I step through the portal, leaving behind what was familiar, and all that held hope in my life, behind. I take in a deep breath and let out a sigh, “Another mission,” I thought to myself, “Time to get ready.”
I take strong sniff and am reminded of a familiar smell, I can’t seem to place it but it’s familiar. As if it were a place I had spent years. Turning that thought aside I take a gander at my surroundings and find myself on a plateau. All around me are either sheer cliffs heading straight to hard ground or stiff rock walls heading straight up. There was gritty sand coating the ground, in addition to the odd tree around the plane. I turn around and see the portal shrink into nothingness then I sigh and try think of a way down.
A screeching sound pulses through my ears. Reflexively I turn and see a golden dragon. Unfazed by its sudden appearance I create water and hurl it at the dragon. The water I threw makes a hole in the dragon’s neck. Its wings go slack and it falls to the ground with a crash, pushing out a cloud of dust. I cough and turn away, trying to find a way down when I feel a sudden pain in my back. I twirl around and put water on the wound to keep it from getting worse. I no longer see the adult dragon that I slew but instead hundreds of small dragonlings.
I create a pillar of water around me with spikes made out of the water. Then it explodes outward, killing maybe ten dragonlings and wounding a couple dozen.
“Damn,” I cuss, “That didn’t work to well.” And so, I unsheathe my katana, and create a whip with the water.
I start my assault and the dragonlings respond accordingly. Within seconds fireballs are coming in from all sides, these I easily extinguish with water. I appear to be winning, killing about a hundred, when the dragonlings begin to swarm me with their teeth and claws.
I cry out in pain as one chomps right into my thigh. I slam my katana through its skull and create a skin-tight barrier out of water against my body. I slowly expand the barrier to give me more space, and to keep the dragonlings away. I put water around my thigh injury and then send the water barrier flying outward, killing less than five, but wounding at least a dozen. I consider trying to push them off the cliff when I remember they have wings. I sigh with melancholy and begin hacking away at them with my katana.
After a few moments I have killed the last one. I take a deep breath and fall to the ground, sheathing my katana in the process and wishing that I had healing abilities of some sort. Desperate, I begin to consider ripping apart my robe to make bandages when I realize that I just killed a horde of dragonlings, I could make bandages out of their skin.
Wincing, I get up, blood oozing out of my wounds; I rip apart the dragonlings, cleaning their scaly hide with water I eventually get a few usable hide bandages. With ease I tie them up around my thigh wound, but I can’t make anything work for the burn on my back, so I just leave it.
The wind blows and feels a little cool and I realize that the sun is setting. If I have any hope of living through the night I need a fire. I go around the small plateau and collect some of wood by cutting up the trees with water and preparing them for a fire. In need of a source of fire I slit open the throat of a dragonling and take out its pyrogizzard, the sac that holds the two chemicals that mix to create the fire they breathe. I hold it in my hand and squirt its juices onto the fire, causing a fireball to fly out and set the pieces of wood on fire.
I feel the warmth of the fire on my hands and lie down close to it. It’s going to be a cold night, but I’ve had worse. I curl up next to the fire and shiver until I fall asleep, and then I dream of memories.
The lightning crashes around me and the rain pours. The piece of wood that I’m holding onto barely stays afloat through the giant, crashing waves. My fingers threaten to let go from the cold, and I’ve lost feeling in my feet hours ago. This wasn’t what I expected, to be tossed to and fro in the cold, dark ocean. I’m exhausted and tired, but I know that if I sleep now I will never wake up.
“Skahart!” I scream hoarsely, “Save me please!”
As I’m screaming a giant wave tosses me over. I swallow some of the sour tasting water, and I splutter, momentarily losing grip on the wood. Alas, it was only a moment that was needed for the wood began floating away out of my reach. Exhausted and with no way of staying afloat, I begin to drown in the stormy seas.
I wake up screaming and coughing, memories of that night flood my mind. Frightened, I remind myself that I’ve grown since then; I can breathe underwater and walk upon the water. Never again will I go beneath stormy waves with no hope of going back up.
I look to the East and see the rising sun. A new day has begun, and I have to get off these mountains somehow. At that time I hear the flapping of leathery wings. My heart fills with dread at the thought of another battle like yesterday. I look up and see a silver dragon and my heart skips a beat. I won’t live to see the next hour; I am in no shape to fight off another high ranking dragon.
“Please don’t kill me!” I plead, throwing myself on my knees to show my penitence.
The beast lands on the plateau with a small thud. It speaks with a voice that sounds like the wisdom of millennia, “Now why would I do that? I am here to help you.”
I stare at the dragon, confused. My first instinct is to not believe the dragon, they are sentient after all, and this dragon very well could be tricking me. But, I have no choice but to trust the dragon, either it will slay me outright, or eat me in my sleep, or it truly is here to help me, but then what would its reason for helping me be?
“Help me?” I ask, incredulous.
“Yes, help you, would you like my help or not?” The dragon replies.
I weigh my options. “Yes, I’d like your help.” I reply.
The dragon nods and holds me in its arms. Then it takes off using its powerful wings, the dragon goes very fast through the air. As we are flying above the earth I notice a castle that looks vaguely familiar. Similar to Yggdrasil from the land I left. “But this place couldn’t possibly be that place. It couldn’t possibly be Valencia, the country where the Magister Lords ruled, at least until me and my friends destroyed them.” I smile, “I wonder how they’re doing now? Soren, Gwendolyn, Kathering, Kiandra, Derrick, Rowland and all the others. I wonder if they’re still alive, I wonder if things have happened in Valencia since I left nine years ago.”
As I was lost in my thoughts the dragon had already gotten to a village and was beginning his descent. I could assume it was difficult for him to land without using his front legs, but he managed to do it. He let me go and smiled.
“Here is where we end Thomas. May luck be on your side.”
“Thank you, I appreciate it.”
Then, the dragon takes off and flies away. I stand there smiling until I realize that I never told him my name. My eyebrows furrow as I try to figure this out.
“How did he know?” I ask myself,“How did he know my name?”
I try to shrug it off; after all I need to find a place to be mended before I can do anything of value. So, I head over to the local apothecary and find the healer, a kind, gentle woman with blonde hair and blue eyes.
“What happened to you?” She asks in an accent that I feel like I’ve heard before.
“I got in a scrap with dragonlings.” I reply.
The look on her face tells me she doesn’t believe that any old traveller like me could have faced off against a horde of dragonlings alone. She takes off my makeshift bandage made out of dragon hide and she tends it with herbs, ointments and cotton bandages. “So, what’s your name?” She asks, obviously trying to make conversation in the silence.
“Thomas, Thomas Aquos. I have two sons and a wife back home.” I tell her.
Her eyes widen and she stops sewing my wound. I didn’t realize she was sewing until I see the needle with string; she must have had good ways of stopping the pain. “Thomas Aquos? The Thomas Aquos? Hero of the Rebellion? Son of Vand Aquos, master of water?”
I give her a strange look, “What country is this?”
This question takes her aback a bit, “Valencia,” is her answer.
“What year is this?”
“The second of the years since the Magister Lords have been taken out of power.”
My eyes widen, it all makes sense now; the familiar smell, Yggdrasil, the accent. I’m in Valencia!
I chuckle, “Then yes, I am the Thomas Aquos you speak of, though I am from the future.”
She doesn't seem to question this and begins sewing again, I still don’t feel it. “Well then, do you have a place to stay?”
I shake my head, “No, I don’t.”
“You can stay here with me if you like. My son went off to war last year and he never came back. His room is still up there with everything still inside it. You can stay there however long it takes you to get better.”
I nod, “I’d like that a lot.”
She smiles, and then goes on with sewing. “My name’s Jordan by the way.”
I smile, “That was my mom’s name.”