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Through the Looking Glass - by Tiexie

Tiexie sat on the steps at the Highest Point in Medievia and looked at the sparkling city below. She had been gone so long; even the twinkling spires of Castle Medievia looked different. She sighed as she watched a large silver dragon fly overhead, and land slowly outside the city gates below her. Even the dragons looked bigger somehow.

Tiexie glanced over her shoulder, at the slippery, moss-covered steps behind her, and smiled as memories washed over her. Her grandfather had been so proud the first time she had climbed these steps. Krandor had stood at the bottom, urging her to hurry up and reach the top. Krandor, who always seemed to expect so much more from her, than he ever had his own clannies. She had never been able to live up to his high expectations of her, though she had tried so hard over the years.

She shut her eyes tightly against the glaring red sun that began to rise over the gleaming mountain top, and leaned back against the steps. Not really knowing how much time had passed, she lay there in a dream-like state, her mind meandering through times long past, friends long gone, and a life nearly forgotten.

The steady rush of the waterfall nearly drowned out the excited voices below, as a young group of friends steadily made their way up the slope of the mountain. Tie opened her eyes and gazed down at the eager young thief who struggled to keep up with his older friends. "Wait! I can’t get over the water!" She chuckled under her breath as she watched the young woman ahead of him rush back and cast a levitation spell on the gasping young man, shooting him an agitated look as she did so.

Dousing her light, she cast an invisibility spell upon herself and hide in the recesses of the rocks, not wishing the young apprentices to see her. She felt a tad guilty about skulking around in the darkness, but seeing the young adventures had somehow unnerved her. She was not ready to face this world. Oh, how dearly she wanted to. Her throat clenched as she thought about all of the cherished friends who resided merely miles below her. Tears slipped from her eyes, as she heard the exuberant cries above her, as the young thief became an apprentice cleric. His ears were probably ringing from all the excited congratulations as his clannies clamored to be heard.

There were no clamoring voices to be heard in her head, no joshing clannies, or cajoling bloodlines begging to be taken ‘egging’. She did not wonder why she could not hear the voices of her progeny; she knew they had left the lush lands of Medievia long ago.

Stepping out of the shadows, as the young adventures trekked back down the mountain side, she sighed heavily again, and climbed the stairway. She paused to drink heartily from the bright jug of green liquid tied at her waist. Finally reaching the top, she dug around in the Portable Hole that appeared to come from nowhere, and unpacked the soft Satyr-skin blanket she carried with her. Laying it on the ground gently, she lay back in the sunlight, dreading to leave this place and knowing she must.

"Wake up! You’re gonna be late for school!" Tiexie struggled to shake the annoying hand from her shoulder. The aggravating voice in her ear kept nagging and pulling at her, and she swatted at it. What was this school nonsense? She had not been to school since she had spent the summer at Branari Academy learning to use those conjuring orbs at her Grandfather’s insistence. She’d had dreams about those orbs spinning about her head, in uncontrollable collisions for months. Dreaming! That’s it, she was dreaming. She swatted at the annoying voice again, and cracked one eye, expecting to see the rock-covered walls of Mt. Vryce.

What Tiexie saw made her sit straight up in terror. Indeed, she was right were she had fallen asleep. The sun was going down, and the sky was filled with the bleeding colors of a firestorm in the distance. This however was not what had stricken her with such horror. Tiexie stared dumbfounded, at the shimmering portal before her, and the strange dark haired woman who sat staring at her. She had the feeling the woman wasn’t so much looking at her as through her. The young woman wore strange constricting clothing, and her hair seemed to be cut too short. Tiexie blinked in confusion as she realized, suddenly she was staring at herself. No, not herself, but a mirror image of herself. The same intelligent, too-wise eyes glared back at her from the flickering pool.

Tiexie realized painfully, that the woman saw her. Not only did she see her, she was not surprised at all at her existence, and was merely observing her in the same too-cool-to-be-concerned manner Tiexie herself had exhibited millions of times. The young woman smiled at her with annoying patience, and Tie realized then how infuriating she must sometimes be with that condescending patience on her face. She struggled to hear as the other Tiexie spoke words she could not perceive. She watched her mouth move, framing words, but no sound came across the portal. The sky around her darkened as sizzling drops of fire rained around her, unheeded. She strained to make out the words the other woman spoke, watching her mouth move. Her lips framed the words "come home" and Tiexie’s blood froze in her veins. She was home. Medievia was were she belonged. She knew that, and she new somehow she must make the woman on the other side of the portal know that too.

She mouthed the word "home" and held her hand over her heart, trying to make her understand. The other Tiexie merely smiled at her consolingly and shook her head. "Here, home." Tiexie heard the words clearly this time. They were, in fact, her words, her voice. She spoke them aloud. A small surprised cry escaped her throat and she took a step back, nearly toppling down the stairs.

The woman was standing now, and Tiexie could see the small cluttered room behind her, the office with computers and framed artwork of her daughter on the walls. Her heart leaped into her throat as she realized she had never seen a computer in her life, but she knew what it was. Just as she knew whom this woman was. She knew, and the realization terrified her.

Closing her eyes, she took a step forward, and touched her fingertips to the shimmering portal, feeling the warm comforting haze wash over her body. She had a test tomorrow she had to study for. Her kid had homework, she suddenly realized. NO! Tiexie snatched her hand back from the portal, and pressed herself against the wall of the mountain, glancing up helplessly at the bleeding sky. This was her home. She had been born in Medievia, and this, this was all a horrible dream. One she would soon wake up from.As, she opened her eyes and stared back at the woman on the other side of the portal, she knew she was lying to herself. She had felt it, and yet. Tiexie glanced back down the mountain at the twinkling city in the distance. Karena… Briza.. Reth, Grundle, the faces and voices of her beloved friends passed through her mind. She needed to be with them, to know they remembered her. She needed to believe she was not a figment of someone’s imagination.

"Come home Tiexie." Again she heard her voice, as she spoke the words the woman across the vast threshold of time mouthed. Tiexie stared at her, with tearful eyes, and realized the woman was not as young as she had first appeared. Indeed, she seemed much older than Tiexie. Wiser, yes, but sadder too.

"I need you." Tiexie spoke the words aloud, and realized they were her words this time. It was true. Just as the other woman needed her, she too needed the older woman.

Steeling herself against the flood of fear, and sadness, Tiexie once again put her hand to the portal and was not surprised when she grasped her own hand. She was at once filled with sensations of love and pain, responsibilities and daydreams. Still, she was not ready.

The older woman sensed her apprehension, and her hand tightened in comfort. "I know. It is only for a little while. I promise." The tenderness in her voice caused Tiexie to turn and stare at her, and she saw the same sadness she felt reflected in the woman’s eyes as she stared through the portal at the beloved home she was leaving behind.

"Medievia is forever."

The words were drowned out as Tiexie stepped through the portal into the real world with all of its responsibilities and tiresome drudgery. She knew she would return someday. But, she’d worry about that tomorrow.

December 29, 2006

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