Blinking, she gazed into each’s eyes, trying to think. Five minutes later, she realized nothing had been said by anyone. Finally, the man with the deep blue eyes chuckled. A hand reached over to pat hers, and he said, “Well, aren’t you going to say something?” He had a warm rough voice that was easy to listen to.
Startled, she looked up at him, but said nothing, trying to draw her hand back uneasily. So many questions were buzzing in her head, but she didn’t know where or how to start.
She jumped slightly, as the old man cleared his throat, and she saw the many lines in his face, and the wisdom in his eyes. His voice was soft, yet it commanded a respect few could. “My dear, do not be alarmed, you are in safe hands.” His voice reassured her, and she found herself believing him. Continuing, he said, “I am John Burken.”
The others seemed to catch his drift as he introduced them.
“This is Michael Moore, and his wide, Julie, and his daughter, Jessica.” He motioned toward the black haired family. “I believe you know their son, Robert?”
Ael nodded mutely. The Moore’s? What were they doing here? Where was Rob? She thought they had looked familiar. She had caught glimpses of them in windows when picking up Rob with Josh.
The three smiled as they were introduced. “And this, is Westly.” He gave no last name, but another long-lost memory caught her. She had heard that name before.
Her gaze remained on him the longest, and she had to tear her eyes away as the man kept talking.
“I’m not going to bother you anymore. You’ve got a lot to think about, I can tell. Now everyone, please, leave her alone. We’ll talk later. I will speak with you downstairs.”
As they left the room, the old man remained by her side. Westly seemed as if he didn’t want to leave either, but at a look from the elder, he slowly got up.
Wondering what all that had been about, she turned back to the man, about to speak, but he shushed her. “Ael, listen. I promise none of us mean you any harm, nor would ever harm you. Please, rest, and we will tell you the rest in the morning.”
She found herself trusting this man more and more, though she didn’t know how he knew her name.
Slowly, he rose, taller than he appeared at first as he looked down at her. He was slightly thin, but his smile held warmth as he looked at her. “Now, please sleep.” He turned to go, but stopped a question on his lips “Would you like something for that headache?” He asked.
Surprised he knew, yet somehow not, since so many strange things had happened that day. She nodded, expecting him to give her medicine or something, but he merely rested a hand on her forehead, and a wash of coolness ran over her as the headache left her.
“Thank-“ She was about to say when he interrupted her.
“And something to help you sleep.” Another wave of coolness washed over her, and suddenly she blinked, enormously sleepy.
Smiling, the wizened man straightened, whispered goodnight to her, and before he could reach the door, Ael had turned to face the wall, chest rising and falling in the gently breath of sleep.
This time, as she awoke, no faces were crowded against her, and her head felt closer to normal. Blinking she rolled to her other side to gaze at the room before her.
Across from her bed about ten feet away, was a wardrobe of heavy wood. A small crackling fireplace was far down the room. The bare furnishings were all of the same heavy wood, and at the far end, two chairs had been placed in front of the fire, one was occupied by a figure lost in thought staring into the flames.
Not exactly wanting to, she pushed back the warm blankets, and let the chill air into the small pocket of heat she had created. Swinging her legs over the side of the bed, she sank her feet into a woven rug that was by her bed.
The man must have heard her, because as she tried to stand, he was there, holding her arm to help her. Surprising even herself, she felt a bit weak, and let him help her. Still in her jeans and shirt from the other day, she saw her shoes by the door, and after putting them on, let the broad man help her into the hallway and down to a room she thought of as a kitchen.
A long table held most decoration, wooden benches on either side held the four people from the night before, and another five people along one side.
The man helped her slide along the bench, before slipping in beside her, then he nodded, looking to the table head, where Jon Burken sat.
The man smiled, his silver hair giving a mysterious gleam in the light. Ael and the other young people, listened, as the adults sat, not really listening, as if they had heard it before.
“I suppose, by now, all of you know who we-“ he gestured toward the adults. “-are. Now, I would like each of you to tell me your name.” He looked to the boy across from Ael, expecting him to start.
“Dave Wolf…” The boy said uncertainly. He had black hair, a deep black eyes, yet a pale-ish complexion. He was lean, and muscular, with a shy look.
“Fran Nicholes.” She had thick red-chestnut hair, and wide brown eyes that darted around taking things in. She wasn’t skinny, but neither could one call her fat.
“Briana Corely.” Was the next girl, a thin blonde, with pale blue eyes
“Tim Johnson.” A lanky male, with thin rimmed glasses, green eyes and brown hair.
“Jason Neil.” Came the cheery voice from the far end, a broad muscular male with bright green eyes and thick shaggy blonde hair.
“Ael Alacon.” She heard herself say, drawing in on herself. They all glanced at her, blue eyes and red-brown hair, before looking to Jon again.
“Ah, thank you. Now, as none of you know why you are here, I shall tell you. You all posses magic.” He paused a moment. “You all have the magic found in some, and you have been brought here, to learn to control it. As usual, a number of accidents occurred before I could reach everybody, but don’t worry, they are very normal. And they have been taken care of.” He smiled nodding to them. “Now, as it is custom, yesterday was each of your sixteenth birthday. Usually, a mage comes into his or her power on this day, thought rare few occur earlier of later. Besides to wish a happy birthday to each of you, I have for you a present. This will help you control your magic so no more ‘accidents’ occur. Now…” He lifted a hand, and suddenly, a very plain white box was on the table.
One side had a hole, and holding the box out to the boy on his right, he motioned for him to put his hand inside.
A small puffing noise could be heard, and the boy, Jason, withdrew his hand on which a golden ring now clung, a small white opal set in it.
The next, Tim, got a thin black ring, an emerald stone embedded in it.
Briana, inserting her hand, withdrew a small gold band with a diamond.
The box continued down the table, to Fran-bronze with amethyst,- to Dave- dark silver with amber, to Ael.
With a sense of foreboding, she placed her hand in, and suddenly a thin metal band encompassed her finger, and she slowly withdrew it to find a slim, white-gold ring, a small, half-spiral in it that held a single sapphire sphere.
As she gazed at it, Jon Burken began to talk. “Every ring is unique to the person wearing it. Never have two rings been alike. These rings will never be able to be taken off, nor will they ever break. You are officially part of the magical community.
“Now, I’m guessing you all must be hungry. Some of you haven’t eaten in days. If you six-,” He looked to the teenagers. “-would be kind enough to bring the table ware and set the table, we can bring out the food.”
Ael immediately got up, picking up a stack of plates on the counter, the others uncertainly taking glasses and silverware. She smiled inwardly as she set the plates around, seeing the others weren’t that certain at what they were doing. Ael had done this her whole life.
Only one other, the broad Jason seemed to know in what order to place the knives forks and spoons. He caught her eyes and grinned easily. “Mother always made us at home.” He explained, laughing good-naturedly.
Clearly the other’s mothers hadn’t taught them. She ducked her head and nodded. “Same here-well, not my mother, but my aunt.” She corrected herself.
After that, the adults stood, bringing dishes to the table, and let the kids there.
Ael kept quiet most of dinner, pondering what had happened that day, listening to the other’s chatter about their homes and lives. Soon after dinner, they were escorted back to their rooms, by the young woman, Jessica.
She called good-night with a smile, assuring them they would be woken in the morning.
* * * * *
A warmth enclosed her, as a soft voice in her ear said, “Wake up Ael.”
Opening her eyes, she looked to the broad man once again, standing beside her bed. Curious to why she hadn’t woken up early as she usually did, was answered when she realized there were no windows in the room. Glancing around, she looked to Westly. “What am I supposed to wear?” The pajamas she had found on her bed the night before weren’t day clothes.
Gesturing to the wardrobe, he replied, “We brought all your belongings from the house you were living in.”
Suddenly curious how the Alacon’s weren’t furious about the loss of their maid, she voiced this query as she went to the heavy wood wardrobe.
Westly’s response was voiced with a chuckle. “Oh, they understood, we took care of everything.”
A soft chime rang pleasantly throughout the air, and Westly ginned. “Five minutes ‘til breakfast. See you down there.” He said, and left.
Ael smiled, she liked the man. Looking into her wardrobe, she found that all her clothes were cleaned, ironed, and neatly folded or hung in the dresser. Pulling on a shirt and jeans, she stuffed her feet into her shoes, and pulled a brush through her red-brown hair before pulling it in a hair tie, and going down to the kitchen.
Once again, the kids handed out the tableware, then an adult got up and served.
Mr. Moore put bacon and eggs on her plate, and she said a soft thank you, waiting for the rest to be served before she started to eat. About halfway through the meal, a doorbell sounded. Jon Burken was the one who got up to answer it, and returned shortly, with Robert Moore at his side.
The thirteen year old boy Ael had known was gone, replaced by a young man. His brilliant blue eyes scrutinized the room, before they widened again, and he let loose an easy smile.
He raised a hand in greeting. “I’m Rob.” His voice was open and light. “Need anything in the way of healing, I’m your man.” Was all he simply said, before sitting.
Surprising Ael, he pulled a chair up at her end of the table, after grabbing a plate from the counter.
His blue eyes sparkled as he greeted her. “Hey Ael. How ya been?”
Ael didn’t smile, she was slightly confused. She had never known him except to be a young pesky friend of her cousin’s. Her reply was short. “Fine.” She had never heard him talk that much before.
Pushing his unruly black hair away fro his face, he smiled again, revealing even white teeth. “You little cousin is a right pest.” He said, looking at her.
Many questions suddenly flooded her mind, and she hesitantly asked one. “You don’t like him?” Her voice was startled, from the tone of his voice during his statement, he had implied as much.
He shook his head, “Naw, can barely stand him. Arrogant little thing.”
She looked at him, astounded. “But you two were always together, you were like…best friends or something.”
“I had to, he made me.“ He gave a nod in Jon’s direction. “As you probably noticed, I never played with him, just watched.”
She nodded, she had noticed. A sudden thought popped into her mind again. “How old are you really…? Most people don’t get there rings until they’re sixteen, or so I’m told.”
He grinned almost reluctantly. “Yeah, I’m seventeen. I had to get my mother to Illusion me, so I would look thirteen.”
“Illusion?” She asked, lost.
“Yeah, it makes you look like someone else, or younger, or older. Change your appearance. I had to so you and Josh would think I actually was only thirteen.” He explained.
She nodded, “So why were you forced to play with him, if you hated him so much?”
“I had to keep an eye on you. See, all these people, with the exception of Dave, and you, grew up with their normal families, who knew what to watch out for. I won’t tell you why Dave wasn’t, and I advise you not to ask unless he brings it up.”
“If you don’t mind me asking, why did you have to keep an eye on me? I’m not special.” She asked, still not comprehending.
“Because, incase anything went wrong…” He stopped as everyone rose, and the adults left. His blue eyes followed them and he sighed. “I gotta go. Nice finally talking to you.”
Ael got up, and helped with the dishes, wondering what he had been going to say before he stopped.
The six kids, not sure what to do, milled around the kitchen after cleanup, a few talking to each other. Ael sat back down at the scrubbed table, and the others soon followed. She listened to them talk, not saying anything herself.
The blonde, Briana, spoke, blue eyes sparkling. “I’m so glad I finally got here. I’ve been hoping I’d get to come for so long…”
“Yeah, well, I should suppose I’m lucky then, my parents didn’t want me to come. They wanted to teach me themselves.” Fran replied. “I doubt that would have been a good idea.” She gave a sarcastic laugh.
Tim adjusted his thin glasses, which somehow made him seem smart-looking, rather than nerdy. “My parents have been going on and on since they told them. I’m glad I’m here just so I could get away from them.” He gave a half-smile.
“My parents I think were just glad to get rid of me. In the middle of four sisters…” Jason shuddered. ”I’d rather be here.”
Everyone smiled at that, and Jason turned to Dave, nudging him with an elbow. “How bout you? You glad to be here”
Dave looked at them, shoulders hunched. His voice was deep, his dark eyes wide. “I guess so…” he said, noncommittally.
Jason then turned to Ael, broad face holding a good-natured smile. His green eyes were half hidden by the shaggy hair that he pushed away with two hands. “What about you? Your parents glad?”
Ael looked around. Her voice slightly shaking as she looked down to speak. “My parents are gone…” She blinked, her blue eyes burning, wishing she had lied, and told them a normal story.
To her surprise thought, they just murmured their apologies, Jason even going as far to give her a one-arms hug.
There was an awkward silence, as Rob strode back in. His smiling face suddenly frowned. “What’s wrong?”
It was Fran who spoke, brown eyes serious as they glanced at Ael. “We were just talking about our families.’
It was Rob’s eye then that found Ael’s, before they went to Dave’s. Then he brightened. “Well, come on, you won’t miss them for too long, I promise.” He beckoned toward the open door. “Come on, Jon wants to teach you, and he doesn’t do that everyday.”
|30 Mar 2004|| Anonymous|
Wow no comments yet that means I'm the first!! Well what a strange yet interesting story I really wish there was more. Keep up the wonderful work!!!!!
|7 Apr 2004|| Anonymous|
Great so far, very interesting...Keep writing!