Prologue

     "Teacher?  Tell us a story!"

     "Yeah!  We want a story!  Tell!  Tell!"

     "Miss Edwards, please tell us a story!"

     "All right…  I'll tell you a story about a man, and how everything went wrong for him because he bugged his teachers for too many stories."

     ". . ." said all the little children, and they all followed the example of a good little red-haired girl sitting quietly in the corner, her eyes shining, waiting for the story.  And so Miss Edwards sat down in the story chair, and began to talk.

     "Once upon a time, in the year 1237, a boy named Nigelo Kalasek was born.  His family was prosperous, his parents happily married.  He had everything his heart desired: no siblings, toys, lessons, pets, and the latest technology.

     "He grew into a good looking, intelligent young man who excelled at anything and everything he chose.  When he was twelve, he was accepted at the famed and elite Zanest Academy, for those who showed druidic potential.  After attending the Z.A. for six years, he attained the rank of Druid, one who was fully trained to call the lorla (the spirits), and control them.

     "After becoming a druid at the age of eighteen (the youngest in the history of the Academy) Nigelo went on to the Madas Institute of Magery, where he studied for ten years before becoming a Mage at the age of twenty-eight. 

     "Now a druidmage, Nigelo fell in love.  To Nigelo's delight, she accepted his hand in marriage, and they were married in the spring of 1266.  He lived happily with his bride in the town of Marseilles, where he was the practicing druidmage. 

     "Soon Nigelo and his wife became rich themselves, and they would have been absolutely happy except for the fact that they were unable to have children.  Still, good things kept happening to Nigelo, as if he had been born under a lucky star.  At the age of thirty-five, he was picked to be a Chosen One, and underwent the Rulemelf Ritual to become one of the honored Lords of the Nogard Order.  Because of his extensive knowledge on druid-magery, Nigelo learnt the art of calling each dragon by his true name as fast as the Great Dragon could impart the knowledge.  At the age of forty-one, Nigelo became the Archlord of the Nogard Order, second in command only to the Great Dragon and the king. 

     "Then, in 1279, when Nigelo was forty-two, things started to go wrong.  His lovely wife died of a fever, and his parents soon followed.  The bank where the Kalasek fortunes were kept failed, and all the money accumulated over generations was lost forever.  Three of his patients who were soul sick died within a day of each other, and when King Colin needed to speak to a particularly hard-to-locate dragon, Nigelo's call went unanswered. 

     "Six months after his wife died, a melancholy, despondent Nigelo Kalasek resigned from the position of Archlord.  He turned in his druidmage licenses, and walked through the kingdom gates as an anonymous beggar.  His luck had left him; his star had gone out.

     "Twenty years later, a haggard, white-haired man returned to Marseilles, bone thin and filthy.  The man went by the name 'Lo,' and while housewives would give him food, they barred their doors against him. 

     "He settled in the hills, where those who had business thereabouts often found him sitting outside a rundown hut, muttering nonsense to himself under his breath.  At least, they assumed it was nonsense.  Not too long after, on one warm midsummer's day, an ancient looking dragon landed in the palace courtyard and quietly demanded to see King Colin about confidential business.

     "After their meeting, the king called in the archlord, demanding that he send out the dragons to look for a certain 'Nigelo Kalasek,' who was a highly trained ex-archlord, and druidmage.  He was to be brought unharmed to the king.

     "Two weeks later, a king that had aged years in days died, and his lorla began to search for someone to partially possess and pass its skills on to.  Suddenly jerked away from its task by more powerful lorla, it was brought before a small, sickly one.  The sickly lorla then grinned evilly, in just the way that Nigelo Kalasek used to grin before his life shattered.  The sickly lorla absorbed the king's lorla, and then vanished."

     Miss Edwards finished her story, and sat for a moment regarding the solemn eyes of the little red-headed girl in the corner.  "Did you enjoy the story, Seraphina?"

"Oh yes, Miss Edwards!"

"It really happened, you know."  Leaving Fin to her thoughts, the teacher declared it 'naptime' and retreated to her desk. 

AN:  Well, its almost the end of April, but hey, I said it would be sometime in April, didn't I?  Chapter One will be posted tomorrow, since I have a BIG art project due tomorrow, math homework, and my course selection forms to fill out that are due tomorrow.  But anyways, its GOOD to be back!  Look for Chapter One tomorrow.  Toodles!  *winks and waves*