The rest of the afternoon I spent in that same hard, wooden chair. Through some discussion, bribing, negotiating, and plenty of heated arguing, Henry convinced Jared and me to go on a quest to return the Elixir.
We are to leave tonight, he said that it was very important that it is returned as soon as possible. Jared argued that it would make sense to get some good rest before we go but Henry insisted. Two ambassadors from Westerdale, our Nation’s capital, would arrive at The Gate the week of New Years to collect the Elixir and bring it back to the capital for safe keeping. That meant that Jared and I had ten days plus tonight to find, get, and return the magical concoction.
We wouldn’t be on our own though, Henry had a couple of tricks up his sleeve. The first one was to be worn around my neck: A medallion with an eye on it. The iris was made of real silver and resembled my own eyes now. This was a magical artifact that has been around as long as the Zenith and the Elixir. It was made specially to be able to find the Elixir no matter how far away or concealed it was.
“Try it on, Jocelynn,” Henry urged. I consented, placing the thin chain around my neck. The medal was cold on my skin making me shiver a little at the stimulus. More apparent than that was the faint tugging on the chain. It wasn’t in any general direction but Henry explained that once we got moving it would pull us to the correct location of the Elixir.
After that he pulled out two knapsacks from a closet. Giving one to each of us he helped us pack a bag for our journey. He wouldn’t allow us to leave and gather possessions from our own homes but instead lent us clothing and gave us some food and more money than I have ever had in my entire life.
The sun had already set by the time everything was prepared. I stood on the governor’s front porch, Jared standing close enough for me to feel heat radiating off of his body in the cold night air. We each have a tan knapsack hewn across our backs filled with clothes and bread and water. Jared wears one of Henry’s black cloaks and my white one is pulled tightly around me to protect me from the chill. Some of Melissa’s gloves cover my hands and I carry two golden coins in a hidden pocket in my leggings. Jared keeps four hidden in his own pants since men are the ones who pay for everything and are in charge of money. Girls aren’t trusted as much, a fact that I have always resented.
“Tell me one more time the plan,” Henry demanded quietly.
“Follow the medallion as a guide to find the Elixir, get it unharmed- referring to both us and the potion.” I answer readily.
Jared answers more irritably, “Bring it back and don’t be late.” Henry nods and says that we are ready.
“Before you go I will repeat what I have heard one more time. Perhaps it will help guide and protect you on your quest. ‘In your year of six and thirty, crisis hits and chaos floods. Unless the two of whom you’re told, can stop the spilling of the blood. Return the stolen prize and once again the moon shall rise.’ Remember these words and do not let any harm befall the Elixir!” I am starting to get the feeling that he cares more for the drink than for our lives.
I have one more question that I have only just thought of. What was the last line again? “Henry, what does it mean, ‘and once again the moon shall rise’?”
He looks at me gloomily. In a cold voice that gives me chills he says, “Look around child. Do you see any moon out tonight? It was full yesterday but today it is gone.” With one last look at the sky he adds, “Now be off and return triumphant! Worse things will come to pass if the Elixir is not returned.”
I do not have time to ask what he means. Jared grabs my elbow and pulls me along behind him, our cloaks soaring at our feet.