The Queen of Air and Fire
Author: Milady Dragon
Disclaimer: I don't own it, sorry.
Author's note: Hello, everyone! This is a new Wizard and Deathless epic. It takes place after Ways of Light and Darkness, and before the short story Perfection. There are also certain characters and situations in this that have been borrowed from the X-Men movie franchise, especially "X-Men First Class" but you don't need to have seen any of them to understand this. However, familiarity with the first two stories in this universe is a must.
Hope you enjoy!
Daffyd Ianto Jones, Baron Gateway and Grand Wizard of the United Kingdom, turned to regard the shade of his late lover. "I'm not brooding," he denied.
"Yes, you are," Jack, the former Lord Deathless, stood in the corner of the room, glowering at Daffyd. "Even Donna saw it. She only leaves one of her Ood cloud with you when she doesn't want you to be on your own."
Daffyd glanced at his desk, where the tiny green dragon lay curled up on the blotter. It noticed him looking, and its head rose from its crossed front paws, chirping curiously.
Maybe Jack had a point.
"I may be technically dead," Jack went on, "but even I know what the date is."
Of course he did. "All right," he conceded, "I may be brooding…a little."
Daffyd sat down in his chair. "A lot."
He hadn't really had time to dwell the last several years, what with everything that had been going on: building the school; recruiting administrators, teachers, and support people; and then actually finding students to teach. Gateway had grown up around the newly minted Wizards' School, and Daffyd had found himself even busier with both being Headmaster and Baron. He hadn't had a chance to even think about this particular anniversary.
But today, he did.
"Three years," he murmured. "Three years ago today…" His voice choked, and he sighed.
Jack looked as upset as Daffyd felt. "I know, love," he whispered.
The tiny Ood dragon must have sensed his upset. It roused, shaking out its wings and hopping onto Daffyd's shoulder, rubbing against his face in an effort to comfort him. He stroked the dragon absently, remembering when he'd had his own dragon.
Remembering when he'd had a life that wasn't this one.
"You know," he said, looking up at the shade, "it's not even that I don't enjoy my life here. It's just…I see what everyone else has, and it makes me realize just how much I'm missing." He chuckled darkly. "I do hate being maudlin."
He couldn't help it, though. It was even worse when they would find someone who'd been in Daffyd's home timeline – the one that had been destroyed when he'd stopped the insane Wizard, Harold Saxon, from changing things so that Daffyd would have never been born. He would see someone whom he'd known, and they wouldn't know him…Donna was the worst, in a way. Here, she was a middling Wizard who preferred being an administrator and who'd decided that she'd needed to look after Daffyd. He'd known her as the most powerful Great Wizard and Grand Master of her Order. She'd also been one of his best friends.
It was jarring.
And then there was Jack…
He and Jack had planned their lives together before things had fallen apart. They'd even found a spell that would, one day, allow one of them to carry a child. But Jack had…well, not died per se, but had had his soul drawn into this world by the Deep Ways in order to save him from being trapped within the Silver Devastation.
Even Daffyd's dragon had been a victim.
However, the worst part of everything was the fact that, out in the world, was his doppelganger, Ianto Jones, and he had everything that Daffyd once had had. It had gotten easier to deal with as he'd become used to seeing someone with his face, his lover, and his dragon, but it was still hard, and it was one of the reasons Ianto stayed away from Gateway. He didn't want to hurt his displaced 'cousin' anymore than he already had. It wasn't even as if he held it against Ianto, either. They'd actually become good friends, along with this version of Jack, and had come to rely on them heavily. Now, though, he had time to actually think about it, and it was bringing up feelings he'd thought he'd gotten well over.
"I think you have a perfect right to be maudlin," Jack answered. "But you also have a lot to be proud of."
"I've done pretty well for someone who'd expected to be wiped out of existence once time had been set right."
"Not everyone gets to build up an entire school and train the newest magical minds," Jack went on. "You get to mould the up and coming generation into something to be proud of. And, you've gained friends and allies that you might never have had."
"Quit trying to cheer me up, Jack." He tried to hide a small smile. Even though they were separated by death, Jack could still make him feel better.
Jack's answer was cut off by a sudden knocking at Daffyd's office door. Without waiting for him to call out, Donna bustled in, surrounded by a veritable cloud of Ood. Daffyd was about to tease her about coming in unannounced, but the expression on her face stopped him.
"Master John says it's Idris," was all she said before Daffyd was scooting past her and out of the door.
No one really knew who Idris was.
She'd simply appeared in Gateway nearly three months ago, walking into the city with nothing but the clothes on her back – she hadn't even been wearing any shoes – and talking the strangest nonsense…until Master John had realized she was vaguely speaking about random future events. He'd found out the hard way, because 'you look horrible in red' apparently meant that his students were going to dump a bucket of red paint all over him as a joke.
Idris had made herself at home in the highest tower of the school, even though it was drafty and not at all comfortable. She seemed to enjoy it, and Daffyd suspected it was more the height than anything else. She was fearless, and it had freaked out Master John the first time he'd gone up to see her and found her sitting on the open parapet, her legs dangling over the edge and into open space. Master John also looked as if he was quite taken by her, and it would have been cute if only Daffyd didn't find it slightly creepy. He wasn't exactly certain why he felt that way, although he suspected it was because the older Wizard was his many times great-grandfather, and the very idea that he might be interested in someone else was just too off-putting to handle.
Daffyd climbed the stairs up to the tower, and was seriously out of breath by the time he reached the room where Idris had made her home. Blaming the time he had to stay behind a desk as the reason he was out of shape, he pushed the single door at the top of the tower open, and stepped inside.
Idris' room was the entire top of the tower, and had been fitted out with a bed, several comfortable-looking chairs, and a wardrobe and chest of drawers. It was still a drafty chamber, the wind whistling around the circular tower like several moaning spectres were just outside the windows.
Idris looked small in the chair she was sitting in. She looked up as Daffyd entered, and a smile curled her lips and then faded so quickly it was as if the sun had gone in behind a cloud. Her hands twitched in her lap, and Master John Smith – who was kneeling beside her chair – rested his own hand over them, in order to keep them from fluttering away. Her hair was in even more disarray than usual, and there were dark circles under her eyes.
The single tiny Ood dragon that had accompanied him left Daffyd's shoulder to curl itself around Idris' neck, and Daffyd could hear it cooing to her in comfort. That was something else about the woman: any and all dragons adored her. She didn't have one of her own, but it was as if the entire dragon population of Gateway had somehow adopted her, judging from how each acted when she was near. Idris adored them equally, happy to greet each one and to lavish attention on them. While most dragons seemed to be a bit standoffish – with the exception of Myfanwy, who Ianto swore was an attention whore – around Idris, it was as if she was their very best friend.
Absently Idris reached up and stroked the green hive dragon with a single finger, as Daffyd knelt on the opposite side from Master John. "What's going on?"
Idris looked uncertain, but John squeezed the one hand that wasn't petting the dragon at her throat. "Just do what you can," he encouraged. Then he turned to look at Daffyd. "She's not making a lot of sense, but what she's seen seems important. It's really upset her."
That was par for the course with Idris. She was obviously able to see the future, but she was often vague about it. "Tell me what's going to happen," he requested.
Idris tried to smile once more, failed, and then sighed. "They are coming," she whispered, her voice cracking roughly. "You should trust the One who brings Silver, but not...not the Crowned One. Never trust the Crowned One; he has the White Witch…" She shook her head almost violently, as if to break loose the visions she'd seen. "There is water…too much water, people are going to die!" Those words practically ran together, and John murmured to her comfortingly.
"Take your time," Daffyd said, although he wanted nothing more than to demand some sort of sense of what Idris was trying to say. He'd seen such things back in his own timeline; where a Seer had a vision that was jumbled or impossible to interpret, and he knew he had to have patience while Idris put it into context.
The problem was that Idris didn't make much sense on the best of days. It was as if her mind was on an entirely different plane from everyone else's, and that normal things were very hard for her to grasp. He'd wondered if something had happened at some point to addle her wits, and it was colouring her ability to communicate, or if having the power to see the future had broken her in some fundamental way.
Her eyes unfocused as she began speaking once more. "The Lost Kingdom shall return. It shall rise again, but death will come before it like the tide. The King shall search for the Wizard, and the White Witch will come with the Crowned One, and destruction rides in his right hand." She seemed to come back to the present. "The images…I can't…they are coming, coming for the Queen."
"Queen Amelia?" Daffyd asked, worried. Their Majesties had given him his second chance at life, and while he might have been depressed lately, it was still a good life. He also really liked Queen Amelia and King Rory, and he'd been disappointed that their daughter hadn't proved to be magical in any way, because he couldn't have thought of a better way to repay them than being able to teach their only child to be a Wizard.
But Idris shook her head. "Not the Queen…the Queen."
There was an emphasis on the title this time, but Daffyd didn't understand what it meant. He would send a warning to the Royal Court anyway, just to be on the safe side.
"What about the other things you saw?" Daffyd pressed. "Can you give us any more information?"
"I might be able to," John answered slowly. "I don't know, though."
"What is it?"
The older Wizard looked pensive. "She mentioned the Lost Kingdom…I think I might know what that is. Well, if it's the same as the old stories I've heard, but it was a legend back in my own time…"
It was too easy to forget that Master John Smith actually came from over a thousand years in the past, and that he was almost as out of his own time as Daffyd himself was. There were even times when Daffyd was completely able to forget that the Great Wizard was his very distant ancestor. So, if what he'd heard was a legend back then…"I'm not familiar with a legend about a Lost Kingdom."
"I don't know what it was actually named, but you might have heard it called the Kingdom of Magic."
The Kingdom of Magic. Yes, Daffyd had once come across a story about it, in the Archives he'd spent a large part of his life in, back before time had been altered and he'd found himself somewhere he didn't know. "Vaguely," he admitted. "Wasn't that supposed to be the mythical home of the dragons?"
Idris' eyes had gone wide, and she clutched at his sleeve. "The tallest mountain!" she exclaimed. "Hatched on the tallest mountain!"
"It was," John confirmed. "Supposedly every dragon ever hatched came from the Kingdom of Magic. Not sure how that worked, but that's what the stories said. According to legend, the Kingdom is gone, lost in the mists of magic. Depending on what story was told, it was either by choice, or by accident. Either way, the place vanished. I'm not even certain where it was supposed to have been."
"It's coming back," Idris insisted. "Its coming brings destruction in the water."
Daffyd couldn't help but be confused by what Idris was telling them. "Do you know anything else about this Magical Kingdom?"
Her eyes were wide, and her mouth opened as if she wanted to speak…but nothing came out, and he wondered if the words were so jumbled together that she couldn't get them out. Instead, a bare squeak came from Idris' throat, and she looked wilder than Daffyd could ever remember seeing her.
"Just relax," John soothed her. "When you know more, you can tell us."
"In the meantime," Daffyd, said, standing, "I'm going to get a message to Their Majesties. We also need more information on this Kingdom of Magic, and what exactly it is." Not for the first time, Daffyd was angry that the entirety of the Torchwood Castle Archives hadn't been transferred to Gateway. His Majesty had ordered it, but Baroness Gwen had balked, not wanting to lose whatever prestige she still had after losing 'her' Wizard. They'd come to a compromise: every magical Artifact would go to Gateway, while the actual information part of the Archives would stay in Cardiff. Daffyd hadn't liked it, but he could understand why King Rory would want to be conciliatory toward the Baroness, not wanting to alienate one of his most powerful nobles.
However, when they actually needed something from the Archives, it meant either asking the current Master Archivist, Brendan Richards, to look for what they needed, or sending someone to Cardiff. It wasn't that Daffyd didn't trust Brendan – the boy had been trained by Ianto, after all – it was just the principle of the thing. The whole of the Archives should have been brought to Gateway.
"I'll send a message to Brendan as well," he sighed.
"Haven't you forgotten?" John said, also getting to his feet. "Ianto is in Cardiff…or he should be, unless he was delayed getting there."
Daffyd grinned. "Oh yes…the wedding." He'd also been invited, but had declined, saying things were far too busy at the school to let him take time off. It wasn't as if he actually knew either the bride or groom although he'd had the…well, pleasure wasn't the exact word really, of meeting her when he'd first lost his original timeline. She hadn't made a very good impression. "I'm certain Ianto wouldn't mind a distraction, then." And Ianto did know those Archives the best.
Now, they just had to hope that there would be some sort of information on this Kingdom, because even if Idris was being vague, it certainly sounded as if whatever was going to happen was going to be bad indeed.