Hello and welcome to my story, Element of Survival. This story has been on my mind for the better part of two years now, and this is the year I plan to get it all out. I hope you enjoy it.

I would like to know how I'm doing. I notice a lot of people reading the first chapter, but not many continuing. Please, even if you don't like thic chapter...let me know what you didn't like! Please review! I want to know the good and the bad :)



Part 1 Cursed

Chapter 1

Garen silently finished the words of the spell, his charge trembling beneath his hand. The man's eyes were open wide as the pain of Garen's curse started to grip him. Finished his gruesome task, Garen removed his hand from the elemental's chest. The poor fellow fell to his knees as a slight whimper escaped his lips.

"I'm sorry," Garen said. He hated doing this. These people did not appear to be the monsters the Council described. He offered his charge a glass of watered wine. His offer went unnoticed, however, as the man looked down at his chest.

Sitting down, Garen studied the man as he sipped the wine, its sweet taste not quite enough to remove the bitterness from his mouth.

This charge was tall for an elemental, perhaps five and a half feet. His long and slender body was not muscular, but was well toned. His straight blonde hair was dirty and clung to his sweat soaked neck. From this angle, he looked human.

The man looked up at him suddenly. All illusion of humanity left the man as his red eyes, glowing softly with his power, burrowed into Garen. "What have you done to me?" he asked in a hollow voice.

"I have carried out the will of the Council," Garen stated in an apologetic tone. He took another sip of wine, wishing he could escape those red eyes. The elemental looked down at his chest were Garen's hand print sat painfully. He touched the mark causally wincing slightly at its tenderness. Placing his hand over the mark, the elemental closed his eyes in concentration.

"No! You mustn't!" Garen yelled as he sprang from his seat. The sound of the glass of wine as it shattered against the stone floor was lost in the sound of the man's screaming. Garen quickly slapped the Elemental's hand from his chest.

The man fell to the floor, suppressing a sob. The hand print on his chest glowed an angry white. When he looked up, Garen saw that his eyes had lost their red glow.

"What have you done to me!" the man screamed in pain and rage.

"That is the Mark of Zeoden. Every time you use your power, the Mark will inflict the amount of power you use on you as pain." Garen sighed and sat down again. "Please don't try to heal it again. You will only end up killing yourself."

The elemental sat up. The burn had started to cool, though it now looked far redder then it had. "Why?!"

"It was deemed by the Council that all Fire elementals be given the Mark to insure that you will never turn against the people of Edefern again."

The Fire elemental looked at him in shock. "Since when did you Humans take an interest in Elemental affairs and punishment?" he said in a dangerous voice.

"Since the Fire elementals burned half the human lands," Garen retorted, his voice gaining an angry edge, all sympathy for the man gone.

"You humans know nothing," the elemental stated flatly as he turned his back on Garen.

"We know what you show us! You damn fire weavers murdered and burned your way half across our lands. You know nothing of the pain and devastation you have caused us. In my opinion your kind is lucky to be getting off so easy."

There was a tense silence between the two. Garen stared hard at the man's back in aggravated frustration. The fact that one so small and powerless could act so above him caused Garen to clench his fists in anger. The elemental looked over his shoulder at Garen, his darken red eyes holding an air of mystery.

He held Garen's gaze for a moment. "If that was the case, Spell Caster, why did you apologize?" he asked in a soft voice.

Garen stared at the man for a while, shaking in rage. "Guards!" he yelled. The guards came and half carried, half dragged the man from the casting room.

Garen stood there for a long time, staring at the door to the small room. He was angry, but he couldn't place the anger. The elemental hadn't really offended him. Garen had cast this spell more then a hundred times now, and each fire weaver had wanted to know why.

Slowly he turned, running over the events that had just transpired. He walked back to the small table and sat in one of the two wooden chairs. Shaking his head he picked up the bottle of wine.

Why did I apologize? He thought to himself as he took a rather large draw from the bottle.