A selection from the journals of Zaliander the Wise
November 17, 18th year Post Transversum
The chosen family has had another child – a fourth candidate. As I have begun to doubt the eligibility of the older three, this is very fortunate. I will have to keep a much closer watch on the family in the coming years: the interference between the portal and this world has required most of my time and energy to manage of late, but I believe I have finally managed to stabilize it.
I must admit that I was unprepared for an undertaking of this magnitude when I first stepped into the Elipsis. The task of traveling into another world, selecting suitable candidates, rebuilding all that our people had lost – perhaps it was too great a task to be given to one man. I could not comprehend the magnitude of what I was about to do that day. Perhaps that is just as well, or I would have abandoned my quest long ago.
This quest is our only hope – yet to trust my people’s future to such beings as these elves seems to be, at best, grasping at straws.
November 20, 18th year Post Transversum
The adjustments to the regulatory device seem to be working. The Elipsis is as quiet as I’ve seen it these past eighteen years, and the buildup of extradimensional energy has dropped to negligible amounts.
I was wrong.
I will have to rebuild the extradimensional flux regulator from scratch. Nothing of it, or the rest of that machinery, can be salvaged. It will have to be completely redesigned: during the dispersal it overloaded entirely, and the subsequent earthquake and electromagnetic storm destroyed what was left. It will be months – perhaps even an entire year – before I can hope to contain the energies of the Elipsis once more.
May 30, 19th year Post Transversum
The effects of the last dispersal have been further-reaching than even I anticipated. As far away as Pleasantview there have been reports of strange dimensional fluctuations – a woman who vanished between one moment and the next, changes in the faces of loved ones and even temporary changes of mental state – though most appear to be almost instantly dismissed as something else. The epicenter of these effects, Riverblossom Hills, was curiously unaffected, save for the storm and the following earthquake, which was felt for miles and destroyed several houses. Or perhaps I have been unable to discover the extent of the changes within Riverblossom Hills: it is possible that with their greater experience with the phenomenon that they foolishly call an Aurora Storm, they have already forgotten the trauma of slipping into another timestate.
It is clear that I will have to speed up work on the flux regulator. I do not have the materials to construct anything that could hope to withstand a dispersal such as the last one: my materials from Elphemerea are almost all used or destroyed. Perhaps a total blockage of the dimensional discharge is not the answer? I believe that, like a volcano, the pressure will build behind a blockage, leading to a large and unruly eruption. The patterns of energetic seem to suggest that the gate being shut may have played a role in triggering the last dispersal – which could explain why the locus in Riverblossom Hills, where I was perhaps too hasty in closing the ways, is the point of rupture.
August 4, 19th year Post Transversum
I have done it. I have created a stopgap device which will regulate the fluctuations of the extradimensional energies of the Elipsis, while firmly closing the three additional loci on this side of the worldwall. Since the loci in Elphemerea should now be destroyed, one way or another, it is obvious that the interference of another universe or universes is the source of the more recent energies, which means that the only way of relieving the pressure – and keeping my personal, observational locus open – is to periodically exchange energies across the membrane.
Fortunately, this should keep unwitting travelers from the otherworlds out… rather unfortunately, I have become aware that there are beings in this world more sensitive to these emanations than simkind. They are ancient, vast, and hungry.
February 2, 20th year Post Transversum
Observation continues. I cannot be expected to keep watch over the outlying areas, so the epicenter of the flux – and the home of my chosen subjects – is the only area under surveillance to prevent the eruption of the strange elder beings. Without constant sources of energy, most of these organisms are, at best, an annoyance: some few are even beneficial to the community, such as the Phototroph that lives in Riverblossom Hills. (Phototrophs appear not only to be genetically compatible with humans, but prolifically so – or perhaps the instinct to reproduce remains unfulfilled, since I have observed irregularities with the original phototroph’s offshoot.)
March 13, 20 th year Post Transversum
I have made an updated list of all of the elves who have come through the most localized iteration of this portal. Those that have remained in Lake Valley or Riverblossom Hills have been subjected to temporal slides and time distortion, but appear to continue to exist in this reality.
Elvensong: Household consists of subject zero, Haldir Elvensong, his wife Viridia, and their four offspring, two of which are currently beyond my observation at Sim State University.
Subject zero is a male elf of Northern Elphemerean origin, Forty years of age. He had no unusual genetics prior to alteration, though I remain unsure as to whether the time slips have affected his memory. I do not have a genetic sample of his wife or eldest daughter, though all their subsequent offspring should contain the necessary alterations.
Subject zero’s mate also appears to be of Northern Elphemerean origin (phenotypic variety is apparently too much to ask for,) forty years of age, and possessed of an unusually strong gene for red hair, which I suspect will be bred out of the family regardless.
The eldest daughter, Aranel Elbereth Elvensong, is currently twenty years of age. She was modified quite young. My considerations for discounting her have more to do with her personality than with whether or not the alterations are fully integrated, however. I believe, based on my distant observations, that she would have proved resistant to my purposes and quite likely swayed later subjects to her opinions. I am also not prepared to devote myself to her, or her brother’s, persuasion at this time. The time slips and dialations have robbed me of my chance to approach them in advance, and as it is their participation would be noted. Aranel will be tracked for observation of her future offspring.
The only son, Achenar Cirrus, currently nineteen, is more than clever enough for my purposes, and possessed of a much more genial temperament than his oldest sister. His skills will be sorely needed, and of the eldest three he is the most suitable for my needs. In fact, until the most recent time slip and the birth of the youngest child, he was my choice out of this generation. (Should the youngest prove unsuitable, I shall simply have to be extraordinarily persuasive in order to secure his compliance. It is likely that his offspring will have similar desirable qualities.) I should know in the next five years: fortunately, he will be in no danger at Sim State University.
The middle daughter, Anariel Anise, is a disappointment. I had hoped she would become more suitable as she aged, but she remains far too timid and the time slip that advanced her age to more closely match that of her siblings seems to have had an adverse affect on all of her peers in age. Even were she an excellent candidate, there is too much risk of later instability for anyone born too close to that particular disturbance in time. Anariel is currently sixteen (one of the youngest in her grade,) and will be monitored for observation of her descendants upon adulthood, but I find it unlikely that she will prove worth the effort.
The infant, Ariadne Riann, is currently three years old has not been subjected to any time dialations as of yet, and appears active and healthy, despite her mother’s more advanced age at her gestation. She has no agemates either amongst the elves or the townsfolk – local gossip indicates that the youngest Greenleaf boy is unlikely to befriend her, given their respective mothers’ antipathy. She also appears inquisitive – when observed at the park with the middle daughter (a very inattentive caretaker, far more interested in her companion than the child’s safety) she immediately approached Phototrope no. 2 and showed great interest in her.
*I have since obtained a family photo, taken sometime in August of year 22. All other photos date from the same era.
Other elves are listed as follows:
Elkthorn: Household consists of two middle-aged elves: their fraternal twin offspring have left for SSU. The wife, Chalimyra Elkthorn, is of eastern origin, across the sea from Elphemerea, and has a prestigious position as a local lawyer, while the husband, Talon, is another northerner who owns an art gallery in Lake Valley. Both of their children are twenty, peers of Achenar Elvensong, and almost constantly in his company. Calanthe and Elirand Elvensong are by all reports intelligent, energetic, and well-liked: if I were to decide on Achenar as my candidate, they would be my biggest obstacles, especially given the not-unlikely scenario of Achenar becoming romantically involved with Calanthe. Her phenotypic variety, temperament, and Elphemerean origin would make her a highly suitable mate for him – any offspring they may have will be closely monitored.
Fairmaiden: Eluisa Fairmaiden is of Northern Elphemerean origin, middle aged, single, and good friends with both the Elkthorns and the Elvensongs. Another elven woman by the name of Fairmaiden, perhaps her sister, used to live with her, but she appears to have left for the city some years ago. Neither of them bear any directed study.
No photo was available.
Greenleaf: After the last aurora storm, the Greenleafs moved to Riverblossom Hills. The adults are northerners, minor nobility who fled their lands due to the dissatisfaction of their vassals, according to my research. Aranel Elvensong was at one point friends with the two oldest offspring, but the adult female, Yvette Greenleaf, is as close to an enemy as Viridia Elvensong has, and the male, Antoin, is almost universally disliked. The eldest offspring, Nymea Greenleaf (21) and Rean Greenleaf (recently turned 20) are at SSU, though Rean has been disowned and is unlikely to return to the Riverblossom Hills area. The youngest daughter, Idalese (19) remains at home, presumably to help their mother care for the infant son, Ronan, who is approximately one year old, and who is routinely mistaken for her son rather than her brother. Either female would be an acceptable mate for the Elvensong boy, and the older male for either of the elder daughters.
Conclusions: Unfortunately, the local elven population provides a variety of potentially suitable mates for Achenar (Nymea, Calanthe, Idalese) and only two potential mates for Aranel or Anariel (Rean or Elirand).
Addendum: I have since found out that Rean’s disinterest in females was the reason for his disownment. Make that one potential mate.
Unfortunately, SSU is beyond my current scope – I have to remain close to my equipment and notes to ensure that the time ripples do not increase in severity – so I cannot attempt to find any of the subjects more suitable mates. I can only hope that they come into contact with other elves that have wandered outside my sphere of influence. Even a resilient human line would be acceptable given my current difficulties, though I would have to attempt to influence later descendants towards more suitable mates. Perhaps the residents of Riverblossom Hills may include individuals of suitable ages and characteristics?
May 15, 20th year Post Transversum
I have been making notes of the remaining families in Riverblossom Hills as well as the Elves; the human population was far more adversely affected by the previous slides into different timestates than the elves in Lake Valley. Attached is an Alphabetical list;
Greenman: Household consists of nine individuals; the progenitors are one male human, mid forties, and Phototroph specimen no.1, female. The Phototroph has reproduced via offshoot, the human is the host parent of a pair of anomalous green organisms I have yet to identify satisfactorily; denizens of Riverblossom Hills call them “aliens.” All other individuals are joint offspring of the two, borne by the female. The Greenman household is a frequent contributor at the farmer’s market: fresh food items bought from them show a small but measurable healing property, no doubt an influence of the two Phototrophs on the family garden.
Rose Greenman: Phototroph specimen no.1 appears to have a very hazy memory of her past. As she is believed to have come “from the mountains,” it is possible that she emerged through a naturally occurring portal; the genetic donor for her offshoot is likely of the same world. As she appears to have come through two decades or more ago and has only produced one defective offshoot, it is likely that she no longer has the genetic material for more. She appears to be in her middle forties, and will likely begin to wilt shortly.
Jason Greenman: Husband of Phototroph specimen no.1, approximately 45 years of age, related fraternally to the male progenitor of the O’Mackey household. Well-respected by peers. Incubational host for two members of what I believe to be a parasitic humanoid species. Boring.
Daisy Greenman: Phototroph specimen no.2. Twenty three years of age, developmentally affected. I am unsure as to whether this is a naturally occurring problem or a result of the time slippage: if so, her case is the first catastrophic effect of any individual’s displacement in relative time. Unfortunately she is unable to function as a true Phototroph and equally unfit for human society. I can’t help but think that she would have been better off in her world of origin.
Briar Greenman: Adolescent offspring of Jason and Rose Greenman, seventeen. Serious-minded and scientific. Unlikely to remain in Riverblossom Hills as an adult without sufficient incentive. Acceptable potential mate for Anariel, who is in the same grade as him, though appears entirely uninterested in him, and he in her. His Phototroph genes are inconvenient, and if he displays interest in Aranel, who is likely to have the stronger line, I will have to interfere.
Azalea Greenman: Adolescent offspring of Jason and Rose, sixteen. Note: It seems that a common factor in the time slippage was to decrease the gap in ages of siblings to a year, or by a significant amount. This has been observed in the chosen family, this sample, the Leafgreen (Greenleaf? It changes often) family, and amongst the Roths. All of Azalea’s peers seem to have been subjected to enough time dialation that they are unsuitable mates for any of my subjects. The females, at least – Xander may be acceptable if I become truly desperate to have one of the Elvensong girls’ lines continue.
Basil and Rosemary Greenman: offspring of Jason and Rose; nine. It is possible that they may not be naturally occurring twins, possibly due to the influence of the parasitic species they have been raised with. Not close enough in age to any of my subjects. The effect that their “siblings” have on them is unclear, but they do not appear to be suffering any lack of energy, intelligence, or attention.
Genlisea Aurea and Zebrina Pendula Greenman: Nine years old, incubated by Jason Greenman. Members of a frankly fascinating parasitic species reminiscent of the Cuckoo – these “aliens” appear to abduct humans, implant their offspring, and depart. A look at records of the local school shows that their development closely mimics that of their same-aged ‘siblings,’ but there are no DNA tests on file to determine whether they are, in fact, hybrids. They may be worth watching as they grow; elves are not suitable for all purposes, and Phototrophs are apparently quite fragile. It is also possible that more members of this species will be encountered later.
O’Mackey: Up until this year, household consisted of one middle-aged male human (Gabriel, 43, divorced, teacher at the local high school,) and his single offspring (Jules; female, 20, student at SSU). The mother of this offspring, one Alexandra Teatherton, has been gone from this location for several years. It is impossible for me to tell if she vanished or has simply elected to ignore her daughter and ex-husband, as this disappearance occurred sometime before or during the earliest set of time slips, when I could still be personally affected. Jules, along with her peers Sandra Roth and Jacob Martin, was sent backwards by the time slippage to become a peer of offspring one of the chosen family, Aranel Elvensong, and thus became younger than her step-cousin, Daisy Greenman. Unsuitable as a mate for Achenar due to her temporal problem, also I suspect, based on a review of her record at Riverblossom Hills Academy, that she may have psychological issues related to abandonment.
This spring Gabriel married Patricia Wan, a twenty nine year old female human, who hails from outside Riverblossom Hills. They have announced in the local paper that they are expecting an offspring. If male, it may be an acceptable mate for Ariadne.
* Upon collecting these photographs I have discovered that my hopes were fulfilled.
Ottomas: This household arrived recently (prior to the most recent time slip) yet has, due to the universe’s meddling, apparently been established for at least a decade. Residents include a pair of humans in their early middle age, Peter and Samantha, Peter’s elderly mother Dora, and six offspring. The eldest three (David, 19, Sharla 16, and Tommy, 12) have been affected by time dialation and were in previous timelines not born in Riverblossom Hills; currently the family is believed to have been residents for generations. Remaining offspring Travis (9), and twins Joanna Dale and Bonnie Rae (6) appear to be a new timeline variant – prior to the latest time slip, Samantha was pregnant with twins (who should now be about three) and the ages of the eldest three children were approximately 14, 10, and 4.
The Ottomases live out in what locals call “the sticks” and own an auto parts shop. None of the children are acceptable mates for any Elvensong due to the extreme temporal distortion.
*No photograph available
Ramaswami: A household which relocated to Riverblossom Hills; it consists of two human adults in their early middle age, Priya and Sanjay, and their adolescent daughter Sati. Sati’s age in this timeline is sixteen, though in the previous iteration she was two years old: this is the most extreme forward time dialation seen in any human subject, yet she appears to be developing normally, even though this makes her unsuitable for Achenar.
Sanjay Ramaswami owns the local general store, at which his wife and often his daughter work. They supply excellent local produce.
Roth: Household consists of two middle-aged humans (female: Stella, 44, no relation to other townsfolk, and male: Morty, 45, conflicting stories of his relation to peers) and their two offspring. Oldest offspring female, Sandra, 20, at SSU, second offspring male, Xander, 16. Time slippage brought Xander closer to his sister’s age, but nowhere near the extent it did for other families. I believe him to have been not a very a great deal younger than Sandra to begin with, however. Both Roth children could potentially be suitable mates for an Elvensong, but I have extreme reservations due to the time slips. Sandra is also quite boring, and according to miss Shikubu, likely to be married to Jacob Martin before they complete university. If she returns to Riverblossom Hills I will closely monitor her progeny for any deleterious effects of the timeslips.
Shikubu: Cleo Shikubu, an adult female human of 29, is an invaluable resource for my continued surveillance of the locals due to her job as a librarian, and the fact that all local gossip is passed to her via her aunt, Catherine Viejo. She will be too old for Achenar by the time he graduates.
Viejo: Household consists of two elderly female humans, an unrelated adult male human, and that male’s single adolescent offspring, who has recently gone to SSU. One of the elder females; Betty Goldstein, is the first cousin of Morty Roth, although at 68 she is a good twenty four years older than him. She has no surviving relatives I have been able to trace except through Morty. Her… roommate? Catherine Viejo, who is 69 years of age, is related only to a niece, Cleo Shikubu, 30 years of age, though the Viejo clan was apparently once greatly respected in the area; no data is available on the death of Catherine’s husband Julio. (By this I mean, his death is not recorded in the county records – I can’t even find what year he died. I am unsure as to whether this is due to time slips, or just excrable records-keeping.)
Catherine and Betty appear to have been living together since the death of Catherine’s husband; they invited the son of Linda Martin, a peer, to live with them after the death of his wife Elena prior to my arrival in the area. Andrew Martin still appears withdrawn, as the death was subjectively somewhat recent in his experience, and his wife was quite young. (Her cause of death is listed as “illness,” in the inadequate county records – examination of local gossip leads me to believe it was a form of cancer.)
Jacob Martin is 20, and a peer of Sandra Roth, Jules O’Mackey, and Aranel Elvensong. It is likely that, should he marry, he will choose to return to Riverblossom Hills. He would be a marginally acceptable mate for Aranel or Anariel… if I become desperate. Examination of Jules O’Mackey’s recently-discarded high school diary reveals his capacity for fidelity to be quite low… almost as low as the depths to which I have sunk to obtain any concrete information spanning the time slippage.
Conclusions: None of the Humans currently living in Riverblossom Hills are suitable mates for members of the chosen family, but those who remain will be an excellent indication of the effects of future time slips, especially those that evade my equipment. The offspring of those that remain in the area may be more suitable, assuming that local time remains stable.
Disenheartening news at best: I will have little influence over the decisions of this generation of the Elvensong family, and can only hope that the eldest three find suitable mates to produce offspring with. If I am able to keep the area temporally stable, I will have a decade and a half to influence Ariadne, and considerably more time to observe the offspring of whichever Elvensong remains with their parents to continue the ‘legacy’ tradition, which I deeply hope is not Anariel. (I congratulate myself every day for planting that idea into Haldir’s mind… or reinforcing it, as it were. I am unsure of the specifics due to my own temporal problems, yet it seems far too convenient to have come about by chance.)
November 12, 20th year Post Transversum
A journey into the mountains has taken me away from my work since early in June. My modifications, however, seem to be holding and the time stream is quiet.
October 21, 22nd year Post Transversum
I have lost a good deal of my previous notebook to an inquisitive woodchuck. Two year’s worth of intermittent notes have been destroyed, and teaching the bothersome rodent it’s lesson has not restored the pages.
February 5, 23rd year Post Transversum
This world’s time stream is unreasonably difficult. Every time I make the requisite adjustments, something slips.
I am inclined to blame its position at the confluence of many energies – but no. There have been others, balanced exquisitely on a knife’s edge, rising and falling in the blink of an eye. It is my own failing. My art has fallen, and I am as a novice. Curse to oblivion those fools who cast me out! Their arrogance and greed has been their undoing, and should any remain in the Cynosure, they will discover their error ere long.
It is of no use, however. I must return, briefly, to the other side, to gather sufficient tools and prepare for the inevitable.