AN: to eliminate confusion, all words in Elvin or that are telepathic with be surrounded by

Chapter 2: The Quest

The grey predawn light filtered in the grungy window. Laurana sighed, and forced herself to wake up, splashing cold water on her face. She glanced at Christiana, who still slept silently, her rough blanket curled up around her in a desperate attempt to keep out the early morning chill.

"Christiana," Laurana whispered. Christiana's ears perked at the sound of her name, and she sleepily opened her eyes.

"Time to get going?" she moaned.

"Yeah. Come on, don't laze about all day like a cat. We have work to do." Laurana was pulling on her stepfather's battered armour. "I let you sleep in as long as I could."

"All right, all right already. You sound like my father." Christiana rolled from the cot, landing on the floor.

"I thought cats always land on their feet," Laurana said with a smile. Her new friend scowled in a friendly manner as she ran a brush through her dirty blond hair, pleating it expertly into a tight braid. Laurana marvelled at how deft the young woman's hands were. Laurana could hardly braid another's hair, let alone her own.

They made their way through the nearly deserted castle to where Mistowa had ordered them to meet. They found Mistowa pacing angrily near the exit of the courtyard.

"What took you two elves so long?" he demanded, scowling. Laurana returned the scowl in kind. He had caught her off guard before, but he would not gain the upper hand again. "Never mind. Follow me, both of you, and that's an order." Laurana glanced at Christiana skeptically. Sighing, Laurana began to follow Mistowa. He led them out of the castle.

They continued walking for several hours in silence. Finally, near noon, Mistowa stopped and glared at them.

"I don't know if I should trust either of you with this important mission, but I can't spare any of my men. We must train the new troops, so it is difficult to accomplish anything new. I will personally escort you two to the city of Heraldine. I need to order some supplies for the king. I suggest you two pick up rations, and what ever you feel you will need for the long journey you have ahead of yourselves," he stopped. "What are you names?" he asked. She saw Christiana give a curt nod of her head.

"I am Laurana, and this is Christiana."

"Good, now I expect you two to follow my instructions to the letter. I will be leaving shortly after we arrive in the city. It is still several hours away, and we will be arriving late in the afternoon. I will return to the castle, but you two must go and find the Sword of Heart."

Laurana stared at Mistowa in open astonishment.

"You really expect us to be able to waltz into some forgotten Temple built to honour Rizulutezza, and take the Sword of Heart? There will be countless shields and wards drawn around the Sword the likes of which your mortal mind cannot possibly fathom!"Mistowa smiled at her darkly.

"Why do you think I asked an elf to get it? Your purity will surely let you get past those spells." Laurana opened her mouth to protest, but Christiana touched her arm lightly. The other elf shook her head.

"Do not try to explain the ways of magic to this stupid man," she said in Elvish. "It is not worth your time. He is too close minded."

"You are right, my friend. Let's get on with this charade then."

"I do not appreciate being talked about when I cannot hear the words. Are you that cowardly, Lady Elf?" he asked with a sneer. Laurana sighed inwardly.

"My friend here was simply warning me not to upset you," Laurana replied softly, trying to seem meek. She had enough practice at pretending to be nothing more then a meek child that the lines in Mistowa's rough face softened a little bit.

"As you wish, girl. Next time, have the courtesy to approach me properly."

Christiana and Laurana exchanged loaded glances. Mistowa began his journey again, his pace quicker than before. Laurana felt Christiana's hand on her shoulder.

"I don't trust him,"whispered Christiana in Elvish. "He may be in league with The Queen Of Darkness."

"Stuff and nonsense. She is nothing more then a tale to frighten gullible children."

"You are wrong my friend. She is very much real, and prowling within this area."

Laurana frowned, pondering this, and wondering how Christiana knew all she did. It unsettled her slightly. She gave into her impatience, and asked Christiana forthright.

"How do you know all this?"

"I was sent by the High Mages to search out those in this area who may be in league with her," Christiana replied softly. Laurana missed a step. If Christiana was a servant to the High Mages, she must be at the Mage level. . . . and yet her magic was much weaker then Laurana's own. Laurana lapsed into silence, unsure of what to do or say next. She was in dangerous company.

As the day wore on, the sky became cloudy and dark. Rain poured down on them, drenching them. Laurana's heart sank.

"There's a cave!" cried Christiana. "We should take shelter! It looks like a storm!" Laurana felt a pulse of energy from Bianco Saetta.

"Afraid of getting a little wet, girl?" Mistowa asked, a note of contempt stealing back into his voice.

"Get to the cave fast! Christiana is right! There is a huge storm coming, and we're right in it's path!" she yelled. Laurana started to run, as did Christiana. Mistowa headed to the rocky hill, and thunder cut through the air.

Laurana tried to keep up with them, but the magic of the sword was draining her strength. If she didn't get into the cave soon, she would draw all the lighting into her body. It was how the sword prevented it's owner from getting full fledge storms under control. Laurana could make lighting appear from thin air, but if a storm was present, and she was outside, she would become a living lightning rod. The only way to negate the effect of the lightning, was to have the other two Elemental Weapons near-by. Lightning flashed. The storm as getting dangerously close.

Laurana pulled the scabbard from her body, laying it reverently down under the shelter of the cavern.

"I should have never taken this sword from mother . . ." she sighed. Her armour was now sweat soaked, and covered in rain. Laurana began to take it off. Her hair tumbled to her shoulders, tangled and dirty. Her eyes sparkled in the light of the fire that had been built by Mistowa. She turned to the fire, drinking in the warmth, letting it run through her.

Thunder roared outside, making Laurana jump. She hated thunder. So did her friend, Nathan. Elves did not have many children, and so those who were the same age were encouraged to befriend one another. Laurana's best friends growing up had been Nathan and Beth, both from the part of town where the rich dwelled. Nathan was the adopted son of an Elder, Lanathaura, and Beth was the only child of two upper class elves who looked down on everyone who did not hold up to their perfect ideals, which was most of the population.

She thought of the time that she had almost lost her friends to a thunderstorm just like this one. Beth had only laughed when Laurana had begged to go back inside when a storm had hit. It was then that Liana, Laurana's next-door neighbour, and ten years her senior, had come, carrying a basket of eggs for Beth's mother. Lightning had hit a tree just as Liana had knocked on the door. It crashed , knocking her down, and pinning her beneath it. Laurana would never forget the searing smell of burning flesh, Liana's cried of pain. Liana had survived, but there after all of them had become petrified of lightning and thunder, even Beth.

Christiana sighed. The rain was stronger now, coming down in sheets. Travelling in this weather would be treacherous. She glanced at Laurana, who was starring into the fire. Laurana seemed in some sort of a trance. Getting up abruptly Laurana made her way to the back of the cave. Christiana got up and followed her to the back of the cave. She did not trust Laurana, though she genuinely liked the other half-elvin girl.

"Mama, Mama, is that you?" called Laurana. "Why are you calling me?" Christiana hid behind a large boulder. She was bewildered, after all, why would Laurana's mother be in the cave? Something of this whole situation was very wrong.

"Yes Laurana, it is I," answered a voice. A shimmering figure appeared above Laurana. Christiana gasped in shock. It was a spirit! She trembled, unable to school her fear.

"How is it that you can come to me?" asked Laurana.

"I come to you from the Realm of Death to warn you of the great peril that awaits you. You must never give in to the evil which stalks you. If you do, you will lose all that you care for. I don't want to see that happen. You were the greatest blessing the gods ever gave to me."

"Mama, I've missed you. I can't stand to think of how you suffered before you died. Is the pain gone?" asked Laurana.

"I have no more pain, now Laurana. The only pain I feel is the regret I have. You see, I had to keep a secret from you, all your life. I am still unable to tell you it, because it would affect your judgement of the present situation. I give you this charm, which will lead you to the only one who can let the secret be broken. Find him, and you will know the answer." A pendant appeared in the air before Laurana. She reached for it. It glowered brilliantly at Laurana's touch. Christiana, though used to all manner of magic, was speechless and scared out of her wits.

"The one who holds the twin interlocking pendant is who you seek. He is your brother."

"Thank you mother," whispered Laurana reverently.

"I love you, Laurana. Now I give to you my final gift. You were born with a new magic. It was hidden from you by a spell from a cleric. Because your blood flows with all elements of life, you possess it, and must release it into the world.

"Laurana, into you I release your magic, the Hidden Magic. It can be learned by any elf, human or half-elf. It is neither good, nor evil, but sits along the path of neutrality. This magic is a magic of union, spawned in a child of innocence and love, born in guilt and prejudice. You will forever have this magic as your own, as will your children, and their children, until your line exists no more. It follows no god of magic, but comes from within. The stronger you believe in yourself, the stronger it will become..." With that, Laurana's mother exploded into a puff of blue powder. It showered down on Laurana, who stared at the spot where her mother had been.

"Goodbye Mama. I love you . . ." whispered Laurana. "I'll find him, I promise. I won't let you down. I will make you proud mama. You'll see..."

AN: So, what do you think? Special thanks to Bardic Melody and my friend the Mageling for reading. Everyone else who is reading, please, please review!