YULE: PART I
King Ember nervously fidgeted with his coat as he observed his reflection in the mirror. His beloved wife had painstakingly seen to it that he was as impeccably dressed as always but he was a nervous wreck. For several weeks, the residents of the Dyson Sphere home he owned had been raising their concern of not having any magic within its boundaries and had therefore urged him to reconsider turning the light switch for magic back on while still maintaining the Dyson Sphere’s protection.
It was a matter he had discussed at length with Avery Alison and she had offered him the only solution he had found so far which was to leave the task to one gifted with more magic than he was who could easily ensure magic could be performed within the Sphere while ensuring the shields were not only maintained but strengthened to prevent an attack as bad as the one that had happened several months prior by normal standards of time.
“It will go well, my darling Ember, I believe so,” his wife Anna had consistently assured him. He was not convinced at all. Entrusting his life and that of all the residents of the Sphere to a Sidhe no less was the last thing he ever thought he would do even though he trusted Avery Alison and her judgement.
He nervously glanced at his watch and then set back on the journey from his homeland in 14th Century Medula to the Dyson Sphere with his wife Anna faithfully by his side. Once he was in his office in the Administration Building of sorts in the Sphere, he met Avery and nearly fainted on seeing the Sidhe Empress in the flesh so casually speaking to her as if her very existence did not defy reality.
“King Ember, it is an honor to finally meet you especially in such pleasant times. It is equally an honor to meet you, my lady, Queen Anna. I have heard only great things about you,” the Empress proclaimed bowing respectfully before them.
King Ember cleared his throat but it still felt dry as a bone when he said, “Uh… The honor is all mine, my lady.”
“Please, do not be afraid of me, King Ember. I am no longer the person I used to be. I have finally found redemption after all these years as have quite a large number of Sidhes that still exist,”
“There are… uh… others?” he asked worriedly.
Alyona nodded. “You need not worry about them but since my presence causes you such distress, I suggest that we address the task at hand and then I shall no longer intrude on your hospitality,”
Ember looked from the Empress to Avery who smiled encouragingly as if to say it was alright to trust her. He was unable to look at Alyona directly in the eye even as he showed her the layout of the Sphere and briefed her on the various magical protections he had put in place. He found himself holding his breath as she appraised his work.
“This is very impressive, King Ember. Might I make some suggestions on how to improve upon the great ideas here?” she asked.
He nodded and she proceeded to give a very detailed and professional account of how she would improve upon the work he had already done for the Sphere. Her ideas were flawless as was her work in not only turning the switch back on but ensuring the Entity’s minions would no longer pose threats to his second home-world.
“The evil Aurora and Leal exploited some loopholes in the previous magical shields. It was quite ingenious as you see there was not a total black-out of magic- you allowed portals or wormholes into the world for the Travelers to move in and back out of the Sphere. That was the magic loophole they exploited to piggyback on and use to come into the Sphere. Once in, they overcame the magic shields by channeling the power of the Entity so magic once more became a part of the Sphere. I have ensured this can no longer be the case by providing a sort of Magical Fingerprint system- where the Sphere recognizes the magic of each resident here. For new residents, you will have to ‘open the door’ in order for them to use magic and the Sphere shall constantly change positions so that no one can navigate here using any magical travel means or even by accident,” Alyona explained.
“Oh… Thank you,”
“It was nothing. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some Yule festivities to attend to. In case you need my help, you can summon me at any time. Protector Alison shall instruct you on how to do so,”
“We are grateful, my lady. Happy Yule!” Anna said.
“Happy Yule, my Queen,” she said with a bow before disappearing.
Avery smiled very pleased with the developments. She was then very absorbed in helping set up the Sphere for the Yule Festivities making sure to avoid Emre at all costs despite his best efforts to get to her. Erabelle too was eager to engage in the festivities which made Ember suspicious that she was also running away from something.
Once the arrangements were completed, Avery bid goodbye to the Dyson Sphere inhabitants in favor of spending some much needed alone time with her son back in her timeline. Emre had insisted on joining her but she would not have it. Her mother Aurora tagged along with her leaving a distraught and lonely Protector Grayson behind with their toddler daughter Avery who had began to age significantly since the veil of magic was lifted.
As per the traditions prescribed in the Religious Scrolls and Edicts, there was a Fire Festival which all residents participated in. They burnt the Yule Logs which gave out a sweet smell even as they sang carols by the camp fire. For Dark World inhabitants including Oracle Emica, they nonchalantly observed the other residents sing carols and observe the religious rituals prescribed, not truly believing in the Goddess. They had lost their faith and culture after all.
However, of note was a witch rescued by Protector Nobu named Cindy. She sat next to Erabelle and out of great respect for her, Ember assumed, she did her best to participate in all the festivities. Cindy did not let go of Erabelle’s hand for one second while Erabelle appeared to be so embarrassed by her friend’s gesture of affection that she could not meet her parents’ eyes.
The festivities went well into the night with refreshments being provided for all attendants well into the night and on the following morning, they resumed with their friends from other realms outside the Sphere such as the Prince of Wintria and his beloved Protector Thea joining them with the best of news…
Prince Alyan and his Protector Thea, were expecting their first and what would be their only child as was to be expected of the Prince of Wintria. The young couple couldn’t be happier and heartily celebrated the news with all present during the Yule Festivities.
TO BE CONTINUED…