Garond slipped his hood back on before stepping into the light, and they walked silently to the tree.

    "How much do you know?" Garond asked, very seriously. Gallaway thought back to her conversation with Warren that morning.

    "I know that I'm an elf, Warren's a half-breed. Mother left to join her own kind, and that this stone would summon her back if I needed it. That's about it, really." She purposely left out the part that she was supposed to be protecting him. That was her own secret for her heart to keep, so that she would never let anyone else know that she had finally failed after all this time.

    Garond nodded. "So he didn't tell you much." He sighed in relief. "Do you know about your Nightstone?" Garond asked, eyeing Gallaway with relentless eyes.

    "My Nightstone?" Gallaway cocked her head.

    "At least I can tell you that much without anyone getting irritated with me." He paused for a moment, as if considering greatly what he was going to say. "You see--"

    "Garond!" A new voice came from the front door. A tall but slim figure danced into the sunlight toward Garond and Gallaway, who had walked a little further down the path.

    "Nama's almost finished. What are you two doing out here?" A set of deep silver eyes peered from under the hood at Gallaway.

    "Finished with what?" Gallaway asked, but Garond interrupted.

    "I was telling her about her Nightstone, Obsidian. Is that an issue?"

    "Oh, so that's all it was!" The figure laughed with a tittering voice, doubling over for a moment. "Did you tell her yet?"

    "I was getting to it." Garond said with annoyance.

    "Sorry." Obsidian calmed from her laughing fit and crossed her arms over her chest.

    "You see," Garond continued, throwing a glance at Obsidian, "your Nightstone is bestowed to you by your parents. No exceptions."

    "It's your main source of power." Obsidian added, silenced by a glare from Garond.

    "So, what happened with my stone was my power?" Gallaway asked, holding her stone out in the light. As soon as the light started reflecting off the sheen, both elves threw themselves at her.

    "Don't!!" They screamed and covered her hand with a piece of each of their cloaks.

    "Heh, you think what happened when we came was an accident?" Garond asked and closed Gallaway's fist over the stone to block it from the light.


    "Don't put your stone in the sunlight unless you want to kill yourself. And if you thought it was big in the sun, never try it in the moonlight. That's when the sun's light is most concentrated. All light that comes from the sun is a death sentence for our stones." Obsidian straightened her skirt and brushed it smooth, then fixed her hood over her circlet.

    "Why would Mother tell me to put it in the sunlight, then? She knows, doesn't she?" Gallaway looked utterly confused.

    "That's only because she could sense when your stone was in trouble. Only the ones who created the stone could stop the power at any moment." Garond explained, still keeping her hand in the shade of his cloak.

    "Here's another question: why the parents? Why does that have any importance?"

    "Who knows?" Obsidian shrugged. "That's just always how it's been. The parents go with an Elder to the Pool of Serenity, and that's where the stone is formed."

    "The parents also decide the child's strength. Mine happens to be with the sword, so my stone is more silver than blue." Garond said, showing off his circlet while keeping it in the shade. "All stones start out blue, then turn color when the child comes of age and receives the strength the parents give him or her."

    "Okran is a shaman, so hers is a violet blue." Obsidian said. "I even think there's some red in it too."

    "Klamant's is very green, because his strength is in Nature. He can talk to animals and control plants. Things like that."

    "Nama's is very special." Obsidian exchanged a cautious look with Garond before continuing. "Hers is a bright aquamarine. She's an Elder."

    "Of course, if it were possible, everyone would name their children an Elder. They can do everything. That's why they are the ones who pull the stone out of the Pool of Serenity.

    "Only an Elder can name an Elder. Nama was adopted by an Elder when she was very young. So I suppose there is an exception after all." Garond chuckled quietly as another figure stepped from the cottage.

    "Everything's done." A young male's voice was owned by the newcomer.

    "Alright, Klamant." Obsidian called back to him and smiled at Gallaway.

    "It'll be a wonder what Nama decides for you, Gallaway." Obsidian bowed her head and followed Klamant into the house.

    "She's right. It will be a wonder. She's not the type that would name her child an Elder, that's for sure. Who know's what she'll choose." Garond led Gallaway back into the home.

    When she got inside, the father was gone, no traces of him even living there at any time.

    "What happened here?" Gallaway asked curiously and examined the living room. Everyone ignored her as she passed through to her room.

    Inside, Okran had seated Warren on the edge of his bed, arm raised to give Okran a better view at his side.

    "Warren! You're all better!" Gallaway rushed forward and threw her arms over his shoulders. He grinned and hugged her back.

    "Still a little sore, but she's a plain miracle worker. It's almost magic!" Garond laughed along with Okran while she chanted in the strange language.

    Gallaway seated herself next to Warren with one arm still wrapped aorund his shoulder until his side was patched together.

    "All done." Okran exlaimed happily and stretched upward. She pulled Warren to his feet, and attached the circlet back around her head as she watched him test his balance.

    "I can't tell you how thankful I am." Warren smiled at Okran.

    "It was no problem, really. Now, if everything's gone as planned, we should be able to leave immediately." Okran looked up at Garond as she pulled her cloak around her again. He nodded and ducked through the door into the living room.

    "Warren, do you have a Nightstone?" Gallaway held him back as she asked. He smiled and nodded, the pulled an odd chain from under his shirt. The stone that dangled on the end was a dark gray color.

    Gallaway smiled back and followed the newcomers outside.

    "Stones out." Nama ordered, and everyone reluctantly pulled back their hoods, pointing their chins to the sky. They pulled a tight circle around Gallaway and Warren. The beams were coming off the stones in their different colors, making straight lines into the sky.

    "Hold onto me, children." Nama held her arms out for Gallaway and Warren. They huddled close to their mother and watched the serene faces of the cloaked elves.

    The beams slowly meshed together to create a midnight blue color, the light so strong it burned, reminding Gallaway of the first time she set the stone in the sun.

    "Anami bue, yasashi glan." Nama chanted loudly. Gallaway smiled dimly at what she was saying.

    "Bring us back, welcome us home." Gallaway whispered, a thrill going through her as she listened to her mother chant in the odd language. Warren threw a confused look in her direction.

    "It's what she's saying." She said quietly. Warren kept his confused gaze on her face.

    "You know what she's saying?"

    "You don't?" Gallaway narrowed her eyes against the oncoming winds. Warren shook his head.

    "Yasash chi Varanel ka Allylon glan." Nama yelled louder, the beams growing inch by inch.

    "Welcome the Elves of Allylon home." Gallaway translated, raising her voice over the roaring wind. Thunder rolled above them and a bolt of lightning crashed somewhere closeby.

    "Hamene alley!" Nama told Gallaway loudly.

    "Hold onto her!" Gallaway squeezed the arm that was wrapped around her and grabbed Warren's wrist. Warren held his mother tighter and stared at Gallaway through his tangled hair.

    A flash.

    A bang.

    Pure darkness.