General Hugo Brough, sat on Firemaker, his favorite stallion, listening intently to the beaters drumming and shouting behind him in the forest.
Dressed in brown military leathers, he was a handsome man, tanned, with a short beard and a curious scar running down his cheekbone from the side of his left eye. A retro gun, was strapped to his back, preferred by him as it was very basic and needed much-developed skill to wield effectively, giving an animal a fairer chance to escape.
At only twenty-three years of age, he was a force to be reckoned with, known to have a wise head on his shoulders. He did not suffer fools gladly and shied away from petty, small-talk-laden social gatherings.
He was hunting wild boar on the Brough family estate, which was smack bang in the middle of the United European Landmass. He was rid- ing with two of his army companions, Jeremy, his second in command and the other, Gavin, a close associate who had enrolled at the same time as himself. They both looked ready but nervous. However, to Hugo, the anticipation, the waiting, was just as much of a thrill as the chase.
Suddenly, below him, at breakneck speed, came a family of wild boar, grunting loudly. On cue, he dug his spurs deep into the flanks of his horse and they were off!
The now squealing wild boar were scattered in front of the posse of riders, threatening to upset them. At the front, Hugo twisted the reins of Firemaker. The spittle from the horse’s mouth ran in rivers of white across its neck, which, along with the wild-eyed look in its eyes, made it look possessed.
They were now gaining on the boars.
Now the light was now fading fast, and the riders knew that time was running out. Very soon they wouldn’t be able to see a thing.
Suddenly, a deafening crack was heard to their right; a flash of light- ening, a glow of incandescent light, and Hugo and the other two riders were instantly thrown off their horses, high up into the woody damp air.
Hugo hit the ground face first and slid along the forest floor, through the damp detritus of soil, twigs and small stones. He eventually came to a stop and lay there, face down, winded and dazed. He slowly picked himself up and sat upright, spitting a mixture of dirt and blood from his mouth. He turned around to look for the others.
They too were coming around slowly, cursing and groaning. “What the hell was that?” Hugo groaned.
The mesmerizing bright light to his right caught his eye. The forest around him was now bathed in a white crackling fluorescent light.
He stood up, wiped the mud off his tunic, and slipped the retro gun into his right hand, looking at the white light. One by one, the two other riders joined him, mouths open. They too were hypnotically drawn to the phenomenon unfolding before them.
The pulsating light formed a column stretching up from the forest floor through the canopy above them and into the darkening sky, as far as the eye could see. It was approximately ten feet wide with constantly changing hues, pastel shades of yellow, green, blue and pink.
Hugo picked up a large stick and tentatively threw it at the column. The stick was swiftly sucked in and enveloped by the light, disappearing within a fraction of a second.
Silently inching their way towards it, they could feel a slight warmth on their faces, and a curious smell of ozone that reminded Hugo of the seaside. A constant electrical buzz emanated from it. They stopped near it, transfixed, feeling nauseous. Their hair was standing up on end!
Suddenly, a long thin slender arm, covered in red material and marked with strange patterns, shot towards them from the column, stop- ping just short of its shoulder. It appeared that it was struggling to pene- trate the column. After two or three attempts, the arm retreated into the throbbing multicolored light. Shocked, they stumbled back and stood looking at each other in disbelief, wanting answers.
They turned their attention to the light and were trying to examine it, looking up and down, when they heard the sound of something hissing through the air. All of a sudden, an arrow shot towards them from the column, neatly embedding itself into the neck of Gavin. He collapsed to the ground, writhing in agony, holding his neck as the blood spurted out.
Hugo and Jeremy turned on their heels and sprinted as quickly as they could in the opposite direction. They had covered only three or four yards, when Jeremy was lifted slightly into the air, then nosedived into the ground and slid into a crumpled heap.
Hugo stopped mid-stride to help him up, but before he could do so, noticed helplessly as another arrow pierced the base of Jeremy’s skull, the arrowhead protruding through his left eye socket.
Hugo bolted. Nothing made any sense to him. He ran with all the energy he could muster, hearing voices in his head, loud voices, strange voices!
He heard the loosing of another arrow, and in an instant knew this one was meant for him He started to dart left then right, in an effort to be out of the line of sight of the arrow. His left toe caught the root of a small tree, and as he stumbled forward, he felt the arrow nick the top of his right ear. He hit the ground at breakneck speed, head first and slid into a large rock and came to an abrupt stop.
He lay in a pool of dark stinking mud and started to pull himself up, wiping off the blood that was now pouring down the side of his face. As he looked up, he saw a tall man standing in front of him.
Hugo noticed the tops of his ears were pointed, and he was wear- ing strange red clothes, unlike anything he had seen before. He was holding a large bow in his left hand.
The figure was gesturing at him. Suddenly, Hugo heard a strange voice in his head, in an unusual language, but Hugo noticed that the man’s lips were not moving.
He felt the breath being sucked out of his lungs. His eyes started to un-focus, as a warm tingling sensation spread quickly throughout his body, and he crumpled to the ground unconscious.
As Hugo started to gain consciousness, he couldn’t open his eyes. He could feel he was being gripped firmly underneath his arms with the sensation of the tips of his boots dragging along the ground.
He was now beginning to open his eyes, but he couldn’t focus, and they were watering badly. There were those strange voices in his head again. He had the mother of all headaches, then remembered hitting his head violently when he tripped and fell, ‘That must be the reason,’ he thought.
He wanted to break free, but couldn’t summon an ounce of energy, so didn’t put up any resistance when he was dragged to wherever it was his captors were taking him.
They stopped on what appeared to be a circle drawn in the ground. Strange letters and arrows were marked all over it. He heard the voices in his head again. This time it didn’t seem like a conversation, but more like words uttered in unison and as a command. Suddenly, he felt he was being transported, at unbelievable speed, across the ground. His sight was quickly coming back, but he was traveling too fast to be able to focus on anything. Feeling nauseous, he closed his eyes and waited.
Then, after what felt like only a minute, all movement stopped sud- denly and abruptly. Since he now had some feeling in his legs, he was half carried forward, stumbling, to what appeared to be a low building, with a very ornate colored curved spire on the top. The walls seemed to be mov- ing slightly, with subtle changes in differing hues of pastel colors? Hugo, shook his head, ‘I still haven’t recovered’ he thought to himself. He was taken over the threshold of a circular opening that didn’t seem to have a door, and into a smaller room within, and was laid down, face first, on a soft sweet-smelling fur pelt.
He lay there gathering his thoughts, remembering now the violence at that white column, the fact that his companions had been brutally killed, and with that, his anger began to rise. He reached over his shoulder to grab his retro gun, off his back, but it wasn’t there. He slowly and painfully pulled himself up and into a sitting position, and began to take in his surroundings.
What was that column? No matter how he thought about it, trying to find an explanation, nothing came anywhere nearer to making any sense of it all. It seemed to slice through the air. ‘That’s it!’ Hugo thought, ‘I’m calling it ‘The Slice’. ‘At least it’s got a name now.’ ‘It’s a start I guess.’ ‘Not much of one I know.’ He lifted his head up and slowly looked around
What was this place? His heart was beating very fast. He couldn’t make any sense out of anything he saw. For the first time in his life, he wasn’t in control. In fact, it was the opposite. He was a little scared if the truth be known. He took a deep breath and started to focus on his surroundings, hoping it would reveal some sort of clue to where he was and what was happening.
The walls looked almost as if they were alive. They were gently pul- sating, and there appeared to be no corners anywhere. Everything was smooth. A round window, round doorway, an oval fur pelt and an array of pastel colors that were changing color, as if to a beat.
The words, ‘I’m sorry’ came into Hugo’s head. He couldn’t quite put his finger on the accent. It was almost like a heavy Swedish accent, but not quite. He looked around quickly, then noticed on one side, in another round doorway, what looked like a woman. A tall, slim, elegant woman. He saw the tops of her ears were also pointed and she had a form of jew- elry along one edge. Her clothes were a diaphanous light green, and she had very blonde hair with some colored material wrapped intricately around some strands of hair. But it was her eyes that struck him most forcefully. Not the continuous band of what looked like make-up, reaching across from one eye socket to the other, but the actual color of her eyes. They were a striking green color, but more than that, an almost fluorescent green. An emerald green. They were mesmerizing.
He was drawn towards them. He couldn’t stop looking. He just sat there and stared into this woman’s eyes. Well, he assumed it was a woman. She wasn’t like any woman he had ever met. Now he began to feel embar- rassed, almost to the point of rudeness. Hugo thought to himself, ‘This is ridiculous, pull yourself together man’. Straight away, that foreign accent came booming into his head again, ‘Please don’t worry, it will take time for you to adjust.’ At the same time, Hugo noticed a slight smile spreading across her lips. It must have been the quizzical look on Hugo’s face as he was trying to come to terms with her voice in his head.
“I think it will help you if I speak verbally, rather than telepathically as I was doing,” said the woman.
Hugo just stared at her.
“Let me tell you who I am and where you are. My name is Allana Yana-Ash. You are in a parallel dimension to your Earthan dimension, in the Elvish kingdom of Laniakeea.”
Hugo just sat there and mouthed the words ‘dimension’ and ‘Elvish’ to himself. ‘Nope,’ he thought to himself, ‘Nothing makes sense at all.’ She then walked towards Hugo, almost gliding, as he would imagine a ballerina would walk. Cupped in her hands was a small clear vessel, containing a light blue liquid that seemed to be slightly effervescing. “Here,” said Al- lana, “Slowly drink this, it will help you recover and will heal the wound on your head.”
Hugo tentatively took the vessel, sniffed the liquid, as if it might be poison, but noticed it had a fresh sweet spicy smell and sipped a little of it. ‘Hmmm, this tastes good,’ thought Hugo, and with that, he gulped the rest down quickly. Immediately he felt a lot better, his headache almost gone and he even felt re-energized. Hugo looked at Allana and held out the cup to her, which she reached forward to take off him. Again, the charming smile appeared across Allana’s lips.
“Besides being able to send words telepathically, I understand you call it, into your head, I am also able to read your thoughts as well. But I have decided I am not going to do that in your case, even though you couldn’t prevent me. I feel it is essential to build up a trust between us, and wish to be courteous, so we will communicate as you do on Earth side with your kind.”
“Earth side?” said Hugo.
“Ah, that is the name we give to the dimension you come from,” said Allana, “But you want answers I think? I’m sorry, but I already know many of the questions you have been thinking about since I was able to pick your thoughts up earlier on. I will do my best to explain everything for you, from the very beginning. Walk with me, and we will sit outside my dwelling.”
Hugo slowly stood up. He felt much better. That blue liquid was amazing. He followed Allana through into another room with a simple fireplace, in the front of which was a very large, very thick fur pelt. Hugo imagined the animal it came from as being larger than a polar bear. Again, he noticed the walls were moving and pulsating, changing hues of pastel colors. Hugo had a strong impulse to touch them, which he did. He felt they almost felt alive! The wall was warm to the touch, and when he touched it, floods of unusual images flashed in his brain, like a slide show.
He had the feeling they were happy memories, almost as if the walls were a living photo album. Once or twice he saw Allana as a little girl, and a few holding and drawing back a bow with arrows.
Suddenly he noticed Allana looking at him again, and very quickly Hugo took his hands off the wall, embarrassed. “That is perfectly ok,” she said, “The walls are built using our thought processes, and traditionally we like to keep and use the happiest of our thoughts, which is why you maybe were able to see memory reflections of myself and my family, and my relationships mixed up in there. Visitors here are always invited to ‘touch the walls’ or ‘Paldarath’ as we call it. There will also be highlights of my life so far that I wish to remember.”
By now they had arrived at the smoothed edged doorway. Allana went out first, closely followed by Hugo. As Hugo raised his head, what he saw took his breath away. Here, right in front of him and filling the entire sky, was the planet Saturn. The rings were running at an angle, from bottom left to top right. The largest moon Titan, appeared even closer.
He felt like if he reached out he could almost touch it. As they walked over what seemed to be tiny purple leaves, each footstep released a scent that Hugo found very sweet and heady. Within ten feet they came to a large log on its side. Covered in a soft dark yellow mossy carpet, it had been fashioned into a seat for three people, which meant it was able to accommodate them both very comfortably.
Slowly Allana sat down. Hugo suddenly turned to her, and with ur- gency asked, “Am I a prisoner?”
“No, you are not a prisoner. You are free to come and go, but you need to be accompanied.”
Hugo looked up then and continued to stare in disbelief at Saturn in front of him. “That’s unbelievable.”
“Yes,” Allana chipped in, “In our dimension, we share the same solar system as you, with the same number and sizes of planets and moons. The major difference is where each planet is, in relationship to ourselves here on Laniakeea, which is why, at certain times, Saturn comes very close. You have to understand that the laws of physics, mechanics, gravity and so on, have different rules for us in our dimension. There are one or two differences. For example, we don’t have a planet Earth, and so don’t have the moon that circles it. We still don’t know the reason for that.”
A little quieter now, Allana said, “I’m afraid I don’t know your name?”
“My name is Hugo. Hugo Brough,” said Hugo. And he slowly sat down, looking a little nervous and bewildered.
“Well, Hugo Brough, my queen, Queen Haruntha, has asked me to apologize to you and your people for the deaths of your soldiers. She asked me to explain that it was partly a mistake on our part, in that we thought we were under attack, which we are from time to time, from other portals, all of which are in the north-west of our dimension, beyond an area called the Windfell mountains.”
“To have a portal suddenly appear down in the south-west of our dimension, in the district of Cepnaeroth, took us by complete surprise. Immediately the queen’s security bowmen went to investigate, and found it difficult to access through the portal to investigate.”
“When they were able to see through,” continued Allana, “they mis- takenly thought they were confronted by warriors, with shooting ma- chines, I think you call them guns? As the bowmen approached the portal, they thought they were under attack from arrows. It turns out later, after an investigation, that it was simply a long piece of wood, that must have entered the portal from your side, traveled through and hit one of the bowmen, so they went on the offensive and started to let loose their arrows.”
At this point Hugo suddenly remembered throwing a stick into the portal to see what would happen. Was he then indirectly the cause of the deaths of his companions? This immediately made him feel uneasy and very sad.
Hugo let out a big sigh. “Yes, none of us likes to lose friends, especially if the mistaken retaliation is sudden and a surprise, but such is life. I have to admit that I may have been indirectly responsible for their deaths.” He explained to Allana about the stick incident.
“Nothing can bring them back,” said Hugo, “And in the spirit of un- derstanding and forgiveness, we would need to move on. I for one would like to explore, to understand, to learn from each other, and on that basis, try to agree on common ground, and possibly how we can help each other. For now though, I admit I am struggling to make any sense of it at all.”
“And yes,” continued Hugo, “I have lots of questions. How can you explain that you can use telepathy and that you can speak verbally in Eng- lish, even though you do have an accent? All this is so foreign to me, and yet to you, you seem to be familiar with me as a species and on our way of life.”
“I have an accent?” exclaimed Allana. For a moment there was no reaction, then she laughed out loud, “You should have heard me when I was struggling to learn and speak your language in the early days of learn- ing, never mind having to cope with accents.”
“As a culture,” said Allana, “the Laniakeeans have been around for nearly three and a half million years before your ancestors, and I mean apes, were walking the Earthan dimension. Even in those early days, there was a secret portal, which has since closed, through which carefully se- lected Elves and Elf scientists were able, in disguise, to learn all about humans, everything: human life, politics, reproduction, intellectual capabilities, advances in medicine, science and technology, and so on. We were impressed with how you began to improve yourselves, although we have also been disappointed that greed and misuse of power seems to be in- built into your genes and consciousness.”
“If only you could channel your collective consciousness into areas that could benefit humans in other meaningful ways,” continued Allana, “how much more advanced would you be? Take your, how do you say, talk machines? that you used to hold to your ears, but are now implanted in the side of your heads. Ah yes, I remember now, phones, mobile phones. The collective technology of just that one item, means you now have all information at your fingertips, that you can communicate with anyone, pay for anything, even cure yourselves, and so on, all from a little- advanced piece of technology, the size of the nail on your little finger.”
“Because our culture is so much more advanced than yours, we have been able to train ourselves to use more of our brain at any one time. At the moment, it is around ninety-five percent, and with that comes the use of what you would call magic, telepathic abilities and so on.”
“You, yourselves, do use one hundred percent of your brain,” contin- ued Allana, “but never at the same time. As far as our studies tell us, you would only use up to thirty-five percent of your minds at any one time. And why do I know so much about humans from your dimension? Well, in Laniakeea, I am a scientist, with specialized skills to do with communication, and I have visited your dimension in disguise many times, and I teach some of your universal languages in our teaching facilities over here in our dimension. In fact, Earth dimension has been visited regularly from when you were cavemen.”
Hugo was silent for more than a few moments, trying to take so much
in. Taking in the view, accepting Allana as an alien? An Elf even. He had grown up reading such very old classics like ‘Harry Potter,’ where Elves were described, but essentially were always make-believe. And now, here he was, in front of a living breathing Elf?
It felt like a dream. He thought about this. ‘Yes, well, more dream than nightmare I suppose.’ But he did know this: everything that was happening was as real as it gets. So, he took in a deep breath, and looked at Allana, who had now got up and was putting her arms around a tree.
Now he noticed the tree in detail and the other trees in front of him. He hadn’t taken them in at first, because he was obsessed by the sight of Saturn. These trees were quite different to the trees on the Brough estate, particularly in Winberry Wood, that he had only been riding through only a few hours earlier.
The trunks were almost translucent, and running up inside them were gold colored streams. The branches were geometric in their design, almost like crop circles, with huge floppy leaves on the ends of the branches. The leaves were a very light purple in color and furry, and hung over in a semi-circle, almost touching the ground. Hugo had the strong impression that the trees were communicating with each other. He felt an all-encompassing feeling of intelligence, but also kindness, from some- thing that felt like it was older than time itself.
Hugo slowly walked over to Allana. As he did so he noticed his steps were very light as if the gravitational pull was a lot less than on Earth. As he was approaching Allana, she suddenly turned to him and smiled.
“Did you hear me walking up?” he asked.
“No, I didn’t,” she replied, “The tree told me you were coming.” ‘Maybe I was concussed after all,’ Hugo thought to himself, to which Allana burst out laughing. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I couldn’t help hearing your last thoughts. No, you are certainly not concussed, it’s simply that there is so much to take on board. Please give it time, you will get used to our ways, which at the moment are bound to seem so strange.”
“Try it,” she said, “Put your arms around this tree, try to relax and open your mind.” Hugo stepped forward tentatively and put his arms around the trunk of the tree. ‘I feel such a fool,’ he thought, and he gripped and held on as if he was going to fall backwards, his eyes wide open. The surface of the tree trunk was not at all rough, and it was warm?
“No, no Hugo Brough. Relax, let your body go limp, close your eyes, think kind thoughts, press your ear against the surface of the trunk, try to hear what the tree is saying.” Hugo tried this, he relaxed and held his ear to the trunk and listened.
Immediately he jumped back! “I can hear it, I can hear it,” exclaimed Hugo, “I could somehow understand everything it was saying, but not just in my head. Every single cell of my body was involved in communicating.” There was a pause as Hugo had to get to grips with what he had just said. He continued enthusiastically, explaining to Allana, “The tree gave me an instant history lesson, which is as clear as if it all happened a few moments ago. A great feeling of empathy and this will sound strange, not to you I am sure, but it certainly does to me, I am sure it was telling me we share a common ancestry? Me, you and the trees.”
“If I were back on Earth now, this would be the time to have a very stiff drink,” said Hugo. As he turned to look at Allana, she gave him a sideways quizzical look, so he made the motion of raising an imaginary glass to his lips, but that made it even worse, and now she looked more confused than ever. “You know what? I don’t think I can take any more revelations please. When will I be released to go back to my, erm, dimension?”
Allana looked at Hugo and said, “Hugo, you are free to go whenever you like, but I want to make sure you are well enough. You injured your head remember. I would like to think that you have been treated with kindness, and by giving you as much information as I can, will help the process of acclimatization. Our queen, Queen Haruntha, wants to meet you. She wants to apologize for the events that occurred and wants to set up a meeting between your Earth dimension and ours, to clear up any misunderstandings. And time is of the essence. I hope you will agree to that?”
Hugo was quiet for a moment. She was right. She had been hospitable, and he wasn’t feeling quite as anxious now. That was being replaced by a thirst for knowledge and an understanding of what had happened and where he was. So, Hugo said, “Yes, ok, I will agree to that.”
Allana, immediately took him back to the sitting log. As they sat down, their forearms touched, and to both of them, it felt like a pleasant static electric shock. They both jumped a little and looked at each other, ‘Wait,’ thought Hugo, ‘Are her eyes...? Yes! They are changing color. Her green eyes are changing color!’ They both turned away, as if embarrassed, and then sat quietly for more than a minute, both of them gazing into the distance.
Hugo broke the silence, “Do your eyes always change color?”
“All Elves’ eyes change color,” Allana said, “Depending on the mood and the occasion, but particularly, the emotion the Elf is feeling at the time. We can disguise many things that give away our true feelings, but eye color and the colored aura surrounding us, those we have no control over whatsoever.”
Allana smiled at this point, “However,” she continued, “the only way we can try to disguise our eye color, is to turn our head away, so the other Elf can’t see them, but of course it then becomes obvious we have something to hide, so generally, we are a very honest species, and however embarrassing or hurtful it is, we endeavor to keep as honest as possible. Honesty is paramount to an Elf. The only Elves that can control these effects are our queen, and Elfistra, our sorceress, although she is not strictly an Elf. This will be explained to you at some stage when the time is right. They can control them to the extent that they would be able to check that an Elf, or any being for that matter, has evil intentions.”
“If you like,” said Allana, “It is similar in a way to you using a truth serum or a lie detector machine Earthside. As you can imagine, this could be very helpful at certain times. You will be meeting them both shortly. In their cases, an evolutionary amendment to their DNA is in their genes. It is thought that there could be times that a disguise would benefit both of them, without giving away their true feelings.”
Again, they were quiet for a few moments of reflection, then Hugo said, “It’s just that I noticed your eyes were bright green, but just then they changed color to that of a pinkyred?”
Now the silence was palpable. And then quite suddenly Allana stood up and very brightly suggested they prepare to meet Queen Haruntha and Elfistra.
“Have I said something to upset you?” said Hugo, “You need to tell me? You are so different in many ways, I don’t want to spoil anything by putting my foot in it.”
“Putting your foot in it?” said Allana, “Put your foot in what?” Hugo grinned, “No,” he said, “It is just a saying we have. It means saying some- thing, possibly upsetting or embarrassing, that I didn’t realize I had said or didn’t mean to.”
Allana took a deep breath, and looked at Hugo, her eyes were still that attractive pinky-red. “In my case, I have green eyes, which is not com- mon for an Elf, who normally have blue eyes. But for all Elves, the color change to pinky red indicates feelings of friendship, or affection and also, in some cases, even strong attraction and love.”
“Love in this context,” said Allana, “certainly is initially always friendship love, not sexual love, which I know dominates in your Earthan dimension. The color of the eyes on their own is only half the story. We would also read the color of the aura surrounding an Elf, and in particular, the intensity of the aura and how far it emanates from the body. You can’t see auras, can you?”
“No,” said Hugo, “I can’t. But there are those that can, although not many.” Allana seemed to breathe a sigh of relief mentally. “Ah well, when you can read both, you can get a pretty good idea that someone either likes you, hates you, is indifferent towards you or finds you very attractive. We too have pheromones, and again, an honest giveaway to tell if an Elf finds you attractive or not.”
“In fact, when Elves meet, it is perfectly acceptable to get very close and sniff in the air close to their face and neck, without touching of course,” said Allana, “Our noses and receptors in them are highly evolved and that way we can tell so much about another Elf.”
“Have you tried it on someone like me, a human?” said Hugo.
“No, I haven’t,” said Allana. “And probably wouldn’t until I got to know you a lot better. I believe it would make you feel uncomfortable, and probably me as well.”
“Well,” said Hugo, “I guess it would all depend on whether the human finds you attractive as well?” And with that, he smiled. ‘Well,’ he thought to himself, ‘After this last five minutes, I’m guessing she doesn’t hate me.’ Hugo arrived at this conclusion with more than a hint of conceitedness.
Allana, now all official and matter of fact said, “We have now been invited to go immediately to the Elven district of Molastrok, to meet Queen Haruntha. The queen’s palace is situated there.”
They set off, following a path that weaved itself in-between the few trees in front of them. All the time Allana was mentioning more facts about Laniakeea, the Elvish nation, and was pointing out various peculiarities that merely needed explaining and translating, so Hugo would have a better understanding.
“How far away are we from the queen’s palace?” asked Hugo, “In terms of distance that I am familiar with and that we use in our dimension?” After a few moments of deep thought Allana said, “Four thousand and thirty-seven miles, more or less.”
“What?!” exclaimed Hugo, “How long is it going to take us to cover that distance? And how are we going to cover it?”
“We use ley lines,” said Allana, “And over the last two millennia have been able to harness their magical and spiritual powers. You won’t know that your Earth dimension is very small compared to the size of Laniakeea. Let me illustrate it like this, if you were to squash the Earth flat, it would be a minute dot if placed on a map of Laniakeea.”
Hugo was finding this size comparison hard to comprehend. “Ley lines?” he said.
“Yes, ley lines, and ours are exactly like yours, only we can harness their powers to travel great distances to every district within Laniakeea. You have them, and you even know of their powers, but only from a spir- itual or magnetic non-involvement point of view.”
“Your spiritual scientists already know they exist in straight lines that shoot out from all points of the compass. We travel in a little invisible force-field, that isn’t physical at all, but holds you in. We then use specific incantations that would take us to a particular area within a district. It will take us just over forty-five of your Earth seconds to travel the four thou- sand and thirty-seven Earth miles.”
Hugo shook his head in disbelief. How could this be? On Earth, energy resources, to produce electricity, fossil fuels or scientifically produced nuclear fuels from the land, had long since been depleted, and indeed for transport, slowly over the years, Earth has had to revert to using horses for transportation, the harnessing of wind for ships, and so on.
By now, Hugo and Allana were beginning to approach a clearing. There was a large laterite circle, ten feet in diameter. As they came nearer, Hugo could see a ring, fixed within the laterite, of about four inches in width. It was gold in color. Then intersecting the circle, but within its diameter, much smaller lines were crisscrossing.
They all had arrowheads that were presumably indicating a direction of travel, and along the top of the lines, what Hugo assumed were instruc- tions, in Elvish, that the traveler would need to either think or say out loud. It was the traveler’s choice to be verbal or use telepathy. Some of the lines were of a different color, and again Hugo assumed this must mean that some destinations may be off-limits to certain Elves, or that they were indicating the importance of the end conduit ley line destination, etc.
But it all looked too familiar. Where had he seen this before? Suddenly it came to him: it was when he was being dragged along by his cap- tors, in a dazed state, only a few hours earlier.
He made a mental note to ask Allana, exactly how they worked and whether she thought it would be possible to use the Elves’ knowledge and technology to incorporate ley line travel back in the Earth dimension. The logistical advantages for trade and so many applications, would be a huge help across the whole of the Earthan dimension.
As they stepped onto the ley line conduit (or circle), Allana was ex- plaining the rules and courtesies that had to be undertaken to gain the queen’s respect. She also told Hugo to keep an open mind when meeting the Laniakeean sorceress known as the Elfistra. She would be examining and observing him very carefully. She would also be reading his mind, for which she would have full permission from the queen, so he was to try to keep his thoughts clear, clean and respectful. By her side would be her aide, a deformed being called Mandaz, whom all Laniakeeans found ob- jectionable. He was known as a troublemaker, and Allana felt sure he would be urging Elfistra to ban Hugo and have him sent back to the Earth dimension immediately.
And so, they came to the circle. “Stand exactly here please,” said Alana to Hugo, “Face the direction of the gold arrow. Whatever you do, do not move, keep as still as possible. If you were to move, the consequences could be unpleasant for you.” ‘Great,’ thought Hugo to himself, ‘Happy days.’
Allana said, “You will notice there is only one gold colored arrow, and it will transport us to another ley line circle, which is within twenty feet of the queen’s palace. We have approximately forty ley line conduits covering every part of our dimension, and each one will contain a gold arrow which will take the traveler to the conduit close to the queen’s palace.
Three of the queen’s elite warriors constantly guard the ley line con- duit at the queen’s palace, and they have to be informed who will be trav- eling there beforehand. I have already instructed them of this. If they are not informed (which is usually done telepathically), they would attack first and ask questions later.”
“Hmmm,” said Hugo, “Gives traveling to a holiday destination a whole new and exciting slant.” Allana gave Hugo a quizzical look. She wasn’t too sure how to interpret that statement.
So, Hugo stepped up to his mark, Allana just behind him. He briefly turned his head to look at her, at which she almost shouted “Don’t move! Please! For your own safety.” She then gave the Elvish equivalent of an exasperated sigh.
Hugo couldn’t hear anything, so he closed his eyes and waited. His whole body felt like it was being dragged along by a jet fighter, at Mach 6.7. Being shot forward at incredible speed, all the air, for an instant, left his lungs and immediately he began to feel dizzy and nauseous. ‘How long did she say this traveling would last? Just over forty-five seconds? Oh God! I feel strange.’
He then blacked out.