“The King of the Faeries watched his daughter and Fray frolicking over the grass and frowned. He snapped his boney fingers and a wingless servant stepped forth. ‘Summon the best soldiers and prepare for war. Faery blood must not be tainted by wingless humans.’”
The Inspector’s accomplice awaited the girl at the Wiltshire airport. Like his friend, he wore a large top hat, sunglasses and a dark coat. He instantly spotted the strawberry blonde haired girl who appeared to have no luggage.
He waved to her from the glass window and her only reply was a hurried wave in return. The accomplice met her at the gate and led her to a bench to rest a bit.
“I am the man you were meant to meet here.”
Nika nodded and fumbled with the bottom of her ratty orange t-shirt.
“Come with me. A taxi will take us where we need to go.”
She had begun to accept the strange manner of the Inspector and his friends. It seemed almost natural, the strange straightforwardness they had and the manner of their clothing.
She had not seen anything yet though.
A taxi took them into the countryside of Wiltshire and Nika realized the area around her was becoming strangely familiar.
Then she saw them.
The stone monoliths rose into view and it took her breath away.
It was the Stonehenge.
People milled around the famous formation and flashbulbs went off every which away. Guards watched the tourists carefully so they wouldn’t touch the precious stones that made up the national monument.
Nika and the man stepped out of the taxi, and he led her to a grassy knoll, motioning for her to sit down. She did and watched the spectacular sunset with the view of the Stonehenge pressed against it. Nika was unsure of how long she sat there with the cloaked man until the stars were out and all the people had left.
Tourist booth’s lights clicked off and cars drove away. The full moon rose high into the night. Her companion removed his large hat, sunglasses and coat and Nika could not suppress her gasp.
He was clothed in a long white silk robe that flowed like water around him. Two pointed ears protruded from his long black hair and silver eyes glowed in the dark night.
He turned towards her, an amused look on his elfin face, “Are you afraid of me?”
Nika shook her head and stood to stretch. After the tree woman and the faery, she vowed not to be fearful of this man. Surely, a tree woman was worse than an elf.
Midnight came quickly and lightning flashed across the clear sky. Thunder boomed and strange purple clouds converged above the Stonehenge.
The elf took her hand and led her to the Stonehenge.
Shy Nika suddenly had a lot of questions.
“Who are you?! What is that?! What do you want with me?”
He took her by the shoulders and crouched to her level. They were in the middle of the ring of stones and the storm was getting stronger, whipping both of their hair around, tangling them together.
“All will make sense in time. For now, you must go.”
The storm above their heads was growing stronger by the second. News reporters had already gathered around Stonehenge to record the phenomena. Television watchers around the globe could see Nika and the elf…..but she didn’t know it yet.
The storm was swirling into a vortex, Nika at the very eye. The howling winds were too loud for her to hear anymore from the elf so he left, slipping away into the darkness. Nika shielded her eyes as the lightning flickered faster and faster.
Then, the most amazing event of that year that everyone would remember happened. The stones of Stonehenge that had sat there for millennia rose into the air, floating ethereally, and began to spin around and around Nika.
She peered out between the flickering stones to see glimpses of another world. She felt her feet leave the ground and a scream was torn from her parted red lips. She was leaving her own dull world and entering another.
Meanwhile, in Aether, the other world, Serena had sensed the activation of the Gate and raced to the darkest part of the fortress, deep in the rock, where the ring hung.
It strained at its chains, the lightning forking out from inside the vortex. A horrible scream split the air and the chains snapped, the ring beginning to spin faster and faster.
In the shadows of the dungeon, a figure watched the spectacle. A smile pierced his world weary face.
“She is returning.”
Nika flung back her head and stared into the heart of the vortex. She was rising into the open jaws of the storm and there was nothing she could do. The stones of Stonehenge were rising with her, forming a ring around her.
The stars above her appeared to spin as well, drawn into the eye of the vortex. Nika rose into the swirl of stars and suddenly, the earth was above her head. She floated ethereally, her hair streaming above her, a pool of star filled water beneath her. The stones rose with her, fitting into place to form an orb of stone around her.
The glassy black pool of space swallowed her, enveloping her, orb and all.
Far beneath the upside-down spectacle, a rattled British reporter was talking frantically into a mike, eyes fixed on the swirling stars that had just swallowed the red haired American girl.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot believe my eyes. Stonehenge is gone. Taken into the sky and has simply vanished. Local alien believers have gathered along with hundreds of cult worshipers. Scientists are trying to make sense of the phenomena which has broken hundreds of laws of physics, perhaps forever changing our view of the universe. The girl in question that was taken is Nika Roberts, a girl who has recently claimed of seeing fairies and other such creatures. The last recorded incident of her was that she had run away……”
In the shadows, the elven druid lifted his face where Nika had vanished and two words formed on his blood red lips.
Far away, soaring across the ether was the sphere of stone made up of the Stonehenge itself.
Deep in its heart, Nika laid curled, glimpses of another world flashing through her mind. She saw other planets like none she had ever seen before, dragons and griffins sailing through a dark, rich blue sky, faeries at war…….and humans as well.
She saw a couple, a faery girl and a human boy….they had started it, somehow, the war. She shivered as she witnessed the bloodshed on the battle field and the killing of the human, now an adult….
Serena roared her disapproval as an orb of stone began to form in the mouth of the Ether Gate.
The figure that lay hidden in the shadows stepped forth and allowed the howling winds to lift his hooded cloak from his back. The cheeky face of Dorr the Mighty appeared and Serena’s eyes flashed fire at the sight of him. He lifted his chin high and watched the orb slowly spin downward from the whirling ring until it thudded softly on the sandy floor.
The Fire Elemental’s eyes glittered as the stones that made up the orb fell apart into a rough formation of the Stonehenge.
Inside of it was Nika who was now sprawled on the ground, moaning softly.
Dorr lunged forward and scooped up the unconscious girl, carrying her up the stone steps as fire bolts streaked past him, flung from Serena’s fingertips.
Just before he wrenched the old wooden door open at the top of the steps, a blazing bolt of magma struck his wing and shoulder, igniting them.
Crying out in pain, he leaned against the door till it gave way and stumbled out, carrying Nika away from the fortress to safety…..