Alexis sat in the living room, tea in hand as French toast and pancakes were placed on the table before her. The smell fo sweets and breakfast wafted through the room. Nate sat next to her, drinking coffee and head back starring up at the ceiling. Nia picked at her french toast. She had not spoken much since the night before. There was an eerie silence to the room as everyone waited from the conversation to begin. Nia had gotten Alexis up at 6am and they had promptly gotten over to Jordan’s house by 6:30am.
“Alright.” Jordan said when he finally sat down. He wore a beanie, mittens, three jackets, and a blanket. Despite the fact that his cheeks were flushed and he looked miserable, he was the only one who seemed to be well rested. Cold, but well rested. The rest of them were lethargic, slow, and should have slept in.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Jim asked him. He yawned as he asked, and Jordan flashed a smile back before he sipped at his hot chocolate in his hands.
“I’ll be fine.” Jordan answered with a shiver, his teeth chattering despite his sunny disposition. “Start from the beginning.”
There was a long silence before Nate sighed and placed his coffee down, beginning to explain. “Prince of Doors and Guardian of Secrets, Keeper of Realms and Holder of Truths.” The title was long and spoken in a way that made Alexis sit up a bit higher. “Our world is not the only one. There are many. This world is one without magic that can be tapped. It has its own magical capabilities, but its natural inhabits can not use magic. What you know as Earth is one of many places. Most can be accessed and transversed by different beings, but Earth is connected solely with Soluna. Where Earth has no magic for its inhabitants, Soluna’s people have magic.”
“But we can…” Was he saying they weren’t of the world? Was that why they had magic? Were they from another world?
“Somewhere in your lineage there is someone from another world. It explains your gift with hearing the world.” Nate then looked to Nia. “And your gift with languages. Your ancestors were from Soluna.”
“Most people on the earth can use magic these days in some way or manor. Small things. Nothing that is inherently magical, but a bit luckier, or a bit better with speaking, small things.” Jim went on, picking at his plate with his fork and knife.
“Then there are those of us who have greater connections to the magic, with more otherworld blood in our veins.” Nate agreed after sipping his coffee. “Jim has a bit more than the average person, for instance. It makes him better at some tasks than others.”
“I can also use magical creations and enchantments without issue, because of it.” Jim said.
“You can always awaken this blood, in yourself.” Nate continued. “So, you would be able to do what Jim can do, for instance, but… your gifts would be dependent on which side you hail from.”
“Side?” Nia asked. It was the first time that Alexis had heard her voice in hours. Her sister did not have a sense of doubt or disagreement in her voice, but honest curiosity.
“For Soluna there are three sides to magic, or rather three facets of power. The Sun and the Moon. Balance, Yin, Yang. There are many names for it, but the main two are known as The Crown of the Sun and the Crown of the Moon.” Nate answered before he turned to Jordan and glared at him. “And then the last is the Keeper of Realms.”
“The Door?” Alexis gasped. Her mind went to the hall. To the door. To the long line of pictures and Jordan stopping her from acting. “Wait. In the house…”
“It is just a normal door.” Jordan laughed, dashing her hopes in an instant. “I told you that. But… It holds the key to unlocking the actual door between the realms.” Jordan paused. “That is not in this house, although you have been there.”
There was a long moment, as Alexis looked to Jordan. They were all silent as she tried to think of the places that she had been with him. Immediately, she thought of her soul singing, and Jordan’s smile. For a moment all she could think of was Jordan and him and how much that she– She breathed out with a chill. “The forest at the lake.”
“The door can be moved.” Jim went on. “Depending on where the Keeper of Realms wants it.”
“These titles are held by others, inherited and passed on as the Crown searches for its individual holder that will hold it for all eternity. Of course…” Nate shook his head. “Sorry. I don’t want to get complicated. Not yet.”
Jim jumped in before Alexis could ask Nate to clarify. “At some point in the past, the Keeper of Realms of Soluna moved to Earth and essentially warped this world. It exists within the balance and outside of it. The natural magic of the world has been corrupted by Soluna’s magic. What could have existed here on its own is unknown and the other many worlds can not connect with Earth, only Soluna.”
“The Keeper of Realms is the only one who can decide that. And the current Keeper of the Realms is…” Nate held out his hand to Jordan.
Alexis blinked at Jordan who had pulled his knees to his chest. His lips were turning blue. Jim got up and put on the fire. In the middle of summer the house was sweltering in the early morning. A few moments later Alexis felt cool. It was as if he were giving them air conditioning, although Alexis could have sworn that the heating in the house was on. Nate placed a stone in her hand before tossing another to Jim and Nia. He then stood and walked to turn the heating up higher.
“What are the powers of the Keeper?” Nia asked, turning over the stone. She wiped the sweat and then looked to Jordan and moved away from him, closer to Jim.
“No clue.” Jordan shrugged. “I inherited the title, but I am not crowned. I can use the magic, but it is not my magic to control. I, naturally, am not a part of the door alignment. Nate is.”
“Doors, entrances, enchantments, words.” Nate walked back as if he had not turned the heating up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. When he sat he paused before he seemed to decide on something. “The other two are of the Sun and the Moon. The Crown of Stars and Skies, Flames and Byrds, Wrath and Nightmares. That is the Crown of Sun. The Crown of Moon is the Crown of Ice and Ivy, Mists and Wraiths, Passions and Dreams.” He paused looking to them all. “A person can fall under multiple of the three, but most have one alignment that controls them more. And the more of a certain kind of blood you have, the more that Crown holds over you. Certain races are aligned with a crown and call it King or Queen. None call the Keeper of Realms their King or Queen.”
“The Keeper is supposed to be an impartial third power for balance purposes, a guide, and a connection.” Jim nodded. “Regardless, powers fall under their domain.”
“The stronger your powers the more likely you are to embody it.” Nate pointed to Jordan. “See here the current Prince of Doors, who freezes the hotter it is. He is the current Prince of Doors but he is pulled by the Crown of Moon far more.”
Alexis starred at Jordan who was chuckling to himself. “The hotter it is, the more my body loses heat. Thus I am always searching to be warm. Winter is my domain. I feel best when it is freezing. I am of the court of the moon and… and doors.”
Alexis was silent for a moment. She had to believe that him disappearing around the corners was not him walking fast but true magic. She needed to see the magic. She needed to see him do it. “Prove it.”
“Okay.” Jordan’s eyes flashed black and then suddenly the whole room froze over. A dusting of snow fell, and the heating from the heating turned red as everything around them turned white. Icicles dripped from the ceiling, condensing the air around it and snow fell to the ground. Jordan seemed to relax and melt as if he felt warm again. Alexis started shivering. Almost as soon as the room was snow it was water and then it was gone in a flash, all of the water turning to steam and leaving from the windows that opened on their own.
Alexis sat forward believing what she had seen, and felt and what she knew of Jordan’s strange behavior. “Can we go to Soluna?”
“Never.” The three men said at once. Jim was the one who clarified. “Our people left that realm as exiles and ran away. If we went back, we’d be killed. That is why you must forget the door. If it is opened then those who persecuted us will come to kill us all.”
And if all people had magic in their blood, did that not mean everyone would die? “What did we do?”
None of them answered. Alexis wondered if she had asked too much or if they knew at all.
“The Sun and Moon cursed us.” Jordan finally answered. “We betrayed them.”
“Can we do what you can do?” Nia asked.
“Me? No. You won’t do that.” Jordan shook his head.
“Jordan’s blood is ancient. Perfectly curated for years of interbreeding and tracking, Jordan’s blood is the purest Soluna blood on all of Earth.” Nate answered. There was a sense of both pride and jealousy in his voice, as if he had not fully worked out how he felt about Jordan’s lineage. Once more Alexis thought of the hall and the photos.
“Don’t sell yourself short.” Jordan smacked his lips. There was a bit of flirtation and joy in his voice as well as a taunt and irritation. “Nate’s family line is the only pure witch families that exists. Only thee other lines can say their blood is as pure as his. Ancient too. Nate is of Doors like I am of Ice and Ivy, fully beholden to the rule. He’s the most powerful person with Door magic that exists and has existed in generations.”
“So you…” Alexis stopped talking. She looked to the two of them. Were they human? If their lineages were so different than other humans… Were they hiding?
“No. This is not what we actually look like.” Nate answered. “No, we do not look human.” He pulled out an amulet. “This protects my real appearance.”
“I use illusions and magic.” Jordan offered.
Alexis wanted to know what they truly looked like, and was more curious than she’d ever been about anything in a long time. It was like when she had first me Tiana. It was pulling at her, to cling to them. Her vibes were never wrong.
“You’ve seen what Jordan looks like.” Jim winked to her. Immediately Alexis could picture it in her head: ice like skin, blue veins, the solid eyes and the ears. What she once thought too realistic to be a costume was in fact Jordan’s real appearance. She looked to Nate curious. He shook his head. Alexis wondered if it were that he did not trust them, or if he did not like it.
“I’ve wanted you two to know since I sensed that you had better control over your skills.” Jordan changed the conversation. “That means we now can train you.”
“Train us?” Nia repeated.
“In magic. Don’t you want to?” Jordan tilted his head at her and Alexis realized that yes, she did want to know magic. Alexis looked to Nia who turned back starring at her incredulous. Nia then nodded at Alexis. “Excellent, then let’s begin.” Jordan jumped up from his chair, tossed off his blanket, and pulled at them all to follow him on outside.
“Won’t someone see?” Alexis asked as they all walked outside into the morning air.
“No one comes down here.” Nate answered, stepping off the porch. “And Jordan will ward everything.”
Jordan stood in his lawn starring at the ground. Waves of frost spread out around him, turning to dew and then disappearing as smoke and mist. When he turned back to them he smiled brightly. Nia and Alexis stepped out to the field and thus began the lesson on how to determine which alignment they fell under and what that would look like.
As they stood there, unsure to believe him for certain, Jordan showed them some real magic, by making the sky turn into a thunderstorm and then having wind freeze in midair, before it shattered into crystal sparkles. Whatever lingering doubts they did have were gone. Once again, Alexis knew she could never think of the door again.