Wildfire Ch. 1 – By the Magic of the Flame Stone

Summary: Wilfire spins a tale of the Flame Stone

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!


By the Magic of the Flame Stone

By Wildfire

 

During Kale’s temporary rule of Avalon, her dweasles were able to take some of the enchanted jewels from Jewel Keep, and store them in the Dragon Wagon. However, in pure dweasle fashion, Rufus and Twig managed to loose all of the enchanted jewels that they stole. Many were drawn to special places, others simply remained where they fell. One, the Flame Stone, was found, and that is where the story begins.

 

“What’s that?” Kimmy said to her companion. Though she was a panther, and could not understand the girl’s words, she somehow understood her feelings, and, to some extent, the meaning.

 

Kimmy seemed out of place in the green of the bushes, with her wild, red hair and orange clothes, but she felt drawn to the forest for some reason. She had been following a feeling she thought to be magic, but could not clearly tell. Now, she was straining to see what the glowing red thing was in the grass.

 

“Let’s get a closer look, Blackflame.”

 

When she got close enough to see, she gasped, and got down from her steed, the panther was as big as a horse. “It’s an enchanted Jewel.” She picked it up to examine it. “It looks like a flame.” She giggled, looking back at her panther friend, smiling, “Let’s play pretend.” And she jumped into the saddle.

 

She got this way sometimes, acting childish on a whim. Blackflame didn’t mind, she actually enjoyed their fun and games. The townsfolk didn’t like her, though. She was so unpredictable that she was thought dangerous, and village after village ran her out.

 

“By the magic of the Flame Stone!” she began at giggling, but stopped as the stone flew from her hand, hovering in the air, surrounded by red-orange magic. She gasped as she saw it split into two identical gems. One rested on her belt, the other on Blackflame’s collar. “What-?” she began to ask a question, but answered it herself as magic flowed over the two, transforming them.

 

Kimmy was revealed with Jewel Armor. The outfit was a tunic, colored orange, and her belt dark blue. Her collar was orange with dark blue trim, she had a red cape, which flowed over Blackflame’s back. Her helmet had a red tinted visor, and what looked to be flames coming out the sides. At her ankles the fabric flared out, making it look like she was wearing bellbottoms. Blackflame, likewise had changed. The black panther now sported a red cloth, fringed orange, around her saddle. The cloth was cut in a flowing style, to look a bit like flames. Her collar was now studded with a few red gems.

 

*This is amazing!*

 

That was it, Blackflame talking to her through her mind was more than Kimmy could handle, and she feinted.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

*Kimmy? Kim are you all right?*

 

The girl jumped awake when she felt something wet against her face. “Oh, it’s just you.” Kimmy rubbed her head as she sat up.

 

*Kimmy, what happened? I can understand you now.*

 

“Yea, I hear you too. I think…” she looked down at the gem that was still on her belt, “I think we’re Jewel Riders now, Blackflame.”

 

*Jewel Riders? Like the ones who recovered the crown jewels? And who fixed the river?*

 

“Yes, I think so. Only not as powerful, I think.”

 

*Why? Was it the magic words you said in the woods?*

 

Kimmy was shaking her head before the panther had finished her sentence, “It can’t be just the words. The stone must have recognized us as good friends, and become tuned to us because it somehow knew that we weren’t evil.”

 

*Well, if it is an enchanted jewel, we have to give it back, don’t we? Take it back to the Crystal Palace where it belongs?*

 

Kimmy smiled sadly to her friend “But I’ve only just begun to be able to talk to you.” Tears welled up in her eyes, “I want to ask you so many things.” Hugging the panther, she sobbed into her fur, and spoke between sniffles “But… … I suppose… … it would be the right thing to bring it back. It… it doesn’t really belong to us, after all.”

 

*Don’t worry, Kim. Maybe they’ll let us keep it when they see that we won’t ever misuse it.*

 

“OK.” She mounted Blackflame and deactivated her armor. “Come on, I want to buy some supplies before we leave. It’s a long way to New Camelot.”

 

~~~~~

 

After a few days of riding, the two came upon a small clearing with fours strange trees in the center.

 

*What’s that?*

 

“It’s a Travel Tree ring, they’re gateways into the wild magic.”

 

*Ah… and jewel riders use them to ride the wild magic, right?*

 

Kimmy nodded, “Yes, at least they did. I don’t think they use the travel trees anymore.”

 

*Why?*

 

“Get down.” Kim said, without warning, pulling her friend into the brush. “Someone’s coming.”

 

*Let me take a look.* Blackflame peeked through the bushes. *There’s a man out there, he looks like an outlaw.*

 

 

The young man wore a brown tunic and buckskin pants. His long, dirty blond hair flowed in the wind. Something was shining on his belt.

 

“Is he alone?”

 

*It’s rather dark, but… …I can’t see anyone else. He seems to be interested in the Travel Trees, he’s saying something.*

 

“Great trees of Merlin, trees of good, help me travel, if you would.”

 

Then, the trees took on a crystalline appearance, and the great voice of the Travel Trees spoke with the glowing of the trees. “We recognize the Lightning Stone, but not the holder. Announce yourself.”

 

“I am Shawn, and this is my friend, Silverstrike.”

 

*I can see someone else now, she’s a hawk, I think.*

 

The first thing noticeable about Silverstrike, other than the fact that she was as big as a horse, were the shining silver tips of her wing and tail feathers. The rest of her feathers were a dull gray color. Seen just peeking from under her feathers was a type of loose collar, with a silver stone in the shape of a lightning bolt in it’s center. It began to glow as she spoke to her rider.

 

*Shawn, someone’s here.*

 

Kimmy and Blackflame gasped in unison, Kimmy whispered quieter now, “I heard that.”

 

Blackflame began whispering as well, *I think she heard me talking.*

 

“Really, Sil? Where? How many?” as he spoke, Shawn went into a defensive stance, holding out a silver stone identical to the one on Silverstrike’s collar.

 

“We’d better get out of here.” Kimmy whispered, and she rode Blackflame as quickly as possible out of there.

 

~~~~

 

*Is he following us?*

 

Kim looked back and up, searching for a spot of gray in the sky. “I don’t see him. You can slow down.”

 

Blackflame panted as she slowed down to a walk, trying to catch her breath.. *I just had a thought, couldn’t we have used the Travel Trees to get to New Camelot? We could be there by now.*

 

“I don’t think we should, it’s probably dangerous. Did you see how they reacted to Shawn? I think that only Jewel Riders who were accepted in the Circle of Friendship ceremony are recognized by the trees.”

 

*But, the Lady Kale used the Travel Trees, didn’t she?*

 

“Yes, but… well, I’d rather not chance it.”

 

~~~~

 

Later that night, they were settling down to sleep. *Don’t you think we should start a fire or something?*

 

“Not unless you need it.” Kimmy grinned “The Flame Stone keeps me warm, I found that out last night, when our fire went out.”

 

*All right, then.* Blackflame said, curling up beside Kimmy.

 

After they were both asleep, a small nose poked out from under the brush. After a bit of sniffing, the head came out, looking something like a black ferret with pointed ears. The rest of the body came out within minutes, and it was very much like a ferret, only with a pair of dragonfly-like wings  folded at it’s back. *Sniff sniff? What’s this? Sniff sniff? Smells good. It’s over here. Sniff sniff sniff.*

 

He ambled his way over to Blackflame and Kimmy. *sniff sniff. This is it.* the creature perked up at the sight of the Flame Stone. It bit the jewel, trying to pry it from Blackflame’s collar.

 

She woke up with a roar, throwing the strange creature back into the bushes. *Who’s there!?*

 

Kimmy yawned, rubbing her eyes as she sat up, “What is it? Is something wrong?”

 

The strange creature peeked out of the bushes, *Sniff sniff. Sorry to upset you, keepers of Red Flower. Sniff, please don’t hurt me.*

 

“Wow, it’s a furflier. I’ve never seen one in person before.”

 

Blackflame sat down, her defenses easing. *Don’t worry, he seems to be friendly. He says that he didn’t mean to upset us, and called us ‘keepers of the Red Flower’, what do you make of that?*

 

“Red Flower? He probably means our Flame Stone. Furfliers are one of several creatures who can smell magic.” She leaned over towards the creature, bowing her head in a greeting, “Hello, my name is Kimmy, this is my friend, Blackflame, what’s your name?”

 

*His name is Kipper. And he said that he like’s the way our ‘shiny rock’ smells.* Blackflame said, after translating Kim’s message for the furflier.

 

“Well, tell Kipper that if he likes the smell so much, he can come with us.”

 

*Kipper, would you like to come with us to New Camelot?*

 

*sniff sniff, most emphatically yes. I wish to see what Red Flower is.*

 

*He said yes.*

 

Kimmy yawned, “OK, but we have to get our rest tonight first.”

 

*We should probably have someone stand guard while we sleep, Kipper got very close before I noticed he was here.*

 

*Sniff I take first watch. I am good at watch.*

 

*Kipper has volunteered for first watch.*

 

“OK,” Kimmy yawned again as she snuggled into her sleeping bag. True, she didn’t need it for warmth, but it was good padding, and made her feel comfortable, “Why don’t you take the second watch, and I’ll be last.”

 

*OK. Kipper, wake us both up if you hear or see anything suspicious, and wake only me up when you start to get tired.*

 

*sniff sniff Yes, I make good watch, you see.*

 

The rest of the night was rather uneventful. In the morning, they started out again. Kipper and Blackflame had a bit of conversation that Kimmy, sadly, could only hear half of.

 

Suddenly, they were ambushed, outlaws came in from the trees with bows and swords ready. Blackflame backed up a bit, about to turn around, when another group jumped down right in front of her. Kipper flittered off into the trees. *Coward.* the panther mumbled *Kimmy, use the Stone!*

“But … …”

 

“What have we here, a girl? I wonder how high a price we can set as ransom.” The unshaven man came closer, grinning with horribly uncared for teeth. Blackflame snapped back with hers, “Oh, and the creature. Might fetch a high price for its hide.”

 

That was enough, Kim held up the fiery gem and shouted out, “By the magic of the Flame Stone!” the shimmering light that engulfed Kimmy and Blackflame caught the outlaws off guard.

 

“What the-?”

 

When the shimmers died down, and Kimmy was revealed in her Jewel Armor, she aimed the Flame Stone at the man who seemed to be head of the operation. “Back off!”

 

“Well, well, a Jewel Rider, she ought to fetch a high price.”

 

The man advanced again, and was met by a red fringed orange stream of magic, which pushed him backwards, into the thieves behind him, knocking them all down. It didn’t take but two seconds for Blackflame to realize the opening and run through, jumping over the people who were knocked down.

 

“What about Kipper?”

 

*Don’t worry, he can take care of himself.* and they rushed onward, not daring to slow or look back.

 

~~~~~

 

“Slow down, already, we’re gonna run into someone.”

 

The path had gotten more crowded as they neared the city of Fyfe.

 

*Sorry, I was just worried that they would catch up.*

 

“Well, I’m worried about Kipper.” Kimmy deactivated the Jewel Armor after her friend had slowed to a walk.

 

*No worries Kimkim.* Kipper flittered out, landing on Blackflame’s head, *I am not hurt. I slowed down chasers.*

 

*See, Kimmy? I told you he could take care of himself, he even slowed down those outlaws who were after us.*

 

“How?”

 

*Chasers see me, try wave me away. Then, they try to follow tracks, but I make tracks gone.*

 

*He covered our tracks, Kimmy.*

 

“That’s wonderful.”

 

As they entered the city, they finally noticed the people staring at them. There were whispers about who they were, and what they were doing in Fyfe.

 

*Didn’t I tell you we should have followed the river? We would probably be in New Camelot already, but no, we had to take the forest route.*

 

“Oh, don’t worry, we’ll be fine. We have to buy some more food anyway.”

 

*sniff sniff Something sniff something here.. smell.. sniff smell like Red Flower.* and Kipper went off buzzing.

 

“Where’s he off to?”

 

*I’m not sure.* Blackflame took off at a run after him, *But he said it smells like our Flame Stone. It must be another enchanted jewel.*

 

~~~~~

 

*There, sniff sniff, in there!*

 

They all peeked in the window to see a young man buying flowers.

 

“You have made an excellent choice, sir. These are the best roses I have.” The lady at the desk said.

 

“And I happen to know that Forest Florist’s has the best flowers in all Avalon.” The man replied, handing the lady some coins.

 

*That man looks a little familiar.*

 

“He’s one of the knights of Avalon, the Pack. I’ve seen his picture in the news.”

 

The lady in the store handed Drake a vase full of red roses. “I hope these pretties will survive a trip through the Wild Magic. It would be a shame if you got back with wilted roses.”

 

“Don’t worry, I don’t plan on taking them through that way. Thunder and I are going to take the Great West Road.”

 

“But won’t that take longer?”

 

*sniff sniff sniffsniff Here here! Smelly leaf!*

 

*Be quiet, Kipper. We know. That ‘smelly leaf’ is a Forest Stone.*

 

“It’s all right. I can do it for Gwen. She deserves something nice for her birthday.”

 

“Did you hear that?” Kimmy whispered

 

*Hear what? Kipper?*

 

“No, him, he’s not taking the travel trees.”

 

In no time, Kipper had eased his way through the crack in the door, and was rushing up to a Great Wolf standing right behind Drake. *sniff sniff MmMmmm.* and he inched closer to the Forest Stone on the Wolf’s vest.

 

He received a growl back, but it seemed to be just a reflex, as the wolf’s face eased into a kind expression. *Well, what’s this?*

 

Drake turned around with the roses. “What, Thunder?”

 

*sniff sniff.. sorry… sniff.* and Kipper hid under the desk.

 

*Uh, nevermind. It was nothing.*

 

Drake shrugged and walked out of the flower shop before riding Thunderbolt out of town.

 

“Come on!” Kimmy urged her friend forward, “We gotta follow him.”

 

*Why?* Blackflame was running, and looked back for an instant for Kipper.

 

*No worries, friend.* She turned towards the voice, seeing the little creature flying beside her.

 

“He’s going to the Crystal Palace, we can follow him there.”

 

*Wouldn’t it be easier to just ask if we could travel with him?*

 

“We can’t tell how he’ll react, if- Slow down, I see him.”

 

Blackflame slowed to a walk a good distance from Drake and Thunder. The two ahead of them stopped for a moment, talking to each other.

 

“Hide, they probably sense that we’re following them.”

 

Blackflame jumped into the bushes, peeking out through the leaves. *He’s moving on. If you don’t want to be found, we should stay off the path.*

 

“Good idea, let’s go.”

 

~~~~

 

*Wow…. This is the Crystal Palace? It’s amazing.*

 

“Yes, it is.”

 

*Sniff sniff… smell good… sniff*

 

“Come on,” Kimmy paused to sigh and dismount, they had lost Drake several hours ago, but made it to the Palace all the same, “We’d better find Merlin or the princess, or someone.”

 

They began towards the Palace entrance, but Kimmy stopped, looking at a leafy arch, “Look, Blackflame, it’s the Friendship Ring.”

 

*Kimmy, I thought we were going to find Princess Gwenevere.*

 

“It’s the most magical place in all of Avalon.” She began walking toward it.

 

*Kimmy.*

 

“I think we should visit it. Just once.”

 

*It’s probably dangerous, Kimmy.*

 

“Come on, scaredy cat!” Taking no heed of her friend’s warnings, Kimmy ran for the Ring.

 

*Kimmy!* Blackflame ran after her, intending to stop her friend, but ending up in the Friendship Ring as well.

 

“Isn’t it amazing?”

 

*Kimmy, we shouldn’t-*

 

“By the magic of the Flame Stone!”

 

The shimmering covered the two, dying down to reveal their Jewel Armor. The glowing of the Flame Stones didn’t die down, though.

 

“Can you feel it, Blackflame? The magic, the power it’s coursing through us.”

 

*Yes, Kimmy, I feel it, but-*

 

“Shh.” The girl whispered, ducking down, “Someone’s coming.”

Blackflame ran around the corner, followed by Kim.

 

“Thank you for the flowers, Drake.”

 

Gwenevere and Drake entered the Friendship Ring just as Kimmy was ducking around the bushes. The fringe of her red cape was the last thing visible. Drake froze, holding Gwen back. “By the magic of the Forest Stone!”

 

As the shimmering covered Drake, Gwen gave a concerned look. “Drake, what’s wrong?”

 

“It’s Kale.”

 

“Are you sure?” When Drake nodded, pointing to where he saw the cape, the princess started walking to the bushes.

 

“She’s coming.”

 

*Good, she can help.* Blackflame began to walk out, but was caught by the collar.

 

“No! She thinks I’m Lady Kale.” Kimmy thought up a plan quickly, and jumped out from behind the hedges, holding her Flame Stone out. “Stand back!”

 

Gwen shook her head, “It’s not Kale, see?” Drake lowered his guard as Gwen looked down at the girl, “Who are you?”

 

“I… I am… Wildfire! And you should be careful. I have tamed the magic of the Flame Stone!” Behind the Hedges, Blackflame was shaking her head.

 

“Oh?” Gwenevere stepped back to stand beside Drake, “Suggestions?”

 

Drake shrugged, “I’m not sure we should completely believe her, but be on guard all the same.”

 

“I agree.”

 

“I…” Kimmy was stuttering somewhat still, “I wish to speak with the princess!”

 

Gwenevere stepped forward, “I am Princess Gwenevere.”

 

Kimmy looked her over, “Prove it!”

 

The princess held up the Sun Stone, “By the magic of the Sun Stone!”

 

As the shimmers covered her over Gwen, Blackflame whispered to Kimmy, *What do you think you’re doing?*

 

“Hold on, you’ll see.”

 

The shimmers died down to reveal the princess in her Jewel Armor. “Satisfied?”

 

Kimmy nodded, placing the Flame Stone in it’s place on her belt. “Can I speak with you alone, Princess?”

 

Suddenly, Sunstar flew in, *Princess, what’s wrong?*

 

“Nothing, Sunstar. Wildfire, whatever you say to me, can be said in front of Sunstar and Drake.”

 

Thunder walked in from around the corner, *What’s happening, Drake?*

 

“… And Thunder.”

 

“Well… I suppose that’s all right, you would tell them anyway, wouldn’t you?” Kimmy Deactivated her Jewel Armor as she spoke, and, seeing that she did, the other’s deactivated theirs as well.

 

“Yes, but before we start, can I ask you how you came to be in possession of that jewel?”

 

“As a matter of fact, I was going to start with that, myself.” She turned to the bushes, “Come on out, Blackflame.”

 

The two gasped as the panther came out. “Don’t worry, she’s my friend. Just like Sunstar is yours, and Thunderbolt is yours.” She said, nodding to Gwenevere and Drake, respectively.

 

Gwen gasped, “You mean to say that, you… are a Jewel Rider?” Kimmy nodded, “How?”

 

*It has to be that Flame Stone.* Sunstar suggested

 

“Your friend is right, princess, it is the Flame Stone. Blackflame and I found it in the forest.”

 

“Wildfire, that stone doesn’t belong to you, you must give it back.” Drake took a step toward her, reaching out.

 

“No!” Kimmy stepped back, clutching the stone, “It’s mine! Blackflame and I found it!”

 

“Please, come, the jewel may be unstable.” Gwen was walking to her now.

 

“No!” Kimmy was on the brink of tears, jumping onto Blackflame’s back, “I won’t give it up!”

 

*But I thought-*

 

“Blackflame, let’s go.”

 

Blackflame shot off, right through Gwen and Drake. In no time at all, though, those two were riding after them.

 

*They’re coming after us, don’t you think we should give it back? After all, it doesn’t really belong to us.*

 

“No, it’s ours now. They have no right to claim it.”

 

Blackflame began to say something, but paused as she leapt over a bush, *What’s wrong, Kimmy? This isn’t like you.*

 

“Nothing, nothing’s wrong.”

 

The conversation was decidedly ended with that. They ran far and fast, but Kimmy could tell that the two jewel riders were close behind. She heard Gwen above her “By the magic of the Sin Stone.”, and Drake behind her “By the magic of the Forest Stone.” And decided she should arm herself.

 

“You heard that, right?”

 

Between pants Blackflame could barely talk, *Yes….they’re sure….to catch us, now.*

 

“Not likely. By the magic of the Flame Stone!” The shimmering covered her and Blackflame again, stopping them in mid-run for an instant. Kimmy looked up to find Gwen and Sunstar, and fired a shot at them, barely missing.

 

*Kim! Be more careful next time, you almost hit her!*

 

A strange tone took the girl’s voice, “That’s the idea, we can’t have her finding us after we’ve gotten away from the wolf rider.”

 

*Kim?* deep concern filled the panther for a few moments before she began to understand. The Flame Stone was theirs, it’s magic had chosen them. She could feel it, she felt more alive when they had the Jewel Armor on, more powerful. She skidded to a stop and turned. *Why don’t we stop them here? If we keep running like this, we’ll be tired out soon.*

 

Thunderbolt stopped a few feet away, *Have you decided to return it?*

 

*Hardly.* Blackflame and Kimmy both shot a bolt toward the wolf, which he dodged expertly.

 

“Don’t do this. That stone is probably dangerous.” Drake reached out a hand, but was burned by Kimmy’s shot.

 

“Wildfire!” Gwen shouted from above, “Calm down, we can talk it out!”

 

“You want to take it away! Take away everything I have now!” Kimmy shot another bolt of magic up at Gwen, it was reflected by her shield.

 

Gwen shook her head, “Come with us, please? You can talk to Merlin.”

 

“No!” Kimmy shouted as she shot a beam at Thunderbolt, who was edging closer. The shot threw him and Drake back a few feet.

 

“Drake!” Gwen shouted as she saw his head connect with a rock, “Sunstar-“ *I know* they were already headed down towards the fallen knight. Thunder was already pulling him from the rock, onto some soft moss. There was no blood.

 

*Don’t worry,* he told the two as they landed, *nothing’s broken, he just passed out.*

 

A look of worry crossed Kim’s face as she watched Gwen and Drake, but it faded, “You can have it, if you can catch me!”

 

Blackflame turned at Kimmy’s urging, and ran off, leaving Gwen to tend to Drake.

 

~~~~~

 

“We can learn how to use this ourselves, we don’t need Merlin or anybody to help.”

 

*Right, so, what do we start with?*

 

“Um… how about that shield that the princess made?”

 

Blackflame nodded, *OK, let’s try.*

 

They both concentrated their jewels and shot a beam of red-orange light. Instead of making a shield, the beam knocked a branch down from a tree, but it didn’t finish there, the branch glowed and shifted in shape, until it became a violin bow.

 

“What happened?” Kimmy looked dumbfounded at the bow, and looked back at Blackflame.

 

*Maybe it works from need. We needed to get away when we shot those outlaws away, and we needed to stop Gwenevere and Drake when we stopped them.*

 

Kimmy grinned, “Maybe. Well, right now we need a violin to go with this bow.” She aimed her jewel upward and let loose the magic, it struck a larger limb, which became a violin.

 

“Hey, I’m getting the hang of this.” Kimmy smiled and picked up the bow and violin, “But what is this for?”

 

*Making music, silly.*

 

Kimmy gave her friend a ‘look’ “I know that, but…. Why did the Flame Stone make it? Do we need music.”

 

*Play it, maybe we’ll see.*

 

Kimmy shrugged and put the violin to her shoulder. She had learned to play a few years ago, when she stopped in a very musical city. It was a beautiful song, Blackflame seemed to like it too, though she didn’t say so. But it was a slow song, so Kimmy searched her memory for a more fast paced one, and began to dance to it. “Wee…” she giggled as she moved to the music, and when she was done, she sat down, tired out. “That was fun.”

 

Blackflame smiled as she sat next to her friend, *Yes, it was a very good song.*

 

“I think we did need that. We needed to relax.”

 

They heard a faint clapping sound, not far away, *Good, good music. Very fun.* the little furflier steeped out from under a nearby bush.

 

*Kipper!* Blackflame exclaimed joyfully.

 

“Kipper? What are you doing here? I thought you stayed at the palace.”

 

*I like Red Flower best. You two good to follow.*

 

Blackflame smiled at Kimmy, *He said he likes us.*

 

“Well, that’s great.” Kimmy smiled, “It’s always a good idea to have a spy on your side.”

 

~~~~

 

Something moved in the bushes, but Blackflame didn’t think to wake the others unless she was sure it was something to be concerned about. There was movement again, and this time she saw something, and moved to wake her friend.

 

*Kimmy.* she whispered, nudging the girl with a paw, *Kimmy, wake up, someone’s-* she gasped, staring at the man who had just walked out of the trees, Kimmy was rubbing her eyes, sitting up. She shot to her feet, readying her Flame Stone, when she saw the man.

 

“Who are you?! What do you want?”

 

The strange man seemed to grin, though it was hard to tell in the dark, “My name is Aren, and I want to talk with you, Flame Stone Rider.”

 

“Really?” she wasn’t about to let her guard down that easily, “Well, Aren, what do you want to talk about?”

 

He seemed to grin again, “I know where you can learn how to use that little trinket. You won’t need to talk to Merlin, or anyone from the palace. Interested yet?”

 

“Maybe.” Kimmy shifted her hold on the Flame Stone, “No one will try to take it from me?”

 

“We wouldn’t dream of it. Would you like to come?”

 

Kimmy stole a glance towards Blackflame, *We need to learn how to use it, trial and error won’t work all the time.* Kimmy nodded, and placed the stone back on her belt.

 

“All right, where is it?”

 

The man held out a hand, and a swirling portal appeared before them, illuminating the stranger. It did little good, as he was covered in a dark cloak. “Right this way, don’t worry, just step through.”

 

The girl froze, pulling an arm around the panther, “But… isn’t that.. Wild Magic?”

 

He nodded, “Of course, how else do you expect to get to the lair of a banished wizard?”

 

“B-b-banished?”

 

“Come on! Do you want to learn how to use your jewel or not?!” He seemed to be loosing his patience.

 

*Kimmy, the armor, the Jewel Armor will protect us.*

 

Kimmy nodded, and looked to the man, “I need to do something first.” She climbed onto Blackflame’s back and held her fiery jewel above her head, “By the magic of the Flame Stone.” The shimmers flew over her, and woke up Kipper, who hastily jumped up, riding behind Kimmy, who smiled back at him, then looked back at the strange man, “OK, I’m ready. Lead the way.”

 

He nodded, walking through the portal, followed by the panther and her rider.

 

A swirl of color surrounded them for a moment, then, they seemed to be in a kind of void. Both feared they might fall, at least Kimmy and Kipper had something to hold on to.

 

“Don’t be scared.” Aren was beginning to sound more creepy by the minute, “My magic can keep you afloat. Come this way.”

 

Blackflame tried not to think about how far away the ground was, and willed herself forward. Apparently, that was all that was needed, no walking at all. They soon came upon a strange building, standing on a floating island. With pillars all around, so no wall could be seen, and no door for that matter. Aren floated up to one of the pillars and pressed his hand to it. The stone structure vanished, and he pointed the way in for his guests.

 

Inside was a long hallway, with torches lighting the way. *Kim, I wonder if this was a good idea after all.*

 

Kim looked around at the walls as they made their way down the hall. “Don’t worry, everything will be OK.”

 

“Here we are.” Aren said, as they entered a large room at the end of the hallway. The room had a domed ceiling and many doors all around. “Nell!” Aren called, “Nell, come out, I’ve brought them!”

 

A man suddenly appeared from a puff of smoke in the middle of the room, startling everyone but Aren. The man was tall, he wore simple white robes and held a staff. The staff seemed to be missing something from the top, where the wood curled around, it seemed there was supposed to be something in it. His eyes seemed to glow a strange shade of bright green, his white hair spread out wildly over his shoulders. He walked slowly towards Kimmy and her friends.

 

“Greetings, Flame Stone Rider.” He spoke with an ancient voice, “I have been hoping that you would come for some time.”

 

“Why? What do you want?” it seemed a strange question, but Kimmy knew that most people who would give you something would want something in return. Especially if that person was a wizard, people with power generally don’t give you something for nothing.

 

The wizard laughed, “Getting right to the point I see. Could we begin with introductions? My name is Nellicant, one of the most powerful of Avalon’s wizards.” He paused, awaiting Kimmy’s response.

 

She slid from Blackflame’s back, “My name is…” she wondered what to tell him for a while, and reasoned that her best bet would be not to tell her real name, “Wildfire, and these are my friends… Fire-eyes and Spark.”

 

Nellicant smiled, did he know? Kim wondered. “Good, now that that’s done with, Wildfire, I suppose you would like to know my price, hmm? It’s simple really. All I want in return for teaching you the jewel’s powers are your services.”

 

“Services?”

 

“I am an exiled wizard, though I am powerful here, in the Wild Magic, I cannot return to Avalon without my jewel.”

 

“So you want me to find it for you?”

 

“You learn quickly.” He smiled, a kind of evil looking smile, “But it is not only that. I cannot very well have you running all over the country, searching blindly. You must do as I tell you, and you should be able to find the jewel without much trouble.”

 

Kimmy grinned, “Sounds easy enough. And after I have found your jewel?”

 

“After you have found it and given it to me, you will be free to do as you please. I will have no more use for you, and you, presumably, will have no more use for me.”

 

the girl turned to her friend, “What do you think?”

 

*I think he’s a creepy nutty guy. But, if we have to, we can refuse to help him later, it seems he needs us.*

 

Kimmy nodded, looking back at Wizard Nellicant, “We accept your offer.”

 

~~~~~

 

“The Flame Stone is very powerful indeed, and wild.”

 

“I thought that my Heart Stone was the only jewel made from the Wild Magic, Merlin.”

 

“Not Wild Magic, just wild. That is one reason why it was locked in the Jewel Keep, it’s just too powerful and wild to be controlled by a Jewel Rider.”

 

“So what do we do about it?” Fallon had been sitting and listening for too long, and felt she had to say something. When Gwen and Drake had returned to the Palace, they had a long story to tell everyone. Now, Gwen, Fallon, and Tamara were in Merlin’s house, listening to his explanations.

 

“You three should make sure the Flame Stone doesn’t do too much damage. The Pack won’t be able to defend against such a powerful Jewel.”

 

“But our jewels have the power of the crown jewels now.” Gwen added, realizing what Merlin had said.

 

Merlin nodded, “That is the best thing to do, because, once an enchanted jewel has been tuned to a rider, it cannot be taken against the rider’s wishes.”

 

~~~~~

 

In the wizard lair, Kimmy was practicing her techniques, and was getting awfully tired. “Hew, are we done yet?”

 

The wizard nodded, “For now. You have learned something from this lesson, I trust?”

 

“Yes, I learned that I have a very powerful jewel, and that I should be careful with it.”

 

Nell nodded, “It is a destructive jewel. Would you like to test it’s powers in Avalon?”

 

Kimmy smiled, still wearing her armor, “That would be interesting.”

 

“Here, it is time for you to keep up your end.” He opened a swirling portal beside himself.

 

“What?”

 

“I need you to stir up a little trouble so that those Jewel Riders from the palace won’t interfere with our search.”

 

“Um.. I guess. What do you need?”

 

 

 

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