Story Submission – The Guardian, by MistWalker32: Part 3

© MistWalker32, 2017. All rights reserved.

 

Chapter 4:

That night, Graylon found the book that the man had left. He and his friend Jack, the Merchant’s son, had been taught to read and write so that they could help in their Father’s businesses. It had been years since he picked up the book. Tonight, Graylon read the book cover to cover. The Way. Of course, Graylon listened to the town priest with the rest of the villagers. The message of faith never seemed to connect with Graylon. Something in The Way did. Graylon had always felt an attachment to nature that was stronger than most other people in the village. If what the man had said was true, Graylon knew what he had to do. Graylon talked to his parents about the man, and they thought that the man was a liar. They did not believe there was any other way than what was taught by the priest. The next day, Graylon told his Father that he was going to test one of the new boats they had built. Graylon took some food and water, left a note for his parents, and set out in the boat to find the dragon island.

Graylon made his way along familiar streams and ponds into the marsh. He saw some other boats and waited until no one was in sight. Then he set out farther into the marsh, and by the time the sun had set, he was at the edge of an unknown part of the marsh. He stopped for the night and listened to the sounds of the marsh as he drifted off to sleep. The next day he continued his journey, going farther into the marsh than he had ever gone before. Toward the end of the day, he could just see a large island in the distance. Graylon hoped that the food he brought would last the whole trip. The interior of the marsh was much more difficult to navigate than the edges with which he was familiar. He had intentionally taken a smaller boat, and he was able to portage across dry patches of land when he could not find a way by water. After two more days, Graylon reached the dragon island. His food was gone. He was tired and cranky, and he wondered why he was here and how he had convinced himself to make this journey.

Chapter 5:

The island was larger than Graylon had thought at first. It was wooded and seemed to be quite high. There was a path leading from the shore of the marsh into the trees, beckoning Graylon to come deeper into the forest. The silence was eerie. There were no birds or other animal sounds, only the sound of the trees swaying in the breeze. Graylon set out along the path. It wound around the island and was as at times very steep. He climbed steadily and as the trees ended, Graylon found himself standing at the edge of a large clearing at the top of the island. The clearing had some areas burned and scorched. Around the clearing he could see rusting armor, swords, shields, and other remains of knights and warriors that had made it to the island before him. Across the clearing was the entrance of a large cave. Curled up in the mouth of the cave was an enormous red dragon. The dragon was at least 60 feet long. Its scales were varying shades of red, darker along the back and lighter along the sides. They gleamed and seemed stronger than any armor worn by a man. The legs ended in large feet with claws, each longer than a man’s leg. The mouth was filled with sharp teeth, the eyes dark with flaming read pupils. Great leathery wings curled along its back, and its tail ended in a barbed spike.

The dragon stretched its wings, lifted its head and stared directly at Graylon. The dragon snorted a puff of smoke and said in a low rumbling voice, “Another person here to steal my gold”. Graylon was terrified and frozen to the spot. He did not know what to say. The dragon stood and snorted an even bigger puff of smoke. Suddenly, the man’s words came to Graylon’s mind. “I do not want your gold”, he said. “I was curious to see if you were real”. “Real”, the dragon said, “REAL”? The dragon lifted its head toward the sky and breathed forth a spout of lame that would have fried Graylon in an instant. The dragon let out a deafening roar. “Is that real enough”, it shouted? Graylon put his hands over his ears and tried to clear his head. He was petrified with terror. Then the man’s words were again in his mind. Graylon shouted, “I come to seek knowledge and to find the truth”. The dragon stared at Graylon. It said, “You do not come for earthly riches, but to seek the incomparable treasure”? Graylon nodded his head. “Then let me show you the way”, said the dragon. It turned around and walked into the cave.

Following a dragon into its lair was not something that Graylon thought was wise, but he had to know what was the incomparable treasure. Graylon entered the cave and saw a mountain of gold, gems, shining armor, and weapons. At the back of the cave was a plain door. “Choose your treasure”, said the dragon, watching Graylon closely. Graylon pointed to the door at the back of the cave. “Knock three times”, the dragon said. It then turned and went back to the entrance of the cave.

Graylon knocked on the door and it swung open to reveal an older man with grey hair and a long grey beard. “Welcome to the Library of The Way. You must be Graylon”, he said. “Horgoth mentioned you, and that you might be coming to see us”. Graylon was astonished. All he could manage was to say, “I want to learn the Way, and find the incomparable treasure”. The old man smiled, “My name is Alferion and I can help you with that”. He led Graylon down a passage and into a new world of magickal wonder.

Epilogue:

Graylon studied and learned how to follow The Way. He learned to seek the incomparable treasure. He even became friends with the dragon, with whom he had many interesting conversations. Graylon learned that the followers of The Way, helped protect the dragon with shields and warding spells. He also learned that the dragon even had a sense of humor in a way, and it would chuckle when it remembered the look on Graylon’s face when he first came to the island. After many years of study, Graylon followed in the footsteps of Horgoth, and left the Library of The Way for a time to see the world. During his travels, he met others who, like himself as a young boy, were curious and who felt a strong connection to nature and all its parts. After even a longer time, Graylon was the man behind the door to greet new arrivals to the island. His life was filled with magick and wonder, and he loved to share this with everyone and everything he met. And the dragon and he always enjoyed the look on the faces of new followers of The Way, when they came to the island for the first time.

Works cited:

Ellison, Robert Lee “Skip”. “Dragonlore 101: Europe”.
Zell, Oberon. Grimoire For The Apprentice Wizard. 2004

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