The Clock Tower Guardian Chapter 6
I didn’t even glance back as Razana led me down the path and away from the house.
“So,” she began. “Just what has he taught you?”
I gave her a quick run down of what exactly I had read, and the fact that I had read it all. She pursed her lips in disapproval and shot an angry glare back at the house. Then she sighed and faced forward once more.
“In other words, you don’t even know the basics of being a Guardian,” she said with a growl that I could tell wasn’t directed at me. My suspicion was confirmed as she muttered under her breath. “That no good, womanizing layabout. Good-for-nothing vagabond. It’s a wonder he’s a Guardian at all. Should be pushed off a cliff for all the good he’ll do you as a teacher.”
Razana sighed again and looked at me.
“Well, I suppose I’ll have to fill you in then.”
She pulled me to a halt and spun me back around to face the house. Pointing over my shoulder at the building, she began her lecture.
“First off, that house right there? That’s not just any house. That is the House. The House itself is the Northern Gate. When you’re inside it, you can end up in either world. The trick is Cahir.”
I shot her a surprised look and she nodded in confirmation.
“Cahir. He is the Key. Every Gate is activated in a different way and the Northern Gate is activated by the symbols on him. You’ve seen them, right?”
I nodded. I remembered having seen them when I first entered the House, but I hadn’t thought anything off them at the time.
“Those symbols have to be activated in a certain order and in the proper order will take you to the human world or our world. I don’t know the specific combinations myself because it’s not my Gate, so you’ll have to tell Fenor that I said he had to show you.”
“Now then, the Garden.”
She spun me around, linked her arm in mine once more, and continued walking.
“This Garden,” she said, gesturing around with her free hand. “Is in both worlds. It protects the Gate from those who might harm it.”
“How is it in both worlds?”
“Magic,” she said with a shrug. “I don’t know the mechanics, I’m afraid. No one does. The first Northern Guardian was the one who set it up and he never told anyone how he did it or passed on the knowledge.”
She looked around at the trees sadly.
“So much was lost with the first Guardians. We don’t know how they set up the Gates originally or how they separated the worlds.”
“Separated the worlds?”
“Yes, that’s what they did. The human world and the magical world grew to the point where they could no longer coexist and had to be separated or they would have destroyed each other. So, the original Five Guardians, being the five most powerful creatures in the worlds, combined their magics and separated humans and magical creatures and created the Gates. Each Gate was where one of the Five had closed off the worlds from each other, but it was like a novice stitching a seam in a garment. There were holes and missed stitches and stitches that were uneven. That’s how the lesser Gates came to be. If the spell had been perfectly done, none of the lesser Gates would exist because the stitching would have been perfect, but those Gates that were found later are the holes and uneven stitches.”
I nodded and we walked on in silence for a moment before a thought occurred to me.
She waved off the title.
“Okay, Razana, you said something about the Garden being in both worlds to protect this Gate. How does a Garden protect a House?”
She gave me a sideways look and grinned.
“Didn’t you notice anything odd when you were walking through the first time?”
I thought about it for a long moment and then shook my head. I had been so distracted by the magical expanse that I hadn’t noticed anything else.
“Ah yes. Not everyone does their first time through.”
Razana pulled me to a halt on the path and pointed into the trees.
I starred hard at the trees in front of us, seeing nothing out of the ordinary in a magical Garden that protects a magical House. The trees swayed in a light breeze, their leaves rustling pleasantly, and then I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. I looked toward it, but there was nothing there except the swaying trees. I starred harder at where I had seen movement and then saw it again, like a shadow slipping through the trees, out of the corner of my eye. I turned quickly to look in that direction and again, saw nothing.
“What is it?” I whispered to Razana.
I looked over at the Battle Gnome to see her watching me. What was it? Then it dawned on me and continued in a whisper as I realized what she was trying to get at.
“We’re not alone here, are we?”
Slowly, the Guardian shook her head.
I looked back out at the trees, letting my eyes wander this time, and the breeze played with the leaves again. Then I saw it once more out of the corner of my eye and tried to look around where the shadow had been, hoping to catch a better look if I wasn’t starring so hard at where it had been and rather where it might be now. No such luck though.
I sighed and looked back at Razana.
“Are they dangerous?”
“Only to those who don’t belong here.”
“What are they?”
“I honestly don’t know. They never show themselves to anyone except, I suppose, those who shouldn’t be here. I imagine they’re rather dangerous creatures though, to only appear to their victims.”
“Their victims?” I repeated. “You mean, they actually do kill people for trespassing?”
I looked back to the trees around us and felt a shiver run up my spine. Would they have killed me if I had managed to get inside before Fenor had invited me in?
“Yes,” Razana said solemnly. “They kill those who come here with evil intentions.”
She paused and looked over at me, studying me. I raised an eyebrow at her, wondering what she was about. After a moment, she frowned thoughtfully.
“You’re an Elf, right?”
My face fell and I growled.
She waved away the unpleasant voice in my answer.
“But you have Elven blood in you, right?”
Grudgingly, I nodded.
“Oh, excellent!” she said, clapping her hands and grinning. “I’ve never had someone with Elven blood to instruct before and, even though I suppose you’re not technically mine to instruct, let’s try it.”
“Try what?” I asked, completely confused.
“Close your eyes,” she said in a very teacher-like voice.
I gave her a confused look but she waved at me to go-on-already so I shrugged and complied.
“Now,” she said in a low voice. “Feel.”
My face scrunched up in confusion and I opened my eyes to look over at her.
“Close your eyes!”
With a scowl, I closed them again.
“Feel the earth and the trees and the breeze. Feel the life pulsing through it all. Feel the laughter of the trees as the breeze tickles their leaves. Feel the movement of the earth as it spins. Feel the roots digging ever deeper into it’s soil. Feel the pulse running through all the life connected to the earth.”
I stood there, trying to feel what she telling me I should feel, but after she stopped talking and I just continued to stand there, not feeling anything different, I began to feel a bit stupid. Quiet moments passed as I listened to the breeze and the rustling leaves, but I didn’t feel anything different.
“Do you feel it?” she whispered.
I sighed and opened my eyes with a sad shrug.
“I don’t feel anything.”
“That’s probably because you’re thinking too much.”
She smiled sympathetically.
“You have to empty your mind and let everything just flow through you.”
I frowned and closed my eyes to try again. Empty the mind. I could do that. It was simple. Just don’t think about anything.
So I stood there... and stood there... and stood there. Nothing. I sighed again and opened my eyes to look over at Razana with a shrug.
“I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.”
She patted my shoulder and linked arms with me to begin walking again.
“I doubt you did anything wrong. Elves lost their true connection to nature a long, long time ago. It’s possible that being only half-Elf will make it harder do reconnect or perhaps Elves can’t at all anymore. There are so few who try that I’m truly not sure which it is. Either way, there are plenty of other things you can learn. You won’t necessarily need it.”
The Guardian smiled at me, still with a bit of sympathy, and I was suddenly determined that I would make that connection. Someday, somehow, and I didn’t care how long it took me. I was going to get back what the Elves had lost.
When we reached the iron gate, Razana hugged me and then pulled away with a grin.
“I’ll be checking up on you. I don’t trust that womanizer to teach you anything worthwhile.”
I chuckled, matching her grin.
“Thanks. I’ll appreciate all the help I can get. He doesn’t seem very forthcoming about actually teaching.”
I closed the gate behind her and watched as she gave me one final wave and then disappeared into the trees. I wondered if the Bird of Paradise was out there watching somewhere, but after scanning the forest, I shook my head and turned away, heading back to the House.
There was so much I didn’t know and I wanted to know it all. Guess it was time to make my teacher actually teach me something.
On my way back, I kept catching those shadows out of the corner of my eye. They weren’t hostile, but curious I think. I certainly didn’t mind. I was as curious about them as they were about me. I made a mental note to find out just what they were or at least find out more about them.
I paused at the Door.
“Do you know the combinations to transfer to the human world and our world?”
“Of course!” chirped the Door. “But... I can’t tell you what they are.”
That last part sounded sad, maybe regretful.
“Well, because I interact with the worlds differently than you or Master. I have no idea what the symbols look like to you. To me, they are a part of me and I suppose you would say I feel them, instead of seeing them, but I don’t know what I look like to you either.”
I frowned, confused.
“Why wouldn’t you know what you look like to me?”
“Well, hmmm. Oh, how do I explain this right?”
The Door hummed for a moment before he continued.
“To put it as simply as I can, I am not what you see. I exist on another plain of reality entirely. I have no physical existence here so it’s impossible for me to relate to what exactly you’re seeing in front of you. I can tell you what the symbols feel like to me and what they feel like when they’re activated, but that wouldn’t help much.”
I shook my head.
“Wait, how do you exist in two different plains of reality at once?”
“I suppose the same way the rest of the House and Garden do, though I’m a little more unique, being in three plains instead of just the two.”
I shook my head again.
“That’s it. He has to start actually teaching me.”
Pushing Cahir open, I moved into the hallway and heard Fenor down in the kitchen. Following the sounds of him making coffee, I walked in and crossed my arms, watching my Master’s back. When the coffee was done and he had his mug, he finally turned and saw me.
“What?” he asked offhandedly as he took a sip.
“You’re going to start teaching me, and I mean actually teaching me, starting today.”
The coffee in his mouth sprayed the tiled floor as he chocked.
A/N: Oh, explanations, the bane of my writing existence. They make me take forever. Lol. Hope this chapter was still enjoyable though! :)