The Story

When I started this project, I thought I’d write the story first and then create the cards. Instead, I wound up following Wizard’s process, and creating the cards, then the story; flavor text was also largely separate. Unfortunately, because the story was the final piece of the project, I ran out of steam. The story is much shorter and much less detailed than I’d anticipated. But here it is, and please enjoy.

Otherworld

Otherworld is at once above, below, and next to Teerna Roon. It is a place of youth, beauty, power, joy. The aether that flows through it slows time. One can learn anything with little effort, effortlessly, control their reality with their mind, and even fly. The faeries who call it home had once been the rulers of Konacht, but the mortals pushed them into this realm, and the faeries magically sealed the portals behind them.

The portals lie within the Siv Range, hidden under mountains and hills. In centuries past, mortals had to be invited to enter. Those who entered and stayed found a world of luxury and ease, but when they returned home, found years, even hundreds of years, had passed. The faeries take great care in their invitations, choosing heroes and poets.

But when Usheen was invited in, he slipped several vials of aether into his pocket. The aether in the vials attracted the natural aether flowing through Otherworld; as he returned to Teerna Roon, the aether streams followed him. His assistants were able to process the aether in his lab, making the new redirected streams permanent. This lab aether, synthesized from Usheen’s samples, was stronger, purer than that which flowed through Konacht’s leylines. And so the Age of comfort Came to Konacht–or at least, to its elites–at least, and further aether access pipes were built from Otherworld into Konacht.

Otherworld has maintained an uneasy peace with Teerna Roon. Maclir, the realm’s ruler, has allowed ever more access to the aether and refused entry to morals. . .unless they are willing to pay. Allowing access prevents all-out war. Accepting payment keeps Otherworld exclusive, and provides a reason for Konacht’s elites to preserve Otherworld. Finally, And living can pay for the dead, for their memories to be added to the aether flows, so that they may live on as sprites. And so threats of conquest have been kept at bay.

Until now.

The first gremlin is small. Its eyes glow as bright as neon. It stumbles, unsure where to go. It can sense aether all around it. It takes a bite of the air and dies.

The second gremlin is also small. Its eyes do not glow, and its skin is purple, not the normal pink. It finds an Otherworld dwelling. Since aether infuses every part of Otherworld, it eats not just the machines, but the house itself.

The third gremlin also bites the air. It lives.

The fourth gremlin watches the faeries. The faeries are made of aether, too.

Maclir sends envoys to Konacht’s leaders: Mev, Alil McMata, Dara McFiakna, Finavere. All rebuff him. Everyone knows gremlins cannot enter Otherworld. Maclir tasks his daughter, Neev, with finding help.

Neev studies the gremlin catchers. The mercenary Inakta, led by the fierce Skathak. They will help, yes, but at great cost. The steadfast Nart, who obey only Conor, who obeys only Dara McFiakna. The clever Gniv and their clever leader, Ayva. Surely they will help.

So tonight, Neev walks into the Gniv’s barrack’s lobby and says to Keridwen, “I need your help. There’s gremlins in Otherworld.”


Welcome to Konacht

Keridwen pulled the blanket tighter over her face as her alarm sounded. The incessant ring was replaced by a cheerful “Drink some water!” She lifted the blanket just enough to peer at her robot dog, Key, with one eye. “Drink some water!” it happily advised again. Its wheels carried it toward her bed, and its robot face showed something like interest. Its ears, meant to mimic those of a dog or cat, perked up.

Keridwen sighed, then fumbled for her simidal in the covers. She found the small, rectangular device next to her pillow, and tapped the app that controlled her small studio apartment in Balleh Towers. In addition to communication, she used her simidal to control her house and automatons, since she lacked the biological enhancements to do so directly.

She opened the curtain just a fraction, groaning at the light that came rushing in. Of course, it wasn’t sunlight, not in Konacht, but garish neon signs and swirls of aether. Balleh Towers had a pointed roof that amplified the light bouncing off the fog, which was why it always seemed so bright outside first thing in the morning. Her studio apartment was too high up to show much ground-level detail, but there were plenty of ads and vehicles to watch. A billboard blinked “Just keep going!”

The apartment, in contrast, was blissfully quiet, dark, and tidy: a sanctuary, as much as such a thing could exist in Konacht. The blackout curtains blocked out the smog and neon, the hum of automatons, drunken arguments, the rush of needing to get somewhere.

As the curtain opened, Keridwen stretched and reached out to pat Key on the head. A billboard directly across the street flipped through a series of advertisements and announcements, interspersed with the message “Just keep going!” She would, and she did. Keridwen had left the slums and kept going until she reached the upper floors of Balleh Towers. And now, even though she didn’t want to get out of bed, she had to keep going. Where? ItWell that didn’t matter. It was just go, go, go.

Even though she’d turned off the notification on her simidal, Key chirped again, “Drink some water!”

“You know I only get so many rations, right?” she asked it as she finally got up. Key, and automatons of its ilk, was programmed to take care of (and gather data on) its owner. Keridwen covered the short distance from bed to kitchen, quickly swallowing her vitamins and water ration. She then returned to bed, snuggling under the covers as she checked her simidal for messages and to read the day’s news. Without prompting, Key joined her, emitting a hum similar to a cat’s purr. She absent-mindedly gave it a pat.

The headlines were focused on her employer’s recent merger. Boring. Maybe the politicians and other business owners cared, but the merger changed little in Keridwen’s day-to-day. Online commentators worried what it meant for Konacht’s citizens: fewer choices, more centralized control of information and resources. Less freedom. Keridwen rolled her eyes. Pundits always made a big deal about this kind of thing, but nothing ever happened. Before she could switch to something more interesting, the simidal beeped. Speaking of employers, she had a message from her boss, asking her to come in early.


“Gotta go,” she said to Key, gently placing it on the floor. She finished getting ready, glad she still had a clean work kilt. She decided to indulge in one last luxury before heading out: ordering a Chariot.

The Chariot was already outside of her building when she got downstairs. The streets were slick with rain and fog dimmed the street-level neon. The Chariot now seemed to be less of a luxury, and more of a necessity. She climbed in and gave the computer the address for The Gniv Barracks, where she worked. The computer beeped and the driverless car took off.

The Gniv Barracks was as low-tech as one could get in Konacht. Growing up in the slums, Keridwen had been used to a fairly analog life, yet working in The Gniv Barracks felt positively prehistoric at times. Only the most rudimentary of electronic devices were allowed. One could not have any to Otherworld or body modifications of any kind.Still, she had been assured that at some point, she could retire from gremlin catching and live a life of leisure and luxury. Maybe even an Otherworld afterlife. But for now, she just had to keep going.

The Chariot followed the grid of the Financial District’s streets. Buildings of metal and glass loomed overhead. Far above, clouds blotted out any natural light. Some of Konacht’s citizens rushed by, while others lingered in alleys. The bright neon glow everywhere bleached their features. Because she wore a uniform most days, Keridwen enjoyed examining the clothing of her fellow citizens: ordinary people in short kilts like hers, the middle classes in great kilts, and the occasional extremely wealthy person in pants. Not that the wealthy walked on the sidewalks very often. No matter their manner of dress, though, almost everyone wore the same blank, if harried, expression, though.

Eventually, the grey waters of Firth Tuath came into view. Not even the skyscrapers could completely blot out the gloomy beauty of the bay. The city eventually gave way to quarries and mountains, but the water stretched on forever, reaching far beyond the horizon. Keridwen had never paused to wondered what was beyond it.

The Chariot stopped in front of a small, white warehouse, hidden among the Financial District’s skyscrapers. A neon sign blared “GNIV HEADQUARTERS.” The Nart Barracks were across the spit of land, sitting on Firth Deas, and the Inakta Barracks sat on the point of land jutting out into the sea. These three sets of gremlin catchers served the city, and all of Teerna Roon beyond. All three services, buildings, and employees were similar, it was the employers that differed. The Gniv were controlled by the recently merged corporation of Mev and Alil McMata, the Nart by Dara McFiakna, and the Inakta were free agents, beholden to no one except their leader, Skathak.

Gremlins ate aether, and aether powered much of Konacht. Luckily, gremlins, with their pink hairless bodies and six grasping legs, could not enter the Otherworld, the source of Konacht’s aether. But gremlins could and did disrupt the lives and businesses of the city’s residents. Gremlins could even eat the aether-fueled body modifications, hence the need for gremlin catchers to be mod-free. The catchers’ tools were low-tech nets and knives and guns. A few gremlins lived in cages deep inside the Barracks, under heavy lock and key, for study.

Keridwen walked past the front door and through the lobby, scanning her work ID to enter the employee door. She greeted her colleagues and placed her belongings in an empty locker. The barracks included bedrooms, training areas, labs, and offices, but the catchers spent most of their time in a bare staff room. Of course, by bare, that meant bare of electronics. Most surfaces were covered with books, games, pens, and paper. A small hallway led to an even smaller kitchen, but it usually went unused, as no one wanted to cook over a fire.

Despite having asked her to come in early, Keridwen’s boss, Ayva, was nowhere to be found. Ayva liked to tinker with antique tech, so was probably in a nearby garage. Gremlin outbreaks had been infrequent lately, so Ayva had more time to do what she loved while her employees had more time for boredom.

Keridwen checked the schedule: she was assigned to the front desk’s night shift. Thank goodness she had come in so early.

Afternoon turned into evening. Some of the gremlin catchers slept, others read books or played cards. Keridwen thumbed through an old magazine while tipping back in her chair, feet on her desk. The front desk was in a lobby, separated from the rest of the barracks. The room was dark and quiet, save for the soft glow of the street lights and a desk lamp.

The front door burst open. Keridwen looked up. A faery.

“I need your help. There’s gremlins in Otherworld.”


The Programmer

Donn Kalane’s code was immaculate. His deployments flawless. His programs rarely crashed. He loved solving problems. He loved creating them even more.

The vedalken had worked for entrepreneur Mev, helping her build a corporate empire. After she merged her company with Alil McMata’s, he left. The merger meant changes, too many changes, too many new people, too many new expectations. And not enough work. Donn Kalane did his best to just keep going but Mev and Alil McMata’s rival, Dara McFiakna, made hoim an offer: an office on an empty floor and the opportunity to not just write code for computers, but for genes. Animal programming.

Dara McFiakna was currently Mev and Alil McMata’s rival, but he wanted to be their ruler. Bribes to Finavere, the head of Konacht’s government, only went so far. Control the aether, control the city. Control the Otherworld, control the aether. But mortals not allowed in otherworld. What reason would convince Maclir to open the portals?

Create the solution, then create the problem.

Planeswalkers On Vacation

Chandra Nalaar liked to sleep in. Despite being a pyromancer, she seemed to have a personal hatred for the sun and avoided it as much as possible by sleeping all day. Plus, being up at night had the additional benefit of serving as an excuse to live as a slob; cleaning would surely wake the other inhabitants of Jace Beleran’s cavernous Ravnican house.

So when Liliana Vess knocked on the door of Chandra’s room, it caused a fair amount of thumping and muttered curses before Chandra opened the door, her hair, clothes, face, and general life disheveled.

Liliana certainly wasn’t lonely, but she was bored. Since returning to Ravnica from Innistrad, Jace and Gideon Jura had spent all of their time discussing logistics, Nissa Revane communed with plants, and Chandra was up all night watching goblin races. At least Chandra was trying to have a good time. Liliana could use a good time.

“Oh, hey! Liliana. Good morning. You wanna come in?” Chandra stepped out of the doorway and gestured into the interior of her messy room. The large room was dark, the gloom inside a perfect mirror of the afternoon sunshine outside.

“You look awful, Chandra,” she said as she swept in, the silk of her skirts rustling in the crumbs on the floor.

“Thanks,” Chandra replied, sitting in her desk chair. “Gideon send you here to yell at me? Tell me to get it together?”

Liliana raised an eyebrow. “As if I would do anything Gideon asked. No, live how you want. I just thought you could use a little sunshine.”

Now it was Chandra’s turn to raise a brow. “I didn’t know necromancers liked the sun.”

“We don’t, but most businesses insist on being open during the daytime. Now get dressed, and let’s get out of here.”

After dressing, Chandra met Liliana on the street. “Okay, I’m up, I’m out, now what? Tenth District spa or something?”

“I was thinking someplace a little further away.”

“Oh?” Chandra was intrigued.

“I recently learned about a plane that doesn’t have any necromancers. I can’t imagine what such a place would be like. Want to join me?”

Chandra crossed her arms, thoughtful. “What if we… took . . .could we take on disguises?”

“Disguises?”

“After killing so many eldrazi and just so much death, I think it might be fun to be someone else for awhile.”

Liliana nodded. “Let’s go.”

Why?

“Why do you think I can help? How can I help?” Keridwen asked. The street lights illuminated Neev from behind; her purple skin glowed and her wings glittered. Keridwen was suddenly all too aware of her fleshy form.

Neev pointed to a plaque on the wall bearing the Gniv motto, Action to match speech.

“I need both.” She studied Keridwen’s face and added, “And I need you—your skills.”


“I’m just trying to get through the day, I can’t just go searching for clues. You chose me because I was sitting here when you walked in.”

Neev cocked her head, then rose to her full height and extended her wings. “Do you know who I am? Do you really think I cannot see into your heart?!”

Keridwen swallowed. “I should talk to my boss, get permission. People need to know if there are gremlins in Otherworld. Everyone will want to help. Maybe we should even call a scientist, so they can study the mutations.”

Neev shook her head. “These gremlins are not natural. Someone has made them. And whoever made them is probably just waiting for my royal father to invite them in and overwhelm Otherworld. If we can’t contain the gremlins, Otherworld will be overrun all the same. And if Otherworld falls. . . .”

Keridwen bit her thumb nail. She thought about the articles she’d skimmed through earlier on her simidal. She hadn’t cared about the implications of the powerful merger. But at least multiple people and businesses were at play.  “One entity controlling everything.”

Neev nodded.

Mev

Mev’s new business partner, Alil McMata, had left for day. Mev studied the ledgers, comparing separate and joint assets. They had been completely equal before the merger, and had spent an equal amount on bribes to Finavere to allow the merger to legally take place.

After the merger, Mev’s best programmer, Donn Kalane, had left the company. Her eyes narrowed as she read the ledger. Since he left her–their–company, her portion of the assets had decreased. She had to get him back.

Mev leaned back in her chair. She had to plan. She just had to get through this, and then the rewards would be. . .well worth it: eternal life in the Otherworld. Mev chuckled. She was getting ahead of herself.

Ys, The Land Reborn

Dahut wanted a sanctuary. If one tired of the neon and metal of the city, the only escapes were the bare stone of Bunava Quarry or the heavily guarded Otherworld. Everyone needed a break, though Dahut was not running a charity: Ys was for those who could pay for an escape.

Dahut had an attribute many of her social class lacked: ambition. Her father, the current owner of Epona’s Chariots, had worked his way up, and he had passed his work ethic on to his daughter. She didn’t have the technical talent for programming, but she could plan, design, and connive.

She had found a piece of land not far from Korthan, the Rowan Tree. The tree was revered by some of the city’s elves, so they took great care of it, and as a result, the land nearby had some extra life. Dahut had known from the start she could coax it to further glory.

The purchase required bribes. Construction required moving the poor who had lived there for generations. Uprooting people led to protests. Protests led to her hiring street poets. Poetry led to an impression that Dahut was a patron of the arts. And all of the controversy meant a spike in reservations.

As construction came to a close, Dahut turned her attention to stocking Ys. After all, what would contrast with the cold, hard, cold edges of Konacht? Greenery. Life. Plants and animals from every corner of the world. More permits and bribes moved rare flora and fauna to Ys: birds, dogs, cats, snakes, beavers, horses, deer, tamed bears and wolves, oaks, apple trees, yews, honeysuckles, primroses, and foxgloves.

The buildings (and protective outer walls) had facades of stone and wood. Of course, no one would actually willingly give up their electronics, so the buildings still hummed with aether and energy. The rooms were large, richly decorated with ancient motifs of spirals and knots. Ys hosted parties and performances, and had all of the appearances of an artistic and cultural paradise.

And so, even in the midst of the metal and glass, a beautiful world of greenery and heartbeats was reborn. Walled off, protected, and at the expense of vulnerable citizens, the land thrived.

Where No One Knows Your Name

Shavonne’s, like any good bar, was dark and anonymous. The cameras embedded in the ceiling were hardly noticeable, and the mix of clientele made for some measure of discretion. Plus, bars even tended to have larger food and drink menus than other locales.

Konacht was home to several sentient, humanoid races. The races and genders mixed freely, but Hane Drafe, in the oldest part of the city, was one of the few places where the classes also mixed freely. Shavonne’s patrons included programmers, construction workers, managers, trust fund kids, and the destitute. The more technically inclined delighted in showing off their newest body modifications. The less technically inclined simply enjoyed their drinks.

Keridwen had chosen Shavonne’s to further discuss the Gremlin issue with Neev for these reasons. She hoped an impromptu fashion show or brawl would break out–both regular occurrences– and she and Neev would be left in peace. Neev was able to cast an enchantment that hid her wings and changed her skin color, but Keridwen was still concerned someone would notice the faery. They rarely made an appearance in the city, and were always viewed as an omen.

The two women found a table in a back corner. Keridwen had to come up with a plan. She had been part of the gremlin catchers for a decade and had a number of contacts in the security and janitorial staffs. Plus, her ID granted her a lot of access. Still, she wouldn’t be able to just walk into the other gremlin catchers’ territories. And aside from the large buildings in the Financial District, there were the labs at the edge of the city to contend with as well.

Neev looked thoughtful. “The gremlins slipped in so easily. They aren’t natural to your world or to mine. Someone altered their very being.”

Keridwen frowned. “Their genetic code.”

Her mind was a jumble of memories–a glance, a kiss, a goodbye. Donn Kalane. She shook her head. He was a computer engineer, not a bio-engineer.

“Well, uh, we’ll start with the labs, then.”

New Names

Meanwhile, also at Shavonne’s:

Chandra ran her fingers through her short red hair. “I really feel like I fit in here.”

Liliana shook her head. “You know there’s more to fitting in than just appearance. Innistrad has a special place in my heart, but you’d never think I was a native.”

The fire mage nodded. “I don’t feel a lot of magic here, period. That does remind me home, which supports my original point.”

Liliana rolled her eyes. “Speaking of magic, I’ve realized why there aren’t any necromancers here: there’s no afterlife.”

Chandra’s eyes widened in surprise. “What?”

“Strange, I know. But there’s no dead for me to talk to.”

“Do you want to leave?”

“No, no, I think there’s still fun to be had.” Liliana waved at the elf behind the bar. “What was your mother’s name?”

He setdown the glass he’d been drying. “What?”

“What was your mother’s name? I’m collecting data for a project.”

“Bridey.”

“‘Bridey.’ Thank you.” Liliana took a quick look at the bar patrons nearby, settling on a vedalken, asking the same question.

“Eeha.”

Chandra smiled. “I call ‘Bridey’!”

Liliana stood up and extended her hand. “Alright then, Bridey. Let’s go have some fun.”

A Deal

“Thanks for meeting with me,” Mev said as she sat down.

“Of course!” Dara McFiakna replied. “I could hardly refuse an invitation from Mev.”

“I’ll get right to the point: when Donn Kalane left me to work for you, there were several projects half-finished. I need you to lend him to me for a few months to get the work wrapped up. You will, of course, be compensated for the loss in productivity.”

Dara McFiakna  took some time to consider. The main project he’d hired Donn Kalane for had been completed. “Yes, that’s agreeable to me. Compensation of two and a half times his current wages; that will cover his pay and training a new employee.”

“Excellent. I knew we could make a deal.”

They shook hands and then Dara McFiakna excused himself to the restroom. While he was in the stall, two members of Mev’s security detail entered.

“Can you believe the old man agreed?”

“Mev would have gotten what she wanted even if he’d said no.”

“Gotta give all those spies and saboteurs on retainer something to do.”

They washed their hands and left. Dara McFiakna was furious.

He stormed back to the table. “Deal’s off,” he told Mev, then left without another word.



The Poets

Chandra delighted in exploring new planes. She spent so much time in the mountains of Regatha that cities were always a bit of a revelation. Chandra wasa city girl at heart; the countryside was safer for a fire mage, but the city more fun.

For Liliana, the novelty had faded over the centuries. Still, Chandra’s excitement was infectious. Liliana couldn’t hide a smile as Chandra pointed out the sights of this strange new city. She particularly marveled at the vehicles gliding through the air. Liliana was intrigued by the populace: they rushed, keeping their heads down, frowning. They seemed as grey as the buildings.

A voice cut through the city’s hum. A cry of alarm? A call to action? A declaration of love? No. Poetry. The voice was flat, droning:

“Mev of power, Mev of strength, CEO of Konnact’s length. She of order, she of steel, she can always make a deal.”

Chandra grinned at Liliana, then ran to the poet. “Bridey–” Liliana called, but it was too late.

“Can I try?” Chandra asked. The poet looked surprised, but agreed, handing Chandra the simidal with the poem on its screen.

Chandra began reciting the words with gusto, quickly attracting a crowd. Liliana hid her face in her hands. Chandra was not a born performer, but she was enthusiastic. When she was finished, the crowd cheered and clapped. Liliana realized it was the first real emotion she had seen since arriving in Teerna Roon.

Liliana considered the young Planeswalker. There must be a way to use that ability to inspire a crowd.

When she was finished, Chandra rushed back to Liliana. “What did you think, Eeha?”

“Bridey, you never stop surprising me.”


Hatching a Plan

A window featuring two posters caught Liliana’s eye. One advertised a place called “Otherworld,” while the other was for a place called “Ys.” Otherworld looked just as cold as the city—all sharp angles—but Ys was green, beautiful, and soft. She gestured to Chandra, and they walked into the travel agency.

The agency occupied a small room, the walls covered with constantly changing screens touting the various districts of the city. It seemed to be a largely self-serve place full of computers. A bored-looking vedalken presided over them. Liliana immediately walked up to him.

“Tell me about Ys.”

He frowned. “It’s only for the. . .highest levels of society. You don’t look like you can afford it.”

Liliana was indignant. “I beg your pardon?!”

“I mean, maybe if you save up for a very long time.”

He nodded at Chandra. “She looks like she can afford Ys. You interested in going?”

The women raised their eyebrows then and examined each other’s appearances. Then Liliana moved her gaze to the window. She realized the majority of the people on the street were dressed the same: in kilts, shirts, and boots. The clothing denoted status, and somehow, Liliana’s silk finery was lacking. Shenarrowed her eyes and stormed out, with Chandra trailing behind. She had to get to Ys; it was clearly the most desirable part of the city. If she couldn’t have zombies, maybe she could have that.

Chandra studied the vehicles zooming by. The exteriors resembled those of the vehicles she’d grown up with on Kaladesh, but they didn’t have physical drivers. Chandra’s parents were artificers, and she had spent her youth around machines. She could hot wire vehicles back then, and she felt sure she could now. Serendipitously, a vehicle stopped in front of them. She grabbed Liliana’s arm, and the two climbed into the Chariot.

A robotic voice prompted them for a location, and once she had given it, it informed them of the fare. Chandra generated electricity between her fingers. This didn’t look exactly like the vehicles of her youth, but nothing a little lightning couldn’t fix.

“What are you–” Liliana began, but Chandra had already opened the operation panel and scrambled the circuits. The Chariot took off, and Chandra sat back smugly.

The Tain

Mev would not let Alil McMata or Dara McFiakna had the upper hand. She had wealth. She had spies. She had fighters and mages. She had guns. She had ambition.



Search

Sneaking around the buildings owned by her employers was relatively easy. People make a lot of allowances for someone with a badge and uniform.

Likewise, Rhiannon Research Facilities and Loog Labs used all of the gremlin catching services. The labs were filled with bottles, chemicals, animals.

Dara McFiakna’s gremlin catchers, the Nart, wore a simple uniform of kilt and polo shirt. They found her inside the building. She held them off with her gun. An office door was ajar. She slipped in to hide. Donn Kalane sat in the dark, bathed in the glow of a computer. And she knew.

“It’s you!” Keridwen gasped.

Past and Present

Donn looked up, startled to see Keridwen.

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“The glory! How exciting.”

“Exciting.” She balled her fists.

He gave a wry smile. “And maybe I could be the one doing the controlling, for once. Making decisions.”

She laughed. “By giving them more power.”

He sighed. “Yes, I did realize that, too late. But that’s why I’m here now. I’m going to fix this.”

It is Not Fixed

There are still gremlins in Otherworld. They eat the aether. They attack the faeries. They upset the balance of the connection of aether from Otherworld to Teerna Roon. They keep going from mound to mound. Mortals might need to be brought in.


The Return

Neev returned to Keridwen.

“I found the source of the gremlins! Donn Kalane, their creator, has further altered their genetic code. THey will all die now. It will be okay.”

Neev shook her head. “They have adapted to Otherworld. They are breeding.”

“Let me think.”

Keridwen Thinks

Keridwen and Donn Kalane met for drinks. She explained Neev had visited again, and that the situation had not improved. The two silently looked down at their drinks.

“I’ll go to the Otherworld.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“Then I’ll go with you.”

The Problem

Time passes differently in Otherworld. Hours in Otherworld are days in Teerna Roon, days are months, months are years. When a mortal enters Otherworld, they cannot be sure, literally, when they will return.

Sacrifice

Keridwen and Donn Kalane stood before the portal to the Otherworld. They looked in each other’s eyes, grab hands, and walked in.

Into Ys

Dahut breathed in the scent of the flowers near Ys’s front gate, smiled, and waved at some guests. Hearing the rumble of a Chariot outside, she turned expectantly. She was always excited at the prospect of more guests. Ys was beautiful, but more importantly, Ys was profitable.

In strode two beautiful women. Despite wearing a dress, the pale, dark haired woman looked imperious. The red haired woman was merely awestruck, as well she should be.

“Welcome to Ys,” Dahut said as she approached them.

The dark haired woman had an aura Dahut had never felt before. It wasn’t evil, and Dahut had met evil people before. “Dark” was the only word she could think of.

“I’m Eeha This is Bridey. We wanted to see what all of the fuss is about.”

“Of course! This way.”

That night, Liliana and Chandra enjoyed a grand banquet with Dahut and her other guests. Liliana enjoyed the sumptuous food and wondered how she could make Ys hers. Chandra thought about the crowd they had seen in the city, how they should be able to enjoy the luxuries of Ys.

Liliana noticed a silver key around Dahut’s neck. She’d have to turn on the charm to get it.

Liliana stole the key. Chandra opened the door.