“We are not lost,” Linvin corrected.
“You’re right,” Rander agreed. “In order to be lost you must know where you are going. We are aimless.”
“You are wrong again,” Linvin corrected. “I know that we must head north and north means we go through that forest.”
“Just how do you know this?’ Rander said tauntingly.
“I just know,” Linvin answered.
“That’s not going to be good enough anymore!” Rander spouted. “Do you just wake up in the morning and say, I think we’ll ride north and look along the ground until a magic gem shows up? There is no plan. You don’t know what you’re doing and now you want us to follow you in there? You must think we are as big of fools as you. Well I have had enough. Come on Bander, we are going home.”
Rander gestured to his brother who reluctantly followed him back down the path. Linvin bit his lip hard as he watched them. After what felt like a lifetime he called out to them. “Wait! I know where we are going and how to find the Red Sapphire.”
The twins stopped and turned to face him. “We are listening,” Rander chided.
Linvin exhaled a deep breath before speaking. “The staff tells me where to go.”
At first, there was only the sound of the rain falling. Then the air filled with laughter from Rander and then Bander, after he received his cue.
“I mean it!” Linvin yelled. “When I hold the staff, it points us in the right direction. It is because of this that I know that this is the way to go.”
Rander rode up to his leader and sarcastically stated, “I must see this.”
Linvin was angered but showed restraint. He pulled the staff from his saddle and his arm moved once again without any effort by its owner. The staff was pointing straight down the path into the forest.
“Am I to be impressed by this action?” Rander asked. “You could have at least made it look more dramatic. No, I suppose you aren’t that good an actor. What you did proves nothing. I could do the same thing with that stick in my hands. It wouldn’t mean any more than it does from you.”
The comment gave Anvar inspiration. “You’re right nephew. That does not prove a thing. Why don’t you try holding the staff? Show us some real drama. Linvin, give your cousin the staff.”
Linvin looked betrayed at first. Then he quickly decided that Anvar must know what he was doing. Reluctantly, Linvin handed the staff to Rander.
Rander casually took the rod. Instantly he felt a jolt run through his body with such force that it knocked him from his horse. A deep, echoing voice entered his head and cried, “Violator! Return what you have taken! I am the Path of the Red Sapphire. I am only to be used by Linvin Grithinshield. Release me!” Rander was terrified. Though the sound was deafening to him, he was somehow aware that no one else could hear it.
“Did you slip good nephew?” laughed the knowing Anvar.
Rander wished to keep the pretense of calmness when his face said otherwise. “I am well uncle.”
Meanwhile, the staff resounded, “Return me now or you will suffer!”
As usual, Bander was not sure what side to be on, so he encouraged his brother. “Go ahead point the staff like Linvin did.”
Anvar leaned on his saddle in a sign of relaxed enjoyment. “You may want to do something soon,” he said with a smile.
As the words hit Rander’s ears the staff began to turn hot in his hands. In moments, it felt like he was holding on to the wrong end of a branding iron, just out of the hearth. The voice in his head became deafening. “RELEASE ME NOW OR YOU WILL DIE!” Flames erupted from the staff and surged across his body. Rander screamed, as he smelled his flesh cooking. His nearly petrified body finally heeded the command and dropped the staff to the ground. He rolled violently on the wet grass to put the flames out, only to find that there was no fire. His clothes and body were unharmed.
“What’s wrong, Rander?” Bander asked as he rushed to his brother’s aid.
“Are all the flames out?” cried an exasperated Rander.
Bander looked around curiously. “What flames? We are in the middle of a rainstorm. How could there be flames?”
Rander looked at his uncle and cousin. Linvin was as confused as Bander while Anvar just smiled like a parent putting an uppity child in their place. “None of you saw the flames?” Rander asked.
“Whatever are you talking about?” Anvar grinned. “We saw no flames, perhaps you hit your head when you fell. That might explain your delusions.”
Rander stumbled to his feet. “Don’t act like it didn’t happen, Uncle, you knew! You knew what it would do. It could have killed me, if I didn’t let go.”
Anvar continued to bait him. “You mean that stick? You’re saying the same stick that didn’t mean anything a few moments ago, nearly killed you? You must be mistaken. We merely saw you fall to the ground and roll around like a pig in slop, but I will credit you for making it look dramatic.”
Rander walked to his horse as Anvar began to speak again. “Now do you believe the staff can lead us to the Red Sapphire and what Linvin has told you is true?”
The humbled young elf took to his saddle and meekly told Linvin, “I have been such a fool. I doubt your words no longer. Please forgive me, cousin.”