Search for the Staff

Chapter 9: Wandering Sheep

A/nn: My friend said I'm not drawing this out long enough. So I will try to make things last longer, and go and fix earlier events at a later point. Feel free to tell me anything you get from reading the chapter. If it seems to you that I'm writing this rushed or anything else tell me. BUT, I can tell the difference between helpful pointers and plain stupidity. Not that anyone has done that yet, but for future reference. So here it is, chapter nine, hopefully draaaawwwwwnnnn out:

"You're getting closer Gena," Telendin complimented her the next day, during her training. "Just a little more energy, and I'll let you continue on with the next lesson."

With the prospect of her first Wind lesson close at hand, Gena tried exceptionally hard to summon the sparks of fire in her hands, before throwing them into the pond. She concentrated severely, and glowing embers soon were concealed in her grasp. Instinctively she threw them into the pond.

"Well done Gena, well done. You have now mastered the basics of all the elements.except for maybe Earth, you must try to strengthen your Earth power."

"Yes I know." she replied resentfully.

"Now let us break for a moment. You have tried increasingly more to strengthen your magic in these past two days, and such usage tires one out."

Telendin did not speak up, as if he had a tale to tell, so Gena started some conversation.

"So why did it take me so long to finish Earth, when I have gone through the other three in a matter of hours?" she asked.

"It is hard to explain this." he looked at her down his long nose, and fingered through his beard, "but while all wizards have their mastery element, most also have one that takes the longest to develop. Earth also took you so long because you were trying to focus, not do an actual spell. Your brother distracted you, not your inability to use Earth."

"I see." she said, "." but she couldn't say anything else, because Telendin spoke up again.

"But something has been bothering me. You have grasped these elements with such skill and finesse, that I wonder whether your brother does have magical abilities. I should ask Margron."

"Who's that?" she wondered.

"The other guardian, but never you mind. You have no business with him." he trailed off before remembering what they were doing, "now about that Wind lesson."

They both rose out of their comfortable seats, and both, in unison, picked up their staffs. Gena nodded at him prepared to start her first lesson.

"It is useless to spend time mastering the basic Wind Call, because you have already become a master at it with no help. So we will begin your wind mastery with the advanced Wind Call, as do all basic skills have."

"When will we get to chanting incantations?" she asked persistently.

"Do please forget that I said anything about that last night. I forgot about the advanced forms of these spells. We are weeks from getting to those spells," he said, disappointing Gena. "But!" he added more cheerfully, "these skills are far more difficult than those wimpy beginner spells. Now hold your staff out in front like I am."

Gena followed his directions, and placed both hands on her staff, firmly gripping it. She stared at him for further instructions.

"Now loosen your grip, and elevate your staff above the ground a few inches. Yes very good," he applauded her. "This is the part of the spell: filter your energy into the staff, and when you have filled it with the required amount for your task, you will slam it into the ground."

Gena did the best she could to allow that sensation of flowing energy run through her. Her fingers began to tingle, and she knew the shift from flesh to wood was going smoothly. After allowing her energy to flow for several seconds, she slammed the rod into the ground, and the wind immediately gushed from behind her back, picking Gena up, and tossing her a few feet forward, where she landed a bit dazed.

"Well done Gena, well done!" the guardian congratulated her again. He seemed to be a motivational person, congratulating anyone with the slightest accomplishment. "Now repeat the process."

Gena did several more times, getting blown less and less as she became more familiar with the spell. When she could attempt it no more, she sat down in the grassy patch she had created with her misfired flame tosses. She had singed the grass around the area, and Telendin had put it out.

She breathed heavily for several moments before she tried to speak, but she couldn't. Her life energy had been drained too much. She felt like an infant, unable to talk or speak. Lying back in the grass, she stared through a whole in the canopy of the forest. Birds were passing by in their V formations, and trees leaned to and fro consistently, bending with the speed and direction of the wind. She closed her eyes, and began humming a lullaby her mother had sung to her when she was younger:

Sweet baby, what lovely eyes you have

Oh how lucky I am to have a child like you

If ever you doubt this, remember thy song

Of love and cherishing, forever.

But that was all she could remember of her mother. When Alende had disappeared, her father had tried to control her life, and make her less like a woman, and more like a man. Ironic as it was, he wanted a man, but wouldn't let her interfere in the issues of men. A lullaby from her mother, and a fear from her father, what splendid memories!

She opened her eyes, and returned to the island that she had been lying on before the peaceful remembrance of the song from her youth. Sitting up, she rotated her head to look for the guardian, but he was nowhere in sight. She concluded that training had ended for the day, but decided to get up, rather than return to the memories of her parents, of which she had so few. She collected her staff from the ground, lying by the pond, and began to walk towards the cabin.

Leaves crumpled under her feet, a signal that the cold season had arrived. Her shivering was more of an obvious signal than the crunching leaves. A cold front had seemed to come in while she dreamed. She walked more briskly down the path after the wind hit her. She tried to redirect it, but even that simple task proved near impossible with her low level of magic left. The princess could feel it regenerating, slowly but surely. Running up the steps to the cabin, she carelessly let her staff fall to the side of the steps, and entered the cozy home. Gena closed the door quickly behind her as she entered.

"Bit of cold weather we're having now, aren't we?" the wizard asked crouched by the fireplace, starting it with embers similar to the ones Gena could summon. She shook her head, shivering in response, and went to sit by the fire. She began to lounge by the fire as she warmed up more. Gena no longer had to crouch; keeping herself concealed within her pitiful jacket. Warmth seeped through her skin, a reverse feeling of using magic, after several minutes of her face in the fire.

"You might want to make yourself a sweater, winters tend to be fierce here" the wizard stated, in suggestion. Gena merely nodded while day dreaming about warm cocoa and leopard skin bathrobe. Telendin noticed this, and made the suggestion again.

"Oh!" she started, "I must have drifted off there. I'm dreadfully sorry! Now what were you saying?" she trailed off, licking her lips of the imaginary marshmallows.

He repeated himself once again, as composed as ever, but he did not get the reaction he had hoped for.

"What makes you think I know how to sew?" she asked offended. "Or is sewing a skill that all men associate with being a woman's task?"

"No, no," he replied calmly, although rather surprised, "that's not what I meant. How do you think I have come by all my clothes? There is not a store for many leagues across the sea between this island and the mainland. And even if there was, with what would I buy these things?" he asked, pointing at his clothes that loitered the room. She remained quiet; "I by no means expected you to sew yourself a sweater and myself one! I merely thought that it remained tangible that your mother taught you how," he raised his voice, scoffing as he did so, but it did not intimidate Gena. She began to laugh and smile along with him.

"You shall have to teach me then, guardian," she stood up, outreaching her hands willingly to learn a new craft. "I am ready to learn wizard."

"Then fetch the coats out of the closet in the corner; they are insufficient for the colder days, but they will do for now. We must find my sheep before you can make a sweater," he answered all the questions on her puzzled face.

"Oh," she answered subtly before going into the closet. Dust flew in her face as she opened the doors, and she coughed intensely for a few moments, and then attempted to open her eyes again. After most of the dust had floated out of the closet, there was still a thick film of it on everything in the closet. She poked one of the hanging items, she couldn't tell what it was from all the dust, and the allergen fell like rain.

"Telendin." she muttered, disgusted by the ghastly sight of the closet.

"Yes it does tend to get that dirty when I don't get in it for a year. You should feel privileged to be in there. It is such a profound annual event!" he laughed.

"I am honored," she returned in an equally sarcastic voice. She found the light jackets quickly after that, once she accustomed herself to the dust. She took them outside to shake them as well as she could, and blankets of dust fell off. They still looked incredibly dirty after minutes of shaking, but the cold was infiltrating her brain, so she retreated to the safety of the cabin.

She handed one of the jackets to Telendin, and wrapped herself in the other while warming herself by the fire. Telendin stood up from his seat by the fire, cloaked himself in the jacket, and retrieved his staff in a matter of seconds. Gena followed suit by standing up from her crouching position by the fire, and she reached for her staff before she remembered she left it outside.

Seeing for an instant, the worried look on Gena's face, Telendin asked, "Where's your staff Gena?"

"I dropped it outside when I came here," she answered.

"Never," a dark spell came over his face, "Leave Your Staff Beyond Your Grasp!" he emphasized the beginnings of the words with a staccato pronunciation.

"I.I'm s.s.sorry," she stumbled over her words. Gena cowered before him as he rose up with intimidation. But before long the old man returned, and he hunched over his staff, beckoning Gena from the floor.

"Forgive me Gena," he sighed, "I don't know what came over me. It must be some dark spell of Emerson's."

She waved it off as if to say it was nothing, but deep down she couldn't really tell this to herself. Deep down she knew that it wasn't a curse of Emerson's that caused Telendin's strange behavior. That was just an excuse, and Emerson seemed the most reasonable person to blame. What had caused the guardian's strange behavior came from within; stress. But not just any kind of stress, it was the sort of stress that a mother feels for a late arriving child. His situation goes deeper still. A mound of dependency sits upon Telendin's shoulders, dependency that he instructs Gena correctly.

But these were all just speculations, Gena knew. In fact, she thought hoping for a simple solution; it had just been Emerson's fault.

"Let's go Gena," Telendin commanded, pushing her out the door, "we need to conserve our energy and not waste it on producing light while it still shines brightly in the sky."

She nodded as Telendin closed the door behind them.

I guess this is the end. I must of finished this a couple of weeks ago and then forgotten about it. I may combine this and the next chapter together eventually, but as for now this is it. Sorry it took so long to those of you that don't have tons of other things to do, or even if that is just my excuse. and to top it all off, my computer still isn't working, I'm just using my Dad's laptop.