Night Lights in the Forest – 10

Galalithe stepped forward, took Emmy by the arm with one hand and Eryndir with the other. “Both of you, my office, now! The rest of you, back to work. We have an important mission to mount. I want status in fifteen.”
The three of them walked quickly. Galalithe, still gripping their arms, walked them into an office with what looked like glass walls. There were small torch like lights mounted around the room, just below the ceiling creating a diffused lighting effect. The desk was the same grainy wood as those in the larger room, with the same leafy wires leading to monitors on the windows. She released their arms. “Sit. Please.”
Eryndir spoke, “Commander Galalithe, Mom please, I…” Galalithe held up a hand like a stop sign and looked at Emmy. “Young lady, do you know who you are? Better yet, have you even a clue as to what you are?”
Emmy looked back and forth between Galalithe and Eryndir sputtering, “I am . . . who? What?”
“It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but your face is so much like hers.”
Emmy scooted forward on her chair, “My face?”
Eryndir sucked in a big gulp of air, “Oh my!” He looked at Emmy and then Galalithe and then back at Emmy. “I thought you looked familiar! They were all supposed to have died! They were lost!”
Galalithe leaned on the edge of her desk between Eryndir and Emmy. “Right, we thought that Gwyn had captured and destroyed them. We had given up hope.”
Emmy stood up, “Hold on, stop the train, and back up the bus. Who, or what are you talking about. I am completely lost and confused, but all I care about is getting my sister back from those faeries who kidnapped her! So, can we concentrate here on what really matters and not whoever or whatever you think I look like that’s long gone and dead?”
Galalithe smiled and looked at Emmy, “We will, trust me, people out there are working on a plan as we speak. But you also need to understand why your sister was kidnapped. They almost got you as well. May I ask you some questions?”
Emmy shrugged, “As long as we get to the important stuff soon, ok.”
Galalithe leaned forward, “Do the names Aranhil or Aegliriell mean anything to you?”
A tiny chill caused Emmy’s neck hairs to flutter, “Uh, no. Should they?”
“How about Eruraina or Miluiel?”
Emmy got that chill again, a bit stronger this time. “No…”.
Galalithe stood up and walked over to one of the glass walls, touched it and spoke. “Show me the Lost Elders.”
A rectangular portion of the wall darkened, and a set of pictures displayed showing a group of twelve Elven men and women.
“These are our ‘Lost Elders.’ We had a terrible war with the Fae and had to hide some or our Elders in order to keep from losing them to the Fae.”
Galalithe, using her fingers moved and enlarged a portion the picture so that two of the group were visible.
Emmy gasped. “That’s . . . they . . . they are my parents! They look different and are dressed differently. But, oh no! That’s ridiculous. They’re just normal people, like me.”
Emmy fell back into her chair.
Galalithe squatted next to Emmy’s chair. “That would have been the whole point. To escape detection, murder, or capture by the Fae. The last two remaining Elders would have to appear as normally human as possible. They would need to take deep cover, to blend in completely. Their two daughters would have to never know their true heritage.”
Galalithe stood and returned to the screen. “Show the ending of ‘The Final Battle’ and mute sound and other sensory experience features.”
“What are the sensory experience features?” Emmy whispered to Eryndir.
He leaned over and whispered into her ear, “We call it smell-o-vision. It’s a nice feature, but trust me, you don’t want it for these scenes.”
“Oh, okay.” Emmy said as she focused her attention on the screen again.
The picture on the wall showed a panoramic view of a completely devastated landscape, bodies scattered everywhere.
“We lost nearly everything, but the Fae were banished from the earth to another reality to keep them from conquering the earth. That was a thousand human years ago. We have spent that time rebuilding our society, strengthening our defenses, preparing for the day when they might try to strike back.”
She touched the screen again and swiped those pictures away.
“Show incursions of the Fae on earth over the last hundred years.”
The screen lit up with a rotating darkened globe showing specks of light at various locations.
“Notice the significant concentration of incursions in the area around this location. We believe that they have discovered our underground headquarters. We now also believe they suspected that the ‘Lost Elders’ were located somewhere close by. Those lights you saw near your home were faery manifestations designed to attract attention.”
Galalithe stood silent for a moment and then turned to face Emmy.
“I now believe that they were designed to attract human attention. The Fae may believe that capturing human children, draining their life force, may give them the power they need to overcome the magic that had kept them banished.”
Emmy spoke, “So that’s why they tried to capture me but got my sister instead?”
Galalithe nodded, “There may be more to it than that. They may have actually suspected who and what you were and targeted you specifically. There is no way to know that yet.”
She moved back to the screen, “Re-display photo of Lost Elders.”
The picture re-appeared and Galalithe cropped it to show her parents again.
“We believe that these two, the last of the elders are your parents.”
“But, if those two are elves . . . ”
Galalithe moved to Emmy’s chair, squatted down and touched Emmy’s shoulder, “That is right. You, my dear, are also an elf. You are one of us and a descendant of the royal family. That is why the workstation out in the command center responded to your presence even though your appearance has been magically altered to appear human.”
Eryndir added, “Then that would also explain why the command center door unlocked and opened when you touched the entry panel!”
Galalithe stood, “Where are your parents? Are they nearby?”
“Yes, they were still sleeping when I left home.”
“How close is your home? If the fae kidnapped your sister, they must know who and what she is by now. They will also know that your family is near. We need to get to them and bring them safely down here as quickly as possible! They could be in mortal danger. Can you show us where the house is?”
Emmy gulped, “Yes, of course.”
“Excellent! Wait here.”
Galalithe quickly moved out of the office, called out some names and huddled briefly with a group in uniforms.
Returning she addressed Eryndir, “Take Emmy and get her suited up for an op. Take her and your strike team, get her parents and bring them here.”
Eryndir stood, snapped to attention and saluted, “Yes, ma’am. Right away. Come on, Emmy. Let’s go get your parents and bring them to safety.”

Night Lights in the Forest – 6

Emmy looked at Eryndir and then walked hesitantly into the room which looked like those military command centers she had seen in movies. Except that instead of wires, there was tree branches or roots leading up to and surrounding each display or control panel. All of the equipment, monitors, keyboards, display panels grew out of the wood.
On the far wall, huge screens displayed maps of the forest and surrounding areas. Highlighted in bright colors, she saw groups of dots and in other colors were groups of little squares. Everyone in the room was talking at once.
Tables with two to three elves worked at workstations with large screens that covered smaller portions of the large screens on the wall. Each of the elves had on a wooden headset connected with small, leafy tendrils and rapidly conversed with someone. Occasionally, one of them reached out and moved something on his or her screen. Immediately, a group of dots or squares on the large screens flashed and moved to a new location.
Eryndir poked Emmys arm with his elbow, “Come with me. I want you to meet someone.”
Emmy turned and told Booger to sit and stay, he whimpered but sat down. She then followed Eryndir. One of the darkened, unused monitors, flickered briefly on as Emmy walked within a foot of it.
They approached a woman elf surrounded by other elves providing reports to her, listening to her responses, nodding quickly and running off to deliver the information or to pass on orders.
“Galalithe, ma’am?”
“Yes, Eryndir, what is it?” Galalithe continued to look at one of the large screens and give orders in a subdued voice.
“About that captive human girl taken into the vortex…”
“Get to the point, Eryndir, what is it?”
“I have her sister here and she wants to go on the rescue mission and…”
Galalithe whirled on her heel to face him, “…and what?”
“And, so do I.”
Galalithe looked at the two of them for a short moment. Her eyes darted back and forth between them quickly like a flickering light.
“No!” She turned on her heel and walked away, issuing orders to others in rapid fire as she went.
“Ok, smart guy, what now?” Emmy said while watching Galalithe move quickly away from them.
“Um…”
Emmy turn to face Eryndir, “Is that it? Is there anything we can do to change her mind?”
Eryndir looked Emmy in the eyes and stammered, “No, not that I can think of…Galalithe must have…”
“Oh, never mind, I’ll take this into my own hands.”
Emmy turned on her heel and walked directly toward Galalithe, still surrounded by uniformed Elves either reporting to or getting orders from her.
Emmy stopped about three feet directly behind Galalithe, within inches of an unused workstation, put her hands on her hips, cleared her throat and announced in a firm voice, “Galalithe. I am sorry to interrupt you, but I am going to help rescue my sister.”
Silence filled the room. People stopped moving, stopped talking, turned toward Emmy and stared at her. Then their gaze shifted past her to the monitor that had flickered earlier.
“What is your command?” a voice intoned behind her. People rushed forward to see the monitor. The crowd parted to make room for Galalithe and Emmy, who now stood side by side staring at the formerly lifeless workstation.

Night Lights in the Forest – 5

Eryndir returned the look, opened his mouth partially as though he was going to say something, paused then turned and headed for the door saying, “Follow me”.
Emmy hesitated just a second, but Booger followed him immediately. She had to hurry to catch up.
Eryndir was heading down a long hall decorated with pictures of Elves in action against the same faeries that attracted her to the forest. At regular intervals, there were torches mounted on the walls that provided light. At first, Emmy thought they were lit with fire, but then she noticed that there was no flame. They just glowed.
The passageway they followed seemed to be twisting and turning and descending. Occasionally, they would go through sets of doors. After about ten minutes of quick walking, Eryndir stopped at a set of double doors that had metal hinges and framing. There was a lit panel on the right side with the outline of a hand.
Eryndir turned to Emmy, “Getting your sister Gigi back will be both hard and dangerous. Are you sure you want to go along?”
“Are you gonna try to stop me?”
“Me? Nope. If I read that look in your face right, wild horses couldn’t stop you.”
“Are right then, why are we standing out here?” Emmy impulsively put her hand onto the panel. It lit up, began to make a whirring sound and then, the doors clicked and began to open inward.
Both she and Eryndir backed up a couple of steps.
“Whoa!” they said in unison.
Eryndir turned and stared at Emmy, “That should not have happened! This door is coded to only open for high command staff and . . . and . . . the royal family.
Emmy shrugged, “Must be broken. I’m not even an elf.”
Eryndir looked at her. “Well, I’ll . . . report it to maintenance.” Then he pushed the doors open the rest of the way.
On the other side of the doorway was the biggest room Emmy had ever seen.