Sharonah lay in the woven netting of the hammock she shared with her beloved husband Thane, listening to the night sounds of the Amazonian rainforest. Animals and insects, predator and prey, filled the darkness with the hungry growl of the hunt, and the piercing shrieks from the dieing prey.
Her sleep had been disturbed by a vision she didn't understand. As an accomplished seer, her visions were often puzzling, but that's not what bothered her. What worried her most was that she had a deep sense that her husband's nephew Sellion, was going to get himself into trouble – again.
The boy was only thirty in human years, barely a teenager in Elven terms. She loved the lad as though he were her own, but the kid just couldn't stay out of mischief. He was still learning spell binding, and he wasn't supposed to attempt even the simplest spells without supervision, but he did anyway. She was losing patience with him.
She really wanted to bind his Elfin abilities and send him to a human boot camp to learn some discipline, but Thane wouldn't hear of it. Sharonah and Thane were childless, so Thane's sister's boy was the closest they would ever come to having a son. The seer was half human, and she had human relatives she could send the boy to, but she didn't even want to think about what kind of trouble he might cause for them.
As her mind wandered aimlessly, a sudden BANG! shook both of them out of their hammock and onto the vine woven floor of their tree condo. The resultant shock wave of the explosion shook the entire Elven realm. If it hadn't been in a separate dimension from the rest of the rainforest, it would possibly have destroyed a good chunk of the ecosystem.
Thane flew out the window within seconds, his wife right behind him. It was less than a kilometre to his sister, Ithilwen's place, so they arrived there in seconds. They both knew instinctively that Sellion was probably behind the explosion. He had a habit of blowing up stuff with badly executed spells.
When they arrived there, the tree house was intact, with only a slight smell of ozone in the air. Ithilwen however, wasn't in such good shape. She lay on the floor, her hair and clothing singed. Thane ran to her, and picked her up. After placing her gently in her hammock, he said a short spell, and a flagon of cold mead appeared in his hands. He propped her up, so she could sip it.
"What happened, Ithilwen? Where's Sellion?"
She recovered enough to sit up and knock back half the flagon of mead. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, and sat up to speak to her brother.
"He went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans today, and he was back in a couple of hours, thoroughly disgusted. The city, and the celebration had not survived Hurricane Katrina very well. He loved it the way it was before Katrina. He walked in the parade, dressed as himself, and he didn't look any weirder than anyone else. He loved the food, the music, and especially the women. He got laid a lot before Katrina, but now, not so much. Carnival has come back a lot since the hurricane, but the old buildings, the atmosphere, it will never be the same, so he went back.”
“Went back, where?” Sharonah broke in.
“To New Orleans, 2003. He had this idea in his mind that if he could talk the city government into rebuilding the levees and strengthening the disaster response committees, he could avoid what happened to New Orleans, and his beloved Mardi Gras would be saved forever.”
“He's just a kid, he doesn't have the talent or knowledge to do something that drastic!” Thane remarked.
“I know. I didn't know what was going on, or I would have stopped him. I found a letter in my room, telling me what he was up to. He said he'd be away for awhile, but not to worry. He said I could find him in New Orleans, hopefully one that had never been devastated by Katrina. I rushed out to the main room where you found me, just in time to see a window open in time, and what I saw there, was not New Orleans as we know it. I saw the scenery change, as Sellion flew through it. The city had horses and carriages, and the streets were lit by gas light. I called to him, and tried to follow, but he had specifically put a restraining spell on me to keep me here. The last thing I saw before the window closed, was a swamp of some sort.”
Sharonah's face took on the look of a thunder cloud, that wouldn't bode well for Sellion when she found him. She left her sister-in-law's bedroom, and went out to the main room, the scene of the crime, as it were. She returned a moment later with a piece of charred parchment in her hand.
“I know what happened. He used the wrong spell. He used an older version of 'The Window into Time spell,' which put him back into the time the spell was written. He is now in Victorian New Orleans, or at least in the vicinity. There's a swamp outside the city. I'll look there first.” Sharonah explained.
“I'm going with you,” Thane said.
“You'll need to stay here and gather up the elders, if I don't come back right away. You'll need a retrieval spell, particularly if Sellion has gotten himself into really big trouble. I love you my dear, keep only happy thoughts for me,” she said as she gave him a strong hug and kiss in the way of a farewell.
She studied the parchment, and began a chant that rose and fell in alternating cadences. In a matter of moments, the air around her shimmered and eddied, as a window into time opened around her. It closed right behind her as she was dumped unceremoniously into the mud of the swamp. She cursed mightily in a mixture of English and Elven as she often did when she was furious. She slogged her way out of the muck, calling loudly in all directions as she went.
"Sellion, Sellion, answer me, you little rat bastard! If you aren't dead already, I'm going to strangle you for this!"
She stopped and listened for a moment. Her highly sensitive hearing could pick up the slightest sound from miles around. There was not a peep out of Sellion, but there was something that interested her - human voices. Maybe they saw her nephew. She followed the voices to a clearing, where she viewed a UFO for the second time in her life.