Birth of the Aetherverse – Chapter 11 (Serial Story)


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 11: Planting trees and travelling the realms

“Be warned,” Randi said as she handed Titania the rainbow glass ring. “Anyone who succeeds in freeing him will take his place.”

Oberon, Titania, Randi and I stood in an offshoot of the Maze Between the Worlds, a creation of Merlin’s that would allow anyone with the will to travel between Everworld, Earth, Fay, and someday Albion.

In the small dead end was an angry tree that used to be Melchior. 

“Maybe someday he’ll have learned his lesson and deserve a return to Fay life.” Titania sounded hopeful.

“What do we do now?” asked Oberon.

I wasn’t sure what he meant, but I replied by saying, “Randi has taught you the ritual to strip powers called the Mireinio. It will turn our children into regular Fay, or if they’re half human, they can choose human. We must each agree to do so by their tenth birthday.”

They all nodded except Oberon who added, “I meant about the rings?”

Randi replied this time, “We keep them secret and safe. No one needs to know.”

“We know. What if one of us gets power hungry and decides to conquer?” Oberon looked at Randi suspiciously.

It took all my self control to not burst into laughter. 

Randi’s brow furrowed but her eyes were filled with the most delightful mischief as she replied, “I swear on Fay itself that I will never try to conquer, coerce, or capture any of the four Fay rings of power of which I have no claim.” Swearing on a Fay is binding, the realm itself would ensure she kept her promise.

Titania and Oberon stood mouths agape, even Melchior the tree was quiet. I repeated the oath myself with ease; I didn’t want to be a king, god, or leader.

It took them a long time, but eventually my siblings followed suit.

“We must help clean up the mess our son created. Fay still needs leadership,” Titania said and looked at me expectantly.

“I think I’d be more interested in visiting Earth and establishing ties with Everworld.”

“Fine. Someday you’ll need to grow up and take responsibility for our world.” 

That was the last time I saw or spoke to my siblings. They went on to rule Fay for generations, setting the framework for the nine kingdoms and then they disappeared. No one can tell me where they went or what happened. One day, they got up and rode into the Deep Realms and never returned.

I took Randi’s hand and she smiled at me sadly. “I can’t travel with you this time.” When I looked confused, she said, “I have to return to the fissure in the Deep Realms and sew it closed.”

“I can go with you,” I offered.

“You are the Guardian of Imagination and one of the original Fay. Your magic wouldn’t work and would disrupt what I need to do.” I knew she was right, her magic was of pure chaos with the flavour of nature. She was the wind that changed, I was the story explaining where the wind came from. My presence would distract and undermine hers as she closed the fissure between our universe and the other.

She was gone that first time for fifty years as I travelled the Earth and met its people. Humans have such capacity for stories and imagination that I found myself falling in love. I never acted on it and I confessed the second night of her return. She laughed at me.

“Of course you love the humans. They are chaos, imagination, and stories all wrapped into flesh. The Fay reflect an aspect of your power, they are your children, but they are too much the same.”

“You don’t resent it?” I asked, surprised.

“Do you still love me beyond all others?”

I answered without hesitation, “Yes!”

“Then don’t worry. Love, but remember Mireinio.” We conceived our first children together that night on top of mount Olympus.

Over the years, I met and loved many humans. I was father, and mother, to more children than I could count. 

It was after I’d left my friend William with a great idea for a play that Randi and I decided Titania was right.

My children and descendants were many and I was tired of not giving them a place to live. Travelling between Earth and Everworld was great, but I needed a home.

My brother and sister’s disappearance had destabilised the Fay kingdoms and from that strife had risen powerful leaders whose magic was more than a regular Fay. They rose to power on their strength and ruled.

Just because they had power didn’t mean they were good rulers and I chose the cruellest lord and settled into his kingdom. I made myself a nice home and with my children. I had a wonderful household. It had been long enough since I’d been back and my siblings disappeared that we’d faded into myth. So much so that it had become a trend to name themselves after one of us. 

It wasn’t long before the Fay lord became angry at my prosperity and declared me an enemy. I made it clear that I would pay fair wages and protection to any that would join me.

The lord found himself with a dozen loyal courtiers and a few soldiers while I took over his kingdom.

The kingdom thrived, as did Fay herself. That’s when I discovered that while I was gone, plagues, pestilence, and marauding creatures from the Goblin Markets had enveloped Fay. It had become a dark and dangerous place. 

The longer I stayed, the better the Realm became, as if my presence was its fuel. That’s when I vowed never to leave Fay again, and I wish I could have kept that vow.

Read Chapter 12 (December 2022)


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Birth of the Aetherverse – Chapter 10 (Serial Story)


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 10: Rings, Family, and a new Tree.

We’d trapped Melchior on Albion as the realm went dormant. It would fade from existence until its Enaid, or soul, died. If Albion was returned to its glory, the Sisters would be reborn over and over again for eternity. If it remained dormant when they died, the realm would fade into memory.

Unfortunately, Melchior had been absorbing magical energy and that made him powerful enough to break out of the makeshift prison. We’d only bought ourselves a few days at most.

Merlin had helped me, Randi, Oberon, and Titania transfer our power out of ourselves and into rings. This sealed it away from Melchior and stopped him from using that power.

Our rings held the power of Fay. Mine was an onyx ring with flecks of gold. Randi’s ring was a simple ring of copper and silver. Oberon’s ring was gold with diamonds and rubies. Finally Titania’s ring was made of some form of glass with a rainbow of colours inside it.

“Who should be the champion that will wield the rings and strip Melchior of his power?” Oberon asked. It was a question, but he obviously expected us to choose him.

“I think it should be Randi,” Titania offered. At the hurt expression on her husband, she added, “She knows the spell best.”

“What do you think?” Randi asked Merlin.

The old man smiled and the well worn lines around his face crinkled. He’d already seen a lifetime of joy and sadness. “I think this is a question for you to answer.”

“Why not give the rings to you?” I asked him.

The man laughed as if I’d told the greatest joke and said, “I couldn’t wield it. Only someone who is Fay, descended from Fay, or touched by Fay in some way could make use of those rings.”

I considered telling him that his sister became the Deep Realms and he had become the barrier that protects Fay from the aether, but maybe he didn’t need to know yet.

“My vote is that I do it,” Oberon said.

“I think Robin should,” added Randi.

That left me with the last vote. I was tempted to choose Titania just to be difficult, but I knew who was the best choice. I took my ring off and handed it to Randi. “You, my dear, are the best choice for this mission.” Between having created the spell that ripped away powers, she was also the least likely to be corrupted by the power of the four rings.

“I disagree and I’m not giving her my ring,” argued Oberon.

Sighing and taking my ring, Randi said, “Oberon, could you really stand there and strip everything that makes your son a Fay lord away? Do you have the strength of character and will to make him lesser?”

Oberon sputtered as if she’d slapped him and furrowed his brow. He looked frozen until he finally took off his ring and gave it to Randi. Titania also gave Randi her ring.

With the four rings on I could see the power emanating off Randi like heat from an oven. We’d either made her powerful enough to stop Melchior, or we’d created a great feast for him to devour.

We gave her our rings and Merlin gave her a necklace with a yellow gem. He said it would prevent mind control of any sort. Then we all waited.

I felt the loss of my power intently; like I’d been thinking about something and then forgotten. It was sort of freeing. 

“I feel lesser, like a human. It’s disgusting,” Oberon said. 

“Gee, thanks,” said Morgana sarcastically. 

“You’re a wizard, it’s not the same thing,” he snapped and walked away. 

Titania took it better. She simply chatted with whoever was around, desperate to distract herself.

“Do you feel any different?” Randi asked me.

I gave her a smirk and said, “Yes, but I’m sure I could still come up with some mischief if needed.” From inside my coat, I pulled out a beautiful jewelled sword.

“Is that Excalibur?” asked Randi with a chuckle.

“Yup. He doesn’t need it and I’ll give it back when he returns. How are you feeling?”

She sighed but it was with contentment. “I feel like I was listening to a song played by a duet and now I’m listening to the same song played by a full orchestra. It’s overwhelming, confusing, and utterly beautiful.” She cocked her head, fox like, and added, “He’s here.”

A second later, Melchior appeared in the middle of the group, hunched and angry. He growled, “That was unkind, uncle.” 

“I’m many things, nephew,” I spat the word out as if it disgusted me, “but kind isn’t one of them. Even if I were, you deserve no kindness from me or Fay. You insult existence itself with your childish delusions of grandeur.” I hoped I could get him nice and mad so that he wouldn’t notice Randi weaving the spell that would strip him of his essence as a Fay lord, leaving him with the power of a regular Fay.

“You dare speak to me like that?”

“What are you going to do? Tell your parents? Turn me into an ant?”

He smiled a wicked grin and said, “No. I’m going to turn you into a tree. You’ll be able to see and talk, but not influence anything around you. You’ll be so bored that you’ll beg every woodsman who comes by to cut you down.”

I stifled a laugh. “That’s inventive, I approve, but just me alone with my imagination and conversation of anyone who passes by? That sounds soothing to me.”

I felt him gather his power for an attack and I did nothing. I considered brandishing Excalibur, but it wouldn’t help. His attack would destroy me and everything on this side of Everworld. 

I saw Randi’s arms make a shooing motion and felt Melchior’s power flow back to Fay.

“No!” he screamed. “How?” What was left of his power would have been enough to destroy me in my current state and he threw everything he had at me. Merlin stepped in front of me and blocked the energy with a metal shield.

“A regular Fay is still pretty scary to us mortals,” Merlin said and then winked.

“What do we do with him now?” asked Morgana.

Trying not to seem like I was enjoying the irony too much, I said, “I think that Melchior has already given us a pretty good idea.” Turning to my nephew, I added, “It’s time you settle down and lay down some roots.” 

Read Chapter 11


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Birth of the Aetherverse – Chapter 9 (Serial Story)


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 9: Some family reunions are just awkward. 

“Where are the Sisters?” I asked. They were powerful beings, and from what they’d said, tied to Albion. 

The alarm bells rang and soon even over their cacophony I could hear the pipers and drummers of Fay. 

Merlin took charge and gave everyone orders. He, Oberon, and Titania would start evacuating the people to Everworld and Earth. Icaryoe, Arthur, the Guardians, and the soldiers of Albion would slow down the armies of Fay.

“What about me?” asked Randi.

“You and Robin must go protect the Sisters. They are the Enaid of Albion. They are trying to force it into a dormant state. That would close all roads in or out and trap the Fay army here.”

“What happens to someone who stays in a dormant Realm?” I asked.

“They also become dormant for the rest of their natural lives. Which in this case, is not a problem. It’ll give us time to figure out what to do with Melchior.”

Merlin wasn’t lying, but he was holding something back. Despite that, I trusted him.

An Enaid is the soul or life force of a Realm. When the Sisters were banished from Everworld by that Realms gods they founded Albion.

My siblings and I are the Enaids of Fay, and without us the Realm would shrivel up and die. The Aetherium Crystals of Everworld is their Enaid. I’m not sure about the other realms. The gate crystal was Atlantis’ and as for Earth, I only had theories. It could be the ruby crystal I saw at the beginning of time, or the man. I really don’t know. 

Merlin directed us to the centre of the castle where we’d find a staircase all the way to the altar of the Enaid. The three Sisters were sitting in a triangle holding hands and chanting in unison. 

“We should prepare,” Randi told me.

I conjured up my armour, a suit of unbreakable glass, and my glass sword. The armour and sword refracted the light and caused rainbows when I moved. I also had a mirrored shield that reflected magic. I’d used the set rarely, but it had always been effective.

Randi smiled warmly and with a complicated hand motion summoned leather armour that was so black it absorbed the light, and twin swords that seemed to be made of pure red fire. 

We were a terrifying pair, at least I thought so. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see how it affected a regular soldier of Fay. 

The only person who saw us was Melchior as he raced down the stairs. Stopping at the sight of us and said, “Hello, Uncle. Are you planning on protecting these three wastes of power?”

“Yes. Until they are done. Why don’t you give up this quest? You can’t win.” I started working some magic as subtly as I could.

He laughed at me and spoke slowly, like a condescending teacher, “I will devour the Realms and use that power to rebuild Fay in my image. You can be part of that, or you can die.”

“You lack imagination, nephew. Destroying all of reality to rebuild it in your image? That sounds like a lot of work and years of repetitiveness. I love myself! I think I’m the second best company I’ve ever had other than Randi, but even I don’t want a universe in my image. Yuck.”

He sneered and was all the stereotypes of villains throughout the ages. Kinda dull, full of himself, and driven. “You don’t understand.”

“What if I told you there were other universes and I could take you to one where you could conquer to your heart’s content?”

“You’re lying, and if you’re not, I’ll find out when I control everything.” Randi laughed and Melchior turned red. “What’s so funny?”

She sheathed her two swords and said, “You truly believe you can control all of creation? You’ll be devoured by the Aether and everything will end.”

“I will not!” He paused, cocking his head with a puzzled expression. It took him significantly too long to realize what had happened.

As we’d talked, I’d created illusionary doubles of me, Randi, and the Sisters. While I did it, Randi cast a teleport spell.

“No!” he screamed as the telepathic link I had with my double was cut off.

The Sisters gave me a scathing look and said, “You distracted him instead of fighting him. Why?”

Their chorus effect was disconcerting, but I tried not to show it. “I could win in a fair fight, but there was no way he’d fight fair.”

“Great heroes don’t use deception, but we can’t argue with your results,” they said condescendingly.

I nodded and retorted, “I’ve been many things, a god, a trickster, a lover, a frog, and a Guardian, but I’ve never been a hero.”

I found the rest of the Guardians at Pakaha castle. High King Jaques had created a round table for us to meet. I was glad they’d all made it out. Unfortunately, Arthur hadn’t, but one day when Albion returned fully, so would he.

“It’s only a matter of time before he escapes Albion,” said Morgana and we trusted her word.

“How can we beat him if he can syphon the power of Fay, our Power?” asked my brother.

That gave me an idea. “Why don’t we transfer all our power into rings? That will cut it off from Fay. It would also mean that Fay could survive past our deaths. The rings would act as Enaids and delay the inevitable destruction of Fay.”

Titania added, “And in times of great peril, we could give one person all the rings and they could be the champion of Fay.”

“That’s easy for you to say, you have your power as Guardian.” Oberon eyed me suspiciously. 

Merlin cleared his throat and said, “Actually, being a Guardian doesn’t give you power, it gives you awareness of your guardianship.”

It was decided that Oberon, Titania, Randi, and I would transfer our power into rings and we’d choose a champion to fight Melchior and strip him of his powers.

Merlin was the best versed in the creation of magical artifacts and he said, “I’ll teach you how to do it. Four rings unto the Fay.” He smirked and said, “Just call me Celebrimbor… but with honourable intentions.”   

Read Chapter 10


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Birth of the Aetherverse – Chapter 8 (Serial Story)


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 8: The Conference Room Table is Round

I was so stunned by the comment and how off-handed Merlin had said it that I had to ask, “My nephew? Melchior? Is coming to conquer Albion? Why?”

“That’s a lot of question marks,” said the woman who I knew was Morgana. She looked exactly as she had before her death.

Merlin guffawed and replied, “She’s right. What I’ve been told from one of our spies is that Melchior enjoyed the fight with Atlantis so much that he seized control of Fay and is on his way to conquer all the other realms.”

We had walked through the castle gates and into a large throne room that was dominated by a large round table with thirteen seats.

“Aren’t there too many seats?” I asked. If there were seven Guardians, me, and Randi; that left four empty seats.

Merlin smiled at me and said, “Nope. We need seven for the Guardians, one for Lady Randi, two for King Arthur of Camelot and his Queen, two for High King Jaques of Everworld and his husband, and finally, two for the King and Queen of Fay.”

With eerie timing, my brother and sister walked into the room, nodded curtly at me, and sat in chairs as if they knew where to sit. Half of being a god is making others think you know more than you do.

As the others arrived, conversation stopped. Finally, we all sat at our respective chairs and Merlin stood. Raising his hands, he said, “I welcome you to the first Council of the Realms.” He proceeded to introduce each person, starting with the royals. With no official title, I was not included in that round. 

He then introduced the Guardians. First, Merlin, Guardian of Reality, Morgana, Guardian of Time, and Iman, Guardian of Aether. Then he gestured at a man that looked familiar. He had been the man who was holding two crystals who had created Earth. Merlin called him Ciamon, Guardian of Choice. Looking at the man carefully, I noticed he had fine fur on him and long ears. His wolf-like face was punctuated by a long grey beard.

Then there was a man who was tall, pale, and thin; his dark, sunken eyes held anger and mischief that made even me uncomfortable. He was called Icaryoe, Guardian of Chaos.

We were running out of people, and Merlin introduced Kishar, Guardian of Nature. 

That left me and Randi. I wondered where the last Guardian was and whether I should leave to give them my seat.

“Finally, we have Lady Randi of Fay and Lord Robin, Guardian of Imagination.”

I wanted to argue, but the more I thought of it the more it made sense. I was different from my siblings and never knew exactly why. Who, or what, decided the Guardians? Why were we here? I had a lot of questions and unfortunately now was not the time for answers. 

“Now with the formalities out of the way,” he paused, “there is a threat that is coming to Albion. It has already destroyed Atlantis.” There was a gasp from some members of the group.

Icaryoe asked, “I thought a realm couldn’t be destroyed as long as there were some who remembered it, only put to sleep?” His voice was calm, but I saw excitement in his eyes.

“Normally, yes, but Melchior has the ability to drain magic. He used it to devour the soul of Atlantis.”

Oberon cleared his throat and said, “He commands the legions of Fay. Nothing in this or any other realm can stop him.”

“Great pep talk. You should be a life coach,” Merlin said. His voice was calm, but there was controlled rage behind his eyes. “Now. I admit this looks hopeless, but we have the finest minds in all the realms and some of the most powerful beings. There has to be something we can do.”

The old man Ciamon raised his hand and said, “What if we collapse the realm around him? The implosion should kill him.”

Titania sighed and proceeded to talk to him as if he were a child. “He can drain power from a realm or person. We’d just be feeding him.”

King Arthur stood and in a calm voice whispered, “We are not collapsing or destroying Albion. Find another way.”

“We need to strip him of his powers. Lady Randi has taught me a spell that can change a person’s magical core. We could make him a regular Fay,” I suggested.

“He’d still command the full might of Fay and be effectively immortal, but it’s as good a plan as any,” Merlin admitted. 

“And my people?” Arthur asked.

Everyone around the table avoided his eyes. It was Morgana with a gentle tone that said, “We need to relocate them. I know just the island.”

“He doesn’t just command the armies of Fay; he also commands Fay itself and wields power that you could not believe.” Oberon sounded scared. I’d never seen him scared before.

“You four, and Melchior, are the power of Fay. Without you, there’s nothing left and the realm will collapse.” Merlin explained. I wondered how he knew.

“That’s it!” Icaryoe exclaimed. “We take your power and put it into rings. One of us will wield it against him.” When everyone looked at him confused, he added, “If the five of you are the power source for Fay then the power that Melchior is using is partially yours. If we can syphon it out of you into rings, we can prevent him from using your share and boost one person enough to stop him and the legions.”

“That’s a lot of power for one person to wield,” said Iman with a whistle. “They’d be almost a god.”

“Would it be enough?” asked Titania.

Merlin nodded and said, “Sounds like we have a plan. Let’s get something to eat and then we can start the evacuation and forging.”

A wise enemy waits until their foe is weakest, a strong enemy attacks when they’re ready, a reckless enemy attacks as soon as they can.

Melchior wasn’t wise, but he was strong and reckless. He attacked before we could start our plan.

Read Chapter 9


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Birth of the Aetherverse – Chapter 7 (Serial Story)


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 7: Meeting the Guardians

With the gem and the little gates taken care of, I thought we were safe from their influence. I was wrong.

Before we left Earth, Randi and I asked Noa to marry us. We’d been together for centuries of Earth time and couldn’t bear the idea of separating.

We left, wanting to avoid seeing my siblings, we decided to see what Albion was all about. We arrived and were amazed by the rolling green hills, crystal lakes, and absolutely sublime nature. It was a realm of green and growing things.

“Hello, can I help you?” asked a man that looked strikingly like a younger Merlin. Instead of looking ancient, he looked like he was in his sixties. His hair was streaked in white and his skin was a healthy brown instead of grey.

“Merlin? How are you here?” I asked.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t often meet people in the proper temporal order. Nice to see you again, Lord Robin. I’m better known here as Emris. I’m the Guardian of Reality.”

I stared, blinking awkwardly until Randi elbowed me and said, “I’m Lady Randi of Fay and this is my husband, Lord Robin.”

“Oh.” He bowed. It felt strange for the wizard to bow to me. I’d been a god, a first born, and a lord, but Merlin was the stuff of legend.

I tried to find some words, but was distracted by a woman walking quickly towards us. She was young, maybe fourteen, and still had a slight roundness to her face. Her skin was golden and her hair was pure black. Her eyes glowed with anger and seemed to shift from dark brown to red when she saw me.

“What the hell is that gate doing in my Aether?” the woman demanded.

“I thought the Aether would dispose of it,” I replied, caught off guard.

“It won’t. That thing is made of pure order. It’s not from our universe and it’s slowly creating a pocket reality around itself. Get it out!”

“Lord Robin and Lady Randi, this is Iman. She is the Guardian of Aether.” Merlin introduced us, suppressing a smile.

“Why would the force of magic and chaos need a guardian?” I asked, confused.

Putting her hand on her hip and scowling Iman replied, “For exactly this sort of situation.”

“She has you there,” Randi said with a chuckle.

Iman added, “Also for your information, Aether and Chaos are not the same thing and have two separate Guardians.”

I opened my mouth to protest, but then shrugged. “Any suggestions as to where to put it to avoid it opening and releasing a massive army to destroy all the realms?”

“I don’t care, just get it out of my Aether.” Iman looked somehow even more annoyed.

Merlin nodded and with a wide smile said, “I have the perfect place. Embed it under rock in the Canadian Shield. Wait, you won’t have any idea about that for a while. I’ll show you.” He opened a portal that sounded odd, like some great beast wheezing, and Merlin and I stepped through. 

The land we arrived at was harsher than Avalon, but no less verdant or beautiful. The trees were large and there was a slight chill in the air. I felt under me and could tell there was a natural cavern completely cut off from the surface about two kilometres down. The gate would be safe there. I pulled it from the Aether and put it in place. Without the Aether, the nascent realm collapsed into itself.

“Why here?” I asked Merlin.

“It’s pure rock and pretty isolated. Those that live here respect nature and have no need to delve that deep. It’ll stay hidden for more than a thousand years.”

“That’s oddly specific,” I said, not really surprised. Merlin only nodded and I started to ask the question that had been bothering me. “I thought Guardians were beings of great power…”

“And you want to know how a human became the guardian of Aether?”

“It seemed like a rude question.”

Merlin shrugged a little as if he didn’t believe in rude questions and replied, “What better being than a human? They are chaos and they wield Aether without ever knowing it. Humans are by far the most diverse and terrifying creatures in the realms.”

“But without powers…” I trailed off, understanding dawning on me. “All humans can affect the Aether?” He nodded. “And she has complete mastery of it?”

“Not quite, but close. She’s young, but can already wield pure Aether, something I’ve never seen anyone but the Guardian of Aether do. Also, unlike all other life in the universe, the Aether likes her.”

The idea that the stuff of chaos and magic could have personal preferences for certain people or any form of sentience was enough to scare me.

“How many Guardians are in Avalon?” I asked as we walked through the return portal.

Merlin had a look of mischief in his eyes that I tried my best to memorize. It was both charming and ominous at the same time. “All seven are here for the first time since the creation of the universe. That one was an accident. This will be the final meeting of the original seven Guardians. Would you like to join us?”

His words made sense, but left me feeling like I was missing information or context.

Randi and Iman were chatting as we arrived and I took my wife’s hand as we walked towards a modest castle.

Outside the castle gates were thousands of tents, an entire city of them. Walking between them were men and women in robes or armour. It was an army.

“Why is there an army at the gates of your castle?”

“Don’t worry. Camelot isn’t under siege. We’re preparing for war. Your nephew has a taste for conquest and he’s coming for Albion.”

Read Chapter 8


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:


Birth of the Aetherverse – Chapter 6 (Serial Story)


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 6: The Fall of Atlantis and a New Friend

If you’ve never seen the armies of Fay marching, you’re lucky. I was on their side and it was terrifying. We march in perfect unison with one bagpipe, drum, or trumpet per soldier. The sound is hauntingly beautiful, emphasis on hauntingly.

When the Fay marched on Atlantis, we were a united realm of several billion. Our army outnumbered the Atlanteans who were left a hundred to one. 

Even one platoon of Fay soldiers is as deadly as any human army before the twentieth century. The only advantage the Atlanteans had was the ability to wield worked metal and that didn’t help them. They’d grown dependent on their magic, which was impressive, but nothing compared to that of my brother and sister.

Those that were attacking us fled and I was able to catch my breath. It wasn’t long before I saw a group of soldiers marching toward us and realized we were still dressed in Atlantean garb. A wave of my hand and both Randi and I were in Fay clothing that befit a lord and lady of Fay.

The Fay soldiers hesitated and then turned towards a group of Atlantean mages attempting to activate the smaller gates. They succeeded and disappeared, but the soldiers followed them.

“You were talking about leaving?” I said. I was still holding the magical gem that had powered the large gate. I could feel its will. It wanted nothing more than to reconnect with its gate. The power it held was equivalent to me and my siblings. I wondered why it hadn’t become a person like we had. Since that time, I have learned that there were a total of four gems that weren’t transformed into people, each powerful enough to create a realm.

The one I held and the Gem of Chaos had created Earth and its universe. The Aetheria Crystal started creating Everworld, and the last was the Stone of Albion. 

“Yes. I think we should leave before this realm goes to sleep.” It’s not possible to completely destroy a realm as long as someone remembers them. The realm goes to sleep until it’s forgotten or reclaimed.

I took her hand and tried to send us to Earth. The gem had other plans. It diverted my spell into the Aether and next to the gate. I tried again and we were back on the plains of Atlantis.

“The gem isn’t going to let me move us. I’m not sure what to do,” I said and looked at Randi pleadingly. She didn’t get a chance to answer before a scream of agony overpowered the fighting and war instruments.

Melchior was standing on a pile of Atlanteans and held another’s head in his hands. I watched as the magic flowed out of the screamer and Melchior tossed them into the pile. He was draining their magic and souls.

A shiver of fear ran through me. There was something wrong with that man and it terrified me.

“The gates,” Randi suggested. “Toss one to earth and then use another to create a bridge.”

It was a great idea and I went one step further, tossing all the smaller gates to Earth, spreading them across that world. I left one gate in Atlantis as I saw a great wave of water heading toward us. The Atlanteans had decided to drown their world rather than let the Fay destroy it.

I activated the last gate and we jumped through. The contrast was jarring. We’d left a war-torn realm filled with sound and pain, and we’d arrived on an island where the loudest thing was birdsong and the ocean gently lapping at the shore.

“Are you gods?” asked a large, muscled man who was shirtless and adorned with impressive tattoos. 

“We are lords of Fay. My name is Robin, this is Randi.”

The man bowed and replied, “I am Noa, Chief of this island.”

Telepathically, Randi said, We need to destroy that gem.

We can’t, I replied. It’s too powerful. We need to break it into pieces and scatter those across the realms.

I took the crystal and started ripping pieces apart. It took less energy the smaller the crystal became. “I’ve sent all the pieces to different parts of the Earth and Albion. Everworld is already too unstable.”

“Why don’t you throw a piece into the stars?” Noa suggested. 

In Fay, the land is the universe; there’s a sun, but no solar system in the same sense as Earth. I’d forgotten that there was a vast universe. I threw a large piece of the gem as far as I possibly could. There was no way humans would get to it.

The last sliver I handed to Noa. “Keep this safe,” I told him. Sometimes you just need to follow your instincts about a person, and something was telling me that Noa was a good man.

“I will do my best, but I’m only a humble chief.” There was a sparkle in his eyes as he spoke.

A doorway opened and two Atlantean wizards stepped through. They looked angry. When they saw me, they screamed, “You stole our gates and gem!”

“Is this true?” Noa asked.

“Well, there was a war and the gem was too powerful to keep in one place. So yes, but they were about to be wiped out of existence anyway.”

“If we’d unleashed the Lost Realms and the Mulciber, your Fay armies would have been destroyed,” the wizard replied.

“I might not know of all these otherworldly things, but I’ve never heard of unleashing anything turning out well. Things are on leashes for a reason.” Noa shrugged.

“We weren’t talking to you, human! This is between Atlanteans and Fay. You should stay out of it or you’ll regret it.” The wizard smirked and turned back to me.

I was going to say something very witty, once I thought of it, but Noa interjected softly, “There’s just one problem with that.”

“What?” demanded the other wizard.

“You’re on my people’s island.”

The wizard’s laughter was cut off when the ocean itself rose up like a big hand and swatted them off the island.

Noa chuckled and asked, “So how does this thing work?” pointing at the gate. I explained to him that his crystal couldn’t open it to any other gate unless it was close, but that I could if he wanted. “Wonderful. Please open it to the coldest place it’ll go.”

I did so and Noa stepped into the shade of a palm tree, disappearing.

He reappeared under the same tree, holding the two wizards as if he’d travelled by shadow and water. “These two need to cool off.” They looked tiny next to him, being neither muscled or anywhere near his height. He tossed them through the gate and I closed it.

“That was fun,” he said with a big grin. “Now you two have done what you’ve set out to do. You seem like you attract or create trouble. Please leave.”

I shook my head in disbelief and replied, “Absolutely. Your assistance was appreciated.”

That was the first time I met an Aetherborn, a person created by the chaos of magic and human imagination. 

“I like him,” said Randi.

“Me too,” I replied.

Read Chapter 7


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:


Atlantis: The Lost Empire – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2001 film Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

Story

A wonderful mix of steampunk, action adventure, and archaeology. It avoids a lot of racist tropes and narrowly avoids the white Saviour narrative. It’s fun and funny and quite deep for a kids movie.

There’s a plot point that really bothers me. The fact that they lost the ability to read. There are fan theories that the mother mindwiped the survivors or that the king banned reading.

At first I thought it might be a situation where only royalty could read, but if they had basic instructions on the flying fish then they were there for anyone who who owned a crystal.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I’m not a fan of the sexy native who wears less than everyone else for no reason trope. Kida is a fun character however and she manages to surpass the tropes.

Milo is a typical early 2000’s geek with no real life skills other than that one boiler trick. He makes me think of Flynn Carson in the early Librarian movies or Daniel Jackson from SG1.

The rest of the crew is interesting and well fleshed out for such a large cast in a short movie.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Some of the dialogue is utter genius and others are so bad. I loath the line where Milo asks Kida her name and she says, “Kidagakash” and the linguist who just deciphered a dead language which he managed to speak to natives so that they understood him looks flustered and asks her for a nickname. ARG! He should have been dissecting the meaning, not acting like an idiot.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The animation in this film hold up ridiculously well. The 3D is so well used that I barely noticed and the way they integrated the colours and lighting make it feel seamless. There’s a grandiose feel to the world.

The music is epic and fantastic.

Score: 1

Fun

Despite it’s flaws, it’s a lot of fun to watch. The kids loved it and there was a lot of gasping.

Score: 1

Overall

Fun action adventure with shades of Jules Verne, Indiana Jones, and Stargate. It’s fun, exciting, and has some interesting commentary on the morality of archaeology. It has a few annoying flaws, but it’s a joy to watch.

Final Score: 4 stars out of 5

Lately I’m easily… *SQUIRREL!*

I’ve been having trouble concentrating lately. Not during important things like reading, writing, or talking to my wife. It’s while watching TV.

I’m an avid fan of television and consume a lot more than I should. Especially while multitasking. My first writing project was a fanfiction staring a post Star Trek: The Next Generation Scotty. I think both television and video games have been greatly underestimated as art and educational. That’s a completely other post however.

Full disclosure, between television, movies, and youtube, I probably watch 30-40 hours a week, most of it while working. I’m a layout artist for the government and can easily multitask without affecting the speed or quality of my work.

All that being said, a lot of shows are having trouble keeping my interest. Most of them are new shows. The particular culprits are Arrow, Sleepy Hollow, Atlantis, Haven, and Grimm. I’d watch them and suddenly find myself looking at my phone or thinking about something else.

I thought it was me until I watched Nightmare on Elmstreet 3. I assumed I would have the same problem but I didn’t. Then I started re-watching Gilmore Girls and again didn’t get distracted.

So what was my problem? Was I bored? No. Were the shows boring? Not really.

I think I’ve come up with a reason. “Pacing” any good action, cop, adventure, or genre show has high levels of tension and action followed by cool-down periods. It’s a structure that’s shared between most of them. It helps to calm the audience or build tension depending on how it’s used.

I think the problem is simply that their cool-down periods are boring me. You know the part where they get ready, or the part where they explain, or the part where they chat about the secondary storyline. It’s just not keeping my interest.

This is an essential part of the story but it doesn’t have to be boring. Look at Castle, it has more witty banter and flirting during these scenes to compensate. Or look at Doctor Who or
Buffy, they do these scenes during running, or flying or while they move to the next thing.

Some shows, like Gilmore Girls, don’t need the ups and downs and keeps to a middle ground tension.

All the shows that keep my interest are seasoned with humour. I think the combination of strong character relationships and humour is what keeps me focused during the slower bits.

In writing, I always try to write something that it interesting and funny, to me, in the cool-downs or build-ups. The hope is that the reader won’t get bored or distracted.

These aren’t bad shows, most of them are still struggling to get their balance or get their balance back. If they were bad, I’d stop watching them.

What about you? Are there shows that just can’t keep your interest? If so what would you like to see them change?