Duvelda did not see the cart. Nor did he hear the
impending clattering of hooves. Within seconds the black horse had knocked him over, sending him under the spinning, spinning wheels…
* Duvelda cracked open a bleary eye, only to quickly shut it against the bright light spilling through the open window to his left. A gentle breeze played about his face and lifted his hair, revealing the ugly bruise it concealed. The sound of whispering, then a chair scraping on the ground grated against his ears and sent his headache scurrying frantically in his brain. He wiggled his fingers and explored around him. Sheets and blankets covered him and his fuzzy brain slowly came to the conclusion he was in a bed. He began to sit up but a large, firm hand pushed him down. ‘No Duvelda, you must rest. Lay back.’
‘What… happened? Where am I?’ he croaked weakly.
‘You were knocked down by a cart in the street. You are in my house, your Mother is busy with the shop and I said I’d take you.’ He paused and let the silence reverberate around the room. He pressed on deliberately.
‘You have a nasty injury to your head, but you can leave as soon as the swelling has gone down in a few days.’ Duvelda opened his eyes slowly for the second time since the accident and allowed himself to focus on the room he was in. He was staring up at a slanted wooden roof held up by two thick beams. The walls were hidden behind floor to ceiling bookshelves which were laden with dusty tomes. Medlor sat on a rickety stool to his right. Medlor was a kindly old man with a twisted wooden staff and a large moth-eaten cloak. The only jewellery he wore was a ring with a black stone set into its face. His astonishingly blue eyes twinkled when he next spoke.
‘Your poor mother has been worried’ His voice sounded like sandpaper rubbing against dry wood.
‘I must go and see her,’ he cried, trying once again to sit up.
‘No Duvelda’ and when Duvelda next looked up Medlor’s eyes had lost their twinkle, only to be replaced by a hard, cold stare.
He coughed, and then softened, saying, ‘you will see her soon, rest now.’ He rose, and left the room, leaving Duvelda alone with his throbbing head.
* Four days later he left Medlor’s house and returned home. His mother fussed over the large purple bruise on his forehead and his smarting limbs.
He was glad to be home. The day after his departure the local healer, Milmanor, called on him to give him a medication for the headaches his mother had told her about. ‘You must drink one of these before all of your meals’ she said to him, pulling out a wooden box containing a large amount of small bottles no bigger then his index finger filled with an odd blue liquid. Duvelda thanked her and asked the thing he had been trying to say since she walked through the door. ‘Gertrude…’ he whispered his next words; ‘Strange things have been happening to me, I went to pick up the eggs in the chicken house and one rolled into a corner. I reached to pick it up and it jumped into my hand.’
‘Calm down, I’m sure you hallucinated the whole thing, your delirious from the accident, trust me.’ She said all of this with a patronizing smile. She stood and said heartily ‘Say goodbye to your mother for me, good day’ and with that she left the house, leaving a sombre atmosphere in her wake.
* The next day he awoke to a sunny light spilling into his room through his curtains. He sat up in bed and yawned, it was a Saturday and his rumbling stomach was demanding food. He stumbled down the stairs rubbing sleep from his eyes. He walked into the kitchen and sat at the rough wooden table. His eyes roamed around the small room. Pots, pans and utensils hung on large brass hooks above a small, manual hob. Cupboards cluttered the upper half of all the walls. A small fire was smouldering quietly in a corner. A mirror hung on the wall opposite wall, reflecting his blue eyes, he looked older than fifteen, and people often said he looked seventeen or eighteen. He reached for the milk only to find him-self already holding it. He looked down in a mixture of amazement and confusion. He decided to experiment. He raised his trembling hand and directed his palm at the nearest cupboard. He thought ‘Pull’ and the cupboard door was pulled open so hard it was ripped from its hinges. Several of the glasses from within fell and smashed on the rough wooden floor. He heard footsteps, but when Medlor opened the door, Duvelda was gone.
* Duvelda was floating in a place between our world, and the realm of darkness. He looked around. Blobs of colour merged into each other as they floated in the strange world of colours and lights. Suddenly the whole place began to rotate, slowly at first but getting faster and faster until he felt himself being sucked down the still spinning vortex. All of a sudden his feet hid solid ground and he knew no more.
* Medlor sat down, exhausted. He wiped the back of his hand over his brow. Duvelda lay at his feet, dazed and disorientated. He sat up and proceeded to throw up in the fireplace. Medlor gave a shaky sigh; ‘Get me a glass of water’ Duvelda raised a sweaty eyebrow.
‘Please.’ Duvelda got to his feet slowly, and went to the sink. He reached up to get a glass out of the cupboard, only to remember…
He leaned back in the chair. ‘ When you used your… new ability you were sucked into the world of shadows, otherwise known as Ranxlard.’
‘Yes, it is the world of an ancient evil, if it ever merged into this world great and terrible things would happen’
‘When you were transported to Ranxlard, you created a tunnel wide enough that all manor of beasts could have come through, it could have been disastrous. Luckily, I managed to close it before it escalated.’
Duvelda rubbed his temple, thinking. He walked towards Medlor and said; ‘This thing, the tunnel, will it happen again.’
‘No, it will not happen again, it happened because you were new to the world of magic, it sucked you in to explore you, to find out your potential. ’
‘We must flee here, the king will have sensed the magic you used and will already have ordered soldiers here.’
‘WHAT’ spluttered Duvelda. ‘Here, to Villien?’
‘Oh yes, many people do not know it, but the king is exceptionally practiced in the magical arts.’
‘We must flee to Landalor, I know a man their that can help you learn the skills necessary to tame your new powers.’
‘You mean I will have to… to leave Villien. His stomach plummeted and his heart rose to accompany his Adams-apple. Leave Villien? The village he had grown up in? He looked at Medlor with his deep hazel eyes, and knew what he had to do.
* Sitting in his throne room in the land forbidden for any peasant to enter, Bilbidar, king Haddraada stared into the ball on the table to his left. It was clouded, but when it was not in use it was completely transparent. He looked away from the crystal ball and clicked his fingers. A head popped around the door and said slyly; ‘Will you be wanting anything… sire.’
He said the last words softly, but Haddraada heard the sarcasm and snarled like dog. He was a formidable, mountain of a man, with a long pearl white sword sheathed at his side. Long, white hair framed his pointed features and a wooden staff was in a stand to his left. He sat up suddenly, grabbed his staff and walked down the small flight of steps that led up to his ornate throne. As he drew closer, Harthacnut, the man who had been summoned began to back away.
Even at the best of times, Haddraada was a dangerous character to be around. Harthacnut had seen what he was capable of!
As the old king reached him Harthacnut fell to his knees and bowed so low that his nose almost touched the marble floor. Grovelling was always the best the bet with the king.
Haddraada seemed pleased at the act of devotion, but whispered, ‘Get out.’ He said those words with such menace and authority that Harthacnut could not disobey.
Haddraada returned to his throne with an air of triumph. He sat down and whistled shrilly.
Seconds later a large black creature with leathery wings swooped in through the open door. It landed next to the throne with a loud thump. It made a noise that sounded like a cross between a purr and a growl.
‘Patience Valconberg, he will be unimportanr soon, then you can …feast’
The dragon leaned back on his haunches and roared at the vaulted ceiling.