Greyness had begun to penetrate the dark of the night and dawn was on its way. Jacob looked toward the windows and sighed.
“I’ve still so much to tell, my lad. And I’ve yet to prepare you for your journey.”
I was just about to open my mouth when Jacob held up his hand and shook his head. “Before you say anymore let me tell you about the ‘Conversion’; it’s part of a barrier made of human and faery majick, built by the Sidheóga and the cunning folk almost two hundred and fifty years ago; an enforced apartheid of sorts, borne of science.
“The Conversion blocks the pathway between the two realms, that of humanity and the Other Realm. It’s called the Conversion because it translates space between the two realms, from one to another. Almost.”
Jacob stared at me, his eyes probing mine. I’m certain he was checking for a glimmer of disbelief.
“Well?” he said.
I was silent, not sure what to say or ask. Though lots of questions were racing around my brain they were intermingled and nothing would crystallise.
“Come on, Derek,” Jacob said in a weary manner.
The first one coalesced. “How d’you know all this stuff? It’s a bit fantastical isn’t it?”
“The easy ones are always first,” Jacob smiled as he said this. “I was there, Derek. I was part of the council when it was decided to separate the two realms.
“The council members couldn’t see any good coming of the Enlightenment for the Sidheóga, especially because the scientific method wouldn’t be able to comprehend, let alone explain, how the Sidheóga could manipulate the forces of Nature in the same way a shepherd’s wife could turn the coat of a sheep into a jacket or kilt.
“This inability, the council knew, would only lead to fear and out of fear would come death and destruction.”
“So the Sidheóga were made safe?”
“If being locked into half of a whole is safe, then yes.”
“Why did the letter say you lied and the evil ones are coming?”
“Because your science has progressed, Derek: in a manner of speaking. Nearly all the building blocks of Nature have been identified, and this is the first step on the pathway to understanding how to control those building blocks.
“But this isn’t the reason I, as one of the council, have seemingly lied to the Sidheóga. Each step on the path of discovery that narrows the gap in knowledge, between that of the Sidheóga’s and mankind’s, is a physical encroachment on their realm – and the methods used in Geneva, at CERN in the Large Hadron Collider, are destroying vast tracts of the Sidheóga’s land every time it is powered up to smash Nature’s building blocks.
“It seems to me that mankind has only a capacity to investigate things by the very destruction of the said things; the reason why jigsaw puzzles seem such an antithesis – you discover their beauty by putting all the pieces together! Why not for the state of being?”
Jacob shook his head at the unbelievable craziness then soldiered on with his tale.
“The council had promised they’d be safe after the Conversion had been built and, because I’m one of the guardians assigned to the Conversion Bridge, the Sidheóga feel I’ve betrayed them.”
Jacob shook his head again. “The cunning folk tried to see this far ahead, but nothing was clear. We felt making the promise to the Sidheóga would be something that would remain unbroken in perpetuity.”
“And the evil ones?” I asked.
“Let’s just say they’re soldiers of Akh’Mori; and discussion is not their preferred path to resolution, my lad.”
I gulped at Jacob’s dark description. “What is Akh’Mori?” Though I asked, I wasn’t wanting to hear an answer.
“It’s the Elven Army of the Dark, Derek. Not something that should ever be present in the mortal’s realm.”
“Is there anything that can be done?”
“Yes. Go home. Get some rest, Derek – a lot. Then come back here at one o’clock…”
“Ok. Sunday?” I asked hopefully as one o’clock Saturday was only seven hours away.
“Yes. One o’clock Sunday morning,” Jacob nodded. “That would be about right.”
“Morning? Sunday?” I said.
For some reason I felt I had no choice. Whether it was Jacob’s tired soul or something else entirely, I don’t know, but I concurred anyway.
“Ok, Mr Brizelthwaite,” I said.