‘Hold on, wait a second! België? You mean, Belgium? That’s where my grand-aunt lives and that’s where…I can’t…you really expect me to believe this? What happened to your *Domina then? Wasn’t she able to live thousands of years?’
‘She became human again, so to speak. She cut our bonds and she resumed living with the seasons. She travelled, fell in love, started a family, she lived. She’s your ancestor, *Domina Alexandria. You look just like her, except…,’ he points to her hair, ‘*Arcus capillus…’
‘What cap?’ Alex retorts, feeling her hair, ‘oh, you mean the hair colour? HAH!’
‘I apologize, *Domina. I struggle to communicate because I am still processing your language. It took me two weeks to piece correct sentences together. Your black box is very helpful,’ he tells her as he looks back and points at the television.
‘You know, they say everything on television now is rubbish but you just proved mankind wrong.’
Alex stares at Boon. ‘So, how is it that you are here?’ she asks him.
‘I…I don’t know, *Domina. I have as many questions as you do because I remember nothing after. But I did have dreams, if you can call it that. That is why I know what she did in her life…and how she expired,’ he says slowly.
‘Do you feel anything, I mean, do you have emotions?’
‘Yes, I feel everything,’ he tells her sadly.
‘Where did she put you to sleep? She can’t have buried you.’
‘No, she did not bury me on the ground. I told you that she has quite a talent in *magia. She managed to break our bond without harming both of us. She preserved me inside a large black stone which she might have passed down your family line.’
‘Where’s the stone then? Perhaps we can find out what happened to you’
‘It’s in your box…’
‘What box…? Ohh…that box…’ she trails off. She gets up from her chair and half runs to her coffee table. ‘Did I wake you because I shook the box?’ she asks Boon.
Boon, still sitting on the chair, looking back at her, pauses for a thought, ‘I don’t think that was the cause. The stone feels intact.’
‘I guess this is the part where I have to say that I don’t have a choice but to open this box.’ Alex looks at the box, then to Boon, and then back to the box, ‘I require every intelligent fiber of my being to open this effin’ box the way that it’s supposed to be open so I should let you know now that if that box kills me with whatever kind of voodoo or natural cause, I will hunt you down.’
‘I will sit by your side if that helps…’ Boon offers.
‘No, you stay there where you are. No offense, but you still creep me out.’ Alex brings the box back to the dining table and sat back on her seat. She exhales in frustration and is about to get back up when Boon tells her that the combinations she has written down for the past few days have all been tried and tested by him. One of the biggest problems is not the method but the box itself. It was custom made by Alex’s grand aunt. Alex’s facial expression went from nonchalant to annoyance. Boon starts apologising profusely but Alex shook it off. No big deal, she tells him. Relax buddy.
‘I got this,’ she tells him confidently.
FOUR HOURS LATER
‘Why won’t this thing slide??’ Alex says, utterly frustrated. ‘I think like I’m missing a step or two…or maybe even three. Oh my god, it’s seven in the morning. Oh my God I can’t feel my back. Oh no, it’s my neck…’she puts down the box, ‘I think it’s time I hit the sack.’ Alex gets up from the chair and went straight to her bedroom. Boon watches her get up from the chair, going straight to her room. He feels infinitely better, knowing someone else knows he’s there, that he exist, that he…
‘Boon, come over here!’
…is there? He lost his trail of thought. He didn’t think twice about going to her and went straight in the room.
‘Yes Domina, what would you require of me?’
Alex has her eyes closed with her blanket covering her. Just as she gets comfortable, the cats appear, flocking on her bed.
‘Sit on the floor, Boon and tell me a story.’
‘A story? What kind of story?’
‘Tell me about why some of the Libras stayed with my ancestors.’
Boon sits on the floor and thinks hard. ‘I think it’s because we thought of them as our own family. Your family has a reputation of being just and serves the people in any way they can. You will be proud if you knew how much selfless acts they’ve done and accomplishments they’ve reached. *Domina, please pardon me for changing the subject, but I fear for your life. I will never forget those shadows. I know I should not assume but I have reason to suspect that…’
Before he could finish, Boon hears snoring coming from the bed. She must be tired, he thought. He stood up and left the room. He passes the full length mirror in the hall. He pauses and goes back to look at his reflection in the mirror. He’s never tried to assume a human form. His previous Domina did not like it. She preferred that he turns into an owl. Her reason is that he will be safe from harm, if ever she gets caught. Now that he thinks about it, it’s as if she knew something will happen but she was just a child – how could she have known? She is the most intuitive among her family. Boon suddenly recalls how she is known for being the only person who survived being born under those grand auspicious star alignments. She was born under a winter solstice conjunction with a dark rift. The Long Count Calendar that was used by ancient Mayans, Aztec, Olmec & Toltec. The thirteen Baktun cycle. It may also explain her immense power; it’s as if she can control the turn of the planets itself, maybe even the cosmos.
But she was kind. She was the kindest person that he has ever met but she was strict. She ran the family well although she was the youngest among her clans. You could almost say that she was the perfect child and grew up to be the perfect woman. Neither friend nor foe will forget her name. He wonders if she knew that he loved her once upon a time. He does not dare even speak her name. The thought of it pains him, if there is such an emotion to his kind to feel.
Her name…how could he forget? ‘Stēlla…’ he says, with a broken heart.
Boon looks at his reflection, broken by the memories flooding his mind. His face contorted in emotions he could not have foreseen. A flashback of his old life began to play in his mind. He stood there watching, as his old life plays out and he, a skeptical spectator, bound to the ground like a spirit trapped in limbo. He remembers the first time they met. Stēlla, a child, with large grey yellow eyes and with hair, black like the darkest night. He sensed their connection, as if her gravitational pull was pulling the entire universe along. He watched her grow and by the time she was sixteen, people from all over the world sought her council and her Libra. His love for her grew by the day. He thought what he felt was foolish because they were bonded solely for one important purpose – balance.
But he became her confidant, her most trusted companion and she became the world to him.
His memory went forward to that night, the worst memory of his living moment.
‘You have to trust me, Boon. It’s for the best. The last thing I want is for you to die too,’ she tells him frantically, as she drew symbols on the cave floor.
They were in a small cave, above the hills of the coast where they found themselves after running away from the Chaos.
‘I cannot die, *Domina, not when I am with you…please, don’t send me away,’ he pleaded.
‘All will be well if we cut our bond, I promise you. You are the last son of Tellūs and Terra. Do as I say!’ she commands.
‘*Domina…please…I will protect you!’ Boon hovered around her as she placed a small black stone at the centre and started to chant.
‘No!’ Boon shouts as he felt a pull. He found himself suspended above the symbol. He felt a surge of emotions, feeling a horrible pain as if his spirit was being torn into two.
‘You will wake when you are needed the most, Boon, son of Tellūs and Terra.’ she said slowly, her eyes reflecting the cosmos.
‘Domina…Stēlla…I…’ he stops struggling as he saw tears in her eyes.
‘I know Boon. This is why I have to let you go…’ a flash of flight exploded between them and then, there was blackness.
Boon looks out of the window, watching the sun shining, listening to the birds singing. But the echoes of her commands, her cheer, her laughter is still in his mind.
‘How is it going, Boon? I thought you were a goner!’ Boon quickly turns and doesn’t see anyone behind him.
‘We have known each other for six thousand years and you still forget to look down,’ a voice says from below. Boon looks down and he sees a stout dwarf man.
‘Six thousand years, and I still can’t believe you’re a fairy…ow!’
‘You deserve that! At least it’s easier to kick you than shoot arrows at you! Ha! Hey what are you doing???’
Boon carries him up to hug him, ‘I can’t believe you’re still alive and well! *Amice bone meus, Teg!’
‘I preferred you as an owl! Put me down!’ he says as he tries to get out of Boon’s arms. Boon puts him down, smiling. ‘I missed you too old friend but I have many questions.’
‘I have my own questions as well, but before we begin, we must speak quietly because the *Domina just slept,’ Boon tells him as he leads him towards the kitchen.
‘You already have a bond?’ Teg asks, surprised.
‘Well, no. Not yet. Perhaps.’
‘I don’t understand…’
‘I found myself in this room sixteen days ago. For sixteen days, I tried to adapt to the civilization and finally spoke to *Domina Alexandria. She walked in when I eradicated the shadow in her mirror.’
‘Yes. How did you know I was here?’
‘There was a shift in the cosmos; it was faint and anyone would think nothing of it. But not me, I know your wave. Stēlla made sure you were safe. She gathered us before she disappeared herself. Those were dark years after. Terra is still punishing mankind for their mistakes in the past. But not as catastrophic, mind you.’
‘I was afraid for everyone. I was unaware of her plans.’
‘We were spared by Tellūs. We managed to survive and civilization flourished. Now, it’s just a heap of rubbish. Mankind is not as innocent back then. But the goodness of mankind is still there, rare but when you find it, it radiates and it glows like the warmth of the fire on those cold nights.’
‘Aye, the black box revealed it to me,’ Boon says with seriousness.
‘Black box?’ Teg asks, confused.
‘The black box,’ Boon says, pointing towards the television, ‘I’ve forgotten what Domina called it…’
‘Yes, that’s the word. You know of things too.’ Boons nods towards Teg with a serious expression on his face.
‘I mentioned that we survived, but it doesn’t mean we didn’t progress as mankind did, I daresay, we got even smarter,’ he says, winking at Boon.
‘To know that everyone else is safe is great news indeed,’ Boon sighs.
‘I still have many questions but time is running out. Tell me about the shadow.’
‘I told you everything I know about the shadow. I saw it and removed it from the mirror. Why are you inquiring? Why do you keep implying to me that time is running out – why are you here Teg?’
‘We all know that Alexandrias the direct descendant of Stēlla. But there is something else about her. We felt the wave of the cosmos when she was born. It was extraordinary. Her life wave swimming against the tide of the cosmos, moving the planets in a way we could just dream of. The only time it happened was when Stēlla was born. Alexandria was spared by your mother because she believes that you are already dead. In this age, magic is in the shows, plays, story books, legends and it is not real. Mankind is only safe if they are oblivious to the truth of their own world. How did Alexandria acquire you?’
‘I don’t know. I told you before; I woke up in this room. The stone is in that box she inherited.’
‘I suggest you leave her.’ Teg tells him, looking directly at him, ‘it is not safe for both of you.’
‘Where will I go?’
‘You will come with me.’
‘I can’t go with you. You are disobeying the laws again!’ Boon stands up from his chair, points a finger at Teg, ‘You will not be as lucky as the first time. Terra is not as forgiving, you have to remember that.’
‘I am honoured of your concern but my decision to help you is mine alone. I am too old for a lecture, Boon.’
‘Where will we go?’
‘Perhaps back to the coast, where the ring is. Perhaps, it will ward off your spirit wave presence.’
Boon falls silent. He walks towards the bathroom and Teg stands up to follow. Boon opens the door wide for Teg to see the mess inside.
‘This is what happened to the shadow. What if more of this comes? Who will protect her?’
‘They won’t do anything to her. You are the one they will be after Boon.’
Boon grits his teeth. He wonders whether he was also the cause of Stēlla’s bounty.
‘Old friend, do not think about the past. It is the now you should focus on. Come.’ Teg opens his bag and pulled out an ancient looking doorknob. He pushed in the other side of the knob to the wall. An outline of a door begins to glow. Teg opens the door, revealing a coastal area on the other side.
‘Could you please give me some time?’ Boon asks Teg
‘Go ahead. I shall wait here.’
Boon slowly made his way towards Alex’s room. He opens the door carefully and quietly, as to not disturb the cats as well. Alex’s still snoring and so are the cats. Their unified snoring sounds like music to his ears. He reckons it won’t be as pleasant to other people though. He went closer to see her face again. They look the same but they are also two completely different people. Their mannerisms, the way they talk, the hair. He convinces himself that it is not Stēlla. Stēlla is gone.
He thought about waking her, telling her he was leaving but instead, he whispers his goodbye to her and the cats. He wants Alex to have an oblivious great life.
As he was about to close the door, he hears Alex call his name, but faintly. He stops and pauses but closes the door behind him.
‘It’s for the best.’ Boon says to himself as he follows Teg who went through the doorway.
Boon hit his head on something.
‘Huh? I can’t seem to go through, Teg. Do you have another spell on it?’ he asks him while feeling the invisible wall blocking his way.
Teg, looking confused, went through the doorway back to the flat. ‘No…it works. Try again.’
Boon tries again and he looks as if he hit a glass.
‘Maybe you should run?’ Teg suggests.
Boon runs towards the doorway and he slams into an invisible wall, falling back to the floor.
‘Change back to your original look, the flying carpet one!’ Teg suggests, feeling confused at what’s happening.
‘Carpet? Pshh!’ Boon changes back to his old form, ‘this should work, and I’m transparent…’ he flies onto the same invisible wall.
‘Oh this is not good, not good, not good at all! You told me you are not bonded to her!’ Teg half shouts at him.
‘I do not know how to lie, Teg,’
‘If you are not lying, then you both are in very big trouble.’
*Domina – mistress
*Arcus capillus – rainbow hair
*Magia – Magic is the claimed art of altering things either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult natural laws unknown to science
*Amice bone meus – My good friend