The memories were still there. The hoards of goblins and the army of orcs. The troop of trolls and the other beasts from hell. I relived the long battle over and over but the end was always the same. I had stood in the gate to Elvanhome and fought constantly for two days before the legions of sidhe returned.
They had struck into the rear of the enemy and brought their allies the dwarfs. The foul ones died or fled and I finally stood with no enemy before me. That was when the single black arrow slammed into my chest. The sidhe king himself knelt to grip my hand and swore I would return.
The memories end there but there are glimpses of what happened next. A wizard encased my body in a huge crystal coffin and my essence in a crystal orb. Both were placed on a very tall pedestal in the center of ancient Elvanhome. Seasons passed and the world changed and even the sidhe. Elvanhome emptied until only ghosts remained.
The earth began to retake the world and slowly the ground rose until the crystal coffin was level with it. I heard the whispers in my dreams or memories but could not understand. Light returned to the world as I felt and saw out of the orb. A wizard held it while looking at my body and I could only watch.
He shifted and I saw the single sidhe speaking to him. Darkness returned and but it was different and like I was floating. I heard faint sounds and the shifting of feet, the rustle of cloth and the sound of someone breathing. There were tiny clicking sounds and finally my eyes snapped open to the sound of a voice, “is he there?”
I looked at a white ceiling and slowly turned my head to see the wizard and the sidhe. The sidhe straightened and moved to the bed and placed his hand on my chest, “Kelso?”
I shifted and tried to sit up and he bent to help me. I looked at the strange metal room around me and looked at the sidhe. I tried to speak but my voice was a harsh whisper, “where am I?”
The sidhe sighed, “it has been a long time. It shames me to know my people forgot the debt we owe you.”
He looked around the room, “we have become a fallen people.”
The wizard moved to the bed, “he will need exercise and learning.”
The sidhe nodded and the wizard walked out. I looked at my hands and blinked before trying to see my whole body. The sidhe helped me stand, “many thousands of years have gone by since you fell.”
I struggled to take a step and he helped me until I was looking at my reflection. It looked back at me from one of the shiny walls and I reached up to touch my face. The sidhe shifted, “I wish we were able to return you to your body but ... the king’s law is clear and it must forever remain where it is.”
I looked at him, “and this body?”
Like before it was a croak but he heard and understood, “created or as your people say engineered from my DNA.”
The story of his remembrance and finding me came as he helped me dress. It was several days before I could walk on my own. The new and amazing things I saw seemed like magic but the sidhe Samuel called them inventions of science. It was a month before I met others. I was moving smoothly through a series of exercises with swords.
I shifted and one hand flicked a sword up and pushed out while the other cut across. I spun and sliced and turned and slowed as I saw the tall sidhe and the guards. I reversed the swords and knelt as I bowed my head, “sire.”
The sidhe king moved towards me, “do you remember me?”
I looked up, “of course. You are the king of the sidhe and the ruler of elvanhome.”
He stopped and gestured, “and you are really Kelso returned?”
I stood, “I am Kelso but ... I do not feel like before. I remember my life like it was only yesterday. Samuel said the wizard only moved my essence from where it had been kept.”
I looked at a hand and ignored the sword it still held, “but how can I be me and wear this body? How can I live again as if my life has made a wrong step?”
He nodded and turned and gestured, “come walk with me.”
I looked around before I shifted and tossed the two swords to the side. I followed and walked beside him and he sighed, “I remember our return like it was a dream. You stood in the middle of the gate completely covered in blood and gore. Your weapons were jagged and chipped and blood still fell from the point of your sword.”
He glanced at me, “I saw the foul one turn and loose the arrow that ... struck you.”
He looked down, “I knelt in the foulness around you and held your hand. The promise I made was to comfort a warrior. You should have died and rested in peace before you were reborn. The wizard only heard my words and thought to act on them. Time and other duties kept him from finishing what he started.”
The king took a breath, “but you are alive once more. Reborn as one of my people and we still owe you a great debt.”
I shifted uncomfortably, “you own me no debt.”
He smiled, “that is the Kelso I remember of old.”
He stopped and looked at me, “but you are wrong. I am sending out the call that you are alive once more. This time around you must have the family you yearned for.”
I looked at him quickly and he smiled, “yes we knew. Doona has passed but I am sure you will find many that are willing.”
I blinked, “willing?”
One of the guards whispered and the king looked at him and then nodded, “my time is short. Kelso my ... our people are fading. Where once we were many now we are few. Our ladies are trying to give us new life by bringing children into our world. Samuel has a list but it is for you to decide.”
He touched my shoulder, “I must go.”
The guards surrounded him and he walked away. I turned back to the practice area to see Samuel and he smiled, “so.”
I started walking, “do you know where Doona lies?”
He straightened, “Kelso...”
I growled and he sighed and nodded. I went to wash and dress and put on swords before Samuel returned. I looked at the two young seeming sidhe women and then at him. He smiled, “this is Jane and Ember. They wish to go with you.”
He looked at them and handed one a slip of something, “none have gone to the bridge in a very long time.”
They led me to a vehicle like I had seen and I got in. We were in the air in moments and I gripped the seat. Ember was driving and glanced at me, “relax Kelso.”
I snorted, “that is easy for you to say.”
Jane laughed and leaned forward between the seats, “so Kelso, they say you killed thousands of foul ones.”
I glanced at her, “I fought many.”
She grinned, “were there dark sidhe?”
I looked at her hard, “dark sidhe? What are they?”
She looked surprised but Ember answered, “it was after you ... died. Many sidhe wished to break away and joined dark mages. They created a race we now called Ashtear to destroy us but it failed. The Ashtear turned on them and the dark sidhe fled to Darkhelm. On many realms ... worlds, we have fought them before we returned home.”
Jane sighed, “we still find many of the lost clans on the old worlds but like us the Dark have retreated to Darkhelm. When the humans discovered ways to travel to other worlds it opened thousands we had not gone to or visited. We had forgotten how to open the realm gates just as our cousins the Dark have.”
Ember hissed, “but as soon as they learned to travel the stars they returned to their dark ways.”
I kept looking back and forth and cleared my throat, “so some of the dark sidhe could attack here?”
Jane snorted, “they were slapped down and rose again to start a war with one of the human empires. Now their king is dead and their clans scattered. Their women rule which has been for the better so far.”
I looked ahead and below as the vehicle sped through the sky. I saw the white cliffs long before we reached them. Ember slowed and went lower and finally landed on top of the cliffs. I got out and looked at what had once been the great city of the realms. It was silent and dead now and even the air was still.
I glanced at the girls as they took my arms and then started walking. Halfway through the city it felt as if we were being watched. I slowed and looked around, “does someone live here?”
Jane sniffed, “no.”
I glanced at her and then pulled the two swords. Ember shifted, “you do not...”
I spun when I heard the claws on stone. Goblins poured out of empty doors and around corners and I took a long step, “stay behind me.”
I lunged and put one sword into the chest of the first goblin. I twisted and yanked as I cut out and across with the other. It was like I was back in the gate and I stepped into that dance. I cut the throat of a goblin leaping toward me while moving back to the right. I followed it by sinking the other sword into the throat of another.
I continued to move to a door, “get in the building!”
I stabbed and cut and hacked and lunged and the goblins died. I backed to the door after the girls ran through. I could hear them talking loud but ignored it as I moved back and forth in front of the door. Time slowed for me as images flickered behind my eyes and memories seemed to haunt me.
The bodies began to pile up and the goblins ignored those not dead to climb over them. It was a half mark before suddenly there were dozens of loud cracks and goblins fell. The loud cracks continued as the goblins died and I slowly relaxed. I looked back the way we had come to see several dozen sidhe aiming sticks.
.... There is more of this story ...