Lisbeth read the note Sylvan had left for the fifth time in a day. It had been a week, and she had had random bursts of some sort of magic happen, often with disastrous results, the worst of which paralyzed a cow. So, she had been reading and rereading the note to try and find any mention of this new power.
"Hopeless." She pushed the paper, now crumpled and a bit stained, back into the fuschia pouch she wore loosely around her waist. "Sylvan, what on earth is happening to me?"
A warm blue glow graced the bronze flower sewn onto the pouch, and she jumped, startled. Sylvan?
No, she decided. It's not his color. Sylvan would've most likely made his prescence known by the trademark pink he wore. But, whatever the blue glow was, it seemed to indicate that she was supposed to open the pouch. So Lisbeth did. To her surprise, a second note, crisply folded with a silver seal embossed with the letter 'I', was nestled in between two seed packets for Fire-Breathing Snapdragons and Thorny Thickets.
She opened it immediately, hungry for any word on her surfacing ability. The letter was written in cursive, with plenty of flourishes.
You don't know me quite yet, but I will become known to you soon enough. All you need to know is that I am Sylvan's twin sister and that you can trust me.
I need you to make your way to my protégé, Lalune. She lives in Snowdrop Forest, just a few miles from where you stand. She will help you figure this all out and then send you on to face Xera.
I hope you fare well on your journey, and Sylvan says he wishes the same. We're both watching over you, and assisting you when we can.
Lisbeth squealed in delight. She had help.
Snowdrop Forest was beautiful, Lisbeth noted. The namesake flower grew in little circles around the trees, which were mainly willow, birch, and aspen. Occasionally she would see a wisp or fairy dart across the path.
As she wandered around on Hyacinth, she came across what appeared to be a path. Curious, she followed, wondering where it lead. Pretty soon a large, ice blue tent came into view. A woman working in the garden stopped as she heard the heavy hoofsteps of the horse.
Her strawberry blonde hair was twirled up into a hairstyle that looked near impossible to create, and a blue streak nestled in among the ponytail that hung down the nape of her neck. Picking up her large staff, she began to walk out to meet Lisbeth.
"Excuse me, ma'am, I was wondering..." Lisbeth got no further. The woman spread out her arms in a welcoming gesture.
"I am Lalune. Welcome, Sylvan's entrusted one. I recieved a message from my Guardian that you would be coming." Smiling warmly, Lalune helped the younger girl off of her horse.
"I'm..." Lisbeth was slightly in awe of Lalune's beauty. "I'm Lisbeth. Nice to meet you."
"Come on in, Eva has made a pie to celebrate your arrival."
They started to hurry back to the cottage, where the smell of fresh-baked pie permeated the air. The door was open, and several lilac garlands hung across the doorframe. Lalune left her staff leaning against the wall.
A girl a little bit older than Lisbeth was cleaning up the kitchen, presumably Eva. She had a ruddy mop of hair that was artfully messy, and a scarlet strand hung over her shoulder. There was a certain fierceness about her...maybe it was the sword hung on her hip.
In the corner, a young man with coal black locks sat, golden eyes staring off into the distance, a bit glassy. Small strands of golden light wove in and out between his fingers, and the midnight blue coat he wore matched the strand of hair tied into a small ponytail that framed his face.
"Eva, Sparrow, this is Lisbeth." Lalune clasped her hands together.
"What does she look like?" The question came from Sparrow, who had turned his head towards them.
"Well," Eva swung around to give Lisbeth a good look-over. "her hair's the color of dark chocolate, and is in a bunch of ringlets. She's wearing a simple get up. That good enough for you?"
"Her eyes. What do her eyes look like?" Sparrow's voice was gentle, like a summer wind blowing through the forest.
"Mmm..." His sister twisted her lips to the side. "Mud."
"Hey!" Lisbeth put her hands on her hips.
"She sounds beautiful." Sparrow gave a little nod of approval. Lisbeth blushed. Boy, is that not true.
"Alright. I'm going to give Lisbeth here the instructions that were relayed to me, and then we're going to enjoy the nice pie that Eva has cooked for us." Lalune sounded merry, and when she laughed it was like tiny bells ringing out. "Come along, dear."
"Ok." Lisbeth let herself be shuffled to the back door and out into the forest behind the house.
"So, you've been having petrifying magic bursts?"
Lisbeth nodded. "Yes, they are pretty scary."
"No, no. Petrifying magic bursts. Like paralyzation." Lalune dragged out the words.
"Oh...yes." Lisbeth nodded again. "I paralyzed a cow. And quite a few assorted birds."
"Well, that's all due to your magic surfacing."
"Wait, what about all those seeds?" Suddenly confused, Lisbeth looked down at the little pouch.
"Oh, those are for my garden. My Guardian said Sylvan would send them." Lalune gave a short laugh as Lisbeth handed over all the little packets. "Now, about the magic surfacing stuff..."
"She's ready!" Lalune announced, leading a sorry-looking Lisbeth inside. A crecent moon was already halfway up the sky, and stars were peeking out from behind clouds. Eva jolted awake.
"How burnt is she after learning the basic fire skill?" Sparrow asked, an amused look on his face.
"She looks like lightly toasted bread, Sparrow." Eva blew her bangs out of her face and yawned.
"Toast is nice." He said to no one in particular, the hint of a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
"Pie is nicer! Eva, serve us the pie!" Lalune clapped her hands.
"For Orion's sake, Mother. I'm not a maid." With a roll of her eyes, Eva went to get the pie.
"I've been meaning to ask you this, but what's with the hair streaks?" Lisbeth asked, eyeing Lalune's blue strand.
"Oh, them? Well, they're to show respect to our Guardian. Everyone has a Guardian, and each has a special color and something they represent. For example, Sparrow's Guardian Angeline's color is midnight blue, and she represents the night. Your Guardian, Sylvan, has chosen a deep pink as his color, and he represents the fall harvest." Lalune explained. "My Guardian, Isolde's color is light blue, and she represents the spring planting. I think she would've been better off with a different color, but who am I to tell her what to do?"
"Oh..." Lisbeth had hoped that the sender of the letter would reveal herself in some big way, but no. The big reveal was just a sentance in an explaination. Still, she sounded kind. "I want one. A streak, that is."
Lalune smiled. "Easily done."
She went out front, got her staff, and came back in. Then, with a wave and a "Ravdosi!" a fuschia ringlet appeared amongst its brown siblings. Lisbeth ran to the vanity wedged into a corner of the living room, admiring her new look.
"Pie's ready!" Eva yelled from the kitchen. They all gathered around the table.
"One announcement before we start!" Lalune said, holding up a hand.
"What's that?" Eva asked.
"The two of you are going to accompany Lisbeth on her quest to slay Xera!"
"WHAT?" The girl's face turned red with anger. "Xera? You can't be serious!"
"I don't mind." Sparrow chimed in softly.
"I'd honestly rather work alone." Lisbeth said, scooping up a piece of the pie, tasting it, and then spewing it out. Apple. She thought. Could this day get any worse?