Timeline: December 1, 2007

Not much had changed in the little town she had left so long ago. But then she had come home for visits from time to time. This time was a little different though. This time was permanent.

Tara had gone shopping for baby clothes the minute she heard of the pregnancy. SHe couldn’t believe little Ariyah was going to be a mom. She had snuck into town early by two days.

It was mid afternoon as she crept into Ariyah’s study to suprise her.

Ariyah was sitting at her desk. She had a book in front of her, but was staring off into space, mind lost in thought.

Tara snuck behind her and tickled her sides. “Hey there mom to be!”

Ariyah jumped out of her seat and turned, banging her knee on the inside of her desk, and her funny bone on the back of her chair. “Ow! Don’t do…. Tara? You’re early!”

“Yeah, I couldn’t help it when I heard my little sis was pregnant. Okay so it took a lot longer to get things in order, but once that was done, tah-dah!” She twirled around. Then sat four bags down on the table. “I brings gifts. But first, ” she rubbed her hands across Ariyah’s belly. “I know you must hate this but it is my little niece in there. Of course I am just assuming that, our family and all.”

Tara sat in the chair next to her. “Six months already. So are you still trying to wait to find out if it is a boy or girl? Silly though our family always has girls. That is why we don’t take the man’s name. Well those of us who get married anyway.”

“I don’t really care,” Ariyah said, “as long as as she’s healthy.”

“As long as she?” Tara smiled. “See it is inevitable it will be a girl. ” So tell me how have you been, other than pregnant. When do I get to meet dad? Or is he not around?”

“It’s a long story, but he’s not involved,” Ariyah said firmly.

“Ouch. I’m not going to like him then am I?” Her smile faded. “What happened?”

“I just don’t think he’ll make good father material,” Ariyah replied, “and I really don’t want to talk about it right now. Now, give your baby sister a hug and tell me what you’ve been up to since I last saw you.”

Tara hugged Ariyah. “Okay okay, I will leave it alone. For now.” She seated herself again. “Well honestly I have gone through some changes since I have been gone. But lately I have been busy with making arrangements with moving home again. You know working things out with the office and Gran.”

“How about you?”

“Keeping busy with my studies. You know, the usual.” Ariyah returned to her seat after turning it to face her sister. “I have to admit, I’m surprised you’re coming home. I never thought you would.”

“I felt it was time you know, home to your roots and all.” Tara said as she played with her hair.

“What happened?”

Tara laughed. “What do you mean. Nothing had to happen in order for me to return home.”

“It’s just that you seemed so determined to stay away, to find a life away from Eldon Well.” Ariyah searched her sister’s face for even the slightest hint of the truth.

“I… it’s..” Tara could see the look in Ariyah’s eyes. “Ugh. Swear to me that you will tell no one. On pain of death Ariyah. Vow to me this stays between us.” There was moevement in her eyes as she spoke. An unearthly pressence prickled the hair on Ariyah’s arms.
“Of course. I swear I’ll tell no one.” Ariyah felt a chill go down her spine, wondering what had happened to her sister.

“I changed Ariyah. I left home becasue I could not deal with what was happening to me. With all the bad things that our family has fought I had to. I was afraid of what would happen to me if I stayed. So I left. I ran and didn’t stop until I hit the coast. I found a place that accepted me as I am in California. I learned and grew and understand everything now. Because of that I know how important it is to keep the mundanes form knowing of our existence. Even my family.”

Tara narrowed her eyes. “There is a great darkness on the rise. A war of ages that will try to engulf the land. I can feel an apex of energies here in Eldon Well. “

Ariyah nodded. “You are not the only one. Things here have… changed. But you said you changed. How? What happened?”

It took a few minutes for what she said to sink in. Tara gave her sister the time she needed to think about what she ahd just said. “Now you know.”

Ariyah sat there silently, the story Tara told her whirling around in her mind. “I… I don’t know what to say. But why didn’t you tell any of us what had happened?”

“At first I was scared.Then I was extremely busy. I went to law school and began a career. Then after a few years of that I decided it was not enough so I got my detective license. I have been so busy I guess it slipped my mind. It became so natural to me that I never thought to tell anyone. Well that and the whole “if they will hunt me” thing. Some things just need to remain secret.” Tara smiled.

“You’re not the only one with a secret to hide,” Ariyah said softly.

Tara tilted her head in curiousity. “Do I finally get to find out about the father?”

“No, but you’ll meet him eventually.” Ariyah paused for a moment, trying to figure out the best way to explain it. “I’ve become a Mage.” She explained to Tara what that meant, as best she could.

“I see. Does Gran know about you? I had to have a sit down with her years ago. She tracked me down and we had a heart to heart on things.” She put her hand up to cut Ariyah off before she could say anything. “I made her promise not to say anything.”
“Yes,” Ariyah said with a nod. “She knows.”

“Yeah Gran knows a lot of things. Far more than she let’s on. That in itself is scary since she seems to know what makes the world move. Figuratively speaking. Say why don’t we get out of here and get some lunch?”

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