Crossbreeds 3: Chapter 51 A Visit Home by RedPhantom ()
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“Are you sure this a good idea?” Ann asked.
“You can’t cast the spell. With your help, he can,” Mishtali replied.
“He’s never done anything besides first-year spells.” Ann pointed out.
“It’s time he tried. He’s been practicing,” Mishtali insisted.
“Do I get a say in this?” Andy asked.
“No!” Ann and Mishtali both said in unison.
“Ann, you’re the only one strong enough to transport all of you, but you can’t do it because you’re pregnant. That leaves one of the Augmenters using your magic. Nim has taken too many painkillers to do this. Dae’s not ready to handle that much energy. That leaves Andy. He has been practicing using my energy. As long as you make sure he has the energy he needs, he’ll do fine,” Mishtali explained.
Ann sighed. Today was the day they were going to Colorado. Dae had pointed out that Ann, who was going to transport them to Erilu, was having too much trouble aiming the spell. The discussion on what to do ensued until Mishtali said Andy could do it.
Nim’s incision was causing him a lot of pain from the moving he’d needed to do in order to get ready and he had taken the maximum doses of both green bough and liquid shade to alleviate the pain. All three healers thought it was too soon to go but the elders were getting difficult and they worried their permission might be revoked. So, Nim promised to take it as easy as possible and Jo helped but he was still in a lot of pain. The healers had checked him multiple times to make sure he hadn’t done any damage. Thailyn had found had started using his bellyfire although Nim swore he hadn’t. Fortunately, no damage was done. But, being on so many painkillers, he was high and he couldn’t cast the spell so it fell to Andy.
Ann could feel Andy was nervous. She held his hand. He started to draw energy from her and magnify it. He started to glow. She put on the goggles the army engineers had made as eye protection for this type of spell. He wore his sunglasses but Ann wondered how much they’d help against his own magic.
“That should be enough,” Nim said. Ann fed him a little extra. They all joined hands and those who had come to see them off step back.
Andy started to cast the spell. He had memorized it since he wouldn’t be able to see. Ann closed her eyes against the flash. Then, she opened them. Andy stood perfectly still. She checked his magic and he flinched.
“I’m okay. I just can’t see,” he said.
“I’m going to check your eyes,” Thailyn told him Andy nodded and waited. “You’re going to have some difficulty for a good half hour, I’d say.”
Vor did a double-take as he saw Thailyn. “Lyni?”
Thailyn cringed. He hated that name, but it was what he’d gone by when he lived in Thager where he’d met Vor. “No more hiding. It’s Thailyn now. It’s good to see you again.”
“You too. Unfortunately, we don’t have a half hour for Andy’s eyes,” Vor said. “I’d say welcome but the elders want you out as fast as possible. Apparently, Deyama didn’t bother telling them the number of people coming and they’re not happy with her. They apparently thought she’d be easier to control than she’s been.” He grinned. “They could’ve asked me. No one thought to ask why her pledged wanted to live so far from home.”
“If someone guides me, I’ll be okay,” Andy said. He took off his sunglasses and held them out. “Which one of you elves are wearing these?” He asked meaning Vor or Dae. Both wore their hair down to hide their ears.
“Vor can. At least my eyes are all one color,” Dae offered.
“But humans don’t have red eyes,” Andy pointed out.
“When I went through before, the man I spoke to thought I was in some costume. He wanted to know where I got the contacts for my eyes. I figured he was talking about the colors, but I have no idea what contacts are, so I told him I forgot where.” Vor took the glasses and Ann took Andy’s arm.
“This way,” Vor said. He had let them a short distance.
“I can’t see the pinhole to open it,” Ann told them. “Nim?”
“I see two,” Nim said.
“There’s only one here,” Vor said.
“He seeing double,” Jo said. She was guiding him the same way Ann was guiding Andy.
“Where are they?” Ann said.
Nim pointed. She aimed for the middle of the two. “I’ve seen double enough,” she explained. Andy didn’t know if she was referring to past injuries or her drinking. She opened the gate.
“You have to go last to close the gate. Do you want me to take Andy through?” Jaidu offered.
“Thank you.” Ann gave Jaidu Andy’s arm.
Jaidu led him through carefully, explaining what was going on, letting him know how far they had to go. Andy wondered if she had done something similar before.
“Okay, we’re at the edge. There’s a little step down and the ground changes,” Jaidu warned him.
“Jaidu, this way,” Jo called.
“To your right,” Jaidu said. “There’s a step up. Wait here by the wall.” She put his hand against the wall so he knew where it was.
Andy wasn’t sure, but he guessed they came out on a street and were now on the sidewalk. He could barely feel Ann. Was it taking longer or did it just feel that way because he couldn’t see?
“We’re almost through,” Thailyn said. “How are you doing?”
“I’m okay. How about you? You’ve never been here before.”
“It feels very strange, it reminds me of when Nor’than darkened the skies.”
“Is it dark now?” It hadn’t been dark on Torthoc, and it should be lighter later here.
“No, it’s just the magic or lack of it. It felt that way back then too.”
“Did we come out on the road?”
“I think it’s an alley.”
“Okay, good. I’d hate to think we were ending up in traffic.”
“Traffic? Those beasts running through the road?”
“Those are cars and trucks. They’re like carriages.”
“Shun told me about those,” Vor said. “Ann’s a little behind me closing the gate.”
“Everyone else is here?” Andy asked.
“They are,” Thailyn assured him.
“We’re all here now,” Ann said. Andy felt relief hearing her voice. He could hardly feel her through the bond. He reached for her and she held his hand. “How are the eyes?”
“I’m starting to see a little light. Let’s not mention this to my folks.”
“I think they’ll notice.”
“Okay, if it clears up first, we won’t say anything.”
“Okay. Let’s find a phone.” They lead him to a payphone. He pulled out some coins, glad they had thought to bring American currency to Torthoc the last time they had been here.
“Put these in the slot,” he said. Someone took the coins. Andy heard them dropped into the phone as someone put the receiver in his hand. Someone dialed and he heard the phone ring.
“Hello?” Steve’s voice came.
“Dad? It’s me. We’re here.”
“Where are you? I’ll come get you.”
Andy froze. He had no idea where they were.
“We’re on the corner of Lincoln and Adams,” Jo said softly. He repeated it.
“That’s across town. It’ll take about fifteen minutes,” he said.
“Not a problem. Give me directions and we’ll start walking toward you,” Andy offered.
“Nonsense. There’s a coffee shop near there. Go in there. Have some coffee.”
“Most here can’t have caffeine and Jo’s trying to cut back too. We’ll be okay.”
“I don’t know. You know how April weather can be.”
“It’s April? April what?”
“The seventh. Why?”
“No reason. I’ll tell you later.”
“Okay. I’ll be there shortly. If it starts to rain, go into the coffee shop. Get decaf.”
“Nim, stay here,” Jo said as Andy hung up.
“I’m just going in there.” Nim’s voice came. His words were slurred a little.
“Nim, you’re stoned. You need to stay by me.”
“I’m a stone?”
“Just stay here.”
It wasn’t long before Steve pulled up with a van. He suggested they do introductions at the house since Carla hadn’t come. Andy was able to see light and shadows by this time. Ann helped him into the front seat and the rest piled in the back.
“Andy, what’s wrong with your eyes?” Steve asked.
“The spell to take us to Erilu blinded me temporarily. My sight’s already coming back.”
“Why is no one else blind?”
“They weren’t using their mage sight.”
“Why were you?”
“Because I can’t turn it off.”
“Why didn’t you close your eyes?”
“It wouldn’t help. I was casting the spell. Look, Dad, can we play twenty questions later?”
“Fine, but your mother is going to have a fit.”
“Do we have to tell her?”
“Yes, we have to tell her. All that testing we had done on your eyes, we’re going to tell her about this.”
“Testing? You had me tested for color blindness.”
“That was later. You were about two. You probably don’t remember. When you were first born, we thought you were blind. You didn’t seem to look at anything but slowly you started to. Then, at about a year and a half, you started squinting all the time and cover your eyes. We weren’t sure if you were having trouble seeing or if you were sensitive to light. So we had tests done. Where Sam had vision trouble, we worried you inherited it.”
“You never told me Sam had vision trouble,” Andy said.
“There’s a lot we didn’t tell you about Sam. You and I can talk later.”
“Dad? Where are we going?” Andy asked after a while. His sight hadn’t cleared up fully but he could see they were no longer in town.
“Our new place, remember? Did the spell affect your memory too?”
“No. It’s just that it looks like we’ve left town.”
“We did. Your mother always wanted to live in the country. I don’t know if we qualify, but it’s a little remote.”
“How’s she doing with the drinking?”
“Very good. I don’t think she’s had a drink since before your wedding. If she has, she’s gotten very good at hiding it.”
“She never hid it before. I’m glad you two are back together.”
“Me too. I missed her terribly.”
“I’m sorry. It was my fault.”
“No. It wasn’t. Your mother needed to face her problems and deal with them. Sapphire said something to her the day before the wedding. She never told me what it was but it made a big difference.”
Andy’s eyes were fine by the time they reach the house. It was a fairly decent-sized place on several acres of land. He got out and helped those from the back. Most were wobbly, a few were queasy. Ti hurried to some bushes a short ways away. Thailyn followed to check on him.
“I’m okay. I just get motion sickness. It happens in carriages too. It’s why I always walk or fly to the palace.” He assured the healer.
Nim stumbled into Carla. “Sorry Mrs. Mathis. Jo says I have stones.”
Carla looked at him strangely and then at Jo.
“He’s stoned. He took too many painkillers today,” Jo explained.
“I also haven’t been drawing.”
They went inside to make introductions.
“You know Nim and Jo of course,” Andy said. “And you met Voramini at the wedding.”
“We remember,” Carla said. “Have you and Deyama set a date yet?”
“Not yet. We have three more years to decide and I think Deyama is going to take it all,” Vor said. Elves didn’t really “set a date” as Carla put it. They just spent a night at the wedding house and usually, it was spontaneous. But he understood what Carla meant and didn’t bother correcting her.
“This is Ann’s brother Remtani and his pledged, Ann’s aunt, Jaidu.”
“Please to meet you.” Remtani bowed. Jaidu shook their hands. Andy could almost hear what his mom was thinking. Jaidu was way too young to be engaged. But, she was tactful enough not to say anything.
“I don’t believe you met Dae and Ti at the wedding.”
“No, I don’t think we did. Were you sitting at the table with Nim and Jo?” Carla asked.
Ti nodded. “I was the one who looked like he’d been dipped in raspberry juice.”
“You did not. You looked fine, just a little pink,” Dae said.
“You look fine now,” Carla insisted.
“And this is Thailyn, Ann’s birth father.”
“Please to meet you.” Carla shook his hand. Andy noticed he had his gloves on.
“Please to meet you too,” Thailyn said.
“Oh, yes, and this is Ann, my wife,” Andy said since Ann had been standing next to Thailyn.
Thailyn frowned. “Didn’t you say they met already?” He asked, puzzled.
“He’s playing around,” Steve said. “We met two years before they got married when Ann was living on this world.”
“Let us show you where you can stay,” Carla said and led them through the house and out the back door. They followed her to another house towards the back of the property.
“We had this place built for Andy and Ann, their family, and whatever friends might join them when they visit. There’s no copper here. We realize there is probably still too much copper in the vicinity, but we thought it might help some. There’s no electricity or heat because of it. But there’s plenty of fireplaces and firewood. There’s also running water but only cold. We’re still looking into hot water. Of course, you can come up to the main house for showers,” Carla explained. “Some of you who aren’t affected by copper might want to stay in the main house with us so you’re not so crowded.”
“I don’t know if the main floor will hold you in true form, but there’s room in the basement for one or two of you at a time,” Steve added.
Andy was stunned at what his parents had done. They had told him they had moved so there would be room for them to visit. They hadn’t said they had done all of this. He and Ann would have to visit often. He’d find a way to convince Ann to use the gate in Arizona some too.
“You really didn’t have to do all of this,” Ann said.
“We want our grandchildren to be able to visit without any trouble,” Steve said.
“This actually might be a good idea,” Thailyn said. “Children can be more sensitive than adults to copper. At any rate, it should help Nim and possibly Ti.”
“I’m not a T, I’m a stone. Jo said,” Nim said crossly.
“I said you’re high. We should get you to bed.” She took his arm.
“Take his vial too,” Thailyn suggested.
“He gave me that already,” Jo assured him.
“Is he okay?” Steve asked.
“He had surgery not too long ago and it’s taking longer than we thought for him to recover,” Thailyn explained. “It would have been better if we could have waited another couple of weeks, but the elves were getting impatient.”
“The elders fear too much outside influence will destroy our culture. They don’t understand that’s how we grow,” Vor explained. “Deyama is working on it.”
Steve and Carla left them to get settled and work out who’d sleep where.
After a short time, Andy went in to see what kind of space was available in the main house and to talk to his parents about his eyesight. He knew his dad would say something to his mom, and she’d have questions. She had been a nurse before he was born. He told his parents what had happened when he cast the spell. He told them about his mage sight and why he couldn’t turn it off. Thailyn came in after a while and answered what questions he could. He was curious about the tests that Steve had mentioned and asked about the results. Carla, of course, had saved a copy of them. She showed them to him and explained the parts he didn’t understand.
They all gathered in the main house for dinner, all except for Nim and Jo. The green bough had worn off but the liquid shade hadn’t, so Jo was feeling stoned too. They were both sleeping.
Mishtali scried them to check on Jaidu. She was happy to hear from them and assured them she was fine. Andy got the feeling they would be scrying as frequently as possible. He tried to figure how many mages at the palace could cast the spell. He knew Pt’this could. If Shay’s magic was stable enough, she could too. Nim was able to scry Jo every three days. Andy figured they’d contact them daily.
Ann took Carla and Steve aside and explained what she could about Jaidu. She wasn’t able to tell them much. “She’s having trouble adjusting.”
“You know who may be able to help? Jo.” Steve suggested.
Ann smiled. “She already is. They met when Jo came for lunch one day. She started helping her without realizing it. Sapphire noticed and wanted to hire Jo to work with the kids at the home. She told Remmy about it and he wanted her to stay also to help more with Jaidu.”
“Is that when Nim finally proposed?” Carla asked.
Ann nodded. “It is. He’s bothered by how Jo’s mom treats her. He felt she’d be giving up everything if she moved to Torthoc. He felt better since she had something there besides him.”
“I’m glad she moved there. I was worried about him coming here so much in getting so sick. Will he be okay this time?” Carla asked.
“Thailyn says he had gotten the copper in his blood somehow. He flushed it out so Nim should be okay. Assuming, of course, he doesn’t use any magic. We just have to worry about Ti. He got a nasty cut the last time he was here and it’s possible he might have it too.”
“Can’t Thailyn check?” Steve asked.
“Thailyn has difficulties when he touches people who’ve had serious injuries, like Ti’s burns. That’s why he always wears those gloves, so he doesn’t accidentally touch someone he can’t handle.”
“Can I ask you why you call him by his first name?” Steve asked. “Everyone else you called grandpa or aunt or whatever.”
“He doesn’t want me to call him father. He feels because he left me to be raised by someone else, that he doesn’t deserve that right. He feels the man who raised me should have the title of father.”
“Did he tell you why he never came forward when Emeton and Tylan were looking for him?”
“He gave me a couple of reasons. I don’t think he’s told me the real reason or at least not the full reason yet. I’ll find out eventually. There’s never been a question I haven’t gotten the answer to.”
Image Comments (4)
zaqxsw () 10:04AM | Mon, 21 June 2021
Wow... What a large group of characters in one image... I'm jealous! Great installment. The effects of your magic system are interesting... Like Andy being blinded by his own magic... Typically mages are immune to the effects of their own magic.
Leije () 10:10AM | Mon, 21 June 2021
Excellent scene with all these medieval characters in a modern decor !
LevKornowska () 7:50AM | Thu, 24 June 2021
Interesting development! I should also cut down on coffee, but ...nah :-)
Great render with a quite a few people in it! I never managed that I Poser from the get-go! Seamlessly and very naturally posed too!