:::Chapter One – Leaving Home:::

"Hey, Luna! Get over here!" my older brother Sol called.

"Why? It's my birthday, and I don't want to move!" I yelled back, not bothering to take my nose out of my book.

"It's my birthday too. Just come here!" I sighed, put down my book, and headed to the front room where Sol was.

"What do you…?" I was cut off by the sight of a stranger in the doorway. "What do you want?" I demanded, now addressing the stranger. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sol giving me a look. Well, I wasn't about to trust whoever this was until I knew him.

The stranger, seemingly undaunted by me, ignored my question and began to speak. "I am Majin. (A/N- Pronounced Mah-HEEN.) I've traveled here from Kalel Island solely for one purpose: To give you these." Majin flashed two letters with bold, black handwriting on them. "It's both of your birthdays, is it not?"

Sol eyed Majin suspiciously and responded, "Yeah… but what does that have to do with anything?"

"Everything!" Majin told him, an odd sparkle in his eyes. "Your late parents commissioned me to give these letters to you when you turn seventeen," he said, looking at me, "and you turn twenty," he finished, glancing at Sol. "I do have it right, don't I?"

"Yeah…" I replied cautiously. "Can we see the letters yet?"

"Oh, certainly. Here," he said, handing one letter to me and one to Sol. "Everything should be explained in there." And with a swish of his cloak, Majin was gone.

The two of us glanced at each other. "That was weird," Sol mumbled before heading off to his sleeping quarters. I followed suit, heading to my small room at the back of our cottage. As I stared at the letter, I unconsciously shoved the novel I had been reading aside. Slowly and carefully, I broke the seal on the envelope and pulled out a sheet of thin paper.

Dear Luna,

If you're reading this, today you are seventeen years old and have no parents to wish you a happy birthday. Your father and I have given your uncle Majin –

"He's my uncle!?" I said out loud.

-the task of delivering this letter when you become old enough if we didn't return. That is why you're reading this. Let me back up; I'm sure this is very confusing to you. Your father and I are about to leave to search for a sword called Beliere. (A/N- Pronounced bell-ee-AIR.) I'm hoping it won't come to this, but we're now passing this quest on to you. You must go find Beliere. I'm so sorry I never got to say goodbye, but you were only five. I just want to let you know that I love you very much. But about Beliere, head through Calibretto Forest and Krutch Field to Kalel Island. Then, if you're truly my daughter, you'll know what to do from there. Sayonara, Luna, and happy seventeenth birthday from the both of us.

Love,

Mom

Dad

I re-read the letter in disbelief. What was it asking? To leave Ice Island, where I'd lived my entire life? Just for some silly quest for a sword I knew nothing about? "Forget it," I muttered, standing up and heading over to where Sol was. He looked up, and from the expression on his face, I could tell he had gotten a shocking letter too.

"Did your letter talk about some crazy quest for a sword?" he asked, his violet eyes wide.

"Yeah," I replied, shaking my head. "Should we do it? I mean… I don't know much at all about this, but Mom did say to go to Kalel Island. What do you think? This is completely insane!"

"I really don't know. They really didn't give us a lot of details, did they?" he said.

"Nope," I said, smiling slightly.

"Maybe we should try it. It can't take more than a couple weeks to get there, and they are our parents…" Sol trailed off, so I attempted to continue his thoughts.

"After all, what's here on Ice Island for us anyway? All my old friends moved to the mainland…" I said, slipping back into the memory of my friends and how they had left me and Ice Island as soon as they could. There was silence for a few minutes.

"So should we go?" Sol asked, breaking the silence.

"I'm not sure. Can I have some time to sleep on it?" I queried.

"Yeah, I need some more time too. We'll figure it out later."

A week after receiving our letters, Sol and I decided to at least go to Kalel Island. Both of us had been told that we'd know what to do then. But, as I had firmly told Sol earlier, if it got too weird, I was going back home. A few days after our decision, we were packed and ready to leave the next day.

"Luna! Get up! We're leaving today, remember?" Sol's voice woke me from sleep.

"Oh, crap!" I yelled, jumping out of my cot and smacking my head on the too-low ceiling. "Why do we have to leave so early in the morning? The sun isn't even up yet!" I hollered to his retreating footsteps.

"The earlier we get started, the further we'll get, and therefore fewer nights we'll have to spend sleeping out in the wild." Sol's cheerful response got on my nerves. Sol was definitely a morning person, while I preferred night.

"Okay, fine, I'll get moving. But that doesn't mean I won't complain!" I shoved on some comfortable black hiking boots, a black work shirt, and some old black trousers, all which were borrowed from Sol. I was the only girl around that wore pants; everyone else wore skirts. But due to the fact that I had to help run the house, pants were so much easier. I trudged out of my room in a daze, still half asleep. "I'm ready," I told him, yawning.

"We're not going yet! Don't you want a decent breakfast before you go?"

"Oh… yeah… that would be nice. I don't think very well in the mornings," I commented.

Sol rolled his eyes. "Es verdad, hermanita. Let's go have breakfast." After eating our last decent breakfast of bacon and eggs, the two of us left home.

It was a bright and sunny day out, a perfect start for our mysterious quest. We followed a tiny dirt path to the coastal village on our tiny Ice Island, Soranh. "Where do we go now?" I asked as we wandered throughout the dirty streets of Soranh. Soranh was a small town, and we were immediately marked as foreigners.

"I would assume," Sol said, "that we would take the ferry to the mainland."

"Well, good! I was hoping we wouldn't have to swim," I told him with my usual sarcasm. My brother just laughed and rolled his eyes. The two of us quickly made our way over to the beach.

"When does the next ferry leave?" Sol asked someone standing nearby.

"Half an hour," he said in a husky voice.

"Thanks," I yelled back over my shoulder as we left the beach and walked into a local bakery. We took a small table in the corner and bought a loaf of bread to share between us.

Wow, look at that girl! She dresses like a guy! How did she manage to get together with a guy like him?

"Who said that?" I asked, jerking upright in my chair.

"Who said what?" Sol asked, looking puzzled. I glanced over my shoulder and saw a small cluster of girls giggling. Chuckling, I shook my head.

"I just heard those girls over there talking. One of them was wondering how a girl that wears pants managed to get together with a guy like you."

We shared a laugh over that one. "Let's head back to the ferry and away from those girls," I said. "It's close enough to half an hour."

The ferry was there all right, and we paid the nickel fee to board. Another half hour later, we were safely in the mainland in the village of Xionis. Since it was such a small island, Ice Island didn't have very much in the way of civilization. Xionis was bigger than any city I had ever seen. Sol had been here before; our parents had taken him when they were still alive. I had been too little.

"Hey Luna, I'm going to step in here for a minute to buy a map of the mainland." Sol gestured toward a nearby shop. "Wait here, okay?"

"Okay." Sol left, and I leaned against the wall, bored. I spotted a bench across the street, and after walking all day, my feet were beginning to hurt so I left my spot on the wall and headed to the bench.

"Hey kid! Watch out!" I glanced around, searching for a kid who might need to be careful. "Yeah, you! WATCH OUT!" I turned and now could see the speaker, who was staring straight at me. But it was too late