“Time is short, I will explain it all later.” Kalithil moved to a quieter corner of the path, away from nosy onlookers.
Lily’s voice lilted, finding him more than a little amusing. “Isn’t something always happening around you?” she joked.
He remained serious, his eyes darting around at the people moving about the district. “I have a guest experiencing the same temporal skips as the twins,” he explained quietly. “More like Kali, however. No multiplicity. I need you to try and anchor a portal at the fortress, to account for the chronomaly.”
The sounds of cloth rustling came through along with a chair being moved. “That is unusual! How did they come by this? An accident like mine? Or was it more direct? Oh, I suppose I will need the anchor stones, where did I put those…” There was a sharp sound of something glass shattering, books crashing down, and various other indications that Lily was frantically digging through things. Kalithil closed his eyes as he pinched the bridge of his nose. “Found one!” she declared triumphantly.
He sighed, relieved. “Excellent. This may not work though. If it fails, we will meet in Dalaran. Prepare everything we need to stabilize this person. She has less than 3 days until her next skip. She has been enduring this for two years, but fortunately she has kept a detailed journal.”
“Hmmm, let me get the portal working and I will start gathering everything. Oh the poor thing! We can help her.” The sound of things moving started again before the distinct hum of a portal could be overheard. The signal from the stone crackled a moment before the hum faded.
Mishun ran up, her breath quick and heavy. She had slung a large, heavy bag over the the long handle of a sharp spear which she bore behind her shoulders. Kalithil held up a hand to her as he continued to speak to the small, smooth stone inscribed with runes that sat in his palm. “I know we can.”
Mishun tipped her head to the side. “You are speaking to a pebble,” she observed out loud.
He smiled at her, whispering, “A communication device. I am preparing.” Mishun nodded and remained quiet. “Are you ready to try the portal?”
To Mishun’s surprise, a bright voice came through, seemingly out of no where. “Everything is in place, my love. Let us try. I hope your office is all right. Most of what I needed was in there.”
“That is perfect. Casting now,” he told her. His hand came up and a series of runes appeared on the ground in front of him. They formed a circle and began to turn together, creating a thin line of violet power that expanded into a shimmering portal. The image with showed a bookcase filled to the brim with scrolls, a wooden desk bearing instruments of various types and a number of glowing crystals on the floor. He lowered his hand and turned to the Draenei beside him. She nodded and started to step towards the portal. The image began to falter as the edges crackled and sparked. Kalithil’s hand snapped out, grasping her arm and pulling her back.
“Kal!” Lily cried out in panic. “It’s destabilizing! Stop her now!”
“Already done. It was immediately obvious the portal was rejecting her.”
Lily sighed, relieved. “I will meet you in Dalaran.”
“See you soon.” He brushed his thumb over the stone and returned it to his pocket. Looking Mishun over a moment to be certain she was all right, he apologized. “I was worried that might happen. Inter-dimensional portals are tricky at the best of times. But combined with a chronomaly, and there was too much interference. Well, this portal shouldn’t be an issue.”
“No need,” she told him. “I will use my hearthstone and meet you there. I know it works without problems.” He nodded and began his teleport spell. She pulled out the palm-sized stone and activated it.
A few moments later, they stood on the streets of the floating city. Kalithil again offered his arm, guiding her towards the center of town. They passed into a large chamber with a glowing circular platform in the middle. He stepped on and she followed. The sensation of falling filled her senses, though the ground never seemed to leave her hooves. She squeezed her eyes shut to help balance herself out and when she opened them, they were at the beginning of a short hallway that opened into a much larger area.
They crossed over to one of the smaller chambers where an area had been cleared and an enormous book floated in mid air, seemingly suspended by an unseen spell. Kalithil approached it as he looked over the rest of the room. “This will do,” he commented quietly.
Mishun walked the perimeter of the space, her fingers tracing the spines of the many, many books on the shelves. “I’ve not been down here before.”
Kalithil reached into his pocket and once again retrieved the small stone. His thumb set on the center as he began to speak. “Lily, where are you?” He turned a page, looking over the words the glowed on the paper.
“I’m positioning myself at a leyline nexus. You haven’t prepared for this. You need a push.”
Kalithil called over to Mishun. “Lily dropped off what we need as set the room for us.”
She looked over at him. “Push?”
“Lily is very adept at channeling power from the ley lines.” He indicated that she should join him on that side of the space.
“Ummm, but she is not here,” she commented, clearly confused. “How does she help you?”
“Zarkhenar, I assume?” he asked his wife.
“Where else?” she asked brightly. “Ooo, it tingles. This is a good spot.” Kalithil chuckled at her. “I could just sit here and be able to run around all week with no tea!” She continued to talk about something, but Kal had turned towards Mishun again.
“There is a nexus of ley lines that run through the islands beneath us. Lily will tap it and channel the power to me,” he explained. He took an exasperated breath. “Focus, my love.”
Kalithil traced a finger along the page in front of him. Mishun looked over, eyeing him skeptically. This is insane. Why did I trust this would work? She banished the thoughts and cleared her throat. “All right, what do I do?”
Kalithil placed the stone in her hand and moved her aside while he continued to study the page. “Lily, say hello to Mishun, by the way. She is Draenei. Do you recommend any changes to the circle?”
“Hello, Mishun!” she replied brightly. She giggled in a way that reminded Mishun of someone who was slightly drunk. “Draenei? Hmmm.” She was quiet a moment before continuing. “Move the fourth run to the third position and maybe the seventh about three degrees?”
“That may account for the denser bone structure.”
“Hmmm,” he glanced at Mishun thoughtfully. “She is…ah… not fully Draenei. Do you think that matters?”
“Not fully Draenei? Seventh only two degrees. Unless she is part tauren. Then it would need to be nine.”
“She is half Draenei, half Kal’dorei,” he explained.
“How unusual! Oh, I bet she is lovely! Two should be sufficient.”
Kal looked over at his granddaughter and smiled. “She is quite beautiful,” he admired. “I suspect she comes from a good family.” Mishun watched the whole scene with a good deal of confusion, though his compliments made her blush deeply. Kalithil lowered his voice to a whisper. “My wife tends to have a focus problem. If I tell her your whole story, she won’t be able to concentrate.”
“Oh!” she whispered back. “I was wondering why you were not telling her. I thought maybe you wanted to do so in person.”
He grinned wide, keeping his voice low. “That too.”
Lily’s voice cut through, a tinge of annoyance coloring it. “Kal! Get your hand off the stone! You are muffling the sound amplification again!”
He winked at Mishun and raised his voice back to a normal level. “Of course. Sorry, my love.” He peered intently at the book one more time. “All right, I am going to inscribe the circle now.” He picked up a piece of shimmering chalk that sat on the table beside him, along with a number of faintly glowing crystals. He stepped down into the lower area of the room. Slowly moving in a circle, he drew a series of symbols on the floor, placing a stone on top. Once he did so, a glowing rune appeared above it, which he rotated into position before moving to the next. “Can you feel it taking shape yet?”
“I can. Adjust your first rune once you are finished though. It’s off by one degree.” Kalithil grumbled as he carefully inscribed the next in line.
“How can she even know that?” Mishun’s eyes were wide with curiosity.
“Lily is very sensitive.”
“It still seems odd,” she commented. “That one could know such fine detail without being present.”
Lily’s giggles came through the stone. “Very sensitive.” He finished the last rune and stepped back to the first. Very slowly, he shifted it an almost imperceptible amount. “Ok, first rune is corrected. Did I do it right?”
“Feels good, my love.”
He reached out a hand to the girl. “Come down, child.” She nodded and set down her things. Grasping his hand, she walked down the steps and stood before the spell circle.
She shifted nervously. “So I just…stand there?” She pointed to the space in front of her.
“Stand precisely in the center,” he instructed.
She stepped in and stood in the middle. Looking down at her feet, she took a half step to her right. “Oh, I like her!” Lily’s voice came through, clearly impressed.
Kal put his hand one Mishun’s left shoulder and pushed her one half inch to the right. “You haven’t met her yet.”
“Now, now, Kalithil. Don’t be hypercritical.”
“Says the person who made me reset my first rune,” he grumbled. “How’s her position?”
“You want to get this right or waste everyone’s time? Which in this case is pretty critical,” she countered. “She’s fine. She needs to breathe though. The whole circle is vibrating. Mishun? If you can hear me, close your eyes. It will be just fine.”
Kalithil smiled down at the stone. Little does she know she is comforting her own grandchild, he thought, proud of the woman she was without even knowing the person she helped. Mishun closed her eyes slowly. She took a number of measured breaths. “It’s all right, child. Just relax and breathe.” She nodded at him, continuing to take air in through her nose and exhaling through her mouth.
“Ready, my love?” Lily asked.
“I am.” He shook his arms out, relaxing his body as best as possible.
“Here is comes!”
The air about them crackled as Kalithil closed his eyes and raised his hands into the air. A vibrant glow appeared around his arms, swirling unshifting patterns. Mishun cracked an eye open to watch, biting back the giggles from the sensation. The tattoos on Kalithil’s arms began to pulse with power. The patterns of magic about him began to mimic the pulse and stretched out towards the circle on the floor. The crystals vibrated in place a moment before lifting off the stones. The spell circle began to turn and glow brighter and brighter. Mishun opened her eyes, taking it in as she attempted to remain completely still. Kalithil’s brow broke out into a sweat as the light emanating from him grew ever brighter, obscuring his form. He maintained this for several minutes before pushing his hands forward, bathing the entire room in violet light.
Mishun instinctively shielded her eyes. When she looked back, she saw that Kalithil had collapsed in a heap on the floor. She rushed forward to help him. “Kalithil! Kalithil!” She shook him a few times. “Are you all right?” She looked around, spotting the stone on the floor. “How does this thing work?” She picked it up and yelled into it. “Lily! He’s collapsed!”
“I can hear you. You don’t have to shout,” she explained. “Is he breathing?”
Mishun checked him over carefully. “He is, but he’s not answering me.”
“Give him a minute. He will be all right. This is just exhausting for him. I may have pushed too much through.” Mishun looked around the room. Not finding a cushion of any kind, she moved to her bag. She dug around a moment before finding a spare shirt. She rolled it into a makeshift pillow and placed it under his head. After a moment, he mumbled something. Mishun grabbed his hand and squeezed. “Kalithil?” He groaned in response. Mishun took his hand and placed it to her forehead, whispering a word. A small mist of Light flowed from her into him.
“My head,” he whispered hoarsely.
“Shhh,” she soothed. “Do not get up. You fell. I will fetch a healer.”
He held up an unsteady hand to stop her. “Don’t,” he whispered. “They can’t really help. Also, chronomancy is against the law here.” He sat up slowly.
“Y-you did something illegal? No…” she tried to stop him. “No, you shouldn’t. Lie back.”
“Temporal magic is banned by the Kirin Tor, so yes, I did something illegal. But to fel with them.”
Lily’s voice cut through the air, concerned. “Kal? My love?”
“I’m here,” he answered unsteadily. Mishun flopped down next to him, rubbing the back of his hand gently with her own.
“Did I overdo it?” Lily asked.
“Oh, love, I am so sorry. Check the bag on the table. I put some chocolate and an herb pouch in there.”
“All right. And don’t be sorry. We do what we have to to protect our own.”
“Our…what?” Mishun’s eyes turned to the stone, wide as plates.
“They can rot in the void planes if they think I am not going to help my own blood, laws be damned.” He blinked a moment, realizing Lily had said something. “Huh?” Mishun crossed to the table and gathered the bag to him.
“Kalithil Silverthorn, what are you talking about?” Lily’s voice had taken on an edge to it, and not one Mishun liked. “How is she your own blood? I heard you. You said she is our won. Then said she is your blood.”
He didn’t respond immediately. Instead he opened the bag and popped a piece of chocolate in his mouth. He rubbed his head roughly. Mishun reached over and lifted the hair from his face and started checking him over for any obvious injuries. He smiles at her, whispering, “I’m all right. Just disoriented.”
“I thought you didn’t want to tell her yet,” she whispered back.
“Well, you’re right, but it looks like I blew that up.”
“Kal?” Lily called. “I’m coming to the Chamber.
He munched on some of the restorative herbs. “No. Lily, wait.”
“Why? You aren’t making any sense.”
He looked over at Mishun. “How do you feel?” he asked gently. He returned his attention to the stone for only a moment. “Just wait.”
“Itchy,” Mishun answered. “But fine otherwise.”
“No different?” He asked, confused. “And not even tired?” Mishun shook her head. “Lily, are you hearing this?” He rubbed his temples uncomfortably.
“Everything feels a little off. Like I want to scratch myself all over.”
The sounds of Lily walking up onto a gravel path could be heard. “I hear her. I need to check both of you. Itchy is a strange way to put it. Perhaps we need to make a minor adjustment. She should be tired though. The twins would sleep for a full day after.”
“Will we have to do this again?”
“Likely not. Give it a little. She might just be too excited to feel it.”
“I guess we will know for sure in three days.” He dusted off his sleeves and his pant legs.
Mishun watched him carefully as her eyelids started to droop slightly. “At least I will have three days to meet more of the family?” Kalithil smiled over at her.
The sounds of Lily’s footsteps stopped abruptly. “What‽” she shrieked. Mishun winced, her face remaining scrunched up for several seconds.
“Now I am in trouble,” Kalithil sighed. “Lily, I am going to get her a room at the inn here. She should not travel. As soon as I get her settled, I am coming home.” He got his hands under him, positioning himself to stand. “We need to talk.”
“You’re damned right we do,” Lily snapped. Kalithil chuckled lightly as he rose to his feet with some difficulty. Mishun moved to assisted him, but he waved her off, patting her arm gently once he was fully righted. “You and your damned secrets.”
Kalithil took a deep breath and squeezed his eyes closed a moment before blinking a few times to regain focus. Mishun stood at his side and offered her arm. “I swear this is not one of my secrets.” He smiled faintly and accepted the offer, trying to hide the hurt he was feeling from Lily’s anger. “Truly, Lily.”
“We’ll talk at him,” came the cold response.
“Please have some of that tea ready, I feel terrible.”
“All right, fine,” she snapped. There was a crackle from the stone in his hand, jolting him sharply as all sound from it ceased.
“Oh, she’s mad,” he commented.
“I…am…sorry,” Mishun managed through a yawn. “I did not mean to cause a fight.”
“Not your fault,” he reassured her. “All will be forgiven once she hears the whole story.”
“I do hope so.” She pointed to the table and everything laid out for his work. “Should we gather up before we leave?”
He chuckled lightly. With a slight wave of his hand, everything vanished from sight. “Lily will have set it to return home. Not to worry.”
Mishun picked up her things and hefted the spear onto her back, slinging the bag over her shoulder. “Which way?” He pointed back the way they had come. She walked them both to the platform which returned them to the surface. Once outside, he pointed to the right and she nodded. Not long after, they reached the inn. Kalithil went to speak to the innkeeper. Mishun looked around, finding herself feeling unfocused and a little disoriented. She watched as money changed hands and Kalithil returned. He gestured to the upper level and she walked him over. to the base of the steps.
They took it slow, Kalithil grasping the railing on one side, Mishun doing the same on the other side. Kalithil puffed a few times as the reached the top. “Wow, I do not remember these stairs being so steep.” He leaned heavily against the pillar at the head of the hall.
Mishun pointed to the room on the left with a single bed, chair and table. “This one here is fine.” She stepped towards the door to pull the key from the wall. She was brought up short by his hand on her shoulder.
The ancient elf pointed to the end of the hall. They walked to the door and pushed it open. Inside stood a large, four-poster bed draped with fine silks. A table with two velvet chairs sat in the corner along with a dressing table, and a gilded mirror. “This is yours for at least a week. I want you to be comfortable. You need to rest…a lot. And only get up when you must.”
She smiled faintly. “You are kind.”
“I will return to check on you. I suspect Lily may come to see you as well.” He stepped into the room and scanned it to be certain it was empty. “And by suspect, I mean she will be here later today.”
Mishun’s eyes went open wide. “W-will she still be angry?” She pulled at her belt, letting the pouches slip free onto the table. Reaching over her shoulder, she removed the bag and set it there as well.
“If she is, it will only be at me,” he chuckled ruefully. “I should warn you, she is very…enthusiastic.” Mishun yawned, nodding. She reached back, attempting to removed her spear. She fumbled at it a few times before dropping it down to the floor. The metal clattered as it bounced a couple of times before coming to rest. She turned around slowly, staring at the weapon on the floor. Kalithil furrowed his brow. “You are starting to feel it.”
“I feel…heavy,” she responded softly.
Kalithil took her arm and guided her to the bed. He helped her in with effort, ensuring her head was on the pillow. “Stay here and rest.” She nodded, barely. Her eyes fluttered closed, her breath slowing and growing deep. He watched her for a moment before releasing a weary sigh. “What a day…”