READER WARNING: some swearing
“Miss Magnolia?” Alex gently wakes Maggie, “Did you sleep out here all night?”
“Hmm?” She stretches and looks up at him, confused.
“Did you sleep out here all night?”
“Oh… I guess so.” Alex frowns and straightens, offering her his hand.
“You really shouldn’t, Miss Magnolia.” Hesitantly she accepts his hand and he pulls her up. “I’m Alexander, by the way. I realize that its most unusual for a man to know a woman’s name without her knowing his but-”
“Look,” Maggie pulls away “I don’t care, I just want to go home.” Alex pauses for a moment before looking over his shoulder.
“What is your home called? Perhaps I can return you to it.”
“I live in Westfield.” The knight’s eyebrows come together in confusion.
“I don’t recall a Westfield around here, but perhaps we will find it on a map.” He pats down his person and frowns.
“Must’ve left it in my hut.” He steps away only to have Maggie follow, “What are you doing?”
“Going with you, to look at the map.”
“But its in my hut.”
“So its impolite, you don’t even know me.” Maggie just shrugs.
“Fine I’ll wait here if it bothers you so much.” Alex nods and steps away, weaving between people and vanishing into a small hut, only to reapear a moment later holding a map and weaving his way back to Maggie.
“Ok,” He unfolds it and looks closely at the map “Now, let me see. Westfield. Westfield… Westfield…” Maggie pears over his shoulder and frowns.
“What the hell, that’s not a map!”
“Yes it is”
“No, this… This is just bullshit! Where the hell am I?”
“Miss Magnolia this is a map of Braydora! Hand drawn and painted by Monks in the far south just for me.”
“Braydora?” Alex nods “No, no. I need a real map of the US.”
“The US. You know, the United States of America.”
“I’ve never heard of this place.” Rage builds in Maggie as she looks at the man, clearly confused still puzzling over his somehow faulty map.
“Its one of the biggest countries! How could you not know about it! Fucking hell we probably are in the god damn center of it! Where’s a real map?” Maggie’s hand goes to her pants pocket, feeling for a phone that is no longer there. “What the hell? Where is my phone?”
“My phone, where is my phone!” She looks up and her panic turns into anger at the confused expression. “What did you do with it?”
“I didn’t do anything to your person or the belongings you carried. I found you hurt in the glade, I did not note any objects around you when I found you.” Alex soothes, attempting to rein in her anger. Maggie sighs, the need to scream dying down some only being replaced by hopelessness as she struggles to get the man to understand what she needs.
“What year is it? In the real world, no lying, on your honor, what year is it?” She manages to ask, hoping this little role Alex had carved out in what she was hoping was an extreme case of LARPing would allow him to tell her the correct year.
“The year?” She nods “Its the forty-third year of the Keeper King; in the terms of dynasty it is the Defries, third generation, year 23; in the terms of the millennia it is year 306.”
“What…” Alex takes a deep breath, preparing to repeat himself “No, NO. Its 2017.”
“It is? I have not heard that claim, Miss Magnolia. And if it is indeed 2017, I would have heard, for the official documents I must fill out when I come and go from Cypress.” Maggie’s world spins and she pulls away from Alex, shaking her head.
“Its gotta be… I can’t… Time travel isn’t possible.” Alex folds his map and shoves it into a breast pocket before turning to her. “Please… Please tell me the truth.”
“I will, I swear it on my title and my honor.”
“Where am I?”
“You are in the Recluse, home base of Throne’s Heir in the forest surrounding Cypress in the land of Braydora.” Maggie lets out a breath she had not realized she was holding and fell back against a post.
“How did I get here?”
“I told you, I brought-”
“No, I mean HERE. I was in an accident, I shouldn’t be here, I should be in the hospital, or with my mom. I shouldn’t be here.” She closes her eyes and shakes her head as though that will send her back to her mother “I shouldn’t be here.” Alex watches her quietly, unsure of what to tell the distressed girl. From across the small village Throne approaches, a cloaked man in tow. Alex nods to them silently and Throne frowns.
“Miss Maggie, this is the Brother.” Maggie opens her eyes and looks to the cloaked man, his dark eyes run up and down her body, taking in her strange clothing.
“You should have called upon me sooner, Throne.” He speaks after a great pause. “Much sooner. This girl should not be here.”
“That is what she claims as well, Brother.” Alex supplies quickly.
“She is not of this world. She is the Foretold.”
“The Foretold, the being that will fall from the heavens and unite our world in peace and harmony.” The Brother answers, his dark eyes never leaving her form.
“So I… I fell from the heavens? That’s how I got here.” Maggie asks, disbelieving.
“It is, Foretold, you have been chosen by the great Gods to unite us.”
“Unite you? I can’t even stop the fighting between my mom and I… How could I help you.” Maggie laughs bitterly, the only thing she can do to stop herself from crying.
“You have a mother?” The Brother marvels “But of course, why would you not. Everyone must come from a mother.”
“I… I think I need to lay down…” Maggie shoves away from the post and begins to walk toward the wise woman’s hut.
“Ah, Miss Magnolia.” she pauses and glances over her shoulder. “As the Foretold I am at your humble service, please take my hut, I shall guard you as you rest.”
“But what about propriety?”
“It is the way, I must keep the Foretold safe, even at the cost of my dearest friend’s life and my own.” Unable to argue Maggie takes Alex’s hut, flopping down onto the soft bed, immediately she is enveloped in his scent, the scent of sweet grass, and something else, something sweet she cannot quiet figure out as her eyes close and her body relaxes.