By the time Wlvn woke up, the morning had arrived, and he found himself lying on a cot in a simple wood cabin. A maid of the wood elves sat beside him, looking truly elfish as opposed to Moriah. This one had pitch black hair, dark eyes, sharp features including her ears, and appeared to be very skinny, what a human might call anorexic. Wlvn found himself admiring her when she noticed his eyes were open. She left him at once and fetched her elder. They returned in only a moment of time.
“Thank you Laurel.” The Elder smiled for the maid when he saw Wlvn’s eyes open. “Please fetch some water.”
“What…” Wlvn tried to speak but the elder held up his hand to hush him.
“There will be time for talk, later,” he said. “We don’t normally countenance human mortals in our territory, but clearly there is something extraordinary about you, and half of your people are not human in any case. I should say, welcome to Miroven.”
“Night creatures.” Wlvn managed the words while the elf maid returned with a very welcomed cup of water.
“Fearsome beasts.” The elder looked down for a moment. “But they will not come here in any case, and they will not cross the river as long as my people hold the fords.”
“Thank you.” Wlvn said, and he let his head fall back again on the pillow and closed his eyes for a minute. The young elf maid went to retrieve his cup, and he added a word. “Thank you Laurel. You have been kind to this poor human who has found himself lost in Lothlorien.”
The maid curtsied. “I do not know this Lothlorien you speak of, but our goddess has told us that we must not prevent the humans from taking dominion over all the earth. We may share it, but it is rightfully yours.” With that mouthful, the maid looked up suddenly at her elder with a thought that perhaps she said too much, and maybe she should not have spoken at all. The Elder looked unmoved, but the brief flash in his eyes suggested that perhaps he was not happy with her. Wlvn felt the sentiment in his gut even without noticing the eyes. These were part of his watch, after all.
“Don’t be angry with her, Gallred. I did say that very thing, I think.”
The elder paused. “I do not remember giving you my name.”
Laurel caught the obvious. “You said it?”
Badl burst into the room before Wlvn could respond. “Lord!” Badl got hot about something. “They have given everyone fairy food and enchanted them all. Even Moriah is not acting quite right.”
“Eh?” The elder took a step back and his nostrils flared; but to be sure, he mostly appeared upset at being ratted out, not inclined to dispute the facts.
“Oh.” Wlvn thought. “I suppose they should not be enchanted while they are under my protection.” He waved his hand, though it still felt hard to lift that hand. “And I think Moriah needs to be immune in her human half since she is going to see her father.” He tried another wave, but he did not actually succeed. He listened, and the first thing he heard was Wlkn’s gasp.
Then he heard Elleya shout. “Why am I doing someone’s laundry?”
When he heard Andrea scream, he knew they were all back to normal and he smiled, but decided he still needed some rest. He closed his eyes, turned on his side to turn his back to them all, and went back to sleep for a nap.
That afternoon, Wlvn found himself sitting by a clear pool, a small bit of water out in the woods, surrounded by a well manicured lawn and some flowers that had obviously been planted. Badl and Moriah were near, and Wlvn felt glad that Moriah had temporarily stopped crying. The elf ladies wanted nothing to do with her, and the men all treated her like she had some plague. Wlvn had not imagined that his little ones could be so cruel, but Moriah, being half-human, brought out the prejudice against her. Wlkn and Elleya were also near, but very much being together.
“I don’t know what Skinny Wilken sees in her.” Andrea said, calling the man by what had become his official name. Wlvn turned to look in her direction. She had not been out of arm’s reach, though never quite close enough to touch since he awoke.
“A strange case,” Wlvn admitted. “He used to be an old man, at the end of his days, when he caught a taste of the apples of youth, what you might call Ambrosia. It didn’t make him immortal, but it made him young again, and Elleya happened to be the first good looking young woman to pay him any attention in a long time. I don’t think he could have resisted her at first if he wanted to. Now, I suppose it is too late.”
Andrea swallowed. “She seems to like him well enough,” she said before she burst out with a serious question. “Is that what happened to you? Did you eat Ambrosia? Are you now like one of the gods?”
“But these spirits say you are. They say you are their god.”
“But never a god over humans.” Wlvn said. “History, maybe, you know the Greek word Kairos, event time, but not people. I’ve just lived before. Gallred says this is my nineteenth life by their counting. I know I will live a bunch of lifetimes in the future, too.”
“But I saw you do all kinds of impossible things.” Andrea protested. “You can fly.” That seemed to impress her most.
“I feel like an X-Men dropout. Maybe I should paint a big “S” on my chest.” Wlvn shook his head. He knew she had no idea what he was talking about. “I can do a few things because I have been given gifts from several Gods, like Poseidon and the horses. They want me to do some dirty work for them and they are willing to entice me.”
“Like with women.” All of a sudden Andrea understood what she was there for, and she made it clear in every way that she wanted no part of it. “Odd, them laying this, whatever it is, on your head, though.”
Wlvn shrugged and scooted up to where he could look into the pool. Gallred called it the pool of reflection. He said that often one could see in the water what felt most pressing on the mind and heart and thus it could bring the whole reflection into focus, and Wlvn finally decided that he needed some focus. He hoped he could see more than just a vision of Loki, the Titan and their various attempts to kill him; but then he was not assured of seeing anything at all. When Gallred told them of the pool, Elleya immediately went to look, but she said all she could see was herself. Wlkn said he saw himself drowning, but that seemed all right. It was about what he expected. Badl, Moriah and Andrea all kept silent about whatever they might have seen. Wlvn avoided the pool for most of the day, but at last he decided that it might be like a dare. He would never sleep well again if he did not look and went through the rest of his life always wondering what he might have seen.
Wlvn saw himself. He tried to empty his mind to let his own deep waters be revealed, as he had been told, but it felt hard. Flern had arrived in the Elf woods some time ago, so they had caught up with each other even though they were still six months and a number of centuries apart. Wlvn spoke out loud. “Make that five hundred, eighty-five years and six months apart, Storyteller’s estimate.”
“What is that?” Andrea asked and scooted up to the water’s edge. “Why, she is very pretty.” Andrea added, and Wlvn started. He realized he was looking at Flern in the water, and somehow, at the same time, she was looking at him. “Why, she looks exactly like you, except a girl, like if you were a girl instead of so very much male. No, it looks like if you were born a girl and now you are a young woman. I think we could be friends, maybe.” Andrea had trouble describing it, and Wlkn and Elleya came over for a look. They had just stood up when Andrea started to speak.
“She looks exactly like you.” Elleya had to add her thoughts, and rather loudly.
“What’s this?” Badl stepped up and he had Moriah by the hand.
Flern moved her lips and Wlvn heard her say his name in his head, ringing all of the way from the future. He returned the word. “Flern.” He spoke out loud, and then their eyes met. He felt very dizzy until he broke eye contact, and then he may have passed out for a second. He certainly fell over, face down in the dirt.
He knew he was conscious when he heard Andrea screaming and Badl trying to shut her up while Moriah held her ears. Elleya talked a mile a minute and all Wlkn could say was “Yes, yes and yes.” He sat up, and only then did he realize that he did not sit up. She sat up, and she was Flern in Wlvn’s time and place, and she wondered how that happened since she and Wlvn made no effort to trade places in time.
Wlvn sat up at the same time, but in the far future, and he smiled for Pinn and the girls that were with him. He quickly checked the pool, but all he saw was his own reflection. He looked again at the girls and then up at the Lady elf who stood quietly by a tree. “Laurel.” He named her. “I see you are all grown up, and may I add, you are lovely.”
Flern also checked the pool again and saw only herself. As Andrea caught her tongue, Flern spoke out loud. It was perfectly understandable, being in Wlvn’s language, but it was honestly spoken to herself. “Oh dear. I think I have double traded. I don’t know how to undo that.”