CHAPTER FIVE

The Dreamers Oracle.

Connor rolled over in his four-poster bed and buried his head into the sky-blue pillow. One good thing about this whole UnderGround escapade was that one could sleep in without worrying about getting woken up at ungodly hours in the morning; unless, of course, you were about to be pulled out of your slumber by a cloaked figure outside your door.

Zuriph stood impatiently outside the door tapping his feet intolerantly on the hard wooden floorboards. The man re-adjusted his voluminous golden sleeves and sighed. The wizard flicked a strand of stray hair from his eyes and thought. Today was the day when Connor would begin his training. On the first day of training, the trainee would undergo an endurance test. The endurance test involved having spells and enchantments set on them. It would be recorded how well the subject under investigation fought off the forces, how effective the techniques were and how quickly they conquered the magic.

Zuriph was somewhat eager to teach the boy. But, the wizard hardly had the patience to teach the young man. It would take a long time, a long time. Although, then again the boy may have some hidden talent for magic that Zuriph was not aware of. Or, then again Connor could be absolutely clueless and not even know how to conjure a simple spell. Zuriph decided that the latter option was the most plausible.

Giving up on thinking, Zuriph knocked on the oak door and waited for some noise from inside. Alas, there was none. Getting frustrated with the procrastinations of the boy, the Wizard opened the door without invitation and walked in.

Connor looked up wearily from his bed. He re-focused his blurred vision and noticed Zuriph in front of him. The teenager yawned and raised his head from the sapphire pillow. Training was the last thing he felt like doing, he just wanted to go back to sleep for another three hours. However, he thought it best to obey the man before him and just get out of bed as obviously requested of him.

'Good morning' Zuriph stated. Connor could tell the man was doing his best to sound superior. But, it seemed the more he tried the less superior he sounded.

'Hello' Connor greeted pleasantly. He made his way to the cupboard and pulled out a pair of purple robes. Connor had slept in his emerald green robes that night and hadn't bothered to change.

The weary boy walked into the bathroom and took off his emerald robes. He quickly replaced them with the plum pair and looked at himself in the mirror. The robes looked strange on him, didn't seem to fit. It just didn't suit him. Connor was used to wearing his black shirts and tan pants not ornate embroidered robes.

As Connor walked out of the bathroom he saw Zuriph sitting on his unmade, unkempt bed. When he heard Connor open the door, Zuriph stood up and met eyes with the robed boy.

'Ready?' he asked flatly. Connor could tell it wasn't a question, more of a demand to get ready. Not waiting for an answer, Zuriph walked out of the room and into the hallway to wait for the boy.

Once Connor was prepared he walked out of the door and followed Zuriph down the dimly lit hall. The walls of the passage were lined with small torches. The torches set of an eerie glow that made the hallway seem smaller than it actually was.

Zuriph stayed ahead of the boy all the way to their destination. He did not speak, just kept walking. The faint clicking of the man's shoes against the polished wooden floor was the only sound heard.

Finally, and not a moment too soon, Connor and Zuriph arrived at their destination. Zuriph heaved open the door and ushered Connor into the darkened area. Letting his grey eyes adjust to the stark darkness around him, Connor smiled.

Zuriph crossed the room to a series of oil lamps on the walls. He clicked his fingers and immediately the whole room was filled with a warm sienna glow. As the illumination in the room grew an amazing sight unfolded before Connor's eyes.

The room was square, perfectly square. The walls were lined with ornate gold leaf. Connor thought it was quite over the top and unnecessary. But, it was breathtaking all the same. The sheer brilliance of so much gold shocked Connor; he felt that if he even stepped one foot inside the room he might break it.

Ignoring his own caution, he stepped further inside. Letting his retinas become accustom to the gold, he turned to Zuriph who had since lit all the oil lamps lining the four walls. Now, the room was bright, vibrant and somehow less impressive.

'Well,' Zuriph began, sitting down on a chair behind a long mahogany desk. 'Shall we begin?' The wizard indicated toward a chair in front of him, motioning for Connor to take a seat.

'Sure' Connor replied somewhat nervously. He crossed the room and sat in the chair indicated to him. 'What am I supposed to do?'

Good question, Connor thought to himself, what was he supposed to do today?

'Today, we are going to start with an endurance test.' Zuriph explained in a kind tone. Connor realised a pleasant voice did not quite suit the man. Alas, perhaps Connor had misjudged the wizard before him.

'An endurance test?' Connor asked distrustfully. 'What kind of endurance test?'

'Well, you simply stand there whilst I throw various spells onto you.' Zuriph noted the look of shock on Connors face at the word spells. 'Don't worry, child, they are not strong just simple controlling enchantments and hexes, nothing to agonize about. '

Despite Zuriph's reassurance Connor was still shocked. They were going to throw spells on him. He did not even know what he was supposed to do. How would he even fight off the spells? It was all too difficult.

'Could you stand up please?' Zuriph said, raising his hand palm up in the air. Connor obeyed and stood up. He felt awkward, not knowing what to do with himself. Zuriph stood as well. The wizard ushered Connor to the centre of the room and stopped.

'Okay, just relax. Take a few deep breaths.' Zuriph instructed. Zuriph reached for his amulet that hung around his neck. It was a swan with a ruby-red eye. The Mage rubbed the amulet carefully and spoke a low incantation. 'Now, you will feel some warmth, but, keep your mind off the magic. Ignore it completely. You may see some images. The images may seem to overtake you but don't let them.'

Listening to the instructions, Connor nodded his head for it to begin. He would have to do it eventually so he may as well get it over and done with. Zuriph let the amulet go and a glimmer of blue light emitted from the pendant.

Connor felt warmth, just as Zuriph had predicted. The warmth seemed to take him out of his world, out of everything he knew. The room around him was gone and was replaced by darkness. Sheer darkness. He tried his best to ignore the heat, but it was so impossible. The warm sensation was so inviting, he just wanted to sink into it, to stay there for all eternity.

Images soon followed the inviting temperature. A wolf. The canine howled loudly at Connor. The dog moved closer to him. Closer. Closer. Closer. It began to bare its large white teeth at him. Connor's eyes went wide. This wolf looked so real…so…life-like. Suddenly, as if possessed, the wolf ran quickly toward Connor. The dog jumped onto the boy's chest and pinned him hard on the ground. It took a lock on his arm and bit down hard. Connor screamed, screamed for his life, hoping to get out of this horrible dream. All of a sudden Connor felt another grip, but on his other arm. Connor looked in the direction of the feeling but nothing was there.

Suddenly, the darkness began to dissipate, and with it the wolf disappeared, Zuriph, who had hoisted Connor up into a sitting position, replaced the dog. The boy had obviously fallen to the floor sometime during his dream.

'W-what happened?' Connor stammered. His skin had gone paler than usual and he was shaking immensely. Connor willed his trembling limbs to stop but they wouldn't.

'You passed out. Obviously the Magic was overpowering you.' Zuriph said. He took his coat off, revealing a smart dress shirt and black pants and draped it around Connor's trembling shoulders.

'Sorry.' Connor said quietly.

'It's not your fault.' Zuriph said in a tone of fake reassurance. 'You are from above ground. It's perfectly understandable to find it difficult to cope with Magic the first time.'

Connor smiled weakly and stood up, taking off Zuriph's coat.

'What did you see?' Zuriph asked curiously, he too standing up and retrieving his golden robe. He shrugged into it, awaiting an answer.

'A wolf.' Connor said. He did not want to tell Zuriph about the wolf biting him. Connor didn't want to explain himself anymore.

'Well, I don't know what that means. Perhaps you should go to the library this afternoon and look it up.' Zuriph suggested. And with that the man walked out of the room, stopping at the door. 'Well, I best be off. I have somewhere to be. We shall continue our training tomorrow.'

Connor nodded to Zuriph and sat down on a chair. That man was strange. Secretive. The way he had hurriedly rushed out of the room made Connor curious of what he was off to do. But, he ignored his curiosity and left the square room too.

Connor decided to make his way to the library. He would take Zuriphs' advice and look up his dream. Although, there was one problem, he did not know where in the world the library was. Just as he was trying to find his way around he bumped into someone.

Ella stood in front of him, slightly shaken from their collision. She wore what she wore almost everyday - a corset and long skirt.

'Hello' the Princess said brightly as she brushed a piece of hair from her dark brown eyes.

'Oh, hi' Connor replied. 'Do you know where to library is?'

'Sure,' Ella smiled 'Just go down this corridor, turn left at the wolf statue, keep walking until you get to the portrait of Pollo to Protector, then turn right and you're there'

Connor blinked, slightly baffled by the long set of instructions. 'Right.' He said slowly, trying to remember what she had said.

Ella had obviously noticed Connors' confusion. 'Here, follow me.' She began to walk off, beckoning Connor to follow after her. 'Why do you want to go to the library anyway?' she asked curiously.

'Just to do some research.' Connor explained 'Zuriph said it's the best place to look.'

'Well, it is. But just between you and me, don't trust the words of Zuriph.' Ella said in a hushed tone.

Connor looked at his companion, puzzled. 'Why? He seems kind enough.'

'He may seem pleasant but he isn't.' Ella said, deadpanned. 'Just take my word for it, I have known him for seventeen years. He starts out nice but once you get to know him he turns on you.'

'If you say so' Connor replied. He did trust Ella. Though, she may have some sort of hidden agenda for all he knew. She had certainly gained his faith but perhaps she may use that against him. So far Ella was his only friend, if he could call her that. Though, he had only known her for a day.

'Well, here it is' Ella said, gesturing towards the doorway of the library.

'Thanks' Connor replied appreciatively. He looked inside the room apprehensively Books were piled from the floor to the roof.

'Well, good luck finding what you're looking for' Ella said, clapping a hand on Connor's shoulder. 'See you at dinner'

With that, Ella left the boy to sift his way through the mountainous library. The boy walked into the library and smiled. Books, so many books. It was Connor's idea of heaven. He could spend hours in the room reading books, looking at books. Even the sheer smell of them made him want to read. Connor began to walk through the library. He looked down the aisles until he found the section marked Dreams. The boy walked down the walkway and searched through the books.

He ran his index finger along the row as he read the titles to himself, none of them suiting what he was looking for. Until, he came across one detailing exactly what he needed. The title read, The Dreamers Oracle: Exploring the meanings of Dreams. Connor pulled the book from the shelf. It was rectangular and bound with red leather. Embellished on the front was a cloud with a sun protruding warily from behind it.

Connor flicked through the pages. Luckily for him it was in alphabetical order. He continued to look until he came to "W". He scanned his index finger down the page until he came to Wolves, underneath the sub-heading he read.

"The Wolf signifies an avaricious, cruel or disloyal person; and if anyone dreams he had overcome the wolf, he will conquer an enemy with the same qualities, and on the contrary, if he is bitten by the wolf he will be injured somehow by the cruel and disloyal enemy. To dream you have the head of a wolf signifies you will soon…"

Connor stopped reading after he read the part about being bitten. He repeated it over in his head; if he is bitten by the wolf, he will be injured somehow by the cruel and disloyal enemy. What did that mean? Perhaps it wasn't even true. All his years of dreaming Connor had never found that his midnight musings had any hidden meanings.

The boy placed the book back on the shelf and sighed. Oh well, he would soon find out. Connor suddenly remembered something. He was going to start a diary. First, he would need something to write in, perhaps a book or some pieces of parchment. He decided to go to the front desk and ask about it.

Connor walked through the library and finally got to the service desk. Behind it stood an old woman, her hair twisted up in a tight grey bun, her half moon glasses perched delicately on her small nose. She looked up from her papers and smiled welcomingly at Connor.

'Hello, dear, what can I do for you?' she asked, placing her quill behind her ear.

'Well,' Connor began 'Do you have any blank books I could borrow?'

The woman looked strangely at Connor. She obviously knew who he was. 'Yes, child. But, why on earth would you want one?'

'I just want to start a diary. I'm kind of bored of a night time so I though it may give me something to do.' Connor said. He was surprised by his lengthy explanation.

The librarian bent down for a moment and resurfaced with a thick but small leather bound book in her hands. She handed it to Connor and disappeared behind the desk once more. She reappeared with a quill and an inkwell full of green ink. She handed it to Connor and stood back.

'If you need any more just come in and ask' the librarian was kind. She brushed a strand of grey hair from her green eyes and looked over her half-moon glasses to Connor.

'Thankyou, Miss' he said as he took the book and inkwell off her. He walked out of the library. He would have to come back and look at the books more thoroughly. Connor couldn't wait to sift through the titles and see what mysteries the books may hold.

Connor walked down the hallway and back to his room. On his way he looked at the ornate grandfather clock on the wall. Dinner was in two hours. When he got back to his room he would change into some fresh robes and perhaps write his first entry into his diary.

Finally he arrived at his room. He opened the door and smiled. Back again. It seemed over the past day or two the room had become his personal space. It was where he could stay on his own and do what he wanted, when he wanted.

Connor crossed the room to his cupboard and opened the wooden doors. He looked through his clothes, deciding on what to wear. He pulled out a set of plain black robes. They were lined with red trim around the neck, hem and sleeves. Connor actually liked them.

The boy walked into the bathroom and hastily changed. He came out and looked at himself in the full-length mirror next to his dresser. These robes actually suited him. The black matched his hair and was a startling contrast to his pale skin.

Connor sat on his bed and took the diary and inkwell. He set the inkwell carefully on the bed and opened the book to the first page. He smiled. The page was completely empty, untouched, unseen by anyone but him. Connor could visualise his spidery handwriting flowing across the blank page. The worse exiting his quill with such ease and fluidity that it seemed they appeared there by magic. Connor caressed the page with his hands, it was rough yet smooth and seemed like it would soak up the ink perfectly. Connor was reluctant to write in it, he didn't want to perhaps make a mistake. But, then again, mistakes would make the diary seem more real, more personal. Though, he was hesitant all the same.

Ignoring his caution, Connor picked up the quill and dipped it carefully into the inkpot. He began by writing the date and proceeded with the rest of his entry, the words magically flowing from his quill.

Sunday, 13th of April.

Dear Diary,

For lack of anything else to do I have decided to keep a journal. The way I see it, this diary will be a perfect outlet to pour all my emotions into without burdening people with my problems. In here I will write all the thoughts I would not or could not tell anyone. I decided to begin this log last night whilst I had to sudden urge to write something, since I am fresh out of ideas for a story I decided to begin a diary, something I can look back on after this whole adventure if over.

And, without further ado, I will tell you about my day. But, I must warn you, my day was not very eventful.

Today started with me being woken up, much to my discontent, by Zuriph. The wizard proceeded to knock incessantly on my door and burst in without invitation. Though, if I was him I would get frustrated with me as well.

He then lead me to a small squarish room to begin my "training". We began with an endurance test which I found extremely difficult to endure. Zuriph set some strange spell on me which caused me to feel an incredible warmth, unlike anything I have ever felt before. But, then I began seeing things. I saw a wolf. The wolf came closer to me and pinned me down on the ground. It then proceeded to take an incredibly strong grip on my arm. The pain was so intense it felt almost real. I soon awoke to see Zuriph hoisting me up on the ground into a sitting position. It was so embarrassing. Here I was, supposed to save a whole colony from destruction and I couldn't even withstand a simple spell.

Alas, Zuriph seemed understanding enough. It was strange though, he seemed eager to disappear out of the room as if he had to be somewhere secret. Oh well, probably just needed to relieve himself or something.

Zuriph had told me to check my vision out in the library. So, I did. On my way there I ran into Ella. She told me not to trust Zuriph and that he turns on you after he has known you for a while. But, then I thought perhaps Ella was turning on me or something. Although, she hardly seems the type, the way she said it seemed to sincere to be fake.

When I got to the library, I looked up my dream and it said: if he is bitten by the wolf, he will be injured somehow by the cruel and disloyal enemy. It was strange, just after Ella said Zuriph was not trustworthy my dream predicts that I will be injured. Alas, perhaps just a great coincidence.

Well, dinner is in about an hour and it is the last thing I feel like going to. Today is when they will announce my presence in the colony. People will finally know who I am. It will be good to actually not have to answer everyones' questions, but it would be rather irritating to have absolutely everyone know my name.

I am sad to report that I am finding it difficult to fit in here. I'm not used to so much attention. And this place is the absolute opposite to home in Belfast. Everything here is so beautiful, so ornate. At home our decorations consist of a few of my framed kindergarten drawings and ornamental plastic greenery. But, here decorations are oil paintings, grandfather clocks and rich tapestries. I feel as if I am intruding into someones private antique collection, as if I lay my hands on anything it may crumble under my touch.

Well, had better stop writing now, have to get ready for dinner. Will report tomorrow night.

Sincerely,

Connor.

Connor laid down his quill and closed the inkpot carefully. He looked back on what he had written. The green ink glowed happily at him. His spidery writing looked perfect against the old fashioned parchment. Connor was glad to say that he had not made any mistakes on his entry and intended it to stay that way.

Connor picked up the book and closed it carefully and placed it on the bedside table beside him. He set the inkwell and quill respectively beside it like two bet friends. The boy smiled and waited for the bell signalling dinner to ring.

And ring that bell did. Connor stood up from his bed, he had fallen into a light sleep whilst he had waited for the bell. He ran a hand through his hair to make it even and proceeded out the door.

Connor was lucky that he could remember the way to the dining hall from his room. He walked down the hall, his black robes billowing behind him. There were a few other wizards walking through the hallway with him, but none of them seemed to notice the robed boy as they made their way hungrily towards the dining hall.

Finally the crowd made their way to the hall. Connor found his seat that he had sat in last night and took up residence. He smiled slightly at the young wizard next to him. The young mans name was Eoin.

Eoin turned to Connor. The two boys were about the same age. 'Well, tonights the night' he said, taking a sip of his spiced wine.

'Yes, it is' Connor said somewhat nervously. He too took a sip of his liquid and sighed. 'What does everyone think of me?'

'Well,' Eoin began 'Most of them like you. But, there are a select few, who just think you are some immature child. Some of them are saying you shouldn't be here and you should be sent back to where you came from.'

Connor winced at Eoins' words. 'Really? Well, I guess you can't please anyone, right?' Connor said. Though he seemed to be trying to convince himself more than anyone else.

'Too right.' Eoin paused, flicking a piece of shoulder length mousy hair from his eyes. ' But, it seems that Princess Ella is quite smitten with you.' The young wizard said with a smile. 'She's in one of my classes. I mentioned you to her and she seemed to blush.'

Connor laughed it off. 'I doubt it. She hardly knows me' Connor sipped his mulled wine some more and sighed.

But, before either of the boys could say anything, King Elos stood up. He clapped his hands loudly and seemed to catch the courts attention immediately.

'Good evening, all' Elos said, projecting his voice to its maximum capacity. 'As you are all aware, we have a new member to our colony. Master Connor Lewis has joined us from above ground to help combat our various…problems. '

Connor shifted in his seat as many hushed whispers and glances in his direction followed his name. Elos clapped his hands once more and silenced the crowd.

'Please, everyone. You will all have a chance to meet Connor in due time. Connor, could you stand please?' Elos gave Connor a reassuring look, as if he understood what the boy was going through.

'Get up.' Eoin whispered, nudging Connor in the side. Connor obliged and rose from his seat, revealing himself to the court.

'To Connor' Elos said, raising his glass. The rest of the court repeated the phrase and raised their wine filled glasses.

Besides her father, Ella raised her glass to Connors name. She watched as he stood awkwardly at his table. His robes actually seemed to suit him, the dark colour seemed to accent his messy black hair. Realizing she was staring, she looked away only to find a plate of food before her.

Finally, and not a moment too soon, the feast was over. Connor made his way back to his room with minimal complications. He arrived at his room and opened the oak door. The boy smiled as the door swung open and revealed a comforting site to his eyes. Connor ran a hand through his hair and walked further into the room.

Connor flopped himself down on his bed and sighed in relaxation as his body came in contact with the mattress. Connor thought of what Eoin said in the dining hall "Most of them like you. But, there are a select few, who just think you are some immature child." Strange, Connor had only been in the kingdom for a few days and already he was making enemies.

Giving up on thought, Connor rolled over on his back and smiled to himself. He closed his eyes and slowly drifted into a deep and well-deserved slumber.

(A/N: sorry it took me ages. sigh I originally wrote 8 pages but then my comp crashed on me and I lost the WHOLE file. Oh well, have re-written it. Sorry for the wait.)