I have no choice now. I have to use force to make him learn.”


“A'maelamin vesse.” My beloved wife


Seasamin, A’mael = My pleasure Beloved.


“Lle lakwenien Rijiin? Sut alhalman lle quenea tanya yol?” You joking Rijiin? How can you speak that way?


Arae ea oombra = Day of Completion


Arae ea circa = Day of Beginnings.


Dina, Ungai, Lle vanwa kolien usquentiri huan.”.” = Be Silent Unga, You over bearing smelly dog


Lle Desiel? = You ready?


Amin’ e Desiel. = I am ready.


Melda Najalie, melda Rajaan, na- beleg ten' ilya coiasirea, alye. =
Dear Najalie, Dear Rajaan, be strong for all times together.”

“Na- beleg tinu, nae utinu, san- malia ten' mani na' a' tulea, alye'.” =
“Be strong my daughter and son, take care for what is to come.”
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