Eletha sat with her back against a tall, branchy oak tree as she drank sparingly from her canteen. Grateful for the rest and shade she leaned her head back while fingering the hilt of her sword, Breeze. And the blade was what it was named. Eletha sat there thinking of when she received it from the armory at Gareth's house. Gareth was her teacher and since her parents had died, her guardian. As she had looked over the weapons in the armory, particularly for a sword, the weapon seemed like it was calling her. As Gareth had said the weapon chooses its master, not the master choosing it. And the sword had.
As she had picked it up, it seemed to fit her grip perfectly and was light but made of a metal that supposedly had come from the sky and didn't break. It was also very easy to wield and seemed as if the weapon told her arm what to do. Before she and her three friends had set out on their journey, Gareth had also given her a Palomino mare and Eletha had named her Lightning. The mare had lived up to her name traveling at such speeds sometimes the eye couldn't even figure out it was horse and rider but thought it was a breeze.
Eletha had set out to help the King, since she was the closest Wild Mage to him, because animals had been infected with some disease that was clearly sent by some sorcerer who disliked the King or someone in the Court. She had also set out because she wanted to become a knight. Eletha thought back to watching her mother defending their home from Gavidir bandits as her father and her mother were mercilessly cut down by them. Eletha was only five, and since her parents were of noble birth she could become a knight. Luckily, the King had made it so that girls and women could become knights. She wanted to do this, not for only the adventure, but to rid the land of people like the Gavidir bandits.
When she had set out, she set out with her three best friends. There was Jasmith who was short, around 5'1 and had black hair, brown eyes and dark brown, not black, skin that seemed tanned throughout the year. Mary was the same height as Jasmith with long black hair, brown eyes that were almost black and had a gleam of mischief in them all the time. And then there was Eletha's lifetime friend, Scott who had brown blonde hair and ocean-blue eyes that were hypnotizing. Scott had the same color as Eletha, white that tanned and burned easily with a good amount of freckles. Scott had known Eletha since she was one, since his parents and hers had been friends for a long time and next door neighbors. This scared Eletha because he always seemed to know her every move.
Eletha herself was tall, five feet and seven inches with stubborn brown eyes. She wasn't as tall as Scott who was six feet tall but one year older. Eletha smiled, at least she was taller than they Jasmith and Mary. Eletha also had just-below-shoulder length brown blonde curly hair which she mostly wore held up off her neck. She switched her thoughts to when the friends had decided to become knights after helping the King. Eletha remembered telling Gareth and smiled again thinking of how he went into the lecture about how young and naive people these days were but she finally persuaded the old man by saying how she'd also learn more sorcery.
That made him say yes, because he was eager for her to be able to be able to learn more of her magic since he taught her all he knew. He had sent them expecting Scott to protect them. A loud thump brought Eletha back to her senses. It was Scott sitting down that had made the noise. He looked at her smiling.
"You were thinking of things, weren't you?" he questioned.
"How'd you know?!" Eletha demanded.
"When you do, you sort of stare off and you don't seem to notice your surroundings." He smiled his eyes dancing with laughter.
"I do not." Eletha scowled.
"Yes you do, you can think whatever you want but you do."
"Hmm." she glared at him. -Who does he think he is, prodding me.- But she had to smile, Scott noticed every detail and it was kind of charming. She shook herself. "How long till we reach the the city of Peridoth?"
"About another ten miles or so." Scott said, lazily brushing a leaf off his loose, white blouse.
"Well, when are we going to start moving?! Mary, Jasmith! Where are you guys?! Come on! Let's go!" snapped Eletha.
"Eletha, jeez, do you have to call on the whole world's attention? Come on... don't you remember what old Gareth always said? Calm down." Scott said.
"Yea, yea, I know, patience is a virtue." Eletha replied with a slight hint of annoyance in her voice.
"Something you have to master." Scott drawled.
"Ha ha, funny. As I was saying, I think we should ride until sunset, then set camp."
"Yes, whatever you say my Peach." teased Scott.
Eletha punched him, Scott winced. Eletha's punches were not the lightest ones. Mary and Jasmith rushed up the hill. They were panting heavily when they reached the top of the hill. Their cheeks were bright pink and their faces donned with sweat.
Despite that, Mary was able to demand,"What's going on!? Is someone hurt or something?!"
"No, no. we're fine, but what about you, you guys look like you came from Hell." Eletha replied laughing.
"You would if you came running up over a bunch of rocks, through the woods and up a hill." Jasmith snapped. "Ok, we were-." Eletha started. "-just getting ready to leave." Scott finished as Eletha glared at him, obviously annoyed. As Jasmith sat down on a rock for rest, she wearily asked,"How long are we riding?" "Until sunset." Eletha said while saddling up her mare. "We gathered some roots and berries for the packs." Mary said. "Oh, yay, more fruit and roots, just what I want. Can't we have some meat at all. I mean that's all we've been eating, roots and berries! We might as well be eating dirt!" "Well you can." Scott smiled slyly. "Oh, no. I don't think so." Eletha said, horrified. He ran after Eletha, she ran away. Mary and Jasmith broke into a fit of laughter. When he caught up, he grabbed her tightly by the shoulders. She struggled and finally grasped his wrist and tripped him down onto the ground. Scott, not one to give in too easily, pulled her down with him. By the time they stopped horsing around, the two were covered in dirt. Mary and Jasmith tried to keep straight faces as Eletha and Scott walked towards them. Eletha pretended to walk to her horse and suddenly turned around and grabbed Mary and Jasmith and tripped them. "Now can we go?" Eletha asked. Mary and Jasmith got up, dusted themselves off, glared at Eletha and went to their horses. Mary's horse was all white, being this she earned the name Cloud. Cloud was over by Scott's horse, Rocky, who was found as a colt in the mountains of Trelbar, their home. Rocky was a black stallion with white specks on his hind legs. Then there was Jasmith's horse, Thunder. Thunder was grey with a coal black mane and tail. She also was Lightning's sister. Jasmith and Eletha were finishing saddling up their horses while further down, Mary and Scott were talking. As Scott tightened the girth on Rocky, Mary tried to think of what to say.
"So what do you think of the journey so far?" she asked.
"It's been fun. It's helping me to get a sense of adventure and get out of Trelbar, not that I don't like it there, it's just a change."
"Oh, I understand perfectly what you mean. Do you know of anything that is going to happen at the palace?"
"Besides the fact that Eletha will have quite a job healing all the animals? Well, actually, yes. There is going to be a ball for the beginning of the summer. It's for fun, to welcome us, and so the prince can meet some girls."
"Oh really? I didn't know, when were you supposed to tell us?"
"Yea, I was going to tell you as a surprise when we ate dinner but now you know so you can tell them if you like."
"So who are you planning upon asking?"
"I don't know, I was thinking of asking Eletha, but then again I'm not too sure." he stated, focused on tightening the saddlebags on Rocky."Well,
I'm ready, lets mount up and see if the other two are ready."
They both grabbed the high backs on their saddles and had their mounts walk over to Jasmith and Eletha. As they reached them, Eletha wass double checking her straps and horse for any loose girths or injuries. Seeing none, she looked up and spotted Mary and Scott already on their horses. She smiled and nodded to Jasmith, who gripped her horse's mane and swung over into the saddle.
"Come on, when are we going to leave? Could you move any slower my lady?" Scott inquired towards Eletha.
"Actually, I can." she stated while quickly grabbing the reins and swinging into the saddle. "Now was that fast enough for you m'lord?"
"Yes, it was quite satisfactory."
They all laughed at the stupidity of the conversation. -Scott acts as if the conversation never happened and he also hide the fact that he likes Eletha. And she, if she notices, does a pretty good job of hiding it. Hm,.. how odd, I wonder if she likes him?- Mary thought to herself.
"Well, if that's it, can we go?" Jasmith questioned impatiently.
To answer Eletha nudged Lightning into a quick walk as she turned onto the path. Mary trotted Cloud up to Eletha and fell in next to her talking about how things were going to be and about home. Behind them, Jasmith walked Thunder next to Scott behind the other two at a steady pace.
As they got further, they all stopped talking, each enjoying the fresh air and wondrous scenery around them. They all thought mentally to themselves. -Is this the exciting and wondrous place I've been missing out on my whole life? What wonders and excitement lies before? When will I see Gareth again?- Eletha pondered. The four friends rode further into the distance till they were nought but four shadows.
It was nearing mid-afternoon when they reached two forks in the road after traveling two miles or so.
"Which one should we take?" Jasmith questioned hastily.
"Hold on." Eletha answered.
Touching the tigers' eye wolf figure on her necklace, she began to call upon her magic. As a wolf began to howl inside her, her magic, gold in color, spread around her.
~Hello, it's me Eletha, I am a friend.~ She called out to the squirrels all around, particularly the ones nesting in a nearby tree. ~My friends and I are confused and don't know which path to take. Will you tell us?~
One of the squirrel chieftains, a big, burly, grey male replied ,~Left.~
~But why, the right looks safer and more welcoming?~
~Because the right was made to look like that. On that path it is very dangerous. There are mudslides and nasty creatures that dwell on that path. Left has very few dangers, if not any.~ he responded.
~I thank you for your kindness and help. Goodby for now.~ Eletha said.
~You're welcome!~ they all cried.
They spoke so loud, Eletha's head was hurting. When Eletha turned around all three of her friends were staring at her.
"What did they say!?"all three of them demanded.
Eletha gave a half-hearted chuckle. Sometimes it was good to know things others didn't.
"They said go left." she responded.
"But the right looks much more welcoming." Mary said confused.
"Yes, it does, but it's made to look that way. There are actually very nasty creatures and things like mudslides that way." answered Eletha.
"Well, it's a good thing we have your wild magic, Eletha." Jasmith said.
"True, but we all have magic that is good to have, and a big help."
Eletha retorted.
"Ok, let's go!" Mary said impatiently.
"Hey, I thought I was supposed to be the on to lose my temper." Eletha said weakly.
"Well, it's very easy for me to lose my temper, so let's go!" Mary replied tartly.
"Right then, let's move before she blows us up." Jasmith said.
"Don't think I wouldn't do that." Mary stated, her eyes gleaming with mischief.
As they went to mount their horses, Eletha tripped and fell. Her friends stood there to see if she was going to get up. As she got up, Scott
went to help her but Eletha only shook her head and stuck out her hand getting him to stay back. They looked at her with worry and concern when
she stood.
"Heh, heh, clumsy, I must be weak from using my magic at such a wide range." she managed to say twisting her mouth into a crooked smile.
Suddenly, Jasmith's eyes widened with horror.
"Scott! Grab her, she's going to faint!" Jasmith yelled.
"No...I'm...fi..." was all Eletha managed to say before she blacked out.
Her legs gave out from under her and she was falling back. All Eletha remembered before fainting was a pair of strong hands catching her.