Two young men, both with dark hair, stood over a strange rock that had broken into two pieces when it fell to the Earth's surface. Neither young man knew what to do with the rocks as they stood off to the side holding a quiet conversation with each other.
"What is it, Xander?" The one asked the other.
They looked so much alike, that I thought they were twins at first. Only a slight difference in their height told me that they weren't twins, but they were related to each other.
"I don't know, Josiah," The one named Xander replied and I glanced at the man beside me in shock.
Josiah simply nodded. His gray eyes looked sad as he took in the scene before us.
"My older brother and I had stumbled upon this broken rock when we were both in our teens. Xander had just turned eighteen, and I was due to turn sixteen the following day," Josiah said softly. "This though-." The man fell silent for a moment before he continued. "This is the moment everything changed for us. When everything changed for our entire family. We watched the rock fall from the sky as a fireball that was as bright as the sun before it slammed into the ground outside of our village. Many of the village folk thought it was an omen of days to come, but my brother saw it as an opportunity. 'This is the chance for our family to make something of ourselves,' he had told me as he dragged me from my bed in the wee hours of the morning just to go find the mysterious space rock. It's funny how he had been right at the time."
The younger Josiah kneeled down next to the glowing stones as if he was drawn to them.
"Do you feel that, Xander?" Josiah asked softly. "I can feel some sort of energy coming from this rock. It's like it's trying to call for me."
"It's hard to resist," Xander stated dryly.
Xander crouched next to his younger brother and stared at the other stone with the same look of awe on his face. Their darkened skin was glowing from the light coming from the rocks. Both brothers reached out and touched the two halves at the same time. The moment their flesh came into contact with the rocks, a sudden burst of energy exploded from the stones that was felt around the entire world. Xander and Josiah were both sprawled out on the ground, but the stones were gone.
"Where did the rocks go?" I asked the older man beside me.
He glanced at me sadly before he touched his hand to his chest.
"The stones became a part of us," Josiah said softly. "Not all of the pieces joined with my brother and I, though. That's where we come to our current situation."
"Someone is hunting down the stones," I said as the thought crossed
"There is much for us to discuss, Elijah," Josiah said.
The next thing I knew, we were standing outside of a mud hut at the edge of an ancient village. The people all had dark hair, and their skin was tan from years of living in their desert environment. Josiah held onto my shoulder until I was steady enough to stand on my own two feet.
"What's this place?" I asked as I fought the urge to empty my stomach on the ground outside of the hut. Josiah chuckled and patted my back before he motioned towards the small cottage.
"This is the home of the Prophet Felix, Elijah," Josiah told me as he led me towards the piece of leather that was stretched across the doorframe. I nodded and pushed the leather aside and entered the musty smelling hut with Josiah right behind me. The interior was dark, and once my eyes adjusted; I was able to see a man lying in a bed with three boys sitting around him. Each of them busily writing on leather hides as the man spouted off phrase after phrase. When one hide was full of riddles, the scribe would quickly swap it out with another blank hide and start filling it all over again. Another scribe would take the hide and carefully roll it up before he placed it in one of three stacks.
"Why are they writing down what he is saying?"
"Because, Elijah," Josiah said with a smile. "Felix touched one of the Stones of Light and can now see the future."
I looked at the old man that was lying on the bed for a moment. His eyes were a pale blue in color and his mouth hung open between phrases as though he was exhausted. The man's eyes suddenly shifted until he was looking directly at me.
"The Beloved One will pull the South from the sky, and the seal of Earth will be broken in the same night," the man said in an eerie tone that left me with goosebumps. "The sky will fall, and the sea will rise; Fires will burn, and the children will cry. East and west will unite in time to save the Beloved One from his own fire."
Then, the gray-haired man slumped to the side, and one of the scribes quickly ran to check on the man. I glanced up at Josiah in confusion.
"I thought you said that these were memories?"
"Did I?" He asked smugly. Josiah looked thoughtful for a moment before he grinned and touched my shoulder. "Close your eyes, Elijah. It will make the transition easier, this time."
I quickly did as Josiah instructed before it felt like the world dropped out from beneath my feet.
"Now, where are we?" I asked once I opened my eyes and saw we were standing next to a lake. The sun was setting on the opposite horizon and there was a chill in the air that made me stick my hands in my jacket pockets.
"Just watch, Elijah," Josiah said quietly. "Something very important is getting ready to happen."
"Okay," I said softly before I turned my attention back to the lake.
A figure wearing a black-hooded robe appeared out of thin air and walked down to the edge of the lake. The figure held their hands out towards the body of water, and I heard a whispering sound in the back of my mind.
"Lady of the Lake," the figure called out in a deep voice that seemed to echo with the sound of thousands of other voices laced into it. "Present yourself!"
A feminine laugh echoed in the air around us, and I saw the water of the lake turn into hundreds of tiny waves that seemed to clap in amusement along with the laugh. Then, a strange 'V' appeared on the surface of the water as if a giant fish was swimming towards us. It wasn't a fish, though. It was a woman.
She rose up out of the water when she was twenty feet from the shore, the water covering her nudity as if it was her clothing. Her long-blonde hair hung down the middle of her back, and her blue eyes seemed to seethe with anger as she glared at the hooded man.
"Who dares to have the audacity to summon the Lady of the Lake?" The woman asked with a hiss to her tone. The man pulled his hood back and I couldn't stop the gasp from leaving my lips.
"I, Xander, the Commander of Darkness, dares to have the audacity to summon the Lady of the Lake," Josiah's older brother said with a smug sneer as he dropped his hands to his sides. "I need a favor, my Lady."
"Why should I help you?" The woman asked with her own sneer. "You are nothing but trouble, Xander!"
Xander held out his right hand towards the woman, and she suddenly flew forward until her was holding her by the throat. The woman's eyes went wide in fear as she struggled to release herself from the man's tightening grip.
"You wouldn't even exist if it wasn't for me and my brother," Xander said angrily as he squeezed the woman's throat. "Now, are you willing to do me a favor or not?"
"Yes," the woman managed to gasp out before Xander let go of her. She fell to the ground and coughed for several moments as she rubbed her throat. I saw tears fall down her cheeks as she tried to recover from what the man had done to her. The woman struggled to her feet as Xander watched with an evil gleam in his eyes. Her voice was raspy as she spoke. "What do you want, Xander?"
"I need someone that can bind powers," Xander explained without emotion as the Lady of the Lake looked at him in a mixture of fear and confusion. "Not my own powers, of course. But I need the powers of someone from the future to be stripped away."
"The future?" The Lady of the Lake asked. "Do you know who, or even when?"
"I have a general idea," Xander replied. "Will you do it?"
"I don't think I can," the woman replied nervously.
"Then, you're of no use to me," Xander replied dryly. "I am sorry that it had to be this way, my Lady."
"What are you-?"
The Lady of the Lake suddenly screamed out in agonizing pain as a ball of electricity suddenly shot out of Xander's hand and wrapped itself around the woman. The electricity grew brighter and hotter until the woman exploded in a cloud of steam and fire. The explosion sounded like the cracking of a giant stone and I couldn't help but shield my face from the heat of the blast.
When I looked back, the Lady of the Lake was no more. Xander growled angrily before he suddenly vanished.
"What the fuck, Josiah?" I asked in disbelief. "Did he just kill her?"
"In a sense," Josiah said solemnly.
"What do you mean?"
"The Lady of the Lake wasn't a true mortal being since she touched the elemental stone when it first appeared in front of her all those ages ago," Josiah explained. "She was every element wrapped into one. Xander has just created the Elemental Stones, Elijah."
Josiah didn't even bother to warn me that time before he transferred us to the edge of a small village that was surrounded by woods. A small log cabin sat on the edge of the village with a tiny column of white smoke drifting lazily towards the sky. The windows were lit with the flickering-orange glow of a fire and I could see the silhouette of someone moving around inside the small house. The sky was orangish-blue as if the sun was beginning to set, and I could hear the sounds of crickets coming from nearby.
"Now, where are we?"
"This is the moment that your cousins found the Elemental Stones."
"Cousins?" I asked in disbelief. "My mom doesn't have any brothers or sisters, and I just learned that my dad is an angel of sorts. How do I have any fam..." I fell silent as the image of one person with gray hair and a tender smile appeared in my mind. "Aunt Mattie..."
Josiah smiled and thumped me on the back proudly.
"Aunt Mattie doesn't have any children, though." Then, I realized that was just another lie I had been led to believe my entire life. A wave of sadness came over me as I struggled to deal with this new information.
"Everything has been a lie..."
"Only because it needed to be that way, Elijah," Josiah reassured me quickly. "There was no other way-"
"Leave it be," I said to end the continuous cycle of excuses.
I turned my head to the left at the sound of happy laughter and saw three people walking towards the tiny cottage. Two of them were young men, and the third was a girl that didn't appear to be much older than myself. She had a long blue cloak tied around her shoulders, and the hood was down allowing her long brown hair to cascade down her back. The door to the cottage opened as the trio laughed amongst themselves, and a blonde-haired girl stepped outside with the dim glow of the fireplace inside illuminating her figure.
"Did you find them?" The blonde girl called out to the other three as they got closer.
"Yeah," the eldest boy returned with a grin. "We're going to need your help to get to them, Sarah."
The blonde girl almost jumped up and down with excitement.
"Are they the Elementals?" I asked incredulously. "They all look sweet and innocent. Even the little girl in the doorway."
"Come inside and get some supper, children." I heard Aunt Madison's voice call out from inside the cottage. "Your adventures can wait until tomorrow."
The trio stopped almost directly in front of where we were standing.
"We'll sneak out, tonight." The eldest boy whispered. His brown hair looked even darker in the fading sunlight. "Ava can tell Sarah after they go to bed."
"God knows that she can't keep a secret," the other boy said with a dramatic roll of his green eyes. His hair was fiery red and seemed to flicker as he moved about.
"Neither can you, Simon," Ava retorted with a scoff to the red head.
"Sarah will be ready to go at midnight, Adam."
The dark-haired boy nodded his head before the trio continued to the cottage.
"So, they wait until midnight to do what?" I asked Josiah.
"The power of the stones was too great for them to resist," the old man answered sadly. "With each use, the power took a tighter control on their very souls. Your cousins never stood a chance," Josiah motioned towards the woods. "Let's go, Elijah. There is more to see over here."
As we stepped forward the world spun again, and I found myself standing inside of a rocky tunnel. There was a strange glow coming from the other end of the tunnel, and Josiah motioned me towards it with a reassuring nod. I frowned at him before I started down the narrow path towards the eerie red glow.
I could hear voices whispering quietly amongst themselves, almost as if they were afraid to wake up a parent, as I approached the light. I stopped just inside the mouth of a massive cavern and gasped in awe. There were four granite pillars, and each one was glowing a different color. My four cousins were standing in the center of the four pillars with their hands clasped, and their eyes shut tightly. I could feel energy beginning to build from within their circle, and the four pillars began to pulse with color. Red, green, blue, yellow.
"Red is fire, green is earth, blue is water, and yellow is for air."
Josiah answered my unspoken question. "Your cousins are using their powers to break open the pillars, so they may covet the stones."
Just then, a sharp crack resonated throughout the cavern causing me to jump in surprise. I glanced up to see a tear falling down Josiah's cheek. I turned to see the four teenagers turn and face each pillar. Then, they held both of their hands out towards the stone and spoke a single word.
"Release!" They shouted in unison.
Then, each pillar gave up its treasure in a flash of color. I watched in disbelief as the four different stones floated through the air towards my cousins. I wanted to scream at them to stop, but I wasn't sure if they could even see me. Each teenager pulled off their cloaks to reveal they were naked beneath the dark covers. The moment they were disrobed, the four stones flew towards my cousins and hit each of them in their chest. The cavern was filled with total chaos the next moment as the powers of the stones overwhelmed my ancient family members. Simon fell to the ground and screamed in agonizing horror as his entire body burst into flames. I fought against the urge to vomit as his skin blistered and fell away. Adam, the eldest, took several slow steps forward until his body began to crumble into dirt beneath his movements. He reached out towards Ava with a dusty gasp before his entire body dissolved into dirt. Sarah screamed in terror as her body seemed to disappear around her as if it was being blown away by the wind, her voice was only a faint echo when she vanished completely. Ava was forced to watch in horror as her siblings fell victim to their new curse, whimpering in fear as her own form began to drip away like water. When Ava's knees gave out, her body fell forward, and she exploded into a puddle of clear water.
"This is by far, one of the worst days in the history of magic," Josiah stated calmly before he touched my shoulder.
The next thing I knew, I was standing back in the roofless corridor with Josiah beside me. The old man smiled down at me. "You will learn more when you meet your Mentor, Elijah."
"I hope so," I said softly. I didn't want to offend the man, but I was tired of being kept in the dark.
I turned to see my mother talking to my father while Brayden was just returning with Lukas by his side. Brayden's brown eyes were wide with fear before he caught sight of me. My friend smiled nervously before he glanced away and went to join my mother and father. I frowned. They were keeping secrets again.
"Let it pass for now, Elijah," Josiah told me softly. "You each have your own roles to play in the coming days."
"Whatever," I said with a grunt. "Send me home, please."
I heard Josiah sigh before he touched my shoulder gently.
"Stay strong, Elijah," I heard him say before the world started to bend around me. "You have trying times ahead of you and there are going to be people that need your help."
Then, I was alone in my bedroom. I pulled off my clothes and slipped into my bed. I was tired of being around people keeping secrets from me, and it seemed like it was just going to get worse. My mind was filled with thoughts of Josiah's cryptic warning as he had sent me home.
"You have trying times ahead of you..."
It seemed as though the entire magical community wanted to keep me in the dark.
Fuck them, I thought angrily. I don't need any of them!
Hey guys, sorry it took so long to get this chapter out to you! I hope everyone enjoys it! As always, if you want to give me crap for leaving you hanging for so long, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.