He knelt beside Natil and peered lovingly into her eyes. Rijiin smiled slightly, taking her hands into his.
“But you were dead!” Katherine said sharply, “I saw them pull your body from the van!” Becky had also seen them pull a mutilated body of Rijiin from the van too.
“Yea…” Becky replied, “How are you able to manage that?”
“Well, yes, I was… but not now I’m not.” He replied, “The starlight is strong in me, and the Lady. I let her healing power take and heal me. It is also very difficult to kill an elf.” He smiled as he echoed the words of Varden who had said that many times over in Adria.
“But that’s not possible?” Becky asked, and shook her head in confusion.
“You guys are really strange.” Katherine commented, “But the more around you I am, the more I know and understand.”
“We are as we are.” He said “We are Elves and are here to help. Like now.”
Rijiin placed his hands on Natil and he closed his eyes, focusing on the starlight, there was a white flash of starlight that seemed to appear for a moment. As for Natil she could feel a warming sensation filling her body, as she lay there and when he opened his eyes, she had leaned back and closed her eyes, falling into a healing sleep.
“Hey! Who took the body of Mr. L’Theil?” A voice shouted and the Elves all grinned as they turned to see the EMT who walked by see the tarp neatly folded back but empty. Rijiin looked down at the tatters of what were left of his clothes, grinning sheepishly.
“It appears they found my empty tarp.” He said, glancing down at his bare foot, and the toe tag that he wore there. Leaning down he removed it at the silent amusement of Becky and Katherine. He found his sock and shoe in he ambulance next to Natil’s sleeping form.
“Be at peace, I will see to TK, Mimi and Rags, also the others.” Rijiin said, smiling.
“Rijiin.” Katherine said, and here he paused.
“Just so and relax my beloved daughter. I am doing what every Elf should and does in times of need, help and heal.” He said, and there was a grin by Becky and Katherine who both glanced at each other and snickered loudly.
Hours later, Rijiin knelt beside his beloved Harper’s side as each one of them is checked out at the hospital. As Rijiin knelt there, he held the hand of his Harper tightly, as they made her comfortable. In the room are three other beds, one belonging to Katherine, across the room the others to Mimi and Becky who were wounded seriously from the accident.
Rijiin had his head down, as if he was in prayer when Natil opened her eyes and lovingly peered at her husband, who grasped her hands. She managed a weak smile at him, sensing his worry, despite he had would have been DOA on arrival if not for the starlight and the Lady healing him of his wounds.
The elf sensed her and raised his head, meeting the bemused silence of his new wife.
“Are you alright, beloved?” He asked, and she nodded.
“Never felt better.” She replied, “How are the others?”
“Mimi has a few lacerations, and a mild concussion. She will be staying for a few days. TK just had some broken ribs and bruises, and was discharged. Rags the dog isn’t hurt at all. He went to the Home with Laurie and Heather. Becky and Katherine broke bones in their arms.
“I will be out of here soon, beloved and on our way to the home too. Do not worry so.” The Harper told her husband and he managed a nod and smiled crookedly.
“I know, beloved.” He replied, “I wish we could go now.”
“Do the others besides Becky and Katherine know of your… you know… healing?” She whispered, aware of her surroundings.
“No… and best we never tell them.” Rijiin replied, “It was the proper thing to do and the right thing to do.”
“I know what sex our child is, Rijiin my love.” Natil said, “Changing the subject, if you want to know.”
“Let me guess, female?”
“Why yes.” Natil said with wonder as she stared at him in silence, “How did you guess?”
“50/50 shot, I needed the break, and took a gamble. Sorry Beloved. Now we know. Any ideas which name you would want?”
“I really like Talla.” Natil replied, “What about you?”
“With Mirya and Terrill possibly used again in the world, I am also for Talla too, but I am very partial to Charity, but I miss them both.”
“It is a fine choice.” The Harper replied with a smile and nod.
Both Elves turned their heads when the Doctor, followed by Hadden and Marsh arrived at the room. Next to Natil, Katherine was the next to wake and turn her head. She smiled at the familiar form of Rijiin who stood beside the bed. He pivoted on his heel and embraced the young woman. Across the room, Mimi opened her eyes and stretched, as did Becky, smiling at the group that entered.
“Greetings all, welcome back!” Hadden and Marsh said together. Rijiin stood slowly and he shook hands with both of the men.
They were followed by the other eighteen Elves, and they all piled in the room. There were embraces and hugs to be sure. All were glad to see the four, alive and well. Rags jumped into Mimi’s lap and licked her in the face, pleased that she was well.
“He’s glad to see you Mimi.” TK said, smiling at the wiggling little body of Rags who whimpered in pleasant tones.
“I can see that.” She replied, and nodded to TK who took up the dog who lay on the floor at the foot of the bed.
“So how are you all feeling?” Heather asked, “Are you alright?”
“Sore as hell, but I am alright.” Mimi replied, grimacing and lay back.
Same here, a little sore and banged up, but not too bad.” Becky observed as she wiggled her hand in the cast covered arm.
“We are looking forward to you guys returning to the home soon, your absence is so noted.”
“I miss you guys too…” Mouse replied with a nod and turned her head to see Rijiin, kneeling beside his beloved Harper.
Rijiin, hearing the voices of Mimi and Becky, rose to his feet.
“Rijiin!” Mimi called, and she tried to move herself to a sitting up position. He was on his feet instantly, walking with silent steps across the room.
“Don’t get up Mistress Stewart.” The elf warned, and he took her hand.
“Thanks to you, yes.” She replied, “We are alright, is Natil, and Katherine alright?”
“We’re across from you.” Natil called out, as the curtains were opened up and the room became large and spacious.
“Did you get taken care of too, Rijiin?” Becky asked and he nodded.
“I went to the office and intercepted the papers speaking of my death.” He said, “I am once again alive again. Thanks to the blessed, lady’s healing.”
The elf glanced back at his wife who grimaced, and he shook his head slightly. The other elves had turned at the question, and the majority of them had a surprised look on their faces. The others did not know that he had been dead when they pulled him from the wreckage. Rijiin considered his answer carefully. He quickly understood that they had only recently had known the lady, but then realized they had not seen her face to face as he had during the dark ages, during his transformation and recently when he went to her to find healing.
“The power of the Lady saved me.” He said, simply “Kept me from being killed.”
“That or you were just lucky.” Becky replied, “We saw you taken out of the van horribly mutilated though.”
“I probably was, but time and healing was invoked, allowing me to be safe.”
“I don’t know how that can be possible.” Sana exclaimed, “She must have great power, more than we can comprehend.”
“So true…” Rijiin said, “I was only introduced to her when I changed from human to elf by the transformation over four hundred years ago. To everyone I knew and family, I am long dead and a mere memory. I have been so privileged to see her, and feel her embrace and know her loving powers.”
“Well we missed you when you disappeared from the college.” Mouse replied, “We had no idea what happened to you or anything.”
“Beloved, it could not be helped.” Rijiin told her formally, “But I do apologize for not getting word to you.”
“It’s alright, when you arrived, you arrived in the same style you always have, unexpectedly. I wasn’t sure it was you though when I first lay eyes on you. But I was so glad to see you when I figured it out.”
“I never ever forgot your kindness, beloved Mimi.” Rijiin said, “So I gave you some of it back to help you as you helped me.”
“You are a good friend Rijiin.” Mimi said, “A little strange, though since your change into what you have become.”
“A very decent person.” Becky added, sweetly and nodded, “I am glad to know both of you and Natil.”
“It is appreciated.” The elf replied, and nodded.
“Also Hadden, sorry about the Van.” Rijiin said, “I did what I could to recover and it wasn’t enough.”
“Eh, don’t worry about it.” Hadden replied, with the wave of his hand, “At least you are all okay. That’s more important to all of us. You all were not hurt seriously.”
“Good to know, we’ll be off our jobs for a while I think.” Rijiin said with a grimace, “So we can heal.”
“How’s Kingsley taking it?”
“Great, they are backing us up with the best people around.” Rijiin replied, “Even more so.”
“We have news by the way.” He announced, “It looks like we are going to have a daughter.”
A cheer echoed through the room as chatter filled the room. Backslaps and chatter of mirth filled the room.
“Did you decide on a name?”
“We did, we are going to name her Talla.”
“Talla?” Sana asked, bemused and he nodded.
“It is a name of someone so dear to us from long ago.” He explained, and she smiled.
“It’s a good name.” Laurie commented, “A fine, Elvish name.”
Natil and Rijiin smiled, as he took up her hand and held it as another cheer echoed the room. There was chatter all around as the news was discussed by his and Natil’s closest friends that were considered family at Elven Home.
As the Elves interacted, no-one saw Rijiin withdraw from the room, exiting into the hallway. Five minutes would elapse before Natil noticed, but would not say anything about it to the others, knowing what and where he had gone to.
Rijiin on the other hand had found a secluded spot in the garden of the hospital and sat Indian-Style on the ground, closing his eyes to focus on the starlight in the darkness. It is here that he called to the power of the elves in which its radiant light cascaded through the heavens toward him. He traveled toward the white fires of the cornea of the star, passing unharmed through the flames of white-hot energy. A white flash appeared before him as it enveloped him, and a moment later, the elf appeared unharmed onto the green grassy meadow. He had gone to the Lady and stood alone with her on the meadow.
Bolting, he ran across the meadow toward her, and she turned to smile at him quietly when she sensed him, opening her arms for Rijiin. The lady embraced him warmly. Stepping back, the elf dropped to one knee.
“My Lady.” He said formally, “My thanks for healing me during the crisis of the traffic accident.”
“Be at peace, Rijiin.” The Lady said, “You are welcome, and have done well. You also have a long road ahead of you.”
“I know.” Rijiin replied, “Like Varden I see so much futility of the elves existence, I dread seeing my daughter having to live in a hostile world, such that it is.”
“Be at peace, stay together with the others and you will be able to protect her, and be able to carry on as they did centuries before you.”
“Aye, my lady.” He replied, pausing to turn his head to scan the meadow. On the horizon and in the distance is the town, as lights flickered in the woods.
“You have also done and chosen well for your child’s name, you do her honor.” The woman told the elf and Rijiin flashed a grimace, and bowed slightly.
“I am pleased you approve.”
“Take care, however, the battles are done in one aspect, and you have a new life ahead, but beware of the new perils that will lurk on the road ahead.”
“I will, my lady.”
“You and Natil as I said will have great happiness together, so long as you remain in each other’s company.” The Creatrix said, “And bear many more off spring together.”
Rijiin looked down and colored slightly, recovering quickly.
“Thank you My Lady.” He whispered, and chuckled.
“Go now, you must return to the others before they think something ill has happened.” The Lady directed, and he bowed to her.
“Blessings upon you, Rijiin.” She told him, “Now, always, and forever.”
The meadow quickly faded and in a white flash he reappeared in the garden. Opening his eyes, he rose quickly, and rushed toward the room where his wife waited for him. When he entered the room, everyone in the room silently looked up, and watched as Rijiin walked silently toward Natil and he knelt beside her.
“Are you alright, Rijiin?” She asked, “Where did you go? You went to her didn’t you?” Rijiin silently nodded, handing her a rose which the Harper accepted in questioning silence.
“I did and I am better than ever Natil,” He replied, “Better than ever could be in a few centuries and glad to be home with you.”
She looked upon him in bemused silence, wondering what was said to him by the Lady to change him so drastically and he would never tell her. A few days later they were released, and everyone like clockwork resumed their lives in Denver, gathering on weekends on at Elven Home. Rijiin and Natil became even closer in that time and she always asked what the lady had said to him that day he had adjourned himself from the room where they were all gathered. It was a conversation that Rijiin had with her, and one he would never forget. He held back his answer to her questions, as-if he was almost afraid to tell her and it drove Natil crazy, not knowing. But Rijiin knew and would never forget.
Eight months elapsed quickly in a whirlwind of routine and soon Talla L’Thiel was born to Natil and Rijiin. Everyone rejoiced as her cry could be heard in the operating theater of the hospital in which she came. As he stood holding her, he remembered the words of the Lady, and could not help thinking of the woman that she was named for who had faded into oblivion five centuries ago. Who now was given a second chance in this new age to travel the road with the others members of Elven Home.
“Dear Talla, Be strong for all times.” Rijiin murmured, “Be strong my daughter and take caution for what is to come.”
He whispered a prayer in Elvish, as he held his daughter, wrapping her in a blanket. A nurse was nearby as he spoke to her in the other language, making her frown in question. She had not understood the words, or what she thought he had said quietly to his infant daughter.
“What was that Mister L’Theil?” She asked, turning her head and he shook his own.
“Nothing.” He replied, “Be at peace.”
Here he embraced his daughter, and handed the infant back to the nurse, who handed her to a tired Natil, who lay in the bed. Together they were wheeled out of the room to take her to a room somewhere in Maternity Ward of the hospital. Rijiin glanced up at the operating theater at the other Elves who were laughing and carrying on in celebration for the birth they witnessed from the theater’s observation room.
“We’ll meet you at the room Rijiin.” Hadden said into the intercom, it’s going to be limited personnel now that Talla is here. So we won’t stay long.”
“We’ll see you there.” Rijiin said, as he nodded smiling as Hadden held up the cigar.
“Thanks for the smoke.” Hadden said, with a grin, “The others too.”
Rijiin chuckled, moving blindly toward the exit into corridor toward the elevator, a few steps behind his wife’s gurney containing her and their new child. He was first to arrive at the nurses’ desk in the ward before she had arrived there, however. Natil smiled at Rijiin as he took step beside the gurney when she arrived and he held her hand. He noted Talla was not with her.
“It’s all right, she’s fine, she’s going to be checked over and brought in later.” Natil reported, and he pumped her hand.
“How do you feel?”
“Tired, so tired.” The Harper replied, and he nodded as she was wheeled into the room. When they were alone, he sat in a chair as his young Harper closed her eyes, to rest.
A few hours later, the other Elves arrived, and the personnel of the hospital had not invoked a restriction for a few people in the room, despite the mirth and chatter in the room. All the elves of Elven Home had come, practically camping out in the solitary room where Natil was, laughing and crying as they sat with her, the Harper recovering from her ordeal. Rijiin had not said anything to the conversation that was taking place, standing next to the window, peering at the lights of Denver. The Harper nursed her daughter and turned to her husband, having to reach out and nudge him. She noted that he was distant, and deep in thought, making her frown at his strange behavior.
“Rijiin.” She said softly, and he turned away from the window.
“I said are you alright?” Natil asked, “You have not said anything or partake in the conversation for over an hour.
“I am fine beloved.” Rijiin said and she frowned, unconvinced.
“It is nothing my love.” He repeated. “I was just thinking.”
“What we have to face and what is coming.” The elf said, “Life in general, together, and our children we are to have together.”
“Another child? We’ll have to talk about that.”
“I know.” He said with a sigh, “But that is partially what we talked about, the Lady and I, our future, and our children to be.”
Natil looked down at the bed, and flushed quietly, making Rijiin grin and lean over to kiss Natil on the lips.
“We’ll have to see about that for sure.” Rijiin replied quietly, “Although, another sibling for Talla would be a good thing. To have a sibling to look after we have gone.”
Talla began to whimper and murmured as she nuzzled at the breast of the Harper. Natil held her and patted her back gently. She began to cry. The Harper murmured to her quietly, consoling her, rocking her in her arms, singing quietly to her to no avail.
“I have brought you your harp, and my sax maybe we can settle her down with a lullaby.” Rijiin suggested, “If you are up for it.”
Rijiin handed her the battered old harp and he took up the sax as the Harper’s hands rippled across the strings, pausing to tune it.
“Are you ready, beloved?” The elf asked, and the Harper nodded quietly.
They began to play Brahms’s lullaby that Rijiin had studied listening to old Kenny G Albums, and it soon made Talla stop crying to murmur, yawning as she fell fast asleep. The other elves listened in silence, at the duet, and there were smiles, murmurs as Sana took up his daughter and placed her in the crib across the room. Here the maiden shushed the others, who grinned as the couple continued to play, played a healing melody for them all and others on the ward. No one said anything as they finished, drawing a curious staff of the ward and other patients as they listened to the duet. It is a healing melody for humans, Elves alike that they played, for past, present and future to come. The Elves were here to stay in this world, forever.