Bikar and his friends have ventured into Darkwood Forest and discover a cloaked girl.
|Bikarahi and Rushgarahi Mangaia reached the small village of Milda around noon. They had rushed through their chores in order to arrive sooner than they would otherwise had come. The news Sari had told them the previous day had them excited.
"She didn't tell you what exactly we'd be expecting to find in the Darkwood Forest?" Rushgar asked quietly as he waved at Mercana, the tavern owner.
"No," Bikar responded for what felt to be the hundredth time. He sighed as he caught site of their friend Sari leaning against her family's house, three buildings down from the tavern at the southern point of Milda. "She's waiting like she said."
"Bikar, Rushgar! I'm so glad you came!"
"We promised we would," Bikar told her with a smile.
"Besides, who would pass up a trip into Darkwood Forest?"
Sari snickered. "Don't let the King's guards hear you say that. You know everyone says it's dangerous."
"Please, our sister Rheanna goes in there all the time," Rushgar said boldly.
"Yeah, but she's a ranger, isn't she?"
"In training," Rushgar grumbled.
Sari shook her head in amusement. "Well, we should head out if we want to get back by sunset."
The two boys followed their friend as she led the way through the village north, towards Darkwood forest. Neither one had any idea what they might find under the closely woven boughs of the forest, but both were excited and nervous.
As they left the boundary of the village, the girl skipped along toward the forest and didn't hesitate. The boys paused with a glance at one another and followed.
Once in the forest proper, the sunlight was dimmed considerably. Not quite to where elven night vision was required, but dim and green-tinged.
"How much further?"
"Not far now. Through here." She ducked into a huge hollow log and the two boys again exchanged glances before following her.
On the other side of the log, the boys were astonished to find a clearing with a sword embedded in a vine-covered pedestal. Bikar approached slowly and peeled away the vines to better see the inscription.
"It's in Ancient," he murmured, looking at the sword in awe. "Is this what I think it is?"
"The Hero's Blade," Sari pronounced proudly. "I knew you both would want to see this."
The boys regarded the sword for a long moment, rendered speechless. The Hero's Blade, once wielded by legendary hero and their grandfather Naven Mangaia.
"So, it's true."
The three wheeled around and saw another girl in a blue cloak, deep hood pulled up so that only the lower part of her face was visible. Sari stepped forward.
"Are you ...?"
"Call me Gwen. Is that really the Hero's Blade?"
"Gwen. Right." Sari sighed. "Yes, it's the Hero's Blade."
Gwen nodded slowly. "So, found at last." She pulled back her hood, revealing golden blonde hair and deep blue eyes. "Missing and now found. Could its use be required again soon?" The girl then turned and left.
"We should follow her," Rushgar said firmly.
"I don't think that's a good Idea," Sari responded. "I think I know her."
"Who is she, then?"
She shook her head. "I don't have any proof yet. However, I don't think we have to worry about her telling anyone we've been here."
Bikar looked the way the other girl had gone and hoped that Sari was right. As much as he appreciated being shown his grandfather's sword, he knew that being here would likely get them in trouble.