When Elenie and Ieaun arrived home from their second term at Uni, they went to visit Evie to discuss what they had found out at the library.
They had found various tomes there discussing the fae lands and the kidnapping of mortals by the fae. Some had been simply collections of various stories with commentaries, but there had also been a number of useful treatises by scholarly mages on the subject. These had given a great deal of detail on quests to rescue individuals from the darker fae and how these had usually taken place in what the mages termed "the changing lands".
When Elenie explained all this to Evie, she recognised the descriptions immediately.
"Oh, of course, they are talking about the borderlands! The fae realms are quite fluid and do not have boundaries in the same way that the mortal realms do; instead a powerful fae will "claim" an area of the fae realm and mould it in whatever way they fancy, areas which have not been claimed at all are just a foggy indistinct area which changes constantly in reaction to anyone who happens to travel through it. The longer an area has been claimed the more stable it becomes and the less it changes; unless whoever has claimed it decides they want it to change."
So, wherever 'Nik' has taken your mother, it's unlikely to be be back to his Queen's Court - he won't dare return without having captured you and so he'll have taken her somewhere in those unclaimed areas, which we refer to as the borderlands."
Elenie thought about this for a moment and then enquired; "So does that mean this land where we're living could change? Our home could just change in an instant?"
"Well, yes, but only if Amaethon and Murigen want it to and if you've formed a strong bond with your home, which I believe you have, then it will stay the same albeit the surroundings may change considerably. I think though, that you've experienced that to a degree anyway, didn't your house change to fit your tastes when you first moved in? Going back to the question about where 'Nik' has taken your mother, Talfryn and I are having a party tonight and we've invited Robin Goodfellow; I believe that he knows 'Nik' rather better than I do, and I suspect that he will have some ideas about where in the borderlands to start looking; you and Ieaun should come along and maybe you'll get the chance to talk to him about it."
Elenie gratefully accepted the invitation and offered to give Evie a hand in getting things ready and looking after little Seren. It wasn't long before the guests started arriving and the two of them found that they enjoyed the party immensely.
Robin didn't arrive until a little later and when he did he suggested that they go outdoors away from others to discuss the matter.
"Oh yes, I've known him for a long time, what was it he was calling himself? Nik? Hmm, not far off his real name I suppose. In faerie he is known as Nicodur and he is one of Morgana Le Fae's knights; I believe she dubbed him her dragon knight."
"You realise of course that he took your mother as bait for a trap for you? Morgana will have told him to bring you back and he won't dare return to admit failure to her! He could be anywhere in the borderlands, but he will want you to find him so that he can capture you and you have a blood link to your mother so you should be able to use that to track them. There may even be a spell along those lines in that library..."After discussing this in depth, Elenie and Ieaun decided it would be worth going back; especially since they only needed another term to gain their degrees."
Once they had finished with the various formalities of the beginning of term, the two of them found their way back to the library where Ieaun explained what they were looking for to Matthieu Saxe.
The ghostly archivist had mellowed towards the pair of them during the previous term and as Ieaun described the sort of spell they were hoping to discover, he offered to do the research for them; "I know this library far better than either of you ever will, and you are young - you enjoy your last term at university, learn from your courses and I will summon you when I have found what it is you need."
So the two of them left him to his research and immersed themselves in university life for their final term there. Ieaun was studying "communications" and he had been tasked by one of his professors to write reports on the parties hosted by their fellow students. Many of the parties involved kegs of beer and Ieaun found himself being persuaded to take part in "keg stands".
Every party seemed to involve bonfires and a variety of items being thrown into said bonfires. Elenie had started hanging out quite a bit with other science students and found that they were very fond of throwing test tubes full of questionable substances onto bonfires to give strange effects!
The two of them did also do plenty of studying, as a final year student Elenie had been given full access to the science labs and her classes this year included the process of taking samples of various items; bugs, gemstones, metals etc and cloning copies of the originals from those samples.
She was also expected to spend a considerable amount of time taking part in a group science project which seemed to involve pulling lots of levers, entering equations on a computer and "seeing what happens"!
The culmination of her classes in cloning came when they were all asked to take a sample of DNA from themselves and another sim and analyse the two; not unsurprisingly, she persuaded Ieaun to donate some DNA for the project...
Towards the end of term Ieaun and Elenie threw a party of their own at their dorm. Elenie cooked up a whole feast for the guests while Ieaun started the traditional bonfire and got changed into the dress code for the party...
Most of the guests had thrown themselves into the theme, although the colour choices of some left much to be desired!
The keg of beer which Ieaun had set out proved to be a great success and the guests all stayed there drinking, chatting and generally enjoying themselves into the early hours of the morning.
Eventually, not long before their finals, Ieaun felt an internal tug towards the hidden library. As soon as they had a chance, they headed over there and Matthieu pointed Ieaun towards a tome set out on a reading stand in one corner. "The spell you need is in there, you'll need at least one other who shares the blood of the person you are seeking and you will need to cast the spell on one of those who share that bloodline. That said however, you should hone your visions - they and your heart will lead you true!"
While Ieaun studied the spell and committed it to memory, Matthieu took Elenie aside; "I understand you are no older than your young man over there. Have you thought about the fact that you will long outlive him? The fae have a lifespan far longer than we magi... I know you will not wish to give him up just because of that, but remember this; you will have longer without him than you will have with him - store up plenty of good memories now for the time when those are all you will have left."
Not long after this, they took their final exams and passed with distinctions, following which their family and friends travelled out to support them at their graduation.
One out-take below - I couldn't fit it into the chapter properly, but it was too funny to leave out...