AN: No one reads these stories, so they're for my benefit only, really. AU where the Elves never faded or lost the Lady and how Mirya, Talla, Natil, etc deal with the newly awakened Elves at TreeStar and how they feel about the Old Blood coming to life again and the Lady's opinion on the new Elves. As well as the old Elves (Mirya, Varden, etc having blood children of their own). Will likely be multi-chapter.

Strands Of Eternity

Mirya snuggled up against Terrill in the soft feather bed they used at TreeStar. They slept there. All the First Born did. They no longer hid in caves or feared the inquisition. This new world, this new, happy, wonderful world was a world where Elves could be Elves.

Where humans needed their love and compassion once again. Of course, no one could ever know that they were Elves, but people thought they were New Age or Wiccan, especially with their relationship with the Lady, their sweetest Elthia.

Over the hundreds of years of hatred and loss it took to get here, Terrill and Mirya had been blessed with a daughter, a new Elf. The party for Siriya had lasted for weeks.

She had been born on the Day of Completion, a blessed day to welcome a new Elf into the world. Siri was lovely. She had Terrill's fine, fair hair and Mirya's deep green eyes.

Siri was hundreds of years old now, but with the new ability given to Elves to have children, which hadn't happened in thousands upon thousands of years, she was far from the youngest. Varden and Talla's son, Aloysius, named after the man who had, despite his evil, made all this possible, was only fifteen years old.

It was hard for him to bear being schooled by humans, but as his aunt Mirya had told him, humans had a lot to teach and you could learn many wonderful things from them. Aly, as he liked to go by, still wasn't happy, but Natil made up for it at TreeStar. She taught all of the new elves that needed to be taught. Others were awakening.

Others with the Old Blood were being drawn here, and Natil alone could teach them all they needed to know. Mirya was a singer and a healer, not a teacher. Terrill was a lover and a fighter. Varden was a pacifist, as much as he could be. Talla was a dancer and a flute player. Natil...she was a teacher and a harper. She had told them that she'd learned true teaching from a man she'd met in a town called Nazareth a long time ago.

That he had shown her all she'd ever need to know if she wanted to teach Elves and awakening Elves. Mirya sometimes wondered what Natil's friend, Jesus of Nazareth, had looked like. What he'd been like. What it had been like to look into those brilliant orbs of sunlight. Orbs of hope, Natil had said. And if he really had been the son of divinity like the Church preached. Natil would not say, or perhaps could not.

After Roxanne's death, Varden had realized that he'd been in love with Talla for millions of years, but had tried to deny it, because when an Elf loved another Elf, nothing came of it but sorrow, as evidenced by Terrill's many years of sorrow before the Lady had returned Mirya to him.

It took several hundred years of failed matchmaking, but eventually Mirya and Natil had managed to trick Talla and Varden into attending a romantic candlelit dinner in the most beautiful forest clearing they could find. They were awkward at first, fumbling their words. Talla asked about Roxanne constantly. Varden asked about Talla's dancing and flute playing. It took ages for them to get around to admitting their feelings for each other.

When they did, it was all Mirya could do to hold in a happy shout. She and Natil had smiled at each other and visited the Lady when the two had kissed, asking if this was the right path for them. The Lady had smiled and said that her gifts would return in full, at long last, and the Elves would be as Elves were meant to be. Immortal, starlit, but with the great gift of humanity.

The ability to have children, many children, and the ability to truly die if they so wished it. To go on. Go on where, the Lady had simply smiled and said that she did not know, but Natil did, and only when they were ready should they ask her.

Terrill muttered something. A robin crowed outside the open window, trilling a greeting to the elves. Mirya rolled over. "Hmm. Hello, little one. What message have you for me?" She got out of the bed quietly and padded over to the robin.

She held out her hand and the robin happily jumped in, sniffing her starlit, lambent Elven palm. The bird trilled again. Mirya smiled and held him up and sent him on his way. New elves. Newly awakened elves. The Lady had come to them in a dream and sent them here. So early in the morning it was! But Elves didn't sleep, they merely basked in the starlight.

Mirya and Terrill basked hand in hand in the starlight. She wondered if he noticed her gone, or if the stars were so comforting that he hadn't. Regardless, she donned a silver dress, soft shoes, and padded down the steps. Carai, formerly Charity of Saint Brigid, now an eternally young elfmaid, was laughing happily as she played with the animals in the indoor lake-fountain they had built. Bullfrogs from the look of it. Mirya silently passed her, heading toward the door.

She opened it and put a hand to her mouth in shock. A young woman, looking battered and ill, stood there.

" name is Sandy. Sandy Joy. I...I had no where else to go. My teacher. He...he raped me. He did things to me. Please, please help. A woman told me in a dream that I would be safe here. I don't know if it wasn't real, but please!" Sandy sobbed, almost dropping to her knees. She clutched a filthy doll to her chest.

Mirya reached out a hand, a healing hand, and placed it upon Sandy's own. She let the warmth flow through her, into Sandy. The injuries to her body faded, vanished. The injuries to her mind were deep, so deep that she was reminded of when she had been Miriam of Maris.

Still, she could heal minds now, but she didn't want to take away what made Sandy, Sandy. She softened the memories of the rape, made it less painful, and stood to the side, inviting Sandy in. The scarred young woman, blind in one eye, Mirya noted, made her way in, shaking slightly.

The Elf put a comforting arm around her shoulder and led her to a sofa. Starlight glimmered in her eyes as she read Sandy's pattern, reading and learning what had happened. Tears streamed down Mirya's face. It was worse. Far worse than anything Miriam of Maris, or Carai when she had been a spell-caster called the Leather Woman, had experienced.

This poor girl..her life had been suffering and pain. Betrayal and rape by parents who should have loved and cherished their daughter. Mirya realized the pain had overwhelmed her and her shoulders were shaking with sobs. She felt a soft hand on her shoulder.

"Find your stars, Mirya, beloved." It was one of the awakened elves, an Iraq war veteran named T.K Winters. Now just T.K. He had accepted the elves, and had even helped some of the other newly awakened elves. So far, he was the only elf with the dark skin of a former african american human.

"Oh, T.K...this girl...I cannot even..." She shook her head, but let the starlight flow through her, the gleaming star in the distance comfort her. T.K.'s warm hand on her shoulder brought even more comfort. Oddly, the elven gift he had the most aptitude for was healing, but not physical healing, mental. Comfort. T.K.'s gift was comfort, even in the most awful of times. This young girl would need him, if Mirya could do nothing.

T.K. smiled gently and sat on the sofa next to Sandy, put not touching her. He still looked black, and Sandy might be prejudiced. It hurt that such things were still happening, but it was the way of the world, and would be for a very long time. T.K. knew this, and accepted it. The Lady was with him, and that was all he needed to get through years of hatred and racism.

Sandy sobbed, but the tears were receding. Mirya's healing was finally taking hold. Mirya gently traced the scars on Sandy's face, passed a hand over her blind eye. She looked at T.K., pursing her lips questioningly. She wanted to heal her. Her entire being cried out to her that she should take these scars, this blindness, from this woman, but Sandy was a modern human. How would she take it?

T.K. shook his head, a slight tilt to the left. No, she shouldn't heal her just yet. T.K. smiled again as a growling, yapping Yorkie ran into the room, smashing face-first into Sandy's legs. The girl gave a hiccup-laugh and reached down to stroke the irritated dog. T.K. shook his head in silent laughter as Rags leaned into her touch. Sandy seemed to calm even more as the small dog let her scratch him.

"Thank you. Thank you so much. I'm sorry.'s...I don't know why you would even let me in, but thank you." Sandy's voice shook with gratitude and, Mirya felt more than heard, fear.

The elfmaid took Sandy's hand that wasn't scratching Rags and curled her fingers around it.

"Be at peace, beloved. You are safe here. No one, and nothing will harm you here." Mirya pulled in starlight, feeling the Lady's grace flowing through her. "Would you like to sleep? Or have something to eat? T.K. here is an amazing cook."

The man smiled, abashed. "I'm not that good, girly. Just better than all of you old folks." He laughed, the touch of silver starlight in his voice apparent to those who knew what to listen for.

Sandy looked at T.K. and Mirya in confusion. They appeared to be the same age, at least to her. T.K. was a tall, slender, attractive African-American man with dark hair and eyes, and the woman was similar, but had pale, almost silvery, skin, red-gold hair, and eyes so bright a green they sparkled. Sandy was not a lesbian, but Mirya was definitely beautiful. As beautiful as T.K. was handsome. Sandy was not prejudiced. Just because T.K's skin was darker than Mirya's didn't mean a thing to her.

She forced a smile that didn't reach her eyes. "I-I guess I could eat. If T.K. would deign to even cook for someone as worthless and needy as me." A sob was trying to force it's way out of her. Mirya's hand in hers seemed to hold back the tears, oddly enough.

T.K. stroked Sandy's hair gently. "It be okay, little girl. Just tell me what you want and you'll have the best I can do." He laughed softly. Despite his elven blood, he still spoke the way he always had, bad grammar and all.

"I-I guess...oatmeal. With strawberries, if you have it. It's my favorite. I-I ate it all the time, when my father-I mean, whenever I could." Sandy flushed.

"Oatmeal with strawberries it is! Lucky we got a fresh harvest. Talla be a great gardener. She can make strawberries fruit in the dead of winter!" The elf stood and glided to the kitchen to cook Sandy her meal. Mirya had no doubt it would be perfect. T.K. was indeed the best cook in all of Elvenhome.

"Perhaps, after you have eaten, you would like to stay the night." Mirya said, running a hand through Sandy's ragged hair.

"Oh, no. I couldn't do that! I-I don't even know why I'm here. After...after teacher...after he..." Mirya let more starlight flow into Sandy, softening the memories of the rape even more. She felt Sandy relax. Sandy swallowed and managed to continue.

"I heard a woman's voice. She told me to come to the mountains. I saw blue and silver, gleaming and illuminating the road to this place. I-I know it sounds crazy. I'm crazy. There's something wrong with me. But I had to come. I had no where else to go. Nothing...nothing to lose."

"You are not insane. There is nothing at all wrong with you. You came here wanting safety and comfort, even if you did not know it at the time. You have found it. And you will stay the night. You will be safe." Mirya let Sandy feel the conviction behind her statement.

"A-alright...I don't have anything to lose, after all." Sandy hung her head in weariness and resignation. It was the same feeling that Mirya remembered after she had escaped from the church dungeons for the final time. A feeling that nothing would ever change, would ever, could ever, be better. Mirya had been wrong, and now she was determined to prove Sandy wrong.

"We will help you, Sana. You are among friends. You will be safe. I promise." She kissed Sandy on the forehead.

"S-Sana?" Sandy smiled slightly. "I like that. It's nice. Different. It doesn't remind me of-of him. Of-" Sandy shook her head. Mirya understood. She didn't want to speak of her past.

Sandy looked up as a wonderful smell filled the room. T.K. stood nearby with a tray containing a bowl of oatmeal and another bowl of fresh strawberries. A side of toast graced the tray, even though Sandy had not asked. Such kindness, and for no reason! T.K. set the tray on the table in front of the girl. She thanked him.

Mirya smiled and looked up at T.K. "T.K., will you remain with Sandy for a bit?" She wanted to speak to one of the other elves. Terrill wouldn't truly understand, but her daughter might. Siri was helping overnight at the nearby homeless shelter, however.

T.K. nodded and put an arm around Sandy, who leaned into him. Mirya watched, smiling softly, sadly, as she watched T.K. lend the comfort of the starlight to Sandy. The Dance, as it was flowing for Sandy and T.K. Mirya had an elf in mind for Sandy. One who might be able to help her at least understand.

She thought of the elf who had once been a man named Rob. An abusive boyfriend of Elvenhome's Bright, once Amy. The starlight had taken him, and he had seen and felt the horror of what he had done to Bright, and had needed comfort, comfort that only the Lady could provide.

Rob had been sick, just like Roger of Auverelle who had raped Miriam of Maris, but Rob had been healed by starlight, and held in the arms of the Lady. He hadn't lost his soul; he had gained it. At least that was how he saw it, Mirya remembered.

Rob, now calling himself Lev, after his mother's maiden name of Levinksi, worked for free as a counselor for abusive men. He tried to help them understand why they took their anger and hatred out of the bodies of women, and sometimes even other men, in the case of homosexuals. Sometimes, he was successful, sometimes he was not. Even the help of the Lady was not a guarantee.

The Lady would not take someone's soul and warp it. Mirya had. Mirya had, in honesty, been more of a brutal rapist and abuser than even Lev. She had took Roger's soul. Still, after all these years, she wept when remembering. Perhaps Lev could have helped Roger, but Roger was gone.

Lev, Rob, was here. Even Bright forgave him, and felt, through the starlight and the Dance, his painful life, and his sorrow for taking his pain out on her. Bright and Lev had eventually came together again, as Elves, not humans, and as different people than when they had been Rob and Amy.

Their union was now one of love and respect, not of abuse and fear. Bright was currently pregnant with their first child. Lev's joy finally seemed to overcome the sorrow he felt for the crimes he had committed as a human.

Mirya glided silently, as only an elf could, across the soft, carpeted floor Hadden and Marsh had worked so hard to put in. The older elves didn't know much of carpentry, aside from Natil, who had learned some from Jesus of Nazareth. Bright and Lev's bedroom, rather star-room, since they did not sleep, only relaxed and floated amongst the stars or spoke to the Lady when needed, was on the first floor.

She knocked softly, in case they were not in a position of wanting to be disturbed. She could have looked to the Dance, but they had all agreed that not looking, not reading another elf's pattern, was for the best. Compassion, as Natil had once told Miriam of Maris.

Mirya smiled as Lev opened the door, wearing only a pair of boxer shorts on his slender hips. He put a finger to his lips and pointed to Bright, who had her eyes open, gleaming with starlight, and her hand on her heavily pregnant stomach. She was conversing with the Lady, Mirya could feel it. Lev gently closed the door behind him and stepped away with Mirya.

"What is wrong, sister?" He asked Mirya, a smile full of starlight lit his serene features, "What can I help you with that your other siblings cannot?"

All elves saw each other as brother and sister, even those in romantic relationships, because they were all siblings. Children of the Lady. Perhaps not biological siblings, but siblings nonetheless. Mirya took Lev's hand, let him see the patterns she had just witnessed. Sandy's pattern. Sandy's father. Her teacher. The rape and abuse.

When he had seen it all, his eyes were still calm. "Mirya, I do not know how I can help. I am on this earth to help men like I once was. Not to help abused women. That is my beloved's area."

Mirya shook her hair out of her face, a gesture billions of years old. "You can talk to Sandy. Perhaps explain how her father felt. How, perhaps, her teacher felt. Bright cannot do such a thing. Only you have this experience and knowledge. I...I only know how to-to take souls, and to rape minds."

Lev put his hand on Mirya's shoulder. "You are an amazing elf, Mirya. You did what you needed to. It is mostly a saying of the elder elves, but everything that happens, happens exactly as it should." Lev kissed Mirya's cheek. "I will speak with Sandy. Oh, did you know that Bright is having twins?" Lev's starlit smile widened, and even brightened.

The elfmaid felt joy soar within her. More born-elves. The Lady's gift, truly. "What will you name them?"

The other elf closed his eyes, likely speaking to Bright the way only elves could. "One is a girl, the other is a boy. My precious elflings. The girl we will name Ellia. Bright insisted. She wanted to honor the sister you lost, Aurellia. The boy, we both decided upon Roger. The man you claim to have maimed so badly he was no longer himself. I, of course, do not believe you capable of such horror. Perhaps this boy will be Roger reborn. Given a second chance."

Mirya bowed to Lev, tears threatening. "I-I am honored. So very...honored. Your children...they will be treasured beyond their knowing. Yours are the first elven twins born in billions of years. Such honor. Such an amazing gift from the Lady."

Lev bowed back to Mirya. "I am beyond honored. Bright accepted me, and is giving me a son and daughter. I never thought I would be worthy of such grace. I know now that, with the Lady, anything is possible. There are only differing levels of probability. I am not as good as you with maybes-and-might-have-beens, but I can see the patterns. I see part of Sandy's pattern, but she brings with her many tangle paths. Let me put on something else, and let us go speak to her."

The elf went back into the room where Bright and her unborn elflings basked within the stars. A short time later, he came back out, wearing jeans and, oddly, a neon pink t-shirt. Mirya stifled a giggle. Apparently, after becoming the elf called Lev, he had taken a liking to the color pink and other "bright" colors. Possibly to honor his beloved.

Lev followed Mirya back to the entry room, where T.K. was speaking softly to Sandy, comforting her with words. Sandy had finished off the oatmeal and toast in record time. The poor girl was obviously starving. Mirya felt a wave of compassion fill her. She had been in Sandy's shoes, starving and lost. She closed her eyes. The stars greeted her, along with the gleaming, bright star in the distance, where dwelt the Lady Who Was All.

She entered the Dance, trying to decipher the patterns. Sandy's were tangled. Tangled with her own pattern, T.K.'s pattern, and all the elves at the Home. Confused and lost, Mirya did the only thing she could think of. She threw herself into the star that called, beckoned, and flickered with a light brighter than any surrounding star.

There was that single moment of blinding light, followed by unbearable heat, and then she felt herself kneeling on grass, beneath a sky of twinkling stars, where the moon gleamed at the edge of the world like the polished ring of a Queen. The Land of the Lady. Mirya's sorrow faded and calm took it's place. Here, in this place of infinite compassion and eternal love, all sorrow vanished.

She knelt before the Woman robed in blue and silver, "My Lady, Sandy's pattern...I cannot make sense of it. There are so many futures. It tangles with ours, and with that of many others. Who is Sandy, that she brings with her this confusion?"

The Lady stroked Mirya's cheek gently, lovingly, "Varden once asked the same question of Me, except it was in regards to you, child. I could not answer him then, and I cannot answer you now. Sandy is Sandy, just as you were Miriam. You found your pattern, with help. The futures coalesced into one, single, certain pattern. Sandy's will as well. With help."

Mirya wiped away a tear that had fallen down her cheek, "What help, my Lady? What can I do to help this poor girl? How can I help her find her future?"

The Lady bent and kissed Mirya on the forehead, "The same way Varden once helped a poor girl named Miriam. With love, compassion, and healing. You alone cannot help Sandy. The Elves, perhaps all of them, can. Sandy needs much love, much healing. You will not fail, My healer. Always, My most precious, powerful healer. Beloved Mirya."

The Lady wrapped her arms around Mirya. The elfmaid opened her eyes, full of more starlight than usual, as she had just come from the Lady, and found herself back in Elvenhome, observing Sandy and T.K. once more.

Please, dearest Lady, help this young woman! Mirya prayed silently.