Chapter 1: Departure
She opened her eyes...
The sun hadn't risen yet, so it was not very
bright outside her chamber. Denya jumped out of her bed and went to her
window - a noise which sounded like a large crowd had woken her up. It
seemed to come from the yard under the window of her house...
Well, it wasn't really a house... it was a
castle. She was the daughter of Baron Leoric and Baroness Margareth, the
rulers of small lands somewhere in the East of the continent. When she
got to her window, she saw the crowd she had heard on the yard in front
of the townĎs center. It seemed her fatherís soldiers had prepared for
She got into her clothes and went down to
the throne hall (It wasn't as big as the throne hall of the kings, but
it was better than nothing), where she saw her parents giving orders to
lots of people - they seemed to be very busy.
Her father, Leoric, was a man who had just
left his best days behind. He was 45 years old and had long black hair
and a full beard of the same colour. She knew him as a very good-natured
Her mother Margareth looked not very different.
She was only two years younger and a bit smaller than him. She had black
long hair, too. Both of them always wore black robes - black was their
Her parents were both powerful mages. That
could be very useful at war or at a siege... well, that had never happened,
so they didn't have to use their arcane powers very often, only if they
were called by some other Baron or King somewhere in the world - but even
that didnít happen very often.
Her parents gave Denya nearly everything she
wanted. She could walk around free in the castle and she could do anything
she wanted to. Except one thing: She wasn't allowed to leave the town...
Sure, the town was not very small and in the taverns strange people were
always telling exciting storys... But she sometimes stood on the walls
of the castle and let her eye wander across the beautiful landscape. She
wasn't unhappy in the castle, but she always wanted to get out of here.
Of course she thought of running away, but she had never found a way out
that wasn't guarded... and she also didn't want to betray her parents Ė
she had promised that she wouldn't run away. So Denya lived her life in
the castle for nearly 20 long years - until now...
"Good morning Mum, Dad. What are you doing
here?", she asked.
Her father turned to her and said with his
deep, full voice: "Good morning, dear! Did you sleep well?"
"Yes, thanks dad. Now tell me: What does all
that here mean? Do you have an assignment again?"
He smiled: "You remember your promise of never
leaving this castle?"
Denya was a bit confused: "Of course I remember.
Why do you ask?"
"Today you will be allowed to break it."
First she didn't realize: "What do you mean?"
They just grinned.
"Do you mean that I will be allowed to leave?
Today? Oh, Mum, Dad, that's wonderful!"
Her mother, Margareth, said: "We kept you
too long in this old dusty building. It's time to get outside and see the
"But you always said it would be very dangerous
"Oh, yes, it is. And of course we will come
with you. You donĎt have to fear anything."
"But... why now? Why did you keep me here
for 20 years and now you want to go out with me - just like this?", she
"Youíre old enough. There are still evil men
outside Ė but youíre now wise enough to have a look by yourself. And we
want to give you a special present on your 20th birthday." She remembered:
Her birthday would be in six days.
"Oh Mum! Dad! That's better than any present
you ever gave me."
She embraced Margareth and Leoric and burst
That afternoon her father gave a speech to
the townsfolk which explained the reason of their departure and announced
their return in twelve days. He gave the leadership over the town to one
of his councillors and then they departed. Denya got a goose-skin as they
rode through the great towngates - that was what she had dreamed of as
long as she could remember. But it came so fast... twenty years -
and now, just like this? And she wondered why her parents were taking 20
of their guards with them - usually they travelled alone. So she asked
"Your security is our biggest care. We could
not bear it if something happened to you. We cannot always be with you
- even wizards have to sleep.", he smiled, "It is just for your security.",
"But you said Iím wise enough to have a look
by myself!", she protested.
"Weíre still a bit worried. And we donít want
to risk anything.", he responded.
It still seemed a bit strange to her, the
whole thing, but she just shrugged her shoulders and enjoyed her new freedom.
Chapter 2: Voyage
They had been on road for 2 days now. They always
slept in the forest and off the road. Denya wondered why, but her father
just told her, that there were sometimes bandits on the road at night and
that they couldn't rest in taverns with 20 soldiers. Surely it wasn't very
comfortable to sleep in a tent, but it was a completely new experience
for her - and one thing pushed away the other one.
Thomas was on watch. The trees rose high above
him as dark shadows and the noise of the night forest surrounded him. His
post was nearly over - soon he would go to wake Daniel and deliver the
watch to him. He was tired and looked forward to lying in a warm sleeping-bag.
Suddenly he heard a strange noise in the bushes
left of him - a very strange grunt. He thought it would be some wild boar.
His first responsibility was to protect Denya - and he knew that boars
could be very dangerous. He woke up Daniel.
"Whassaabbb?", Daniel mumbled.
"I think there's some kind of animal in the
bushes over there! Seems to be a boar."
Again this grunt. Daniel was awake at once.
"That... that's no boar! I know, I've been
on some boar-hunts! They sound completely different!"
"Well, what is it then?", Thomas asked.
"I don't know", he paused, "Let's find out!"
Thomas wasn't very pleased to go into the
dark forest - but he didn't want to learn how Leoric and Margareth would
react if a wild boar would ran through the camp rampaging everything in
They lit their torches, drew their swords
and went in the direction where the strange noises came from. After about
100 meters through dark forest thus found the mouth of a cave in a hill
standing inside the forest.
"Do you think it came from inside, Daniel?",
"I only know as much as you, Thomas! What
could be in this cavern?", he responded, with a tone of coriousity. With
these words he went into the cave.
"Daniel, are you mad? Come back! Let's go
and wake the others!", Thomas whispered.
But he didn't hear him. Soon the darkness
swallowed him and later the light of his torch.
"Daniel? Daniel, come back!!!", he shouted.
He looked around... should he go and get help? But that would mean leaving
Daniel alone. Thomas didnít know what to do Ė he was too afraid to go into
Suddenly there was a bright flash of light
"Daniel! ...oh, Dammit!", with these words,
Thomas swallowed his fear and went into the dark cave.
Soon the small passage widened until it was
at least 24 feet high and 18 feet wide.
He could see the light of DanielĎs torch.
He began to run, but as he reached the light, he stopped abruptly. The
torch lay on the ground - with the carbonized remains of his friend at
its side. He stood there. One moment. Two. Then he knelt down. The smell
of burnt flesh was in the air. Thomas felt as if he was going to vomit.
What the hell did that?
Suddenly he cursed himself again - he should
have got help before he went into this cave. In addition was the possibility
that the thing that burned his friend was still in this cave - propably
to do the same with him. He got on his feet and looked up, just in time
to see something he had never seen before. His eyes widened in terror.
He couldnít scream. He couldnít move - he was as paralyzed.
A horrible silence.
The horrible sound of splittering human bones.
A horrible silence.
The sounds of battle awakened Denya. She was
lying in her tent and heard the screams of her father's guards, the panicking
horses and something very strange. A sound like a loud, angry squeaking.
She stood up and went outside to see what was up, just to be pushed back
by her father.
"Go inside and stay there. This is nothing
for inexperienced teenagers like you!", he shouted.
So she sat down and waited, a bit injured
by her fatherĎs words - what did he say just two days ago... "Youíre wise
enough to have a look by yourself!"? Suddenly she could see a bright flash
of light through her tent. Then there was the squeaking again, but this
time it was a sound filled with pain. Then silence followed. Her mother
came in. There was sweat on her forehead.
"You may come out now - it's all safe!"
When she went outside, she saw a horrible
scene: In the camp lay the corpses of some guards. The smell of death hung
in the air. In the middle of the camp lay the body of the biggest boar
she had ever seen. It was at least double the size of the boars the hunters
brought into the town she lived in. The boar was pierced with arrows, but
that wasnít what killed it - the boar died from a magic bolt from her parents,
which had hit its side, which was now black.
"Oh, good gods", she whispered.
Nearby stood her parents, talking to one of
"How many did we lose?", her father asked
"Five are dead and we're still searching for
Daniel and Thomas", the guard repeated.
"Oh, damn!", her father shouted.
"Are there many of these beasts in this forest?",
"I don't think so.", said the guard, Barlic
was his name, she remembered, "That's by far the biggest boar I've ever
"But how could it come in here?", she wanted
to know, "Why should it attack us? And what about Daniel and Thomas?" She
had always played with both of them on the castle walls when she was a
"We think that Thomas woke Daniel up and went
into the forest with him, where they met the boar and then... I'm sorry,
I know they were your friends. We're still searching for their bodies...",
he repeated sadly.
Everyone was silent, as a call came from one
side of the camp: "We found them!"
Immediately her parents and Barlic went in
this direction. Denya followed them. As she came near she saw the two bodies
of Thomas and Daniel.
DanielĎs body was completely burned and smelled
horrible. It looked terrible.
But ThomasĎ one was much worse. Thomas was
ripped into two pieces at his hip. Bowels hung out of his dead body - but
it was not just his corpse that was so terrible, ...it was the look in
his eyes. There was pure terror in them. She turned around, staggered two
steps forward, and vomitted on the ground. Her mother came to her.
"I'm sorry Ė it must be horrible to be confronted
with death this way...", she said.
"Did you see the look in his eyes?", Denya
"Yes, I did...", she responded quietly.
"A boar cannot do this!?"
"I don't know..."
"A boar cannot burn people like this!!!",
she shouted and pointed at Danielís corpse.
Suddenly her father asked: "Where did you
"Er... in a cave in the north...", responded
"I want to inspect it... now!"
The Soldier was quickly irritated, then he
went into the forest and Leoric followed him.
Margareth turned to Denya again: "I'll go
with them. You will stay here, where it is safe! Do you promise that?"
First Denya wanted to follow her. Then she
rolled with her eyes and said: "Yes, mother!"
With that she went into the forest.
That was all very strange... the incinerated
corpse of Daniel, the dreadful look in ThomasĎ eyes, the giant boar - they
all didnít fit together. Not to mention the strange behaviour of her parents.
About one hour later, DenyaĎs parents returned.
"So did you find anything out?", she asked
"The cave was empty", Leoric answered.
"Well, what killed Daniel and Thomas?"
"A human of course, probably a mage. What
do you think it should be?"
"But this look in ThomasĎ eyes! No sight of
a human being could have cast such a terrible look so terrible in his eyes!"
"We do not know what Thomas saw - and probably
we will never know! So do not think about it anymore!", her mother Margareth
"We are going to leave soon, so get your things
Denya wasnít satisfied with her parentĎs answers.
Why should a mage attack two guards in a cave deep in the darkest woods?
But she didnít ask anymore, she knew her parents too well Ė she wouldnít
get any response from them.
The thirteen remaining guards soon were very
busy at breaking down the camp and got ready to travel on. But there was
a depressed athmosphere between the guards. They lost some of their friends
and their masters just wanted to go on as if nothing had happened. It was
very strange to all of them, but Denya could understand her parents very
well for getting away from this horrible place as fast as possible.
Finally they buried their comrades and spent
silent minute. Then they went on with their voyage to the mountains which
could be seen a couple of miles away. But this day everyone was in a bad
mood and nobody wanted to talk about the events of the last night.
On the fourth day they travelled through a
village of medium size. Some of the people looked up from their work to
watch them passing. There were peasants, blacksmiths, traders, young girls
and children. But one person was very conspicuous. An old man with a full
white beard and a red robe. He watched her with an expression on his face
she had never seen before: His face expressed nothing. Nothing! No sign
of interest, hate, love etc. He just watched her. Could this be the mage
who killed Daniel and Thomas? Did he send the boar into their resting place?
Suddenly her horse panicked and pranced. She tried to calm it down with
good words. As she looked in the direction of the old man, he had disappeared.
"Dear, what happened?", her mother asked.
"Nothing, my horse just panicked suddenly.
Itís OK... did you see that strange old man in the red robe?"
"No Ė old man?", her father responded.
"He stood just over there", she pointed on
the place where the man had stood, "he was looking at me very strangely."
"Hm... we better be careful - perhaps it was
just a crazy old man... but you never know!"
Then he didnít want to talk anymore and seemed
to be lost in his thoughts for the rest of the day.
This time they passed the night in an inn directly
on the road. DenyaĎs father said it would be too dangerous to sleep in
the forest this time Ė perhaps he was more worried about this old man than
This night Denya had a dream:
She saw two mages fighting a magic battle.
One of them was her father, Leoric. The other one she didnít know, but
she meant to remember him from somewhere.
Then she saw the old man with the red robe
from the village. He spoke to her without moving his lips: "Come... come...
Then there was a dark mountain at night with
the big full moon above it, shining brightly. But suddenly the moonís colour
turned red, as if blood would stream down its surface and voices appeared,
first whispering: "Death... death... death". As the moon became even more
overcast with blood, the voices got louder and louder. And as the moon
was completely red, they screamed:
She wanted the sound to stop.
She wanted to cover her ears.
She woke up...
It echoed in her mind.
Her breath was fast.
Her heart was beating.
What a strange dream, she thought.
There was a noise outside - a rustle. She
went to her window. The only thing she saw was the edge of the forest before
her. But wasnĎt there a shadow in the bushes? Suddenly a strong weariness
overcame her and the thought that it would be better to go to bed. So she
went back to bed. Her last thought before falling asleep again was: Only
a dream! Only a shadow in the woods! Nothing serious...
The next day they travelled through open landscape.
It was a clear and sunny day and the company was in a good mood and without
any thoughts about the events of the past days. Even her parents who had
been very silent were now in a joking mood and they laughed with Denya
and their guards. Her dream was nearly forgotten. Still the thought only
a dream, nothing serious!, echoed in her mind. Therefore and because
she didnít want to ruin the good mood of her parents, she did not tell
So they went on, with the mountains at their
front and sorrow at their backs.
At about midday they travelled on a road at
the edge of a forest. Suddenly something very strange happened: A dark
cloud seemed to appear over their heads directly out of nothing. It began
to grow very fast and a heavy rolling thunder could be heard. They all
sat on their horses and looked upwards, everyone with an alarmed or fearful
expression on his face Ė especially DenyaĎs parents.
Suddenly it began to rain heavily.
"Thatís not good...", said one of her fatherís
Another one said: "Hey, ´tis just a
storm! A little rain and some thunder wonít hurt us!"
It was a bitter irony that exactly this man
was hit by a powerful lightning bolt that stroke down. He was still able
to scream - but after a few seconds of being electrified he stopped and
fell to the ground as a smoking corpse.
The horses panicked - as did some of the guards.
She heard her Leoric screaming: "GET ALL YOUR
ARMOR AND YOUR SWORDS OFF AND THROW YOURSELVES TO THE GROUND!!!"
Another soldier was hit by a lightning. The
cloud, which surely wasnít a natural one, seemed to chose its victims as
if it were controlled by some unknown power. Denyaís horse pranced and
threw her to the ground where she kept lying as her father had said and
watched what was happening around her. Everything seemed to happen in slow
motion: She saw the guards getting off their panicking horses and trying
to get their armour off Ė some of them were not fast enough and got killed
by the powerful lightnings or were trampled by their own horses. Suddenly
she saw one of the horses running directly towards her, blind in fear.
She rolled aside, just a split-second before a mighty hoof hit the ground
directly beside her face.
Suddenly the rain stopped. She looked upwards
Ė and the dark cloud was away... just away! Six guards had survived the
magical attack. The others had been burned, were trambled or they had fled.
She saw her parents running towards her.
She had to be very dirty with all the mud
she had been lying in.
"Denya, are you alright?", her mother asked
with a worried expression on her face.
But Denya didnít answer. She just had to stare
straight ahead. What she saw caused an unspeakable fear in her.
They turned around and now they also saw him.
The old man in the red robe was standing about 150 feet away from them
Then he exploded.
He exploded into a giant cloud of red particles
that began to spin around, like a tornado.
She heard the astonished and fearful screams
of the guards - but she just looked at the wonderful spectacle in front
Soon a big silhouette could be seen in the
cloud. The silhouette seemed to gain more and more consistency while the
cloud lost at density. Now she could make out some details of the shadow
in the cloud.
No... No! Thatís impossible!
This canít be real!, she thought - but she watched the transformation
and doubted her intellect more and more. Was she going mad? She took a
look at her parents Ė but the expressions on their faces said, that they
were seeing the same.
As the transformation ended she was sure she
was not crazy... this was real - a real red dragon was standing in front
of the small group of humans. He was about 90 feet long and had huge batlike
wings with a span of nearly 100 feet. He had lots of spikes on his back,
horns on his head, a long neck, four sharp claws on each of his feet -
this IS a real dragon, she thought. No fake, no magic, no illusion
And the dragon looked at HER.
The only thing Denya could do was stare into
the smaragd-green eyes of the creature.
But suddenly it spread its wings and threw
itself into the air to fly in their direction.
"OH MY GOD, IT WILL KILL US ALL!!! FLEE!!!
FLEE!!!", screamed one of the guards and caused another panic among his
companions. The guards began to run in different directions. Then the dragon
came. He opened his mouth and spit a white flame that incinerated Barlic
and another man she didnít know. That was too much for her... she turned
around and ran into the forest in a wild panic. What she didnít see was,
that her parents attacked the dragon with magic fireballs which didnít
seem to affect him - and that the dragon was watching her running into
She ran as she had never run before. Branches
whiped her face and left some bloody cuts - but she didnít care, she just
wanted to get away from the death and the fire. Finally she landed in a
clearing in the forest. She was out of breath, put her hands on her knees
and tried to rest a bit. But something was wrong: She didnít hear anything
- no animals, no birds, nothing. Only the wind rushing through the trees.
But there was no wind. The trees did not move. She was paralyzed as the
giant shadow appeared over her.
The last thing she remembered before losing
consciousness, was being carried through the air by two giant claws...
Chapter 3: Prophecy
A red moon...
The smell of death...
The green eyes...
She was lying on hard but plain rock. First
she couldnít see anything. Then her eyes grew accustomed to the darkness.
She was lying in a cave staring at the wall in front of her and trying
to remember what happened - and why she was here. Was it just a bad dream?
She heard a noise behind her. She rolled around.
There lay the big red dragon, blocking the exit of the cave and watching
her. Then she immediately remembered everything that had happened, got
to her feet and went slowly backwards until she hit the wall behind her.
The dragon just watched her. Suddenly she heard herself thinking:
Donít be afraid!
But she was afraid! Why did she think this?
I wonít hurt you.
Why the hell did she think such strange things?
Was she going mad again? Then she had an idea:
"Are... are you speaking to me?", she asked
the dragon and felt herself a bit ridiculous.
Denya thought... no the dragon said:
"You are talking to me... through my mind?"
I do not have vocal chords like your species,
so I have to use other methods of communication to make myself understandable
for you, Denya.
It seemed to her as if she was speaking with
herself. But then she reminded herself of the situation she was in.
"How do you know my name? Why did you bring
me here? Why did you attack us?", she asked angrily.
Your species always asks so many questions
at one time..., she thought with a touch of amusement in her own mind
Ė that was crazy!
I know very much about you, Denya, and
I brought you here, because I want to protect you - I had to kill the other
humans to do this.
"But I was safe all the time - until you appeared
with your magical tricks!" It was really crazy: She was standing in front
of a real dragon that could kill her any time and in 1001 different ways
- and she was just about to make him very angry. But she had no fear Ė
she wondered why, but now it was too late to backstab... To her astonishment,
he didnít get angry and... smiled! Well, the showing of his big sharp teeth
seemed to be a smile to her. Although it could have caused panic in the
heart of even the strongest warrior.
You are angry - I understand that, Denya.
But you have to believe me!
"Why should I believe you, dragon? You have
taken me away from my parents and you are holding me prisoner in a dark
First of all, you are not imprisoned! When
you want to go: Over thereís the mouth of my cave. He pointed with
one of his claws into the direction of the exit.
But thereís one thing about your parents
you have to know before you go!
First she was a bit astonished: The dragon
took her with him just to let her go few moments later?
"You would let me go now? Just like that?",
she asked. The dragon nodded. She paused. "What do I have to know about
Leoric and Margareth are not your parents.
At first she said nothing. Thatís
not true... no, thatís not true. The dragon is lying... yes, it has to
be a lie... HELL, DENYA, THAT CANNOT BE TRUE!!!, she thought.
But she wasnít as convinced of this as she should be...
After a minute of silence and ringing with
herself she asked: "Can you prove that, dragon?"
I think I can... but you have to trust
"I ask you again, dragon: Why should I trust
you, after all that has happened?"
Well... I did not kill you...
Now, that actually was a good reason... If
he wanted to kill her, why should he play such games?
"How do you want to prove what you said?",
she asked tonelessly.
I know a spell that can help you remember
things you have already forgotten.
"Aha! So tell me: how should this prove that
my parents arenít my parents?", she asked now with anger in her mind.
I can help you search for the memories
of your true parents and how they got killed by Leoric and Margareth!
"My... they killed my "real" parents? This
is absurd...", she laughed - it didnít sound very convincing.
Do it or let it be - itís your choice...
but I promise it wonít hurt.
She thought about it... what could he do with
her? What would happen? It surely wouldnít be prejudicial...
"OK - show me what you have to show."
I can only show you, what you already know,
but is buried deep in your mind. Lay down!
She hasitated a moment - then she lay down
on the hard ground as the dragon said.
The dragon moved one of his sharp claws into
her direction. Suddenly a panic overhwelmed her. Her heartbeat and her
breath got faster. She thought: He will kill me, good gods, he will cut
me into thousands of pieces...
I have to touch your head to perform the
spell. Donít be afraid.
And she really calmed down - Is this some
kind of magic?, she asked herself.
Now relax and close your eyes, Denya!
As she was completely calm now (although she
didnít know why) it was no problem for her to relax. And as she closed
her eyes she didnít mind the dragon, that gently touched her face, anymore.
She found herself lying in some kind of basket.
It seemed to be a memory from the time when she was a baby... She couldnít
move, she couldnít speak Ė the only thing she could do was watch the scene
in front of her: She saw a tall and slim man in a white robe standing before
her basket, with his face looking in another direction. In the corner of
her eyes she saw a woman holding her basket and whispering soothing words
in her ear. Then she saw another man appearing in her field of vision -
it was her father, Leoric. He said something that was difficult to understand:
You fool, you have no chance against my
arcane powers! Hand out the child right now and perhaps I will spare your
worthless life, and that of your wife.
No Ė you will have to kill me to get Denya
into your dirty pranks, bastard! She couldnít help it, she KNEW that
voice from somewhere!
It will surely be fun killing you, fool!
The two men began to circle round each other.
Then she saw the other man. It was the man of her dream last night. But
he appeared somehow familiar to her. With an expression of concentration
on his face he stared with his blue eyes into the face of his enemy. Leoric
on the other side smiled an evil smile and seemed to be amused by the behaviour
of his prey. This was not her father as she knew him... But the other one...
He sent a quick look in her direction, smiled - and suddenly Denya was
overwhelmed by the realization who her father was... Now her real father
cast a fireball in the direction of Leoric, who dodged away and now began
to cast a spell himself. Denya didnít pay attention to the magic battle
in front of her or to her crying mother. She was in a trance, unable to
think clearly. Her head was empty. What wakened her attention again was
Leoric sinking to his knees, totally exhausted.
Do you give up?, her father asked.
Let me think about it..., repeated
Leoric with a strange smile on his face.
One moment later her father was hit in the
back by a lightning bolt that made him squirm on the ground in pain. Margareth
appeared from the left.
No!, said Leoric sarcastically and
Then he drew a dagger out of his black robe,
went over to her father, took his head by the hair and bared his throat.
Then without any word he let the dagger without any word slowly glide from
one ear to the other one. Her father gurgled and with a swall of warm red
blood he sank to the earth, where he died - drowned by his own blood.
Denya wanted to scream. She wanted to close
her eyes. She wanted to stop this nightmare - but she couldnít do anything,
as in the dream she had the night before. Then she saw her mother positioning
herself in front of her basket. Denya knew what had to come now but the
only thing she could do was think No, please, donĎt!.
But her mother was pushed away rudely by Leoric. She was now out of sight,
but she saw her "father" kneeling down beside the basket. His hands began
to glow and he put them both down with a sadistic look in his eyes and
a mad smile on his face. Then she heard her motherís screams. The screams
were not human anymore as Leoric tortured her to death. Denya thanked the
gods that she did not had to see the terrible scene. There came Magareth
into her field of vision. She bowed over her basket and smiled.
Hi Denya, my little daughter!
She was in the dragonĎs cave again. But she
was still paralyzed. She couldnít move, speak, scream... The dragon just
watched her, as a tear ran down her face, bursting on the hard rock of
I know this is hard for you! To be confronted
with death and violence at such a young age... Iím sorry.
Margareth had said the same thing to her a
few days ago. No... he didnít know how hard it was... he couldnít guess
the inner pain she felt.
I have known your father since before you
She looked up.
He saved my life when your mother was pregnant.
I was badly injured when your father found me in the woods. He tended me
for one week until I was healed. The only thing he wanted to have as a
reward was a promise. I had to promise that I would protect his child after
its birth - you!
She looked at him in disbelief.
"But where have you been all the 20 years
of my life? Where were you been when my parents died?", tears began to
fill her eyes again.
I came to late...
She cried: "But you promised to protect me!
Why didnít you stay with my parents? Why did you leave them alone?"
To be together with humans: Thatís no life
for a dragon., there was an angry emotion in this thought.
And I have sworn to protect YOU, not them.
You have been safe for the last 20 years. Now youíre not anymore - so I
rescued you from Leoric and Margareth.
"They both have always been friendly to me...
I still do not understand! Why did they treat me as if I was their child?
And why do I have to be rescued from them now?"
Thereís something more you have to know
about yourself... Iím sure your parents never told you anything about the
Even more terrible things she would have to
"No, they didnít tell me..."
About ten years ago, every creature on
this planet with a magical ability, human and dwarven mages, elves and
even dragons, dreamed the same dream: One of the old gods spoke to us.
He said that a child would be born. A child that could give the gift of
immortality to the one who would sacrifice it to the gods on the old druid
mountain on its twentieth birthday. When its born, everyone who dreamed
this dream would know where to find the child. And really - ten years later
everyone felt a great magical presence and lots of people were drawn into
That was very much to think about.
"I am the child..." - it was no question.
The dragon smiled a somehow sad smile.
Yes, you are... I donít know why the gods
did this. I would say itís one of their cruel games theyíre playing with
this world. Perhaps they thought it would be fun to see, how humans, dwarves,
elves and dragons kill themselves just to gain a child and to murder it
later... But they didnít reckon with Leoric and Margareth... They cast
a spell on you that blocked this attractive power. And the contact to you
was lost by everyone. The gods didnít react... no one knows the ways theyíre
going... so you were kept undetected for 20 years. I knew where youíd been,
but I couldnít do anything against a whole town of soldiers. So I had to
wait until now.
For some reason Denya knew it was true, what
the dragon had said. She just couldnít think this creature was lying. In
addition the whole story matched with the dream she had the day before...
Her life would be completely changed through
all the things she had heard and seen in the minutes before. It sounded
like nonsense: Her father killing her father... a dragon protecting her
from her father... a prophecy predicting her father trying to kill her...
But it wasnít her father!?! She still wasnít sure. She remembered Leoric
with this evil grin on his face... Then the other man looking at her mildly...
And then Leoric cutting his throat... If my parents are
really so cruel, than they have been very good actors the last 20 years...,
she thought. She was tired Ė so much had happened... She was still lying
on the floor, so she fell asleep very soon, deep in thoughts...
When she awakened she saw the dragon that slept
a few feet next to her. It was late afternoon and the sky outside the cave
slowly turned red. She went to the mouth of the cave to take a look at
the landscape. The cave was inside one of the mountains. The rock in front
of the cave fell steeply down. No chance for a human to get up here.
Nice view, hm?, she thought... and
needed some seconds to notice that she didnít want to think this. She turned
around. Smaragd green eyes watched her.
"Yes, itís beautiful..." She hadnít figured
"I have thought about everything you told
me. Why did you kill all these peoples? Why didnít you just catch me at
night or when I was alone?"
I didnít want to risk anything. There were
too many guards. And if I would have failed it would have been even more
difficult to rescue you...
Again she thought about it - did she really
have to be rescued from her parents? Did they really want to kill her?
Aloud she said: "Immortality... just by killing one person... it still
sounds unbelievable. And why am I that person?"
The gods have chosen you. Now that Iím
near to you, I can sense it even through the mighty spell of your parents.
"And why are you so sure this immortality
story is true? Why are my par... Leoric and Margareth so sure?"
You do not understand, human! I had this
dream! Other dragons had this dream! Leoric and Margareth had this dream!
Even your real father had this dream! Do you still think this is chance?
Angry emotions hit her mind and mixed with
"Donít call me human all the time! You know
I have a name. By the way, whatís your name?"
Call me TíSana!
"TíSana... thatís a strange name!"
Call me dragon, call me TíSana Ė thereís
He was still angry.
Again, she was silent.
Then she said: "Iím sorry. Iím still confused
by everything thatís happening. What would you say, if a creature that
is a hundred times larger than you tells you that your parents arenít your
parents and that the whole world is hunting you because you are carrying
immortality around with you!"
Suddenly something like happiness came into
her mind and then the dragon... laughed! It was more a strange grunting,
but a clear laughter in her mind - it seemed as if she laughed for the
dragon emotionally and the dragon would just make the matching draconic
"Why are you laughing? Whatís so funny about
Itís just kinda cute to see you standing
in front of me, still with fear in your mind, but complaining as if I were
your wife. You are looking good in red!, he said with a grin.
She turned around in anger. The dragon continued
to laugh and her own emotions and those of the dragons fought each other.
At least TíSana won the mental battle and she was laughing together with
After a minute of laughing, she asked: "Tell
me, TíSana, do you have something to eat in your cave?" He got serious
No, I havenít. And I will not go hunting.
Someone could follow me back to my cave.
"So... what about water? I will not survive
very long without any water, you have to know..."
Very funny! Deeper in my cave is a spring,
there you can drink and wash yourself.
She looked deeper into the cave. It was just
a black hole in the wall.
"I cannot see anything there!"
Humans... take that!
A yellow ball appeared in one of his claws.
It shone like a torch. She took it - although it burned like a flame, it
was cold like a stone.
"Wow!", was all she could say.
Then she went down the way into the cave that
she could now see clearly.
As she went deeper into the cave it got warmer.
There she found a small lake. She laid the light onto the floor and touched
the water surface with one of her toes - it was comfortably warm. First
she drank some water - it tasted fresh and clean. Then Denya took off her
clothes and slipped into the small lake where she swam around and enjoyed
the warmth. Then she got out of the water and noticed that she hadnít anything
to dry her body. She would have to wait. So she kneeled down and watched
her mirror image in the lake. She saw the scratches on her face. Denya
couldnít remember herself ever looking like this. It was crazy... everything
Your bodies are so fragile...
She turned around and tried to cover certain
parts of her body as she saw TíSana standing in the mouth of the cave.
Do you think your naked body attracts me?
I am not human! And Iím as naked as you are. Do I cover my genitals when
I see another dragon? Or a human? Nature created us both as we are in the
moment. But you humans always have to wear these clothes to hide what you
are: Animals! Animals like horses. Animals like elves or dwarves. Animals
She was confused: "What... what did I do?"
A sigh went through her mind
Nothing... itís just that I will never
understand you humans...
"You... do not like humans very much, do you?"
"But why? Whatís so bad about humans?"
Did Leoric and Margareth ever tell you
anything about dragons?
"Yes, of course!"
And they told you that dragons were furious
and brutal creatures that liked to hunt and kill humans and animals just
"Something like that, yes..."
Now, do you see one of those dragons in
front of you?
And thatís the point! At first they hunted
us, because we ate "their" cattle. As if it belonged to them! The humans
that battled dragons spread stories about the fights against the "furious
beasts" and caused even more humans to free this world from the "disease".
The stories got more and more fantastic: The story that dragons would hoard
treasures... it is complete nonsense Ė but it caused thousands of humans
to kill dragons in search of glory and treasure. The humans believed everything
they heard: that dragons would only eat young virgins and that they would
steal men and children to be their slaves. They nearly exterminated our
whole species. Only a handful dragons are left... And everything just because
of some rumours...
First he was angry and she ducked her head
instinctively, but then the voice in her head became sad - so sad that
tears filled her eyes.
"Would you sacrifice me?"
The dragon paused and mustered her with his
deep green eyes.
I donít know... but I gave a promise. Dragons
hold their promises - even in front of humans. So I would give my life
to save you from death.
"I will tell the humans the truth. I will
tell them now you dragons are in reality. And I will tell them not to hunt
you anymore. I promise!"
Thatís nice from you, Denya. But I know
that you humans do not always hold your promises.
"I will hold my promise!"
Suddenly the magic light from TíSana began
I think we better go upstairs. I think
there will be better light for you. And a wonderful sunset.
So Denya put on her clothes and together they
went to the mouth of the upper cave, the young woman and the old dragon.
But as they reached the cave that was lit by the red sky outside, both
of them stopped suddenly. TíSana growled.
Leoric and Margareth were standing in the
mouth of the cave.
Denya stood rooted to the spot.
While Leoric had an eye on the dragon, her
"mother" smiled and said: "Hi, Dear!"
"How... how did you get up here?", Denya asked.
"Not only dragons can transform themselves
into other beings.", was her answer with a look at the huge creature beside
her. Denya wondered why he didnít say anything.
"What do you want?"
She laughed: "Oh, Denya, arenít you happy
to see us? We have searched for you the whole day! We have been so worried
about you! This creature could have killed you!"
"But he didnít kill me! Besides that he showed
me what you really are, you murderer!"
Her mother now had a really worried expression
on her face. This couldnít be acting, she thought...
or could it...?
"What do you mean, dear? Why do you call your
mother a murderer?"
"You are not my mother!!!", she nearly screamed.
Now she looked really dismayed and she nearly
whispered: "Oh, Denya, dear! What did this creature tell you?"
"He showed me how you killed my real parents!
You and Leoric together!"
Her expressions are so real...
"Donít you see? He showed you an illusion.
Something that has never happened...", it seemed her mother was nearly
"No, he didnít. I know it!", but she was not
as sure anymore. "TĎSana told me about you and the Sacrifice! You brought
me up over 20 years... just to kill me now?"
"Oh, dear, I think itís too late. Youíre stammering
nonsense. His influence on you is already too big! Please, Denya, come
Denya was totally confused by the situation.
Now she couldnít believe her parents betrayed her, but she still had some
pictures of the vision in her mind. She stood between TíSana and her parents.
Her mind seemed to fight with itself: In one moment she remembered the
two humans in front of her as her parents and what they did for her in
the last 20 years, then came the pictures of Leoric and Margareth killing
her father. She was pulled in one direction, then in the other one... as
if TíSana and her parents would fight a battle in her head...
Until Margareth stretched her hands out and
smiled Ė it was the same smile she gave her 20 years ago when they had
met first... Suddenly her mind was free. She made a step into TíSanaís
direction. Then another one.
The smile on her motherís face stopped abruptly.
"Wrong decision, dear!"
With these words her father who had been as
silent as TíSana the whole time cast a mighty lightning bolt onto the dragon,
which screamed in agony. Her mother also cast a lightning bolt and TíSana
was completely wrapped in jerking lightnings. Then he stopped screaming
and fell to the floor, motionless.
"No!", she whispered it. Was she doomed to
bring death to all the people she loved?
She turned around to her parents, with tears
in her eyes "YOU BASTARDS!!!", she screamed, weeping.
"Shhhshhh, Denya! You surely donít want to
be in a bad mood tomorrow. After all, itĎs your birthday. Sleep now!",
her mother said with her typical cold smile. Then she touched her eyes
with her fingers and a wonderful darkness surrounded her.
Chapter 4: Sacrifice
It was night.
She didnít know how long she had slept.
The full moon was shining above her.
She couldnít move.
Denya was tied on some kind of altar. To the
left of the altar seemed to be a cliff - the ground just ended there. To
her right stood a few old trees on the hard and stony earth. This had to
be the Druidís Mountain. Between the trees a fire was burning. She could
hear her parents.
"And you are sure the spell works, Leoric?",
that was Margareth.
"Yes - the energy will split and flood into
us both. Donít be worried Magareth, it will work, Iím sure... oh, look,
our girl is awake!"
With these words he appeared in her field
of vision. His face was as grave as it had always been.
"Did you have a good sleep, dear?"
She did not answer and turned her face in
He sighed: "Denya, tell me! Wouldnít you do
this at my position? Imagine! You could do what you want! You would have
power - endless power! You would not have to fear anyone... or anything!"
"But I would not kill someone I have known
and loved for 20 years!"
"Oh, Denya, youíre so naive. Let me tell you
something: We never loved you! Never!"
She turned around again: "Thatís not true!
I know you loved me. I could feel it throughout all the twenty years. You
cannot say you didnít love me! You cannot!"
He laughed: "Oh, dear! MaragarethĎs telepatic
abilities were better than I thought. You have to know she manipulated
you the whole time. She told you mentally never to leave the castle Ė so
you did not flee. She gave your subconscious the idea that we loved you.
So you had this feeling. She made you do things sometimes you didnít want
- without you ever knowing it!"
"But... I never wanted to leave the castle,
because... because... I thought, you would...", she burst into tears. She
couldnít speak anymore. It was a shock: 20 years - a game, a drama, a play
of twenty years. Just for her.
Leoric continued: "You should know, when I
first dreamed of the prophecy, I couldnít believe it of course. But when
I spoke with Margareth and some other mages, who had all the same dream,
it got more and more likely that your birth would happen and the prophecy
would show itself as true. And then ten years later we sensed the power
- the pure magical power. We were drawn into your direction magnetically.
The only time in my life I really loved you, was when we found you in your
basket and I knew that you were real..."
"After you killed my parents, murderer!"
He knitted his brows.
"I didnít know your parents, but I can speak
openly and honestly, when I say..."
He stopped. His eyes widened. He groaned...
and then he collapsed, dead. Behind him stood Margareth with a bloody dagger
in her hand. And with her typical smile she said: "Sorry Leoric, but I
wanted to be sure that nothing goes wrong at the Sacrifice... but you surely
Then she looked up.
"I donít know the exact time, but your birthday
is very near, Denya! Oh, as he told you, it was a hard time with you! I
always had to concentrate when you were near at first. Five years of work
until you fully accepted us... and this dragon destroyed everything within
a day! He was powerful - but not as powerful as we thought. He was easy
to defeat. Was he your friend?"
"Oh, Iím sorry. Iím sure you will soon meet
him again. But please, dear, be honest: Did you fully trust him? You knew
nothing about him. He could have eaten you when he got hungry... just like
that! You donít know what you have chosen as a friend! He is still a wild
"NO! YOU do not know what I have chosen as
a friend! You donĎt know anything about dragons! You know only the stereotypes
of them Ė you donít know what they really are! And youíre much worse than
this wild animal!"
"I think I have to tell you that this dragon
had similar powers to me. I think he manipulated your mind like I did years
before. I donít know exactly what he told you, but I think the least of
what he said was true. I think he was a liar like me and Leoric. He would
have brought you here by midnight and he would have killed you. But he
is dead - as Leoric is. Iím the last liar standing! Iím the winner of the
great game of the gods! And I will join them after I have conquered this
world for myself!", she nearly screamed the last sentences - then she got
quiet again, "I have you to thank, Denya! Because you will give me the
gift, the power!"
Margareth kissed Denya on her forehead. Then
she raised her bloody dagger.
"Happy Birthday, Denya!!!", she cried.
But the dagger did not come down. Margareth
was just standing there. Denya could see through a great round hole in
her belly. Suddenly a claw materialized in the hole - and behind her TíSana,
the red dragon. He had just pierced her with one of his sharp claws. MargarethĎs
rattled and she spat blood - then the dragon raised her and threw her body
into the air. As she flew he took a deep breath and spat a great white
flame in her direction. Only ashes were falling to the ground. He turned
to Denya and smiled.
Invisibility - very useful...
"TíSana, I thought you would be..."
Dead? Oh, it takes a little bit more to
kill a dragon than some lightning bolts from two human-mages! Are you alright?
"Yes, thank you", now she smiled, too, "I
thought that would be my end..."
Hey, I told you they wouldnít hurt you!
The dragon smiled even wider.
But you may relax now - itís over!
"Yes... finally..." So her muscles relaxed.
And then she had a vision.
She was flying. It seemed to be the same spell
TíSana had cast on her in his cave.
But it couldnít be one of her memories...
it was a memory of TíSana! She was in his body, she shared his vision,
his feelings and even his emotions - she was a dragon! Denya was flying
above the clouds, so a beautiful white landscape spread under her.
And she felt a magical presence. A magnetic
power that forced her to fly into a special direction. Then she broke through
the clouds. There were woods below her... rivers, meadows and roads. And
there she found what she had searched for. Two humans were on the road
Ė her sharp eyes detected a man and a woman... and the woman carried something.
A child... the child she was searching for. DenyaĎs mind knew what had
to come now Ė but her mind was still a low voice she didnít notice. She
was overwhelmed by the feelings she had. It was wonderful to fly... it
was pure freedom! Now she was very near to both humans, so she went into
a glide not to scare them too soon. But a few seconds before she landed,
her shadow fell over them and they turned around. The woman screamed and
the manĎs eyes nearly fell out of his head. The baby, her target, also
began to scream. But Denya was still enthralled by the completely new feeling
of TíSanaís body and she ignored the voices that said she knew the two
faces in front of her. She landed directly in front of the two humans which
caused them to make some steps backwards.
The man reacted first: "What do you want,
dragon?" He really had courage.
She could hear TíSana think... or was she
I want this child.
"No! Youíll never get it! No one will ever
get it! It is my child and I will protect it from everyone thatís going
to come and steal it for this damn Sacrifice! Come on, dragon, fight me!
I have no fear!"
You fool! Do you really think you can win
this battle? Just hand out the child and perhaps I will let you and your
The man just watched her. Then he raised a
hand - and out of his finger came a magic bolt which hit her chest and
froze her immediately. The pain was terrible. And that brought her out
of her lethargy. She was not TíSana, she was just in his body... and she
was about to fight her father! He still looked like the man the dragon
had shown her in her old vision.
But for now, TíSanaís body couldnít move.
She watched her father as he said: "Ha! You think Iím as easy to defeat
as other humans? You think it would be easy to get the child of immortality?
Just like this? YOU are the fool, dragon!"
With these words he cast some magic spells
that caused horrible pains throughout her body. She wanted to stop it,
but she had no control Ė she could only watch, think and suffer. But then
the mage, her father, made a mistake: In his rage he cast a magic firebolt
to make him feel even more pain. Of course that caused the ice to melt
and the dragon was free again. He raised a claw and pinned her father to
I think the answer to the question "Who
is the fool?" has changed again - but I think it wonít change anymore...
Then SHE took a deep breath. She didnít want
to see what had to follow now, but she couldnít close her eyes or look
away. So SHE spat a bright flame that was just as hot to let her father
live and scream in agony for a couple of seconds until the screams stopped
and the fire SHE spat gained more brightness and finally burned him to
ashes. She felt TíSanaĎs deep satisfaction Ė and she wanted to scream and
wake up... but the torment continued.
TĎSana searched for the woman - she ran down
the street. But the dragon was weakened by the pain. Not without exertion,
Denya threw himself into the air and followed her. Suddenly the woman stumbled
and fell down. Denya roared triumphantly while she was thinking No,
no, please, donĎt... She landed before her mother. The relatively
young woman got on her feet and stared into the eyes of DenyaĎs draconic
body. The child was nowhere to be seen...
Whereís the child, human?
Fear was in the eyes of her mother... she
could even smell her fear. But the woman said: "I wonít tell you! You will
never find her! Not in a thousand years!" Then she spat on the ground in
front of the dragon. A great anger overcame Denya. The SHE opened her mouth
and closed it over her. Then SHE raised her head and swallowed her own
mother who was still struggeling and screaming in her mouth. At this action
all thoughts of Denya screamed in psychical agony - but her thoughts were
the contrasts to the feelings of her body: She could taste the blood of
her mother - it was really delicious! And after swallowing her mother completely
there was again this feeling of complete satisfaction. These paradox feelings
and thoughts drove her mad - but the vision still continued. Suddenly she
heard horses with her great sense of hearing. They seemed to be one or
two miles away. She threw herself up into the air and peered into the direction
the sounds came from. There were two horses - she knew the humans that
sat on them. It was Leoric and Margareth. Suddenly a wave of deep anger
overwhelmed her. TíSana was too weak to fight both of them - they were
too powerful for him now. He watched them from the air while they found
the child somewhere in the woods beside the roads. Then he followed them
to their castle that wasnít really far away.
But Denya had just one thought for the rest
of her vision:
I killed my parents...
I killed my parents...
I killed my parents...
I KILLED MY PARENTS!!!
"I KILLED MY PARENTS!!! OH, MY GOD, I KILLED
MY PARENTS!!! I KILLED MY..."
She was immediately quiet. She wanted to scream
on, but something told her not to do so. TíSana was still smiling his draconic
grin - but now she realized it as the evil smile it had always been.
For some reason youíre right, my dear Denya!
You really killed your parents! Your birth... your existance killed them!
"Why? Why you? What... what about your promise?"
Youíre still a foolish child! This promise
doesnít exist! And you know the reason why Iím doing this.
Partially! Mainly I cannot live on this
planet together with your species! You are spreading all around the world
and you declare yourselves the great rulers of it! But youíre weak! Look
at yourself! What are you without any weapon or magical abilities? Meat!
Thatís what you are! It cost me great effort not to kill you immediately
when you were in my cave. And it cost me even more effort to talk to you
like a cute little pet! But I think that whatís coming is worth the trouble!
Millions of people will die - just because of you!
With that he raised a talon and pointed it
on her chest.
She closed her eyes...
TíSana was standing at the cliff. He could feel
the power streaming through his veins. It was true! He was immortal! It
wasnít just a feeling - it was an inner assurance. He just enjoyed the
pure power that was flooding him for about half an hour - then he asked
himself what to do with his new power. He had just forgotten it. Then he
saw some lights on the road under him. It was a caravan of gypsies. Oh,
yes... he knew what to do with his new power now. He spreaded his wings
and flew down the mountain.
A slack hand was hanging down the altar, still
lit by the fire on the mountain. But the flame had burned down and wouldnít
do it any longer.
As the screams of dying humans sounded up
to the mountain, the fire began to flicker. It wasnít the sound of a battle
- it was the sound of a massacre. Men, women, children, even babies - they
all screamed and died in pain and agony. Only the triumphantroaring of
the dragon was louder than the terrible noise of dying humans.
And as the last screams of a dying child echoed
over the mountain, the fire went out...