The Desert Star

Written as part of of the Brand and Blazer Writer Challenge

Author: Chris Kanther

Title: The Desert Star


The Jewel Riders receive reports of Wild Magic outbreaks in the Burning Deserts, and all seven riders saddle up to investigate. Gwen is worried that since the desert is so inhospitable they’ll have a hard time finding the Desert Star and stopping the magical outbreaks. Queen Anya and King Jared advise them that they must meet with the Sheik of the Sands, the ruling tribe that lives beyond the Eagle Eye Mountains. The Sheik will be able to give them provisions to cross the desert safely.

Brand is excited to go home to his tribe and see his family after almost a year of being away. He’s a bit boastful about the beauty of the Oasis and the superiority of things in the desert. Gwen and the others are just glad to have someone who can negotiate on their behalf with the tribe. Fallon and Brand compete in riding on the way to the Travel Trees, establishing their rivalry. Brand still doesn’t think Fallon is ready to ride with the Pack, and disagrees with Drake’s making her and Moondance honorary Pack members.

When they arrive at the Oasis, Brand’s sister Najima greets them, and brings the group to the Sheik Amir. The Sheik Amir is glad to see his son; however, he never approved of Brand taking a position in New Camelot, and is unhappy he has brought outsiders to the Oasis. Gwen asks for help locating the Desert Star Jewel, and the Sheik begrudgingly agrees, as long as they take Najima with them as a guide. He also reveals that in addition to the Wild Magic outbreaks, several shepherds have disappeared in the sandstorms that ensued, including Brand’s younger brother Sami.

Najima and the group pour over a map of the Burning Desert, marking where the Wild Magic outbreaks have occurred. Josh is excited to see a new map of the Burning Desert, and he, Fallon, Brand, and Najima talk late into the night. While the others go to bed, Brand and Fallon stay up late around the fire. In a rare moment of candor, Brand admits his frustration with his father not understanding his desire to be a Jewel Rider, and if his father had reached out earlier, perhaps Sami would not be missing now. Fallon is uniquely positioned to understand that problem, with her father cutting her off. The first spark of understanding passes between them.

The next day the group sets out across the Burning Desert toward the area of outbreak. The journey is difficult, and Fallon and the Pack work together to track the shepherds’ and flocks’ trails. After making it through a sandstorm, they lose the trail in a blank patch of desert. Brand is frustrated. Fallon senses something is wrong with the area; using a Jewel Circle, the group uses the Moonstone’s power to find an illusion covering a deep chasm.

They make their way to the bottom, and find buildings carved into the rock. Najima and Gwen are able to interpret the symbols to reveal that the canyon is an ancient Wizard Lair. In his rush to search the buildings for his brother, Brand springs a trap, separating him and Fallon from the others left outside. The bickering pair make their way through the dark caverns, narrowly avoiding more traps. When they trigger a huge angry Ifrit, the pair and their mounts lead a chase through the caverns, ending at a narrow stone bridge over a bottomless chasm. Moondance races across, but Brand and Blazer are hit by a spell from the Ifrit. Brand hangs onto the bridge as the Ifrit advances while Blazer tries to use his fire powers to fight it off. When Blazer is overcome, Fallon and Moondance race into action, and use the Moonstone’s power to hide the four of them from the Ifrit’s sight. Brand remarks on Fallon’s quick thinking and is very impressed.

When Fallon and Brand make it back out of the caverns, they find the rest of the group there. They’ve been trying to break through the magical barrier that separated them. Najima hugs Brand. As Fallon and Brand emerge though, the Ifrit breaks out of its prison after them. In the light of day, they can see that the fire spirit’s crown is centered with the Desert Star Jewel. Brand and Blazer leap into action, the Fire Wolf’s flames distracting the Ifrit long enough for the other Jewel Riders to form a Jewel Circle and contain the beast. Fallon and the Pack use their jewels to create lassos, while Tamara puts it to sleep, and Gwen and Sunstar fly in and grab the Jewel. With the jewel removed from the crown, the missing children and animals reappear.

With the Desert Star safely returned to the Jewel Box, Merlin appears and dispenses his wisdom: “Resentment is like drinking a poison and then waiting for the other person to die.” Fallon and Brand have gotten over their resentment of each other, and Brand finally accepts her as a true member of the Knights of Avalon.

The group and the rescued tribespeople ride off into the sunset.

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