“That was more than you thought it was possible to know.”
Meriwether nodded, looking almost embarrassed. “Emrys, as much as I liked him, was always seen as odd, because he didn’t have any real friends. He kept to himself, spent a lot of his time writing in notebooks that he got his father to buy him on Earth, and we all knew we were supposed to be making new alliances in order to keep the families working together him being such a loner was odd. It wasn’t something that happened much, so anyone who did prefer spending time alone, for whatever reason, was often seen as not being quite fae. Almost as though it might be the blood of one of the other races showing and that was something my race did not like at all, although I’m not certain when the quest for blood purity really began. Things are no different now, but here at least there was a reason, even though very few of us really thought it was valid.”
“Due to your understanding of how long it would take for the created races to not by purely created.”
“Exactly, and it was something that we tried to explain, but they really didn’t want to know. All that mattered was that the races were created, which was something the fae was uncomfortable with. It didn’t matter that it was them who had pushed up to make the Web and create the races, so they could use as much magic as they pleased without having to worry.” Meriwether shook his head. “We actually told them that there was a chance the Web wasn’t going to be what they hoped it would be and for the first three or four hundred years they’d still have to be careful with magic, until we could be certain, but that was something else they chose not to listen to. They didn’t care if they destroyed another world, because, by the time we had finished the Web, it was as though nothing had happened – the memories of the time we spent on Kalinia when it was fading had all vanished. Being on Athare, creating the Web and the races, made us safe.
“Sometimes I think of my race, the race who convinced us to do something that we weren’t comfortable with at all, I wonder how I was born into it. I was so different to them, but I didn’t realise that until we were on Athare. Until then I was just another fae boy, trying to live up to the expectations my parents had for me, which never had anything to do with magic, not until we found ourselves in such a dangerous position.” He shrugged. “Once it did my parents changes. They told me they wanted me to be a part of the creation of the Web, before they really knew what was happening, and when they did they changed their minds. When I found myself in a position that I was proud of myself for the first time they told me that I was making a huge mistake, because they didn’t think that making the Web was the best idea, so I should step away before I became a part of something that I might later regret.
“In the end I never did regret it. I was glad I could be a part of the creation of the Web, because it was the right thing to do, and the more I learnt from Emrys the more I believed that. When he left he told me that Athare needed him for another job, so I would be unlikely to see him again. He didn’t know what the job was or why he was doing it, but he’d been working with Athare since he was six and I don’t think he even thought to ask. Really she was the only person he trusted and he didn’t need to ask the question because he was certain that she wouldn’t lead him into a situation that he wouldn’t survive. As I haven’t seen him all I can do was hope that he was right and keep tracking the times when I think he was a part of something he probably wouldn’t have been if it wasn’t for Athare shifting him between times.”
“You really think he is travelling through time?”
“That’s the explanation that makes the most sense and I know he took part in saving the natural Walkers when the fae decided it was time to exterminate the pest.” Meriwether rubbed his antler as he shrugged once more. “It’s not something he would make obvious, because if the fae find out what he’s doing I don’t doubt they’ll try to assassinate him, but I knew him better than anyone else, so I can tell when something happens that seems like Emrys making the Web a better place. Of course it could be that he settled down somewhere and has a child who is doing the same thing he did, but he never seemed like the settling down type, did Emrys. He seemed more like the person who was going to spend their entire lives travelling, finding good deeds to do, spending very little time in one place because there was always something else to do, and in the end that does seem to be what he’s done.”
“Would you like to see him again?”
“Even though I don’t think it would ever happen I would love to see him again. He was, even though I don’t think he ever see me as a friend, a good friend to me, and he was the first person to really treat me as an equal. With the other fae it was always difficult to get someone to see you in that way, because of how important it was for each of us to make strong allies within the other families, and when we left Kalinia I was still young enough that we were in a sort of holding position. We didn’t trust each other, we weren’t sure that we liked each other, but we felt certain that it would be good for us to be allies, because we were in the right families. I hated being a part of it all and yet, when my father explained it all to me, he made it seem like the most logical way for us to be doing things. Being thirteen families gathered together the way we were meant that thing were never going to be easy, so having strong links with families we’d always been allies with, ever since the beginning, did make sense. Now, when I look back at it, I see it was simple another way for us to cling to what we knew instead of changing, because the fae weren’t very good with the idea of change. That’s why the elders never came to the conclusion that the best thing for us to do was to leave Kalinia behind.
“Being there was killing us. Every day we lost more people and there was never going to be anything they could do to stop it from happening, but they thought that things would sort themselves out. It wasn’t as though we had any records of us destroying a world before by using too much magic, but it never crossed their minds that the reason we might not have any records was because they were destroyed. It was stupid and something that never made much sense to me, even when I was young, yet there was nothing anyone could do to convince the elders that our only option was to move to another world. Maybe, if someone had, Kalinia wouldn’t have become a wasteland.” Meriwether sighed. “Mab told me that she even tried, in the beginning, before they managed to make her believe that they did know was happening. They acted as though it was something that had happened before, that previous elders had lived through, and, with time, things would get better, but they didn’t. Instead, with every day that passed, things got worse. We lost so many and the elders, eventually passed away too, before they were replaced with fae they had trained to think in the same way. Eventually it was elders who were never meant to be elders who took the place of those who were trained.
“It was for the best. Once they took their position things changed and it wasn’t long before they managed to get Mab to bring us to Athare, knowing that we couldn’t have much longer before the world ended. Families went looking in their attics to see if they could find anything that proved what the elders said was true and that was when they found out how much had been lost. Our history began from the day we stepped onto Kalinia. There was nothing from before, but it seemed obvious to anyone who read the journals of those who had been there then that something had happened. It was just one of those things that no one wanted to talk about in detail, as though they were hoping it had been a one off, but it wasn’t.”
Mirrored from K. A. Webb Writing.