Once upon a time, in a land far, far away from here, several small creatures lived in a happy little forest. The name of the forest was the Cherry Forest, though no one knew what a cherry actually was, and the name of the nearest town was Umuthi, which was about an hour away by walking.
One of these creatures was a wind nymph that looked like a tornado. His name was Vertigo. The other creature was a fire nymph named Pyraxis, who looked like a flame.
The time came when everyone was gathered around the forest. A great festival was going on: the festival of the First Fruits. During this time, elves, gnomes, centaurs, nymphs and other creatures would celebrate by picking the fresh fruit off the trees. Everyone in the entire forest came to the celebrations.
Everyone, that is, except for Crystal. She was far away, in the other end of the Cherry Forest. In her dark castle that rose above the ground, surrounded by the plentiful Plumbum Trees and guarded day and night by evil creatures that go bump in the nighttime.
"Come, Kali," she said to her servant on the day before the feast was to begin. "Let us see what havoc and chaos we can wreak on these celebrations." Kali agreed to help, and the two of them set out to devise an evil scheme to ruin the Festival.
On the last day of the Festival, everyone was everywhere. Gnomes were showing off their fine craftsmanship with tools they'd made; centaurs were giving rides to the medium-sized folk; Pyraxis was staying as far away from the river as she could, and Vertigo had already made himself scarce for the day and disappeared. No one was prepared for the chaos that would strike at any given moment.
As the gnomes and elves were leaving and going back to their homes for the night, Vertigo was rudely awoken from his afternoon nap by a splash of cold water in his face.
"Py-" he opened his eyes and started to say, but then he realized that whoever it was wasn't Pyraxis, as she was afraid of going near water. "Alrighty, then, who are you and what do you want?"
The creature that Vertigo had been speaking to didn't answer immediately. She only flew around him, circling back and forth. She was a greenish colour, similar to grass in the early morning sunlight, and she had beautiful wings that were purple, red and orange.
"Don't mean to bother you, but, if you please, they've sent word that Goldenrod is missing," she said as soon as she stopped fluttering about enough to speak.
Vertigo eyed the stranger carefully, ever skeptical of her motives. "Right, but let us return to my original question. Who are you exactly?" His voice was flat and annoyed as he spoke quickly and slightly more loudly than normal. The only time he usually ever raised his voice was when he was angry at Pyraxis.
"Luminas, and Isaiah sent me to find you," she replied, still flapping her wings, though she'd perched herself on the ground. Isaiah was Goldenrod's special helper and messenger.
Vertigo didn't say anything immediately, as he was busy thinking about what to do next. Since Goldenrod always warned him to keep an eye on Pyraxis, who was younger and more mischievious than he, it would probably be a good idea to take her along on the adventure.
"Alrighty then, show me where Pyraxis is," he told Luminas. If Luminas was truly a servant and messenger sent by Isaiah, then she would know where Pyraxis was. There were always spies out and about in the Cherry Forest and it was always a good idea to make sure that nothing odd was happening.
Luminas giggled slightly and started glowing. She zipped off in front, almost leaving Vertigo in the dust behind her. "Follow me to the Ferrum tree!" Vertigo was closely behind after a few minutes, and soon they arrived in a small grove of Ferrum trees.
The Ferrum trees were glowing with a deep orange-red colour beneath the outer layers of their bark. Amidst the branches, Pyraxis sat, playing with a couple of dead leaves and setting them on fire for her own pleasure.
"Umm, hello Luminas!" she said once she saw the moth-like creature fly by. "Isn't it awesome that there's still more feasting and celebrating to do tomorrow?" She had forgotten that the Feast was already over and most everyone had left.
Vertigo nearly touched the ground near where Pyraxis was playing and blew the small flames out, turning Pyraxis' amusement to smoke and ashes. "Come on, Py, we've got work to do now," he said. Briefly, he and Luminas explained that Goldenrod had been captured towards the end of the Feast.
"Not now, Veti," Pyraxis made a fake yawn. "I'm tired."
Vertigo blew at her flames, surrounding her in a cloud of smoke. "I'm the one who is supposed to be tired!" he hissed at her. Luminas trembled and stepped back, not wanting to get between their argument. "Come on, we're going to Pravus Castle."
"Not now." Pyraxis said, yawning once again. This made Vertigo very upset, and he found a curled up leaf with water in it. Holding it over Pyraxis' head, he stared her down. "Forget it, Veti," she said, still using his pet name which made him even more annoyed than before, "No way am I going to Pravus now, especially not in the middle of the night!" With that, Vertigo released the water and Pyraxis made a sizzling sound. Unfortunately for him, it was not enough to extinguish her flames.
"Fine then," he said, pushing his glasses up onto his face so he could see once again. "Then I'm going by myself and you'll be sorry you didn't come." With that, he left, leaving Pyraxis alone with Luminas in the grove of Ferrum trees.
He set off on his adventure by himself, only taking what was absolutely necessary, like his glasses. If need be, he could find food and water in the forest without much problem at all.
After a while, however, he felt he didn't know where he was going. He had left the ever familiar area of the Cherry Forest, the trees and plants that he knew so well and had entered an area that he had only traveled to once or twice before.
"I knew this would happen!" he muttered under his breath to himself. He was now lost, and he knew it. He sat down, perching himself carefully on a stray Ferrum tree and waited for daylight… and someone to help him.
He tried keeping himself occupied while he was lost by humming songs, reciting all the facts about geography and history that he knew, making a to-do list of chores once he got back home- or if. After a while, these ideas only grew old and boring and he felt more and more lonesome by himself.
After what seemed like forever to Vertigo, he heard a rustle in the leaves below him and he dropped to the ground. Thinking that the noise may have belonged to Kali or another one of Crystal's servants, he jumped slightly, sending dirt flying around him. He heard a cough- someone choking on the dirt- and he spun around, almost letting his glasses fly off his face.
"Umm..." he heard a voice say. The voice was familiar, like one he'd heard before. "Hi." From the corner of one of his green eyes, he could see a light coming from behind the tree, the same Ferrum tree that he had been perching on only a few moments before.
"Py, what on earth are you doing here?!" he exclaimed, still careful to keep his voice down to a harsh whisper. He didn't want one of Crystal's servants to hear them.
"Luminas brought me," Pyraxis floated over to where Vertigo was, only inches above the ground. "She said you needed some help."
"Help, indeed!" Vertigo fumed under his breath. "I should have known." He huffed slightly and when he blew air towards Pyraxis, some of her flames turned to smoke.
"Aww, come on, Veti," Pyraxis said, once again using his nickname. "Luminas is here, too." Both turned almost simultaneously to see the multi-coloured moth flapping her wings rapidly behind them. Luminas giggled, but didn't say anything.
"Fine." Vertigo said with a sigh. He didn't want Pyraxis to tag along on his adventure, but since Luminas had brought her, he might as well let them come with him. "But we're going to be going into Pravus Castle, whether you like it or not."
Pyraxis sizzled slightly, letting off sparks. One landed on Vertigo and he blew it out quickly before he was burned. "Okay with me," she said. So, the three of them set off to find their way to Pravus Castle.
They walked in near silence for about half an hour. The only sound was a slight crackling from Pyraxis and the sound of Vertigo's whirlwinds spinning. Luminas had the special ability to fly without making noise at all. After a while, they came to a part of the forest that was dark.
"A-a-are y-you s-s-scared?" Pyraxis whispered to Vertigo. Vertigo had been frightened by the sudden darkness, but he shook his head, wanting to be brave for his friends. The trees were pointy and glowed eerily with a silvery tint.
Luminas giggled slightly, breaking the tense moment. She was easily amused, especially at Pyraxis' flames, which never ceased to move around in the wind.
"Come on," Vertigo said, motioning towards a large building. This building was surrounded by Plumbum trees. He heard something crash into something else, then a scream. He could also hear something else go bump. Pyraxis froze in her steps, Luminas closed her eyes, and Vertigo drew in a large breath of air. "We're almost there."
Once they got to the castle, they were greeted rather coldly by Kalium, or Kali for short. Only Luminas went forward at first, as Pyraxis and Vertigo were hiding near the Plumbum trees. Because Luminas shone her lights brightly, Kali shrunk in size, now only a small, purple bubble. Then, Luminas rushed in, poured water on Kali and flew away as fast as she could.
BANG!!! The whole ground shook and several of the Plumbum trees fell over. Vertigo had to pull Pyraxis out of the way of a crashing tree branch. A cry for help came from inside the castle, and Vertigo lead his friends through the gated door and into the dark corridor.
They raced through the corridors, flying as fast as they could and Luminas was not far behind. She had left what was left of Kali in the dirt outside, not concerned because it would take a few hours before Kali was able to move again. After a few minutes of searching, they found a long, narrow passageway that lead to the dungeons.
"Down here!" Vertigo whispered sharply. Pyraxis followed him closely and Luminas went after her. They made their way down the stone steps and into the lowest level of the dungeon, where Goldenrod was being kept.
However, once Goldenrod's cell was within their sight, Vertigo abruptly stopped. Since Pyraxis rarely watched where she was going, she didn't see Vertigo stop and went flying through the air after Vertigo tried to stop her.
"Look!" his voice was well below a whisper and Luminas had to strain her ears to hear. Vertigo made a motion towards the cell. Outside the lock, a glittering white shape appeared. "Crystal!"
Pyraxis tried to stop, but it was too late. As was said before, she went flying through the air, right into Crystal. Her flames had been smouldering before, but now they were scorching hot, due to having been frightened by the bang before.
"Nyaaahhhhh!" a screech came from the shape, which was now melting and turning into a watery substance on the cell floor. Pyraxis hardly realised what she was doing and soon she felt herself make a thud on the stone floor.
Meanwhile, Luminas had rushed off to retrieve the keys from the upper chambers. She fit the keys into the lock and the door swung open. Goldenrod rushed out of the cell.
"Come on, let's get out of here!" Vertigo hissed, pulling Pyraxis off the floor. The three who had rescued Goldenrod up the passage way and back out of the corridor as quickly as they could, Goldenrod running closely behind. It was only a matter of time before both Crystal and Kali were able to move again, and no one wanted to be around when that happened.
Once they got back home, the sun had almost risen. However, after their long adventure, everyone wanted to sleep. Goldenrod retired to his normal perch in one of the lone Ferrum trees and Luminas flew back down near the river bank. Pyraxis took her rest in the grove of trees she'd been sleeping in before and Vertigo settled in near an old bush, not far from the river. He removed his glasses, hung them on a branch above his make-shift bed, closed his eyes and fell asleep, anxious for the new adventures that tomorrow might bring and glad that he could share them with such a friend as Pyraxis.