Stormy – Another World Ch. 4

Archival Note from The Jewel Riders Archive: This story is presented as it was originally published on Stormy’s “Avalon” fan site in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It is presented for archival purposes and for the enjoyment of the Jewel Riders fandom. If you are the author of this story and wish to have it removed from the Jewel Riders Archive (or wish to share more!) please email us at archivist@jewelridersarchive.com. Happy Reading!


Another World 4, by Stormdance

Claimer: they’re all mine, every one.

Stormy babbles: OK, it’s decided… this story is canon. It’s after Evils That Remain in the Trina series, so all the stuff in here is real, and everything in Avalon that led up to the game being sent to Earth really happened to the Riders we know and love.

Another World part 4

Forest’s dog, an ancient setter with feathery fur, was dozing in the sunlight in the front of the store. There were no customers in right now; there probably wouldn’t be until the Saturday college classes had their lunch period.

The door behind the counter swung open and Forest and Gwennie looked out. Behind them the other two were crouched on the tiny stairs that led to the second floor where Forest and her mother and grandmother lived. Forest turned back to say, “It’s ok, Mom’s in the back doing inventory.”

The four slipped out the door and across the incense-scented room. Forest lived with that smell every day, in everything around her. She might not be into the new age thing, but she lived above a room full of Wicca books and crystal pyramids. They crouched on the worn mat in front of the windows.

Tamsin took out the Heartstone and addressed the dog, “I feel really stupid. Um, dog? Ritzi? Can you hear me now?” She looked up again, “Nothing’s happening, it doesn’t work.”

There was kind of a collective “um.” Then Gwennie snapped her fingers, “Magical! It only says you can talk to magical animals, I guess Forest’s dog doesn’t count.”

“So what does?” Tas asked, and everyone shrugged.

“You could go around talking to every animal until one answers back.” Kitty suggested, her lips curving in a little smile.

Tas stood up and the others followed suit. “So what about everyone else’s jewels? You guys are supposed to have powers too.”

“I can’t get mine to do one single thing.” Gwennie said with a sigh.

Forest shrugged, “I can become invisible, kind of, but it won’t work here. At school when those boys were coming to catch me at my locker, I held the jewel real tight and imagined an illusion of… well, an illusion that I wasn’t there. They didn’t see me.”

“Very cool Forest!” Gwennie enthused, then looked at the secretively-smiling fourth member of the group, “Kitty?”

“Pick something and hide it.” Kitty ordered them.

Forest chose a clump of amethyst crystal and the other three closed their eyes while she rattled things in different directions hiding it. Then she came to stand by the other three and announced they could look now.

Kitty opened her eyes and got out her jewel, “Watch this.” She said confidently and held it up, “Starlight power, find the crystal Forest hid!” She turned in a slow circle… and stopped as a beam of white light shot from the Starstone to a display of Tarot cards. Forest had tucked the amethyst cluster behind two decks.

Tas, Gwennie and Forest practically lost their jaws.

Kitty seemed to be glowing. Or growing. Not physically but in the confidence in her face and the light in her eyes. “That is really cool.” She said with wonder thick in her voice, “Really scary but mostly oh cool.”

They didn’t squawk or stammer, and they didn’t yelp “Kitty how’d you do that?!” The trouble was none of the three could think of anything else to say or do for a while so they stood around dumbly. Kitty’s new expression faded and she tucked the Starstone back into her purse and went to pet the dog.

_*_

Kitty’s demonstration had changed things, tipped the scales. They knew it worked now. And no matter how much this scared them, they remembered the electric excitement in Kitty’s voice when she’d said how cool it was. And they wanted it too.

Tamsin propped the Heartstone on top of her music stand in an improvised wire holder. Then she got out her flute and the music for a song she’d played in last year’s show and knew upside down. It was a slow song and she drew the low notes out as long as she had the breath for. “C’mon, do something!” The impatient words were answered by a flicker of gold in the Hearstsone’s rose colored facets. Tas put the flute to her lips and played quickly. The gold sparkle grew stronger and seemed to slide around the heart. Well something was happening… then she heard in the air, very faint, he echo of what she’d just played. Carefully she began again, matching the echo in a kind of loop of music. The echo got stronger until it shook the air.

“What are you doing up there?!” came a shout from downstairs. The music stopped.

Tas grumbled. “Nothing, mom!”

_*_

Gwennie had discovered the tiniest bit of magic. Or maybe not so tiny; it was defying gravity… She hung a ribbon around her neck and touched one of the Sunstone’s points to the ribbon, thinking that she wanted it to stay there. Then she took her hand away, and the Sunstone hung there just as if she’d glued it to the ribbon.

“Glue not required, madam.” She muttered to herself and then started giggling the semi-frightening giggle she used whenever the world was being strange and surreal. Which was a lot, lately.

“Jewel of light, give me clear sight, show me what the heck is going on!”

Nothing happened. “Figures.” Gwennie muttered, and started on her homework. But she made a note to try that rhyme again, asking to see something simpler.

_*_

Forest’s room was in the attic, its one curving wall making it look like a tower. She opened the windows to the night air. The moon was up, which ought to help her magical experimentation. She hadn’t ever been into the new age mystical stuff her mom and grandma were into, even though she’ been raised on it. That religion was just too… hippieish or something for the girl sports star that she was. And now the game had booted her right into something real close to it.

Forest sighed and shrugged; nothing to be done about that now. Now for an experiment. “Cake. I want cake!” She told her jewel, making an image in her mind of a big piece of chocolate cake.

The cake obligingly appeared. It was very transparent, but it was visible. Now for the next test: Forest picked it up, very slowly so the illusion didn’t vanish, and took a bite. The piece in her hand remained whole, but she tasted a ghost of chocolate.

“Woohoo, a’right, cool!” She exclaimed, letting the cake disappear and sticking her fist in the air triumphantly. “Though what good that’ll be against some wizard I don’t know. Hmm, what else can this thing do…”

She held the Moonstone up in both hands then swept it down in front of her, “Give me… darkness!”

The lights went out. Forest screeched in surprise; she hadn’t expected that to actually work! Then she heard from downstairs, “Sorry… ^%#$ thing blew a fuse! You got a flashlight up there?”

Forest blinked as her eyes adjusted to the moonlight; it hadn’t worked after all, too bad. She went to her dresser and rummaged in the top drawer for the flashlight.

_*_

Kitty looked at her backpack, and the untouched homework within. A sick feeling rose in her stomach and her head, but she crouched down to get the books out anyway. It hurt… hurt… this had started happening around fourth grade; school and everything connected was actually physically painful. She dropped the books back, deciding she could do it at lunch tomorrow. The sick feeling faded, replaced by guilt. Kitty sighed; this was not unusual. She sat at her desk and started something else she’d been meaning to do: practicing her drawing.

On the sixteenth sketched profile of her main character, she noticed something. The Starstone sitting next to her paper was glowing.

Glowing?

Kitty gave it a look and went back to her art. Or tried to; her train of thought kept getting tugged sideways. It really was glowing– not steadily but pulsing, like a heartbeat or some kind of signal. Signal? She wrote, and next to it doodled a questioning face. But she was being silly; it wasn’t glowing, it was some trick of the light, her desk lamp was pointed right at it…

Feeling a little silly but with excitement bubbling up in her chest, Kitty got up and turned off her desk light. The pulsing glow didn’t change from this angle. She turned off her ceiling light and closed the door, leaving her room in almost total darkness. Except for a rhythmic flare of blue light on her desk.

Suddenly she was scared. It hit her again how little they really knew. If magic was real, it could be dangerous. She wasn’t ready for dangerous!

The fear faded. It was better, this was better… than everything else. She crossed back to her desk and picked up the jewel, holding it to her chest. Kitty couldn’t have seen how the light came through her fingers and illuminated her face, how it seemed to shine from her eyes. “What are you trying to do?” She whispered, “Calling someone?” Then in a burst of matter-of-factness, “Like who; Forest said you were some powerful rocks but communicating to another world takes powerful and then some. At least in the comics.”

There was no answer, as is usually the case with inanimate objects. Kitty looked at it, tried to listen too. “Avalon? Wish we knew what was going on over there.”

When nothing more happened, she turned the lights back on and returned to her drawing.

_*_

“It’s been doing that since last night.” Kitty told Tas and Forest. They were up in her room, and Forest had just commented on the glowing jewel.

Tas was still taking in Kitty’s little room, which was stacked with books from used book stores. Now she looked at Kitty for permission and opened the sketch pad next to the glowing jewel. “Wow! This is really good, you could be a manga artist!” Then of course she had to define, as she always did, the Japanese.

Kitty’s picture was of an unearthly handsome man with wings carrying a girl with feathery flyaway hair. Around them kind of in bubbles were different views of a formal garden. Kitty smiled at the picture, no little wonder in her eyes for the thing she’d created. “I drew it last night after I noticed the signal. Isn’t it great?”

Forest was looking too, “It’s beautiful.” Was all she said, but her voice carried the admiration she didn’t need words for.

“I think this jewel helps. I mean, magic and artistic stuff go together. At least… in books.” Kitty gestured around at her library, which was mostly heaped on the floor since for some reason she had no bookcases. Tas had reverently put the picture down and gone to crouch by a two-foot tall stack, reading titles. Most of them were fantasy, but there was a sprinkling of other books on many different subjects, and a few about the kind of Magic Forest’s family was into.

Kitty followed her eyes, “My parents flipped when I bought those, they think I’ll start having trouble telling fantasy from reality.” She rolled her eyes.

Forest giggled, “I think we already do, I mean, this game… if it didn’t work, we’d be nuts for sure for having this stuff happen to us.” Realizing that wasn’t too clear, she added, “Y’know?”

“Yup, I know.” Kitty said, “Like it’s our fault this junk happened. They’d still put us away I bet. S’how the world is.”

“Cynic.” Tas accused, and Kitty shrugged. Not liking this for some reason, Tas added, “But it does work so we know we’re not nuts, and as long as we don’t be dumb and tell anyone we’ll be ok.”

“It’s just a game. Working or not, I mean the world’s not going to change.” Forest protested their seriousness.

Kitty looked across the room at a wall covered with more drawings of beautiful angels and smiled like she knew something they didn’t– but something she wished she didn’t know either.

 

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