Anna led the way, unlocking the back door with the key that lay, as always, on the table in the lounge. It was stiff, because the cold weather that October and November had brought had made the garden an unexplored territory recently. They made their way to the lawn, and knelt together.
“You see this plant?” said Aelvyn. Anna was alarmed to see that the morning light was bright enough for him to be near invisible, but she nodded. The plant he was pointing at was a daisy, but it was withered and dead.
“Poor thing,” she whispered, without meaning to. Aelvyn looked up.
“Yes, it is,” he agreed. “Such a shame that a noble creature like this should die.” He looked infinitely sad, and Anna wondered why he was so attached to this single daisy. “My best affinity is Earth,” he explained, at her puzzled expression. “From what I have seen, yours is probably Fire, but we shall see.”
Anna cupped the head of the dead daisy in her fingers. “What should I do with it?” she asked.
“Make it live, Anna,” said Aelvyn softly. “Breathe life back into it.” Carefully, Anna searched within herself. She knew that she could do this - she had done it before, years ago, without meaning to.
Before she knew what was happening, the petals uncurled, regaining their pure white colour, and the fronds of pink that lay upon them. The yellow centre returned to the flower, and it was in full health.
“Interesting,” muttered Aelvyn. “Never known anything like it.” He gave Anna a keen, piercing look.
“I’ve never known anyone to have an affinity with two such similar elements. Normally those with more than one have affinities with opposites: Fire and Water; Air and Earth. To have Fire and Earth is most unusual, and your powers so strong, though untrained…” He trailed off, Anna looking at him in amazement.
“You mean … I’m good at this?” she said, surprised.
“Good? Why, you could be the best if you put your mind to it!” exclaimed Aelvyn passionately. “And don’t ever think that it is not so!”
“Thank you,” said Anna, and she meant it. No one had ever told her that she was good at something, much less the best. “Now, please will you teach me how to use Air?” Aelvyn nodded.
“This one is much harder than the others,” he warned, “but once you have mastered the basics, progressing is easier.” He placed a ghostly hand on her arm. “I’ll be here to help you all the way.”
Anna searched within her mind, knowing instinctively what she had to do. She drew upon the air, willing it to carry her weight, and within twenty seconds she was seated on the air.
“Oh, well done!” cried Aelvyn, a look of shock in his eyes. “Most extraordinary.” But Anna did not stop there. She flew around the room, willing herself to move between the particles in the air, and knew that if she had a sword in her hand, she would be able to make that sword move in a way that not even the greatest swordsman could match. Truly, this was her affinity.
“I don’t think Fire, or Earth, is my affinity,” she told Aelvyn. “It must be Air.” He looked at her in surprise.
“I know you are good with Air, but did you consider you might have an affinity with all three?” he told her.
“Yes,” she admitted. “But none of the others made me feel like this - I feel so free!” Anna’s eyes were uplifted, shining with joy. Even thinking of her parents in their current plight could not dampen her spirits, and Aelvyn felt her buoyancy lift his spirits, too, although his three hundred years as a ghost had made him a hard person to cheer up.
“Then you must just be extraordinarily gifted with the other two!” he exclaimed in wonderment. “Truly, Anna, you are a very gifted pupil.” She smiled shyly, uncertain how to accept this praise.
“Thanks,” she said awkwardly. “That means a lot to me.”
“I suggest you work on water, though. But for now … you have a visitor.”
Her doorbell rang. Anna ran to open it, and there stood Matt. She wanted to hug him, but his eyes were grave and straightaway she knew that something was wrong.
“What is it, Matt?” she said. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s your parents,” he said cryptically. “Oh, Anna, I’m so sorry.”