Baellnar watched, as he always did. The hope in his eyes was polluted by sadness. In front of him was a swirling glass mirage. Inside it was her image trapped within a crystalline-barrier that would evaporate in the next few moments. He and Aagi could finally remove her from the isolated kingdom of Earth and bring her home.
Aagi looked at him, a deep well of understanding within his eyes. Their knowing glance lasted for but a moment, until their attention turned back to the mirror. The transparent barrier that had isolated her from their protection. They could do nothing when he found her. They had to watch as he destroyed her family and stole her away from her home. He was a trickster and a fiend.
He was Scelestra’s ‘dog’, and did her biting and bidding without question. He held out his hand to Alyenna with the devil in his eyes as he offered her ‘shelter’ and ‘love.’ She was young, naive, and bereft; so, she took his hand and followed him to her thirteen-year isolation.
It was time. Baellnar and Aagi could finally set her free. Baellnar’s mouth twitched with pride as he watched her flee, once again, from Paul’s house. He waited with tension writhing relentlessly in his veins, each second felt like a millennium. Baellnar’s anxiety silently squeezed his heart, until finally, relief swept over him, Paul did not emerge from the house.
The portal’s image followed closely behind Alyenna as she fled through the forest. As the portal weakened he had been able to send more and more magic through to aid her. Fresh air filled her lungs and the northeastern wind pressed against her back. Pushing her forward and in the direction of the landing zone. He smiled with relief. The clarity of the picture brought him joy.
It had been a while since Baellnar had been able to get a clear vision of Aly, but yesterday that had changed. He was not entirely sure what had caused the change; but, he was grateful it had happened. He also knew that she had something to do with it; because, despite The monster’s constant neglect and abuse, her spirit never failed her. Good, hold on to that Aly. You will need it here.
Aagi patted him on the back. He was always obnoxiously observant of those around him. Baellnar would try to hide his anxiety behind a stoic visage. A mask that Aagi never failed to see straight through. Aagi eyed his friend knowingly. “Not long now ya knife-eared mama’s boy.” The gruffness of his voice only added to the humor of his statement. Which in all actuality was a lame attempt to drive laughter out of him, but it worked regardless.
Baellnar couldn’t help the laughter that escaped him. The tension in the room had been insufferable, and as always, Aagi had a knack for ruining the serious nature of just about any situation. That apparently, included this one.
Baellnar turned his attention back to the portal. The anxiety in his soul only shown by the twitch of his fingertips. Which he attributed to years of experience as a general for the rebellion. Baellnar had adopted a principle he called ‘duck on water.’ No matter how much he was working or how fast he needed to be pedaling. On the surface, he was relaxed. It was an art that gave his troops confidence when he had none. He used this principle so much It had become second nature to him.
His attention was still hyper-focused on Alyenna’s flight. “Come on girl, give us this one thing.” The landing zone was three miles from the house. It was as close as they could get given the protections that Paul had somehow woven around the building. Despite Earth being barren of magic that trickster had managed to slip some through.
Her foster family had done their best to keep her a secret. No one was naive enough to believe Scelestra had not found a way to Earth outside of the main portal. They had moved Aly around to different states, and school systems every couple of years. They had even done their best to keep her identity secret, even from her. They had succeeded; until her sixteenth year.
The day she had begun to show her latent abilities was the day everyone had been dreading. The opening of the portal was still thirteen years away, and with magic being so rare on Earth, it did not take Paul much to detect it. It was impossible to keep magic hidden in the Earth Realm because humans there had lost the ability to wield it centuries ago.
When he finally found her foster family he destroyed them, and then snaked his way into her life. Typical demon scum, he cursed inwardly as he noticed the fresh bruises on her visage.
He smiled again. “The fates are smiling on us, my friend.” Alyenna had no concept of how fortunate her timing was. Baellnar and Aagi had one shot and an exorbitantly finite period of time to bring her home. The portal would be open for only thirty minutes and then seal itself for another one hundred and fifty years and they would all be trapped in the bland world of Earth, and Tendaara would truly be lost.
He felt his heart flutter as the glass of the portal evaporated and gave way to a dazzling mist. “It’s time.” He said softly. His eyes never left his charge’s face.
“Readeh or not Aly ’ere we come!” Aagi roared as he barreled through the portal. Once again laughter seized Baellnar as he ran after his friend.
“Charge!” Baellnar roared his voice filled with amused sarcasm while he held his sword aloft and barreled through the portal. He felt the unfamiliar tingle of the magic around him for a split second and then he felt soft earth underneath his boots. He steeled himself fighting a spell of nausea that came with the transference and looked ahead.
She was there in the clearing. Completely unaware of their arrival, a weathered book clutched tightly in her hands and she was yelling about the ending, again. Baellnar scanned the area. This moment had to be a perfect surprise.
She did not know what she was and frankly neither did he, but she bested Paul frequently enough to make her dangerous. The current plan was to kidnap her. So he hoped for the best case scenario, that she did not see them coming. The concept of battling an angsty Aly was an alarming one.
Baellnar’s fears were quickly abated when Aagi took matters into his own much less delicate hands. The fiery-haired dwarf was in the process of surreptitiously sneaking up on her, the hilt of his ax at the ready. In one swift flick of his wrist, he struck her with the pommel and she collapsed on the ground. “Grab ’er!”