"The Quest For Elquinn" part 3

After their long break, they continued the journey. After climbing the hill, they stopped for another rest, while they surveyed the large canyon spread out miles below them. It was several miles long, several miles wide, several miles deep, and very craggy.

"Well, let's get started. The sooner we get down there, the sooner we can get Elquinn and get back to Baldermar."

"Good point. I wonder how they're doing back there? You think they're holding out against Drake?" Lance asked.

"Who knows. Anything's possible at this point," Andromeda replied before setting out down the other side of the hill, down into the canyon.

For two whole weeks the pair traveled slowly through the canyon. They stopped every few hours to take a short break and every night they would sleep underneath a rock, jutting out from the rock wall. On a few occasions the beasts of Drake would find them, and they would be forced to fight, because they couldn't run from them.

The birds couldn't attack them because the rocks were in the way. Instead, all three, in perfect health, circled high overhead, screeching up a storm, while huge, thick, long black snakes with bright red eyes, slithered after Andromeda and Lance.

Lance had already dropped Bryn's reins and prayed that she'd follow Moonfire while he hacked away at the snakes with his sword. They hissed at him and tried to attack, rearing their ugly bodies up onto their tails and shooting themselves forward. Lance waved his sword around wildly, chopping off snake heads. When he didn't see anymore, he relaxed in his saddle, and wiped the sweat from his forehead as he sheathed his sword.

"Is that all of them?" Andromeda asked, turning to look at him. "Do you see anymore?"

"No. And thank God too. I don't think I could handle anymore of them."

"Good. Let's hurry up and get out of here then. I think I see a wide stretch coming up."

They began to gallop through the wider section of canyon as the huge black birds circled over head, screeched, and started to follow them. They rode at a gallop until the path narrowed again and they had to slow down to a walk. It kept narrowing until they were finally forced to dismount and walk ahead of their horses.

After a long while, they finally came to the end of the canyon. At the mouth of it, there was lots of green grass and then a shallow river flowing by.

"Well, I guess the next thing is to follow this river."

"Right. So let's get started."

Andromeda remounted her horse, Moonfire and they entered the river and began to follow the stream. Lance did the same and trotted after her.

The river suddenly stopped at large two stone slabs. There was no apparent place for the water to go. But somehow, it disappeared. On either side of the stone slabs there sat on pedestals a pure gold lion with green eyes.

"Well, now what?" Lance asked.

"I don't know. Don't ask me. Lane never told me everything, remember."

"Yeah, I know. I just thought you might have some ideas."

"Let me think."

"Wait! Did you see that?"

"See what?"

"I swear that lion blinked!"

Both lions began to move, lifting one large paw and then the other. Both horses backed up.

"Um, what do we do now?"

"I think, this must be Brier. Both lions have collars that say Brier on them. I think that Elquinn and Delwyn must be behind those rock slabs."

"Oh, great! So, then how do we get them then?"

"We fight the lions. If we win, we get Elquinn."

"And if we don't?"



Both Lance and Andromeda looked at the lions, who'd climbed down off the pedestals they'd been sitting on. She turned Moonfire and they galloped away.

"Wait! Where are you going?" Lance called before he and Bryn followed her.

She stopped and turned back, pulling out her bow and arrows at the same time.

"Ah! Good idea!"

The lions turned to face them and then they were running, taking great bounding leaps towards the pair on horse back. Andromeda fired off an arrow which hit one of the lions square in the chest. Both lions kept on coming at a full run. She fired off another arrow at the other beast. The same thing happened. She hit both of them again. All of the arrows were stuck in the lion's chests and yet, they kept bounding forward as if nothing had happened.

"Do you really think that the staff and necklace are in there, behind those slabs?" Lance asked.

"Yeah, I do."

"OK. I hope you're right!"

Lance jumped off Bryn's back and pushed his horse away from the oncoming animals. He had his sword out and ready.

"Lance! Watch out!" Andromeda screamed as one of the lions leaped for him.

Lance ducked, and as he did so, he raised his sword, cutting the stomach of the animal as it leaped over him. Andromeda was off her own horse with her long knife in her hand. Moonfire went over to Bryn and the two horses stayed well out of the way.

The other lion came after Andromeda. But she was ready. She threw her knife and it hit the lion in the chest, right below her two arrows. As it continued to bound towards her, she did a somersault on the ground and she pulled the knife out of the animal as she past by him. She was up on her feet before the lion even had time to turn around. She quickly, ran towards him and jumped on his back. As he threw her around she began to hack away at his body with her knife.

Meanwhile, Lance was waving his sword around in the air, trying desperately to keep the other lion as far away from him as possible. Already, the lion had lost his beautiful mane and both ears. His tail was next and then part of a massive paw. The lion kept getting closer and closer to him as he tried his best to chop it into several pieces.

And then, in seconds, Bryn had galloped right into the animal, almost knocking him over. Lance took the opportunity and sliced the head apart from the body.

Andromeda was covered in blood, but, the lion she had been riding was now officially dead, as she pulled her knife from the millionth stab wound in his body.

"Phew! What a fight! Man, thanks Bryn, I owe you there!" Lance said, patting his horse on her neck.

She whinnied and Moonfire came over to join them along with Andromeda.

"You OK?"

"Yeah, just a little dirty," Andromeda answered. "I'll wash up after we find that staff. Come on. Let's go."

Together, they went back to the giant stone slabs.

"So, how do you suppose we get them open?"

"I don't know. Here, you grab hold of that side, and I'll get this side. Maybe we can move it this way," Andromeda suggested.

They tried to move it. But it refused to move. They tried the other slab. It didn't budge either.

"Great, what are we going to do?"

"I don't know. But whatever it is, we'd better hurry because the birds are coming back."

Lance looked up into the sky to see the same three black birds they'd met with before, flying towards them.

"Oh great!"

Andromeda, placed both hands on the rocks, one on each slab and rested her head over them, wondering what to do. All of a sudden there was a loud grating noise and both rock slabs began to slid out of the way. She stood back as Lance walked over to her.

"You did it Andy! You did it! I don't know how, but you did it!"

"I don't know how I did it either. Come on!"

She pulled him into the small room that had lain hidden behind the rocks. Once inside, and their eyes had accustomed to the darkness, they both saw what they knew to be Elquinn and Delwyn. There was a staff lying on a stone slab jutting from the wall and a necklace hanging from a stone hook above the staff. The necklace was of a silver sword, about one inch long with a copper handle. The staff was a simple brown staff, anyone could easily mistake for a common stick except that this one had silver wrapped around the center and copper at both ends, leaving the rest it's natural wood color of brown.

Andromeda picked up Elquinn and held the staff in her hands, staring at it. Meanwhile Lance had taken Delwyn from the hook and had unclasped it. He put it about Andromeda's neck and clasped it back together. He stepped back, and as he did so, the room was filled with a bright light. He covered his eyes. When he finally took his hands away from his face, the light had lessened and was coming from one end of Elquinn, as Andromeda held it up high in the air.

"Wow. That was awesome!"


Andromeda just stood there and stared at the staff, in her hands, casting a light around the whole room.

"Come on, Andy! We've got to get out of here before those birds get here!"

She snapped back to her senses and they ran back out to their horses. The light ceased to shine from the staff as they mounted Bryn and Moonfire.


They looked up to see the birds flying over head. They started to dive on the two riders. One of them went for Andromeda and tried to grab Elquinn in his talons. Another went for Lance. Andromeda raised Elquinn high into the air and a light shot out from the copper end, and all three birds were blown away. They landed on the ground, in a big, dead, heap.

Lance whooped for joy and Andromeda smiled.

"How'd you do that?" he asked.

"I can't really explain it. It's really magic! Well, if this could work on those stupid birds, then lets get back to Baldermar so we can finish Drake off for good now."


For several weeks they hurried back home, back through the river, back through the canyon, back through the forest, and back over the empty plains, and finally back home to Baldermar.

They stopped just outside the high walls of the kingdom.

"Something's happened. I can hear people partying, I think!" Andromeda commented.

"Yeah, I agree."

They rode Moonfire and Bryn right to the main gates. When they were opened to admit them, both Andromeda and Lance got a big surprise. There in front of them was Drake, lounging in a chair, with his feet on the table in front of him and a drink in his hands. They stopped short. Not knowing what to do.

"Ah! I see the princess is back! Finally!" Drake exclaimed. "I've been waiting for your return!"

Drake stood up, and Andromeda handed her reins to Lance as she dismounted her horse. She went to meet Drake with Delwyn about her neck, and Elquinn in her hands.

"Ah! I see you've brought me a present!"

"No. I haven't."

"Come on now, hand that stick over."

"Never!" She said, holding the staff, ready to fight. "And it's a staff not a stick. There's a difference!"

"Oh there is not. Now give it to me!"

Andromeda struck out with the staff and struck him in the stomach. Drake doubled over, but was quickly back on his feet, with his own sword in his hands. She knocked the sword out of his hand, as if it had been nothing but a feather. Drake stared at her, in amazement.

"Hand it over, now!" He tried again.


She belted him again, and again. He ducked, and picked up his sword. They began to clash, sword against staff.

"Why do you want that stick? You don't need it."

"Oh but I do!" she exclaimed, blocking his sword. "Because I'm going to defeat you with it!"

"Watch out, Andy!" Lance shouted, as Drake nearly cut her arm.

Andromeda flipped backwards through the air, and landed neatly on her feet, facing Drake. She aimed Elquinn at the evil warlord. He stopped short as a bright light shot out of the staff, and shot right through Drake, leaving a hole where his stomach had been only a moment ago. He looked down at the hole in his body, before he crumpled into a pile of ashes.

Lance dismounted and whooped for joy, jumping up and down. Both horses whinnied. All of Drake's men, quickly ran out of the gates as quickly as they could. Everyone else there, jumped for joy along with Lance.

Andromeda walked over to another table, where Lane stood, smiling, alongside an older man.

"Father, it's good to see you again!" she exclaimed, leaning over to give the man a hug.

"Yes, it is good to see you too!" he said.

Lance put the horses away and came to join in the party as Andromeda aimed Elquinn at the long table, and in a matter of seconds, it was filled to over flowing, with food. Everyone there, sat down to eat, and to celebrate the end of the warlord, Drake, thanks to Andromeda and Lance.