Orb Quest

Chapter 2: Walk Through Fire and Smoke

"So you're Álende?" the woman guessed.

"Do you read minds?" Álende asked, wondering how she knew his name, but also partly knowing.

"That is irrelevant, and you do not answer a question with another question. So I ask again if you are Álende?" She demanded, but still with an eased expression.

"Yes..." he murmured.

"Speak louder boy, I can't hear you!" she instructed.

"If you're going to act like my teacher," he spoke clearly and agitatedly, "then you might as well continue on your own."

"No, no boy. I'm not going to be your teacher; I'm just trying to help you help you unlock your power within."

"What power?" he asked with determination.

"There! Good! You aren't so timid anymore. Now if we can continue with our introductions, you may call me Jadis."

"I feel honored to meet you Jadis," Álende replied sarcastically.

"That's another thing we'll have to work on; you being serious."

Álende only glared at her. The two new companions pressed on down the streets, Álende following obediently even though he thought that he had never seen her around these parts. She walked instinctively, knowing exactly where she wanted to go, even though secretly she was partly guessing. She was the kind of person who you would never know was at the mercy of another person. Jadis never looked it, or acted it.

"Where are we going?" Álende asked after following for over an hour.

"The blacksmith," she answered simply, "you need a sword."

"Well I haven't been there many times...but I think it's down that way," he pointed to the street behind them.

"Yes I know," she replied craftily, "you also needed some exercise."

Even Álende could tell this was just an excuse for not knowing where they were going.

The two new companions turned around and headed in the direction Álende had pointed, and sure enough, his judgment had proved correct this time. He found himself staring at the finely crafted swords and bronze helms in the window display, until Jadis ushered him inside.

Smoke escaped outside as they entered, and into their nostrils. The pungent smell of burnt metal filled the room, as did the smoke and they immediately felt as if they were suffocating.

"Hoy there!" called one of the men from the back, "here! Take these. We don't want you collapsin in our lil' shop. It's bad fer business," he tossed them each a mask.

"Th ...Thank you!" Álende coughed through his mask.

"So what can I do fer you?" asked the little man, who Álende now recognized as a dwarf. He had only heard of them in stories, and his parents had said that they didn't know if they even existed anymore. He wondered what they would say if they knew that one, if not more, worked in the town's very own blacksmith.

"He needs.achoo! A sword," Jadis answered for Álende.

"Well then lil' master, come with me. We mighten just 'ave the perfect thing fer you."

Álende followed the dwarf through the thick smoke into a hallway where the smells of the shop seemed to collide to together. The dwarf took out a chain of keys, and stuck an old bronze one into the doorknob on their right.

"Now." the dwarf spoke before opening the door, "be quick about entering the room, and be careful about what you touch." Álende took this as a warning, and slipped in the room as soon as the dwarf had opened the door. Some of the smoke attempted to follow them in, but a magic barrier seemed to repel it.

Álende couldn't describe what he saw when he entered. He had never seen such rich and beautiful swords and armor in his life; not even in storybooks. But he thought to himself regretfully, 'there's no way I can pay for any of these.'

"I'm sorry," Álende decided to speak up before he did anything irrational, "but I don't have the money to pay for any thing in here. They must cost fortunes!"

"That they do laddie, but there is one treasure in here that does not. A treasure that seems so worthless, but I bet it's not. There's something about you that told me I should you give you a chance with this sword. Go on." he continued, "open up that chest in the corner; it's not locked."

Álende wasn't so sure. What could this treasure be? How was it worthless? What did it do to claim no owner? All these questions he asked himself as he approached the wooden chest. Doubtfully he opened the chest. Inside lay a small sword, that seemed rather ordinary and nothing special to Álende. He picked it up with both hands, fairly optimistic about what may be on the inside of the sword. Nothing happened. Then he swung it.

The sword seemed to take on a life of its' own. Something seemed to flow from Álende's fingertips into the hilt of the sword, which gave it power, and it seemed, the ability to swing itself freely and controllable. All this baffled Álende, but what bewildered him the most was what the sword began to change into. The blade began to shine a bright gold color, and the hilt embedded itself with rubies and emeralds of types not even the dwarf had seen in all his years of sword making.

Once the transformation had completed, Álende let the sword drop to the ground, and both he and the dwarf stared at it in awe. Finally after a long moment of silence, the dwarf spoke up:

"All right." he proclaimed, "I'll give it to you fer what it woulda originally cost, and that's five silver pieces. So let's go up to the front to pay.my god! I never thought that woulda happened."

Álende picked the sword up off the ground from where it lay, and looked at it again. 'There's no way!' he thought. 'This sort of thing only happens in stories, not to some average boy with strange dreams.' Unbelievable as it was, he couldn't help smirking when he said he would pay for it when Jadis said, "How much money do you think I have?" And he couldn't resist a laugh when she gaped at the price. "Major sale," he would've said, but decided to refrain from it.

"Well." she said rather awkwardly as they left the store, "now that you have a sword, (which she eyed suspiciously in it's sheath that he bought as well) I guess we better be going. People might ask questions if they see that thing in your possession."

It didn't take long to get out of town; shops were just now opening, and it appeared that Jadis knew perfectly well how to pass through the town, just not how to navigate in it. When they reached the edge of town, Jadis paused for a moment before continuing on at a faster pace.

"What was that for?" Álende asked, attempting to catch up to her.

"Oh.nothing," she shooed him away.

"No, it was something," he insisted, "and I know it. That was a sort of pause where you think; 'could it really be?' And then you decide against it because you know you should have in the first place. But that thought will continue to haunt you, won't it? I am right aren't I?" he smirked.

"Fine! You're right. If you want to know what's been bothering me, it's that sword. I don't know what you did with it in that back room, but it's generating the same energy that you're emitting.and swords don't generate energy!"

"What do you mean I'm emitting energy?" Álende asked, confused.

"Don't you know?" she asked, in a tone that represented 'what planet are you from?' "You have magic energy; you're a natural born sorcerer."

"Since when?" he asked, not understanding.

She turned away in disgust, "since you were born. Your parents should have gone to someone to see if you had magic in your blood, but clearly they didn't."

"Oh." he answered, not trying to sound too surprised, "so I can do magic and stuff?"

"Yes you can do magic and stuff, but you will need some training. I can give you the basics in all elements, but to find your mastery, you will most likely have to encounter another great sorcerer to the king. I am doubtful that you will become a master of water as I am."

"Why are you doubtful?"

"Because every sorcerer and sorceress can only master one element," she answered, now frustrated at Álende's poor upbringing.

"Oh." he replied, "I didn't mean to make you made."

"You didn't," she waved it off, "your thick-headed parents did."

As much as he had liked his parents, even Álende couldn't help laughing.

** Thanks for reading as always. I haven't checked my reviews in a couple days, but thanks to Digi Daydreamer for reviewing both stories. I know it's still short, I will try to make them progressively longer, until it gets too long. Update on Search for the Staff: I had most of the seventh chapter typed out, and then poof! My computer decides to be gay. It was partly my fault, but I'm very mad at my computer right now, so I'm going to try and see if there's any way to revive the chapter. Other wise I'll have to type it out again and maybe it'll come out even better.who knows? Anyway, some surprises are in store for Álende and Jadis, so keep looking out for an update every week or two, and sometimes longer, but don't give up, and keep reviewing =)