Stormy – Another World Ch. 1

Archival Note from The Jewel Riders Archive: This story is presented as it was originally published on Stormy’s “Avalon” fan site in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It is presented for archival purposes and for the enjoyment of the Jewel Riders fandom. If you are the author of this story and wish to have it removed from the Jewel Riders Archive (or wish to share more!) please email us at archivist@jewelridersarchive.com. Happy Reading!


Disclaimer: Yah-ha, these fictives are mine, all mine! Well, except when Bohbot’s characters get cameos and except for Merlin who belongs to himself. Faery Lair is really a book series.

Stormy babbles: This is an alternate Jewel Riders story in the same ballpark as Zardien’s Silverhawks crossover. But barely in the ballpark, for here we go to a place all you readers must know well, a world of hardship, danger, and uncertain joys… our own Earth. Where the Jewel Riders must turn for help since all else has failed.

…Sheesh, I think Zardien’s dramatic speeches are contagious šŸ˜‰

 

Another World

Gwennie was really too old to be watching cartoons that afternoon. She was too old for her nickname too, but her parents had had the bad taste to name her after Queen Guinevere and “Gwen” was such a stodgy name. But too old or not, she would rather watch “Mystic Knights,” “Inspector Gadget,” and “Faery Lair” with her little sisters than do homework, so…

“Fairy Lair” was her favorite, it just had the real sparkle somehow, as if people who knew about real magic had worked on the show. Just as the opening theme song started the doorbell rang and Gwennie’s best friend Tamsin peered through the screen. “Hi Gwen-chan! Can you play?” Tamsin had a thing for Sailor Moon in the original Japanese, and it affected how she talked.

“Sure Tas, come in! We’re watching Faery Lair!”

“Oooh, I love that show! Is it a new episode?” Tamsin came in and plopped down next to Gwennie. Tas was short and chunky, with a poof of red curls around her head, unlike Gwennie and her sisters who were all brownish-blonde types.

They watched Fairy Lair, laughing at the jokes and oohing and aahing at the fairies.

The commercials came on and Gwennie tuned out the first one to ask about the assembly next week at school. Tamsin was answering that it was just sports team introductions (bo-ring!) when…

Look here!Ā The words zinged by, and then Tamsin said, “That looks kind of cool.”

Back on the TV, four girls were holding up sparkly colored things and shouting, “For Avalon!” Of course all the colored sparkles around them were a computer generated effect, but it did the job of looking mystical… Then it showed a game box with cool looking stuff spilling out and an announcer saying, “Jewel Riders, the new role playing game by Milton Bradley…”

“Yeah.” Gwennie said, “It does look cool… I think we should get it!”

Tas grinned, “Yeah! This could be a very good game. See if you can talk your mom into driving us, I’ll find out how much it is. Got any money?”

“A little.”

“Same here…” Tas said, then they went back to the show and forgot it until Gwennie’s mom came home and announced that they were going out for dinner so homework had to be doneĀ now— ending that day’s planning.

_*_

That night Gwennie sat on her bed and looked around her room. Unicorn posters covered the walls, above the bookcase full of horse books and fantasy books, and the dresser with its neatly laid out makeup. Her reflection in the mirror looked back: tan, yellow-haired, quite ordinary. In one corner was a toy hammock full of her stuffed animals and beanie babies, and under it her desk covered with her homework and her diary. Suddenly the room looked full of all the wrong stuff. Wasn’t there something else, besides school and choir practice and beanies and bookstores? Beyond Tas’ Sailor Moon collection and computer games?Ā I think I missed the magic…

“Get a grip, girl!” Gwennie told herself, suddenly realizing she was getting depressed and thinking things that made no sense even to her. Typical strangeness. For some reason the commercial for that game had brought back the idea of magic. The mysterious and scary and exciting things. She’d forgotten about the possibility of adventure, and now it was back. “It was just a dumb commercial! It’s just a dumb game!” But underneath that thought was something else, some certainty without words. Something was going to happen. The game was important.

_*_

Tamsin dug through the junk on her floor. She knew she’d seen it around here somewhere… a flash of pink and metallic gold plastic caught her eye and she pulled out a fancy wand. It was as long as her arm, topped by an oval with a jewel set in it, decorated with crowns and hearts. If they were going to be doing a magic game this should help. She picked her way over to the corner by the bookcase and cleared a space by shoving the debris aside. Turning the light so it made a spotlight effect in front of her, she took out a book and searched for the right place. This was magic. The words, the pictures… She read aloud, just little bits. And last, the one that always comforted her. “All of us, every one, have stars in our hearts.”

_*_

The next day at school Gwennie found a paper stuck in her locker, an add from the toy store. Tas had scribbled “today after school” on it, and how much money she had to contribute. She also drew an arrow to the game picture and wrote “4 jewels. Only 2 of us” and “don’t talk to anyone about this” It took Gwennie a few seconds to decipher the notes, since Tas didn’t use punctuation except when she had to.

Then the bell rang and Gwennie was busy living through the daily torture called middle school and didn’t have time to think. She did, however, notice a few things.

There was a new girl in her PE class, named Forest McCoy. She had been kicked out of her last school for getting in a fight with four guys on the football team and beating them up, or so rumor had it. Gwennie doubted that; Forest was tall but thin and didn’t look like she could beat up any football players. She was really good at sports though.

But after PE was choir, which Gwennie slept through as usual, and then school was over and she went to meet Tas on the bus.

_*_

“Mom, can you drive us to the mall?” Tamsin asked.

“Please?”

“You can get socks for Roger, he needs new ones.” Tas added, pinching her noise. Roger was her big brother.

Mrs. Gregory looked down at the two girls, who looked back with “pleeeeeeeze” faces. “Ok, I haven’t got anything planned. If we can stop at the sushi place and pick up dinner.”

“Sure mom.” Tas said meekly. Very meekly. Then the two girls ran to the car.

They found it on the games wall, alphabetically under the letter J. Probably they would have found it even if they hadn’t been looking; the box was humming. Well itĀ was; when Gwennie stood in front of it she felt, almost heard, a hum in her bones.

“Um.” Tas said, “Is that thing alive or something?”

“You canĀ hearĀ it?”

YouĀ can hear it?”

“There is something way weird about this game.” Gwennie said, swooping the top box off the shelf. The cover showed four cartoon girls holding up big jewels, with a sparkly dome behind them and flowers all around. On the back was a little picture of the game pieces and a list and words that sounded a lot like a commercial, with lots of exclamation points.

“Sunstone, Moonstone, Heartstone and Starstone.” Tas read. “And a tape and some stuff…”

“So getcher money out!” Gwennie tucked the box securely under her arm and they headed for the checkout.

_*_

In the back of Tamsin’s yard they sat between bushes and unwrapped the game. Inside the box everything was neatly wrapped, not left to rattle around. The jewels were in velvet bags each their color. “Very posh for a cheap game.” Gwennie muttered, dumping the four jewels out of their bags into the grass. They lay there sparkling in the sunlight: yellow, pink, purple, blue. “So we each pick one?”

“Mmm-hm…” Tas was looking at the rest of the stuff in the box, “There’s a tape, cards, li’l flags to mark places, cute stuff… ah, instructions. Here.” She handed Gwennie a flat little book with a beautifully drawn cover. “Read, Gwen-chan!”

“Ok. A warning not to do anything dangerous, list of the stuff again… here’s where it starts.” Her voice got softer and rhythmic, “Greetings, my friends. I send these jewels to you with all our hopes, for we of Avalon have none… But let me start at the beginning and in language you will understand. Avalon is a beautiful land full of magic. The Jewel Riders guard the land from evil and help our people be safe. They used the enchanted jewels you now hold, and the power of friendship. But the Jewel Riders have fallen under the spell of an evil wizard; they are in an enchanted sleep and will not awaken.” Gwennie held out the book for Tas to see, “Enchanted sleep, that’s so corny. The picture is cool though.” The text was printed over a faded picture of the four girls from the cover, the Jewel Riders, asleep in their beds.

“At least they don’t have glass coffins like Snow White.” Was Tamsin’s opinion; she gestured for Gwennie to read on.

“No magic in Avalon can save them. As far as my magic can tell, the key lies in your world but only girls with the power of the enchanted jewels can get to it. The jewels will guide you, and I will help you all I can. I beg you, please help us.” She took a breath, “That’s all. It’s signed Merlin.”

“Merlin? As in the King Arthur guy with a long beard? He didn’t give us much info!”

“There’s still the tape, and the rest of this.” Gwennie rolled onto her stomach on the grass, “It’s got sections about the jewels and their powers, all kindsa’ stuff.”

“So what powers does this one have?” Tas asked, holding up the Heartstone and looking through it.

“Um… the power of music and friendship, makes you able to– cool, talk to magical animals. Other powers it doesn’t say here.”

“OK. Can we pick jewels now?”

“We still need two other people, they ought to have a choice.” Gwennie said, but not very strongly because Tas had clearly already chosen. She held her hand out over the remaining three jewels. Blue, purple, gold, which one… The Sunstone caught her eyes; in the light it glowed with fire inside like the star it was named for. Its magic would be the same gold fire, pouring out around her. A really neat image. “This one.”

While she was choosing, Tas had grabbed the instruction book. “The Sunstone is the princess’ jewel, for the leader of the Jewel Riders.”

Gwennie shrugged; she hadn’t seen that part, “Cool.”

“So, leader, we hafta wake up those real Jewel Riders. Where do we start?” Tas grinned to show she wasn’t serious; not real-life serious.

Gwennie stopped to think. “First we have to read that little book to learn everything we can about this. Then we see…” She stopped to wonder why she was thinking that they had to leave themselves an out, “See if this quest is too dangerous for us. After all there’s still the wizard who cast the spell, he might not want us breaking it! So we have to be careful.”

Tas nodded seriously, “Sounds good. But we need to find who gets the other two jewels as soon as we can!”

Gwennie agreed, but, “Research first!” She put the Sunstone down beside her and picked up the book to read aloud.

_*_

Late that night in an attic room, a girl woke up suddenly. She felt something, a definite unfriendly presence. A ghost? Annoying; it wasn’t something she could punch like she punched bullies at school. Sitting up in bed, she reached to pull the curtains open. There was a little moon outside, setting over the building next door. Using the Lady’s power wasn’t something she did very much, but in this case it couldn’t hurt. Her mom had told her how to do this when she’d been little and scared of the dark; you just reached for the moon and imagined the light coming down and turning into a force field around you.

She couldn’t tell if it had worked, but a little while later she thought she could get to sleep again. Tomorrow she could get a charm against unwelcome visitors, and one against ghosts… She fell asleep with silver light pooling in her room. More, perhaps, than the little crescent moon could give off.

 

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