Memory & Time

Memory can be a really tricky thing at the best of times, let alone when you’re in a place where the Gentry live. (Most people throw out their maps once they realize that the building essentially changes its layout every day.)

Hallways move. Doors lock and unlock. Various seats and desks vanish at their leisure. Sometimes entire rooms shift floors if only because the school is having a laugh. It’s definitely enough to make you wonder “Is is a Gentry thing or have I gone slightly crazy and forgotten where something is?” But probably the worst part of it all would be the people.

Elsewhere is a big place, and meeting everyone is basically impossible. You can try, and you might meet most people, but never everybody. So there will always be that one person you can never really get a chance to finally introduce yourself too. You placate yourself on the rumours and bits of knowledge you overhear from other students, because this one person just eludes you at every turn.

So when you finally corner them, say hi, they nervously say hi back and then leave. It’s a fairly decent friendship. You help out with their art work, they give a hand with law studies, it’s great. But then Elsewhere decides to pull one of those tricks on you.

Time shifts, just as it always does in Elsewhere. Elsewhere has always had problems with Time, people from the future or past just randomly showing up and wandering about. People try to take it in stride, nobody is quite sure of what time period somebody comes from. (It’s impolite to ask, you don’t ask somebody what historical era they’re from.)

Sometimes Time speeds up. Sometimes Time slows down. Sometimes it even reverses a little. Corners and cupboards and old classrooms nobody uses anymore, all areas where Time is just the tiniest bit warped out of the norm. Those places are everywhere - and it’s not often surprising when places cease to be or grow bigger over Time. Try to take it in stride, even if everyone you love is a hundred years dead. Relax, you’ll get back eventually.

And then you find your friend again. After… You think days? Or months? Time is confusing. They’re different now, all big smiles and colourful clothes, surrounded by dozens of friends when before you were the only one they had. They make jokes that they’d said were stupid, and they’re pretty smart at doing the art for their studies.

And you realize - damn them. Damn Memory. Damn Time.

Because that’s one of the problems of living here. After spending so much time away from somebody you knew, your Memory of them becomes solid. You remember everything they did. But Time can change them, Time changes everybody eventually.

And so you have to sit there, wondering…

Has Time actually changed them somehow?

Or is your Memory right, and that’s a Changeling over there?

You’ll probably never know for sure.

Not until Time and Memory hits you as well.