The Stone Call
Author: Stephanie Bretherton

Chapter 9
The Bond of Friendship

Tim had woken to find Bridget still collapsed on his lap; he hadn’t moved from his position sat leaning against the oak tree. He saw that it was now late afternoon; the sky was coloured deep orange and the clouds were turning pink; he could just about see the sun setting over the hills. The leaves on the tree were rustling lightly above them, rhythmic and melodious. He listened peacefully, until he felt Bridget twitch in his lap. He closed his eyes pretending to be asleep, though he had no idea why he was faking it. Bridget woke to find Tim leaning back against the tree, breathing deeply. She raised herself and positioned her face so they were eye to eye, preparing to wake him.
“You’ve been gone a while,” he muttered.
Her heart leapt slightly in shock to find him alert, playing a joke on her as always.
“How long was I out for?” she asked, sitting cross-legged in front of him.
“About two hours,” he replied.
“I don’t think I’m very good at this…” she said, feeling deflated.
“How come? I am guessing you managed to fall into a trance, what happened?” he asked.
“Well, I guess I did because I woke up in a strange place and began talking to these strange women…”
Bridget began retelling what happened inside her head to Tim, and how she had given them the mission to find the Time spirit, which they seemed glad to do, due to her kind disposition, and what they said about her ‘pure heart’. He listened intently; she seemed to have had a much harder task than he did, no wonder she had collapsed from the trance. He guessed it took most of her energy out of her.
“Well, now I can control the elements! I wonder what it’s like, now I have magic… How about you Tim?” she said eagerly.
“Well, I struggled at first. But after you woke up and then fell asleep I decided I really had to concentrate. There was too much distracting me. And I met twins, who are so different! If they didn’t look the same I wouldn’t of guessed they were twins,” he grinned .
Bridget grinned and laughed to herself.
“And, they gave me some powers too, but I think I’ve got to hone them I guess I’ve just got basic control, I don’t feel like I can do anything with them properly yet,” he finished off with a sigh.
Bridget rested her hand on his arm; “Don’t worry, Tim. I’m sure you will think of some great ideas for your powers.”
They smiled at each other for a while, with hope filling in their chests. At that moment, Aeridel came walking up to them, her maiden’s dress billowing behind her. Tim and Bridget got up and dusted themselves off.
“So, how did it go this time? Any luck?” she asked them both.
“Well, let’s just say we have made some progress…” Tim grinned.
“Oh I see, a lot or a little bit of progress are we talking here?” Aeridel smirked. They hadn’t been making any progress at all and it had nearly been a week since they had arrived at the tower. To think they had made a lot of progress was impossible. For one, she believed Tim had the attention span the size of a pea; but Bridget she believed would have gotten better.
“Not saying,” Tim replied, still grinning strangely.
She sighed with annoyance and lead the way back to the Tower so they could have some dinner and prepare for another day. They trudged up the circular stairs to the dining area; they had realised in their first stay that the Warlock had enchanted his home so it had many floors than could possibly have in one so small. Tim, for some reason thought about the TARDIS in Doctor Who. As they reached the room, they found the Warlock already sat at the wooden table waiting for them. He smiled pleasantly at the three of them as they all sat down, tension beginning to buzz around them.
“So, how have we all done today?” he asked sincerely.
“They tell me they have made some progress, Sire. However, they don’t want to tell me how much…” said Aeridel looking sternly at them, but they simply grinned back at her.
“Oh, my dear can’t you sense their auras? They have changed dramatically! So I must say well done to the both of you, for coming this far, but you still have a long way to go,” the old Warlock replied, “Now let us eat!”
He took out his wand, and with a swish of his wrist, a magnificent meal appeared before their eyes.
“I had been preparing this in the kitchen upstairs before you came back, I’ve just teleported it,” he said, noting their shocked faces.
“Oh, for a moment there I thought you could make food like this appear out of thin air,” Tim said, slightly disappointed.
“No, no my boy. There is a limit to what magic can do you know. Maybe that will be a good lesson for you.”
They all began to tuck into their meal; a stew full of vegetables, with freshly baked bread and mugs of tea, and a sweet smelling apple pie with fresh cream.
They ate in silence, the food was just too good to talk in between mouthfuls. After they had finished the pie, the Warlock used his magic to remove the plates, leaving them with just their tea to enjoy for the rest of the evening. The Warlock turned to Aeridel and looked at her with kindness;
“My dear, how would you like to become my apprentice after this quest is over?”
“Oh my, well, I’ll have to think about it,” she replied, feeling surprised, “it’s just I’ve got my parents to think about and I’d promised to visit some people near my hometown.”
Her mind began to picture the faces of her mum, her dad, and the nymph they had met, feeling a heavy burden in her stomach. The Warlock seemed to not be affected by what she said, as though he knew what would happen to her. Because, during their enjoyable meal, the Warlock had received a telepathic message from the Minstrel of Aeridel’s hometown.
“I have had a vision, Warlock. The girl will never come back to Telbrek, it is part of her destiny. Let her find out for herself should the choice arise.”
He had replied in acknowledgement. He wondered if this was to be perhaps a change, maybe the Legends were indeed being rewritten, but times have changed. There was a lot of hostility and war between neighbouring villages when the original Legend had occurred. There is a lot more peace in our world now, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a potential threat to destroy all that is good in this world. As he had savoured the tender meat in his stew, he realised that these predecessors may be able to stop the evil once and for all in this world, because now they had more allies, maybe this was the key to peace; it was unity that would bring eternal peace.
Bridget looked as though she was in deep thought. Tim noticed this; it was a strange thing for Bridget to do, she was a daydreamer not a thinker.
“What’s on your mind, Bridg?” he asked.
“I’m wondering what has happened to the third stone. I mean, how come our stones were passed down and the other one has disappeared? Doesn’t it have powers like ours do?”
“From what I can remember, the stones that you possess hold the powers of which you can control the essence of nature itself. The third stone is the key to unlocking the potential forces, merging the three stones into one powerful source. The stone was hidden so nobody could find the key, but the two stones that you possessed were symbolic; relics passed down through the ages as proof of the Legend of the Two Heroes actually existed. I believe that you were sent here because the third stone has been discovered, and now you must stop them.”
“Ah, but here’s a problem,” said Tim, “You said we have to stop them from merging but wouldn’t we be bringing the stones to the enemy? Wouldn’t he be able to just take them?”
“Well, this is the fortunate part, in my eyes anyway. The book I read mentioned that the stone bearer must be killed in order to pass ownership. However, I don’t think that is going to happen for you two. The Heroes used physical combat as they hadn’t fully mastered their powers within the stones before facing the evil, they only just scraped through the battle because they were so skilled. It would have been easy had they learnt control of their magic. You won’t have much physical combat skills though with plenty of training honing your skills along your travels, I’m sure you will stand a good chance. The third stone or shall we say, ’The Key’, doesn’t have residing elemental spirit, it is just pure power that cannot be unlocked until the ritual has begun. Therefore, your enemy may be limited at best.”
The Warlock sighed and cleaned his glasses, yawning. He got up and cleared away the crockery with his wand.
“Now I must say it’s time for bed. I think you have all the information you need and I daresay that today’s training has been exhausting for you all. Off you go now.”
He hurried them upstairs and to the top floor of the tower, where the Warlock had set up three comfy beds on their first night; he would make one appear in the sitting room downstairs. They dressed into some spare nightclothes they had been given in their rucksacks, taking it in turns of course, and lay down in their beds, the Warlock’s words buzzing in their ears.
Tim muttered a good night and pulled up the covers. Bridget talked to Aeridel for a bit, and confided in her about what really happened in their training.
“I met the four elemental spirits of the world, and they gave me the power to control fire, water, earth and wind.”
“Wow, Bridget!” Aeridel whispered excitedly, “Can you show me?”
“Umm, I’ll give it a try…”
Instinctively, she opened her hand so it was flat in front of her, with her palm facing the ceiling. She closed her eyes and began to focus on the power of Earth, she asked her hand; “Show me a flower”, but in actual fact she had from Aeridel’s point of view entered a mini trance and began uttering the strange incantation that she herself spoke when summoning elemental magic. She also saw that her pendant was glowing. Bridget felt a tingling feeling flow through her blood, as she felt the magic escape from her chest and to her open palm. Suddenly, a small but beautiful red rose began to grow in fast motion from her hand. The petals slowly opened before Aeridel’s eyes, and she stared at it with contempt.
“Ah, so that’s Earth magic,” she said.
“Seems so,” replied Bridget, pulling the rose as though she was uprooting it from her hand, and placing it onto the table between their beds.
“But, don’t you need to be near the element in question in order to summon it?” Aeridel asked.
“I think so,” Bridget said, “Though my guess is that my magic doesn’t need to be, because I have the elements right here.”
She pulled out her ruby from underneath her clothes and gazed at it fondly.
“Ah, now I understand. Because they are the spirits themselves, you don’t need to be near the element at all! I’m pretty jealous that you can do that already, I haven’t gotten anywhere close to you in elemental magic.”
“So? You are a fully fledged healer. If you hadn’t guided us, we wouldn’t have even be able to defend ourselves until now.”
“Wow, thanks Bridget. You truly are a kind person,” she smiled at her. Bridget didn’t know what to say, this was who she was. Bridget was the sort of person who could see the true potential in others, and her judgement never failed.
“Well goodnight Bridget, we probably have a big day tomorrow now you have both gained your powers,” said Aeridel, and with that she blew out the candle and got comfy.
Bridget still sat there gazing at her stone that shone in the pale moonlight. She lay on the bed, thinking. It was strange; she only felt the magic but was not aware completely of how she was doing it, it was like she had blacked out before the rose had come out of her hand. She turned to look at Tim, who had his back turned to her. What was his problem tonight? She let out a long sigh and was about to go under the covers until;
“Is she asleep yet?” a voice muttered from Tim’s body. He turned to look at her, with just a hint of a smile on his face. Bridget turned to Aeridel, who was breathing deeply.
“Sounds like it,” she replied quietly, looking back at Tim.
“Good, I wanted to show you something.”
They both sat up and faced each other.
“I thought you only had basic control of your powers, Tim?” Bridget asked in a whisper, with mild concern.
“Yeah, I’ve just had an idea to mix it up a little… Okay, watch this first. The sun twin showed it to me.”
He cupped his hands and closed his eyes as Bridget watched him silently. Tim concentrated his mind on summoning a ball of light. Whilst he did this, Bridget noticed he was speaking in a strange language, though she could understand it clearly though she had no idea why;
“Come to me, the power of Solaris, bringer of the morning sun.”
Bridget noticed his stone began to glow slightly greener and brighter. He moved his cupped hands to his chest, and a ball of golden light emerged from his body. Bridget did a double take; it was though he was holding the sun in his hands. He opened his eyes and gazed at her. She was smiling and laughing softly and complimenting him;
“Tim, it’s beautiful! Oh My God! That’s amazing!”
“I’ve not finished yet. I’ve got to show you my little twist on it, I think it would be great for parties…”
He led her to the open window, where they could both get a clear view of the dark sky and the peaceful solitary moon. He stepped back and she gave him space so she could watch with curiosity. Good for parties? He did a run up to the window and threw his ball of light high into the sky. As it slowed its ascend, he pointed his finger at it, aimed and mimed pulling the trigger of a gun.
“Bullseye!” he cried in a hushed voice, as he hit the light with magic, and it exploded like a firework, scattering miniscule balls of light into the air, which began to fall like snow. Bridget looked up at the dazzling sky. A wide smile on her face, she stretched her hands out of the window to catch a tiny glowing ball, which she cupped in front of her, it’s glow illuminating her face, highlighting her best features. Tim then pointed his finger at the ball she held, and focused his mind on it, willing it to move. He made the ball twirl around her at first, to which she giggled clapping her hands to her mouth when she got too loud. Then, he stopped it in front of her face. She gazed at it as though she was hypnotised. Tim slowly began to direct the ball of light to her heart, and he let the light go through her. Bridget’s body flooded with warmth, as though she was lying under the glare of a summer sky, the sun at its best. She felt full of the light as it pumped through her blood. Her eyes looked up to Tim, and she saw him smiling pleasantly back at her. Unexpectedly, he stepped closer to her and embraced her in a tight but comforting hug. They stood like this for a while, simply holding each other. Then he whispered;
“I want this to be over soon.”
“How come?” she whispered back, “I’m beginning to have fun.”
“That’s not what this is all about, Bridget,” Tim said, turning so their eyes met, “This is dangerous now.”
“If we practise our powers, we can save this world, together,” she said.
“But what if we aren’t strong enough?” he asked.
“Don’t worry Tim,” she said, “We will be. Just believe in yourself.”
He pulled her closer to him. Even she didn’t know what could happen to them, but they had to do what’s right, and give it all they’ve got. Sensing his fear, Bridget rocked him gently from side to side. He smiled fondly.
“You’re always there when I need you, Bridg,” he said.
“Likewise.”
“Can I just ask though? Why choose me as your friend out of all the possible people in our year? Why me?
“I’m not sure. I guess it just happened really. I mean, I could’ve chosen anybody in Wilbury to hang around with, maybe be one of the popular girls, with the make-up and the jewellery. Oh, do you remember this?”
She shook out a bracelet from underneath her sleeve. It had Chinese symbols engraved on a metal pendant. The string for the woven bracelet was black.
“Oh yeah! Our friendship bracelets!” He shook out his own and stared at it, “Hey, I’ve forgotten what the symbols mean!”
“They are Chinese for ‘What’s mine is Yours’. You see we are linked in our world as well as this one! Maybe we were destined to be friends when we met.”
“Yeah I guess you are right,” replied Tim smiling. They turned to face the window and watch the remaining balls of light fall from the sky. When they had gone, Bridget turned to Tim and said;
“Maybe we should get some practise in tomorrow.”
“Yeah,” he replied and they retreated back to their beds, mumbled goodnight, and fell asleep with some hopeful feelings in their hearts.

~X~

 

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