Interlude 3: Reborn from the Ashes

Luella evaluated the tent setup. Not bad. A little refuge by the river, before she inevitably had to return to Sylvan Glade.

She loved Dandelion, she really did. But spending all of her time in Sylvan Glade with a child was suffocating. Especially now, when he was old enough to start asking uncomfortable questions. Painful questions she either didn’t want to answer, or that she didn’t even have an answer to.

Luckily, Dandelion being older also meant she could also afford to leave him to his own devices from time to time. After all, he was about the same age she had been when they first settled in Sylvan Glade. So she would take advantage of the newfound freedom and take little excursions to Glimmerbrook.

Luella mostly kept her distance from spellcasters on those trips, though. She never forgot her father’s words of warning. Don’t trust anyone but Simeon. Simeon himself reiterated that point; it didn’t seem he himself had gained much more confidence in his fellow sages over the years. He did still visit them, but not as frequently as when they were little.

Her fingertips traced the key on her necklace. She let out a sigh. Don’t trust anyone. Easily done, when she had no one anyway.

A movement on the path behind the shrubs distracted her. Someone was coming.

Excited, Luella approached the bushes, peering through. She’d seen most of Glimmerbrook’s inhabitants from the distance. Who would she get to see today?

She watched the teenager sit down by the river bank and gaze into the distance.

Her heart skipped a beat. Someone close to her in age! Relatively speaking, that was – as she had learned from Simeon, spellcaster years seemed to pass at an oddly rapid speed.

But who was this? Nothing about them was particularly familiar. Someone new to the village? Luella leaned forward to take a better look, but lost her balance, falling out of the bush.

The youth jumped up, turning towards her abruptly. “What the hell? Are you spying on me?”

“I…”

It had been ages since Luella had spoken to anyone who wasn’t Simeon or Dandelion. She’d been exposed, but she couldn’t help but find it exhilarating.

“I was just curious.” She said truthfully, studying the teen’s face. “Are you a boy or a girl?”

The question seemed to have annoyed the teenager. The look in their eyes was piercing, defiant. Now that Luella was closer to them, she noticed how worn their clothes were, the dirt on their skin.

“Wait, you’re human!” She exclaimed as the realisation hit her – no spellcaster would have gotten to that state, they would have simply used a scruberoo spell.

For some odd reason, the teen’s expression softened slightly. “That’s exactly what I am.” There was an edge to their voice, residue of anger, but Luella didn’t get the impression it was directed at her. “Boy or girl shouldn’t really matter.”

“I guess that’s true.” Luella agreed, unsure why this was such a touchy subject. She knew even less about humans than she did about spellcasters. Other than that they couldn’t be trusted. But this one was young, and clearly out of their depth, judging by the state of them. “What’s your name?”

“I’m Morgyn Ember.”

So she’d been right about the teen not being local. “There are no Embers in Glimmerbrook.” She noted. “Where did you come from?”

“There are no Embers where I came from either.” Morgyn shrugged. “The name is… self-given.”

“You mean you made it up.” Luella laughed.

“That’s one way to look at it.” The teen frowned.

“That came out wrong. All names are made up anyway.” She mused out loud. “In a way, you’re better-placed to name yourself than anyone else, I suppose. So why Ember?”

Morgyn hesitated. “I was born with a different name. But my family… they died. In a fire. I survived. I could carry that with me my whole life, or I could start over. Reborn from the ashes.”

“So Ember.” Luella nodded, fascinated. “I… I understand. I lost my family too. The same way, actually. Fire.”

Morgyn looked at her strangely for a moment before speaking again.

“You could do the same thing, you know. The past can only hold you hostage if you let it. You can be who you want to be. You haven’t told me your name yet, after all.”

“I’m L-“ Luella stopped herself.

It was clear Morgyn wanted her to make up a name for herself, and she could see the appeal. Life didn’t have to be what happened to her. It could be whatever she decided.

But she had no ideas. What in the world would still be her?

“Faba.” She said firmly.

“L Faba?” Morgyn raised an eyebrow.

She groaned inwardly. How stupid did that sound? Was there a way she could save face now?

“I like it.” Morgyn interrupted her spiralling thoughts. “It’s different. You’re different. In a good way, I mean.”

“Oh. I’m an elf.” She explained.

Morgyn looked taken aback for a moment. “An elf? An elf… Wait. That’s… not what I meant. I just meant that you’re not like anybody else I’ve met before. But not because of what you are. Because of how you are.”

Luella was at a loss for words. That had to be the nicest thing anybody had ever said to her. Granted, she didn’t speak to many people, but still. Today was one of the best days she’d had in a long time. Her head was spinning. She had to repay Morgyn somehow.

She took out the wand Simeon gave her and cast one of the spells the sage taught her. “Fortunalis!”

A flash of sparkles flew through the air.

Morgyn stared at her, bewildered. “What was that?”

“A spell of good fortune. Means you’ll have good luck for the next 24 hours. There’s a potion that does the same thing, but you need turquoise and valerian root so this is just much quicker-“

“Slow down!” Morgyn interjected. “A spell. You can do magic?”

“Told you I’m an elf.” Luella shrugged. “Elves are known to have some of the strongest magic there is. Or so they say.”

“Listen… there’s something I can do too.”

Morgyn extended their arm cautiously, turning the palm of their hand up. Not a single word left the teenager’s lips, but an orb of fire rose from their fingertips.

Luella’s eyes widened. She felt paralysed. Memories of Syeldell burning flooded back to her.

She realised Morgyn stopped.

“I didn’t mean to scare you. I thought… I’m sorry.” There was a hint of something strange in Morgyn’s voice. Desperation, Luella realised.

“No, it’s fine.” She managed to compose herself. “I have seen untamed magic before. I just didn’t expect… you said you were human.”

“What do you mean? Untamed magic, what is that?”

“You really don’t know? But you’re a spellcaster…”

The blank stare on Morgyn’s face gave her an answer. Morgyn was a spellcaster who had no knowledge of spellcasters. Luella had no idea that was even possible. “You have magic powers, but you don’t understand them.”

Morgyn’s mouth opened, and then closed. She was right.

“Come with me. There’s something you need to see…” She grabbed Morgyn’s hand.

The feeling of their fingers intertwining was alien. The only person whose hand Luella ever held before was Dandelion, but this was very different. She felt herself blushing. She could only hope Morgyn was distracted enough not to notice…

She led Morgyn towards the magic realm portal.

“What… that’s impossible.” Morgyn stared at the gateway, mesmerised. “I’ve only just walked by here earlier and there was no… whatever this is.”

“It’s a portal to the magic realm.” Luella clarified. “It’s always been here, you just couldn’t see it. Somebody who knows about it has to show you, otherwise it’s invisible and you can’t get in. It’s for protection.”

“Magic realm.” Morgyn whispered, clearly trying to regain composure. “Right. Ok. So if the entrance is hidden, what will they think of visitors?”

Simeon would be kind to Morgyn, Luella had no doubts about that.

“You’re a spellcaster, you will be fine. A powerful one, by the looks of it, if you don’t even need to say your spells out loud… Though you should know it’s considered polite to say them, out of courtesy.”

“I don’t know any spells.” Morgyn admitted.

How did that work, Luella wondered? How could one cast spells without knowing them? Was magic simply leaking out of Morgyn?

“The magic realm is the best place for you to learn more about your powers. Besides, you have a spell of good fortune on you, so it will have to go well.” She winked.

“Thank you.” Morgyn smiled at her before walking over to the portal.

She watched the teen stare at the gateway, clearly drawn to it. She’d done a good thing. Though her feelings were strangely mixed, as she watched Morgyn about to go through.

But before entering, the young spellcaster turned around abruptly.

“Wait!” Morgyn called out, hesitating for a moment.

What a strange thing to say, Luella thought; she wasn’t the one about to leave.

“If I go into the portal now… will I ever see you again?” Morgyn asked her.

An unfamiliar giddy sensation washed over Luella. A wide grin spread across her lips.

“I hope so.” She replied softly.

23 thoughts on “Interlude 3: Reborn from the Ashes

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  1. I knew this was coming and had braced myself. That was surprisingly sweet, if not full of foreboding, desperation and hidden aggression. I wonder; did Morgyn survive as a homeless person since that day they ran from their burning house? What a thing to bond these two; both raising themselves from the ashes, desperate and lonely. Heavy.

    Morgyn is evidently more feminine here, even in more boyish clothes, which I found quite interesting; I don’t know why I assumed they’d neutralised from the male side, especially as in the previous flashbacks, they were dressed like a girl when they were younger. I had put it down to progressive mum not caring if her son wore a skirt, but now I’m thinking Morgyn was born female. Not that it should matter, as they said.

    Ah, so is she pronouncing L Faba as Le Faba not El Faba? This feels like Vatorr/Vatorey all over again.

    She meets a stinky, grumpy ‘human’ (who she doesn’t use scruberoo on!) and thinks it is “one of the best days she’d had in a long time”. That’s so painfully sad. And she’s so bright and chirrupy, even with everything that happened to her so far. If losing her whole family, her home, her life, any sort of freedom and living in a lonely chasm of not trusting anyone didn’t break her, it makes me dread what the hell must have happened next to make her the L Faba we all know and love today.

    I blame Morgyn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why ever would it not be sweet? Ok, apart from the whole shared fire-related trauma, dead family and being lonely element, and the other stuff you mention…. but at least they’ve both met someone who can relate, yay!

      Yes, Morgyn was assigned female at birth, and no, their parents were not progressive in the slightest. The gender thing will sort of come up, but sort of not. As for them being homeless, I don’t think this will explicitly be mentioned at any point, beyond what Morgyn themself had alluded to in their inner monologue way back in their Selvadorada POV where they couldn’t understand why Cordelia was so attached to her camp, but you are right. It’s not a coincidence that Morgyn’s present-day room is filled with gold, extravagant furniture and way too many outfits for them to ever wear.

      Haha yeah, she does pronounce it that way, but I wouldn’t expect anyone to have assumed that because it was never specified. It is the reason I have been writing it as “L Faba” rather than “L. Faba,” though 🙂

      What, you mean running into a smelly homeless teenager with a bit of an attitude would not be a highlight for you? 😀 Haha yes, she did not use scruberoo on them – they are right next to a body of water, after all, would be a waste. She was pretty bright and chirpy – Dandy has to get it from somewhere, after all. Aaand there you go with the doomsday predictions 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Someone who can relate, yes, but fire plus fire just equals more fire! At least no one will be cold.

        I once *was* a smelly, homeless teenager with a bit of an attitude and I can’t say I was ever a highlight, no. 😏

        You say ‘doomsday prediction’, I say ‘realistic expectation’.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow. It’s so weird seeing them not all… *waves hands around vaguely* They’re not happy here, but they’re not as… twisted, I guess, as they are in present day. (Or, you know, as insufferable.)
    I wonder… did Morgyn break Lulu’s heart just like he did to those many others? Was she the first, even?
    Plenty of intrigue as always. Only thing missing from this chapter is Dandy as a child 😦 Hopefully next chapter?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fun fact: This is the first time in the 70 odd chapters we have witnessed Morgyn to use the words “I’m sorry.” So I know what you mean 😀

      I guess we’ll find out 🙂

      There will be a bit of Dandy as a child in the next chapter, I think, though most of the interludes revolve around Lulu, so don’t get your hopes up too much!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this interlude ❤

    Lulu is so beautiful and refreshingly confident in her teenage stage 😍
    She finally meets someone else her age. Of course, Morgyn must capture her interest and arouse her emotions.
    Isn’t that what Morgyn always does?
    … even though it is often the anger and hatred of your readers 😂

    I almost think I’m the only one who’s feeling sympathy for Morgyn.
    First of all because their past interests me. What has made Morgyn make the choices they make later in life.
    Next because Morgyn is a mirror of the moral dilemmas we all face in life. Right and wrong, love and failure.

    Now we have an explanation of how Morgyn came to the Magic realm. Led by the hand of a young naive girl.
    What has happened in the meantime before we Lulu end up as the bitter and irreconcilable woman we later meet in the story? 🤔

    PS: I love your explanation of how L.Faba got her name.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I love it too, one of those scenes that’s been very persistent in my head since the summer, so I’m glad it’s finally out “in the open.”

      You’re right, Lulu has a great level of confidence here – it’s unlike Cordelia’s crappy self-worth, but also not like Hawthorne’s “I can do no wrong” attitude. An yes, Morgyn definitely intrigued her.

      I don’t know if you’re the only one, but I’m glad you do 🙂 It’s fun to see different takes on characters, and I do have a soft spot for Morgyn, after all, before they became the, err, quirky individual they are today, they were just a lost homeless kid with rogue magic. But you know, I have to love most of my characters 😀

      There’s more to learn, I’m sure. 🙂 And thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ok I just binged this entire story yesterday because of a super slow day at work, and I’m obviously hooked. I woke up this morning to try and gauge your upload schedule and I literally squealed when I saw this chapter. Ugh this story has my whole heart right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Oof, you binged the whole thing in a day? I hope that wasn’t too headache-inducing!

      I don’t have a set schedule per say but tend to update every 3-4 days 🙂 That being said, there are only a few chapters left before the end of the “season” (4 more interludes and 2 present day chapters). I will be taking a bit of a break after that (probably a month or two), but rest assured there will be a season 2 🙂 Thanks again for reading! ❤

      Like

      1. It was captivating! I couldn’t put it down. The roller coaster I was taken on was so thrilling and I’m SO excited for whatever you have in store!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Aw man, so this is how Faba and Morgyn met. Not as two hotheaded spellcasters (well, kind of) at each other’s throats, but as two teenager who, by the looks of it, fell for each other very fast. They’re both so different, but you can see glimpses of their older selves, in Morgyn more than in Faba at the moment.

    I wonder if Morgyn broke her heart. Was she their first love? Were they hers? If so, then no wonder she’s grown so bitter over Morgyn’s escapades with their new “loves”.

    Oh, hey! One of those pictures of Faba swinging her wand was in Morgyn’s memories, when Micah was drinking from them! So that’s what that moment was.

    Also, wow, they apologised! Not only realized that they were scaring her, but apologising for it, too. None of that “sorry-you’re-feeling-that-way-but-it’s-really-not-my-fault” hogwash. I wonder what happened to Morgyn over the year to make them change like that, too. Was it Aine? Did they just go power-hungry, and was sympathy the price to pay?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They did seem to take a liking to each other. Guess they were both pretty lonely, and beggars can’t be choosers, right? 😀 And they did have a few things in common, I suppose 🙂

      [insert something vague and cryptic here]

      Yeah! We have seen that before, yes. Learning about the existence of magic, other spellcasters and the magic realm was a pretty important memory for Morgyn. That, and something else.

      Haha, rejoice in the historical moment; Morgyn is apologising. What did make them change… I suppose we’ll find out. Maybe.

      Like

  6. So we don’t know what Morgyn Ember’s true name/lineage is since their name is made up. Oof I wonder if they have a connection to someone in the story already. Seeing as they’re so secretive about their identity and gender.

    I really like the fire orb effect. Super pretty!

    I think I remember making a super far-fetched theory about LFaba having feelings for Morgyn in the past. This makes me think of that all over again. It was really long ago though. So Idk what I said anymore lol.

    A spellcaster who doesn’t know they are a spellcaster. O: That would mean Morgyn’s parents didn’t teach them about spellcasting and they had to find out on their own. That’s a pretty scary experience. Especially if the powers appear and they have no knowledge of anyone else doing something like that. And we know that Morgyn burnt down their family home with their powers too. I do wonder why Morgyn is on their own and in such an uncared for state. I think they could’ve been homeless this entire time. That’s hard.

    This also makes me wonder if Morgyn saw themselves in Cordy when she was by herself and is one of the reasons for them approaching her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is true. We know Morgyn’s first name was always Morgyn, but their last name could have been anything. Maybe that’s relevant, maybe it’s not. Maybe it was Smith. Lol. Being secretive is not necessarily their reasoning for the response about their gender, but that will come up.

      Oh, thank you! I can only aspire to have cool effects like you one day.

      Haha, I think you mentioning said far-fetched theory was about the extent you elaborated on it before too, so I’m not sure what you may have thought back then 😀 I’m sure we’ll see more of young Faba and Morgyn still 🙂

      Mhm, Morgyn’s parents did not teach them anything about magic.. of course, they might not have had any knowledge of magic themselves in the first place. But yes, it would be scary, and potentially have huge consequences, like burning your whole home and family down by accident.

      You’re quite right, Morgyn has been homeless this whole time, and yes, they did see their younger self in Cordelia – they actually mentioned the latter at one point, though not to her, haha. Also the reason they hated her camp so much and were so keen to upgrade her house.

      Like

  7. Aww Lulu must have felt really lonely all these years. Only having Dandy with her, and occasionally Simeon.
    She’s also too trusting and naive smh, and looks as if she has a little crush on Morgyn 😏

    I wonder if she regrets that she brought them to the magic realm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She was very lonely, yes. A bit of naiveté is given when you’re young and have a pretty limited exposure to the world 🙂

      Oh, that’s a good question, does Luella regret bringing Morgyn to the magic realm… hmmm…. I can’t answer that, but I really like the question 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, in the present she’s quite snarky and doesn’t seem to have a too cordial relationship with them- so ofc I must wonder what has happened between them in all those decades, and also if Luella regrets bringing Morgyn there as they have caused quite some trouble 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m never opposed to a million comments 😀 I’m glad you liked the chapter, this first meeting was so peskily (that’s probably not a word but I’m going with it) stuck in my mind since last summer that it’s a huge relief to finally share it – I’m sure you know the feeling!

      Liked by 1 person

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