• An elderly man walked slowly down the alleyway that was bustling with people. People moved out of his way, thinking that he was fragile, and would break if they bumped into him. The man was cloaked and hooded, and little wisps of white hair strung out from beneath the dark brown hood. Around his neck was a silver chain, and on the chain was a dark blue pendant. The passersby figured it was a worthless trinket that was the man’s most prized possession, and many of them passed smugly knowing they owned much finer jewelry.

    Underneath the hood, the man smirked. He knew the real secret behind the pendants, and he was happy that they didn’t, for they surely would’ve killed him and each other for possession of the trinket.

    The old man was looking for a certain person. He walked slowly, to avoid missing him. He scoured the crowds, and finally saw the boy he was looking for. The boy was about seventeen years, wearing a messenger uniform. He was thin, pale, and had black tufts of hair sticking out every which way from under his messenger hat. The uniform was a royal blue jacket and slacks, with a royal blue ranger’s hat and a purple feather tucked in. He was on his way home from the messenger’s office, when the man spotted him.

    The old man grabbed the boy, cupped a hand over his mouth, and hissed, "If you value your life, you will come with me." With that, he began to drag the boy into the alleyway. They followed the alleyway for a bit, and then turned again. The boy knew his way about the city, and he knew they were going deeper into the heart of it. He wanted to know why he was being dragged by some old man. He wanted to know if he was going to live. He wanted to know what the man wanted. It was obvious he singled the boy out.

    Finally, the boy couldn’t take it anyway, and he broke free of the old man’s grip. "What do you want?" The boy demanded.

    The man turned around, and solemnly stated, "The world you know will be in danger. We have seen it."

    The boy rolled his eyes. "You predicted the future? This is something that only happens in faerie tales. I’m a little old for those, am I not? Please, don’t waste any more of my time. I have to get home. I have a niece waiting for me."

    The boy turned to walk away, but tripped by some invisible rope, and fell to the ground. He landed with a hard thud, and the wind was knocked out of him. He gasped for breath for a few moments. At the same time, he felt his hands and legs bound. He didn’t see anything on his arms and legs, but he knew that he was bound. The man walked up, and smirked. "You’re no match against me. You might was well follow me. So, what is your name?"


    "Then come with me, Ezra."

    They continued walking and winding through the alleys in silence. They took many turns and were going deeper and deeper into the heart of the city. The buildings around them were old and creaking. Many of the walls were cracking, and rags that were supposed to be clothes hung from lines. Holes in the walls that were made to be windows were covered by dirty cloth rags that were patched together. All around Ezra it smelled like death and rot. The people looked like they were close to death themselves. The children all had a sad and hungering look in there eyes. Ezra felt so out of place in his uniform among the poor people of the city. He had no idea they lived in these conditions. Being the son of merchants, he never had a taste of poverty.

    "Look around you, Ezra. Look at the poor. How they hunger, how they long for shelter, how they’re barely living." The old man stopped. Nearby, a small girl with brown wide eyes stared at him. The old man turned to her, pulled off his hood, and smiled. The girl gave a weak smile back, before running off to her mother. The old man turned to Ezra. "Come," said he, "you have no choice but to follow me anyway."

    Ezra shrugged and obliged. They went down many alleys, made many turns. The deeper they went into the city, the worst it became. The walls were cracked more; the people looked hungrier, and closer to death. It was a horrible site to see, and it tore at Ezra’s heart to see so many people suffering. He wished he could do something about it.

    "But, my dear boy, you can." The old man commented, reading Ezra’s thoughts. "You do not know of the power you hold."

    Ezra just shook his head and kept walking. "How could this be?" he asked. "I thought our king took care of the poor? I wasn’t even aware that they were here!"

    "Your king isn’t the most generous man."

    "But I know he tries. He’s a good king."

    The old man shrugged and continued walking. After a few more minutes of walking and turning, he stopped in front of an oblique, sad-looking shack. It looked worse than the other houses they passed. The door was missing, and in its stead, was a giant cloth, torn and ragged. The old man stopped and gestured towards the door. Ezra gave him a questioning look, wondering if he should go in first. The old man nodded. Ezra pushed away the rag, and walked in. The next sight made him gasp.

    The room was dark, and all that was inside was a table and five chairs. The chairs were elegant and lavish, with gold frames and dark gold cushioning. The table cloth was pale gold, and had intricate symbols and lacework. But what were most astonishing to Ezra were the four robed humanoids at the table.

    Each of them had a human head, but each had different hair and eyes. Or, rather, it would be hair or eyes, if not for what were in place of them. Three of them looked female, and two looked male. The farthest on the left had short hair of fire, and dark red eyes glowed underneath. The next over had long vines as hair, and emerald green, glowing eyes. Then, on the farthest right was one with long, silver, wispy hair, and silver glowing eyes. Then, the last one had a long, gold light as hair, and glowing golden eyes.

    The one with gold eyes spoke. "Who did you bring to us, Mythrus?" Her voice was melodious, and had many layers to her voice, as if several people were talking

    The old man behind Ezra spoke. "I have brought the one who will bring salvation. I sense it in him."

    The golden one spoke. "I see."

    The old man walked past Ezra and pulled down his hood. Ezra gasped. His features were not the same as earlier, when he looked like an old man. He looked like the rest of them, but with water for shoulder-length hair and deep blue glowing eyes. "Lumanatus, I have brought Ezra. He is a city messenger."

    Lumanatus nodded. "Very well. We shall postpone our previous discussion, and explain. I’m sure Ezra would enjoy that."

    Ezra nodded, but was too afraid to speak.

    Lumanatus pointed to the one with fire hair. "Introduce yourselves."

    "I am Incendus, Sage of Fire."

    Next, the one with vines. "I am Terrus, Sage of Land."

    Next, the silver-haired one. "I am Ventus, Sage of Air"

    Then the old man. "I am Mythrus, Sage of Water."

    Finally, Lumanatus. "I am Lumanatus, Sage of Light We are the Guardians of Life."

    All of their voices were melodious and layered, just like Lumanatus’. Ezra couldn’t believe how beautiful and delicate they looked. They seemed frail, yet powerful. He also believed they were very wise.

    Mythrus spoke: "We need you, Ezra. You are the leader. Incendus, bring the sword, if you will." Incendus nodded, and left the room. He reentered with a long sword and scabbard. "This is your weapon. The sword, Xelia."

    Ezra blinked. "Wait, this is all too fast. Sorry, but I don’t understand."

    Lumanatus smiled. "No, you will not understand. Not now, anyway. We shall give a more thorough explanation soon. But not now."

    Mythrus shook his head solemnly. "My dear boy, evil is upon your land. We have come together to give you the sword. This wasn’t the original plan of our meeting, of course, but now that you’re here…."

    Ezra shook his head. "What does that have to do with me?"

    Lumantus ignored him, and turned to Mythrus. "I see you have found the first gem. Is it the sword’s?"

    "Yes, milady. But I suggest we do not place it into the sword, just yet."

    "Wait a minute, I want an explanation." Once again, Ezra was ignored. Lumanatus took the pendant off Mythrus, and placed it on the table.

    "We shall do it when the others find themselves. Now, Ezra, I’m sorry, but we are not going to explain it. All we can tell you is that this pendant," she lifted it and opened the casing, "is what can enable you to control water." She pressed the hand-sized, spherical dark blue gem, and it began to glow. Ezra felt a strange power surge through him. Almost like warm liquid flowing. He raised his hand and willed a ball of water to form. Slowly, a small liquid ball formed in front of his hand. The air seemed to get dryer around him. " Ezra," Lumanatus lowered his hand, and the ball fell and splashed on the floor, "you must learn how to control it. Though, what you did is most impressive. However, if you do not know how to control it, then you can overpower yourself, or the area around you. Did you not feel the air around you? You were pulling the water out of the air. If the air was dry, you would’ve taken the water from your body. Uncontrolled, you can kill yourself."

    Ezra stared at her wide-eyed. "I can…kill myself?"

    "More of an explanation will come."

    Mythrus chuckled and placed a hand on Ezra’s shoulder. "I guess you’re the ‘chosen one’, my boy. You’ve the fate of the world in your hands, now. No pressure."

    Ezra grimaced. He reached for the sword, and pulled it out of the scabbard. The sword was simple. Glossy and white was the hilt, with four gem slots. The blade was a simple and made of steel. No designs, no markings. Ezra stared at it, dumbfounded. He expected something more, complex.

    Terrus laughed. "Did you really think we would send out our hero with sounding trumpets? We need something subtle. Otherwise, you might as well go outside and shout to the heavens, ‘kill me, I’m the one who will destroy you’."

    Ezra shrugged and replied, "I’m seventeen years old, and have a life ahead of me. Might was well be exciting. He hooked the scabbard around his waits, and sheathed the sword. "I shall triumph over any obstacle. I accept the responsibility."

    That’s when Ezra awoke.