SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1"Quest For Elquinn" part 1

Andromeda looked down from the high castle window and sighed. There was nothing she could do now BUT sigh. The whole kingdom of Baldermar within the high walls was in utter turmoil. For the evil warlord, Drake, had broken through the main gates with all his forces just the day before. Now everyone was fighting for their kingdom, and for their lives. She watched as loyal subjects to her father, the king, were cut down by Drake's men.

"Milady, I wish to speak to you...If that's alright?"

Andromeda turned to see Lane, the wise man to the royal family standing in her doorway.

"Yes, you may speak. I hope you've found a way to defeat Drake?"

"Actually, I have."

"Well? What is it? Have you told my father?"

"I would have told him, if I knew he would agree to it. But, I know it would not be to his liking so I have come straight to you."

"Then do tell."


"Elquinn? But Elquinn's just a stick in a tale meant for children. You can't possibly mean Elquinn!"

"I do. Elquinn is very real. What I am talking about is no story for children. And, Elquinn is a staff, not a stick. There is a difference."

"OK, whatever. So it's a staff. Are you actually saying that Elquinn actually exists?"

"I am."

"OK, so how is a staff supposed to help get rid of Drake? I don't get it."

"Elquinn is the most powerful weapon in the world. It has powers even I don't know about. Now, listen carefully for what I am about to tell you. This is all very important for our survival.

There is a sword shaped necklace which accompanies Elquinn, called Delwyn. In order to use the power of Elquinn, you must be wearing Delwyn. And once you put on Delwyn, only you can take it off. No one else can do so. It's magic makes it physically impossible. I do not know of all the capabilities they posses, but once you wear Delwyn you will know all about them."

"Lane, why are you telling me all of this when we don't even have either of these things here?"

"That's where you come in. You must go and get them."


"Yes, you. You are the heir to the throne and your father is too elderly to go himself. It has to be you."

"Alright. I'll go. Tell me where it is."

"It is in a place called Brier which is far from here, too far to walk. You'll have to take Moonfire."

"My horse can handle any distance like nothing. Just tell me how to get there."

"That, milady, is for you to figure out. But, choose your path wisely for Drake's beasts, his pets, are out there also searching for Elquinn. Although they do not as yet know where it lies. Drake will stop at nothing until he has what he wants, as you well know. I don't know what else will be out there besides his men. The road will be difficult, I don't think I need to tell you that. OK, I will leave you now to think things over and to plan your route as best you can. You leave tonight at midnight through one of the side gates, so no one will see you. Meet me in the armory then, and I will have everything ready for your journey."

"But what about my father? Will I have time to see him? To say goodbye?"

"No. You must stay here, in your chambers the rest of the evening, for your safety. After you have gone I will personally tell your father what has happened... I know that this is a bit unexpected, but I know you can do it. That's why I asked you."

Andromeda nodded. "I understand."

"Good. Just go out there and get the staff. That's all I ask. That's all we ask," Lane said, motioning to the people outside, fighting for their lives.

She was silent for a second. "But, what about...Lance?" she asked, but Lane was already gone. "He's my best friend, I can't just leave him without saying goodbye..."

Andromeda sighed and sat down, as she looked around her at all of her belongings. She fingered her long brown hair pulled back into a braid that reached her waist. What would she take with her? She began to think about what it would be like to take a long journey by horseback and she decided that it would be better to only take the important essentials. And...maybe one or two small sentimental things, to remember her friends while she was away.

She walked over to the wall, where she had all of her jewelry hanging up on hooks along the wall. Picking up a silver heart-shaped locket on a silver chain, she opened it and looked at the blond hairs locked inside. They weren't hers. Her's were dark brown. They belonged to Lance. He had cut his own hair and put it in the locket and given it to her for her birthday just the year before. She closed it, and squeezed it in her hand before putting it about her neck.

She sat down again, and looked at her reflection in the mirror, staring at the necklace, for a long time. Finally, she snapped out of it, when she remembered seeing a traveler on his way through Baldermar. But where had he been coming from? What had he been talking about? He had given her directions to some place, but where was that place? What was it called? Lance would know.

Andromeda decided to go find him, but a guard met her at the door and refused to let her leave.

"But, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be out there fighting with all the others?"

"No. I was assigned to protect you while we're at war."

"Come on! You know I can protect myself!"

"I know, but it's your father's wishes that you be guarded at all times, and Lane wants you to stay here for the rest of the day. I'm sorry."

She sighed, "No, it's OK," and reluctantly retreated into her chambers.

The rest of the day she sat on her bed and thought about everything she'd be leaving behind: Lance, her father, Lane, the kingdom, everything that belonged here that she couldn't take with her. But, throughout those thoughts, she knew she would be back. She HAD to be back. She had to get Elquinn to save Baldermar. And then she had to come back so she could see her family and friends.

Dinner was served late, but she didn't have an appetite any longer. She began to get nervous the more she thought about the upcoming journey she would have to make alone. The people of her father's kingdom would be counting on her.

The time passed by so slowly. She thought midnight would never come, and when it finally did, she was almost surprised. There was a knock at the door. When she opened it, she found the guard there. He took her down to the armory where she met Lane.

"Lane, I need to talk to you," she said.

"Yeah, what about? Here put this on, it'll help you blend in, in the dark."

He handed her a pair of black pants, black boots, a black shirt, and a long black hooded cloak.

"Hold onto that a second. You're giving me pants! I'm a girl. Girls don't..."

"I know. Girls don't wear pants. But you can move more easily in pants than in a dress. Besides, you need to stay hidden so people won't recognize you and this will do that. Now, will you hurry up and go change?"


Andromeda went to the changing room of the armory and quickly changed into her new outfit.

"So, what did you want before?" Lane asked through the door.

"I really don't want to leave without saying goodbye to Lance. If I can't say goodbye to my father, I at least want to see Lance before I go."

"Well then you're in luck!" another voice came into the room.

"LANCE!" she exclaimed.

"What are you doing here, young man?" Lane asked.

"Yeah, what are you doing here?"

Andromeda flung open the door and saw Lance standing there. He was wearing black pants and black boots, the same as her, as well as a puffy white shirt and his hair was just a blond mop on top of his head.

"I'm here to go with you," Lance said.

"Go with me? What?"

"No. I'm sorry Lance, but you can't go with her. I'm afraid that's not possible," Lane said.

"No. You don't understand, Lane. I am going with her and you can't stop me."

Andromeda smiled briefly, glad to some degree, that Lance was there, and wanted to go with her. She realized then, how much she didn't want to go alone.

"I'm not of royal blood, so it won't matter if I die or anything. Besides, do you really think it would be a good idea to send her out on her own on such a dangerous journey? It's not safe for anyone, not just her."

"OK, OK, fine, you can go. Hurry up and get your horse."


Lance glanced quickly at Andromeda with a smile, before running out the door.

"Thank you, Lane! Thank you!" she exclaimed.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, come on, hurry up. We've got lots to do in such short amount of time!"

"OK, OK. I'm dressed are you happy?"

"Yes. Now we need to get you a weapon."

"My bow and arrows are over there," she said, pointing to the wall where they hung. "My quiver is full too. And I've got a knife tucked in my right boot."

"Good. Get the arrows. Hopefully Moonfire will be here shortly."


"I've filled the saddle bags with food and extra water. We'll just have to get more for Lance's horse."

At that moment, Lance appeared in the dark doorway flanked by two horses.

"Well, Moonfire sure does seem ready and raring to go," he said. "And so does Bryn. Don'tcha girl?"

Lance patted his horse, Bryn, on the neck and both horses snorted. Moonfire was a coal black mare with a creamy white mane, tail, and stockings. Bryn was a brown mare with a black mane and tail.

"Where's the guard I sent after her horse?" Lane asked.

"Oh, well, when I saw him, I just told him I'd take Moon for him."

"Oh. Then you need to fill your bags with food otherwise there won't be enough for both of you. And you also need to get a bed roll. Go."

Lance handed both reins to Andromeda and left in a hurry. Lane put the saddle bags on the horse and attached her bed roll to the back of the saddle. He then gave her a leg up after she'd tied Bryn's reins to a hook in the wall. Lance came back with saddle bags full of food and his roll.

"OK, now remember all I've said to you, Andromeda. Good luck and be careful!"

Lance was already up on Bryn and together they turned their horses around and headed out through one of the side gates Drake hadn't found out about yet. As they passed through the gate both Andromeda and Lance could just barely see Drake's bright red eyes through the darkness. And then they were off, galloping madly away from the kingdom of Baldermar, in the hopes that they would return with Delwyn and Elquinn in time.

After an hour or two they finally stopped to rest the horses. They dismounted and leaned their backs against a tree while the horses grazed nearby.

"Thanks for coming with me. I really appreciate it," Andromeda said.

"Hey, it's no problem. Besides, I wouldn't let you go out by yourself and I didn't want to get left behind all by myself without you."

"Gee, thanks, Lance."

"You're welcome. So, do you know where we're going and how we're getting there?"

"Well, I know the answer to the first question is Brier. The answer to the second question I do not know."


"Lane didn't know either. Said I had to figure it out on my own. So, now, we both have to figure it out. I was thinking earlier about that traveler guy who stopped by a long while ago. Do you remember what place he was talking about? I believe he actually gave me directions to somewhere, but I can't remember what that place was called. Do you?"

"Hold on, let me think."

Andromeda was quiet for awhile waiting patiently for Lance to come up with an answer.

"I think...I think he was talking about Brier," he finally said. "Yes! It must have been Brier he was talking about. I'm sure of it now!"

"OK, then I do know how to get there."

"Good. Then I suggest we keep going for now, so we can get as far away as possible."

Andromeda agreed with him and together they mounted their horses, Moonfire and Bryn, and continued on the journey. Along the way she filled him in on everything Lane had told her about Elquinn and Delwyn. He took it calmly, letting her explain everything before he spoke.

"Well, if it is true like he says, than that's really amazing. I suppose, we can do nothing else, other than at least try to see if they are real. I mean, what else can we do? If we don't do anything, then Baldermar is sure to fall to Drake."

"Exactly, what I was just thinking."