The Ilodian Rift – Part 2
If you haven’t read the beginning of The Ilodian Rift, you can find it here.
Ellisar steps through the portal first, then waves at us to follow. I grab my brother and sister’s hands. With a deep breath, I step through the glowing rift. I feel a tingle along my skin. Then, the air feels lighter and the world looks brighter. So bright, it takes a moment for my eyes to adjust. I hear a gasp from my sister just before this new world comes into focus.
My jaw drops and my knees nearly give out. It’s incredible. Ilodore is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
The scenery alone is breathtaking. Tiered waterfalls splashing into glistening pools of turquoise water. Snow-capped mountains despite the perfectly warm weather and clear blue skies. Marble homes built into the mountainside with terraces carved into the slopes overlooking the valley below.
In the green grass of the valley, animals graze, but they aren’t like any livestock we have on earth. I don’t think animals is even the right word for them, but calling them creatures would attribute a wildness to them that isn’t there. They seem perfectly domesticated to live beside the Ilodians, some even roaming through the terraces and swimming in the pools beside the citizens.
And then there are the Ilodians and their magic. Everyone looks young, lively, and…happy. The air practically pulses with magic. I can feel it thrumming in my veins as I watch its effects all around me.
Ilodians glide along the ground without moving their feet, leaving a shimmering trail behind them. No one carries a thing. Objects levitate beside them or float up to the terraces seemingly of their own accord. I notice there are no stairs, ramps, or vehicles anywhere; they aren’t needed.
Even the laborers don’t seem to lift a hand. Objects mold themselves easily into the desired shape or change color with the blink of an eye. Flames flare to life beneath cooking pots at the snap of a finger. A writer simply closes her eyes and the pen transcribes her thoughts on the page.
“What would we even do here? Do you have school? Would we just be given a job?” I ask, trying to get whatever info we might need to make a decision as we walk through the town.
Ilodians stop to smile and twist their hand in what I assume to be a greeting, their version of a wave. Whatever they are working on continues without missing a beat, fueled by magic.
“We don’t have schools in the sense that you do. You can learn anything you like. There are those who dedicate some of their time to teaching others in various fields. But most anyone is willing to teach you how to do something, or about their interests, if you ask.
“As for jobs, it’s similar. You choose what you enjoy doing and learn the skills from someone. We don’t have currency here, but we do trade. You can grow and cook your own food, or you can trade for meals.”
“So, you’re saying we don’t have to learn math?” Asher asks, eyes wide.
“Not if you do not wish to,” Ellisar says, “but I do recommend you ensure you know the basics of all subjects. As your ancestor, it is my duty to make sure you know everything about Ilodore and any knowledge you need to thrive here. Since many come here from Earth, all ancestors have a hand in watching over the newcomers.”
As we turn down a smaller path, a creature that looks like a ball of lava bounces up to us. Instinctively, I step back, afraid of being burned. The floating molten creature looks up at me with wide eyes that remind me of a puppy’s.
“They are harmless,” Ellisar assures us, before petting it. “Go on.” He looks back at us.
The creature lets out a sound that’s like hissing steam, as I pet it. It leans into my touch, and the heat feels like wrapping my hands around a warm cup of coffee. After getting affection from each of us, it bounces away.
Ellisar leads us along the path to the base of the mountain. “We’re heading to the third terrace above us.”
We crane our heads back and look up.
“Don’t worry,” Ellisar says. “You have the ability to float there. Just focus on where you want to go and open yourself up to the magic you feel inside.” With that, he flies to the balcony overhead.
I glance between my siblings and step forward. I fix my eyes on the balcony, tensing my muscles and trying with all my might to push myself upward.
“You’ve got to relax and let the magic flow freely.” I startle. It sounds like Ellisar is whispering in my ear. I look up to see him wave. “Don’t try to force it,” he finishes.
This time I take a deep breath as I look toward my destination. As I exhale, I open my arms wide and relax into the feeling of magic pulsing through me.
I gasp as I lift off the ground. I wobble, but then excitement and a surge of belief take hold. I launch to the terrace. I land and then turn to lean over the balcony’s railing. “It’s amazing!” I yell down. “You can do it!”
Kallie and Asher cheer before making their attempts. They both land safely on the terrace, and we hug each other, jumping and laughing.
“Can you believe we just did that?” Kallie squeals.
“That was so cool! Can we go again?” Asher asks.
Ellisar chuckles. “You can do that anytime you like in Ilodore. It’s how we get around, that and gliding, which you can also try.”
I lean along the edge of the terrace and take a look at the world that stretches before us, full of magic, happiness, and fantastical creatures. “What’s the catch?” I turn to face Ellisar, looking him in the eyes. “Why would anyone choose not to live here?”
“Some, like your mother, don’t want to leave behind their friends or family who cannot live here. Life would be too difficult for pure humans without the ability to use magic. We don’t have a need for technology with our abilities, but those who don’t have magic would struggle to survive.” He pauses and shrugs. “But mostly it’s because people are too comfortable in their way of life. They aren’t willing to take a risk on something that is different.”
“What you’re really saying is that they’re afraid?” Asher says.
Ellisar chuckles. “Yes, I suppose that is what I’m saying. Change is never easy, and it can be scary. That is why we started visiting earlier in the generations to make our offer. You are young, so it is easier for you to believe in magic and embrace the unknown. Humans tend to lose those traits as they get older.”
“I don’t want to get older,” Kallie says, crossing her arms. “It sounds terrible.”
Ellisar smiles. “It is not so bad getting older here. You do not stop believing in magic when you see it all around you.”
I see the smiles on my siblings’ faces and the sparkle in their eyes, and suddenly the possibility of living here feels like one we need to consider. The weight of such a decision weighs heavy on me, but at least it’s not mine alone to make. We decide together. That’s what we agreed.
I clear the lump in my throat. “If we stay, could we ever go back to visit Earth? Could we ever change our mind?”
Ellisar nods. “You can go back, but the portal will only let us go through once per generation, every 20 years. In 20 years’ time, if you decide you would like to go back to living on Earth, you can do so.”
20 years is such a long time. I look to Asher and Kallie to gauge their reactions. Both of their faces look expectant…and hopeful.
“Only if you agree, Layla,” Kallie says.
“We all go, or we all stay,” Asher replies with a nod.
I turn to Ellisar. “I would like for you to take us back to Earth now.”
I watch as each of their faces fall.
But my eyes twinkle. “We have some goodbyes to make before we move to Ilodore.”
What did you think of the story? Would you have moved to Ilodore or remained on Earth? Let us know in the comments!
Thanks so much for reading!
-Clever & WTF