The Wanderer sat there in front of the computer. He was leaning forward with his head held in his hands. There was the water edge of tears around his eyes. He had been sitting there for the last couple of hours since he had finished analyzing the signal.
When Esta finally spoke he was relieved like he had been waiting for her to return home. “Wanderer? Are you alright? Did something happen?”
“I finished processing the signal that I had found.”
“Oh? You did? What was on it?” She seemed to have instantly forgotten that he looked upset.
“It is a recording, one from your world, it is playing on a loop here in my world.”
“Really? What does it say?”
The Wanderer pressed the button on the computer again and the audio began to play once more. It was still painful for him to listen to even though he had already listened to it more than a half dozen times.
“Hey Wanderer. It has been a while, at least it will have been for you. I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to talk to you and will never talk to you again. I enjoyed our time together, I hope you did too.” It was the voice of the Watcher. She was the one who had first talked with the Wanderer. The Watcher and the Wanderer, they had chosen those nicknames for each other. Mysterious names that would be suited for two that would save both their worlds.
“I don’t know how long for you it had been since I left and never returned. For me it has been a week. Whenever you find this I hope that you will find it in your heart to forgive me. Although you have very right to resent me continuing that will only keep you in pain.
“I hope that you have another person to talk with now. I did what I could to connect your world to another place, one with the answers we were both seeking. Unfortunately I learned that those answers would not be found in my world.
“Your ash and my wars can not be simply stopped by two people, because our worlds have already ended. For both of our worlds we are just waiting to the final death throws to end. Once that happens there will be nothing left and our worlds will be forever forgotten. I… we, did not want our worlds to end like that.
“I wanted to save us both but I am too weak, far too weak, so I hope to at least save you. Legends in my world speak of the Maiden of Chaos and the Maiden of Order. The ones that can make and unmake worlds. However the legends also spoke that those two Maidens died protecting everything but since then all existence had been without guardians.
“Yet I learned one last thing that gave me hope. That new guardians will be born and they will be able to save those worlds that are lost. I had believed that my world would be the one where the new Maidens would be but alas, it was not.
“So I did the only thing that I could. If my world did not have the guardians then I needed to give you access to the world that would have them. Maybe not now but by the time you find this message they should be there. Your new hope.
“I only have their new names to guide you. They are Yiskah and Valarie. You must find them or your world will continue to get worse and worse until there is nothing but ash left. I wish I could be there with you when you find them but I will not be able to. The wars are reaching a crescendo here and I believe that the end of my world is immanent.”
There was a pause in the recording before the Watcher spoke once more.
“This new person that you speak with, are they nice? Do you have fun every day? I sincerely hope that you do. Maybe you spend all day talking like we did or maybe make plans to save your world. Are they are woman? No, don’t answer, it doesn’t matter. Whoever they are I hope you can still enjoy your life and..”
The was another pause which the Watcher must have used to compose herself.
“Please be well, that is my only wish. And remember you must seek Yiskah and Valarie, they are the Maidens who will save your world.”
There was a tiny bit more silence, “It would seem that I have reached the end of my message. I wish I could keep talking for ever. Keep hold of your for a little longer but I must say Goodbye. Never give up and eventually you will succeed.
“Goodbye Vince” Then the recording ended. The Wanderer’s tears had well up once more while the recording played. She had been gone from his life for so long that he thought he had stopped caring about her but when he heard her voice once more all those memories flooded back to him and he could not hold back his tears.
In that last moment she had called him by my real name, the one he had nearly forgotten. He had been the Wanderer for so long that it was now part of who he really was not just some nickname.
“Who was that?” Asked Esta who seemed to be trying to process everything that she had learned since the recording began.
“That was the Watcher.” He said, “Before you spoke to me she was the one that did, back when I was young.”
“It sounded like you were very close.”
“Once, a long time ago. We were friends and we had basically grown up together despite being in different worlds. We had plans to save your worlds. Once day she told me that she had a clue and was quickly leaving to go find out about it. That was the last that I had ever heard from her, until today.”
“You spoke about your world being covered in ash? Do you really think that will destroy it? You have never asked me to help with that.” Said Esta.
The Wanderer nodded, “Yes, the ash gets worse year after year. This place that I live used to be much cleaner. It only used to be ashy on bad days. Now it is covered with ash year round. I’ve been trying to find ways of surviving well even with the ash but it is difficult. The other people who lived here moved to places with less ash but even that is only delaying the inevitable.”
He sighed, “I didn’t want to ask you for help because I didn’t know if there was any point. When the Watcher helped me I had hope but when she left I lost that hope. I gave up on trying to save the world and instead focused on being able to survive in it. If me and the Watcher wasn’t able to find a solution then there might now have be one.”
“Any now?” She asked.
“Now, I’m in doubt again. She believed that there was a solution and sacrificed everything to help me find it. I…..” He paused, “I’m angry at her for not telling me, for just sending me away without consulting me. I understand why but…” He clenched his fist in frustration and the finally released it. “But I don’t know. That time is full of happy and painful memories and I don’t think any path would have ended happily.”
Esta asked a question, “She, the Watcher, she said that Yiskah and Valarie would be the key to saving your world, but they are just characters in a game right?”
“Maybe, but that is unlikely to be the whole truth. She said that they might not be in your world when she sent this message but they might be by the time that I got it. If that is true then maybe the real Yiskah and Valarie exist in your world. I hate to impose on you but do you think that you could find them for me?”
“Do you really think that I can help you be finding them?” She asked a bit nervously.
“Yes, please. This was the last message that the Watcher left for me. I hope I can find the answer that I have been searching for with it.”
“Alright. I’ll help.”
The Wanderer smiled, “Thanks. Now I know it is a lot to ask but do you think that you can leave me alone for a while.”
“Thanks again.” He waited but Esta did not speak again. He press the play button and began listening to the message one more time. His tears welled up once more and he whispered to himself, “Why Larissa, why did you leave. I could have lived in a terrible world if only you had continued to speak to me.”
Miss Linson sat at her desk. She was supposed to be writing a report about the things that happened today but her report was completely empty still. After Martin had left she had questioned Yiskah, Valarie, and Lyle about what happened so that she had a better understanding of the situation. She had learned a great deal about what they knew happened but there was still so much that nobody knew that she was unsatisfied.
She would have thought that finding proof of supernatural claims after so many years of trying would make her feel better but instead it made her feel uncertain. She had always known what do do as the project manager of Project Mayfly but now she felt lost. There had never been any contingencies for what happened if she did discover something, there had always been the underlying assumption that nothing would actually be found because until now that had been true.
She didn’t know if she should write anything. Should she keep the information about supernatural events hidden from the world. She was sure that there had been others in her same sort of situation that did exactly that.
Yet those two had been honest with her. They had told her what happened and they had asked for Miss Linson’s help. They were without proper documentation and that would make it difficult for them to live in this world. Miss Linson had government connections and she could certainly bend the rules a little to produce such documentation.
She pulled open the bottom left drawer of her desk and pulled out the file that was there. It was an old police case that was long since closed. It was a death where the deceased was locked in a room at the time of death. There was a suspect who was the only person with a strong motivation to kill the suspect however the suspects alibi was airtight. It would have been impossible for him to kill the victim, at least without a supernatural power.
Miss Linson still remember his taunting words, “So what? Unless you are claiming that I used magic to kill him then you have got nothing on me.” It was like he was daring her to accuse him of using magic. She had looked into it and it became more and more likely that he actually had used magic to commit the crime. She had tried to get permission to investigate that possibility when she had been deported to Project Mayfly.
Then the case was closed without her intervention and the suspect was free and disappeared out of the country. It had been a humiliating experience and it resulted in her being permanently stationed in Project Mayfly. The reason she had stay was so that if even one of her investigations turned out to be true then maybe somebody would be brought to justice.
“But who am I bringing to justice here?” She asked herself. Lyle had decided to drop any possible charges against those two. He seemed enamored by the fact that they were real even though they seemed to detest him.