'I'll be your angel
when your wings are torn;
I'll be your sunshine
when your halo's gone;
I'll be the goodness
living in your heart;
Life will be too painful
should we ever part.'
The beach was like a sleeping place for the dead. The colour of the sand was bleached by the light of the moon, whose glow was solitary in a night oppressed by heavy purple clouds. The cold, still sea whose fingers quivered up along the shoreline before rushing back to the safety of deeper waters was swallowed up in this dominating gloom.
It was rather a bleak setting, the desolation accentuated by the moans of the wind tumbling out of the forest that stood behind the beach, so the pallid sand was framed by two thick stripes of darkness, one of which stretched off into despair-evoking endlessness.
A single seagull flapped its wings silently as it flew over the invisible waves; it seemed almost as if it were the ruler of this unfriendly, joyless world.
A rustle from the forest.
A boy stepped out from under the trees and he could have been the moon’s own son.
His skin was pale and smooth, and it seemed to emit a faint light as he stood against the backdrop of the trees. His hair seemed white with the faintest tinge of lemon cream, and his eyes were a silvery blue as though a star had fallen into the pools of liquid dusk that were the irises of his eyes. The single garment that he wore was made of grey wool, the light colour of the material complementing the pallor of the boy’s skin and hair: a pair of trousers cut off at the knees, which somehow gave the impression that the boy was a little wild.
From the boy’s back protruded a great pair of white wings, the feathers as smooth as those of a swan, long and graceful like his body yet so light that beating his wings was completely effortless. Every single one of those feathers was perfect, not one of them speckled, all of them having the appearance of being regularly polished clean as they sparkled slightly in the light of the moon’s rays.
The boy was beautiful to the point of transfixion and his beauty was haunting; he was a thought which lingered in the back of your mind, an object you kept reaching for but could never touch.
He stepped forwards, making no more noise than the seagull in the sky. The bow he was carrying in one hand and the quiver of arrows slung across his back lent to him the appearance of some night-time guardian. Indeed, he lifted his bow, notched and released an arrow, and slew with one shot the bird which seemed to be watching over the frozen world: that cold, joyless force. The gull was heedless till the final moment, when his wings stopped obeying him and he fell into the ocean with an undignified splash.
The boy lowered his bow and walked out across the tranquil landscape. He waded through the freezing waters of the sea without a single complaint and found the seagull’s corpse with his empty hand. He put his bow over one shoulder and tugged once at the arrow piercing the bird’s heart, pulling it free. He washed the blood away from the wound and took both arrow and corpse back to the sand.
The arrow he drove into the ground as evidence to the world that he had killed a gull and the corpse he took with him as he walked towards the point at which the sun would rise. The beach formed the southern border of the island and the southernmost line was the longest, so the walk was a long one. Nothing stood between you and the horizon as you travelled east or west. The boy could have flown, with those impressive wings, but he chose not to.
When the eastern coast was in sight the boy’s feet were aching. Four giant caves loomed to his left, meeting the eastern fringe of the same forest he had emerged from. The boy stopped, panting, his luminescent skin sparkling with sweat. He stumbled into the nearest cave and collapsed to the floor, falling heavily on bony knees.
The boy looked more normal as he crawled towards a fire which burned a short distance away: the mud-brown walls of the cave provided a less stark contrast to his skin tone than the night and took away the shine. The flames made his hair look golden and turned his eyes a deeper blue, making them less silvery. The boy paid no attention to this change in his appearance and proceeded with his business. He laid the gull before the fire and closed his eyes, muttering the words “Monda dorma; tua miraz,” seven times. As the last ‘miraz’ left his mouth, the flames flared high, becoming a deep rose colour. The cave disappeared to be replaced by a hall that was all gold and black marble, filled with tiny gemstones carved in the shape of flowers; roses of jet, snowdrops of opal and bluebells of aquamarine lay amongst the collection of delicate beauties.
The boy opened his eyes and smiled. He was used to the sight of these intricately carved wonders and wasn’t even alarmed when a disembodied voice with a deep tone murmured, “Monda dorma, aya mira”. Instead, he bowed his head and said, “Good evening, Emperor Draigaan.”
A bright yellow orb appeared in front of him and grew both in size and intensity - so that the boy had to shield his eyes to stop himself going blind - until light like the sun’s engulfed the entire chamber. After three seconds of swelling, the light faded and before the boy stood a huge amber dragon with eyes like molten topaz and scales like the steel of armour.
“Greetings, Thomegg,” it said, and though the Emperor Draigaan spoke softly his voice filled the whole room. “I thank you for the gull.”
“You’re welcome, my lord,” Thomegg replied.
The reason for his visit was the dragon’s next point.
“Your heart is blue,” it commented, seemingly randomly. “Yet in blue you have found the steel-grey of determination, of resolve. The heart of your heart is silver and your soul is burning gold. You want to fight and you want to be noble. You want to join The Light.”
“I do,” Thomegg said simply.
The dragon sighed deeply.
“There are not enough like you, young Thomegg. For your age you show astounding bravery and for your circumstances you show astonishing love. Reivamonda needs more of your sort and it needs them desperately. You cannot fight alone, child.”
Thomegg’s expression became pained: a mix of sadness and disappointment. He looked much younger than he was, incredibly fragile and vulnerable on his own in the presence of a dragon.
“Does that mean I cannot fight at all?” he asked quietly, unable to meet the dragon’s gaze.
The dragon chuckled lightly. His tone gently reproving, he asked, “Were those my words, child?”
Thomegg looked excited.
“So I can? I really can? Oh, my lord, nothing would please me more than to fight for you, to fight with you, to join this most wonderful cause!”
“I see that,” Draigaan said, quite seriously. “I see your enthusiasm, your sincerity, and all that hope.” His voice dropped in pitch and volume. “If you should fall, the result would be catastrophic.”
Thomegg sobered up.
“Yes, I understand that.”
“There is so much pain.”
Thomegg looked at the ground in shame, as if he could help the fact that there was so much pain.
“Yes, my lord.”
“You cannot be alone... so you shall not. There is a boy in the human dimension. A boy whom I think will serve as an excellent companion. The boy will come to your world in his dreams. Together you will fight The Darkness.”
“Thank you, my lord,” Thomegg said, so softly that he barely could have heard himself.
But Draigaan heard. He inclined his head before saying, “I bid you good night, young Thomegg.”
The chamber was suddenly black. But then, a fire appeared. Thomegg was kneeling before it, staring into the flames. A familiar serenity had swept over him - the serenity of visiting Draigaan’s hall.
“Monda dorma; tua miraz,” he whispered, rising to his feet.
The world is sleeping; you are watching.