The Chronicles of the Last Bender

Book 1: The Dawning of Power

By Michelle Randall

Chapter 1: The Fog

The night was black, made worse for the torrential rain falling from the unseen heavens above. Wind shrieked through the trees, banshees threatening the unwary with their fury. A trail wound itself through the trunks of mighty pines, and on this road was a lone traveler.

The traveler must find shelter, but none is to be found.

Her horse is tired, pushed beyond sane limits. They had to stay ahead of this accursed storm. That meant they were unable to stop. The creature's head hung low; the neck drooping. It wasn't going to last for long.

The traveler looked left then right, seeing nothing but darkness. She wore a long cloak that was attached by a broach at the neck. The hood was up, covering her head from the stinging rain. She wore a light brown jerkin, black pants, and boots. Her eyes were dark, ocean blue. Her hair was variant shades of brown. The face was bronze from traveling under the weather. Her name…. her name… Her name was Tanaya….. ….And at Tanaya's side was a silver sword inscribed with ancient runes. This sword was special; it was unique; it was magnificent…….

This was the Sword of Nagrau, the sword of her ancestor. A sword of superb power that made enemies kneel at her feet.

The horse lifted its head and halted, sensing something. Following the aim of the animal's ears, Tanaya peered through the gloom and saw nothing. The horse reared and started bucking, unseating Tanaya. She hit the ground, rolled across the ground and jumped back to her feet. She growled aloud as the rump of her horse disappeared into the gloom. She unsheathed her sword with an angry flourish and started trailing in its wake...

The blasting radio cut through my dream. Groaning, I opened my aching eyes. Geez, could I at least get to the good part without waking up? I was almost there! I glimpsed the glaring blue of the clock face. The brilliance blinded me for a moment, before I could read the numbers – 6:38. You could say that's late but to me it feels like three in the morning.

Getting up, I stumbled toward the clock. In doing so, I slammed my left foot into the cabinet. Opening my mouth in silent agony, I hopped on one foot so the pain could die down. When the pain passed, I limped to the clock and slammed the snooze button, cutting of Brad Paisley's "Start a Band".

Gray light filtered through the window. Puzzled by the color of the day, I walked to the glass and looked outside. Fog completely covered the ground. It looked so thick; you could probably cut it with a knife. That's weird. Fog never comes this late.

The Central Valley of California always seems to getthe worst fog between January and March. I remember one time when you couldn't even see your own driveway let alone another vehicle. But today was May 8th and we never get this kind of weather.

I rubbed my eyes, just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. Nope, I wasn't. I hope this goes away. I really really do. I want to get out early. I don't want a foggy day school schedule. Friday, for my school, is a day when we get out early. 1:03 is about the time we get out and with this fog, you could probably make that 2:32.

So let's just say, I hate the fog.

I exited my room, quietly closing the door behind me. The hallway and front room were pretty dark. You had to be very careful where you walk unless you want to walk into everything. Afraid of ramming my toe again into the couch leg, I stayed to the left of the hallway. Flicking the light switch on, I was again blinded by the sudden brightness in the room.

"Ergh, I'm starting to hate that," I grumbled.

My mom just finished shampooing the carpet. So the already cluttered room was now filled with junk from the other rooms. One of my dogs had all four feet in the air. Her jowls were hanging low making her look like she was grinning. That's Brandi, our Lab. And my other one, Ginger, was being our 65 pound cat. She lies atop the cushions curling up like, (well I already said it), a very big cat.

Going to the other side of the room, I turned on the TV. The news came on with a meteorologist showing that it will be 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Good, it's going to be foggy and warm.

Sighing I went to the living room where several baskets were. Rummaging through one I found a pair of camouflage capri's, a pink Key West T-shirt, and a beige bra. Taking them back to the front room, I quickly undressed from my night clothes. I put on my pants and then I snapped my undergarments in place. Forcing the shirt on, I headed to the bathroom. Finally getting my head through, I paused.

Staring back at me was a fourteen year old girl with deep blue eyes framed by thick oval glasses; a thick mane of brown frizzy hair; ears that stood like open doors . My appearance is something I would never think of as beautiful. There were those moments in which I could be stunning, but those are far and few.

I snatched the brush from the stand and ripped it through my hair. I didn't even feel the tug. All I was thinking about was this fog. It's just weird. One voice said, Maybe it's just me that's overreacting? It's just fog. Get ready for school. Another voice said, it is something, do something about it!

Finished with my hair, I quickly strung it into a ponytail. I checked the time. 6:55. Huh perfect timing. I sat down on the couch. I had plenty of time to relax. So I just watched the morning news and waited.

* * *

7:18. About time to get out there. Gathering my stuff, I quickly looked through to make sure I had everything. Now let me see. There's my binder, my notebooks, my calculator. What else? Oh yeah my lunch! I quickly jogged to the kitchen, I yanked the fridge open, grabbed the lunch pack, and closed it.

C'mon Alex, vamos! You're going to miss the bus! That's my name, well the short version anyway. My full name is Alexa M. Moreno. My parents didn't want to name me Alexandra, Alexis, or the even longer name Alexandria. So they decided on something quick and simple, Alexa.

I opened the front door to be welcomed by cool spring foggy weather. The fog actually looked like it got thicker than thinner. Wouldn't that be nice? a cold voice implied. No school for today just cancelled because of this fog.

I sighed. "You wish, don't you? If that happened, the school would never get any money. But it is a nice thought though." I hurried to the end of the driveway. Looking left, then right, and left again, I sprinted across the street and sat down. Yawning, I rubbed my eyes from their drowsiness.

Every sound seemed to be muffled by the thick depressing fog. I strained my ears for the sound of a bus or even a car. It was too quiet for my liking. There! I hear the roar of an overused bus engine. Pretty soon I saw headlights too big to be a car's, then a window, then a bright yellow school bus saying on the side LEMOORE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT and the number 517. Grabbing my bag, I brought it to my shoulder and set it to rest easily on my shoulders. The bus pulled up right in front of me. The doors flew inward and showed an old lady on a high seat.

"Morning," I grumbled. I entered the bus. Skimming around I saw an empty seat just to the right of the middle of the bus. I strolled toward the seat only to find myself yanked into a seat. I whipped around to find myself face to face with my best friend, Sierra Bates who is a year older than me. And she didn't look happy.

"Why did you walk by me? Didn't you see me? I'm kinda hard to miss."

I gave a grin and I replied, "Well I'm sorry, but you were so short, I mistook you for being an elementary kid. And yes you are very hard to see because of the fact your hair matches with the seat."

She gave me a quick, but playful, punch to the shoulder. We both came out laughing. Sierra is really someone to envy for looks. She had long straight black hair with blond highlights. Her face was shaped sort of like a heart. Like me, she had an unusual shade of blue. Hers was an icy blue, where mine were a dark blue – a shade that looked black in low light.

"Okay, who is laughing without me? If I'm not laughing, it really isn't a joke, now is it?"

I looked over my shoulder to see Erin Harding, another one of my friends. She had short red hair that came even with the base of her neck. Her eyes were a muddy brown. Where we are the book worms in our circle, she is the athletic one, seeming to be a member of every sports team the school puts together. Sierra and I are the ones who are more concerned with our education and grades. She is really a nice person.

As we traveled through the bus route, we were subjected to the less than smooth suspension of the axels over potholes. But after that was a straight shot to high school.

High school, bleh.