Author's note: Just to let everyone know, I'll be uploading 1-3 chapters a week. This book is completely from my head and is a summation of many things from my imagination. I would greatly appreciate reviews, and I hope that you enjoy this story. It's going to be a Christmas present for my younger brother, so it would be great to get some honest opinions. Thank you very much -SLight

Chapter 1: Prelude of Darkness

The woods were unforgiving on the young maiden's fair skin as she tore through the untamed forest. Branches slashed unmercifully at her arms and legs as she struggled to remain on her feet. She knew she was the last hope to save the land from the impending doom. That alone drove her forward through the night.

The bundle in her arms slipped as she tripped over a loose branch, but she clutched onto it, despite its sharp edges cutting into her arms. She pushed forward, plunging through the woods as her pursuers, the Shadows, gained on her. They whispered to her from the sounds of dying life it created.

"Ava…"

"You can't escape…"

They sucked life from the trees, the grass, and even the air as they chased her. The soft ground turned to stone and trees buckled under withering trunks as they moved, hungry for her, determined to stop her before she reached her goal. Even she knew that it wasn't a matter of if they would catch her, but when.

She could barely see the clearing up ahead through the haphazard trees placed in front of her. Her lungs burned as she cut around a falling tree, branches and dead leaves raking her golden hair. Now, even the air itself seemed to cry out in agony as it fell victim to the Shadows.

At last she burst out of the woods, facing a large building silhouetted against the horizon of the forest. She looked back for only a second, and saw the entire night sky grow dark with Shadows. The stars disappeared under their dark blanket as they advanced. Stumbling slightly, she turned on her heel and ran toward her goal, the Temple of Elements. However, over time, it had taken on different names, such as the Lost Temple, the Forgotten Temple, even the Temple That Never Existed. But she believed. She had to.

The golden-haired maiden weaved around ruins, chunks of alabaster stone, columns, and bits of statues scattered around the grassy clearing. Finally, she reached the temple, its large, double oaken doors standing erect before her. With her fading energy, she leaned into the door with her shoulder and pushed. At last, the door groaned open, scraping the stone ground beneath it. With one last look back toward the blackening forest, she slipped inside.

Even though she was within the confines of the temple, she realized she still wasn't safe. Time is what she needed, a way to hold the Shadows off for just a little longer. With a considerable amount of effort, she shut the door. Then, after shifting her burden to one arm, she placed a single hand on the aging oak. Her head bowed, and she whispered words so ancient, the space around her seemed to slow. Upon uttering the last syllable, her hand flashed brightly for the length of a heartbeat. The light echoed through the door, lining its cracks and splintered edges.

She took a step back and waited, clutching tightly to the long, solid object clothed within her arms. Soon, the sound of an almighty gale approached, and seemed to waver outside the temple. Then, without warning, it crashed against the entrance, shaking the floor and loosing dust from every surface. The windows once lit with moonlight went black, darkening the ill lit temple further. The girl stepped back, a hint of apprehension on her face.

The onslaught continued, but the doors did not yield to the force of the Shadows. Confident that she would have enough time, the maiden turned and faced the Forgotten Temple's interior.

Three pairs of intricately carved columns lined the semi-circular shaped room, and joined in the middle, wherein stood a stair case to an elaborate altar. Positioned to its left and right were two smaller altars, totaling to five in all.

As she walked briskly forward, she was reminded of the five elements, and the spirits of those elements that guarded over the land. First was the Spirit of Fire, Vulcan; then, the spirit of Water, Nadia; the Wind Spirit, Erion; and the Earth Spirit, Demi. Lastly was the deity of the four elements, the Spirit of Light, Aureola. They were important to all mankind, and yet…everything changed.

When mankind changed, the spirits began to die. That's when the Shadows appeared, and began wrecking havoc. As a last resort, man begged the spirits for deliverance, but it was too late. The sprits were gone.

A loud bang from the doors abruptly shook the absent minded maiden from her thoughts. The seal on the door was breaking, and she knew she was running out of time. Now in front of the staircase leading to the altar of Light, she ran up them, faltering slightly on the torn remains of her white dress. She stumbled on the last step, losing her grip on her journey's keepsake. It spilled out of the white, tattered cloth wrapped around it, and came sliding to a halt at the foot of the altar.

Another bang came from the doors, followed by splintered wood chips clattering against the marble floor. The girl inhaled sharply, inhibited by her fall. She attempted to stand up, but fell back to the tarnished red carpet lining the alter. Forcing back tears from despair and pain mixed together, she crawled to the shining object resting feet from her. It was a sword, that now rattled against the ground along with the quaking temple.

At last, she desperately clutched the handle of the sword, and came to a kneeling position at the altar. Above it rose a stained glass window that towered high above temple, ending at the ceiling. It rattled dangerously within its frame, barely opposing the forces against it.

Despite this, she cradled the sword with both hands and raised it upward. Tears were now streaming from her golden brown eyes, as she began her plea.

"Spirit of Light, hear me! Help this land become what it once was! Find someone who can restore order to the world! I beg of you, don't forget mankind, even though many of us have forgotten you! But, know that some of us still believe in you! Because I do! So please!…"

A thunderous explosion came from the doors, the doors and her seal reaching the limit. Cracks began forming in the windows and the walls surrounding it.

She continued on, despite the catastrophe around her. "Aureola, help us!"

Suddenly, a golden light began to pour from the stained glass window. The cracks halted momentarily, as its brilliance poured itself on the emotionally and physically drained girl. The sword lifted from her hands and began ascending toward the window, the weapon itself beginning to glow with golden light.

A voice, neither male nor female, came down from the light and filled the temple. It blocked out the destructive chaos, and eased the quaking columns and floors.

"Have faith, child. For this is just the beginning of dawn that will come to vanquish the night."

Just then, the sword flashed with golden light, and disappeared. The light dissipated as quickly as it came, and the girl, completely depleted of strength and will, fell face first to the floor. The window shattered, covering her in colored glass, as the door finally gave way and exploded.

The Shadows came in, filling the vicinity with darkness, while they searched hungrily for their captive. At last, they spotted her, and converged upon the unconscious maiden with icy hands.

...

"Luke! Slow down! I'm tired of having to catch up with you1 The last time I checked, I was the older brother! You're supposed to be following me!" Aron was clearly annoyed at his younger brother's zest for hiking through the woods.

Luke simply laughed at Aron. "You're probably just getting old! You don't want to admit that you're already tired!" Luke teased before taking off down another trail.

"Get back here, you runt!" Aron shook his fist at Luke before taking off after the blonde-haired boy now rounding the corner.

Finally, the two reached a clearing. The sun shone brightly from above the trees, and lit up the ground a gentle golden yellow. A gentle breeze sifted its way through the branches, and pushed Luke's unruly blond hair out of his eyes.

The two had found a nice rock to sit on while they took a break to enjoy lunch. The younger brother was working his way through a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while Aron snacked on cherries.

"Hey Aron, you're awesome," piped up Luke around a mouthful of sandwich.

Luke almost choked on a cherry pit from his younger brother's compliment. He wasn't used to getting very many of those. "Uh…thanks. I guess." He wasn't sure what warranted the random comment, but it was better than the insults he received on a constant basis.

Suddenly, the forest clearing grew dark. Aron's eyes grew wide, and Luke stopped chewing on his lunch. Then, as if nothing had happened, sunlight filled the area again.

"Uhhh…" Luke was obviously having difficulty processing what just happened. Aron ran his fingers through his brown hair before scratching the back of his neck.

"Some weird anomaly?" Aron sat up and began looking around, though he wasn't sure what for.

"What does anomaly mean?" Luke sat up as well, looking to join his older brother.

Aron chuckled lightly. He should have known his twelve year old sibling might not have known that word. "It means - "

But he was cut off by a roar that sounded something like a jet engine. It came from above, and on reflex, both brothers looked to the sky just in time to see a shining object come hurtling at from the sky. Directly at them.

It took a second from Aron's mind to process everything, but soon his reflexes kicked in. "Luke! Move!"

Still dazed by the airborne object, Aron was forced to grab Luke by the arm and drag him out of the way. Luke snapped out of it, and the two reached the trees just as the thing collided with the earth. The impact was enough to knock both Aron and Luke off their feet. A searing wave of heat followed and then, silence.

"L-luke are y-you alright?" Aron asked his younger brother shakily.

"Ewwww!" Luke sat up on his knees and began hacking and coughing every which way.

"Ew?" His elder brother echoed quizzically.

"I didn't want to eat dirt!" Luke continued spitting everywhere, trying to get the taste out of his mouth.

Aron would've laughed, but he was too concerned with whatever almost killed them. He turned back toward their picnic spot and witnessed a crater now taking up the space of the entire clearing.

"Luke, stay here. I'm going to check out something," Aron ordered.

"If you say sooo," Luke responded warily.

Aron trudged carefully through a few trees and scattered mounds of dirt toward the smoking crater. Heat blasted his body, but it wasn't enough to make him too uncomfortable. At last, he came to rim of the impact zone, and looked down.

The inverted dome extended a good ten feet into the ground. Aron could see a long object at the very bottom, but he couldn't make out exactly what it was. His curiosity drove him to take a closer look.

"Can I come to?"

Aron jumped so much he nearly slid down the crater. "Luke! I told you to!…Ugh, forget it. You can come as long as you promise to be careful. Ok?"

"Ok!" Luke responded excitedly, and he followed his brother's process of sliding carefully down the slope.

Aron was the first to reach the bottom. He could feel how hot the ground still was considering his feet were getting warm through his shoes and socks, but still, his curiosity made him ignore how uncomfortable it was.

Dirt was covering whatever it was that handed landed in the clearing. But Aron thought it looked like…

"A sword?" Aron peered at it closely. Then, with his shoe, he kicked of the remaining dirt. "It is a sword!"

"Aron, can I have it? Pleeeaasee?" Luke begged.

"Of course not! Finders keepers!" Aron made a face at Luke before making for the handle.

"Ouch!" He yanked back his singed hand, obviously burnt by the handle. "Not cool."

"Maybe the sword just doesn't like you," and without warning, Luke made for the sword's handle himself, despite witnessing his brother's accident.

"Luke, no!"

But it was too late. Not only had Luke successfully grabbed the handle, he was now pulling it out of the ground with a single hand. Aron was speechless.

"This feels funny…" said Luke with a blank look on his face. He put his other hand on the handle, and immediately the sword began shaking violently.

"W-w-what is h-h-happening?" Luke's body shook with the sword. Aron tried to pry it from his hands, but was blown onto his back.

Suddenly, the sword remained still, but blasted torrents of air from it. Aron crawled through the gale toward Luke and held on, as dirt, rocks, and even their lunches were blown out into the woods. They both closed their eyes, blinded by the wind's intensity.

At last, the wind died down. Luke dropped the sword and fell onto the seat of his pants, speechless. A bewildered look was plastered on his face. If the hurricane force winds weren't strange enough, what was stranger was that the crater they were once in was gone. They now both sat on solid ground.

Without saying a word, Aron made for another attempt to grab the sword. He hesitated momentarily, then grabbed the handle. Upon doing so, he breathed a sigh of relief.

He picked it up and inspected it. He didn't say much, until he felt the blade.

"Wood?"

"Huh?" Luke finally snapped out of his daze.

"The blade…it's made out of wood." Aron handed it to Luke, upon which he confirmed that it was indeed made out of wood.

"Soo…" Aron said blankly while looking out into the forest.

"Um, big bro?" Inquired Luke.

"Yes, little bro?" Aron looked down at his younger brother, smiling.

"Can we keep it?"