The training platform...
Jena and Madelyne are training with each other. Their electrically-charged sticks clash against another. Madelyne forces her way loose and tries to hit her sister, but she manages to duck in time. The two kick at the same time, but Madelyne is faster. She grabs Jena’s leg and throws her over her shoulder!
In mid-air, Jena throws her stick at Madelyne, who blocks it. The stick ricochets back toward Jena, but she spreads her legs open and the stick flies right through it. She lands on some blocks and the stick explodes on a wall behind her. Madelyne smiles at her sister, who looks a bit panicked. She holds her hand stiff right next to her body, and an energy ball merges from her palm. The energy concentrates and gets bigger, and Jena fires it at Madelyne! Madelyne sweats for a second but, as the blast almost reaches her, she gracefully jumps over it.
Madelyne jumps high up and, as she starts to land down, the spikes on her shoes help her stick to a wall. Madelyne has a plan, and can’t wait to see how Jena handles this one. She first throws her stick at Jena. Next, she places her two hands together to form a triangle-like shape. Green energy emerges, and she fires it toward the stick. The stick merges together in the small opening of the triangle-like energy and heads toward Jena!
Jena panics, but can still jump away from it. However, she realizes she probably dodged that attack too easily. Madelyne moves two fingers close to her eyes, reminding Jena to be mindful. Jena turns around, and panics when she sees that Madelyne put a tracking spell on that energy spike! The spike moves closer to her and, mysteriously enough, hangs right in front of her for a moment. Jena is speechless. Madenlyne sighs, and snaps her fingers.
The spike explodes and Jena loses her balance, falling down. She hates this, because she was so close to beating Madelyne this time. Madelyne jumps down from the walls, and lands on the floor, right next to the Phoenix Sword. She wonders what’s ever going to become of Jena. Jena continues to fall down, and the spike creates a huge hole in itself. Jena thinks this is so humiliating. She hasn’t fallen off a platform since she was a child. She knows she’s never going to hear the end of this. She dives through the hole and guesses teleporting to safety would be a good idea.
Jena lands in front of Madelyne’s feet. Madelyne, holding the black sword in her hand, lifts it up and points it at her sister. She sarcastically congratulates her: she’s dead. Jena cries out that all this training is pointless. She doesn’t think it’ll be necessary when she wields the Phoenix Sword. Madelyne angrily tells Jena she can’t believe this is what all her training has taught her... to rely completely on the sword to fix her problems. She can only hope this isn’t what Jena thinks being a Guardian is all about. Madelyne’s confident that in the end, Jena will find that no matter how much power she’s given, it all comes down to the wisdom and skills of the hand that wields it!
As Madelyne holds the sword lower, Jena can see her reflection in it. She sighs, not believing that the peace of their homeland relies on her “skills.” She thinks they’re doomed. Madelyne speeches that wallowing in self-pity is not the way to becoming a Pyre. They’re supposed to be leaders, not whiners. Jena feels ashamed for falling off the platform.
The two sisters sit down on the floor. Madelyne reminds Jena they’ve been training for hours, suspecting Jena’s probably tired. They should call it a day. That sounds good to Jena. Madelyne points the Phoenix Sword to the ground, and another teleportation hole appears. She quickly grabs Jena and jump through it, with Madelyne giving Jena the warning to hold on.
Later, at Castle Pyre...
Inside the huge, black castle, that has wings of the Phoenix attached on it in honor of its creator, Jena and Madelyne share a bath together. Jena smiles, saying that nothing feels better than a dip in the magma spring after a hard day of training. She supposes Madelyne will be able to hang out there whenever she wants after she takes up the Phoenix Sword.
“Hardly,” a firm voice Madelyne corrects. After the Passing, Jena’s lessons on utilizing the Sword’s power will begin. Jena really dislikes the idea of more training. Madelyne reminds her that being a Guardian is no small task. Jena knows this. Madelyne moves closer to her, and opens her hand. A projection of a sand glass appears, and tells Jena that, as she can see, they’ve only a few short weeks before the Sands of Ages finish running their coarse and the Passing occurs.
Jena asks if they really have to go all the way to that old chamber, just so Madelyne can hand her over the Phoenix Sword. Madelyne stands up, explaining the Sands not only determine when the Passing occurs, but also binds the use of the Phoenix Sword’s energies to its bearer. Going to the Chamber of Ages is an integral part of transferring the blade to its new master. Jena guesses she knew that. It’s just... It sounds like a rather simple beginning for such a demanding future.
Madelyne tries to say something, but Jena knows “leaders, not whiners.” Another woman named Nidel walks over to them. Telekinetically lifting up a plateau with two wine glasses on it, Nidel greets the two ladies. She thought their two resident demi-humans could use some refreshment after a hard day’s training. The two thank Nidel, and Jena jokes Nidel must have read her mind. Nidel mentions she has barely seen the two around lately, thinking the training must be getting pretty intense.
Jena tries to explain to Nidel what happened, but Madelyne, overhearing it, fires a small blast against Jena’s derriere, making it clear to her to keep quiet. After drinking from her glass, Madelyne interrupts Jena has made excellent progress in her training and has proven herself a more than worthy heir to the Sword. She is confident the future of their homeland is bright and secure. Taking an angry look on her face, Madelyne tells Nidel she’s certain she will tell this to anyone who may show concern. Hesitant, Nidel promises she will.
Madelyne uses her powers to put her uniform back on, and tells the ladies to excuse her as she has other matters to attend. She warns Jena not to stay in the spring too long and wants her back to her studies soon. Jena wonders what happened to being done for the day. Madelyne corrects Jena that her physical training is done, but thinks her mental training could use a few more hours of her time. She reminds Jena to be strong of both body and mind. Jena tries to protest against it, but Madelyne asks Nidel to remind Jena about this for her. Nidel promises to do so.
Once Madelyne is gone, Nidel can’t help but wonder what all that was about. With an angry look on her face, Jena says Madelyne’s just being overly protective, as usual. She thinks Madelyne is trying to allay any fears that she may not be up to the task of being Guardian. She knows that when Madelyne first became Guardian, she read a lot about Nidel’s people, the Manuchi, and thought they were going to be conquered with a year.
Nidel smiles that was a long time ago. She sees both Madelyne and Jena as family now. She doesn’t think there’s a Manuchi within these walls that wouldn’t trust them both with their lives. Jena doubts Madelyne sees it like that. She wants to ask something and wants an honest answer. She asks Nidel if she thinks she would make a good Guardian. Nidel thinks that Jena is kidding her: she’s going to be fantastic! She asks Jena to imagine it: being in control of the Sword, kicking butt and living life on the edge. It would be so incredible. Nidel can’t help but feel jealous. She wishes it were she who was going to become a Guardian. Jena tells Nidel she can believe her: she wishes it would be Nidel as well.
Elsewhere in the castle...
Madelyne knocks on a closed door, and asks Nublisk if he’s in there. The elder Nublisk tells her to come in, and greets her from a balcony. Madelyne enters the library, and Nublisk informs her she’s just the person he wanted to see. He’s got a few notes he wants Madelyne to look over before he inputs them into the Chronicles. Madelyne walks closer to him, thinking Nublisk is looking to start recording the next sword-bearer’s exploits with a clean state.
Nublisk knows it’s always wise to think ahead. Madelyne smiles it’s hard to believe... these past 7000 years went by so fast it seems. She jumps up the balcony and lands right next to Nublisk. Speaking of their soon-to-be swordbearer, Nublisk asks how Jena’s training’s coming along. Madelyne admits Jena’s showing progress, though by kicking and screaming. Nublisk goes to sit on a round table and asks Madelyne to give it time. He reminds her Jena’s going to become the youngest person to ever wield the Phoenix Blade. She just needs to overcome her insecurities.
Madelyne thinks that’s just it: time waits for no one. Especially one who wields the blade. Madelyne asks Nublisk if he remembers her first year. She went up against the race called the Wrathian Core. She thought her mother had prepared her for anything and knew such creatures existed. That day, Madelyne thought she was truly going to die. She barely escaped with her life, thanks to those ugly green creatures.
Nublisk does seem to recall a week later that Madelyne went out and hunted the Wrathian alone, despite her mother’s wishes. Madelyne sits on the table, admitting she never found the Wrathian. But that’s beside the point! It haunts her constantly that, if Jena were to face such a threat now, she’d surely be killed. Sometimes she feels making Jena Guardian will be the same as assuring her a death sentence.
Later, in Jena’s chambers...
After studying for a while, Jena has already fallen asleep. She dreams that she’s in her astral form, floating in outer space. She sees the Phoenix Blade, put upside down on an asteroid. She moves closer to it and tries to touch it. But, as her hand moves closer to it, the sword disappears! Jena is speechless. However, she doesn’t notice that cables appear behind her. The cables grab her tightly. Jena does the best to free herself, but with no such luck.
She wakes up screaming and finds Nidel next to her, asking if she’s okay. Nidel explains that, when she came in, Jena was tossing around so much that she threw herself out of bed! Jena quickly gets up and runs out of her room, without saying something to a scared Nidel. She runs towards the room where the Phoenix Sword is being held in. Two guards standing before the room welcome Lady Jena, and ask if there’s anything they can help her with.
Jena ignores the guards and simply walks into the room. She sees the Phoenix Blade still hanging in its holster in front of an altar. She thinks everything looks fine. She walks over to the blade, and shouts at it. She thinks this is the blade’s plan now: haunting her in her nights as well as her days now. She suddenly senses an energy spike and takes out a battle stick. She quickly turns around, and startles Nidel, who was standing behind her!
Jena withdraws the stick, and apologizes for scaring her friend. She starts walking away, but Nidel holds her back: she fell out of bed, ran maniacally from the room, and now nearly took her head off! She wants to know what’s going on. Jena explains she had a rather disturbing dream about the Sword. She has never had a dream that left her with such a horrible sense of dread like this before. Nidel apologizes. She never realized all this talk of the Passing and the Sword has been so unnerving for her. The two girls hold their hands over each other’s backs and Jena, taking a final look at the blade, informs her good friend that’s the understatement of a lifetime.