Stormy – Another World Ch. 6

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 6, by Stormdance

Claimer: All characters are mine and fictional, any resemblance between this story and persons living, dead or in other stories is mostly coincidental.

Stormy says: I think this whole thing will have seven parts, I’m starting a new long-story when the girls get to Avalon. That long-story will probably be a very long one part and the end of the Trina saga. On a more practical note, my Arthurian Lore is not great so I’m being farfetched and imaginative. You’re welcome to correct me!

 

Kitty was wearing pink overalls to their meeting with the professor. That was the fist thing Gwennie noticed. Kitty looked very nice in pink overalls, and they were a dignified shade of pink, but…

“Hi, we ready?” Kitty asked as she ran up to Gwennie’s truck. Gwennie’s mom had been elected driver for this outing.

“Hop in, we’re just waiting for Forest now. Oh– and I’ve got everything.” Gwennie tapped her backpack, which held everything from the game except the box, which was too big to fit.

Forest appeared from the after school mob and ran to the truck also. She was wearing a tie-dye shirt. For some reason Gwennie was noticing clothes today.

Forest climbed into the back seat, making Tas and Kitty scoot over and squishing Kitty in the middle. “Let’s go!”

_*_

The four girls came timidly around the door. The room beyond was a large space with shelves and glass display cases and equipment for both an office and a laboratory. A tall man with white hair was standing holding a book, flipping through it like he was looking for something. He apparently found it; he propped the book open on the desk and looked up.

“Excuse me– Professor Warren?” Gwennie said shyly, “I’m Gwennie, the girl who wrote you?”

“Oh, of course! I wondered if you were too shy to come. Come on in and introduce your friends. The professor sounded like Merlin should have.

Gwennie smiled. The thought that the professor sounded like Merlin had erased her shyness, “OK, this is Tamsin, Kitty, and Forest. Do you have time to talk to us now?”

“Yes indeed. I’m stuck actually.”

“What are you working on, anything we’d understand? Can we see your cup collection?” Kitty’s voice was quieter than usual because of shyness, but eager.

Professor Warren seemed charmed by the girls and told them all about his research projects. His work was fascinating and made Gwennie think of a dreamcatcher, finding facts from different places and connecting them to make a web that would hold up. Like what they’d done with the game in a way.

Then they went in to see the cup collection. Kitty had been chatting with the professor about a fantasy book they’d both read, but she went silent apon seeing the collection. Rows of glass cases held chalices of every description, some old and tarnished or falling apart, some newer and shiny. Spotlights shone on glass, metals, and even plastic.

Tas stopped in front of a gaudy pink and gold cup with a lid and a butterfly patterned cloth under it, “Oh no!” she sputtered and started laughing, “It’s the one from Sailor Moon! Do you know the story? I’ll point you at a good web page…”

The professor looked surprised, “I didn’t know it was from a story! One of my graduate students brought that back from Japan but I couldn’t read the box.”

Gwennie felt something then, like light getting warmer. Her Sunstone was sensing something it liked. Her heart leaped. Was the real Grail here? And which one, and what if it was and…

“Professor, what’s Avalon in the story?” Tas said calmly, though Gwennie could hear, or more like sense, strange music around her.

“Avalon? The Isle of Apples, where the Lady of the Lake takes Arthur’s body in some of the stories. It could also be connected with faeryland, or a land of eternal youth in other mythology. Like the Norse Gods had apples of youth….”

Kitty wandered through the collection looking but not touching even the glass cases. She was trying to detect with her jewel which was the real one, Gwennie could tell from her face. Gwennie could also tell she was having no luck. She looked up and shrugged, giving the others a ‘now what’ look.

Gwennie cringed. There was only one thing they could do… “Do any of your legends have magic in Avalon? Like magic jewel and unicorns and stuff?”

“Not in legends, but there was a really bad TV show about that on back in the seventies.”

“Hey! You guy think the game’s based on that show? I mean some of those pictures looked like cheesy animation art.” Forest grinned, leaning on a display case.

“Game?”

Gwennie thanked fate for a perfect opportunity. “This game, it’s how we got into studying Arthurian Lore. The story is that Merlin’s alive in Avalon with, I guess, Arthur’s descendents and they have these magic jewels.” She got hers out, hoping it wouldn’t light up or anything.

It didn’t. The professor looked at it and handed it back, “No there’s nothing like these in the story.” “The story.” Tas said, smiling.

Kitty looked up, radiant, “Hah! This one.” For half a second the air around her filled with blue sparks, quickly enough it seemed like a trick of the light. “Professor Warren, can we borrow one of your collection? Just for a little while? This one.” She pointed a finger straight down at a chalice made of frosted glass with swirling Celtic patterns around the edge. Normally it would look like an ice cube but right now the cup was full of some glowing liquid swirling in the colors of their jewels and another color, leaf green.

Gwennie bit her lip. “Um… sorry? We didn’t… mean it to… do that…” Her voice shrank until it faded out as the professor looked at his now-glowing glass then turned to give the four of them the eagle eye.

“What is this?”

Kitty said, “Magic.”

Forest said, “It’s the game. It does these things.”

Tas said, “Never around grownups before.” She sounded as chagrined as Gwennie felt.

Professor Warren stopped them by unlocking the display case and carefully lifting out the glowing cup. He put it on the desk top after hastily clearing a space, and pulled over some chairs. “Why don’t you tell me about this game.”

_*_

That explanation lasted until dinnertime and long before then Gwennie’s mom came to pick them up and had to be exiled from the room so she wouldn’t hear them explaining quite calmly that this was magic and it worked like thus and they had these jewels that were bonded to them and did magic and….

They rode home as the sky darkened rapidly. Kitty leaned in the corner of the seat and was pleased. They’d left the game books with the professor, and he promised to call them tomorrow if he decided to loan them the cup. It had worked out, maybe not as well as it could have but as well as it had.

Kitty held her Starstone tight and thought, We’re coming, people of Avalon. We’re coming, gold angel…

But for no reason sadness filled her, and foreboding as if someone was shouting to her go back go back, all is lost and it’s far past too late….

Then they reached her apartment building and the sadness popped like a bubble as she had to get out of the car and go inside. When she unlocked the door to her apartment she expected no one to be there; Fridays her parents often had meetings or had to take important people out to dinner. But they were both in the kitchen sitting around a paper-scattered table.

“Hi Mom, hi Dad.” Kitty went past them to dump her backpack in her room and stretch after carrying five tons of books up from the car, then she grabbed her writing notebook and pen and went to sit with her parents.

Unusually, they both noticed when she came in and sat down. Her mother looked at her, a funny look, but all she said was, “Did you have a good time with your friends?”

“Oh yeah, we were doing research for this school project, talking to this professor guy and he turned out to be really cool. We might go see him again tomorrow, can I go? Don’t worry, Gwennie’s Mom sat outside the whole time.”

_*_

They all got together in Gwennie’s basement to wait for the professor to call. They brought bags of chips and cds to listen to

Forest was sitting upside down on the couch, her legs up on the backrest and her head hanging where a rightside-up person’s legs would be. Her hair, braided with beads today, hung to the floor. “I’m thinking.” She explained, “And I decided to do it upside down today.”

Tas and Gwennie were sitting at opposite ends of the couch on either side of Forest, reading the “Lady Pendragon” comics from Tas’ last trip to the comic book store.

Kitty slapped her notebook shut and flopped back into the beanbag chair. “Finished!” She said with great satisfaction, “Finished, finished, fin-ished!”

“The whole thing?” Tas looked up from her comic.

“Well this story. I hafta’ do a sequel I think…. and this one needs some serious rewriting….” Kitty opened the notebook back up, and added some more curlicues and butterflies to the picture with ‘The End’ written below it. The picture was of the two main characters looking off in different directions with their wings arching over and blown feathers everywhere. Kind of a melancholy picture.

“So what happens? Do they go back to earth?” Gwennie asked; she was the one who’d read the most of Kitty’s story. Forest and Tas covered their ears so as not to hear the spoilers.

Kitty leaned over the table and whispered to Gwennie, “The girl has to return to earth and the boy stays. The very end is her being lonely and swearing to return to him because destiny said they had to part, but didn’t say they can’t be reunited. That’s for the next book.”

“Cool!” Gwennie said.

“OK gang, spoilers over!” Kitty said loudly so Tas and Forest could uncover their ears. Gwennie got to be the first one to read the ending, which made her so happy Kitty blushed and looked delighted.

Tas carefully put her comic back in its bag, “Well let’s have an important conversation while she’s not paying attention. About jewels? I tried talking to my rabbits and Gwennie’s sisters hamsters, but none of them answered. If we don’t go flying off to Avalon tomorrow I’m going to the zoo..”

Forest chuckled, “I’m doing pyrotechnics. See through pyrotechnics. I’d turn off the light and show you, except he’d call while the light was off and then we couldn’t see the phone. Oh… I saw that lady, the Summer one. She came into my shop and from what I overheard, I was on the stairs behind the door there, I think she was asking about our jewels. I’m serious!” Forest added as every eye in the room turned towards her.

“Great, you too. She was watching me yesterday, from that park across from school. She doesn’t look like a wizard but my jewel made all these sparkles and I don’t think she saw me…” Suddenly Kitty got a funny look on her face, kind of a frozen look. She sat down suddenly, back into her beanbag.

“What?”

“Kitty, What?”

“Um… I just had a really nasty thought. We aren’t really bonded to these jewels, right? Because they belong to the real Riders asleep in Avalon and we’re only borrowing. That might be why we can’t do big magic. But I can, so…”

“What?” Tas demanded when Kitty trailed off.

Forest caught on first, the others could tell because her face got the frozen look too. “Kitty, you don’t think…”

“The evil wizard would have a much easier time getting at them… they can’t defend themselves…”

“You guys think…”

“What if my jewel is stronger– because it has a stronger bond with me– because she’s dead?”

 

 

 

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