“-ridiculous,” Dafydd snapped. “I was stopped by one of the Sub Rosa’s spies in Malijach the other day – me! Oh, he apologised afterwards, sort of, but do you know what he said? ‘We can’t be too careful’. To me!”
Narto listened, wide-eyed, as Dafydd continued to rant. Lou glanced up at the ceiling. “I thought you’d show up,” she murmured.
A door slammed somewhere in the Illian home, and a moment later Constance stalked in. “It’s confirmed,” she announced. “I checked with my sources, and-“
“Wait, you have sources?” Dafydd cut her off. “Where can I get some?”
Constance poked her tongue out at him. “Well, I talked to Steve, at any rate. Maybe if you didn’t drive all your partners insane…”
“Unfair,” Dafydd countered. “Not all of you are bonkers.”
“Only through great force of will,” Constance sniffed. “Oh, that reminds me – I ran into someone else with an interest in all this.”
Narto raised an eyebrow. “Anyone we know?” he asked. “You could have invited them to come along…”
Constance winked at him. “Who says I didn’t?” she asked, and then addressed the empty air. “Fëamintë – please pop in.”
There was a light in the room. It didn’t seem to have a source – and in fact, it didn’t seem to have just appeared. It was as if, despite only just having arrived, it had always been there.
And deep down, so far inside that they felt it was almost hidden in their very DNA, there was a message the former PPC agents were only now able to understand.
<<Hi, Dafydd. It’s been a long time.>>
Dafydd stared at the apparition. He opened his mouth, closed it again, opened it again to take a deep breath, then nodded. “Okay,” he managed in a slightly shaky voice. “I may be old, but I recognise a non-incarnate Maia when I see – or hear – one. But… you called me Dafydd?”
The light seemed to twinkle with amusement. <<That I did. Would you prefer ‘Attafinwë Makalaurë’?>>
Dafydd shuddered. “Not really. But, er, how do you know my current name? Connie?”
Constance chuckled. “I didn’t say anything. I didn’t have to.”
<<Did you catch my name?>> the Maia asked. Dafydd frowned.
“Fëamintë… I’m guessing you prefer ‘Soft Spirit’ to the other translations?”
<<Yes,>> Fëamintë confirmed. <<And in full, Fëamintë-Fioncarnë – they called me the Fire-hued Hawk. And when I fought at the side of my lord Oromë, as the Eldar quaked in fear around Cuivienen, the Abhorred snared me in powerful magic, casting me adrift in time and trapping me in the body of a child. All I remembered was the echo of my name, and the woman who found me, cared for me, and became my mother in every meaningful sense… well, she can’t be blamed for not quite catching the sound. She made her best effort, but as I grew up, went to school, and did all the things a girl-child of Wales does, it was under a new name: Veminta Fincaran.>>
“… oh.” Dafydd blinked. “Vemi. Hi.”
“Aren’t reunions wonderful?” Lou said, stretching out her legs. “But I’m not sure how this helps with our problem.”
<<We have a problem?>> Fëamintë asked. The other four nodded.
“The PPC are getting… well, nervous,” Narto explained. “They keep harassing anyone not native to a canon – which, since we live out here in the Multiverse, sometimes includes us.”
“And now I know why,” Constance supplied. “Apparently there’s rumours going round HQ like wildfire of some group out to wreck Canon. They call themselves ‘Ispace’.”
Dafydd stared. “Wait, the Ispace?” he asked, to general looks of bewilderment. “The Interdimensional Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Elves? But they’re on our side. I worked with them once…”
“The PPC’s supposed to be on ‘our’ side, too,” Lou pointed out. “I think we might be a side all of our own.”
“How can we be a side?” Narto asked. “All we want is to be left alone!”
<<That’s not quite true,>> Fëamintë noted. <<We also want everyone else to be left alone. Freedom of access for canon universes.>>
“Well, not everyone, Dafydd corrected. “Mary-Sues and their ilk shouldn’t be allowed in, of course.”
“Independence for residents and freedom of movement for visitors, provided canon is maintained,” Constance suggested, and then frowned. “Isn’t there someone else who works on that principle?”
“Well, the PPC, in theory,” Narto pointed out. “But in practice…”
“No, not them.” Constance scowled. “It’s on the tip of my brain…”
<<Jurisfiction,>> Fëamintë supplied. <<They’re very much of the ‘if you don’t break the original, do what you will’ school. I believe that’s why the proposed liason with the PPC fell through, actually.>>
“I’m not joining Jurisfiction,” Dafydd said flatly.
“And I’m not suggesting we should,” Constance retorted. “But an alliance… that might make the PPC – and Ispace, whatever they’re up to – play nice.”
“I doubt the Bellman would be interested in an ‘alliance’ with a bunch of random strangers,” Lou pointed out, “whichever version we talked to.”
Dafydd’s frown slowly morphed into a wide grin. “Well, then,” he said, “we’ll just have to organise…”
Disclaimer: Middle-earth and all its components belong to J.R.R. Tolkien. The PPC was created by Jay and Acacia. All characters and details of plot are mine (as is Malijach).
Author’s Note: And so we finally meet our last major participants in the Ispace Wars, the… well, I suppose I can’t tell you what they’re going to call themselves, can I? Spoilers!
Fëamintë was formerly the PPC agent Vemi, until she managed to get herself killed and discovered she was actually a Maia trapped in a human body. She worked as Dafydd's temporary partner from time to time.
Dafydd, Constance, Narto, Lou, and Vemi are all ex-PPC Agents written by me; PPC-related links can be found under Background Material.