The fires had died down, most of the party-goers had left to their more private entertainments, and only two young Lunars remained, basking in the afterglow of the celebration of their formal completion of their initiation into the Silver Pact. The larger, a burly, yet still graceful young woman named Jenya, had chosen the moniker Chainbreaker, as an inspiration to all those around her who still had chains but could yet free themselves. The other was a slender slip of a girl wearing bright pink hair and little else, who had renamed herself Laughing Surf to signify a new life that left the old one behind. As the fire died down and the night grew dim and cold, the two sat closer together to continue their shared discussion of their new lives that lay before them.
“Good evening ladies, may I join you?” A soft, humble voice came through the darkness. The two looked back and saw the familiar figure of Kamahl, Fist of the Wyld, the legendary Lunar warrior who would give all the chances they deserved to prove themselves.
“Of course,” Laughing Surf clucked cheerily, her trilling chuckle belying her dolphin-like nature. Jenya nodded as well and made space, her distinctive pattern of facial markings standing out in the dark. Kamahl bowed slightly then sat between them.
“I have been impressed with both of you,” He said plainly, nodding to each. “You have done well at both the challenges placed before you as well as the celebration that followed.”
“A party’s always a welcome challenge to meet,” Laughing Surf said, tossing her pink hair ostentatiously. Jenya smiled but concern danced in her orange eyes.
“Jenya, you are young to know me so well,” Kamahl said, smiling. “You have sensed I am not here simply to congratulate you. In fact, I believe I am here to rain on your parade a bit.”
Both looked at him inquisitively, but Kamahl seemed to be in no rush to end the suspense.
“Imagine, both of you for a moment, that you had passed the trials but no one knew of it. No celebration, no speeches, just some tattooes and an empty land before you to explore.”
Both seemed thoughtful. After a moment Laughing Surf scoffed slightly. “Less fun, certainly, but if it were the price of the Second Breath I’d pay it gladly.”
“Yet somehow not having the sharing would diminish this gift,” Jenya concluded. “What are you getting at, Master?”
“Well, your trials were well-constructed, but let’s just say I feel like they were lacking slightly. I would like it if you could investigate something for me,” Kamahl said, getting to his point at his own damn pace. “There’s an island off the coast of An-Teng, supposedly uninhabited, supposedly no natural harbors of any kind, yet somehow ships keep disappearing when they go near it.”
It was Jenya’s turn to scoff. “What concern are the traders of the oceans to us? Are we not bigger than that?” But it was Laughing Surf’s turn to brood quietly.
“That depends,” Kamahl said sagely. “The concerns of others are always the concerns of ours, if they are big enough. That is the ultimate burden of being one of the Wardens of Creation. This world cannot care for itself, but luckily, we are here. Besides, some of those ships that go missing are slave ships. Could we not bring more to our causes with this mission?” His eyes twinkled as he sized up both women. Each seemed to take this to heart.
“Now, there is someone I want you to include when you venture out there. He’s currently in the capital of An-Teng, making his way through the city, getting to know what humanity is. He’s lost it, you see, and he’s trying to reclaim it. I think he may be helpful for you, and I know you will be helpful for him.”
“How shall we know him?” Jenya asked. Kamahl described a black-cloaked, white-masked fellow who was retiring in his nature and eager to avoid trouble.
“Catching him will be a challenge, as will persuading him to help you. Under no circumstances must you reveal I sent you, or that I’m involved at all,” Kamahl said sternly. Both young Lunars blinked in surprise but nodded slowly.
“It’s a good journey to An-Teng, though the trouble doesn’t really start until you get there. Watch out for servants of the Realm.” With that, Kamahl stood up, stretched, and began to stroll back into the woods.
Jenya and Laughing Surf looked at each other. No words were spoken for a moment.
“So, shall we leave in the morning?” Jenya asked delicately. Laughing Surf nodded carefully. “Yes, morning.” Neither made a move to leave. After a moment that stretched on and on, they each grinned, then suddenly Jenya was a Tiger and Laughing Surf was a Seagull and both took off into the jungle at dead sprints.