The Fae Worlds

Creating The Fae

Finally the day had come. Pandora had been waiting for over a century, although it had felt much longer than that, but all the souls had been collected. Their plan was an unusual one, because it involved willing volunteers. Normally they would just gather the souls and wipe their memories without them having any knowledge of what had happened. It had a high failure rate. More souls remembered who they had been before that way than they did when they had chosen to be involved, so this time they’d waited patiently for the five hundred they needed, instead of giving up halfway through the way they normally did. As she walked through the room they’d designated as soul storage she smiled. Every single one of them had volunteered to be a part of their experiment, knowing what that meant. They’d agreed to having their memories wiped, which would be replaced by memories of who they had become, before being placed on a world where they would have to learn to survive alone.
It hadn’t been a surprise that Meriel had argued against their plans, telling them over and over again that creating such a race was going to be a huge mistake, and there was, of course, a chance she was right. Pandora didn’t doubt that for a moment. However that wasn’t going to stop her, or any of their group. The decision had been made long before Meriel had found out. Maybe that was their biggest mistake – letting Meriel find out what was happening. She was someone who could, if she really wanted to, put an end to their plans. Yet she seemed to have taken a step back. For that Pandora would always be grateful, because it the creation of a new race wasn’t something that happened very often at all, and, as she’d never been a part of one before, she hoped that it all went the way they wanted it to.
Smiling, she took the first soul off the shelf. Like all of them it was housed in crystal, as that kept them in stasis after they’d had their new memories placed, and she made her way into the next room, where everyone else was working on the first body. The reason they needed so many souls was that they were making five different types of body that would all be a part of the one race. Having a hundred souls for every race was normal, as it had been proved many times to be the right number as long as none of the souls were related to each other. As it was very unusual for a soul family to take part in any of their experiments it had been easy enough to make certain that the families they were creating had no prior connection to each other. Each of the souls had been numbered, so whoever was in charge of soul collection could gather the one that was needed easily.
The soul she held was number eighteen. It was a female who’d been chosen as the mother of a boy with no father. Both of their memories, and the memories of the people who would live with them, held the tale of his tragic death. Pandora would say that her favourite part of what they were doing was creating the stories for each of the families, making sure that the larger group knew of what had happened, making the connections between people, so even if she wasn’t chosen to work on the bodies again she hoped she would be able to be a part of the process in that position. Due to her newness the position she had been given meant she got to do a little bit of everything, so they could see where she would best fit. She just hoped she wouldn’t be one of the people who wasn’t ever asked to return.
“Soul 18,” she said, passing it to the person in charge of doing the final checks.
“Cheers, Panda.” Galen took the crystal jar off her and studied it. “This is one I’ve been worried about for a while. She seems… incomplete, somehow, although we’ve checked her more than once to work out exactly what the problem is. Her memories were wiped in the way they should have been, so that should have made her a blank slate for us to begin with, and then her new memories were placed in the way they should have been as well, so there shouldn’t be an issue.”
Pandora found herself staring at the soul herself, trying to see what Galen saw, but that wasn’t one of her abilities, sadly. “What should we do?”
“Well, I could be worrying about nothing, and it wouldn’t be the first time, or I could be seeing something that could have an adverse effect on what we’re doing here, if she doesn’t remember everything.” He brushed a hand through his hair. “Normally I would bring it to the attention of the person in charge, but I’ve already done that and she’s done a check too. She couldn’t work out where the problem stemmed from, as everything had been done correctly, so there is a chance that the soul is just one that we should never have used.”
“Is there a reason we are using it?”
“After spending so long gathering the souls we’re all in a position where we don’t want to have to wait any longer. This is your first time, so it’s different, but we’re not used to having to spend a century doing what should be the most basic part of this, although by making the decisions we have this should work much better than it ever has before. It meant we could do more checks, we’re certain that the souls know everything they need to know, and the majority of them will have magic.”
“Have you decided on a name for them yet?”
“No, not quite. There are a couple we’re still looking at, but it’s still one of those things we can’t agree on, and with the group that’s here I’m not entirely surprised about that. At some point I will get to the point I often do and suggest that we pick a name at random. Fortunately we have plenty of other things to focus on right now.”
Nodding, Pandora looked over at the body. It was the first one she’d seen, although there were people working on the others in different rooms, and she wasn’t entirely certain what to make of it. Even though she’d known in advance that it was the one body they were basing on their own she couldn’t help thinking that it was too like them. Fortunately they’d all be placed on another world before the souls woke from their stasis. She couldn’t bring herself to go any closer to it, so kept her distance, watching as the others finished preparing her arms. Creating a body was something she’d been looking forward to, but if it was one of them… she shuddered.
“I know.” Galen’s voice almost made her jump. “The likeness is more than I’m comfortable with too and they’ve been given the ability to create using magic, just like us.” He sighed. “We did argue against that, because we know what sort of an effect it can have on a race, but she wasn’t listening.”
She was the woman in charge of it all. Roza was one of the eldest, like Meriel, but Roza was more experimental. Creating new races was one of her favourite things to do, so she would often gather together different teams under her to do just that. Pandora believed she was working with three different teams: theirs, who were working long term, and two other short term groups, who were creating races to be put on uninhabited worlds. While they had been attempting to gather enough souls for their job she’d worked on eight or ten other races, placing them all on different worlds, ignoring all of Meriel’s arguments against it, because Roza truly believed what she was doing was making the best use of her magic. Pandora knew that, as she’d walked in on the two of them having an argument accidentally.
Pandora had started avoiding Roza after that. They were, in some way, related, but that didn’t make it any easier for Pandora to say anything, when she remembered the last time all she’d been able to do was stutter an apology before running out of the room. She knew that Meriel and Roza differed in their opinions – Pandora just had no idea how violent their arguments could get. It seemed likely to her that the two of them were about to do something they might end up regretting if she hadn’t walked in the room when she had, which might have meant Roza saw the interruption as a good thing. Often, after some thought, Pandora appreciated her mother walking into the room where she and her sister were arguing, but that might not be the same for Roza. Maybe, instead of being grateful, she was angry that she hadn’t been able to do the thing she might end up regretting.
“What should I do next?” Pandora asked, trying to take her mind off things that she couldn’t change.
“At the moment we’re waiting for Roza. She wanted to be here to see us place the first soul into the first body, but this is to be her last stop as she is most proud of this creation. The others are to be seen as lesser beings by us, although that doesn’t mean that they will be seen as lesser beings by the other groups within their race.” Galen shrugged. “Even though I always enjoy being a part of this process I don’t much like working with Roza. I would much prefer to work with Meriel or Lorea.”
Meriel, Lorea, and Roza were said to be the first of their race. None of the three even denied it, but that didn’t mean the stories were true. Pandora had been told the stories by her mother, in the way they had been passed from generation to generation for as long as they could remember, and for a long time she had been fascinated by the idea of learning more. The three women had been born wolves in the Artach Silva, which was why they had named their race the Artach Silva Lupos – the Arctic Wood Wolves. Meriel still lived in the Artach Silva, in what could only be called a hut, with her people, as she had long before decided she didn’t want to work with Lorea or Roza. Neither of them were all that bothered about that, although they did seem to wish that she would keep her nose out of everything, because she always seemed to know what was happening.
No one knew what Meriel’s magic was, so there was a chance she might be a Seer. They were very rare, though, so it seemed unlikely, especially as both Lorea and Roza were creators themselves. Lorea created worlds, while Roza created races… maybe Meriel could create both, but chose not to. Pandora had always been more interested in Roza, so she’d always hoped that she’d be chosen as a part of one of her teams, although she was beginning to wish she hadn’t. Biting hard on her lip she glanced at the door. Being around Roza wasn’t going to be easy, not after what had happened, but Pandora was going to have to deal with that. It had happened, she needed to stop being such a coward, because if she wanted to create races she was going to have to work with Roza, no matter how hard it was… although there was a chance that Roza might not want to work with her any more.
“Stop it, Panda. Do you know how many of us have walked in on her having an argument with one or more of her sisters?” Galen laughed. “It won’t be a problem.”
“How did you know about that?”
“The same thing happened to me when I first started working with Roza. For a long time I avoided her, which was easier then because we weren’t working on anything, but in the end she called me into her office and told me to stop being an idiot. She might well end up doing the same thing to you, if you act the same way I did, because I wasn’t lucky enough to have someone there to tell me it had happened before, it’s not something she had a problem with, and often we walk in at just the right time, as it isn’t unusual for their arguments to turn into actual fights.”
“When I came across her she was arguing with Meriel and it did look like they might be getting close to using magic on each other.”
“You shouldn’t have a problem then.” Galen smiled at her. “Makes things easier for yourself and talk to Roza. She’ll appreciate it.”
“I think I can do that.” Pandora nibbled her bottom lip, looking at the door again. “Any suggestions when might be the best time?”
“Just before she leaves the room would probably be best. That way you’re not going to be interrupting her in the middle of something and you can be certain that she’ll stop to talk to you. Honestly, even though I don’t like her as much as I hoped I would she’s not a nasty person. My issue with her is more that she’s utterly disinterested in us as people. She sees us all as abilities, so I doubt she would be able to remember my name if she hadn’t needed to talk to me about the way I was acting.”
Pandora found herself nodding, even though she barely knew Roza. “I did get that feeling. When she looked at me I don’t think she had any idea why I might want to be talking to her.”
“Normally it takes working on at least three races for her to get some sort of idea of the place you should take within this process, although she knows almost immediately if it isn’t something you should be doing. Then she’ll send you to work with Lorea, to see if you’re better off working with the worlds, and if you aren’t then they’ll find a place for you between them, as there are plenty of other jobs – it’s just everyone want to be a part of this.”
“Do you think I’m going to be kept on?”
Galen studied her, in a way he’d only done once before. That had been the day they met, when she’d been taken on as the newbie to work on this job, and it was strange to think they’d really know each other for a century. One hundred years. In that time she did think she’d got to know Galen, and everyone else, pretty well, but she’d never had the courage to ask what they thought of her, because she didn’t want to hear them say that she wasn’t good enough. Finally he nodded. “Yes, I do think you’ll be kept on, and, if I’m right, I do think you’ll be working more with the group that create the lives for the souls, as that, to me, seems to be the place you’re most suited. Roza might not agree, though, so don’t take my word for it.”
It was a relief to hear Galen say he thought she would be kept on. Pandora smiled, and he smiled back. “Thank you.”
“Although I went through all of this a very long time ago I still remember what it was like to want this so badly and not know if it was going to continue being a part of my life. When I first started working with Roza she knew I was able to see more than most, so I knew she wanted me, but that didn’t mean I was going to settle into this.” He glanced at the body again. “Most of the time I enjoy being a part of the creation process. It’s one of the most intense things I’ve ever been a part of. This time, because of how things have worked out, everything’s been going at a much slower pace, and I don’t think this is a true test for you. Wait until you take part in something more short term. Then you’ll understand what it’s truly like to be one of us, and when that happened you’ll know for certain if this is what you want to be doing.”
“Galen, I already am certain. If Roza is willing to keep me on this is what I want. It’s always been what I wanted.” She looked at the soul in the bottle. “When I was told I’d been chosen for this, of all jobs, it was a sign this was meant to be.”
“Maybe it was.” Their eyes met. “You may well be someone who should be a part of this. I’ve found there are those who should be, and those who really shouldn’t. I have stories I can tell you about times when things haven’t worked out as well as we hoped they would. When we have some free time I think the time has come for you to hear them, as you are so certain this is the path you want to be walking, because I think very much the same thing. Of course it’s not up to me. In the end the final decision belongs to Roza. I’ll put in a good word for you, though.”
Before Pandora could say how much she appreciated that Roza walked into the room. “Is she ready?”
“Yes, Roza, she is.” Their team leader stepped forward. “The soul has been brought into the room, and she will be the first of our new race.”
Roza smiled. “Bring the soul over to me.”
Until Galen grabbed gestured for Pandora to follow him she expected to be keeping her distance from proceedings, because she was the newbie, so standing that close to the new body, with Laurel, Galen, and Roza, was something she’d never expected to happen. “This is soul 18.”
“What story do we have for her?”
“Pandora, you know it better than I do.”
Roza’s eyes locked on Pandora, and, for far longer than she wanted, she was silent. “Anaïs has been through a great deal of tragedy recently. The father of her child died, and now she’s raising him alone. That’s not easy for her, for multiple reasons, but, slowly, she is beginning to learn how to be a person again, rather than just being her son’s father. We’ve done a lot of work on the people around her, her son, her parents, her husband’s parents, and her close friends, as well as the community, because a death is one of those things that touches everyone, even if they don’t know the deceased well. This was especially important within this community as it was a magical death.”
“How did it happen?”
“There was an accident, as sometimes happens, when he was teaching a student how to control their abilities. Both of them, sadly, died, and it’s something that has had a great effect on the community. All we can know is what we’ve given them. It’s up to them how they deal with it.”
“From the way you spoke I see that creating the person’s life story is important to you.”
Smiling, Pandora nodded. “It is. I enjoy seeing how different things have an effect on people, so being able to do something like that is incredibly fulfilling.”
“Taking part in this hasn’t been easy for anyone involved, due to how long it’s taken, but you still seem to have that excitement I feel when I’m helping with this sort of thing.”
“It’s my first time taking part in something like this, and every part of it has been wonderful. The time it’s taken hasn’t been a problem for me. In all honesty it’s given me a chance to find out who I am, and how I best fit into the group, so it’s been a wonderful experience. Even if you don’t choose to keep me on I think I’ll be able to take a lot from this.”
“Good.” Roza smiled, for the first time. “I do know who you are, Pandora. I know what people believe about me, and sometimes I have to admit I do get easily distracted, but you are family, so I always wanted this to work out for you.”
“Did you choose me for that reason?”
“No, I didn’t. I can understand why you’d ask. If I was in your position I’d be asking the very same question.” Roza surprised Pandora by taking her hand. “From the beginning I made the decision I wasn’t going to treat my family any different to anyone else. There have been a number of applications from your cousins, your siblings, your parents, and other members of your family, but you were the first to stand out. I knew from the beginning you were someone who should have a chance to be a part of this and I’m glad to see I was right.” Roza passed the soul to Laurel. “Place the soul, please.”
Nodding, Laurel turned to the body. “First soul to be placed: soul 18, Anaïs.”
“This is one of the most difficult parts of creating a race. While the soul is in stasis they’re controlled, and it normally lasts long enough for us to be able to move the entire race without there being too many issues, but there have been times when that’s failed. Sometimes things are always going to fail. No matter how hard we try to make things work out perfectly it’s very rarely going to happen.” Roza squeezed Pandora’s hand. “Meriel and I have never seen eye to eye when it comes to things like this. She thinks we should leave things as they are, instead of playing around, which is understandable. Lorea and I haven’t always made the best choices. However I think this is an important part of our job. I’ve always believed there’s a reason we have the ability to create.”
“Why did you give that ability to another race?”
“I thought it was important there was someone else out there who could do what we do, just in case something happens to us. There is no way for any of us to know what the future holds, so I plan for it as best I can, and, even though I pushed for this, I’m still not certain it was the right choice. It was just the necessary one.”
For a long time Pandora was silent. “You think it’s necessary for a reason.”
“Lorea would call it a feeling, not a reason, but yes, I do, and I’m glad you understand.” Anaïs’ soul became one with her body, and everyone started moving. “This is the fast paced part. Would you come with me for a little while? As much as I hate taking you away from this I need to talk with you.”
Saying no didn’t feel like an option. “I’m happy to come with you.”
“Of course you are.” Roza laughed as she drew Pandora through the throng of people, managing not to get into anyone’s way as she did so. “There will still be plenty for you to do when we get back, and this isn’t going to be your only race. Everyone I’ve spoken to about you has said good things, so I know I made the right choice, and Galen’s already asked for me to place you with him again.”
“Really?”
“Galen doesn’t connect with people easily. He’s one of the best I have, but I’ve never known him to become as close to someone as he has to you, so it’s definitely a good thing. He needs someone in his life. I shouldn’t be talking about this. He wouldn’t be pleased if he knew I was saying so much about him.”
“When we were talking before he said he didn’t actually think you knew who he was.”
“I know everyone involved in this. I have to. The last thing I want is to put the wrong people together on a team.” Roza sighed. “Someone, eventually, is going to have to take over from me, Pandora. It’s not going to be for at least another couple of hundred years, but I can’t do this any more. I’m tired, and I think, sooner rather than later, the time is going to come for me to move on.”
A number of possible replies made their way through Pandora’s mind, but none of them worked the way she wanted them to. After opening and closing her mouth a couple of times she looked at Roza. “You want me to take over?”
“You are a definite possibility.” Their eyes met. “I put you on the team I did for a reason. I wanted to see how working on the same race for a century was going to affect you, because there have been a number of people who’ve asked for me to move them to another team, so I have, but at no point did you ask for that. Everyone’s told me how enthusiastic you’ve been. They’ve told me how interested you were, and how you were always asking questions, so you could learn more about the process. Laurel spoke to me at one point and told me she thought you could take over from her in the future, which is something I think you should aim for.”
“Honestly, Roza, I’m not certain I’m good enough at what Laurel does to become a team leader.”
“Not all of the teams leaders create the bodies. I have a number of them working in the soul room. What I look for in a team leader is someone who has the ability to treat everyone equally, who can talk to anyone, and who can put people at ease. You have all of those skills, and more.”
“I just…” Pandora shook her head. “I don’t know if I should even think about this.”
“We have time to talk this through more. I’m not going to push you into anything, and you aren’t the only person who is on my shortlist.”
“This is definitely a surprise.”
“Is it a problem?”
“No, it’s not, but it is something I’m going to need to think about.” She nibbled her bottom lip. “Galen mentioned it would be useful for me to be a part of one of the short term teams, to see how well I get on, before I make any definite decisions about what I should do with the rest of my life, and I definitely think he’s right about that.”
“After this race have been finished, which shouldn’t be much longer now, I’ll move you onto another team. Galen will be with you, and possibly Laurel. We’ll see how things go. For now the best thing you can do is step back into that room and help with the rest of the work. Try not to let what I’ve said get to you too much. Like I said we have time.”
Roza squeezed Pandora’s hand again, and then walked off. Pandora watched her go, trying to work out exactly what had happened, because that definitely wasn’t a conversation she’d ever expected to have with anyone, let alone Roza. Finally Pandora managed to shake off the shock of it all. Breathing deeply, in an attempt to settle herself, she stepped back into the busy room. Having something to do helped. One of the body creators caught her eye. “I need soul number 25, Pandora.”
“On it, Adair.”
Feeling more comfortable she made her way into the room the souls were stored. A lot of them were gone, already in bodies, and Pandora felt a little disappointed she’d missed it all. Fortunately she knew she was going to be a part of another team. She was going to be a part of the creation of other races. Smiling, she picked soul 25 off the shelf. That one belonged to one of Anaïs husband’s close friends, who’d happened to witness the accident. It was impossible to imagine how they would all react to the memories that had been placed in their minds, but she couldn’t help wondering if it was possible Anaïs might fall in love with someone who’d been just as damaged by the whole thing as she was.
Shaking her head at herself, because she knew she should be focusing on what needed to be done and not her own musings, Pandora rushed back into the room where the bodies were and passed the soul to Adair. “Sorry.”
He laughed. “It’s fine. We’ve all been there, Panda.”
“Thank you.”
“You’ve been a breath of fresh air during this difficult time.” Their eyes met. “I know what Roza was talking to you about, because she had the same conversation with me not so long ago. If you want to talk things over then I’d be happy to help.”
“Who else has she spoken to?”
“I’m not entirely certain, but I know it’s people she truly believes are capable of taking over from her. She didn’t tell me who she was going to talk with. I just had a feeling it would be you. You’re special.”
“No, I’m not. I’m just a young woman who wanted a chance to do this.”
“You’re never going to see it, but we do. You’ve brought Galen out of his shell for the first time in possibly a millennium, Laurel’s had more fun that I’ve ever known answering your questions, and we’ve all noticed you bringing something new and wonderful into our group. Of course that could also be because you’re the first newbie we’ve taken on in a long time. Roza’s very careful when it comes to picking someone for this job, and she hasn’t chosen anyone new in the time you’ve been with us.”
“I never knew that.”
“Until we’re certain of someone we don’t tell them too much. We’re certain of you. After a century working together we should be.” He held the soul out to Pandora. “How about you give this a try? I know you’ve never done it before, so I’ll talk you through the process, and I’m here if anything goes wrong.”
Biting hard on her lip Pandora looked between Adair, the soul, and the body. “Go for it, Panda.” Galen put a hand on her shoulder. “If Adair thinks you should give it a go then he’s probably right.”
Knowing they would both be watching her made Pandora much more uncertain, but that didn’t mean she didn’t want to try something new. Nodding, she took the soul Adair was offering her, and looked down at the body. She still couldn’t quite get used to how similar they were to her own people. As she pushed away how uncomfortable she was with the situation she focused on what she was being asked to do. Like all the newbies she’d been taught how to insert a soul into a body, so she knew the theory, but, like she’d found with everything else, the theory was going to be very different to actually doing it. Carefully she opened the crystal vial. Doing everything as slowly as possible was the best thing she could do. Even jostling a soul slightly wrong might lead to them waking up early once they’d been placed into their bodies.
When Pandora was certain she was ready for what she was about to do she lent forward, hovering over the face of the body, and gently urged the soul mentally to do what it was supposed to do. The souls all knew they wanted bodies, even when they were asleep. Far sooner than she expected the soul had slipped into the body, still asleep. She turned to look at Adair, and he smiled at her. “You’re a natural, Panda. Getting a soul into a body isn’t always as easy as that, because they can be stubborn, but I think you’d be able to cope with that.”
Feeling better than she had done before she smiled back. “I still like the theoretical side more than the practical side.” She shrugged. “Being behind the scenes makes more sense to me.”
“Not everyone is interested in the same things, but it is good that you practice every part of the creation process. The more practice you do the easier it will be for you to be able to take someone’s place if they become ill or find they don’t want to be involved for some other reason. We have had a number of quitters during this process, which was inevitable, considering what we were doing.”
“Unfortunately it was.” Galen sighed. “A number of good people walked away in the middle of all this, because they didn’t want to have to wait. They didn’t seem to understand how important this was, which was unexpected, but in the end I think it was for the best. If they couldn’t understand it was better that they weren’t a part of this.”
Adair nodded. “It isn’t unusual for people to find themselves having much more difficulty dealing with the whole process when they’ve been doing it for a little while. When you’re new it’s easy enough to see beyond the difficulties we can have with all of this, but the longer you’re involved the harder that becomes, because you’re involved with more of those problems. With the short term jobs it’s much more likely for a number of the souls to have difficulty becoming an entirely new race.”
Pandora nibbled her lip. “Have we ever created souls, as well as the bodies?”
“We have, but it’s easier to reuse older souls. A new soul… it’s difficult to explain. There’s nothing to them, so it’s much easier to give them the memories we want them to have, but a tendency of evolving far faster than we’d like. They can, occasionally, evolve while they’re in the crystal vials we put them in, and if that happens we have no control of them whatsoever. Roza, unsurprisingly, made the decision it was best for everyone involved if we didn’t do that too often.”
“That’s another one of those things you keep from the newbies?”
“Yes, it is.” Adair looked uncomfortable. “It’s for the best. We don’t want those who aren’t capable of being a part of this long term to know all our secrets, especially as there is a chance that knowledge might put others off.”
“I don’t have a problem with it.” Pandora glanced over her shoulder at Galen. “I understand why you made the choice you did, and I think it’s the right thing to do. If I’d learnt about everything at the beginning, when I was new and coming to accept what I was a part of, I don’t think I would have stayed around. Now I’ve had a chance to learn more about the whole process, and why we do what we do, I can deal with the messier parts of it.”
“When it comes to things like this a lot of what we do is far messier than we’d like. There are a number of our people who dislike what we do intensely, including Meriel, and they’d tried to shut it all down more than once.” Galen sounded worried. “A few times I have thought about walking away myself, but I don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t a part of all this.” He glanced down at the floor, before looking back at Pandora, and she could see the emotions in his eyes. It was something that didn’t happen often. “Being a part of the creation process isn’t simple, and it never has been, which you’ll know after all the time you’ve spent working with us, because it isn’t always the most morally correct of things to be doing.” He looked at Adair. “Unlike those of us who left we’ve accepted that as best we can. This, now, is a part of who we are, and I don’t think we could leave it behind if we wanted to.”
“Galen’s right. We know what we’re doing isn’t always the acceptable thing, but we are doing it for the best of reasons. There are too many of us here. It’s been that way for a long time, so, by taking some of the souls and making them a part of new races, we’re doing the right thing for the world. Our people have magic. We’ve had magic from the beginning and due to how we use it we could drain Kalinia of everything if we weren’t careful. A number of the other races here, races we’ve created, have been made in order to make it less likely that we’ll be able to do that, but that isn’t enough. We have to do more.”
“Roza was the one who suggested this, and Lorea went along with it. It meant she had a chance to experiment with her own abilities. It was only Meriel who took a step back. She thought there would be better ways of doing what we’re doing, and she might be right, but I’m also not certain we would have had the time to find out what that was. When Roza created the first team we were far closer to the destruction of Kalinia than anyone was happy about, even Meriel.”
“Meriel, I believe, wanted to wait for volunteers if Roza was going to do something like this. Unfortunately, as was obvious with this experiment, there are too few people who want to give up the lives they had here, and that’s why it took as long as it did for us to be at this point. Now that we are we’re pretty much done. All we need to do is settle the new race on their world and then leave them to live their new lives.”
Having a lot to think about was the reason Pandora made the decision to change the subject. She’d learnt more about her world, and the reason behind the newly created races, in five minutes than she had done in the rest of her life. “Do they have a name yet?”
For a long time both Galen and Adair were silent. Eventually Galen, after looking down at the body, nodded. “No one’s very happy about it, but it makes sense. The new race have been named the Fae.”
All Pandora could do was stare at Galen. “Why does it make sense?” She thought about the last race to be named that. “We all know what happened to the last race who were given that name.”
“Which means this race have a chance of doing something to fix the reputation it was given.”
“Or they could make it worse.”
“Do you really believe that? You were involved in giving a number of the people here their stories.”
“Yes, I was, and I also know that’s just the beginning. I’ve given them a part of who they are. It isn’t the entirety, and they will change as time passes.” She looked down at the body, at the man she’d been wondering about, and found herself asking a question she never thought she would – could the name of a race have an effect on who they became in the future? Would the difficulties the last Fae have change the life the new Fae would have? “I hope this wasn’t a mistake.”
“So do I.” Galen shrugged. “It might have been. We aren’t perfect, Panda, and I’ve never said we are. Naming them after a race who made so many… mistakes might have an effect on who this race will become, but I don’t think it will. They’re not going to know anything about the previous Fae. They’re not going to be on a world anywhere near one that knew of the Fae, and I doubt they’ll ever learn the truth about the others. If they do then it’s something we’ll deal with, the way we dealt with the others, because that’s what we do when the worst happens.”
“This time the worst won’t happen.” Adair put his hand on Pandora’s shoulder, squeezing gently. “It barely ever does, Panda. We’re ready for the possibility, because we have to be. It’s a part of the system. Yet, out of the numerous races we’ve created, it’s only got to that point a handful of times, and one of those was the previous Fae. When it came to that race we did make some terrible mistakes. However it’s something we’ve learnt from. We always learn from the mistakes we make.”
Even though she didn’t want to feel it there was this niggling doubt in the back of her mind. Pandora had waited for years to become a creator, it was something she’d wanted more than anything else, but knowing her new race, a race she was incredibly proud of helping to make, were to be named after a failed race… she couldn’t put her feelings into words. It was more than a disappointment. Knowing that changed things. The day had been full of changes and all she could do was take some time to come to terms with them.
“Am I going to be needed any longer?”
Galen shook his head. “No, you aren’t.” He opened his mouth, and then closed it again. “Give yourself some time. We’ll be placing the race in a couple of days, which is something I would like you to be a part of, but I can understand if you don’t feel you can be now.” He looked down at the body again. “I’m not going to lie and tell you I’m happy about the choice. I did what I could to stop it from happening. Laurel is the one who had the final choice, and she thought it would be a good thing, because she was a part of creating the original Fae. When she agreed to it she said it was in the hope this new race, a race she truly believed were better, would be able to give the name a new reputation, a better one.”
Pandora looked over at Laurel. “Maybe she is right.” Laurel was busy working on another soul, who did look more stubborn than the other Pandora had placed. “I hope she is, because if the same thing happens again there is a chance Meriel may be able to put a stop to all of this.” She smiled at Galen. “I’ll take the time, but I promise you I will be here to witness the placing of the new race. I’m not going to walk away from the last part of this.” That didn’t mean she was going to agree to be a part of creating another race, even after what Roza had said. “You know where I am if anything changes.”