“Now that you’re sitting and comfortable I’m going to start over and go a bit more slowly this time. Again, you need to know that I’m not human. I’m an elf.” Wisteria sat across from me in one of the green armchairs. She seemed startled when I fell to my knees, and walked out of the mirror to help me up. Honestly, that part didn’t phase me much. She unloaded a lot on me in the first sentence and a few fuses in my head were burnt out pretty quickly. Once I was up, she walked me to the living area and sat me in one of the armchairs. Once seated she pulled the other one in front of me and sat down herself. I was still a little out of it, but I registered what she said. My eyes darted to where her ears were likely hidden in her curls. She noticed and pulled her hair back on the right side of her head. Her ear was definitely elfy. The tip was pointed and curved forward slightly. Her earlobe was also pointy. The cartilage in her ear seemed to descend into it. I nodded, letting her know that I understood. She let her hair fall.
“You should know that no one you’re going to meet here will be human.”
“Why?” I asked. I was surprised at myself. I wasn’t expecting myself to be able to speak so soon. Neither did she apparently. Her expression lifted a little when I spoke.
“Oh, good. I didn’t break you. To answer your question, humans have never set foot in Magesterial. That is, until you showed up. I guess it’s time for a quick history lesson.
“Over two thousand years ago, we lived in relative peace with the humans. And not just elves, by the way. There are about a dozen races here in Magesterial that used to live on Earth as well. There are Dwarves, Faeries, and Gnomes to name just a few. Anyway, all the races lived side by side and for a time there was little conflict. But the humans grew suspicious of us. They started expanding into our territories, started kicking us out of our homes, and started stealing our resources.”
“Why would they- we be suspicious?” I asked.
“Because your race was the only race born without magic.”
“Prove it.” I was willing to believe a lot on faith right now, but magic wasn’t on the list.
“Oh, okay. Umm…” She searched her pockets, looking for something. She pulled out an assortment of folded papers, pens, and coins. She didn’t seem all that organized to me. Finally she pulled out a leaf, no bigger than a potato chip.
“Why do you carry a leaf around with you?” I asked.
“For this,” she said triumphantly. Wisteria held out her hand, palm facing the ceiling, with the leaf sitting on her fingertips. The leaf began to float and slowly spin. From its stem sprouted a slowly growing vine that split in two directions. One of the split pieces of vine kept growing and separated again into three smaller tendrils of plant, like roots just sprouting from a seed. The other half of the split began to engorge until it was the size of a pool ball. The bulb then burst into a blooming lotus flower with petals as white as snow with twisting veins of sky-blue. She lifted her hand to the side of her head and the flower floated with it. When it neared her hair, the three tiny roots grasped for a lock and coiled, reeling the lotus in until it was perfectly affixed in her hair.
“That proof enough for you?” she asked, turning her head to show off her new flower. She seemed almost cocky. “Plantaemancy is a specialty of mine.” I was awestruck.
“Okay,” I sputtered. “Magic is real. You convinced me. I’m ready to hear the rest of your story.”
“Right. Where was I? Oh, yeah. The humans were driving us from our lands. We tried retaliating, but back then our battle magic wasn’t very sophisticated, and the humans’ technology easily overpowered us. For some reason, this was happening all over the world. The peoples of every major and minor civilization across the globe had it out for us. Eventually, we gave up trying to defend ourselves and decided to hide. However, there was nowhere on earth that the humans wouldn’t eventually follow. So we cast the most complex spell we’ve ever cast. In a single night, we vanished from every corner of the planet.”
“Hang on,” I interrupted. “It sounds like your, uh, races were all over the place. How were you in that many places when most humans were barely out of their own countries? And how did you coordinate with each other to… run from us?”
“The idea of imaginary borders is incredibly foreign to us. We simply went where we pleased. And while our skill in combat was lacking, we were able to cross long distances with our magic. As for keeping in touch, our magic allowed for that as well.
“After we left, we found ourselves here. We dubbed this place ‘Magesterial,’ and we never looked back. Well, that’s not entirely true. We keep tabs on your world, but we have no intention of going back anytime soon.”
“We’ll get back to that. Now it’s my turn to ask you some questions. Nothing too personal. We just need to make extra sure you’re not invading.”
“Hup!” she interrupted me with a quick sound. She paused, and an expression fell across her face as if she was listening to someone talk. She shifted from her, so far, bubbly attitude to a sterner one. “It’s my turn to ask questions. I get you’ve probably got a lot of them, and if we deem you safe, you’ll get to ask them.
“First: where are you from? Be as specific as you like. We’ll figure it out.”
“Um… okay. Little Dublin, upstate New York, United States… Earth?”
“Okay.” She didn’t write anything down. It occurred to me our discussion was(tense) probably being watched. “Next: Do you know how you came to Magesterial?” My mind turned to the swirling of silver and red light in the dark forest.
“A portal or something. It was in the woods near where I live.” It suddenly dawned on me that I really wasn’t home. Images of my friends and family flashed in my mind, but before I could properly break down I caught the look on Wisteria’s face. It held an expression of concern mixed with wonder.
“A portal? That’s… unexpected. Although, I’m not sure what else we should have expected. And I guess it might explain… how we found you.”
“What do you mean? You didn’t just stumble across me?”
“No… that is how we found you, but not how we found you. You know, like your… condition?”
“You mean how I was dizzy and nauseous?”
“Not exactly… Oh Ancestors, how do I put this? It would seem that only you went through the portal. Only you. As in, with nothing with you… or on you.”
“Oh for Fae’s sake, we found you naked!” A new, somewhat familiar voice sounded from nowhere, as Wisteria’s had before. This one was a guy’s voice. I felt my face flush. The word resounded in my head like a gong. “Naked.” I was found naked, and, if I remembered correctly, in what sounded like a crowded area. I felt like hiding in this room forever. I was speechless. As I slumped in my chair and hid my face in my palms, Wisteria rushed over to the mirror. It appeared as though she was arguing with a new reflection, but I was drowning in my shame and didn’t get a good look. After what felt like hours, but was probably a couple minutes, Wisteria came over to me and tapped my shoulder in an attempt to reign me in from my embarrassment. I looked up at her.
“My friend would like to say something,” she said with a motherly tone. The new voice sounded again.
“I’m sorry if what I said embarrassed you,” it said in the kind of tone one child gives another after being told to apologize. “It was wrong of me to add public nudity to the list of things you need breaking to you today.” Wisteria rolled her eyes.
“Drake,” she said, putting her hand on my shoulder. “I’ve got to get going. I can answer one more question before I leave. Got anything?” I didn’t need to think hard for my question.
“When can I go home?” Wisteria’s face fell, and my spirits went with it.
“Well… we’re not sure. It takes a lot of magic to physically go between our worlds. There’s a chance you might never go home. And I don’t want to make things seem worse, but you should know that a lot of people are upset you’re here.”
“Why?” I asked, though I hardly cared for the answer. My mood just fell into a pit.
“I can’t get into it right now. Just know you’re not going to see anything outside of this room for a while.” She made her way toward the mirror. “I’m sorry. I have to go.” Her face held enough emotion for me to tell she meant it. If anything, her sincerity kept me from being too upset. She walked through the mirror and blurred out of this new existence of mine. I looked around what would be my home for the time being, and walked to the alcove where my new bed was housed. I laid down and closed my eyes. It was hard to get to sleep thinking about everything I may never see again, but I wanted nothing more than to dream my problems away.