Chapter Five

Chapter Five

A Chapter by Seth Armstrong

Yura arrives in New Lorien; meets Marina, Nemo, and Lexa; and gets in touch with her family.


     Yuri Kallik appeared suddenly in a small garden room with a domed ceiling in a building she didn’t recognize. The first thing she noticed was the temperature was much more comfortable here, and she instantly began to feel subtle nerve sensations she had forgot she even had light up as her body acclimated to New Lorien.

     The next thing she noticed was the surroundings.

     All around her was a verdant pasture like a rainbow, with bountiful blossoms of brilliantly colorful flowers and other plants, many of which she couldn’t recognize, all surrounding a large, helmet-shaped outcropping of Loralite in the room’s center. The diversity of the fauna was staggering, and she couldn’t remember a time she had seen something with such stunning natural beauty since she had been to Banff National Park the year before.

     Yura was still trying to get her bearings when she felt a slight tug on her arm. She looked over to see Rabiya nodding at their interlocked hands. “We’re here,” she said. “You don’t have to keep holding on.”

     Yura blushed and took her hand away. “Sorry,” she said. “It’s just…” She trailed off as her eyes wandered the room once more, taking in the scenery. “It looks amazing in here.”

     “Yeah, we want to try to, uh, acclimate new arrivals with proper welcoming fanfare. You can thank Sprout for the décor.”


     “She has the ability to grow and manipulate planet life. Makes it easy to beautify the place.”

     “Where are you from?”

     “Saudi Arabia,” Rabiya answered quickly before pointing to the door in front of them. “That’s the way--well, a way--to the Garde infirmary. Marina’s waiting in there.”

     At the mention of Marina, Yura’s curiosity about her rescuer quickly diminished. She bit her lip and suddenly felt the need to find something to do with her hands. “Sooooo, I should just…go now?” she asked, her voice trembling.

     “I mean, yeah. I’ll come with you if you want. Otherwise, I’ll just go out the back. You’re good to walk there and all, right?”

     “Yes. Yeah. Absolutely.”

     Rabiya smiled. “All right. Yura, right?” The Canadian nodded. “All right, Yura, have fun with your orientation. You’ll probably see me around.”

     Yura nodded, feeling a pang of guilt for not seeming more interested in Rabiya or asking her to hang around but feeling too nervous at the prospect of meeting Marina to be more mindful. She had painstakingly researched and liked all of the Loric Garde, of course, but there was just something about Marina that seemed to set her apart--her poise, her demeanor, the gentle affect in how she spoke, maybe the gorgeous way she had looked in that confident stance after she had wiped her hair from out of her face in a video Yura saw in that short news story about New Lorien.

     Whatever it was, Yura’s heart was both racing and about to stop at the prospect of meeting her in-person.

     Rabiya gave her a polite wave and turned back to walk out the door on the other side.

     Yura braced herself and walked toward the infirmary. She got a few feet from it and stopped, getting cold feet, stupidly wondering all of a sudden if it would be best for her to just go back to the Loralite stone and return to wherever the hell she had been to circumvent the risk of looking like an idiot when she met Marina--but, then, running away would probably look way more stupid than whatever way she was going to trip over herself.

     She leaned away from the door and frowned, heart hammering in her chest and leg bouncing like crazy. She suddenly remembered that she had one chance at a first impression, and she couldn’t remember who taught her that phrase originally, but she wasn’t sure that it really mattered because the point still stood, and she was suddenly worried about the way she was presenting herself, so she began to pull her hair to the side and try to straighten it and practiced a smile, and--

     The door was halfway open before Yura realized that it was opening.

     When it flew open, Number Seven stood there, her warm smile and wavy brown hair looking flawless.

     Yura stifled a yelp.

     “You’re Yura, right?” the Loric woman asked. Yura managed to nod. “Well, don’t just stand there--come on in.”

     Marina turned away and walked into the infirmary. In a trance-like state, Yura obediently followed.

     The infirmary seemed ridiculously bare before Yura realized that she was just in a large, branching hallway that led off into countless different rooms. She wondered briefly why so many rooms were necessary when there were people like Marina who could heal injuries instantly, but she couldn’t find the words to ask a question, and she was worried it would come off offensive somehow.

     Marina beckoned Yura into the first room on the left, the door opening up into a simple set-up with a hospital bed and a few machines at the side that Yura was unfamiliar with.

     “Sit down,” Marina instructed.

     Yura obeyed.

     Marina walked up to and looked down at the new Garde, concern on her face. “How are you feeling?” she asked. “I saw the request you sent to us and heard a bit about the people who captured you. It’s awful.”

     Yura just nodded for a moment as she registered the fact that she was being directly spoken to by Marina of the Loric Garde before she realized that she had been asked a question that would require a verbal answer. “Uh, yeah,” Yura began, then cleared her throat. “Well, I, um, I’m fine. Yeah. I think. I still, like, hurt in a lot of places. A lot of cuts and bruises and stuff. But John healed the main thing, so I don’t feel, uh, too bad now.”

     “That’s good,” Marina said. “Hopefully the others figure out what’s going on so we can stop this from happening.”

     “Why, uh--why didn’t you go with them?”

     “It’s my turn to stay. We always like to leave at least one of us here to greet any new arrivals if possible. Seems like it works best to have a human Garde give new Garde the full tour, but apparently we Loric are famous enough to give you a more familiar face to see when you first arrive.”

     Yura just nodded and tried to downplay her smile.

     “Now, you said you were still injured? I can help with that. I’m a healer.”

     “Oh, yeah, I know. I looked into you--into all of you, I mean. The Loric. I know, uh, you know, what, uh, legacies you have and all.”

     Marina smiled. “Well, that’s good that you’ve already got some basis. Makes it easier to get you acclimated. Now, the other injuries?”

     “Oh, yeah, uh, sorry. Yeah, here.”

     Marina went to work healing the smaller wounds Yura still had from her captivity, and it only took about a minute for her to get rid of the last few cuts, and that’s when a girl about the same age as Yura with aquamarine hair and a devilish smile slipped into the room.

     Marina healed the last of the wounds. “Feel better?” she asked.

     “Ye--yeah,” Yura said, rubbing the spot on her stomach where an angry bruise had evaporated. “It’s--I feel amazing.”

     Marina smiled, then looked over at the girl who walked in. “Yura,” she said, “this is Nemo. Nemo, Yura.”

     “Hey,” Nemo said with a nod.

     “Uh, hi,” Yura returned.

     “She’s the one who’s going to be leading your tour,” Marina explained. “There’s a lot to see now. If you need any extra help or get injured again, just come to me--or find one of our other healers. I’ll be around here a bit longer, and, if I’m not here, I should be pretty easy to find. Just ask around.”

     “Uh, okay,” Yura said. “Yeah. Thank you.”

     “Of course,” Marina said with a smile, turning to leave the room.

     For a moment after Marina left the room, it was silent. Yura turned to Nemo, wondering what to expect from the human Garde.

     “I don’t think Marina’s gay,” Nemo said after a moment.

     “What?” Yura chokingly exclaimed.

     “With the way you watched after her when she left, I just assumed.” Yura’s eyes went wide; Nemo raised her hands in surrender. “Don’t worry, don’t kill me--I waited until she was out of an earshot. But if you were acting that same way before I got in here as you were while I was here, she probably picked up on it, too.”

     “I--well, no, it--I,” Yura stammered. “It’s--nothing. She’s just, you know--”

     “Hey, no need to get defensive. You don’t run into a lot of pretty girls who also helped literally save the world.”

     Yura could feel herself blushing. “Can we, uh--can we do this whole tour thing already?”

     Nemo laughed. “Yeah, of course. Come on.”

     Nemo turned and walked out of the room; Yura followed closely and tried to hide her embarrassment. She found herself suddenly incredibly self-conscious about the impression that she made on Marina. Had she really been so painfully obvious?

     “So,” Nemo said as she led the way through the halls toward a large white door, “you got a primary legacy yet?”

     Yura racked her brain a moment trying to translate the question. She remembered hearing the term before, but it took a few seconds before she recalled what exactly it meant. “Uh, no,” she answered, wondering if she was supposed to have one already. “I just have telekinesis.”

     Nemo nodded. “That’s fair,” she said. “It takes some people a long time to get their main legacy.”

     “Do you have one?”

     “I can breathe underwater. Hence the nickname.”

     “Oh. That, uh, seems really obvious now. Do you always go by Nemo, then? What’s your real name?”

     They had reached the door at the end of the hall, but Nemo stopped abruptly at the question right before opening it and drew her lips into a tight line. A shadow crossed her face. “Nemo is my real name,” she said sharply.

     “Oh. Sorry.”

     “Don’t worry about it,” Nemo said--softer this time--and opened the door.

     Immediately outside of the infirmary was an immaculate courtyard with a paved, branching circular path with strange symbols carved on the outside. Yura assumed they were some sort of Loric symbols--they looked similar to the number symbols she had seen on the programs that talked about the charm that had been placed on the Loric Garde.

     In the center of the courtyard was a tiered stone fountain with several benches on each side of it. Yura looked around and realized this area was some sort of plaza in the midst of a massive mountain paradise--four buildings including the infirmary were arranged in a semi-circle on the side of the yard, framed by towering peaks and unending natural beauty that dwarfed the enchanting display that had been in the infirmary’s garden.

     Beyond the courtyard on the other side was a switchback path leading to what looked like an impossible maze of a large town that boggled Yura’s mind. It was a bit of a shock to see so many buildings; despite growing up in an incredibly small town, she had visited cities like Montreal and Toronto before, so the size didn’t give her that fish-out-of-water feeling so much as she was just amazed at how much the Garde had accomplished. News reporters hadn’t been officially allowed in New Lorien for a long time, so, the last time she had seen anything sure, the territory was still barely out of its infant stage. Now, though, she quickly lost count of how much had been built and tried to name and place the purpose of the town that stretched for miles on the verdant mountainside.

     “So,” Nemo said, “what do you think?”

     “It’s…” Yura trailed off, trying to put her thoughts into words. “It’s incredible.”

     Nemo chuckled. “Yeah, I guess so.”

     “You guess?”

     Nemo shrugged. “It’s nice. It’s just that--well, once you’ve been stuck here a while under strict orders not to leave, it starts to feel a bit small.”

     “My hometown isn’t even half as big as this.”

     “That might help, then. I come from a place much bigger, and I spent some time traveling around cities before I came to the Academy. This is very, uh, constrictive compared to that.” Nemo paused a moment before quickly brightening her expression. “But I don’t want to get you down. It’s a great place, really. I’ll show you the hotspots, and we’ll get you assigned a room.”

     “Oh,” Yura said, taken aback. “I, uh--I don’t know if I’ll be staying here. I mean, I have to get back home to see my family. They don’t know what’s happened to me.”

     “I’m sure Lexa can get you in touch with them if you want to do that first.”

     “Lexa?” Yura asked. The name sounded familiar, but she couldn’t place it.

     “She’s our IT department. Hella good at it. She made the site that you sent your request in on.”

     “Oh. Okay.” Yura still couldn’t place the name; she knew she had heard it before, but she couldn’t remember where. “Well, in that case, yeah, I want to do that first.”

     “Come on.”

     Nemo led Yura over to the building on the left of the courtyard’s infirmary. “This is the high-tech workshop,” she explained. “It’s where the Loric and the brainiacs do their major projects. Most of us human Garde usually don’t have reason to come here. Anyway, nine times out of ten, if you need Lexa for something, she’s in here.”

     The workshop’s door opened up into an austere lobby-like room with hard, bare chairs and tables and a few hallways branching off into other areas, each one with a label above them. Nemo led the way into the IT hallway and peeked into the windows of several of the doors before she finally found the one she was looking for.

     Nemo and Yura walked in on a tall black woman with a mohawk bent in front of a computer, her eyes scanning quickly over whatever was displayed on the screen. “Hi, Nemo,” the woman said without looking up. “Yura.”

     “Did you see us coming from the cameras, or did you look up without me realizing?” Nemo asked.

     “Both.” The woman looked up. “What’s up?”

     “Wait, how do you know my name?” Yura interjected.

     The woman surveyed the new arrival, eyebrow raised; Yura felt suddenly self-conscious under her eye. “The message you sent us didn’t give much in the way of details. I had to do some digging to figure out who we were looking for and where you could be.”


     “Yeah, this is Lexa--hacker and tracker extraordinaire,” Nemo said. “Anyway, we’re here because Yura wants to get in touch with her family if possible.”

     “Should be,” Lexa said, her eyes still on Yura. “I’m sorry to hear about what you’ve gone through.” She seemed sincere, but the phrase still sounded canned. “I’m sure your family is worried. You have a phone number to call? Email? Anything?”

     “I--” Yura began, then cut herself off, trying to rack her memory. She could remember a little bit of her parents’ phone numbers, but she wasn’t sure about the whole things. “Well, I, uh, I know their email--well, an email. I’d prefer something more, like, immediate, though--but, I, uh, I don’t know their numbers off the top of my head.”

     Lexa furrowed her brow. “Okay,” she said, her fingers flying across her keyboard once more. “Well, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get in touch with someone in Salliq.”

     “How did you--” Yura began but cut herself off as it sunk in. Lexa just said she had dug up info about her to figure out who they were looking for. Of course she would know where Yura was from.

      About half a minute passed in awkward silence before Yura felt compelled to break it. “So, uh, Lexa, were you in any of the news stories about the Garde or anything? Or, like, the retrospectives or?”

     “What?” Lexa asked, not looking up from the screen.

     “I--well, I’ve been super interested in the Garde--”

     “Some more than others,” Nemo interjected with a snicker.

     Yura shot a glare at her before continuing. “I’ve been real curious about the Loric and the human Garde and everything ever since the invasion happened. I’ve tried to learn as much about it all as I can. And I know I’ve heard of you somewhere before, but I can’t remember where.”

     Lexa shrugged. “I don’t do interviews,” she said. “I prefer to stay out of the spotlight. But I’ve been head of IT for the Garde since the Academy opened. If you were looking hard through that stuff, you may have seen my name mentioned somewhere. Anyway, do you know an Elisapie Avinguq?”

     “Yes! She’s one of my closest friends.”

     “Well, I found her number. You think she’d be good to get a phone to your family--or at least pass on the message?”

     “Yeah, absolutely--although I don’t know what time it is there. She might not be awake.”

     “We’re ten-and-a-half hours ahead of Salliq, so it’s…just before 1 AM there.”

     Yura shrugged. “We can try it, I guess.”

     Lexa nodded. “If you want some privacy, you can go into the room across the hall,” she said. “It should be unlocked.” She reached under her desk and pulled out a thick phone that looked like a brick. She punched in a phone number and tossed it to Yura.

     Yura reached for it, but she wound up just smacking the phone to the ground.

     “Don’t you have telekinesis?” Nemo asked.

     “I--” Yura felt her cheeks get hot as she bent down to pick up the phone. “I’m still getting used to it.”

    “That’s my bad,” Lexa said. “I should’ve warned you.”

    “It’s fine,” Yura said, putting the phone to her ear. “But yeah, I think I’ll go over to the other room. Thank you.” She turned around and pushed the door opening, listening to the phone ring as she crossed the hall and went into an incredibly similar--but empty--office full of screens and machines. She heard the phone ring once…twice…thrice…

    A crackling sound leaked through the speaker. “Hello?” a familiar voice said.

    “Hey,” Yura said in Aivilingmiutut, “it’s me.”

    Elisapie squealed on the other end of the line. “Yura?” she responded, switching to the same dialect. “Is it really you?”

     Yura nodded, then realized that her friend couldn’t see her and shook her head to try to drive out whatever awkward cobwebs made her do that. “Yeah, it’s me.”

     “Where are you? Are you okay? What happened? Are you--”

     “I’m fine now,” Yura interrupted. “I was kidnapped. Some people--I don’t know what they wanted with me exactly, but I guess it had to do with my powers. They had me locked up, but the Loric rescued me. John Smith himself came to get me. I’m at their Himalayas base now.”

     “Wait, wait, wait!” Yura smiled at the sound of Elisapie trying to keep up. “You broke out of prison?”

     “Well, John Smith broke me out. And then I met Number Nine and Number Six. Oh, and that Sam guy I told you about.”

     “Sam? Sam Goode? The one who looks like a twink?”

     Yura rolled her eyes. “Yes, the one who looks like a twink. Listen, I need to talk to my parents. Are they awake? Can you get to them?”

     Yura heard shuffling and a few heavy breaths on the other end of the call. “Yes,” Elisapie said after a moment. “They’re awake, I think. I don’t know that they’ve slept at all since you disappeared. I’ll go get them.”

     There was a loud thump on the other end of the phone followed by a few heavy drumbeats that Yura assumed were footsteps. Yura frowned at the thought of her parents drowning in anxiety over her disappearance, and she felt a sudden pang of guilt over the fact that she had been so distracted by meeting Marina when she got here that getting ahold of her parents wasn’t even her first thought.

     An odd silence settled over the room as Yura waited. She kept the phone tightly pressed to her ear, hearing the sound of crunching snow and Elisapie’s breathing muffled by battering winds. After a minute, the wind died down, and she heard muffled voices and a crackling before, finally, a fragile voice spoke on the other end of the line. “Yura?”

     Yura smiled, her heart swelling. “Hi, Mom.”

     Yura heard a gasp on the other end of the line. “You’re okay?” her mom asked.

     “Yes, I’m okay. I was saved by the Loric Garde. I’m at New Lorien right now.”

     There was silence for a moment on the other end. “New Lorien?” her mom asked. “The place in India? How?”

     Yura told her mother the story of what she had gone through as quickly as she could. She glossed over the worst parts about the abuse from her kidnappers, though she wasn’t sure why. It didn’t take very long to tell the story considering that she hadn’t regained consciousness after being attacked until after she was in her cell, and the days in the prison were all nearly identical. After she had finished, she could hear her mom trying to control her breathing.

     “These people--do you know who they are?” Yura’s mom growled.

     “No, Mom, I don’t. But it’s okay--the Loric are taking care of them.”

     Yura’s mom harrumphed on the other end of the call. “If I find those people, I will do worse than the Loric will. But I am so happy you’re okay. I was so worried. Pana said he heard you cry out for help and chased after your voice, but he couldn’t find you. We weren’t sure what happened…”

     “It’s okay, Mom. I’m okay.”

     “You should tell your father that, too. Here, he’s here.”

     The call crackled as the phone switched hands. “Yura?” she heard her father ask tentatively.

     “Hi, Dad,” she said with a smile, launching back into her story once more.

     When she was done, a few moments passed of her father’s hard breathing before he spoke. “These people,” he said, his voice tight. “Who were they?”

     “I don’t know, Dad. But, like I told Mom, the Loric are taking care of them.”

     “I will find out. I love you, Yura. I’m glad you’re okay. When are you coming home?”

     “I love you, too, Dad. And, I, uh, I don’t know. John told me I could leave whenever I want. But he also pointed out that me being kidnapped once probably means I’m a big target, so I’d be safer here. Honestly, Dad, I--I don’t know what to do.”

     Yura could hear the scratchy sound of her dad rubbing his beard on the other end of the line for a moment before he rephrased what she had said to her mom. She heard her mom’s voice, but she couldn’t pick out the words.

     “These Loric,” her dad said at last. “Do you trust them?”

     “Yes,” Yura answered immediately. “They saved me, they healed me, they brought me here--they are trying to help us, Dad. All of us.”

     “I know. I believe that. It’s just…you’re now so far away, on the other side of the world, and--” He cut himself off, his voice soft. “Your mother and I want to see you back here again. But, if you’re being hunted down, maybe it…maybe it is better for you to be there right now.”

     “I want to be there, too,” Yura said wistfully. “You know, they have those family day programs or whatever here. And I think they’ve even got some of the Garde’s parents to come stay here, to be Mentor Cêpans. Maybe you guys could come do that.”

     “Our family move from Salliq? Are you sure they haven’t messed with your brain over there?”

     Yura rolled her eyes. “You can at least visit,” she suggested.

     “I don’t want to think that far ahead. If you stay over there for now, hopefully this craziness will all be over soon enough that you can simply come back here and be safe.”

     “I would like that.”

     “In the meantime, you must call us. We need to know that you’re okay. You may be safer there, but there are still many people who hate people like you there. It may not even be fully safe over there.”

     “Thanks, Dad. I feel much better about this decision now.”

     “I am just saying. Stay safe. And call us. Now that you can finally meet those Loric you swoon over so much, I want to hear an insider opinion about them. Especially that Marina one--we need to know how you’re doing with her. Imagine the benefits we would get of having a Loric as our daughter-in-law.”

     Yura’s eyes went wide, and she checked over her shoulder as if there was anyone in the room who would’ve overheard that. “Dad,” she said, blushing, “I don’t think Marina’s gay.”

     “Well, fix that. Maybe that’ll be one of your powers. Speaking of, we want to hear about your alien training.”

     “Alien training? What, like they’re going to turn me into one?”

     “That might be one of their powers--who knows?”

     “Yeah, yeah, whatever. I should probably get off the phone now. I’m borrowing this one, and there’s this girl waiting to give me a tour. I shouldn’t keep them waiting.”

     “Okay, okay. Well, I love you, Yura. Be smart. Stay safe.”

     “I love you, too, Dad.”

     Her dad handed the phone off to her mom so they could say bye, too, and Yura ended the call, the grinding, gnawing mass in her chest lightening significantly. Smiling, she turned and walked back out the door.

     Nemo was standing out in the hallway to the side of Lexa’s door. “Everything all right?” she asked.

     “Yeah,” Yura said, now much more excited about touring New Lorien. “Everything’s fine.”

© 2021 Seth Armstrong

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Added on August 5, 2021
Last Updated on August 5, 2021
Tags: lorien, legaices, war, of, the, yura, kallik, capac, john, smith, sam, goode, number, six, nine, marina, seven, five, eight, malcolm, daniela, nigel, fugitive, isabela, taylor, ran, caleb, kopano


Seth Armstrong
Seth Armstrong


Blurb Blurb

A Chapter by Seth Armstrong