Search for the Staff
Chapter 1: The second Vision

A bolt of lighting strikes, followed by the sound of thunder. The sky illuminates for a brief moment, just enough time for the thief to navigate his way from the edge of the forest to the cabin in the clearing, a distance of twenty feet. Then the sky turns pitch black again. The thief crawls around the walls of the house, looking for something, a flaw in the Guardian's protective housing, an entrance.

"I can smell you, you dirty thief. You can't escape me." The reek of the thief seeps through the cracks in the window, finding the Guardian, no longer asleep in his cot. The guardian sniffs again, and catches the smell of a familiar, yet unwanted presence. The guardian knows what the thief wants, and who he is, but the guardian must distract him for a moment.

"You will not find it here," called the Guardian through the walls of his house.

"I will not find it here," the thief muttered, entranced, before shaking his head clear of the magic. "Yes I will," he declared darkly, "Your mind game caught me off guard, but no more."

Although magic walls separated the two foes, they talked as if in the same room. However, both were merely buying time. The Guardian knew he had no chance against the thief, Emerson, the dark lord of all time. So he searched his house for his valuables, in an effort to escape. Emerson had his own plan, but after finding no entrance on the ground, (with or without magic) he went to climb a tree in a patch only a few feet from the cabin. He worked by random lightning strikes, and the fading light of the waning moon. As the thief found footholds, the Guardian located his magical tools.

At the top of the tree, the thief magically balanced himself on a sturdy branch. He leapt nimbly, (with a bit of magic) onto the roof, but the Guardian took no heed. He concentrated only on creating a vacuum with his staff, to shoot himself through the chimney. Escape was his only hope, he knew none could match the power of Emerson, none except for the true heir of the first king, Dorin. By order of the king, Telendin guarded the magic staff, from Emerson, and for the true heir. Only he could wield it and its' counterpart against Emerson to undo the damage he had sewn. As much as Telendin wished he descended from Dorin, he knew it wasn't true.

Focusing all his energy, he leapt up the chimney, up into the air, and sensing Emerson on the roof, aimed for a tall sequoia in the patch of trees near his house.

"You are a fool, Telendin," Emerson barked, "you will have to come down some time." Both sorcerers held their staffs in a threatening pose, but neither cast a spell, for a counter was easily predictable. They stared at each other, thoughts racing through their heads. Telendin knew what Emerson had said held truth, but he did not want to admit it.

"Give me the staff," Emerson demanded, "and I will leave you, and your pathetic islands alone."

"Do you expect me to believe a word of that rubbish. I will not see the day when you destroy these islands again," Telendin threatened.

"Do you suggest I kill you then?" Emerson asked, liking the idea. Telendin did not answer the question. He gazed around quickly, looking for something, but he never lost sight of Emerson. Both of their expressions burned with anger and impatience, but Emerson's whole body seemed to flame with an inextinguishable wrath.

"Come down here then," Emerson commanded, stamping his foot on the roof, "for your last fight." Emerson smirked as he summoned a fireball in the palms of his hands. Telendin only smiled back at Emerson, his gray hair waving from a gust of wind.

Telendin stood up to his full height in the tree, swiping away the branches, and he spoke before he jumped, "No Emerson, you are the fool." As Telendin jumped, Emerson grinned, but the smirk vanished quickly as large, brown wing scooped Telendin up out of the air, and into the sky above. Angrily, Emerson released the fireball at a tree, burning it to the ground, and catching the grass ablaze. The forest burned to the ground in a few days, But Emerson, upon his black Dragon, and Telendin upon the hawk, Grace Wings, were both long gone. * * * * * *

"Fire! Burning! PAIN! Noooo!"

At the sound of these screams, a guard came rushing up the stairs, heart pounding, and sweat pouring down his cheeks.

"My lady," he puffed, barging through the door with his sword drawn, "what troubles you?"

"My father," the princess gasped, "where has my father gone?"

"Asleep in his room, no doubt," the guard answered, "lest he heard your cries."

"I must see him. Will you take me to him?"

"Yes, my lady," the guard answered, sheathing his sword, "I will take you to see the King, but first I must arouse another guard to man my post in my absence." The guard left briskly leaving the princess alone in her bedroom. She sat up as elegantly as ever, even in her time of strife. The neck of her robe felt soaked beneath her delicate fingers. The dream had caused that. Her father had said that the affairs of men need not worry her, but she had felt almost the complete opposite the past few days. Every night she worried about her long-lost brother, the only one who could fulfill the prophecy.

She could remember the night almost too well.

"Gena," the King called from down the hallway, "I want you to take care of the castle tonight, while Alende and I are out hunting."

"But father, you're being ridiculous. He's only four. He won't get any experience at anything except for crying at big scary monsters."

"Gena, Gena, what am I going to do with you. If he's going to be King, he better start now. Like I always say, 'there's no time like the present'." Then the King walked off, but paused before turning the corner. "Oh, and Gena, do be a good girl, and go to bed at eleven, I should return a few minutes later, and I'll come tell you good night."

Her father set out at five 'o clock, but Gena couldn't find much to do, except eat, and help the maidens with various tasks. However, the clock only read nine when she found herself awaiting her father on the marble steps. The maidens and guards tried to prompt her with activities, and only extremely reluctantly did she take a bath at 10:30. Afterwards she lay in her bed until 11:30, and then she returned to the steps.

"Why are you still up?" a maid asked passing by with some laundry.

"My father's late," Gena snorted.

At midnight, she heard the sound of hooves, but no sound of trumpets, the mark of a good hunt. She ran out in her gown to greet her father, spreading her arms in a great hug.

"Go to bed," he objected.

"I must tell Alende goodnight," she persuaded, "he's my brother."

"Not anymore." Gena sensed a tone of sadness in his voice, but she didn't find out what he meant until the morning, and as she reflected on this memory, she wished she hadn't. After an attack by orcs, her brother had gone missing. The first few minutes went about as a light spirited search, but the King soon understood what happened. Alende was not playing a game; he was indeed, lost. After an hours search, the party felt exhausted, as well as their hope. They returned home, without Alende.

Just thinking about the memory made Gena sad, but the dream worried her more so. The guard returned, prepared to escort her.

"The King awaits, Gena. Let us go."

Gena followed him as they left her bedroom, and climbed the long staircase to the top floor.