|It smelled of fur, animals, bears.
They were in Grizzlehiem.
A little rainbow stretched out before them, producing bright colors, red, orange, blue, yellow, green, purple. Black wasn’t there. It seemed like an outsider, and outcast, just like Destiny.
It certainly wasn’t how Natalie, Ryan, Jason, Neela or Chris treated her. Especially not Neela. Destiny and Neela were almost best friends now, although Neela was much higher a rank then her. They all were.
Jason and the diviners hooted and laughed as they ran and pranced on the swarm of colors, Jason in the red, Ryan and Natalie in the purple. Chris just walked on the yellow one.
Destiny didn’t take a step on the rainbow. She, a necromancer, held no place in the spiral.
Neela patted her on the back. “Come on, lets go,” She encouraged. “Your cousin’s out there.”
Esmee Lionblood was the reason why they had all come here in the first place, having a chance to be the desendant of Ice, the first to use ice magic. It was the reason why they were here, why Vladimir was looking for her.
The thought of Vladimir sent Destiny’s brows furrowing and her legs pounding against the rainbow. Vladimir, that good-for-nothing, spiteful, evil, eluding character. Vladimir, whose surname brought up shivers. Vladimir, whose ancestor, Valkoor, was a man worse then him, seeking nothing but power over the spiral, the foul villain who caused sheer terror, even when dead.
They all met up at the docks. “So, let’s review the places in Grizzlehiem,” Jason said.
“Let’s see,” Natalie started. “There’s here, Northguard, Savvarstaad Pass, Ravenscar, Mirkholm Keep, for starters.”
“Any one of those places Esmee could be in,” Destiny remarked.
“I’d doubt Ravenscar,” Ryan said. “You’d have to be, like, a master just to get inside. Jason and Chris can’t get in, let alone a novice!”
“I guess we should patrol other possibilities, then,” Jason said. “Neela, see if you can find a way to get into Ravenscar. Natalie, patrol Northguard. Ryan, Destiny, get into Savvarstaad Pass. Chris and I will go into Mirkholm Keep. Move out!”
Jason said the last words with such great force that it sent everyone scattering to do so.
“Ryan, back in the balance school,” Destiny said when she and Ryan were in Savvarstaad Pass. “You said something about a prophecy.”
“Ah, yes, the Prophecy of Fire,” Ryan remembered. “I spent most of the morning yesterday searching for something that had to do with it.”
“So that’s why you were there!” Destiny said. She shook off the fascination quickly. “But why is it called The Prophecy of Fire? And more importantly, what did it say? What is it about?”
“Fire was a seer,” Ryan began, with Destiny cutting him off quickly. “What’s a seer?”
“Basically, someone who can predict events,” Ryan said. “As for your second question, why don’t you read and find out?” He handed her a small scroll, ancient and feeble, the parchement ripped and tattered in various places, words inscribed in fading red ink. Destiny unraveled it and read the following:
Eleven shall stand and take a challenge,
Weary of age and time,
All of great lineage,
One to betray, in the land of the forest,
One to join then, another found with the enemy,
One in the peaceful land,
Three withstanding a glitch in time,
Following that, the paper had been torn in half, cutting off the prophecy. Right now though, the concern was off little importance. They had to pay attention of what was yet to come.
“Someone’s going to betray us, and soon,” Destiny said.
“I know,” Ryan said. “I was hoping the topic would come up sooner or later. We need to figure out who.”
“Let’s run down some suspects,” Destiny suggested. “I know for a fact it’s not you or me, so some possibilities are Chris and Natalie.”
“Natalie?” Ryan bellowed. “That’s absurd! If she were the traitor, wouldn’t I be in it with her, or at least know about it?”
“True,” Admitted Destiny. “So that leaves Chris.”
“He is quiet and sophisticated,” Ryan mused. “And he was a friend of Vladimir’s in the past, maybe he’s hooked back up with him.”
Then Destiny remembered something: back in Krokotopia, Jason accused Neela of being a traitor, than accused Ryan as well. Could he be using it as cover? Destiny considered. Then she couldn’t contain it any longer.
“Jason!” Destiny burst. “It has to be him! He accused you and Neela of being traitors, what if he’s doing that as cover? And he was a tag along with Vladimir!”
“Good thinking,” Ryan said. “But what about Neela? We haven’t even mentioned her.”
“Are you crazy?” Destiny shouted. “Neela could do no harm! She’s sweet and gentle, and I defend her like you defend Natalie!”
“So that leaves Jason or Chris,” Ryan confirmed. “We need to alert everybody now!”
It was near nightfall when they reached camp- a little makeshift shelter with the perimeter of a circle, the walls built with stone and roof being a few wooden planks set across the top, going from one side to another, making sure the inside was protected from rain and other weather problems. The interior had a sizeable amount of space for Neela’s sleeping equipment, all placed in a perfect circle flanking a fire in the middle. To the little bedroom’s left was a little rug to eat on, and a little bucket halfway filled with water. The entryway was just a long rectangle reaching from the ground to the roof. The news came at dinner.
Destiny and Ryan looked at each other, meaning it was time to bring the news.
Ryan cleared his throat, and everyone gave him their attention.
“As we were patrolling Savvarstaad Pass,” Ryan began. “Destiny and I figured out something we need to tell you, to warn you about.”
Everyone looked interested.
“We have found out,” Ryan said. That one of you are not truly with us, and is a spy under Vladimir’s command.”
“And that person,” Ryan continued coldly. “Is in this room, in this circle, right here, right now.”
There were silent reactions from all. Chris continued to sit undaunted. Jason leaned his head forward. Neela’s eyes grew bigger and bigger until they were almost little balls out of its sockets. Natalie looked around the room. “Who do you think it is?” She asked, breaking the silence.
“We have come to a conclusion that it needs to be either Jason or Chris,” Destiny said.
“What?!” Jason stood up as Neela seemed to relax a little. “Why me or Chris?” Chris still seemed to be relaxed, even though he was being accused. Dang, he’s good at this, Destiny thought.
“Both of you were Vladimir’s friends at the beginning,” Ryan began. “And Chris is very quiet.”
“So Chris is quiet,” Jason shrugged. “Big deal! He was like that even when we were with Vladimir!”
“But why did you accuse everyone in Krokotopia?” Destiny said.
“I didn’t!” Jason persisted.
“You sure didn’t trust Neela,” Destiny pointed out. “And you even accused Ryan while he was busy at the library when Natalie said he wasn’t one for books.”
“Yeah, you did!” Natalie stood up along with Destiny and Jason.
“Why accuse me anyways?” Ryan stood.
“I was defending my group!”
Finally yelling and arguing broke out between the quartet, saying rude things and finding the negative when someone yelled, “Stop it!”
Neela could take no more of the fighting. “We’re not going to find the traitor by fighting amongst ourselves. What we need is leadership, cooperation. What this situation needs is complete control.”
Neela was right. If they were to find the traitor, it couldn’t be done like this.
Soon, everyone got in their sleeping bags, with the sky dark, the stars shining, and the moon full.
Neela was to the right of Desitny. Tonight they were going to pull a prank on Ryan: when he was sleeping, they would get the water bucket, fill it with hot water, and dip Ryan’s hand in it!
“This is going to be classic,” Neela mused.
“I’ll say!” Destiny replied quietly. “Proven fact he’ll wet his bag!”
“Quickly, check the bucket,” Neela ordered.
“Sure thing,” Destiny quietly slipped out of the sleeping bag and ran over to the bucket, surprisingly empty.
“It’s empty,” Destiny reported.
Neela furrowed her eyebrows and tilted her head to the side in confusion. “That’s funny,” She said. “I remember it being full during dinner.” She stood up. “Here, I’ll go refill it while you make sure Ryan’s asleep.” She grabbed the bucket and left.
Destiny looked over to Ryan, who was raising his head.
“Don’t even bother to try to hide it from me,” He told her.
“All right then,” Destiny answered. “We’ll do it on Jason instead.”
“Speaking of which,” Ryan looked around. “He isn’t here.”
Destiny checked his bag. Sure enough, Jason’s sleeping bag was empty. More proof he’s the traitor, Destiny thought. She could tell Ryan was thinking the same thing.
“I guess we’ll have to do it on-“Destiny smelled something horrible. “Bleck! What’s that awful smell?”
Ryan sniffed the air. “Smoke,” He clarified. Then his eyes widened. “Fire!” He shouted.
“Yeah, maybe it’s leftover smoke from the campfire,” Destiny thought out loud.
Ryan shook his head so rapidly, it was terrifying. “NO!” He shouted. “LOOK BEHIND YOU!”
Destiny turned around and outside the little hut was a huge fire, the flames trickling endlessly as it continued to burn the land, giving it more fuel, larger and wider then life, large enough to destroy a whole city.
But it wasn’t heading to destroy a city. It was aiming for the hut.
“Oh my GOSH!” Destiny screamed, loud enough to wake Natalie and Chris, who, when they saw the flames, stood right up with their mouths into perfect little O’s.
“I’ve never seen a fire like that,” Chris remarked.
“Where’s Jason?” Natalie asked in a panicky tone. “He’s a pyromancer, I’ll bet he can clear this out! Also, where’s the water bucket?”
The bucket was with Neela.
“Neela and Jason are both out there!” Destiny yelled. They had to get the fire under control before it destroyed everything!
“Here, if we want to put out the fire, everyone needs to contribute!” Ryan yelled. “Natalie, look for Neela and Jason! Chris, see if you can find a source of water, collect it, and then use it to put some of it out! Destiny, your secondary school is fire, maybe you can possibly clear some of it out! I’ll guard camp!”
Destiny rushed to the fire, as if confronting it. And as if alive and in rage, the flames spread wider. This is getting bigger and bigger, Destiny thought.
She didn’t see how her fire spells would help, so she looked towards her ice treasure cards: only one snow serpent. She quickly traced the ice symbol, picturing the serpent to roam through the flames, putting the fire out.
The snow serpent quickly came to life, drew back, and quickly headed into the fire, making a trail of burnt ground behind him. It lasted a few seconds, but as quickly as it had been put out, the fire regenerated, smothering the line with flames once again, and sending the serpent quickly slithering away, with fire dancing at the end of its tail. What do I do now? Destiny thought. That’s when she heard coughing and sputtering. She followed the sound until she found a familer face, covered in soot and ash.
“Jason!” She ran over to him. “Are you all right?”
“Don’t worry about me,” Jason said. “I’m just trying to clear out this fire.” He lit up all of a sudden. “Hey, your secondary school is fire, maybe you can help!” The flames increased their height by double.
“Don’t worry, just do what I do,” Destiny watched as he pointed the tip of his wand towards the fire, turned it in circles like a baton, then the fire responded by donating some of the flames to Jason’s wand. “Twirling it will collect the fire. The more you twirl, the more you collect. The more you collect, the more dangerous it becomes. Then all you have to do is put it out.” The blew on his wand, and the fire resting on his want immediately evaporated into thin air.
Destiny did the same as Jason, then blew on it, but only for it to send a little fireball crash in a piece of land the fire had not yet covered. The fire reached out to it shortly.
“Um, Jason?” Destiny asked. “Mine had a little more disasterous effect!”
“Oh don’t worry,” Jason soothed. “It’s a little harder for people who take it as an elective.”
“Good to know!” Destiny yelled, exaggerated. “It shouldn’t be hard for me because fire was my calling until the stupid book of secrets took a wrong turn and placed me in death!”
“I remember that day as the start of the showdown with you and Vladimir.”
Destiny smiled as she remembered when she had kicked Vladimir’s butt.
“Watch out!” Jason yelled just in time as Destiny leaped to the right as a line of fire covered where her feet had been a moment ago. Jason had saved her feet from being burned to a crisp. And now he was nowhere to be found.
Destiny searched frantically for Jason, screaming out his name mulpitile times as she watched the fire destroy everything around her.
And things were getting even worse. She was swaying, her vision going crazy, watching everything being burned and going around in circles around her. The extreme heat must be getting to her.
Ant that night, before passing out, the last thing Destiny remembered seeing were two unfamiliar people heading her way.
Destiny regained counsiousness on a wooden couch fluffed with a variety of pillows and blankets. She looked around her, in a circular hut, but not in the one she had gotten so used to while in Grizzlehiem. The walls were like a tent, huge and white. The entryway was a white sheet. The ceiling was held up by poles, hole in the middle to allow light in. Across from her was another couch no unlike the one she was laying on. A red asile streamed from the entryway to a stove raised on a circlular platform and a girl about her age dressed in red and yellow, a hood making her hair. In the middle of the asile was a square table with four chairs surrounding it.
Destiny walked over to the girl, who seemed to be cooking. She looked over at Destiny, who stepped back immediately at the sight of her eyes.
Her eyes were a pure red, no blood red, but red as fire. In fact, it WAS the same color as fire. They also seemed to flicker along with the kitchen fire, as if there were a fire blazing in the pupils.
“Hey,” The girl greeted. “We saw you in that fire last night. It was pretty serious.”
“We?” Destiny asked. “Who’s we?”
Then a boy, tall and buff, tannish colored skin with short purple hair and purple and yellow clothing entered. Destiny made sure to pay attention to the eye color, which was purple, which was nothing new, but Destiny could’ve sword she saw a flash of lightning in them. Are these peoples’ eyes holographic or what? She thought.
The boy dragged in some logs, obviously meant for firewood. He threw them-literally threw them- right next to the fireplace.
"Thanks for the firewood, Sto-Stephan," The girl thanked. "We were running short."
The diviner called Stephan nodded curtely and plopped himself on the couch across from where destiny had been sleeping on previously. Chris and Stephan would be best friends, Destiny mused, keeping the thought to herself.
"We refers to me and Stephan," The girl said. "I'm Fiona."
"Um, my name is-" Destiny started, but then the girl cut her off.
"You are called Destiny Seagem," Fiona said. "You are an inititate, primary school death, secondary fire. You are traveling across the spiral with five others. You stopped at Grizzlehiem looking for someone."
Destiny opened her jaw, but shut it again, too stunned to speak. Her schools and rank were easy to guess, but her name and purpose?
There was something weird about the place.
Hey, don't forget about me!
A tiny little chirping voice arose all of a sudden.
Fiona smiled. "Don't worry, Nikki, we haven't forgotten about you."
You had better not! Came the voice in response.
"Um, me and Stephan weren't the only ones to save you," Fiona siad." Nikki came too."
"Who's Nikki?" Destiny asked.
That's when a sprite came out, but looking different. Instead of peach skin, orange hair, blue eyes and an orange floury dress, this was a sprite that had red eyes, a tattered red dress, black boots and hair. And, when Destiny found out, a serious attitude.
Well, ain't it obvious, sunshine? The words came from the sprite. She turned to Fiona. How can she NOT know me? She has the brain the size of a peanut!
"Hey!" Destiny yelled. "I have a perfectly well-sized brian."
The sprite gaped at Destiny. You can understand me?
Maaaaybe you aren't as dumb I thought. Maybe.
"I'm not dumb, period!"
The sprite opened its mouth to protest, but Fiona silenced her. "You... you can understand?"
"Well, duh!" Destiny said.
"Weird," Fiona said. "Usually the visitor me and Stephan have, all they can usually hear is constant chirping. You're the first person we know to have understood Nikki."
"Maybe its because I'm death-type?" Destiny asked. "And I get it that Nikki here is the sprite?"
No, I'm a mander, The sprite expressed lamely. Yes, I'm Nikki, who do ya think?
"No, its not because you are in the death school," Fiona said. "We've had necromancers visit before. And, after all, you did have high hopes of being in fire instead." Fiona surpressed a small smile.
That was it! "How did you know about THAT?!" Destiny burst. "That is one of the most private stuff EVER!"
Fiona kept smiling. "I know various things."s
"And just how many is 'various'"? Destiny asked, finger quoting various. "Nest thin I know, you're going to chant the people I'm actually traveling withs' names!"
"Jason Stormflame, Ryan Stormcaster-"
"UGH!" Destiny pounded her fists on the table, her head down looking at the table. Then a thought occured. Destiny looked up. "Speaking of them," Destiny said, keeping her voice low. "Wha-What happened to them? Did they escape?"
Fiona looked over to Stephan, a solemn expression on her face, as if she were a mourner at a funeral. Then she looked over to Destiny. She then got out, "We don't know what happened to them. We didn't find them, only you. We have no idea wheter they made it out and lived, or if they-" She seemed to shoke on the last word.
Destiny nodded, understanding what the final word was. "Died," Destiny finished.
Fiona nodded, then clutched her head . "Ugh," she maneaged to say before she fell to the ground on her side, clutching her head, connecting it to her chest, and pulled her knees to join. "Ow, ow, ow!" She seemed tobe saying, each one more painful and louder then the previous one. Her hood fell off to reveal a mass of long, tangled, red hair with both orange and yellow streaks that Destiny could barely make out from the tangles.
Destiny rushed over to help her, but Stephan got to her first and held up a hand for Desitny to stop. He gradually lifted her armpits and let another hand slide to to the back of her knee and softly carried her to the nearest couch. "Is she going to be okay?" Destiny asked in a panicky tone.
Stephan nodded. "Sometimes she has these huge headaches that knocks her out." He said, speaking for the first time. "While she has the headache she'll be out for a couple of hours. Then she gets back up just fine, as if nothing happened and being completely healthy." He shrugged. "Don't worry, its nothing major."
Nikki fluttered over, looking alarmed. Did she really pass out, or have one of those... you know?
Stephan managed a weak smile. "Same as usuall."
Nikki, actually seeming concerned about something, breathed a tiny sigh of relief.
An hour later, Sephan and Destiny sat at the table, eating a stew of meats and vegtables. Fiona still slept on the bed, occaisionally shaking and shivering a minute or two before it stopped. Destiny couldn't help but feel sorry for her. Nikki was flying around the pot of stew, slurpping the remains. As Destiny observed the things around her, she knew that there was something strange about the place.
"Stephan," Destiny said. "I just have this nagging feeling that there's ... its just that ... there's something you aren't telling me, huh?"
Stephan gulped down a spoonful of the stew and asked, "What makes you think that?"
"A lot," Destiny said. "The way Fiona said that no one but me and you guys could understand Nikki The event of Fiona passing out. The way she was about to say something else when she was thanking you. How Fiona seems to know all. And especially your-"
"Yes! So what is going on? I'm not stupid!"
Actually... Nikki began.
"Shut it, Nikki!"
Its just that, well, what their secret is is something that only and idiot like you couldn't figure out.
"I SAID, SHUT IT!"
Destiny said these words with such great force that even Nikki was taken aback by then. "Someone's got the 'tude, huh?" Nikki muttered, her voice barely audible.
Stephan chuckled. "I assure you, Destiny, we aren't keeping anything."
Stephan looked to Nikki, and Destiny observed that, from his facial expression, he was saying, Say one word and I will squeeze you to death!
Fiona eventually recovered, a little loopy, but she was okay, as Stephan had promised, and Destiny was glad to see that. Shortly after, night had fallen and Destiny fell asleep on a couch but was awoken at the sound of her name. Fiona nor Stephan knew she had awoken.
"I'm telling you, Destiny knows too much," Stephan said to Fiona. "She's this close to guessing who we are!" He held his index finger and thumb barely a centimeter apart.
"From what I've foreseen," Fiona said. "She's supposed to figure it out."
Then all of it came together.
She knew what Fiona and Stephan were hiding.
That was, if Stephan and Fiona were their real names!
Destiny sat up straight. She looked over to the duo, and grinned. "Your flaw, Fiona, was using the word 'Foreseen'."
Fiona opened her mouth to protest, but Destiny said quickly, "Don't bother. I know why you pass out and why you know a lot. You gain the knowledge by seeing things. Things from the future. The headache you got was the process of seeing things."
"What are you trying to say?" Stephan inquired.
"I'm saying Fiona is a seer."
Fiona and Stephan looked at each other in alarm.
"And guess who else just so happened, or, in this case, happens to be a seer?" Destiny grinned. "The almighty Fire, the first fire wizard."
Destiny looked at Fiona. "And when you were thanking 'Stephan' for the firewood, you began to say S-T-O, not S-T-E. And guess who's name has those first three letters?" She paused for a moment, as if she were really pondering it. "Oh yeah, Storm, the first to weild storm magic."
Now Fiona and Stephan were really looking concerned.
"And your eyes, how they seem to be magical, as if you're a god or such. That just gives it all away."
"Are you suggesting that Fiona and I are these Fire and Storm you speak of?"
"Its exactly what I'm saying."
Fiona sighed and said, "Well, you're right. We are the great and powerful Fire and Storm."
"I knew it!" Destiny cheered. But then another question nagged at the back of her mind. "Wait, that one guy," Destin wondered. "In Krokotopia." She thought of how he soothed the sandstorm, how wise he sounded, how he stopped time, how he faded into sand, his tan eyes, his left hand, when he said, "It would give away my identity."
"That was Balance, huh?"
Fiona, now Fire, nodded. "Correct."
"But here is what's bothering me," Destiny said. "The fact that you guys are here in the first place. Aren't you guys supposed to be oh, I don't know, dead? How are you right here, right now, in the modern wordl, where your DESENDANTS are?"
Fire managed a weak smile. "Honestly, not even we know. We're only beginnning to unravel the magic of time."
"So... you're immortal?" Destiny asked.
Fire chuckled. "I wish," She said. "You're right though, in your time, we are dead. But the cause of us being here is, uh, how should I put this..."
"Time travel?" Destiny suggested.
Fire layed her hand straight, palm up. "Time travel." She finished. Then Destiny asked, "What about Nikki? Is she with you?"
Stephan, now Storm, shook his head. "Unfortunatley, no. Your present time is her present time. When we leave this time," Storm sighed. "She'll have to survive on her on, with her wits, unless a caretaker is found."
"That's sad," Destiny replied. Even for someone that rude, it was a little harsh. She looked over to the sleeping sprite, who was sleeping on a little handwoven sleeping bag, one side black, the other green. They reminded Destiny of Neela's sleeping equipment.
Destiny missed her so much.
"And imagine how hard it will be to find a caretaker when barely anyone understands her," Storm said, breaking Destiny's little mourning.
"Wait," Destiny interupted. "How did you guys meet Nikki, anyways? And the FULL story this time!"
"Originally," Fire started. "Nikki was a regular sprite in the sprite coloney, the coloney watched over eternally by Lady Oriel the seraph. She was actually one of the many princesses who watched over the coloney. So she didn't really know how to work Life magic, like all grown sprites had. But her training would begin soon.
"And begin soon it did," Fire continued. "But one day the Princess Nikki was roaming around the border of the coloney to spot a necromancer work his magic. She was amazed by his stunning necromancy. However, they were creatures of Life, and the school of Death is the opposite, so the law stated that no sprite could learn one spell of the Death school. Ignoring the law, Nikki went ahead and asked the necromancer for nightly lessons.
"A year passed and she was then skilled in Life magic and an expert at Death. She was also a master negotiator, very smart, and even aggressive when she needed to be. She was therefore one of the sprite coloney's most valued princesses. She also made an enemy of the powerful Lady Lily." Fire shook her had, as if in dispair. "Unfortunately, that was her fatal flaw."
"One of the nights Nikki snuck out to learn more necromancy, Lily followed her and caught her red-handed. She instantly flew away to report it to the queen and Lady Oriel. Oriel was merciful and even allowed Nikki to progress in both magics. As for the queen, not so much.
"She called Nikki to the throne room and banished her. Cursed her, too. She made Nikki look like this, and forced her to survive on her own. She looked to the necromancer who was teaching her, but she could not find him, no matter how hard she tried. So soon she appeared on our doorstep, pale, tired, firty, dieing altogether. She's been with us ever since."
Fire looked at the sleeping sprite soberly. "And soon, very soon, Storm and I will have to return to our own time. We cannot take her with us. Nikki will be forced to survive on her own once more."
Destiny felt sorry for the sprite. Sure, Nikki was rude, but that was just because she had been through a lot. But then an idea passed through her head. What if...
"What if I took care of Nikki?" Destiny offered. "I mean, sure, she doesn't like me that much, but it can be worked out. And you said it yourself, I'm the only one, besides you guys, you've found that understands what she's saying."
"It's possible," Storm mused. "But Nikki has to approve."
"Approve of what?"
Destiny looked over her shoulder to see that the sprite had awoken. "Approve of what?" Nikki repeated. "I heard my name, don't you dare lie! Well, not that the dummy can lie..."
"Hey!" Destiny shouted.
"I'm kidding," Nikki said. Lithten up a little, how about?" Then she turned back to Fire and Storm. "So, what were you talking about?"
Fire sighed. No wonder, Destiny thought. All of her secrets were unwinding.
"Me and Storm- Destiny knows now- need to return to our own time." Fire said. "And according to the rules of time, we cannot bring you."
"So I'm just going to be cast out again?" Nikki said, clearly angry.
"Nikki, it's not like that-"
"It's exactly like that! You're casting me out, just like Queen Samantha did!"
"Nikki, we're not leaving you alone!" Storm yelled. "You don't have to survive on your own. We found someone to take care of you."
Nikki brightened a little. "Who?"
"Oh come on!" Nikki protested. "I think I'm better off with surviving on my own! This idiot doesn't know the first thing about me!"
"I know a lot about you, thanks to Fire and Storm," Destiny said.
Nikki looked confused for a minute, and turned paler then she already was and set a panicked expression on her face. "You didn't..."
"I did," Fire confirmed.
"Would I see you again?"
Nikki sighed. "All right."
"Before we go," Fire said as she was putting stuff in a bag along with Storm. "There's someone we'd like you to meet."
"Who?" Destiny asked.
"You'll see," Storm said. "Waiting outside for you."
It had been the first time Destiny had been outside since the fire, but she was expecting to see a forest with bears roaming around. Instead, she found herself on what seemed to be the edge of Grizzlehiem. There was a painted cliff in front of her, and it seemed to be pointing to a huge lake with three connecting waterfalls plunging into it, and tall pine trees stretched after that. Birds were flying across it, chirping happily, not seeming to have a care in the world. It was so beautiful, it could have been a wonder of Grizzlehiem.
"Wow, this is amazing." Nikki said. "Hey, look down there!"
Destiny looked down. She could barely make out a person on the coastline waving and beckoning them to come down. "See ya at the finish line!" Nikki chanted as she flew down. Destiny found a ramp-like thing that she could slide on. She flung herself on it and slid down.
When Destiny got down she saw a girl, perhaps fourteen of fifteen years old. She was wearing a Marleybonian carnival dress that was light blue trimmed with white. She had white skin and light blue eyes At the top of her head a little silver tiara with snowflake designs and crystals embedded in it perched at the top of her head. At both ends of the tiara was a long white veil covering her long, light blue hair. Destiny could make out a picture sewen into the veil: A flaky winter snowfall. Overall, she looked like how someone would dress up to a very fancy and elegant party.
She looked over to Destiny. "Beautiful, isn't it?" The girl asked. "I just love how all the water flows together as one, putting everything in place and in motion."
Destiny nodded. "It could be a wonder of the spiral." She said. Destiny thought for a moment, then added, "Ice."
"Right to the point, huh?" She said. Ice smiled. Persistance. I quality I admire."
Destiny smiled. "I guess I don't have a liking to the dramatic speeches and stuff." She looked over to Ice. "Why did you want to see me?"
"A little hard to explain, I guess," Ice said. "How about starting with thatlittle fire that occured two nights ago?"
Destiny smirked. "The little fire?" She scoffed. That's so unreal, its hardely a fire! It was unhuman! That... thing could have killed every single one of us right on the spot!"
"Exactly," Ice explained. "Which is one of the reasons that I'm telling you that it was no accident."
"What do you mean?" Destiny questioned.
"I'm saying that it was manmade, someone set it." Ice said. "It was meant to slow you down, set you back, burn down everything so the others could get ahead, to seperate you all."
"They succeeded in doing that last bit," Destiny pointed out.
"I realize that," Ice said. "Which is why mostly everyone should be back at the original campsite, alive and well."
So they were alive! "Thanks!" Destiny said, and started towards the campsite when Ice called after her, "Not so fast"
Destiny turned to face Ice. "What?" She said in an exagerated tone.
"You're not going back right now," Ice ordered. "You're going to complete a mission first."
"And just what would that be?"
"I think you know."
She did know. "Finding Esmee," Destiny replied.
"Affirmitive," Ice clarified. "You'll need to find her first."
"Only one small problem," Destiny said. "I have no idea where she is."
Destiny froze. How did Esmee...
"Teleportation is a nice method to use around the spiral," Ice remarked. "Bears may guard the doors, but they never make teleportation off-limits."
Destiny sighed. "Okay, so lets assume she is in Ravenscar," Destiny assumed. "How do I get in?"
"Easy," Ice said. "Teleport to me, then it'll be up to you."
"That's good to know."
Ice and Destiny returned to the hut where Fire and Storm had finished packing.
Fire and Storm said farewell to Nikki in a heartbreaking way. Then they went over to Destiny and said their goodbyes to her, too. But Fire didn't leave her without saying, "That first night, when I was out, I saw a long journey ahead of you." Destiny nodded.
Fire went out the entry, followed by Storm. Destiny and Nikki watched as Fire and Storm stood together as bright lights their height appeared, one red, one purple, and they slowly came for them, encasing them in the light, then both the light and the two legendary wizards disappeared. Nikki wept, but no sound came out.
Ice immediately turned to Destiny. "Here's where things get serious," She said. "I'll teleport to Ravenscar and give you a minute or two to pack and get powerful gear on. I expect it to be the best you've got, because I've got a feeling that the enemy is within the walls of Ravenscar." She then teleported.
Destiny was ready. she already had her gear on, and quickly checked to see if her spells were in place. Good. She was set. She turned to Nikki. "Are you ready?" Destiny asked.
I guess so.
Destiny took a last look at the hut she had lived in for the past few days. Then, with fierce determination, Nikki at her side, and eyes shut, Destiny teleported out of the hut and into the dangerous walls of Ravenscar.
Destiny had been expecting more forest area when in Ravenscar. So she was shocked to find herself in an icey cavern.
She turned around and found Ice. "I hope you find my desendant safe and well," She said. "But before I go, I need to give you this." This was referring to an intrecrately carved snoflake the size of Destiny's hand. "What is it?" Destiny asked.
"It's like a charm," Ice explained. "Use it in distress. Crash it at your feet, and a powerful Ice treasure card will appear in your hand."
Destiny nodded. "Good luck," Ice said. "I have a feeling you'll need it." And with that, a flash of light appeared behind Ice, this time light blue, moved slowly towards Ice and engulfed her and then evaporated, just as it had done with Fire and Storm.
Destiny stuffed the snowflake in her pouch, then looked around the cave. Now that Ice had gone back to her own time, Destiny was nervous. Until she saw a face all to well familier to her.
"Neela!" Destiny called out as she ran towards the girl who had spun around, taken aback.
"Destiny!" Neela replied as she gave Destiny a small hug. "My, my, my, where have you been?" Neela noticed Nikki. "Who's this?"
Whoever she is, whether you trust her or not, do NOT tell her about Fire and Storm, Nikki begged. Actually, tell no one. They would have wanted it that way.
"I escaped the fire, hiding out in Savvarstaad Pass for a while," Destiny lied. "That's where I met Nikki. Turns out, I'm the only one who can understand her." Partually true.
"That explains the chirping I hear," Neela said. "I found my way to Jason, who found his way to Ryan. With teamwork, we managed to put out the fire, but you were gone. Today, Jason assigned tasks again like we did when we first made it into Grizzlehiem, but this time we were looking for you. I so happened to get Ravenscar assigned to me again. And what do you know, you're here!" Neela then pasted a suspisious look on her face. "Wait, how did you get here anyways?"
Neela nodded. "Same for me." Neela turned around to head back for camp, but Destiny stopped her.
"Wait, also," Destiny began. "I came here to find Esmee, and I intend to finish the job. I know she's in here."
Neela nodded again. "All right." They then set out to look for her.
A few minutes passed without success, when Destiny heard something behind her. She looked behind her to see nothing unusual, but Destiny could have sworn she saw a flash of black.
"What was that?" Destiny asked.
"What was what?" Neela asked, swirling around and gripping her staff in a fighting position.
"Nothing, I guess." Destiny shrugged.
But Destiny was on full alert now. Something didn't feel right. She secretly looked at a nearby bush and saw the same flash of black she had seen not a minute earlier.
Someone was stalking them.
Destiny took a peek at her life treasure cards. She sighed. Leprechaun would have to do.
She speedly turned at the bush, traced the life symbol, and a leprechaun popped out, heading for the bush, but then immediately stopped when near. Destiny then saw the blade of onyx that had pierced through its heart. A voice then made its way out of the bush, "Pretty resourceful of you to survive the arena incident." A teenage boy stepped out, with pale skin, charming blue eyes, and shoulder-length black hair. He was all too familier, and he seemed to wear new and improvised gear. Destiny could tell he had made his way through being a magus to late masterdom.
"Shocking, too, because you weren't supposed to." Vladimir Thorn said.
"I know," Destiny said, mocking a sweet smile. "Too bad, I did!" She casted a banshee at him, which did stun Vladimir a little, but not a whole lot.
"Actually, despite our differences," Vladimir said. "I think you would make a good addition to our little troop."
"Fat chance, lame-o!" Destiny shot back. She raised her wand in preparation to cast a sunbird at him, but then noticed he had used the word "Our".
Destiny turned to Neela, who already had her sword raised, quite different from the nirini staff she had been carrying around with her barely moments before. And sure enough, the sword she now held was painstakingly resembling Vladimir's.
"Very boring to resemble a puny fire adept," Neela said. "This is the true Neela Waterpetal, mster of the Death school!" She quickly casted a wraith at Destiny.
"You set the fire!" Destiny said as she dodged the wraith's blows. "YOU falsely claimed to the patrolkrok that I was a death bandit! You knew how to get to the Krokodial because you had gotten to it before! Jason was right!" With the final three words, Destiny ducked under the ax, twisted it free from its boney grip, ran behind it, and drove its own ax into the heart, like what Vladimir had done earlier with the leprechaun. The wraith collapsed in front of Neela to make way for Destiny's face- a perfect mixture of anger, hate and loss.
"You betrayed me," Destiny said through clenched teeth, the wraith's ax still held up high. "But more importantly, you betrayed the spiral. You betrayed yourself!"
"But I didn't betray my realitive Valkoor, did I?" Neela questioned.
"Great," Destiny mumbled. "Another thorn to add!"
"Don't get all mean with the last names," Neela said. "Here's a little lesson about family history: Valkoor was more of a great-great-great-great-great-great-uncle, so overall, my surname is still Waterpetal, not Thorn."
As Neela was distracted talking, Destiny casted a Life blade on herself. Neela didn't even notice.
"I don't care if Valkoor was your how many greats uncle or a pet rock!" Destiny yelled as she secretly rummaged through life treasure cards. "I trusted you! You were my best friend!" Destiny added for effect.
Neela laughed. "You'd think that I'd befriend an initiate?" She scoffed, and laughed some more.
Destiny grinned. "I believe that it's my turn to laugh!" She said as she casted seraph. Again, as Neela was distracted, Destiny pulled out the glass snowflake, threw it on the ground, and right when it landed, Destiny stomped on it for extra pressure. Sure enough, the snowflake burst into pieces. Destiny hoped that it would turn into a powerful one, enough to show Neela and Vladimir what she was made of!
Slowly, snow started to fall in her palm, putting together the powerful Ice spell Ice had talked about. The treasure card revealed to be a...
Frost Beetle? Destiny thought, confused. Well, Ice did say it was powerful, I guess I'll try it. She traced the Ice symbol and a frost beetle came to life. Surprisingly, the beetle turned around towards Destiny, and lowered its tusks. Destiny then had a crazy thought and tried it out. She rushed towards the beetle, grabbed a tusk, and started climbing it all the way to the head. It was very cold. The beetle turned back towards Neela. It rampaged towards her, intending to do damage with the tusks. Neela ran to avoid it as the beetle charged. And while that was happening, another treasure card appeared in Destiny's hand, this time a snow serpent. Confused, Destiny cast it, and the serpent raced down the beetle and caught up to Neela. It entwined around her legs as yet another treasure card appeared. This time, it was an evil snowman.
Oh, I get it! Destiny realized. Its not one, but a multitude of treasure cards! Each is a higher rank then the previous one!
Destiny brought the snowman to life, the snowman charging to Neela. As Neela fought dagger-to-sword with the snowman, another spell headed its way, a leprechaun. But Destiny didn't cast it.
Nikki came out behind a rock, chuckling. If you know the full story, Nikki said. You'll know I work Life magic!
Destiny smiled as she cast an Ice Wyvern that appeared in her hand. Neela didn't seem to be struggling any longer. She had split both the serpent and snowman in two, as well as killing the leprechaun. The wyvern pulled out an icicle and thrust it at Neela, who blocked it with the blade of her sword. Nikki was busy casting another seraph as the wyvern continued to thrust icicles when all of s sudden a Frost Colossus loomed out of the trees and onto the battlefield, charging at Vladimir.
That's when a tall girl with long brown hair and blue and white Krokotopian clothes and blue eyes came out, winking at Destiny and pointing a runed sapphire wand back and forth between Neela and Vladimir.
Destiny's cousin and possibly the desendant of Ice, Esmee Lionblood.
As he killed the colossus with another wraith and stomach on the icey ground, Vladimir pulled out a smooth, sleek brown stone that had exquite marking around the perimeter and a needle in the middle. The Krokodial! The needle was going crazy, just spinning around in circles faster and faster as Vladimir stood up and walked towards Esmee. It had found the desendant of Ice.
"One of the few," Vladimir clarified, voice low. "I'm guessing of Ice."
"For once," Esmee started. "A desendant of Valkoor is correct."
"Wait, wait, wait," Destiny cut in. "You're the desendant of Ice and you knew it?"
"Why wouldn't I?" Esmee asked. Her head turned back to Vladimir. "Lets get this party started, how about?" Esmee traced the Ice symbol as Destiny prepared a sunbird.
Esmee's wyvern popped out while Destiny's spell fizzled. The wyvern clawed Vladimir as he quickly drew a skeletal pirate. Then a vampire joined the party as Neela rushed to Vladimir's side. Destiny gave a shiver as she pictured all the things Neela could have done to the wyvern she had cast.
"Two against two," Neela mused. "Seems fair."
"If you're saying that two masters against an initiate and a journeyman is fair," Esmee countered. "You're right."
But Destiny was thinking. It was like Esmee had said, they were masters while they were low-leveled. They didn't stand a chance, not today.
"Nikki!" Destiny called. As Nikki flew over, she grabbed Esmee's hand tensley. "We don't stand a chance! We need to make it out of here before they kill us!"
Esmee understood. Destiny grabbed Esmee's and Nikki's hand, visualized Northgueard, and teleported away from Vladimir and Neela.
They all appeared back at Northguard and barely took in the fact that they had arrived when they heard a voice call out, "Destiny!"
Ryan Stormcaster was running towards Destiny, with Chris, Jason, and Natalie right behind him. Esmee nudged Destiny. "Hey, isn't that the guy who got that wedgie on the day of your orientation?" Destiny nodded.
Ryan stopped in front of them. "Oh my gosh!" He said, laughing. "We thought you were dead!"
"Yay, Destiny's back!" Natalie rushed to Destiny and gave her a hug.
"I told you guys!" Jason bragged. He looked to Esmee, then to Nikki. "Who are they?"
"This is Esmee Lionblood-" Destiny started, with Esmee cutting her off. "Desendant of Ice," Esmee proudly added.
Jason's face lit up. "One more desendant down!" He cheered. "Now we have five desndants, we only need three more!" He looked at Nikki. "But who is this? Better not be working for Vladimir!"
Destiny giggled. "Relax, Jason. Basically, Nikki is an exiled sprite princess." Then her face turned sad. "But speaking of Vladimir, Neela, she, she-"
Ryan nodded. "We know. Neela was the traitor all along."
"Shortly after we were separated," Jason said. "I found Neela grinning evilly in death robes. She casted a wraith, followed by a meteor strike, at me!"
Destiny nodded. "I found her in Ravenscar, still thinking that she was aligned with us. That's when Vladimir turned up. I found out she was the traitor, battled them with Ice spells, Esmee turned up, then fled to here, with her and Nikki."
"Wait, wait," Ryan said. "You battled Vladimir? Lucky!"
"Well, I battled Neela more then Vladimir, using a bunch of Ice spells." Destiny replied.
"You used Ice spells?" Jason questioned. "But your primary school is death, secondary fire, and had no Ice treasure cards, so how?"
Destiny looked over to Nikki. "Should I tell them?" She asked. "Honestly, they deserve to know."
But Fire and Storm and Ice, its not what they would have wanted! Nikki protested.
"Nikki, they are their desendants!" Destiny yelled. "They deserve to know about their lineage!"
"Wait, it has something to do with our ancestors?" Natalie asked.
Despite Nikki's protests throughout, Destiny told them the whole story.
"So, they're all immortal?" Ryan asked.
"That's what I thought," Destiny replied. "They are dead. I think it had to do with time travel."
"Okay, although it would have been cool to meet our ancestors," Esmee interupted. "We need to take a break from this thing, because I have something I want to show Destiny."
"What is it?" Destiny asked.
Esmee made a gesture and led them over to the Grizzlehiem spiral door. Destiny had a feeling they were going to leave Grizzlehiem, so she gave it a last look before stepping through the door to see what Esmee had in store.
Destiny had left Grizzlehiem to look at a landscape with a little river, a beach, a little grove, and a huge house. Destiny knew on sight what it was.
"A cottage?" Destiny marveled as the others stepped through.
Esmee nodded. "And the cool part? Its all yours I decided that I had to give up on the royal playhouse, so I bought this instead." Esmee scratched the back of her head, feeling nervous. "I hope it's good enough, wait, Destiny?" Esmee looked around. Then she heard a scream. "This is AWESOME!"
Esmee and the others laughed. Destiny was behaving not unlike the time Esmee had given her a tour of the royal playhouse on the day of her orientation.
"Wait, wait," Jason cried out. "Come back over here!"
"Destiny, I'm wondering," Jason said. "May this serve as a base?"
"B-but-" Destiny stammered. "Its my home not. I've been waiting for this for a while! It's mine!"
"I didn't mean it like we live in it," Jason reassured. "I'm just wondering if we can store plans and stuff here so Vladimir or Neela, you know, can't reach it."
"Oh," Destiny said. "Sure."
"Another thing," Jason said. "We need to implant ourselves in Vladimir's brain, so we might want to come up with names and ranks."
"How the line of desendants?" Esmee suggested.
"Not all of us are desendants," Destiny pointed out.
Esmee blushed. "Oh, right. Sorry."
"How about the Mighty?" Ryan asked.
"Too short," Jason replied.
"How about the Order of the Spiral?" Natalie suggested.
Jason scratched his chin. "I like that," He said. Chris nodded his agreement, and the others joined him. "Its decided," Ryan clarified. "We are officially the Order of the Spiral."
Jason nodded his approval. "Now for army ranks, like commander, seargent and luitenant." He said. "First lets nominate the commander."
Natalie raised her hand. "I nominate Ryan Stormcaster, desendant of Storm."
Destiny nodded. "he's a desendant of the most powerful founder, very determined, founder of the group," She reasoned.
"Anybody else?" Jason called.
Esmee slowly raised her hand. "I nominate Jason Stormflame, desendant of Fire."
"Powerful, high-ranking, smart," Chris mused.
"Anybody else?" Jason called again.
"Lets take a vote then," Ryan said. "All in favor of Ryan Stormcaster."
Natalie and Destiny raised their hands.
"All in favor of Jason Stormflame." Ryan called again.
Jason, Chris, Esmee and Ryan all raised their hands. Then everyone turned to look at Ryan. "I think he would be a better commander then me."
The newly appointed commander grinned. "You're supportive, willing to put your life on the line for another," Jason said. "All in favor of Ryan Stormcaster as seargent, raise your hand."
Natalie, Destiny, Chris, Jason, Esmee and Ryan raised their hands.
"Then it's decided," Esmee announced. "Jason is the commander, and Ryan is the seargent."
"Now we need the luitenant, the third-in-command." Jason said. "Any nominations?" Jason thought for a moment, then said, "Actually, I nominate Chris Soulhunter, desendand of Myth."
Destiny thought and pictured Chris as a good luitenant.
Ryan raised his hand. "I have a suggestion."
"Who?" Jason asked.
"I nominate Destiny Seagem."
Destiny was stunned. Her? As luitenant? "Why me?" She asked Ryan. "I'm not even a desendant!"
"Maybe not," Ryan admitted. "But you were the one who kicked Vladimir's butt at the duel, then Neela's in Ravenscar, even found the desendant of Ice, Esmee Lionblood."
"Actually, more like she found me," Destiny countered.
"Even so, you are very worthy," Ryan persisted.
"Okay," Jason said. "All in favor of Chris Soulhunter as luitenant, raise your hand."
Only Jason and Chris did.
"All in favor of Destiny Seagem."
Destiny, Ryan, Natalie and Esmee raised their hands.
"Then its decided," The commander said. "I, Jason, am the commander, Ryan the seargent, and Destiny as the luitenant of the order of the Spiral."
"But Jason," Natalie asked. "Where do we go next?"
"I don't know," He admitted. "Maybe we should take up Esmee's suggestion, Go back to Wizard City, get caught up in our studys and become of higher rank. Take a break from Vladimir and Neela and whatever throns remain."
Jason then fitted the key into the spiral door lock, twisted it, then opened the door, revealing a portal to the Wizard City spiral chamber. One by one, the Order of the Spiral stepped through, adn Destiny, the newly appointed luitenant, quickly joined them.
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