Chapter 2
Of Magick and Women

'Come on! You're so slow!' Hailick always lagged behind, he had no sense of urgency; it was so annoying. I ran on into the forest, he'd always find me anywhere I went. He's been around so long, I've forgotten where he came from. I think he was sent to protect me or something like that. His elfin features were always a sight to new people he met, they were quite rare here.
'I'll catch up to you Jessica, just go on'
I kept going deeper into the forest. In my eighteen years here on Terra, I've always loved the pine forests. The cold never bothered me, maybe because I've never felt anything different. It was perpetually cold up here in the highlands. As I ran deeper, branches and leaves gave way to my passing, while a slight snow still fell. It was one of those days you just had to go outside and experience.
A sudden clearing opened up ahead of me. I gradually slowed down and stared at it. 'This is new… Where did it come from?' The treetops let a solid beam of sunshine down from the sky. I continued walking to the center of the emptiness and bent down to see the only thing poking out from the cover of snow. It was a stone, a beautiful stone; almost sapphire-blue, but it pulsated with some sort of… energy and it was warm to the touch. Just as suddenly as I picked up the stone, a hexagram appeared underneath my feet and a sphere enveloped me. 'Hailick! Help!' I had no idea what was going on. I turned to see Hailick running at full speed toward me. When he came close enough, he lunged straight at me. In mid-air, a bolt of energy deflected him back into the trees. 'Hailick!' I screamed toward his flailing body.
'Jessica.' Darkness replaced the forest around me as I heard an ominous voice start speaking. 'Jessica, your destiny lies in the Temple of Three.'
'Who are you? What are you? Temple of Three?'
'Go find Mitchell Coheir.'
'Mitchell… Coheir? What?'
I began to feel weak, my limbs were feeling… ethereal.
'There's no time young one. Take the stone to him.'
As I heard those final words, I lost myself to gravity. I barely heard my body hit the ground.

'Ugh… Did someone get the license-plate of that car that just ran me over?'
I really needed an aspirin, or maybe a beer, or both. With great effort, I pulled my head up and looked around me. It looked like a forest, pine trees were everywhere. 'Brr.' Wow, it was cold. A layer of snow covered everything. 'I'm guessing I'm not in Cali anymore. At least I'm still on Earth… I think.' I checked myself to make sure nothing was broken, or missing. Yup, still my normal self. Well, with the added benefit of heavy clothing. 'Heh, how convenient.' What I was wearing looked like it was straight out of a fantasy role-playing game.
'This can't be real. I must be dreaming.' But, it didn't feel like a dream. I let my head drop and just lied there for a moment and shut my eyes, trying to envision my Earth, or my home, or just something, anything, to send me back. No luck. 'Damnit, if I'm some sort of planewalker, or whatever, shouldn't I be able to just shift back?' Disappointed, I got to my feet and brushed myself off. 'This is not what I was expecting today.' It was a pristine forest, like straight out of a painting. I didn't have anything except the clothes on my back, and no idea where to go next. 'Well, damn.' I sort of wandered around for a little bit, then finally decided to head east. I could see the sun, so at least I could tell which direction I was getting lost in.
I walked through the brush and trees; their branches full of bristles bent easily to my path. I came up to a statue or monument of some kind. The monolithic structure had three symbols on it: A Greek letter Alpha on the left side, an odd rune-looking symbol at the top, and another Greek letter, Omega, on the right side. Well, this is interesting; which one to choose… I decided to keep going the way I was already headed, which I guessed was indicated by that odd-looking rune. I had literally no idea where I was going and only a vague pulling sensation to keep me going.
The trees gradually thinned out and I came to a steep cliff. I looked down only to find a frozen wasteland of an old lake. 'Ok this is getting ridiculous.' I suddenly heard horses coming towards me. 'Fuck.' There was no place for me to hide, the foliage was too sparse and I stuck out like nothing else in this white snowscape. I turned around to see two horses, each with a rider, galloping toward me each coming from where I had gone. One looked like he had gone through too many of these cold winters, he had hard leather and other patched clothing on. The other looked like a typical knight of some kind; armor, shield, helmet, cloak, that kind of thing. They didn't look too friendly toward each other, swords flew when the horses got too close on the narrow path.
I didn't really have anywhere to go, so I just waited for them to come to me. They both stopped to one side of me and looked down on me. In unison they offered their hands to me, as if to mount their steeds. 'Come with me Planewalker!' I had no idea what to do, but then I saw the fluttering cloak behind the knight-looking horseman and remembered what the voice in the vision had said. 'Beware the Black Cloak.' It only took me a split second to turn and reach for the other horseman's hand, and I was up with him riding away. He only looked back at me and we were off. 'Good choice Planewalker.' I heard an inhuman, blood-curdling scream behind us and turned to see the black-cloaked horseman explode in darkness and follow us with unusual speed.
'That doesn't look good.' I turned away and looked at my would-be rescuer.
'So it isn't Planewalker. I am Jhed, we will talk later. Lower your head.'
I held fast and lowered my head. He threw an arm around and chanted some sort of arcane language. Suddenly, a ball of pure fire burst from his outstretched hand and flew toward our pursuer. It missed him, but it seemed that was the point. The ball of flame toppled several trees and created a barrier that would give us time to escape his pursuit.
'I assure you it is very real Planewalker. Very real.'
'Jessica? Jessica? Are you ok?'
'W- what?'
'She's up!'
I opened my eyes to see Becky, my adopted mother, Roger, my adopted father, and Hailick all looking over me. My room was still the same, very austere, but it was home. The sun was still up, and streaming through the window.
'What's going on?'
Hailick was the first to respond. 'You had a meeting with one of the Elders.'
'What? Elders? Meeting?'
'Yes. I wasn't quite sure what it was you had gotten caught up in at first, but I recognized the energy after it had shot me back.'
'I remember! Are you alright Hailick?'
'Yes, I'm fine. Apparently there is something wrong with Terra or otherwise the Elders would be silent.'
I wasn't exactly convinced about this whole thing. I pushed myself up and found I was still clutching that enchanting blue stone. 'Yeah, so apparently I'm supposed to find someone, Mitchell Coheir, and give him this stone. Oh and that I need to go to the Temple of Three. This is all a little ridiculous.'
'I'm just glad you're ok, I'll let you talk to Hailick dear.' Becky and Roger left my room.
'I realize you are only a novice with magic, but the Elders are very real Jessica. They sent me those eighteen long years ago to come here, to protect you.'
'Oh, really?'
'Yes, really. You should follow what guidance they give you.'
'Well… I'm not sure exactly what this entire mess means.'
'I am at a loss as well, but I imagine that everything will be revealed with time, and a little investigation of course.' He outstretched his hand and offered it to me. I took it and he lifted me to my feet.
'So, this place is what?'
'The Highlands. You should know this Planewalker.'
'Obviously not. Can I have another beer?'
'Another beer please.' The waitress, or should I say bar wench, came to us with another two mugs of dark, fragrant beer. We finally got to a town of sorts, and stopped in this pub. It certainly looked like it was out of a fairy-tale. 'My thanks.'
'You were lucky that I got to you when I did Highlander. Those of us in control of the magic can sense disturbances such as the one you created by coming here. What urgent news do you bring from the other realms? Surely to have left in such haste you must have something very important to bring us.'
'Wait, this is a common thing for you?'
'Well, I wouldn't say common. Maybe once every few years one of you will pop up and pop away just as soon as they came. Some are aware, like you, and some are blind to this world as if they were sleep-walking.'
'Well, buddy, I'm not sure how I got here; but it definitely wasn't of my own choosing, at least consciously…'
'So, Planewalker, what are you doing here?'
'I just said… Ok, I just need to get back to my own world.'
'You should be able to just close your eyes and travel back.'
'That doesn't seem to work.'
'What? Surely you jest.'
'No, I don't jest. I'm serious. I guess I got here by accident.'
'Maybe you just aren't even aware of your powers.'
'I don't know.'
'I only know very little myself Planewalker.'
'My name's Mitchell by the way.'
'So it is, Mitchell.'
'Have you heard of the Temple of Three?'
'I have Mitchell, it is a place shrouded with legend and mystery. It is said that it has been lost for several thousand years and that it was once the home of the Three elders. Why do you ask?'
'Well, I've been having these visions that tell me to find this Temple place.'