Last chapter for today.
“I’m just going to continue,” He said, wanting to change the mood. I nodded, casting aside my thoughts and focusing. “Not only Aetherians live in the Aether. Other species do as well.” A book shot to his open hand, and he laid it down to face me. The large tome was without a name at the front, surprisingly.
“Flip to creatures.” He mumbled, stroking the spine of the book. The book turned its pages instantly. “Aetherians. That’s us.” He pointed at a drawing of a male and female, standing tall and proud. “There are, in fact, sub-categories. The Great Sages.” The book flipped to the next page to show two old men who looked like Gandalf and wore similar clothes as Dumbledore. Another old woman stood next to them, reading the stars with a hand-held telescope. “They are astrologers, palmists, sense your spiritual aura and practice other prophetical means to see glimpses of the future. It’s always 99% true. Not to mention, they have amazing memories.”
“They’re the most sought out when it comes to dire situations and even finding out the possible marriageable partners.” I nodded, looking at a white-haired child look at a thick tome. “So, everyone has white hair?” I asked, feeling silly. “Yeah. That’s how you tell them apart from everyone else. It’s not hereditary; your hair can just start turning white. It’s a sign.” He pointed out.
“Next, we have the Valkyries.” He smirked, sipping his chowder. “The Valkyries are the best combination of badass and sexy. Anyways, their female sovereign is Queen Reina.” A tall and willowy woman, with a crown of crystals adorning her head, stood poised, flanked by her wolves.
Her knight was behind her, with a winged helmet on her head. Somehow the armor just showed off skin in the right places. “Ah. I see what you mean. But aren’t they vulnerable with all that just exposed?” I raised an eyebrow. “Nah. It’s Aclyx chainmail. It’s invisible armor. They use this to distract enemies. It’s overly effective if they don’t know how to hone their glamor to charm their enemies. Once, one of them accidentally charmed their ally and he tried to kill himself. That’s what my dad told me, apparently.”
“Elves.” The page flipped. “It is common knowledge that elves have their signature pointy ears. Has this ‘idea’ of elves changed at all in the human world? I mean, the last time I took a walk around and properly acquainted myself with this realm was when ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’ was released. 1605. Heck, I was only 70 then. I’m a hundred and six this year.”
“That was 36 Aetherian years ago. So, in the span of these 36 years, you aged 412 human years? That’s 11.4444 human years every Aetherian year.” I gave him an incredulous stare. “Nah. It doesn’t work that way. Time warps between dimensions, and time is usually faster in the Aether. Unfortunately, time has slowed to match the human world’s time because of the imbalance of power. The royals are usually able to tamper with large amounts of glamor, and without them, the time will be warped. Don’t ask me; I never studied quantum physics between dimensions.”
“Back to the topic.” I pointed at the book. “Right. Sorry. As I was saying, elves are slightly shorter and thinner than us, and can only control elemental glamor. Most of them form our legion of archers and lightweights, and most of the ladies serve as seamstresses, ladies-in-waiting, and other similar job scopes. For some reason, spider silk doesn’t stick to their fingers.”
I nodded. “Thankfully, our society isn’t as gender biased as the society in the realm we are currently in.” He breathed a sigh of relief. I studied the pictures. Each type of elf was different, from their eye color to their skin color.
Air Elves had nearly transparent skin; Water Elves had a bluish tinge. Fire Elves were a faint red, whereas Earth Elves were brownish or green. “Got it.” I flipped the page. “Nereids. They are shorter than elves, but are just as small boned. Nereids are keepers of water and ice, and mostly serve the Valkyrian Court. Sirens do so as well, but since they have tails, they can’t go about on land. They give blessings, and sing for the Valkyrian Court. They oversee the naval defense of the East coast.”
“Based on what I’ve heard from you so far about the Valkyrian Court sums up to this: Everything, everyone is beautiful.” He snapped his fingers. “Yup. I’m not even kidding. There’s a reason that 99% of beauty pageants come from there.” I sighed. “Okay, moving on.”
“Sylphs.” The pages flipped. “Most of them serve our Court, but the rest of them make up the bulk of the messengers of other Courts. Wealthy ladies may have them as little maidservants. Sylphs are essentially a foot tall, and have glamored wings either gray, white, silver or yellow.”
“Lastly, elementals. Like the name suggests, they control the elements and look like their element. There are two subtypes of elementals for each group. Air elementals include wind elementals and storm elementals; fire elementals include flame and jewel elementals; earth elementals include flora elementals or dryads, and stone elementals. Water elementals are ice and water elementals.”
“And that concludes our session. Any questions? Feel free to shoot away.” He went back to eating his food. By now, it was cool enough to eat without scalding your tongue. Since I usually ate my food scalding hot and fast, I didn’t mind the temperature. It’s not like I was given a choice. I scraped an empty plate. “Well, that can’t be it.” I tapped my chin.
“It isn’t.” The faintest shadow passed over his face. This obviously wasn’t good, since he was trying to hide it. Even a fool would know that. The room was completely silent, the winds laying down a thick blanket. Did his emotions affect the environment?
“Eighteen years ago, we were invaded by the Undead from the mortal world. Somehow there was a tear in dimensions and both the corporeal and incorporeal beings were sucked into the Aether. All of them attacked us, and since we couldn’t fend them off, many of our kind perished. This was coined as the Deathly War.”
“Wait. Are these ‘corporeal beings’ zombies? Unkillable zombies?” I asked, and he sighed. “Pretty much. There are ‘zombies’, which are the easiest to kill and avoid, unlike the rest. Wraiths, ghosts, banshees and skeletons are a pain in the ass. We call this ‘zombie’ corpses.”
“But we managed to defeat them?” I said. I was already starting to call them ‘we’. Technically they were the same race as I was, but it just seemed strange. “Unfortunately not.” The atmosphere was drearier than ever before. “The corpses have mob mentality, unlike the others. Though they operated in large groups of their own kind, they had brought their vengeance-filled minds back with them from the grave. They’ll attack every living thing and try to turn it into their own. Fortunately, there is a genetic mutation in us that does not allow us to turn into one of them.” He spat out the words.
“So, how did you get rid of them?” I drank the last of my soup. “We burned the corpses and skeletons with the fire of Mithrios, Pyrotheum. It’s an extremely rare orange liquid collected from the fountain of a dragon’s mouth in the castle. They would pour in fireflowers and other secret materials into the top of the fountain to produce this liquid. Once the liquid exits the sacred area, it starts to burn and become everlasting fire.” A pair of gloved hands whisked away our empty plates.
“So, during this war, the fountain was scraped dry for this resource? And how do you kill ghosts, wraiths and banshees?” I asked, curious. “Yes. I’m getting there, so hold your horses.”
“Holy shit. Ice-cream!” I gasped, finishing my food quickly. A pair of gloves placed mint and chocolate ice-cream in front of me. “Oh, my god. I love this.” I gushed. He sighed and shook his head in disbelief, concern in his eyes. I shouldn’t have said that, should I? Wrong timing.
“The nectar of Midil Frostflowers can be extracted for reducing the spirits to goop. We would dip our weapons in this acidic nectar, which would last for a week. Unfortunately, once again, the odds were never in our favor. We discovered this secret recipe just after the war. On that weird day that the Undead just stopped attacking.”
“Mm.” I swallowed my ice-cream. “Crystallized Midil is powder made from grinding the flowers. This is used in the same way as well.” He added.
“So, were there any important people killed in the war?” I ate another greedy scoop of ice-cream. “Yes. Many died.” He hid his clenched fist under the table. I gulped nervously.
“Queen Reina lost her husband in the war. A ghost possessed him to stab himself. Then Richard Prodigentia was skewered by Queen Consort Iroquois Attkisson. He was a great man, Marquis of Mithrios. Queen Anastasias of Mithrios died protecting her three-year-old son from a skeleton. Your mother, on the other hand…”
Blood drained from my face. She died, didn’t she? “She passed just after the war… Just collapsed from fatigue and stress, and gone the next moment. The Undead marched into the Aether just weeks after you were born. But by then, you were already out of the Aether along with the other kids.”
“When your father knew of your mother’s death, he just dropped everything and locked himself up in his room. He didn’t eat for weeks, and when my dad got him to open the door, he was on the edge of death. Apparently, that’s what your grandfather did when your grandmother died of old age. He died from grief and starvation soon after, and the throne was passed to your dad at the age of 40. I guess it runs in the family. I’m not jinxing you whatsoever, so don’t take it to heart, okay? And if you even THINK about doing that, I’m going to fucking grab you by the collar and throw you out of the tallest fucking tower in the Aether.”
He fumed. I shrunk back in my chair. His hair was steaming! Lysander got up, the chair nearly tipping over, starting to pace by the entrance of the kitchen. His hair suddenly combusted into flames with a roar, little tufts of fire flying out. One nearly landed on my face, but thankfully it fizzled away, still scaring the living hell out of me. I shrieked, then blinked in shock at the pitch of the screech. “Sorry—,” He turned around, patting his hair to smolder the flames. “Didn’t mean to scare you. To explain this,” He summoned a puff of flames in his hand, then extinguished it. “My grandmother was from Incendia.”
“My face nearly got melted off.” I breathed a sigh of relief. “Ah, sorry about that.” He grinned at me sheepishly, taking a seat. “So, uh,” I changed the topic, “is there anything else that I need to learn?”
“Oh, plenty. You’ll need to learn to fight, control your glamor, and to transform—,” He got up again, “Into this.” With a dark red puff of smoke, he reappeared in velvet burgundy tails, along with a black jagged cape flapping behind him from the gusts of wind that appeared out of nowhere. “Okay! I get it.” I yelled through the wind. I tried to rearrange my hair, which was forced to part from the back due to the absurdly strong wind. The cutlery rattled in response, as if telling him to stop.
“Sorry about that.” He stopped the wind from blowing, placing his hand above my head. An electric current passed through my hair. “Woah.” My hair shot upwards, and landed nicely, like how it was in the first place. “You’re welcome.” He grinned, sitting back down with a puff of smoke.
“Neat trick. When do we start?”
“Hold your horses. We’ll begin tomorrow. The next week’s gonna be hell for you, so you’d be better off going to sleep early tonight.”