The dragon stood, its scales shining in the light. Its master, the kind king, had died.
His son was a very evil man, one who would forsake the people for his own comfort. The
dragon knew of the prince’s heart, and feared his role in the plot. He said to a son of
Arthur, “Once, in the future, the kingdom will be in need of me again. When that time
comes, I will be waiting. Until then, this will be the key to calling me.” The shining
green dragon handed the man a pendant, a glittering scale with an etching in the center.
“But when will that tie be? How can we call you with this?” asked the pure son, the
true son of the king. The pendant shined in the sun as brightly as a diamond, and the man
could feel the etching of a dragon as he held it in his hand.
“The time will come, and you will know,” said the giant. The dragon was fading into
the air. His body was becoming invisible, fading away. After the dragon disappeared, the
man ran, climbed atop his steed, and galloped away. He was never heard from again.
I closed the book. I had read that legend since I was a boy. I no longer believed in
dragons, nor that anything could save us from our king. But for some reason, the story
made me fell…hope. I hid the story under my pillow. I looked at the beautiful, but worn,
green binding again, and smiled. I held the glittering green pendant close to my heart
before tucking it beside the ancient book.
My father gave the book to me, along with the pendent, on my last birthday. “On this,
my son, the celebration of your 15th year, you will receive his,” he said, handing me
the book and wrapping the pendant around my neck, “ Protect it with your life, you that
is what it may cost you to lose it, but do not fear, I believe in you my son.”
That was the last I saw of the old man. The next day he had disappeared, and no one acted
like he had ever existed, but I know he was there; no king can erase my father from my
memory. I vowed my revenge anew and pulled the cover over my head. “I will find you
father, and avenge you!” I whispered under my sheets.
I got out of bed and stretched, quite a feat in my cramped room. The bed itself took up
about half the room, my stuff and the door took up the other half. I waded through clothes
until I got to the bathroom. I washed my face and got dressed in simple brown tunic. I got
my pendant from under my pillow and tied it around my neck, hiding it under my shirt. I
walked into the main room and sat at a wooden chair. The seat creaked with age as I
reclined in it. The table that was before me was cracked and leaned a little to the left.
I sighed and picked up an empty cup. I went to the sink and washed it out, then filled it
to the brim with cold water and sat back down. The water made my teeth ache with cold as I
gulped it down in less than a minute.
“Awake Christen? I thought you would sleep ‘til past noon again.” sad old Baron. He
wasn’t much to look at; his face covered with scars from ancient battles and wrinkled
with age. He was very kind, otherwise who knows where I would be now. I shuddered at the
thought of a labor camp, an army or a prison, each one much worse than death. The old man
has taken care of me ever since my father disappeared, and I still doubt he knows why. It
made me fell terrible, but he was better off not knowing, it wouldn’t help him, if
anything he’d disappear too.
“Tried. Another part of my roof has a crack in it. I’ll fix it sometime this
afternoon,” I said to him as he sat across the table from me. It was true enough. I had
another nightmare and a piece of the roof crashed on me while I was twisting and turning.
The old man laughed heartily, “Quite the work horse, are ye’?” He got his own cup,
washed it and filled it up, then sipped his water slowly.
“Got that right,” I said, laughing heartily. There was a loud booming knock at the
door. “Who could that be? This early in the morning?” I asked the old man.
“Don’t forget, not all of us have the same urge to sleep ‘til noon, boy. I’ll go
see who it is, you get started on that hole in yer roof,” he said, standing, his ancient
bones creaking in protest almost as much as the chair.
“Aww, why now? I just woke up, I’ll do it later,” I started to argue, but he would
hear none of it. “Fine,” I mumbled, walking to my cramped room. At least I wouldn’t
have to worry about falling on the floor, the piece of roof had gotten stuck between my
bed and the door to the room. I gave the door a good kick as I heard the door open.
I heard yelling from the door and left the door open a tad so I could hear what was
happening. Someone with a very gruff voice yelled, “We know you have him! Bring him to
us, or we’ll find him ourselves!”
Baron was blocking their path, and I heard him get pushed aside, he knocked some of the
chairs over. I grabbed the pendant and the book from my bed and his them in my pockets.
“Christen! Run, boy! Run!” yelled Baron. I complied almost immediately. Jumping onto
my bed, I climbed up the walls to my room and through the hole in my roof.
Two men walked through my door, dragging the old man behind them. “Where is he?”
asked the gruff-voiced man from before. His armor was a vicious black, with red gloves for
hands, and a huge sword strapped to his back. The other was a much shorter man, probably
nothing more than some sniveling man who thought he might get some gold for his help. I
grimaced at he threw Baron onto my bed. They obviously hadn’t been treating him well in
the past few minutes, he already was bleeding at the lip and his arm was hanging loosely
from his side when he sat up. “Don’t make me repeat myself old fool! Where is the
boy?” said the man in the back armor.
He drew his sword, yet Baron said nothing. I couldn’t watch. I turned and never looked
Baron was gone, my home wasn’t safe. Where as I to go? Where could I go? Who was that
man in the black armor? The question swirled in my mind, searching for answers I could not
give. I ran into the forest of Karin. I hid in the treetops, one of my favorite pastimes,
usually. I couldn’t even enjoy the breezes for fear of being found. I smelled something
acrid, like smoke. I looked at my old home, t was up in flames! The only one I could see
that wasn’t in the fire was the man in the black armor. I guess he liked the greedy man
as much as I did. I shed a tear for Baron, he was a kind old soul. My old life was gone.
Just like my home.
The sun set. I laid in the tree, I was used to the cold of the night, a tree was more
comfortable on many occasions than a hard bed in a crowded room. The moon bleached
everything a bone white before I slept. When I awoke, I found I had cried more during my
sleep. I wiped away the tears. I looked around, no one was nearby. The branch, however,
decided to make sure I wasn’t nearby. The only thing I heard was a crack that made my
hair stand on end. I swore as the branch gave way and dropped, with me still sitting o it,
to the hard ground.
I groaned as I sat up. Grass was a lot less softer than it appeared. At least I wasn’t
a bit tired. Sighing, I laid back on the dew covered grass and thought over what had
happened. What else could I do? My home was gone, the old man was gone, all of my stuff
was gone. Wait! I still have the book! What use is an old book, though? I guess I’m just
happy to have something to remind me of my father. Was that what had happened to him? Was
that man in the black armor the one who had gotten rid of my father? Its not like I would
ever know, not now at least, if ever.
I opened the book are read one line ‘In the deepest despair, in the darkest sorrow,
there are two things which are most powerful, the ability to wait and hope.’
I sighed and picked myself off the ground. The best thing to do is to move. At least it
will help me clear my mind. It was the begging of fall, and the leaves were just beginning
to change into beautiful golden shades. The leaves that had already fallen crunch under my
feet with each step.
With each step I took I grew more homesick, I walked for nearly two days without a break.
I was starving, and all I could find to eat were random plants that I thought against
eating. On the third day, just about noon, I couldn’t take it anymore. I feel down and
closed my eyes.
I groaned and opened my eyes. Where was I? The floor was wood and carpet, not leaves and
grass. The air was warm and dry, not cold and wet. I sat up. “Awake at last, are ya?”
I snapped to attention, turning around, I say an old woman, standing over a pot. I looked
into the pot, and shrunk back. It was my clothes, she was washing them, but that would
mean…I flushed and drew the coarse brown cover they had wrapped me in closer to me,
wrapping it around my entire body.
Someone opened a door into the room; it was a young woman in a blue kimono. “So he’s
awake, is he? Thought he was a goner after seeing that bruise on ‘is back,” she said.
So she undressed me? I blushed deeply and brought the cover up to my nose, “So who are
you? Why do you have me here?” I asked.
They turned to me and laughed. “Oh, big shot wants answers does he?” said the girl,
she was about my age, maybe a year older, “Well, wouldn’t be right if we withheld
information from such an important person. I’m Ayame, and that’s my grandmother,
I knew I should not trust them, but they wouldn’t have saved me if they were bad, or at
least I hoped not. “My name is Christen, Christen Rose.”
“Odd last name, Mr. Rose,” said Ayame, laughing. She pulled a bag from behind her and
tossed it to me. “Sorry I can’t stay behind, but I got other stuff to do,” she said,
laughing. She walked out, turning one last time to wink. I looked in the bag; it was
clothes. I blushed and tried to think of a way to change without moving the cover.
The clothes were a little tight, but that was fine. At least they were fresh. They had
given me a black shirt and a pair of coarse pants. I excused myself from the house and
walked outside. Ayame joined me.
“So, Mr. Rose,” she said, laughing, “What brings you to these parts?” She was
wearing another blue shirt, her arms folded behind her back, as she followed me.
“Huh These parts?” I asked. How far did I walk?
“You don’t know? Your in the Hiro region, you’re about as far north as your gonna
get in your lifetime.”
“Hiro?” I remembered hearing that name someone, but I’m not sure. “And as far as
what brings me out to these parts? Well, can you keep a secret?” I had to trust her,
otherwise I’d go mad.
“Of course, the only person I could tell is Grammy, and I can defiantly keep a secret
from her.” She said, eager to hear the big secret.
“Well, the king is after me, he burned my home, killed my father, and even Baron, an
old man who took care of me,” I said, watching her eyes carefully.
“Woah!” she said, excited. “I never knew an outlaw before, what’d ya do?”
“Nothing! I mean, I didn’t do anything. He is after me because of some legend.”
“Legend? You mean like a fairy tale?”
“No, Its in here,” I said, reaching in my pocket. It was gone! “Where is my book?!
Where is my pendant?!” I yelled.
“That green book and the shining necklace?” she asked. “Well, we kinda left it
where we found you. We figured it would have been easier to save you without your stuff.
“Where did you find me?” I asked.
“Near the forest, by the clearing, nearly an hours walk from here.”
I took off, I have to find my book! I reached the forest quickly, my nerves were on full
alert. I heard the crunch of the leaves, but there was another sound behind me, she was
“Stop! You don’t know what you’re gonna find!” I turned to ask what she meant,
but suddenly something reached from the shadows between the trees and hit me in the head.
I feel to the ground, whatever it was, it was hard. My vision was blurry, I looked up. A
bright red vine had reached from a violet flower. I tried to stand, but it just snaked
itself around my feet. I yanked and tugged to no avail.
“What did I tell you?” she said, finally catching up. She looked around, troubled.
“Can you keep a secret for me?” she asked. Why was she asking me to keep a secret for
her now of all times? I nodded anyway, and she walked over.
Laying her hand on the vine around my knee, she closed her eyes in concentration.
Suddenly my leg felt very hot, I wanted to dip it in some icy water after nearly two
seconds. The vine started to hiss and shriek, then it burst into flames and let my leg go.
I drew back, patting my leg to cool it off.
“Ta-da!’ she said, smiling nervously.
What was she? It didn’t matter for now, I had to find my book! “Where is my book from
here?” I asked, scrambling up as quickly as I could.
“Its only ten minutes off, you run really fast,” she said. She tried to get up, but
didn’t seem able to.
“Here,” I said, holding my hand out to her. She grabbed it and I lifted her up onto
my back. “Now you can be my guide,” I said, starting off in the direction she
We reached the clearing in nearly five minutes. I sat her down on a nearby stump and
searched all over. There it was! The green binding was a little dirty, but other than that
fine. I hugged it to my chest, and held it over my heart as I looked for my pendant. Where
was it? I swept away the dirt and found nothing. “Where is it?” I cried out in
“What is missing?” Ayame asked from her seat.
“I cannot find my pendant!”
“The shiny green necklace?”
“That’s it! Where is it?”
“Well, it might have been stolen, by the gremlin.”
“Gremlin?” I asked, what in the world is a gremlin?
“Yeah, it’s a monster, some sort of animal or demon, its not very smart, and it likes
really shiny things. It hoards them up in its cave, nearly a mile away from here. I
don’t think you’ll be able to get it back though, sorry. The thing is stupid but
strong. And I doubt anyone from the kingdom would help,” she explained.
A gremlin took my treasure. I never would’ve guessed it. I picked a stick off the
ground and held it in my hand. “Seems good enough,” I said to myself.
“For what?” she asked, confused.
“For beating the things brains in until it gives my pendant back. Which way is its
“Its to the east,” she said pointing, “but I hope you change your mind, or you’ll
“Well, I’ve been lucky so far, might as well see how far it’ll go,” I told her.
Suddenly a rock hit me in the side of the head. “Idiot! It has nothing to do with luck.
If you’re gonna go, I might as well go to protect you, because you’re not gonna leave
me on this stump to rot!”
I nodded, rubbing my cheek. “Fine, I’ll take you, but make me a promise, don’t die
“Agreed,” she smiled. She laughed and reached out for me to pick her up. I sighed and
She was unusually happy for someone who a few seconds ago told me to take her to a
demon’s home, I thought to myself. I carried her to the top of a hill and sat down to
rest for a bit.
“Stopping already?” she asked, beaming. I nodded, wiping away swat. “Hey, I’m not
that heavy,” she laughed. She wasn’t, to be sure, but it is hard to walk so far with
any burden. It was nearly three hours since we had found my book, and I still held it in
my pocket. “Well, we’re here anyway,” he said, looking around.
“This is it?” I asked, looking around, all I could see was a grassy hill.
“It’s a cave, idiot, its under the hill,” she said, hitting me in the head softly.
I nodded, realizing she was right, I sat her on a rock overlooking the hill and pulled the
stick I had been carrying with me from my belt. I walked over the hill and saw one of the
worst sights I could ever see.
The gremlin was one of the ugliest things I had ever seen. It was covered in sickly
yellow fur, and its big, bulging eyes were nearly black. It was short, only about three
feet tall, but it’s arms and legs were muscular and it had brown fangs that dripped a
disgusting slime. It was focused on something in its hand. I tried to see what it held, it
was my pendant!
“Hey! Give that back!” I yelled, raising the stick. The thing hissed and clasped the
shining gem to its chest. I swiped at it with the stick, but it batted it away with its
claws and tackled me to the ground. I grabbed the thing by the neck and tried to choke it,
but it kicked off of me, then tried to bite my arm. I raised the stick in self-defense,
but it chewed through it like it was a leaf. I rolled around to the back of the beast
while it attacked the stick. Lifting my foot, I kicked the thing as hard as I could in the
back of its head. It flew into a rock and lay still.
I figured it was dead, so I tossed the remaining sword I held, barely a few splinters,
and walked over to the body. It leapt out at my, nearly reaching my neck before a flash of
light hit it and it fell to the ground. I turned to see the cause and saw Ayame laying
limply on the ground. I picked up my pendant and rushed over to her.
I reached her and lifted her head off of the ground, “Are you ok?” I asked
frantically. She didn’t move. I lifted her off of the ground as quickly and as gently as
I could and started back the way we came. I reached the base of the hill and took off for
the forest, making a bee-line for the clearing. When I reached the spot where I had found
the book I turned around in every direction. How could I have forgotten?
I looked for the stump where I had laid Ayame before, but where was it from the house? I
would not lose someone else! I laid her back on the stump and looked her over. She was
sweating profusely, and she was really pale. Her breathes were shallow and quick. I
reached for her wrist, and drew my hand back, shaking my head. Her pulse was way too fast.
I wiped the sweat from her face and lifted her again, holding her arms together so that
she wouldn’t fall off.
I had decided to keep running in the same direction as before, but how long was this
forest? I’ll make it through the trees at any rate, but how long will it take? How long
would she last in this state? I ran as quickly as my legs would allow, but would it be
I looked around me. My direction had been wrong, but not by much. The house was nearly a
mile from where I stood. I raced towards it, avoiding rocks and pits of various sizes.
When I was nearly halfway there I tripped over a stone, sending me flying.
I grabbed Ayame and hugged her to myself, using my back as a cover for the ground. I
tried getting up, but my leg wouldn’t move. I figured it was broken, but no time to
worry about it now. I dragged myself and Ayame to the house. I reached the door and
knocked as hard as I could. I closed my eyes and everything went black.
I woke with a start. Where was Ayame? I looked around, she was lying on a bed beside the
one on which I was laying. “Finally awake, are ‘ye? Get a good look, its your fault
she’s in this condition.” The old woman’s words cut me sharper than any knife. Ayame
was still pale, but she wasn’t sweating and her breathing was better, why wasn’t she
“What’s wrong with her? Is she ok? Is there anything I can do to help?” I asked,
frantically. I tried to get out of bed, but my leg refused me with a jolting, sharp pain.
“Sit down, you’ll not help anyone with that broken leg. I can’t rightly see why you
were running so fast,”