It was a serene moonlit night as I walked down the marble corridor. The velvet draperies and depictions of wars long past shimmered in the soft light through the stained glass wall. It was silent but for the sound of my bare feet meeting the black marble floors as I walked. Though as I continued to haunt the long hallway a soft breeze rustled through the hall, tickled the nape of my neck with its gentle fingers, and pulled at my silver hair. I stopped, as my heart thudded in my chest, as the breeze became a cold wind, a rank stench filling my nose. I turned with my claws extended from my long fingers, and looked from left to right, my gold cat like eyes seeing clearly in the dim light. No one was there but I, and the draped walls, yet the wind became stronger with each moment. Though my eyes could not see, I knew there was someone or something there.
"Show yourself!" There was no reply, but for the cold wind that whipped at my face, and the putrid scent that attacked my nose. My skin crawled, and cold sweat drenched my body as a voice lurched through the air like a dying man.
"Murderer…" it cried "Murderer..."
"Show yourself d-demon!"
A phantom knight in white armor stained with old blood appeared from thin air, and pointed a metal finger at me. "Murderer! Atwyn!" It cried more stricken and piercing than before. With the last sour sound wafting through the air like a thick smog, it charged, with a sword of black night gleaming in its hands. And then it plunged the blade straight through my heart. I looked down to see blood seep from where the blade was buried deep…
I woke with a great start, screaming. I clutched at my heart, as the pain began to fade. G...god it was that horrible dream yet again; Fifth time this week. My long raven black hair falling over my face, as I shook, my grasp lessening as the pain disappeared. Yet the shock still stuck with me. Every time, I had this dream I felt weak. In reality I might be slimmer than most men, but the power of the dragon was with me more than any other in hundreds of years. I was strong, swift, sure with a blade and a master archer, even beating several other nobles much older than I. I could also wield magic supposedly and talk with dragons if I so wished, the prophet had told me some years ago now when I had first come to court. Yet dragons had not been seen for over fifty generations. And there were fewer Wizards and Sorceresses in the world than the times of old. I was a rarity. Even though my parents were human nobles, I was by far less human. At first I was seen as a threat, and a curse. What had marked me as inhuman was the silvery mark on my forehead that I had from birth. No one really knew what it meant, but for the fact that it was a rune from an ancient language that was only known in folklore. For a long time because of it, I was shunned whenever my parents brought me along to court. Though many throughout the kingdom who had heard of me and those even farther away the Far East Mountains would come to me and ask me to bless them, some even felt I was a god. I rubbed my pale forehead and shivered a bit, and tugged the heavy blankets up to my chin and hugged myself tight. The dream still hung about me thickly, yet as always the feelings I felt in it, became faint as I worried about other pressing matters. I was to come of age soon, and my parents would be looking for a wealthy noble woman for me to marry, if I were lucky, but most likely it will be a lesser noble, poor in comparison for the stigma that still hung in the air whenever I was around others. I sighed as I thought on it, my long angular ears twitched and sunk. Though I had slept many times in this bed, it still wasn't as comfortable as the smaller one I had at home. Being at court, for the season with my other distant relatives and royal family, filled my mind with painful memories. I laid back again and closed my eyes, hoping that I would not slip back into the awful dream that had become a plague to my rest. I would need it for the day to come. Within minutes, I fell to peace and darkness.
The sun crept up on me, and was already high in the sky when I opened my eyes. I hurried and threw on some clothing; a silken dark green chemise, with matching trousers, and black tights. I quickly brought my hair up in a tight pony tail, only a few hairs escaped at the top as always. I had no servants to help me dress as they were very superstitious and I preferred to dress myself anyways. Finally I pulled on dark leather boots shin high, and rushed out for my morning fencing lessons, despite me already besting all the local royal guard and most of my fellow noble kin. Here with a blade I felt a little less strange, I felt more like the others. As I hurried down the hallway, many a noble and servant alike gave me a wide berth as I walked past them. As a child I had been saddened each time it would happen, but now I came to like it enough. As I reached the courtyard, where the fencing took place I grasped one of the practice wood swords from the shed, and found the royal weapon instructor wasn't there. It was odd. In fact there were only a few guards there, and a few younger noble boys whacking at each other sloppily and yelping and squealing. I sighed. I had been looking forward to fencing with the instructor, or even one of his older noble kin. I had slept in to long I realized as I looked up at the sky, seeing how far the sun was. Yet surely the instructor would be nearby? I twirled the wooden sword in my hand lazily as I went back to the practice weapon storage, and opened the door connected to the royal stable and peeked in. It smelled rather awful, though I knew it had been cleaned recently by the look of things.
There was no reply but for the soft whinny's of the large horses shifting to get a look at me curiously. I closed the door, and placed the wooden sword back into its place, before wandering over to the guards' quarters, where the instructor, Toby would often spend his time besides the stables, or fighting courts. Yet as I poked my head in, I saw that it was nearly empty, but for the bodies of the sleeping men who took the night shift, and a few men off duty drinking and eating. I asked a few of the guards I recognized from before, during fencing lessons, and strangely enough all they did was shrug their shoulders.
"He hasn't been around here since yesterday early morning. Have you looked in the stables, you know how he likes them horses."
I left the guards quarters, and scratched my head. Where on earth had Toby gone to? Finally after searching more extensively in the stables and all the other places I could think of I went back to the practice weapon courtyard, and grabbed a wooden sword. He would hopefully show up soon enough, and till then it be good to get in some sword footwork and movements in. I went to a corner of the fencing range, and ignored the smaller boys, and closed my eyes. I breathed slowly, deliberately as Toby had told me before one time, filling my mind with thoughts of being water, and melting. I raised the wooden sword and began to sway, slowly cutting through the air in careful arches. With moments I began to quicken my pace, the wooden sword begging to whistle in the air as the sword became but a blur. Yet just as I felt most at peace there was a cry, that rang throughout my mind and suddenly my body was wracked with pain. I lost my control and my grip on the hilt loosened enough for the sword to go flying. I opened my eyes, and hoped it had not flown into one of the kids' faces. They all seemed fine, as I looked them over, wondering where the sword had flown to, the little buggers snickering as I walked past them. After walking from one side to the other of the fencing range, I found it sticking out of a bush by the stables. As I went to retrieve it, and held it in my hands, the bush rustled, and groaned. Curious and slightly concerned, I pushed the leaves apart and my heart leapt into my throat. Toby, half conscious and caked in old blood, was sprawled out behind the thick bush, his eyes fluttering as I cried out to him. I realized the pain I felt before was me sensing him, and that the wooden sword, by more than chance had fallen so close by.
"Sir Toby, Toby! Are you alright Sir? Toby?!" I leaned down and pulled him out from the bushes bodily, and felt at his forehead, which felt clammy and sickly against my hand. Toby's eyes opened briefly, and he grabbed up at me with weak bloodied fingers and croaked. "M-Murderer...a-after…"
My eyes widened as the dream I had the night before hit me like a brick wall, and the white knight stained in blood. Sir Toby had been a knight before he settled down to be an instructor, and still was by right. Could…the dream had been a forewarning to this?
I called for the guards, and they came running, to help Toby up and to infirmary. The looks on the guard's faces were solemn and full of shock. Sir Toby was a master at nearly any and every weapon known to man. For someone to have been able to beat him, one way or another could not have been easily done but for another master of warfare. I felt their eyes on me, and the suspicion behind their gazes. They knew I had often unarmed Toby during fencing, and that I was one of the few to have ever done it more than once.
A few days after finding Sir Toby, I felt the suspicion in the air grow like thick smoke, that suffocated reason, and encouraged fear and mistrust throughout the Royal Castle. Even my parents, who spent most of their time with the close relatives to the king and queen began to treat me with growing distrust, having me followed by a personal 'body guard', Raven, to keep me safe from whoever had beaten Toby. I knew it was only to keep an eye on me, and to find some sort of way to link me to the attack. After a few days I went to see how Sir Toby was recovering, my new shadow following close behind. If it had been any other I wouldn't have gone, but Sir Toby had been the kindest that I ever knew, and treated me like any other man. Yet as I stood over his bed, I saw fear in his brown eyes as he looked at me, glancing at the tall man, my parents had hired waiting by the door in the shadows. I asked him what it was that could haunt such a strong person, he lowered his eyes and would not answer me. Perhaps it was something he didn't want unwanted ears to hear what happened. I was glad that He was recovering well though, and would be able to walk around soon enough. His left arm had been broken, some his ribs bruised and covered in them, along with several shallow cuts to his chest, legs, and arms. When I turned to leave, Sir Toby reached out with his good hand and gripped my tunic.
"B-be careful" Was all he would say, no matter how I pressed him. The fear that I had seen in his eyes was not from me, but for my well being.
A day later, with his voice echoing in my mind, my parents had my coming of age event happen in the royal hall, with the king's own blessing. The king, my uncle, was peculiar, much like me, only it was much more subtle. The air around him was powerful, as was he graceful in his old age. His 'holy' hand was laid upon my shoulder as he blessed my coming of age in front of a large sea of nobles decked out in finery and sparkling jewels. Despite not being liked much, my parents were close relatives to the king and I had a high standing. Whether that would hold much weight for the fact I wasn't quite human, and made many of the families before me sick. The dancing and the gay music that played, did little to ease my anxiety. And the shadow that was the hired protection was growing on my nerves. What if I make a false step, knock some poor woman over, trip or make a fool of myself? Every little mistake I ever made, seemed to stick in the minds of the nobles, and i would often overhear the gossip, and my insides would turn inside out. Several times accompanied by my parents, I would meet soon to be ready to wed, and possible brides. Many of them were plain and petty, that I could tell within moments after bowing and introducing myself. Yet there was a single woman, that stood out like a beautiful blue rose among wilted red roses. Unique, rare and beautiful. She came down the stairs next to two older nobles, and two women that looked similar to her. Tall, blue black hair and pale, her large bosom was exposed in a low cut yellow silken dress with ribbons and lace with elbow long yellow gloves. My eyes could not move elsewhere, for she seemed to glimmer and shine like a facet diamond surrounded by coal. Before I knew it my feet drew me forward to her, standing before her, my cheeks flushed and my heart beating hard within my chest. Was this, love? I realized that I knew this woman, when she had been but a child. Alanine Drawspurk of Altria. She had been much younger and boyish for the longest time to the horror of her parents, though she had left court of this kingdom for time now. Rumor was that she was now betrothed to a wealthy foreign Knight, and would be a bride within the year. At first all I could do was stand there like an oaf, my mouth slightly ajar, before I came to and did as I was taught. Bowed lowly, and introduced myself as graceful as I could. Alanine covered her mouth, though it did little to hide the large smile upon her lips.
"I remember you, Atwyn. You sure have grown ear boy." Her parents gave her a disapproving look.
"Keep in mind your place Alanine." Droned her father, whose hair now had become gray from last I saw him. He gave me a rather foul look down his nose, even though he was short as ever, two heads below me. Her mother, Rose did much the same before the two slid away to socialize and gossip with the other nobles.
"I-It's been a long time Alanine." I stuttered, my long ears lowering slightly. "Seven seasons now?"
She lowered her hand from her face and nodded, before presenting it to me, as would any noble woman would ask of a dear friend. I lightly grasped her hand, and leaned down to kiss the back of her hand, very aware that my parents' eyes were hot on my back. I stood back up, doing my best not to fidget. It was Alanine, but…something was different from before. Was it because she was grown as I was now? I offered her my arm, and she took it lightly. I led her to one of the tables covered with plates, silverware and mounds of food. I pulled out her chair, and as she sat down slid it to the table, and quickly took my place besides her. I knew that this was my coming of age party, and that everyone's eyes were on me in disbelief, for me to be talking to a woman who was already betrothed to another, but I ignored it. Alanine, oh how I have missed the days where we would chase each other, and whack at each other with sticks. At the time she was better at mock sword fights then me. I doubted they taught her much over the years we parted.
"Tell me, how have you been?" She smiled politely though I could feel something in her gaze that she was trying to hide from me.
I nodded, my ears twitching a bit. "I've…been good. Though there has been little for me to do here…ever since you left, but for the fencing range."
An old spark lit in her eyes. "Have you gotten any better from last time? Or could I still out duel you now?"
"I'm much better though I feel, as if you could still beat me if you wished to."
She laughed, and the softness of it gripped my heart. How I missed that laugh.
For a long time it seemed we talked. Talked about what was new in our lives, what was planned by our parents and the times we had as children.
"How I miss being taller than you Atwyn." She said with a huff. "Before I was a whole head taller than you. Now you've sprouted up like an overgrown weed. What are you, seven feet tall now?"
My cheeks flushed and I scratched my cheek even though it wasn't itchy. "Almost. Six foot seven"
As she smiled something sour and rank pierced through my nose like daggers. I covered my nose, though the smell was thick like smoke, making it hard for me to breathe.
"What's the matter?" Alanine asked, her brows furrowed, her full lips curling down in a frown. "Atwyn?"
"D-don't you smell that?" She shook her head. "I smell nothing strange…Atwyn are you alright?"
No, I wanted to answer but the smell became stronger, nearly causing me to vomit when I opened my mouth to speak. I stood, the room reeling as I felt invisible hands cover my nose and mouth. I could see the bodyguard appear in moments, reaching out to hold me up but it was too late. Help, I wanted to cry out but within moments I collapsed, and blacked out from the waking world.
Everything was a dark blur, moving, not moving, and spinning yet strangely solid. I was in the great hall still, I could see my parents, the king, the queen sitting in her throne quietly. I saw everyone but they all were frozen still in place. And they all wore odd masks, faces not their own. Some masks were vivid and stood out in the black outline of the hall. Some of them were silver, shimmering with empty eyes. Alanine's mask was a dark metal with shimmering sapphire eyes, the mouth stretched inhumanly downwards in a wicked frown. I could hear her heart beat in an uneven tempo, though the sounds of the voices of everyone else made it hard to discern what was coming from whom. Then with a loud piercing sound, I turned round to face someone, a stranger, who glimmered in the darkness. The visage was that of a god, silver hair that floated in the air as if under water, shimmering gold garments that flowed through a strange wind that whirled around him. There the god reached his hand out towards me, but as sudden as he appeared he was thrown back, thrown back by a dark entity, shadowy and stark against the moving blackness of the hall. The dark form threw itself on me, and pain wracked throughout my body, every inch of my flesh felt as if it were being burnt by an invisible flame. I screamed, but couldn't hear myself. Again I screamed, my ears met with an overpowering silence that dug into me. I could barely see the god anymore, though there was a faint glimmer. The pain became a stench, a feeling of death hung over me like a damp blanket, suffocating me. I felt as if I were dead for a moment, as the pain and smell stopped rather suddenly. I became blind, and saw nothing but a deep darkness for a long time, before a heat and warmth hit against the back of my neck like fire. But instead of burning me like the evil flame had before, it was soft and soothed me, lulling me into sense of safety. Then I could hear again, hear myself breathe. The deep darkness began to fade and I saw the glimmering visage of the god once more, though his face was covered in a bright light that blinded my eyes if I glanced there for even a moment.
"Atwyn" a voice rumbled through my mind like that of distant thunder. "Atwyn…awaken."
Warmth, washed over me like a summer wind, clean and soft. Yet in the back of my mind I could still feel the power of the shadow. Even though I felt new, and healed I still could feel death hanging in the air like a faint fog.
I awoke in the infirmary, with a cool cloth on my forehead. I went to sit up, but fell back as my head felt like it weighed a ton. Gasping a bit, I closed my eyes remembering the dream I had. Though the word, dream didn't fit. The vision I had, was much too vivid, too real to have been nothing but a dream. And unlike a dream, it stayed fresh in my mind, stayed fresh and vivid as if it had only happened moments ago. I opened my eyes again and could see that I was alone, in the dim lighted place. That meant that Sir Toby was just about done healing to have been let go. And I was the only one there, no doctor or healer in sight. I breathed in slowly and back out calming my mind before I tried once again to raise my head. This time I was able to sit up, though my head began to throb as I did so. Slowly I realized that there was something…wrong, or at least different. The long black hair I once had, had now become a shimmering silver as it fell down past my shoulders. Pain throbbed in my chest, and I grasped at it, having trouble breathing for a moment before it passed as suddenly as it had come. Something was wrong. I stood, leaning heavily against the wall for support as my legs felt like jelly. With ragged breaths, I dragged myself out of the infirmary and into one of the spirally marble halls. The moment my hands touched the marble walls, I noticed that there were huge cracks in the stone, that had not been there before. As I went further, I found the carpets that usually adorned the floors were worn and threadbare. As I made my way through the more traveled hallways, I saw the once large window that was inlaid into the wall, was smashed and bits of it littered the floors. I stopped midway through a hall as I saw a fallen form in iron on the floor, still as stone. What…was this…? I hobbled to the form and went to turn it over and fell back onto my bum as I saw that there was just a skeleton that rattled within the armor. Oh gods…oh gods…Darkness began to fill the hall I was in, and I could feel myself drifting, until there was nothing but an utter blackness.
Again I awoke, this time I was in the fencing courtyard, standing in the place I had found Sir Toby, bloodied and beaten. Yet the stench had returned again. I turned and saw that the courtyard was cracked in several places, and there was fire in the distance. A fire that was quickly spreading, and heading my way. I had little time to respond before the fire was spewed, and engulfed me. Yet strangely the fire was not painful, though I could feel the intensity of the heat that wrapped around me. My silver eyes widened when I looked to the sky, and saw the thing behind the flames. An immense pearly silver dragon, with rigged sharp bony wings hovered above me, flames escaping its majestic and deadly maw. Its eyes were a deep gold, much like a cat's eye, that was locked on me. After a while the flames stopped flowing from its fanged mouth, and it landed on the court with a loud thud, that shook the ground. There it towered above me, five times as tall as me, and several more times as wide. The majestic beast lowered its head, exposing its dangerous spikes that ran down its long neck. It locked its silver cat like eyes with mine, and I had the feeling though its face was so alien, that the dragon was grinning at me, though I wasn't sure as to what it was smiling about. It huffed out smoke, that wrapped around me, yet wasn't so thick as to suffocate. For a moment it seemed as if it spoke, though its massive maw didn't move an inch.
Hold out your hand.
Shakily I reached out, fully aware that this dragon and with all its powers could easily kill me in moments. But instead of it taking a bite out of my arm, it leaned forward so that my hand rested against his massive snout. Its scales were both hot and soft to the touch, and with that simple touch I could feel its mind melding into mine, becoming one filled with both its experiences and my own. Atwyn, awaken now.
With that I opened my eyes, the strong sunlight blinding me. I raised my arm to cover my face from the rays filtering through the window. Where I was, I wasn't sure. But I knew now, that I was awake again, that I was no longer in the dream realm.
"He's awake finally." I moved my arm and looked to my side, and saw that Sir Toby was sitting at my bedside. I was in the infirmary. The warden came quickly, and pressed a cool cloth to my forehead before deciding I was well or not. The bodyguard was nowhere to be seen, but I could feel him near.
"How…long have I been out?"
"Three days. Whatever knocked you out was right strong about it. What happened?"
I looked away from him, my silver eyes glazing over as I tried to figure out the reason behind the vivid visions. "I...I'm not sure." I said unwilling to tell Sir Toby my visions. I knew well enough he knew I was different, but I wished not to scare him one way or another.
"Just felt sick…could have been something I ate."
Though I knew Sir Tony could tell I was lying, he simply grunted and replied
"Perhaps the King needs a better royal cook?"
"You feeling better now?"
I nodded and looked away from him, my ears lowered. What was happening to me? I rubbed at my forehead and sighed. For several months now, I had that dream with the deadly knight. And that…has to be what triggered the other visions, yet…they were so strong that they knocked me out when I was fully awake: The dragon, the decayed castle, and the strange glowing god in the sea of masks. What…and why was this happening to me? Again I sighed. Suddenly my mind shifted away from myself.
"Sir Toby…what happened to Alanine?"
"She is still within the castle walls, but…" Sir Toby rubbed at his short light brown hair. "Her parents think you were right possessed at your ceremony. According to the guards posted that night, something strange passed through the hall that right scared everyone."
"That is…according to those superstitious boys. They said there was a ghost in the air, floating over your unconscious form for a good hour. Must have been some serious bad food to cause all that."
Great. Great. Now not only would they be suspicious of beating Sir Toby, now everyone, the king included would think he was evil.
"Did…that really happen?" Sir Toby nodded gravely. "Something right strange is in the air boy, and I fear for you."
"Will…will you tell me now who attacked you?"
Sir Toby looked over his shoulder, towards the warden that was busy with another patient, before he bent down over the bed closely, keeping his voice hushed.
"Listen close. It was late morning, a few weeks ago now. I was out, ready for the lessons teaching fencing for the younger folk, when I was called away. Right behind the stables. At first it sounded like one of the guards, but when I saw it…it was something right out of legend. A ghost, a demon, I don't know but it was…something foul. It asked where you were, but when I disagreed to it, not quite believing I saw what I saw, it slashed at me with such speed….before I could even move an inch. Atwyn, I was too afraid before to tell you but now…know this."
Toby gripped my shoulder tightly. "I fear that if you stay here for much longer, this thing will kill you. I can only do so much with my strength. And that man your parents hired won't do much either But…" Toby looked back again to see that the warden had stepped out, the patient was lying down, apparently asleep. Raven still hid in the shade. Carefully, swiftly Toby reached into his tunic and brought out a small dagger in a black and gold sheath.
"I won this off a wizard a few years ago, and he told me this thing can cut through things that mortal blades cannot even touch. Take it, you will make more use of it then I can."
Toby handed me the blade, and at once I could feel it throb in my hands, which almost caused me to let go of it. This thing was alive, I could feel it, and had a soft power that pulsed through my hands, to my arms. Carefully I unsheathed it, gripping the gold leather hilt, a single pearly white gem welded to the end. The silver blade caught hold of the sunlight shining through the window, the surface shimmering and moving like water. As I glanced up from the blade I could see the look on Toby's face. I realized that in his hands, it had probably been nothing but a normal dagger but…
"Interesting...It seems to like you, boy. Keep it hidden, you know not many deal well with magic things, or creatures in this place. And I wouldn't trust that trailer that follows you either."
I sheathed it, and held it close to my chest, looking up at Sir Toby. "Thank you…"
Several minutes later, Sir Toby left for his lessons, and I took my time about getting out of the infirmary. Apparently according to the warden, Sir Toby had not been the only one to watch over me. Strangely enough my parents had come as well, even though when I was well they only paid so much attention to me. I noticed then that the guard they had hired was nowhere to be seen. I had not seen him since the happening at my event, and even then it had been but a glance. The man my parents hired for my 'body guard' often felt to more of an apparition than man. I had never known his real name, but the guards seemed to more about him than I, and that he went by the name Raven. I rarely saw more than just a glimpse of Raven, before him receding back into the shadows. He was tall and massive for a man yet somehow that made no real difference. He was able to hide out better than I, and I was rather slim for my gender. As I walked down the marble hallways, I couldn't help but feel watched. Was it Raven? I turned round to look, but there was no one. This hall was not lined with guards as it was a lesser traveled one, yet the complete emptiness that filled the wide walkways made my heart wary.
"That you Raven?"
Sure enough he stood out from the shadows, his long pale hair caught in a tight ponytail, his vivid green eyes watching me blankly. He wore no iron armor but thick leather over his plain cotton shirt, and pants, attached to his hip a long sword with a shimmering hilt.
"Yes Sir?" He said in his low unnerving voice. One of the first times he ever answered anyone but my parents.
Something about Raven seemed odd. For the time that I had known him, for a week and a half now, I knew little but that he was much older then he appeared. And something else that tugged at my subconscious but I wasn't quite sure what. I knew better than to just ignore it, after everything that had gone on recently. The dreams, Toby being found beaten, the unearthly apparitions hanging off of me, passing out…
Yet still I couldn't place it, so I let it wait.
For a long time I let silence fill the gap in between us before I cleared my throat.
"Do you think I'm cursed?" His gaze was suddenly intense but he said nothing. He didn't smile, nor frown, nor did he seem surprised by my question. I began to wonder just where the heck my parents had found this man and decided he was worth paying to watch over me, the nephew of the King. According to the guards, he was never originally a royal guard, a night watch-man or a part of the local nobles. He could be a peasant, yet I doubted it. The way he carried himself, light, the way he made himself disappear had to have been taught to him early on…
I gave up waiting for him to answer after several minutes before continuing down the hall. The sun shone through the thin yet strong stained glass wall, warming my face as I stumbled down it, my legs still shaky from not walking in three days. I wished greatly for a cane or something to ease walking, but I didn't want to ask to have to hang off of Raven, or anyone else in the castle for that matter. And even if I asked for Raven to get one for me, I knew he would refuse it for his job was to stick at my side. And eventually report to my parents I presumed. I stopped and sighed and wondered if I would have the chance to get to talk to Alanine again. She was all I could think of and I wished so badly to go back in time just to have a single sword fight with her again. She was a master at the blade then, even faster with the blade than me or Sir Toby. I gripped the hidden gift I had hidden under my tunic and squeezed it, hoping Raven didn't see what I was doing from behind. I let go of it a moment before I began to hobble again toward my rooms. I stopped short, my eyes widening as I came to the door leading to my living quarters. A man all in gold, with floating hair hovered off the ground before it, smiling wide as he saw me coming. He shimmered like soft starlight in a deep night sky. He was the one who had been there in the non-waking world of shadows. I rubbed my eyes over and over to look, but he, the inhuman beauty lingered in solid form. I turned and Raven stood just a few feet behind me with his blade drawn, shaking. He too saw it, which meant…that this was definitely no hallucination.
The godlike being's lips parted and spoke in a voice soft and thundering at the same time, his glowing eyes locked on me,
"Son of the Dragon be at peace, for I am your friend."
I took out the dagger Toby had given me, the sun reflecting off from an open window, made the silver blade shimmer like a glowing diamond, and vibrated in my hand. I gulped and did my best to stay balanced without leaning on the wall.
"W…who are you?" I managed to stutter while I could feel Raven had frozen.
The floating golden phantom tilted his head before seeing the fear welled deep in my eyes, as was Raven. It was then that he transformed, the being landing on his bare feet, his hair falling down to his shoulders and the godlike gleam faded. Though I could not see it solidly I was sure I saw nearly invisible dragon wings fold into its back, before reaching his long clawed fingers towards me.
"You have…forgotten me already Drago?"
There was something familiar to the deep voice. I kept the magical dagger pointed at the creature until I came to a realization. Its eyes shared the same silver hue as the great dragon in one of my intense visions. He smiled its long fangs exposed and I knew it for certain, he was that dragon.
Slowly I lowered the blade and felt a little bit at ease. I looked back to Raven who still had his sword raised.
"Raven, put down your sword." He gave me an intense look, as if I were mad but listened to me and lowered the immense sword, though he still held the hilt tightly, his knuckles becoming white.
"You…You're a Dragon?"
The dragon smiled wider then seemed humanly possible and took several steps forward before resting his hot hands on my forehead, the silvery mark upon my forehead throbbing. I could see his true form clearly now, the same great pearly dragon stood before me, the walls of the halls fading away into a large meadow filled with gold flowers. It lowered its large head lightly nudging me with his snout, his cat like eyes locked on me.
"You are still in the castle young Drago. "
I started to speak out why when I stopped.
"This…this is some sort of vision dragon?"
The pearly serpent nodded, blowing slight smoke from its nostrils.
"This is a shared vision now, and this place is where it will all end in time."
"This place?" I looked around me as the golden flowers waved and weaved from the soft spring breeze. Nothing seemed out of place, nor alien in fact it all felt wonderfully peaceful.
"This place is where the first Dragon was born long ago…"
The field grass and flowers seemed to sway faster and faster though the breeze stayed the same. It was then that I became aware of large marble pillars that were beginning to form, walls thick and tall came around them. Slowly, the building became solid, a large white marble temple with massive lions and beasts carved into the walls and high statues attached to the colossal creation. A steep stairway led from the great opening to the ground several hundred feet below, a few feet away from where I and the dragon stood.
"Here is where the first Dragon was born, and from that first Dragon, the creator split it into the great five Dragons of Altria; Fire, Ice, Wind, Earth and Water."
I could not believe my eyes once the massive temple like structure was fully solidified before me. It was the largest thing I had ever seen in all my life and made the King's castle seem puny and insignificant.
But what matters now is that you must awaken. If you do not the few living Dragons will be killed. If they all die, this land will be pitched into blood and fire. I am the last of the Royal Dragons, and it is only I that can talk with you easily. Awaken, you must awaken.