Duck had weird dreams before but never like this. He had never felt so hopeless. He was standing with a very short man and a very buff man and he heard a bell. Suddenly the buff man's soul was pushed out of his body and he saw it happen as another soul placed themselves in. He couldnt see the soul anymore and he saw the man's body talking but couldnt hear anything. Only the sound of bells in his ears.
Then he was awake. And he was sweating. Minerva was laying next to him, curled around a pillow tightly. He got up and left his room and went to the kitchen, immediately finding Aubrey standing there with a cup of tea. After he and Minerva got back from Brazil she and Danny had moved back in with them. But right now in the dark of his and Minerva's small home, it sounded like she was crying.
"Aubrey?" Duck asked. The small woman turned and he saw her eyes were red and tears were still streaming down her cheeks.
"T-Taak..." she stopped and put a hand over her mouth. Duck stepped forward and the words came tumbling out of his mouth before he could stop them.
"Magnus..." he mumbled. He didnt know why he had said that but Aubrey looked at him like he had owned the world. The two stood silently for a moment and then the two rushed in and hugged each other tighter than they ever had before and sobbed on each other, feeling the impact of years they couldnt remember.
They wouldnt remember this interaction the next morning when Danny and Minerva found the two curled up on the couch together, Aubrey's head on ducks shoulder. Both of the spouses found this completely adorable.
That day was when Aunrey was called into Janelles office on earth which she had bought in order to have a sister location in order to learn about more earthly medicines and more. It was more luck so the two wouldnt have to go over to sylvaine when there were so many things both of them had to do at their jobs that day.
"Audrey." Janelle grinned and stood as Duck and Aunrey walked in. The two briefly saw Alexandra, who was a 16 year old at this point, wave and walk out.
Janelle hugged Aubrey and then pulled away. "Come to my office. Theres something important to talk about."
"Not world ending, I hope?" Duck asked with some humor. "I think we've had enough of that for a lifetime."
Janelle let out a soft laugh. "Dont worry Duck. Nothing of that sort."
With that the two followed them to the office and Janelle sat down behind her desk. Aubrey closed the door and Duck sat on a chair.
"So what is all this about?" Aubrey asked. "Is sylvane okay?"
Janelle nodded. "No, no. This is about something else...well, somewhere else."
The confused look from both of them was all that Janelle needed to keep talking. "Earth and Sylvane are part of a plane, our plane. But there are more. Many, many more. And before the Quell, there was another threat. The hunger. This was long before I was born and I suppose, before earth and sylvane were connected. But no one knows if that's for sure."
Janelle looked over the two who looked both confused and interested. When there were no questions she continued again.
"The hunger was nothing like anyone has ever seen before. They say a year before it came there were 7 birds. They flew tirelessly towards the light of creation-"
"The what?" Duck asked. He and Aubrey looked at each other confused. Janelle chuckled.
"Right...the light of creation was, as those who tell the tale say, was inspiration itself. And our best defense against the hunger. These 7 birds retrieved the light and saved our world from being consumed. And their story on all the planes was told. They saved every plane and their world."
Janelle stood as Aubrey spoke up. "What does this have to do with us? I mean, we arent exactly archivers or anything."
"It has...everything to do with you both and I guess...I guess it would have to do with Ned..."
There was a sad silence for a moment. No one would admit it but they missed Nwd more than any of them would admit.
"Anyway," Janelle said. "Of these 7 birds there are three that I think could be you."
"Could be us?" Duck asked. "I dont know if you noticed but, we're not birds." He said. Aubrey chuckled.
"And I'm already sylvane so-"
"Not in the way you're Sylvane, Aubrey." Janelle interrupted. "You're sylvane because shes been inside you your whole life but you're both one of these birds because you're reincarnations."
Both of them blinked and stared at her. It was silent for a moment. Janelle rubbed her temples.
"Duck, you're the legendary Taako."
Duck got up to leave the room. Aubrey laughed lightly.
"I know it sounds ridiculous, Duck but that was his name. He was a very powerful wizard." Janelle chuckled as she turned to Aubrey. "And Aubrey you were Magnus burnsides. The strongest fighter in the world."
"Janelle, how could you possibly know this?"
She looked down, fingering one of the pages of her books as she chose her words carefully. She looked up and looked at the two. "It came to me in a dream."
Aubrey and Duck went their separate ways in order to work. Aubrey kept herself busy working at the local pizza hut. It paid her part of the rent for Duck and Minerva. She didnt think about what Janelle had said, or at least she tried not to.
It was then that it hit.
She wasnt in her body but it was still somehow hers. She, was a he right now and he was holding a wooden duck in his hands that looked like someone vaguely familar. The door opened and he saw a jellyfish and a woman he recognized sobbing. Then he saw a journal in the jellyfishes tendrils. And felt fuzz enter his mind. He didnt know what he was forgetting he just knew almost everything he had experienced up to that point, was fading.
"God, magnus...you weren't supposed to see this. I'm so sorry, Magnus."
"What are...what?" He asked, shaking his head, trying to stop the fuzz that was just started to envelop the edges of his eyes.
"Magnus please. This is just for a little bit. I'm gonna stop this, what weve done to this world. In going to find you a place where you can be happy again. It's just for a little while and then you'll remember, I promise."
"...who are you?"
"I can do this Magnus please."
He didnt hear the last words.
She opened her eyes on the floor of the pizza hut. A beautiful woman was standing over her, looking concerned. Aubrey mumbled.
Danny raised an eyebrow as her image became clear. "Aubrey come on this isnt funny!"
Aubrey blinked. "Danny? What..why am I on the...where is she...?"
Danny frowned. "Who?"
"T-That woman. I w-was just right there and-"
Danny sighed. "The ambulance is on their way, hon..."
Aubrey was really confused.
Duck felt weird. His body felt like it wasnt his. He felt like he was floating. He vaguely heard a yell before everything around him changed.
He was sitting next to a dark skinned man with dreads. He had pitch black eyes but that was very attractive to him. He heard another man talking.
"Hey! Its vase day no bowls!"
As he looked down he noticed that he had a bowl which he quickly formed into a vase. He waited for the other man to turn away before turning it right back.
"That's where my just-I dont fucking chain my muse up." He said.
The man besides him laughed. "I like your renegade spirit there."
"Well that's kinda what I wanted to talk to you about. Look at this bowl, right?" Both of them looked down at the bowl. "Okay so you see how it kinda curves up on each side and in the middle theres a hole big flat part? That's where most people fall into. Alot of people are in this area, right here. And people like you who are charged with keeping the status quo arent the people you need to worry about. The people in the middle of the bowl-"
"This a very confusing analogy."
"Its not confusing at all!"
"The people who are straight up, uh regular Joe pastas are always going to be on the flat part and as long as you keep them under control then it'll be fine. Theres always going to be edge cases. Is what I'm saying."
"I mean, you explained last time we talked what you all do. And it sounds very...it sounds important. But the fact that I've visited you as much as I have means this line of work is just propseraly dangerous. So...why are you doing this, Taako? Why arent you doing a safer carreer?"
There was a moment of silence. He didnt know why but he felt, sad. "Cause I'm worried no one else will have me...." he responded.
"...wow that was a very honest answer. I mean I'm a bit shocked." The man said.
He wasnt able to figure out what was said next because someone was shaking him violently.
"DUCK NEWTON. DUCK NEWTON YOU MUST OPEN YOUR EYES."
Duck groaned lightly and looked at minerva and for a second, he saw a completely different person and his mouth spoke without his consent.
"Stop it kravitz."
"WHO IS THIS KRAVITZ DUCK NEWTON?"
He saw Minervas face and chuckled.
"Minnie, stop it please. I'm awake."
As Minerva stopped shaking him he saw he was on his couch and Danny was Carrying a frowning Aubrey into the house. The two made eye contact and it was clear. They needed to talk to Janelle again.
Janelle woke up crying. In her home with its grand bedroom she saw the shades that fell across her bed, decorated with the lady flame trade mark. A present from Aubrey for Janelles birthday. She couldnt remember what she was dreaming about. She wiped away the tears still streaming down her face as she got up and opened the shades. It was then Alexandra came in.
"Alexandra, would it kill you to knock?" Janelle said, not turning to look at the young woman.
"Sorry...Aubrey and Duck want to see you. Its about... the seven birds." She said.
Janelle frowned. "And, anything about sylvane?"
"Not today. But-"
"Okay." Janelle turned as soon as she knew Alexandra wouldnt see the tear stains. "Tell them I'll meet them in the basement of amnesty lodge by midday. You're welcome to come along, if youd like."
Alexandra's grin grew and she nodded vigorously. Janelle chuckled.
"I'll see you then."
It was at this moment both Duck and Aubrey wished that Janelle had a cellphone. Or at least an email adress. The two had to wait for Alexandra to get back to the house and tell them that they had to go to the amnesty lodge. And the poor girl was sweating.
So Duck and Aubrey took the liberty of making sure she was nice and cool. Both in the house and the car. Duck knew better than anyone else what heat exhaustion felt like, after all.
When they reached the basement, they saw that Janelle was pacing across the foor of it. If the two didnt know better, theyd think shed make a hole in the ground from how much she was going through that specific spot.
"Janelle?" Aubrey asked first. Janelle looked up.
"Oh...you're both here."
"Yeah...you alright?" Duck asked. Janelle gestured to the seats or at least it looked that way to the three standing by the stairs. So, they all took a seat and Janelle sighed as she did as well.
"I know you wouldnt have called me if something didnt happen. So what was it?"
Aubrey opened her mouth to speak but duck beat her to it. "We both had dreams of these...past lives you told us about."
"We both fainted...at the same time." Aubrey said, throwing a small flame from hand to hand as she did.
Janelle sighed at this and frowned. "I see...first question, are you both okay? You didnt hit your heads right?"
Both shook their heads no. Janelle continued.
"Good. Next question. What were your dreams? What do you remember?"
Audrey put out the flame. "I remember...holding a wooden duck. Then there was this woman in front of a tank with their weird, jellyfish thing. It was beautiful but...I suddenly couldnt remember things. I mean, the things my past self has. Ugh this is hard to explain."
Janelle chuckled. "I see. I'll have to do more research..."
"Yeah, anyway, I was with this really handsome dude and well, he was...I think we were dating...he had these eyes that..." Duck blushed, realizing that he might have some feeling carried over. He cleared his throat. "Anyway, we were making pots. That's it."
Audrey snorted. "Oh come on you're gay for him."
"You're gay for Danny."
"Who wouldnt be gay for Danny?" Audrey asked, holding back her laugh. Duck chuckled and crossed his arms.
"Anyway, if this happens again it could get really dangerous. We could collapse in the middle of the street, or in front of a bear." Duck said. Janelle sighed.
"I know...my recommendation is to stay home. Until I can find a way to trigger them in a safe environment, the best one is the one that you're familar with and easily found in."
"So we'll be stuck in there for who knows how long?" Duck asked. Aubrey didnt look to pleased with that either.
"Janelle?" Alexandra spoke up for the first time since the meeting started. They all looked to her. "I could keep a watch on Aubrey. While Minerva keeps watch on Duck. If it happens again, theyll have someone to catch them and take them home. Since neither of us have jobs here, itll be easier."
"Yes! Let's do that!" Aubrey said, standing up.
"Hold on, aubrey. It might just be safer to keep you both in sylvane as well. We can have Thacker start running tests."
Aubrey stood. "Hell no! We're not science experiments!"
As soon as she finished the sentence she felt light headed and had to sit. She looked at her fingers and Janelle and saw the scene around her melt away and be replaced by a completely different scene.
She-or rather he once again, dropped a man into a heap on the ground. He was a man with glasses and he saw as the man looked up that he was crying.
"I'm sorry I-I thought that I could save her. I thought I could, defuse this situation myself...I thought if you g-guys knew youd put her back in the astral plane and I'd loose her again!"
He just stared down at the other man. He didnt understand why he was feeling this rage, just that he knew it was justified. The man on the ground, deserved this anger in this moment.
"Shes gone, Lucas. Would your mother have struck you?"
Lucas looked at the ground. "...no."
"Help us fix this." He held out his hand and out of the corner of his eye he saw pink crystal forming and slowly creeping into the room.
Audrey opened her eyes on the table. Duck, Alexandra and Janelle were talking above her and she felt a soft blanket on her shoulders. Janelle looked over.
"Welcome back. You alright?" She asked. Audrey rubbed her head and nodded.
"Yeah...that was weird."
"What was it?" Duck asked, clearly curious if it was a memory or not.
"We were in this place...there was this...this man on the ground...he lost someone and I was angry at him. I dont know why. But I saw crystals forming around the space we were in. It was...it..." audrey sighed, trying to remember anything else of the dream that was already escaping her mind.
Janelle set a cup of tea in front of Aubrey. "Well, that's one peice out of a trillion." She sighed. Aubrey took a sip and sighed as well.
Duck looked up the stairs. He couldnt help feeling like he forgot something.
Brownie points to whoever guesses who Duck is forgetting.