Chapter One: Appearance

A/N: Yay, my first story on this site! :D! Ooh, and I don't have to do a disclaimer either. Good, it was kind of a pain on to have to keep repeating It's not mine. So… review please so I know if this story's worth continuing! But even if people say it's dumb, I'll probably still write it cause it's fun, hehe. Now on with the story!

I sit cross-legged on the floor of my cluttered bedroom, staring out the window and admiring the contrast of the full moon against the black sky. I love the moon and the night, and I'm savoring the last bit of the weekend. Tomorrow's Monday, and I'm dreading it because I hate the school week.

A cloud drifts over the moon, bringing deeper darkness than normal. My light is off and I can't see anything around me. When the cloud passes, I blink and am about to resume gazing through the glass when I notice a sword lying lengthwise along the windowsill.

The sword, halfway out of its sheath, gleams in the bright moonlight. The handle and sheath are black, but the blade and a small crescent moon-shaped symbol at the end of the handle are pale silver. It's beautiful, but what the heck is it doing here? I know it wasn't there before the cloud.

Ignoring my nervousness, I get up, stride over to the window, and draw the sword out of its sheath, holding it up in front of my face to examine it. I feel a jolt of excitement and pure joy as I grip it. Any fear of the sword disappears instantly.

For a while I just stand there, happy with my new sword. But then I suddenly feel exhausted. I climb into bed, hiding my sword underneath the mattress. I fall asleep quickly because I'm so tired.

When I wake up the next morning, the first thing I think about is the sword. I get up and pull it out. It still gleams with a white light even though it's under yellowish indoor lights.

I wish I could bring you to school with me, I think to it. But there's no way I'd be allowed. I guess I'll have to leave you here then… But I'm already too attached to it to be okay with leaving it behind.

I jump about a foot as the sword quickly shrinks. In about a second I can't see where it is anymore… but I have a ring on my right middle finger that I didn't have before… Did the sword change into a ring? I guess so. Now that I look closer, it makes sense. The ring is a smooth black band with the silver moon symbol at the widest part on the top. At first I'm a little scared, but when I'm about to pull it off I realize it feels comforting to wear it.

I grin and start getting ready for school, leaving the ring on. The clothes I change into are a dark gray shirt, black jeans, and black boots. I head into the bathroom to brush my teeth and freeze as I catch sight of myself in the mirror.

I used to have curly red hair and gray-green eyes, but not anymore. Now my hair is pure black and layered, but still down to mid-back. My eyes are fully gray. Even my skin is different, really pale now instead of tan.

For a full minute I stand perfectly still, scared stiff. What happened to me?!

Once I get control of my mind again I wonder if the sword somehow did this. I know a normal sword couldn't, but doesn't the way the sword appeared show it's magic? And a magic sword has endless possibilities, right?

Uh oh… Everyone at school's going to wonder what happened. That drives the fright out of me for now as I try to figure out what to do. Umm… I'll say I dyed my hair. And my eyes… Well, they were already sort of gray, so I'll just hope no one notices since it's been a few days since the last school day. What about the paleness? Maybe I'll get lucky and no one'll notice… fat chance, but what can I do? Ah well, hopefully everyone'll think the black hair is what's making me look paler.

I sigh and finish getting ready, figuring I shouldn't worry too much about the change because it probably won't do any harm. After going downstairs and eating a fast bowl of cereal, I walk to school. At least I don't have to see my family this morning – they'd know I'm lying about dying my hair. I'll have to think up an excuse by the time I get home.

"Aroven! Hi!" my friend Rawiya calls from the corner where our paths meet up. ((A/N: Yes, that's where I got my pen name, Aroven ;). And yes, Rawiya's a real name, I saw it on a name site. Aroven I made up though.))

"Hey!" I reply, waving. I reach the corner.

"Whoa! You dyed your hair!" she says excitedly as we keep walking. "Nice."

I try to smile, and fortunately pull it off. "Thanks."

"So, how'd the weekend go?"

Mentally, I thank her for changing the subject. Shrugging, I reply, "Fine. Just hung around. You?"

"It was cool. I went to a concert…" And she's off describing the concert in detail. She chats a lot, but I don't mind. Yeah, I kind of tune her out once in a while, but not too bad.

Rawiya's still talking when we get to school. She only stops when we get to our lockers. "Oh, I almost forgot!" she gasps. "The auditions are today!" The practices for a school play are going to start soon. In the play there's a band, and the auditions for that band are this afternoon. We're both going to try out, Rawiya for piano and me for guitar.

I gape. "Oh dang, I thought it was tomorrow!"

"Are you ready?" she asks worriedly.

"Yep," I grin. "I picked a song I've been playing for ages, so it shouldn't be too bad. And I've practiced more lately too. You're ready, right?"

She nods.


We head off to our separate classes. I get to math class, sit down, and doodle while I wait for the bell to ring. But the doodles don't work out and I have to stop when I get too frustrated. I hate bad drawing days.

The bell rings and the teacher starts talking while we take notes. It's a dull class. At least I have ceramics/sculpture next. I wait impatiently, but the notes drag on and on.

Finally I get to head off to ceramics. I get out my clay sculpture of a castle. I work on it happily and finish early. Yay! I carry it over to the drying shelves and set it down. Turning, I start to walk back to my desk, but when I've only gone a step I hear a crash.

Jerking around, I see that some kid tripped on a chair and knocked it into the drying shelf. The shelf rattles, and my castle tips off. It hits the floor, where a puddle had been made by a bucket on the chair spilling. The castle smashes. The mixture of clay and water splatters over my boots and most of my jeans. I stand and stare. I don't believe it.

"Sorry!" the kid says. He's starting to clean up the water.

I feel like yelling at him, but I don't. I try to get off some of the clay, and then I ask the teacher if I can call my mom and go home to change. She says yes and sends me to the office.

My mom picks me up a few minutes later. I have to put plastic over the seat on the car ride home. Before I go in the door I have to take off my boots, and on the way upstairs to my room I'm really careful not to get clay all over. I change my jeans and head back downstairs.

Sighing, I pull on my tennis-shoes, annoyed because my boots are my favorite shoes. My mom takes me back to school. Lunch is partway over. Great. Now I've missed out on part of the one and only break during school. I go sit with Rawiya and some other friends, and start eating.

"Where've you been?" Rawiya asks.

"Some idiot knocked over my clay project and got clay all over my jeans, so I had to go home and change," I complain.

"Ouch," she comments.

The next two classes go by boringly. There's a test in science, and it's hard. I can't tell how I did. Finally it's time for the auditions. I meet up with Rawiya there, and we hang around till it's our turn. She goes first, and does really well. I do okay at first, but then my ring slips partway off my finger and starts messing me up. During a rest I manage to get it back on right, but it makes me slightly behind. I cringe and finish up my song. The judges say "good job" at the end, but they say that to everyone and it means nothing.

"How'd it go?" Rawiya asks when I come out of the audition room.

"Bad," I grunt.

"Why? I thought you said you knew the song," she says.

"I do know the song. I can play it fine. Just had bad luck this time – my ring started falling off so I did bad." In my thoughts I'm ranting on about how it wasn't fair that I did so much worse than normal and how it wasn't my fault.

"Oh, sorry. What you count as bad is still pretty good though… Maybe you'll get in anyway," she suggests hopefully.

I sigh and don't reply, but I don't think it's very likely.

That night, I sit on my bed and fiddle with my ring. I wish today hadn't happened… It's not like other days are a whole lot better though… Darn, I hate life right now… I wish I could have a different life… or at least that my life would change…

Suddenly I'm standing instead of sitting, the ring is the sword again, its sheath is belted around my waist, and I'm in a clearing in the middle of a dark forest. "WHAT THE HECK?!" I screech.

A shadowy figure moves out from under the trees. Great, just like some dramatic movie. The person comes closer and I can see she's about my height. I can't see her face because she's wearing a dark green cloak with the hood up. She draws a sword. It's similar to mine, only the blade is green, the sheath and handle are brown, and there's a green leafless tree carved into the end of the handle. She holds it up and stops in front of me.

"Who—who're you?!" I ask in a shaky voice.

"Gweneth, Defender of Forests," she answers in a clear voice, sliding her sword back into its sheath. After a pause she commands, "Put your sword away. You don't need it."

I slowly obey, but I'm still scared stiff. "What's going on?! Where are we?!" I ask frantically.

"We are in my forest. You're here because of your sword," Gweneth answers.

That doesn't exactly explain anything, and it doesn't comfort me one bit. "What do you mean?"

After a moment she says slowly, "Years ago, six swords were discovered…" She continues telling a story, and I listen, keeping myself from trembling or interrupting out of nervousness.