The Worldbreaker Question
Elena’s fingers dart across the keyboard, and a presentation appears on the widescreen she keeps in her room.
The first picture is divided into two; the left part is a photo of a woman with a stick-figure, blue eyes and auburn hair. Perenelle Corazon. The right part of the photo is a charcoal drawing Elena had comissioned by an local artist. The drawing shows a younger girl, wearing mediaeval clothes and frayed, uncombed hair. The left side of the photo is how Perenelle appears to most people, the right side is what Elena sees when she uses the magic that Tiresias gave her.
Richard Corazon’s smiling face fills the screen. With his pale brown eyes, his blonde hair and his easy-going manner Corazon is a favorite of women from all ages of Fallowfell. Really, Elena has no problem admitting that she used to have crush on him back in middle high. She taps a key, and his face changes. It becomes more streamlined. Whiskers, slitted pupiles and his hair turns lustruous and golden. A lionman, that’s what she sees when she looks at Corazon.
The visage of Nurse Merith, the woman who has taught the girls of Fallowfell folk-remedies for that time of the month since Julia, her mother, was the age Elena herself is now, shows up on the screen. Her face has one or two lines to mark age, her bob has grown in length and while her eyes are brown, there is nothing ordinary in the way she looks at the photographer. Elena gently pushes a key on her computer, and the clothes Merith wears changes. From brown simple slacks to the white clothes of antiquity, either Greek or Egyptian. Old, Nurse Merith is, so old that looking at her hurts Elena’s eyes in a way that few supernaturals do.
Rune’s neighbour…. Nidar Greyscale might like an action-star of one of those cheesy movies out the 80’s, with his blond shoulder length hair and his green eyes, but what her magic tells her…. she views a clip of a large dragon destroying a town in one of those actual action-flicks from the 80’s. Alien, that’s what Greyscale is. Perenelle might look like a girl someone probably refered to as as ‘wench’, and Corazon has his Simba-thing, but atleast they’re bipedal. Greyscale has never been human, and no matter what he looks like, he’ll never be.
This picture is of her and Rune, on a trip high into the mountains. Slightly behind them is Hermann. Hermann who is white, old and bald, yet whose true face is that of young dusky man with a beard and a scimitar. In one way Hermann’s secret is the one that bothers her the most. Hermann has always been a part of Rune’s life, and because Rune has always been a part of her life, he follows.
A panorama-picture of her class. The… the magical natures of her classmates leave afterimages on her eyelids; Amanda with her snout and wolfish eyes, Shirin’s face obscured by a large beak and Stella chittering at her with mandibles. Mandibles for heavens sake!
The worst part, she reckons, is that out of her class, only Pontus, Marika, Sara and Signe are humans. Them and her. Only that isn’t true, is it? Whatever this Tiresias did to her, it left her with something, something that isn’t normal.
Rune’s wooden smiles stares back at her. His scars- white lines moving across his face- makes him look grim and crude, the Dragon, the henchman to a supervillain, which is quite the irony when you realize that Rune is the least confrontational person in a ten kilometer radius. She closes her eyes and see that other Rune. Green eye. Scales like something a fish has covers his skin. Smoke stream out of his nostrils. Is that his true nature? When they played in the sandlot, when they watched Disney-movies and ran through the deep forest that surrounds Fallowfell– was he hiding his nature?
Click. She can’t think of Gomagog. Too ancient. Too wrong. Too hungry.
An aerial picture covers the screen now. Home, yet this Fallowfell and the Fallowfell she grew up in is not the same Fallowfell. The lack of a proper church, the date of the founding which nobody really knows for certain, the Founding Families- of which the Bluts appears to be wizards, the barrows in the hills. On a walk through the city itself, Elena has seen far too many supernaturals to be counted, excluding the people in her class. Roberta Aterna, the local mailguide, who is something that wears a toga and who dances like the wind. Toivo Leino, an old retired miner who has the facial structure of an ursine and several jars of honey on a string around his neck. Samuel Riker, a semi-famous runner who in his true shape wears a redcap, iron-shod boots and staff. So many supernaturals, so many secrets.
The next thing Elena does is to pull up several search-engines. In quick order she reads the entries on werewolves, vampires, lizardmen and spiderpeople. Some minutes later she screams.”Useless”, she roars. The entries, if you could even call them that, contradict each other, while the comment sections are filled with the kind of people who probably read paranormal romance novels.
It strikes her that all of this could be a giant cover-up, created by supernaturals to maintain their covers. It also strikes her that she sounds like one of those people with tin-hats. But… but if there are supernaturals, how come someone never tried expose them? This very train of thought leads Elena down a very dark road. Because she figures, people, even supernatural ones will fight, even kill to keep their own secrets and that of their loved ones. No, she decides, she isn’t going to be calling any newspapers any time soon.
But information, she needs information. Reaching Between isn’t an option; she really doesn’t want to be hurt like that again. Talking, she muses, she should reach out to someone she trusts, someone that is a supernatural, and talk to them.
But who? Who, she asks herself, who do you ask about their innermost secret? Not a stranger certainly. Teachers? No– still not close enough. She realizes that she has no choice but to call Rune.
“But not today”, she says out loud. No not today. Maybe not this month. Yes, maybe not this month….