Chapter 1: The Search Begins

By: Pink-Green-White-4ever

Last Revised: March 20, 2007

 

Summary: Now that the battle with the Master is over, Daggeron must find his missing family.  But what if they were right under his nose the entire time?  Shocking revelations come that could split the Mystic Force forever.

Rated: T for now

Ships: NM, VX, CC, UL, DOC

 

Disclaimer: I don’t own them, I wish I did.

 

Dedication: To Angel and Enigmaforum, for lifting me up, for sticking up for me, for being two of the best little sisters in the world.  I adore you both.  And to Overdrive Red, -- sticks out her tongue -- Of course I love you Mel!  You always manage to brighten my day with the yummy SydSky and RoseMack ness!

 

AN: The support by the readers for this story has been overwhelming.  I got more reviews for the prologue than I ever expected.  You guys rock!  I’m not going to answer any questions; I just want you to read the story.  I will say this though - several of you were very close to finding out the secret!

 

--

 

Ella Amaya Rocca smiled as she heard the soft footfalls of her twin, nearly eighteen-year-old daughters on the stairs.  For some odd reason, she’d always been able to distinguish theirs from everyone else in their house.  It was almost like a sixth sense when it came to her eldest two, or that’s what she’d describe it if she believed in that sort of thing.  Her smile grew wider when she looked up from making lunches for her three younger children and found Vida and Madison nudging each other back and forth and whispering.  “Alright you two, what’s the big secret?”

 

Maddy pushed Vida closer to their mother and nodded.  “Mom, we need some help with a project we’re working on.”

 

Her oldest daughter’s comment sent up red flags with her.  The girls were smart enough, capable enough and resourceful enough that over the years, they’d gradually stopped asking for help with their school work.  Vida had become Ms. Independent, preferring to go her own way and do her own thing, well within the confines of being a well behaved child, while Madison had become introverted, only communicating when spoken to and constantly attached to her ever outspoken sister.  In the last year, much of that had remained, but her babies had grown as well.  Vida wasn’t as quick to rush into a situation, especially where Madison was concerned, and Maddy had become better at articulating her wants and desires, and taking care of herself.  She had an idea that it had something to do with the boys they hung out with – Nick Russell, Xander Bly and Chip Thorn. 

 

Chip had been a regular fixture around the Rocca household since the girls had started school – Vida had saved him from a fifth grade bully when they’d been in kindergarten, and he’d worshipped her since.  Xander had come when the girls had entered eighth grade, and had been a permanent fixture as well.  And in the last year, Nick Russell had been steadily making a place for himself in the girls’ lives.  It amazed Ella that Vida let Nick anywhere near Madison, especially considering how over protective she was, but it was happening.  Maddy was falling head over heels in love with the young man.  Alexander had commented on more than one occasion that their daughter was falling in love, but she’d tried not to think about it.  Now, whenever she saw the two together, she was sure her husband had been dead on.

 

“What kind of project?” Ella asked after a few moments pause.

 

“Mom, it’s a long story, one we can’t divulge the details to, but suffice to say, we need to know how to go about looking for someone who’s been missing for say…twenty or so years?” Vida told her, biting her lip as she looked up at her mother through her eyelashes, a tactic Ella knew she’d learned from Madison.

 

Both Madison and Vida looked slightly startled when a panicked look entered their mother’s eyes, but dismissed it as the look was gone before they could blink.  “Why are you asking me?  I’m not a genealogist.”

 

“No, but you’re a Professor of History, same difference,” Maddy poked into the conversation.

 

Ella sighed and shook her head, putting the finishing touches on the sandwiches for the three children she could hear coming down the stairs.  “AJ, grab juice boxes for everyone,” Ella told her son, the oldest of the three younger children.  “Celeste, pick out a piece of fruit for each of you, and Bobby, grab some yogurt or a pudding cup for the three of you from the fridge.”

 

Maddy and Vida smiled at their siblings, who were doing their morning rush around the kitchen while their mother made breakfast and lunches.  Their father had left for work some hours before, having a nine o’clock class, as he always did.  Now that the two of them were nearly done with their senior year of high school, they didn’t have class until nearly ten thirty in the morning because they’d both decided to take late start since they had all their credits pretty much for graduation.

 

“Girls, we’ll discuss this tonight after dinner, right now, I need you to drive the three of them to school, I have a meeting with the campus director at the university and I still need to get ready.”

 

“You got it Mom,” Vida laughed, heading out to warm her truck up.

 

“Madison, try starting at the library,” Ella told her, kissing her on the forehead.  “Look for information on a missing person from that time period.”

 

Maddy smiled.  “Thanks Mom.  Come on munchkins!” she called out to her siblings, the four heading out to Vida’s vehicle.

 

--

 

“You’d think will all the money our parents pay in taxes, they’d use some of it to clean the dust in here,” Chip muttered, swishing his hand in front of him to clear away the dust that flew up from the book he’d opened.

 

He, Vida and Xander had gone to Briarwood’s public library to start their search for Daggeron’s wife.  Maddy was stuck at work until seven and then she was going to go join Nick at Rootcore.  The former Red Ranger had said he was going to take Phineas and Leelee and start poking around some of the villages to see what he could find and that he’d report back with his findings.

 

“No one comes in here anymore since everything’s on computers now,” Xander told him.

 

“Which is our next option if we can’t find anything in here,” Vida muttered, plopping a heavy book made from old newspapers on the table, causing dust to rise.  The boys coughed and fanned away the dust before glaring at the smirking Vida.  “Oops, did I do that?”

 

“Funny V, real funny,” Xander muttered.

 

“So, um, exactly what are we looking for?” Chip asked.

 

“Maddy said Mom told her to start with missing person’s cases for that time period, but considering the situation, I’d say start with found person’s cases,” Vida suggested.

 

--

 

Daggeron smiled as he stepped off his magic carpet near the village of Estrella.  He’d spoken to the children of some old friends who lived in Woodland Village and they had told him Elder Hima had moved on to Estrella some years before.  Elder Hima was the last living person who’d known Daggeron and Elektra quite personally from the time before the Great War.  It was nice, after all the darkness and destruction the Master and his forces had wrought, to see the villages of the magical realm finally bustling with life again.

 

“Excuse me,” Daggeron started, seeing an elf pushing a wagon toward the village.

 

The elf’s widened when he saw Daggeron approach him.  “Solaris Knight,” the elf gasped, dropping to a knee before him.

 

“Please, stand,” Daggeron told him, feeling uncomfortable.  “I need help, information if you will.”

 

“Of course.”

 

“I’m looking for Elder Hima.  Can you tell me where to find him?” Daggeron asked.

 

The elf sighed even as a sad look crossed his face.  “Elder Hima passed away several months ago, after releasing the last of his magic to help the prophesized ones in the fight with the Master.”  When Daggeron’s face tightened in pain, the elf’s face brightened.  “But you know, he may have told the Purple Witch many things from his past.  They were companions, if you will.”

 

“Can you tell me where she lives?” Daggeron asked.

 

“On the other side of the blue river, down the middle prong of the fork in the road.”

 

“Thank you,” Daggeron told him, before getting back on the carpet and heading for the blue river and the fork in the road.

 

--

 

“No luck at the library, mates,” Xander huffed, sinking down into a chair in Nick’s room.  Vida was sitting on the arm of his chair, while Chip was sitting on the long window seat Lianbow had installed for Nick.  Nick and Maddy, of course, were sitting on Nick’s bed, with Maddy wrapped securely in the former Red Ranger’s arms.

 

Nick nodded and leaned his cheek against Maddy’s head.  “Leelee, Phineas and I had no luck at Woodland Village either.  No one knew Elektra, and most of them told us Daggeron had gone on to the village of Estrella, a whole day’s walk from here, sometime after he’d been there.”

 

“Maybe…” Chip started, drawing the others’ attention to him.  “Maybe we should ask your parents, Nick.”

 

“Are you crazy?” Vida snapped.  “Udonna and Lianbow are going to ask us how we found out, which is going to get Nick in trouble, then they’re going to tell us to mind our own business until Daggeron’s good and ready to tell us.”

 

“Geez, V, don’t snap at me,” Chip snapped back.  “It was just a suggestion.”

 

Vida glared at him and hurled the pillow Xander had been holding toward him.  The pillow missed its mark, hitting the wall instead of Chip, and Vida screamed when she suddenly and unexpectedly lost her balance and found herself in Xander’s lap.

 

Chip, Maddy and Nick started snickering while Xander just smiled at the squirming Vida, who was getting madder and madder by the second.  “Chip, as soon as I get up, I’m going to wring your neck!”  Knowing the threat was real, Chip bolted from the window seat to hide on the other side of Nick’s bed.  Just as Vida moved to chase him, Xander’s arms wrapped around her waist and held her firmly in his lap.  The former Pink Ranger turned her attention to the man holding her, her eyes flaming with anger.  “Xander Bly!  Let me go this instant!”

 

“Not on your life, V; just calm down, killing Chip is not a good idea.”

 

“Chip, one suggestion,” Nick said, leaning over the side of his bed.

 

“What’s that?” Chip asked, looking up from his hiding place.

 

“Run.”

 

“Point taken.  Talk to you guys later!” Chip said, rushing from the room.

 

“XANDER!  LET ME GO!”

 

“V, calm down,” he calmly told her, his hold tightening on her waist.  “Chip has a point though; we should talk to Lianbow and Udonna.”

 

“I’ll do it,” Maddy said softly.  “I’m the last person they’d expect to be poking around asking about stuff.”

 

“Fine,” Vida mutters, folding her arms over her chest while Xander smirks from behind her, causing Nick to roll his eyes and Maddy to laugh.

 

--

 

Daggeron approached the cottage just as the sun was setting.  It was small and falling apart in spots, but it looked cozy enough.  Bracing himself, he walked toward the door and then lifted his hand and knocked.

 

The door opened slowly, revealing a hooded figure on the other side.  “Well, the legendary Warrior of the Sun has finally come calling,” a woman’s raspy voice emitted from the figure.  “Come in.”

 

“I was told that Elder Hima once lived here,” Daggeron started.

 

“Indeed he did, and he died some months ago,” she told him, gesturing for him to sit in a chair by the fire.  “I already know why you’ve come, Solaris Knight.  You seek information on your wife of twenty years passed, Elektra.”

 

Daggeron swallowed and frowned but his attention was on her.  She carefully sat in a chair across from him, her hands stroking over the fur of the black cat that had jumped into her lap.  “Hima told me many things during his years here,” she started.  “We were friends, and lovers, and I knew everything he told me, and more he didn’t.  He spoke of what happened during the final battle, when Morticon and Imperious had injured him to the point that he couldn’t help the Mystics in the fight.  He also spoke of the regret he had, where his prized four pupils were concerned.”

 

“Lianbow, Udonna, Elektra and…”

 

“You,” she finished for him.  “Yes.  He’d heard rumors for years about all of you, with only Udonna remaining to put some to rest, and even that was not good enough.  She went into seclusion, only those in Woodland Village seeing in her once in a while.  The castle all of you shared fell into disrepair, and occasionally, Hima went out to walk around it.  Some months back, when the Mystic Force first appeared, he finally got the full story from one of his friends, an ally to the cause, who was dying.”

 

She stared up through the dark hood, watching his face contort in confusion and pain.  “While you were protecting The Light, and the Mystics and Udonna were fighting off the Darkness, Elektra was gathering more forces and was found by Calindor, who as you know turned into Imperious.”  Daggeron nodded; his chest tightening even as he seemed to know what was coming.  “He attacked the group she’d been gathering, and only she was strong enough, skilled enough, to face him alone.  He apparently rambled on and on about taking her, making her his to show you who was the better man, about turning her against you.”

 

“I trusted him with so much, we all did, and he betrayed us, all,” Daggeron muttered, pain lacing his voice.

 

“Apparently, Elektra knew something none of us did,” she told him softly.  “Do you remember the prophecy surrounding The Light?”  Daggeron’s eyes narrowed at her.  “The one about those who would fight beside The Light: the strong tree, the powerful lightning, the calming ocean and the raging wind?”

 

“They were thought to come from the Mystics themselves, but we never deciphered the entire prophecy.”

 

“We did, after the last battle,” she told him, smiling.  “Hima deciphered the whole thing.  It mentioned something about a bright light water sprite.”

 

“Elektra Nixie,” he whispered his wife’s full name.

 

“The raging wind and the calming ocean were to come in the form of one from she who bore the name bright light water sprite.”

 

“I don’t understand,” Daggeron murmured.

 

“Elektra carried your offspring, Daggeron,” she told him softly, watching him pale.  “She was carrying the ocean and the wind within her when the final battle began.”

 

“How do you know this?” he questioned.

 

“I was the midwife she spoke with when she realized she was with child.  Considering she’d only been with child for less than a month, and how much weight she’d gained, and the fact that I can sense life forms and magic, I knew she was carrying the wind and the ocean.”

 

Daggeron’s eyes went wide.  “TWINS?”

 

--

 

“Would you stop splashing me?” Vida’s voice lifted from the kitchen.  Ella heard Madison giggle and stopped to see what they were doing.  Her eyes widened when she saw the plates from dinner floating from the island in the center of the kitchen to plop down in the sink, splashing Vida who was washing the dishes.  “Maddy!  I’m not joking!  Stop using your magic before I tell Udonna and Daggeron!”

 

“Oh poo, you spoil sport,” Maddy teased, walking over to nudge her sister.  “I’ll bet if it was Xander, you’d be all ‘OH Xander!  Splash me some more!’” Maddy taunted.

 

“Oh please!”

 

Ella stood there as her daughters continued their argument, never aware that their mother was watching.  A second later, it was almost like a shroud was suddenly placed over her eyes and different people were suddenly in front of her.

 

“He’s beautiful, Udonna,” she told the red haired woman in the beautiful purple dress.  “He’s got your face and Lianbow’s coloring.”

 

“Thank you,” Udonna spoke, caressing the head of the infant she was holding.  “I’m so happy he’s healthy and happy.”

 

“And he’ll be protected,” she told her friend.  “Daggeron and the others will see to it.”

 

Udonna smiled.  “I know.  I just fear something evil has made its way into our circle, but I can’t quite pin down what.”  Udonna shook her head and watched her friend hold her son.  “Elektra?”

 

“Yes?”

 

“Have you and Daggeron thought about when you’re going to start your family?” Udonna asked softly, taking her son from her friend’s arms and laying him in his bed.

 

She just smiled.  “I think we may have already.”

 

Udonna’s eyes widened and her lips curved into a smile.  “Really?”

 

“I’m going to speak with the midwife soon, but I want to make sure I don’t have my cycle before I go.”

 

“Understandable.  You’ll make wonderful parents.”

 

“I certainly hope so.”

 

“Mom?”

 

Ella blinked her eyes rapidly when she found Vida and Madison in front of her, waving their hands in front of her face.  Both girls looked frightened.  Once the disorientation faded, Ella realized she was sitting in the middle of the hallway, the girls kneeling with her.  “W-what happened?”

 

“Why don’t you tell us?  We heard you gasp then saw you slide down the wall,” Vida explained.

 

Ella shook her head, the images from a few moments before fading into the background, forgotten.  “I don’t remember.  I heard you two arguing about splashing each other, and Maddy teasing you about Xander, then nothing until you two were in front of me.”

 

“Do you want me to call Dad?” Maddy asked.

 

Ella blew out a breath.  “No, I’m fine.  Your father has a department meeting tonight; I don’t want to bug him.  I’m fine, really,” she tried to reassure her girls, but from the looks in their eyes knew that they were keeping quiet because she wasn’t making a big deal about it.

 

“Come on, I’ll help you to your room, then Maddy and I can get the munchkins ready for bed,” Vida murmured, helping her to her feet before helping her up the stairs.

 

Maddy watched her mother and sister go, her arms sliding around her waist as a shiver raced through her.  She was scared; she’d never seen her mother look so helpless before.  Biting her lip, the former Blue Mystic Ranger debated doing what her heart was screaming at her too before she decided she wasn’t about to put her wants second to anything.  Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out her morpher and hit a button.  “Hey Nick, can you come over to my house?  No, nothing’s wrong, I just…I need you.”

 

--

 

Vida was upstairs getting their siblings into bed while Maddy sat on the porch swing, wrapped in a heavy blue and red stripped blanket, waiting for the familiar sound of Nick’s motorcycle.  She was still freaked out from what had happened earlier with their mom, and felt incredibly childish for causing Nick to come over in the middle of the night, but she couldn’t help it.

 

“Maddy?”

 

The familiar sound of her boyfriend’s voice calmed Madison’s poor nerves.  She smiled when he hurried up the walkway from the curb to where she sat on the porch.  He stopped at the top step and just looked at her while she stared at him from the swing.  “Hi.”

 

“Is everything okay?  You sounded scared earlier,” he murmured, setting his helmet on the table by the door before moving to sit with her on the swing.  His worry grew when Maddy just cuddled against him, remaining silent.

 

“Mom had an…incident earlier, and it freaked me out a bit.”

 

“Is she okay?” he prodded.

 

“She says she is, but I’m not sure,” Maddy told him, looking up into his beloved eyes from her place on his shoulder.  “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to worry you, I was just freaked out and I wanted…”

 

Nick smiled and hugged her closer to him.  “Don’t apologize, its okay,” he told her softly, leaning his head against hers.  “That’s what boyfriends are for, making their girlfriends feel safe.”

 

“I always feel safe with you,” she whispered, closing her eyes and just letting herself float in the sea of warmth, love, and protection she felt each time Nick touched her.

 

“And you always will,” he whispered back, letting whatever tension had built on the ride over fade as he held her against him, safe, whole, and loved.

 

--

 

Vida smiled as she shut the curtains to the front window.  Maddy and Nick were sitting on the porch, cuddling.  She was glad her sister had someone who made her feel safe and loved, and Vida was only too glad it was Nick, someone she knew she could trust not to hurt her twin.  Shaking her head, Vida headed upstairs to her and Maddy’s room to get ready for school the next morning.

 

Just as she hit the door, the phone began to ring.  Rolling her eyes, she dove for the receiver and hoped she’d gotten it in time before it woke anyone else up.  “Rocca residence, Vida speaking.”

 

“Hey V,” Xander’s thick accented voice caressed her ears.  “What’s shaking?”

 

“My fist in your face, why are you calling at nine thirty at night on a school night?”  Surprisingly, Xander was quiet after she’d asked.  “Xander, what’s wrong?”

 

“Nothing’s wrong, V, I was just calling to make sure you’re okay,” he told her, pausing after he’d said it.

 

Vida’s eyebrows knitted together in confusion.  There was no way Xander would know what had just happened with her mom an hour before.  “I’m fine, why wouldn’t I be?”

 

“I just…never mind.  I’ll see you in class tomorrow.”

 

“Xander, wait,” she breathed.  “Tell me.”

 

“I just got this weird flash that something was wrong, I wanted to check on you.  Maddy’s okay too, right?”

 

“She’s fine.  She called Nick a bit ago and they’re out sitting on the swing,” Vida told him, debating whether or not to say something about her mom.  “Xander, something actually did happen earlier.”

 

“What?”  He sounded worried, and anxious.  Sighing, Vida told him the whole story, feeling like a complete idiot for spilling her fears to him, but afterwards, when he was quiet, she wondered what he was thinking.  “Is she alright now?  Are you and Maddy okay?”

 

“We’re fine.  I put Mom to bed; she looked so out of it.  I feel stupid for saying this, but it shook me up a little more than I wanted Maddy to see.”

 

“V, she’s your mum, you have every right to be worried.  If it was my mum, I’d be just as flipped out, trust me.  Look, Mum’s yelling for me to take the trash out before bed, I’ve got to go.  I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

 

“Alright.  Goodnight.”

 

“Goodnight.”

 

“And Xander?” she quickly got out before he hung up.

 

“What V?”

 

“Thanks for calling.”

 

He chuckled.  “Anytime.  Sweet dreams.”

 

Vida bit her lip as she hung up the phone and stared at it.  She felt better about what had happened to her mom, but she was a little startled by Xander’s phone call, and by the fluttering she felt in her stomach when she thought about what he’d said.