I was in my bedroom as if none of the crazy stuff I’d experienced in the different realms had happened at all. I couldn’t feel my legs. I was in my old clothes, sitting next to my sister. What the heck?
“What do you want to talk about?” I asked, cautiously. Mixed emotions flooded me. I wanted to hug them, I’d missed them so much, but everything felt off. Strange.
“It’s about your…condition,” Dad said like he was trying to butter me up before telling me some awful news. “We have a surprise!”
“Are you talking about my legs? Yeah. I know. I’m wearing a shroud.” That information would either confuse them if the crazy Wishcaster stuff had been a dream or put them on the spot for lying to me.
“That’s correct.” Dad said in a strange voice. “How did you guess?” Either he’d just gotten over a serious cold or something was totally wong. And Mom had a creepy look on her face as if she wanted to eat me.
“Are you two okay? You’re not acting like yourselves. Usually when you haven’t seen me in weeks you’d come over and at least give me a hug.”
“What do you mean, darling,” Mom said. “You haven’t left the house today.”
Dad’s eyes grew cold. “Yeah. You’re the one who’s acting strangely.”
Okay, that soooo was not Dad. His voice sounded like a character on a vampire movie. “Who are you and what do you want?”
In a flash, my parents morphed into two hideous troll creatures. The magic spell that had been holding my body vanished and I rose up on my legs.
“Be gone!” I ordered, jettisoning my power at them.
No sooner had they disappeared, I found myself standing in the middle of a familiar forest.
“The Elivagar mountains?” Since it was so clear and the colors were vibrant, it was definitely night time in the Under Realm.
“What’s Godrick up to this time?” I whispered. I’d defeated those two monsters. Why wasn’t I finished yet?
And then my breath caught. I was staring at…MYSELF!
“Hello, Athena. I’ve come to tell you it’s over. Time to go home where you belong.”
This was an obvious trick. Should be easy to defeat. I knew myself better than anyone. “I’m not going anywhere.”
She chuckled. “You think you can defeat me? Even after your failure with our parents?”
“What do you mean? I got rid of those nasty monsters.”
Horns grew out of her head and wings fluttered as she transformed into a drakkan. I did the same.
“That’s not a nice thing to say about our parents, dear,” she said in a taunting voice. “You haven’t forgiven them. Unforgiveness is very ugly indeed as you readily observed. Now come quietly and you can hug them this very night. You know you miss them.”
I was done with this charade. Hot fire licked up my throat as I engulfed my evil twin in flames.
But instead of even making her flee, she laughed then raised her arms in celebration. “Are you kidding, Athena? We’re drakki. Fire cannot harm us. Silly girl.”
Crap. What was I thinking? How was I going to defeat myself? This was definitely harder than I’d first thought.
Without hesitation, she metamorphosed back into my witch self. “And you’ve forgotten that you are a VERY powerful enchantress. We are finished here.” Irridescent orbs glowed from her hands. What kind of spell was that? I certainly couldn’t do it.
I needed time to think. Turning around, I dodged her spell. It hit the fence, exploding it into a million pieces.
“You cannot hide from yourself, Athena dear. Please give up. It pains me to do this to you.” A loud whirring sound like a tornado roared as blue orbs circled around her.
Using a large well to block the spell, I tried to drown out the noise. “Damn it. Why can’t I think straight?” I wanted to conjure up a counter spell, but it was as if seeing her weakened me. I was powerless.
“I’m giving you one last chance,” my image bellowed. “Bow down and say you are unworthy of being the Wishcaster. Do it, Athena. For us.”
The roar turned into a high pitch whine, piercing my ear drums. “NO!” I screamed. I needed help. Yes. That was it! Something to protect me. Like a shield. My mind rolled over what I could use as protection. Then my thoughts drifted to Pigeon! She could defeat my destructive doppelgänger. Ravens were more powerful than witches.
“Pigeon,” I shouted over the painful noise. “If you can hear me, please! I need your help!”
But nothing happened.
Desperate, I decided to use a wish. It’d worked with Brenden. I didn’t care about the consequences. “I wish for Pigeon!” I yelled. “I need her here. NOW!”
Instantly, Pigeon appeared with a sad look on her face.
My twin laughed at me. “She cannot save you, Athena. You are going about this all wrong.”
I wasn’t going to listen. She was full of tricks. Quickly, I ordered, “Put your shield around me, Pigeon. Hurry!”
The comfort of the purple mist surrounded me and my muscles relaxed. “There. Try and penetrate that,” I sneered.
My twin tutted. “You see, that’s your problem. It’s always been your problem. You don’t even know how mighty you are. Sorry to break this news to you, dearest Athena, but you are way more powerful than a mere raven.”
With a wave of her hand, she cracked the raven’s shield, destroying it in a flash of light.
Oh. My. GOD! What was I going to do? She was going to defeat me and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. I had no witch powers and my drakkan breath was impotent.
The orbs turned into fire skulls, whirring toward me.
Quickly, my wings lifted me up, trying to get out of their way. I could feel the heat from them surge under my legs.
Damn. That was close.
But I couldn’t give up. I flew away from her to the edge of the property, trying to gather my thoughts. Who else could help me? The gargoyles? No. They were strong, but they couldn’t counter powerful spells. The only other person I knew who was as strong as I was…
Bowing my head, I said, “Brenden. I need him. Here. Now. It’s my final wish.”
When I opened my eyes, Brenden’s solemn face warmed me with relief.
“What am I doing here, Athena? You know I’m not allowed to help you.”
As if in answer, the clouds burst with a flash of lightning. Rain pelted me, filling me with dread.
“It’s an emergency wish. It’s my right as Wishcaster. You remember you told me in times of trouble I can use them. This is the most trouble I’ve been in. Please, Brenden. My challenge is to defeat myself. You can cast more potent counter spells, can’t you?”
Shaking his head at me, he slowly turned around to face my twin.
She arched an eyebrow. “You agree with me, don’t you, my love? Athena doesn’t know what she’s doing, does she?
“The silly girl quickly forgot why she had to use that first emergency wish. How the queen defeated you with a powerful spell. Tell her to give up, sweetheart. You know this is foolishness.”
Her words pitched rocks in the pit of my stomach. Could she be right?
But he didn’t leave. He stood his ground, magic symbols emanating from his hands.
Both flung spells at each other, crashing against one another in a dizzying display. My heart pounded. He was doing it! My evil twin would grow tired or maybe Brenden would zap her away.
But then Brenden uttered a loud moan. A spell blasted him and he crumpled.
Through gritted teeth, he stammered, “I-I’m s-sorry I f-failed you.”
Then his body disappeared.
“NO!” I cried.
My twin turned back into a drakkan, floating in the air breezily as if she were lying on a magic carpet.
“It’s over, Athena. Come now, dear. On your knees. Repeat, ‘I am not worthy to be the Wishcaster’. That’s all there is to be done and your torment will stop.”
But I wouldn’t give up. She would have to catch me first. Hurtling over the fence and onto the grass, my lungs pinched as I sprinted away.
“It’s pointless to flee! Stop this, Athena. You’ve lost!”
Her voice knocked into me as if she’d given me a slap. My knees buckled. Panting, I yelled, “I’ll never say those words! I CAN be the Wishcaster. I know it. I’d do a good job. If you’d just give me the chance.”
She smirked. “Thinking of a thing and doing a thing are two VERY different things.” She chuckled to herself. “You’re on your knees. Good. Now say it. Say you are not worthy to be the Wishcaster or I promise, you will regret it.”
A part of me ached for this challenge to be over. Who was I kidding? She was right. I wasn’t worthy. I was never worthy of saving the world. The whole thing was stupid. But…
What would happen to my sister and my parents and Brenden and my other friends if Queen Casteen rumbled into Middle Realm with her armies? What would happen to the Over Realm? There wasn’t any time to get someone else.
“Very well,” the evil twin spat. “If you’re going to be stubborn, I’ll FORCE you to say it!” Her body doubled then tripled in size, growing as large as the trees.
My heart squeezed into my throat as tears threatened. I gaped up at the gigantic witch.
With a loud voice, she boomed, “I will smash you into oblivion, fool. SAY THE WORDS!”
It was all so hopeless, I almost laughed. The rain plinked over my face. It felt cool and calmed me.
I’d never say those words. But there were some words I was going to say and then if she smashed me, so be it.
Pointing up at her, I said, “Okay. I’ll say it. I AM the Wishcaster! I’ve been the Wishcaster this whole time. And it’s YOU who needs to start believing in who we really are!
“Now stop this nonsense and let me get to work fixing the interrealm shrouds! We’re running out of time!”
All at once, the rain stopped and the darkness was replaced with orange sky and birds chirping.
Was it over? I blinked, not believing it, worrying the giant me might plummet out of the river like a horrifying kraken.
Where was Godrick? I thought he’d be here smiling at me.
I called out to him, “Godrick? Are you there?”
“Down here, my esteemed Wishcaster.”
My gaze shot down to where the voice came from. To my surprise, it looked just like the Wish Book Brenden had transformed into, complete with my name emblazoned on its cover.
The voice continued, “I will always be at your side, dearest illustrious Wishcaster, to help you whenever the need arises. I am the eternal Wishbook, bound to you in service. Congratulations. Well done!”
Picking it up, I felt the bond instantly. This was different from Brenden’s Wish Book.
Opening it up, Wish Book flooded my mind with instructions. I knew exactly what needed to be done. Where the shroud damage was. How I was to mend them.
Smiling at him, I said, “Let’s do this.”
The next months were dizzying, I could hardly catch my breath.
Queen Oria ordained me in a formal ceremony. Brenden was beside himself with pride. He kind of gloated a little too much but I didn’t mind. It gave Lenora fits that a dark elf was residing in the castle and was the one who found the Wishcaster.
Little did we know that the Under Realm was in a civil war. The ogres decided to side with Wrathe, so tired of being treated as second class citizens by Queen Casteen. In a coup, they arrested Queen Casteen and locked her in a dungeon, dubbing Wrathe the Under Realm king. I also had no idea Mr. Payne was his friend.
Well, maybe a bit more than friends?
The move toward opening the shrouds was getting closer. At least the leadership shifted toward peace. Of course not all the races cared for human or fairy kind, especially Droor Elves, but it was progress nevertheless.
My parents decided to move to Middle Realm to be closer to me (and so my mother and sister wouldn’t have to hide in shrouds.)
Cool thing was that Queen Oria set them up in a beautiful fairy house.
Being the Wishcaster was a never ending job. It seemed the magic was so old, it deteriorated quickly.
And Brenden was so wrong. It wasn’t just cracking. I found some full blown person sized holes. Any droor elf or troll could get through.
But with the help of my friend, the eternal Wish Book, we fixed them so you couldn’t tell there was a gaping space before.
I loved my job.
Did I miss high school?
Finished for the day, I searched the beautiful fairy park for my boyfriend.
I spied him, beaming up at me. I never got tired of his smiles. He was so sweet to me, treating me like a princess and not just a servant of the fairy queen.
Draping an arm around my shoulders, Brenden said, “Done saving the realms for today, darling?”
I laughed. “You realize those cracks are ridiculous holes now. You really didn’t know what you were doing as that Wishcaster trainer, did you?”
“I did the most important thing.” He kissed me. “I found you.”
Giggling, I whispered, “I’m glad.”
He cradled me in his arms as his kiss deepened, sending ripples through me down to my toes. The cool night breeze danced over us as if in celebration.
Although I’m a child of all the realms, I’m happy that my home is here. Under the Middle Realm sky bathed in glowing moonlight and magical shadows.
I wouldn’t change a thing.
Wow. I can’t believe this story is completed! Thank you for coming along this journey with me. There WILL be a short epilogue next week where we’ll peek in on Athena and Brenden ten years later. 😉
Thank you to RABOOSKI who designed the fairy lot I began this story and ended with. If you’d like it yourself, here’s the link: FAIRY WEDDING
Thanks also to Natalia Auditore who created a lot of the cc in this story as well as some on request (the dragon fire and raven were all made for me.) Please check out her work!
Now I’m preparing to finish up Day & Knight. For all of you who love that story, it will continue (yes, I’ll do it until we hit gen 10–that’s my hope anyway)! Two more weeks, though. I have sims to create, builds to tweak, etc. If you haven’t read that story and you like my writing, check it out! DAY & KNIGHT