It was summer time. School had been over for ages and the impending doom of the dreaded return to school was still far. It had been a good day. Dad was also on holidays which meant that he wasn’t tired in the evenings and in a good mood for story telling. As usual the story has been about dragons and Alberto was still thinking about it.
Alberto shared the room with his brother Alvaro who was always either playing Warcraft on the computer, reading a book and, if Alberto wasn’t careful, playing with Alberto’s DS which he got as a Christmas present from Santa two years earlier for getting good results at school.
«Alvaro. Do you think that dragons could really exist?» Alberto asked his brother.
«Sure thing,» replied Alvaro «and if you don’t shut up and let me sleep I’ll call one so that it gobbles you up.»
Alberto knew that meant dragons didn’t exist, but he still got a bit nervous when he heard a strange scratching sound in the room. Lying in bed in the dark he couldn’t quite tell were it was coming from.
«Alvaro. I think the cat is in the room.»
«No he’s not. Mum took him out. Now please let me sleep.»
Nothing happened for a while. Alberto could hear the TV playing softly downstairs. That mean that his parents were still awake.
The scratching sound came again. Louder this time. He heard Alvaro sitting up in the bed.
«That’s not funny Alberto. If you don’t stop making noise I’ll call mum.»
Alberto, who was now quite scared, said «It’s not me. I didn’t do anything.»
Alvaro got off his bed and stood next to him trying to look mean. «Don’t lie! I did hear you scratch….»
More scratching sounds. This time clearly from the window.
«Muuum!!» shouted Alberto.
«Be quiet. It’s probably just the wind,» said Alvaro walking towards the window and opening the curtains.
There was nothing there. Alberto could see the estuary with the town lights further away in the distance. His brother turned to him with a look of ‘I told you so’.
«But,» Alberto said, » there’s no wind.»
Alvaro realised that what his brother had said was true, there was no wind. He turned toward him, trying to think of some other reason to explain the noise, and saw him looking out of the window terrified. Alberto was trying to say something but no words would come out. Alvaro realised the room had gone darker and that there was that scratching sound again.
He slowly turned to look. The town lights were gone, the estuary was gone, there was nothing there, just blackness. He took a few steps back and said to his brother «I think we should tell dad that the lights have gone,» even though he new it wasn’t true as he could still hear the TV in the background. Suddenly the room lit up with a weird yellow light. He looked out and there, just outside the window, there was a huge cat’s eye.
«MUUUM!!! DAAAD!!!» Screamed his brother.
Alvaro couldn’t quite believe what he was seeing. He hear someone coming up the stairs and his dad saying something on the lines of stop messing about and go to sleep. Then complete silence.
«I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you or Alberto.» Said a sweet relaxing voice, «but I’ve been looking for you for a long time and I had to see you.»
The peace the voice brought to their hearts was so big that the fear the brothers had just felt seem far away. They looked at each other puzzled rather than scared.
«I think he’s talking to you.» Said Alberto, quite glad he didn’t have to talk to THE EYE. No matter how nice it sounded.
«What are you?» Asked Alvaro. Quite convinced now he was having one cool dream he would be able to tell his mates on Messenger the next day.
«My name is Alvaro,» replied the Eye.
«Hahahaha» Alberto burst out laughing. «Good name for an ugly big eye».
Alvaro gave Alberto a dirty look and was going to say something when the Eye said «I’m your brother.»
Alberto stopped laughing and Alvaro smiled. «Yes. You look a bit like my brother.»
The big hearty laugh sounded all over the house. While it laughed the Eye moved and for a second the boys could see the town lights again. There was some big animal with cat eyes just outside the window!
«I’m not a big animal with cat eyes,» said the voice. «I’m a dragon…»
«I knew it! You DO exist!» shouted Alberto, making the dragon go quiet. It has to be said here that no many people have the strength of soul to quiet a dragon.
The eye moved further away and looked at Alberto. They could see the head now. It seemed to smile. A big, scary, full of big sharp teeth type of smile.
«As I was saying before I was interrupted, I’m a dragon. I’m your Dragon Birth Brother. That’s why my name is Alvaro.»
«What’s your name in dragon language?» Alberto asked before Alvaro had the chance to speak.
«Alvaro is the only name I have,» said the dragon.
«In Spanish? Yeah, right,» said Alberto who was quick at catching things like this.
«Be quiet and let him speak.» Ordered his brother.
«How do you know it’s a he?»
«QUIET!! I want to know more,» said Alvaro, and to the dragon he said «Please go on.»
«As I said. Alvaro it’s the only name I have. I was given that name because I was born at exactly the same time as you. Taking into account non linear time of course.»
«What was the last bit he said?» asked Alberto. Alvaro had heard his mum talking about non linear time but wasn’t sure what it meant and it didn’t sound important.
«At the same time as me?» He asked to himself aloud. Just then something that was nagging him became clear. «Hey. How did you know I was thinking of you as a big animal with cats eyes? I didn’t say anything.»
The dragon gave him one of those chilling smiles again and said, «because we are brothers. Dragon Birth Brothers can use mental communication.»
«How come I can hear you then?» Asked Alberto.
The dragon moved a bit further back and looked at him with both eyes. «Yes. I was wandering about that as well.»
The boys got closer to the window and looked at the dragon. It was huge. It looked just like a dragon from the movies. It’s wings were flapping creating a lot of wind but the trees didn’t move. Even though it was dark, the colour reminded Alberto of Saphira, a purple dragon from the film they had gone to see a few weeks earlier. «Dad never got here.» he said to Alvaro.
«You are right.»
Alvaro crossed the room and opened the door. There, he saw his dad walking up the stairs looking crossed but without moving. He turned to the dragon and asked, «did you freeze my dad?»
«I didn’t freeze him. I simply speeded up the flow of time for us. He’s moving really, really slowly from our point of view.»
«Why did you do that?» Asked Alberto.
«So that your parents don’t worry about you leaving.»
«What you mean leaving? We are not going anywhere.» Stated Alvaro.
«I guess I should have started at the beginning. Alvaro, I need for you to come with me to my side of reality. If we are to beat the dark dragons the brothers have to be together. It’s the only way.»
It was just too much for Alvaro. He didn’t know what to say, so he said, «but I have my pyjamas on.»
This time they could actually see the dragon laughing.
«I’m not staying behind,» said Alberto. «If you leave me, I’m going to tell mum and dad about you and him.»
«I can’t bring you,» said the dragon. «You don’t have any powers on my side of reality and I can’t look after you.»
«If I don’t have any powers how come I can hear you? Even if you freeze me like my dad I will tell them about you.»
«They won’t believe you,» said Alvaro. «But I agree. I don’t think we should leave you behind.»
Alberto stared at his older brother. He was actually being nice to him.
«Ok. Fair enough. But make sure you act like his older brother and look after him,» said Alvaro the dragon. «Open the window, climb onto my head and then onto my back.»
The dragon pulled away from the window as soon as the boys had settled on his back and started flying towards the sea. They could see the lights from the town getting bigger and went past them quite fast. Now they were flying in the dark on top of the water. The boys were holding on for dear life but the dragon was flying quite gently so there was no danger of falling.
Suddenly a bright light appeared in front of them and it started to get bigger and bigger. The boys thought they could see clouds inside it. «What’s that!» shouted Alvaro above the wind noise.
«It’s the interdimensional door to my side of the universe. Don’t worry it’s just a door!» Alvaro the Dragon shouted as they flew in.
On the other side it was day time and what they thought looked like clouds were clouds. The boys looked behind and there was a black hole with some lights, which must have been the town lights in the distance, getting smaller. Alvaro the dragon kept on flying and the boys noticed that it was a hot day on this side of the hole.
“Where are we?” Asked Alvaro, “The Sahara desert?”
There was nothing but sand all around. The sand dunes reached all the way to the horizon and the sun burned their eyes.
“No. This desert is called The Sea Of Sand. At least it is what we call it. Other people have other names for it.”
“Does anyone live here?” Asked Alberto.
“Not really, but some humans are quite good at crossing it. They understand it very well.”
“They talk to it?” Asked Alberto wandering how someone could understand a desert.
“You simply have to know the best way to cross it with the least amount of danger. That’s what understand it means.”
“So you understand it very well. We are not in any danger.”
Alvaro the dragon though about this and said “I simply try to cross it as fast as I can or at night time if possible. I don’t think that count as understanding it. People that understand it can cross it any time.”
Alvaro, who had been quiet during the conversation, wandered where they were going.
“We are going to the town of Middleway. There’s someone there who wants to meet you .” Obviously Alvaro the dragon had read Alvaro’s mind so this time he said aloud, “someone wants to meet us? Who is it?”
“His name is Merlin…”
“Merlin!!” The two boys said at the same time.
“The one from King Arthur?” Asked Alvaro.
“Or it is the one from The Sword In The Stone?” Asked Alberto.
“It’s the same one you silly,” said his brother.
“Well I don’t know about that king or about a sword in a stone. I just know that Merlin told me how to find you and that he and his dragon have been around for a long long time. Before I was born.”
“And Merlin knows about us?” asked Alberto.
“Yes. He seems to know you and your side of the universe quite well.”
“Great!” said Alberto. He was looking forward to meeting this Merlin. He was also getting quite nervous about something but wasn’t quite sure what. He just knew that something was about to happen.
Alvaro noticed his brother getting fidgety and nervous. He was going to tell him to relax a bit when he saw some mountains in the distance. Just then he felt a tingling sensation on his back and the feeling of danger. For some reason he didn’t quite know he looked to the north, towards the sun. Alvaro the dragon was also looking that way. Near the sun he could sometimes see a small yellow light, like a star, but in the middle of the day. Alberto was really exited now, talking away about Merlin and dragons and how great everything was.
“We have company,” said Alvaro the dragon.
“Who, where?” Asked Alberto.
“It’s over there. To the north. Flying next to the sun.” said Alvaro simply knowing that the speck of light was alive and coming towards them. Alberto had seen it too and went dead quiet.
“It’s a dragon,” said Alvaro.
“Correct and it’s flying very fast towards us. I may have to land so that you can get off. If we get into a fight I can’t defend you if you are on my back.” Saying this he started flying lower and lower in circles.
Just before they got to the ground the other dragon had caught them. They just saw this golden bright streak of light flying on top of them and over shooting past them. They looked and saw it was a smaller dragon that was simply trying to stop which he managed by closing it’s wings and crashing on top of a dune. There was a loud thump and sand flew everywhere.
By then, they had reached the ground and waited. Alvaro the dragon wasn’t worried any more and Alvaro, feeling this, was also relaxing. If the other dragon had wanted to attack them he would have done so by now. Alberto on the other hand though it was really funny and was laughing out loud.
“Ha ha ha ha! It doesn’t know how to land at fast speeds and thought the sand would slow him down.”
“How do you know that?” Alvaro asked his brother.
“Mmmmm. I’m not sure,” said Alberto, looking puzzled.
Just then, from under the settling pile of sand, a dragon head appeared. Bright golden and smaller than Alvaro the dragon. The new dragon looked them and smiled. His smile was also full of sharp teeth but to Alberto it looked like a nice friendly smile. “Hi there!” it shouted while it stood up and shook the sand off a bit like a dog shaking off water. “I finally found you. I felt you the moment you crossed over to this side.” He started walking closer looking ever so happy with himself. “I still don’t know how to open interdimensional doors, so I couldn’t go and collect you.”
“Thanks” said Alvaro “But I already had someone collect me.”
Just then the other dragon who was getting some sand out of his eyes, stopped and looked at Alvaro. “I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to…”
“Me!!” shouted Alberto. Who, without anyone noticing, had climbed down from Alvaro the dragon and was running up the dune towards the golden dragon.
“Yes” answered Alberto the dragon “And I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time”.
Just then Alberto had reached the golden dragon and had his arms wide open so as to give him a hug, which obviously he couldn’t because his arms weren’t long enough but when the dragon lowered his body and Alberto reached his head it felt like the biggest hug ever. The two Alvaros were very aware of how emotional the meeting was. Just then Alberto said “OK” and climbed on the golden dragon’s back. The moment Alberto was holding on, the dragon soared into the sky.
Alvaro simply stared. After a while he said to his dragon.”How come Alberto can hear your thoughts and I can’t hear Alberto the dragon’s thoughts?”
“I was also wandering that!” he said and Alvaro felt that his dragon was puzzled and impressed.
“Is not normal then?” he asked.
“No. Usually just the birth brothers can hear each others thoughts.” He answered while looking at the golden dragon doing some crazy stunts and Alberto screaming and laughing.
Alvaro wished he could be closer and straight away his dragon jumped to the air and flew near Alberto.
“Stop doing that!” Alvaro shouted at his little brother. “You could fall down!”
“What like this?” shouted Alberto and fell off the dragon.
Alvaro’s heart missed a beat seeing his brother fall, but in less than a second the golden dragon had dropped below the falling Alberto and caught him.
“You brother is some crazy dude Alvaro. Although there’s real synchronization between them.”
Alvaro felt his dragon think aloud the words “Come on. Merlin is waiting for us and we still have over an hour fight”. The golden dragon and Alberto flew next to them and together they flew West towards the mountains.
Alberto could see the mountains getting bigger and bigger although they were still far. The dessert was changing too. There were bushes and trees and rocky areas with grass. He felt everything around him in detail. He knew that in some places there were people looking at them, even though he hadn’t seen them. He was so happy. It was like when Santa brought him his Nintendo DS. He felt his dragon and it was like they had known each other all their lives. They trusted each other with soul, heart and body.
He looked at his brother with his dragon and they looked impressive. The dragon a dark purple and his brother sitting on top looking like he’d been there all his life. He felt Alvaro the dragon looking at him and knew that he was very happy for him. He knew then how his brother felt and realised that even though he could hear the other dragon’s thoughts the connection was nothing like what he felt with his dragon birth brother. He looked at his brother Alvaro and realised Alvaro was a bit worried about him. “I’m OK!” He shouted and his brother smiled. “This is brilliant!”.
Alberto could now see a city in the distance. Below, there were fields and small creeks that were too straight to be natural. They flew past a small village of no more than ten houses. Some people stared at them and they were apprehensive. Alberto realised that dragons were not a welcomed sight to everybody. Some people were even scared.
The city of Middleway lay between the mountains and the dessert, which was probably why it was called Middle-way. The city looked a bit medieval and a bit like a town out of The lord Of The Rings. That is, with houses that looked old and normal and some big buildings here and there that were too big for a normal town. They flew to the centre of the town and Alberto noticed it had a big square with a fountain in the middle. They landed and, although the dragons were big, there was plenty of room in the square. Alberto realised that apart from being the square it was also a dragon’s airport, somewhere they could land with ease.
The two boys slid down their dragons and Alberto’s went to the fountain and started drinking. They had been flying through the desert for ages and he was very thirsty. Around the square there were other people who looked at them for a while and then carried on with their business.
Alvaro the dragon turned to the boys and said “That house behind you is were Merlin lives. Go there. He’s waiting for you.”
The boys turned and and saw that the so called house was one of the big buildings. It had a large door that looked like a tall garage door with a smaller people door in the middle of it. It had normal windows and large round windows higher up.
The boys crossed the square and knocked on the door. No one opened. They were about to knock again when Alvaro the dragon told them to just walk in. The door wasn’t locked, so they walked in.
Inside the building, there was a large room with a very high ceiling and a number of doors on the sides. In the middle there was a large table and a man with white hair with his back turned to them was quietly moving his head up and down.
“Hello” said Alvaro. No reply.
“Hello there!” he said louder. Still no reply.
“Hey there!!” shouted Alberto.
The man stopped nodding, took something out of his ears and turned smiling at them. “The brothers have arrived! Welcome to Middleway! You are a bit early.”
Alvaro remember something and said “No we are not. Dragon birth brothers arrive exactly when they are meant to arrive.”
Alberto turned and said “Hey. That’s what Gandalf said.” and Alvaro winked at him.
Merlin smiled and said “Quite right. I like that answer. A wizard’s answer.”
“Come closer please,” he said as he put something on the table.
The boys walked closer and Alberto looking at the table said “Look!! He was listening to an iPod!”
Alvaro looked at the table and true enough there was an iPod and headphones on top.
“Were you listening to music?” Asked Alvaro but then he thought better of it and asked “How can you get iPods here?”
Merlin looked at the iPod and then at the boys. “I do keep a close eye on your side of the universe. Sometimes I bring back little things that are useful or make my life more pleasant.”
“How do you charge it?” asked Alberto.
Merlin looked at him and smiled. “I see you are good at spotting things out of place,” said Merlin. “I also got a solar panel system. It’s very useful.”
“What type of music were you listening to?” Asked Alvaro wandering what on earth would a wizard out of a Disney movie like to hear.
“Right now I was listening to Linkin Park” The two boys jaws dropped. “What…..” said Alvaro, “Cool!” said Alberto, who liked the band.
“I would have thought you were more of a Beethoven type” said Alvaro.
Merlin smiled and said, “ Vivaldi actually, but I do keep an ear out for all sorts of music. If you like music, apart from the American or European scene, you’ll be amazed at what comes out of Africa, India or South America.”
Merlin walked closer to the boys and smiled at them. It was a grand-dad type of smile. Nice, and showing that he was really happy to see them. “I’m so glad that you two found your brothers. It’s more important that you could ever imagine”.
“What’s an iPod?” just then boomed the voice of Alvaro the Dragon. The boy turned and saw the head of the dragons inside the room. They were using the round windows higher up to get their heads in. Alberto grabbed the player and showed it to the dragon who forced his eyes a bit and said “Ah, one of those little gadgets. I’ll never understand Merlin’s liking of them. There’ perfectly good musicians here.”
“But can they play non stop for hours and hours music of hundreds of different types?” Asked Merlin.
“Well no.” Said the dragon “But they taste better!” and he bursted out laughing. He stopped when he realised no one else was laughing, not even Alberto the dragon who was shaking his head. “Hey, it’s just a joke. I’ve never eaten a musician. Their guitars are too crunchy!” and he bursted out laughing again. This time Alvaro who liked the joke also laughed.
“Do I have to remind every one here that some dragons are actually killing people and these jokes are tasteless.” Said Alberto the dragon.
“Tasteless!!!” Shouted Alvaro the dragon and laughed even louder.
“That’s enough.” Said Merlin. “Alberto is quite right. It’s no laughing matter.”
The two Alvaros quiet down and looked embarrassed.
“What’s this about dragons killing people?” Asked Alberto.
“It’s the reason why I sent for both of you.” Answered Merlin. “It started happening about a year ago. At first it was rumours from the mountain that people here did not believe, but then there was attacks on humans tending their flock at the foot of the mountains, and three weeks ago they attacked the village. It was terrible.” Merlin looked down to hide the sadness in his eyes and the boys could feel the pain and shame from their dragons.
Alberto turned and looked up to his dragon brother. “Don’t feel ashamed. It wasn’t you.” He said.
“But it was dragons! My own people doing something as terrible as that! How can I not…”.
“Because it wasn’t you or your people.” Said Alberto quieting the dragon. The two dragons and Merlin looked at Alberto.”You have the voice.” Said Merlin. Alberto was going to ask what he meant by that when Alvaro said “How can you know it wasn’t his people? You just got here.”
“I can feel it. Look, come out with me.” He said grabbing his brother by the arm and walking out into the square.
“Look at the mountains and feel your dragon at the same time. You know how you can feel things that are alive? What’s inside those mountains is a bit like a dragon but feels very different.”
Alvaro walked to his dragon birth brother and touched his front leg while looking at the mountains. He could feel the life around him. His dragon shone like a bright light as did his brother, Merlin and Alberto the dragon, but the mountains simply looked like mountains. He didn’t feel anything from them. He looked at his dragon and with his mind he asked is he could feel something, but Alvaro the dragon could not feel a thing either.
“Sorry. I don’t know what you mean.” Said Alvaro to his brother.
The two Albertos looked a bit surprised. “Why can’t he feel what I feel?” Asked Alberto to Merlin.
“The combination of powers of the souls of the Dragon Birth Brothers is different each time. You probably are much more aware of life than most others,” said Merlin. “But you are lucky you two are human brothers as that means you can share experiences. Grab your brother’s hand and feel the mountains.”
Alberto did what Merlin asked and looked at the mountains. To Alvaro it was like changing from a black and white old TV program to a modern 3D movie. The town was full of colour, the dragons shone brightly in their own colours but with eddies of other colours crossing their bodies very similar to Merlin who’s colours seems to have a slow rhythm. His brother Alberto was a mixture of Merlin and the dragons but with spirals of light of different colours coming out of his body at different places. “Wow. Those must be the chakras mum talks about.” just then he noticed he also had them. “Well?” Asked his brother “Do you feel it now?” Alvaro, who had forgotten all about the mountains, looked at them. He could see colours and feel the mountains alive and also something like Alvaro and Alberto the dragons but darker, denser, looking back at him. The darkness came towards him and he felt scared, letting go of his brother’s hand.
“Don’t worry.” Said his brother “It’s like it’s coming here but it never reaches. I don’t think it can even see us.”
“Now I known what it felt like when Sauron spots Frodo in the first film of The Lord of the Rings.” Said Alvaro.
“Who’s Sauron?” asked his dragon “I don’t think I like him.”
“It’s a fictional character from a book in their dimension.» Said Merlin «A good book I have to say. Better than the film.”
Merlin then walked to Alberto and said “I’m glad you decided to come.”
“How come I don’t have any special powers?” asked Alvaro.
“You do. All dragon birth brothers have. It’s just you haven’t found it yet. Don’t worry, it will come. Let’s go back inside now. I have a story to tell and a favour to ask.”
They walked with Merlin back into the house, the dragon using the dragon windows to look inside.
Merlin sat at the table and asked the boys to sit. “Would you like to drink something?” He asked.
“Can I have a Coke please?” Asked Alberto.
“And me some Nestea please.” Said Alvaro.
Merlin looked at them and told them that even though he knew about those drinks he usually didn’t bring food back from their dimension. The boys settled for some fresh water.
“I think there’s a very strong power which I don’t know that has changed the dragons and it’s using them to attack the peoples of this land.” Merlin told them. “One of the weak points of dragons is that they are self centred and their ego can be used by trickery to change them. Only dragons who have found their Birth Brothers have the strength and balance not to fall for this trick.” He looked at the boys and smiled. “It’s why we had to get you. Alvaro the dragon is old enough to know how to open interdimensional doors so he went to look for you Alvaro. We have been lucky that both of you came.”
“Yes. Something kept telling me that Alberto had to come.” Said Alvaro.
“That would be me.” Said Alberto.
“No it wasn’t. I think it was myself, but from another time.”
Merlin looked at him and said “I think you are getting close to your special power Alvaro.” He then turned to both boys and continued, “We now need you to go and find out what it is that it’s changing the dragons. As you have not been to school here and have not been trained I will need to give you skills that will allow you to survive attacks and difficult situations.”
“Great!” Said Alvaro. “What skills are we going to get?”
“I think that’s really up to you. Whatever it is it has to be something that will protect you and will come out of your heart. Don’t use logic to choose. Use your heart.”
“I know, I know!” Shouted Alberto.
“Are you sure?” Asked Merlin “That was a bit quick.”
“Yes, yes. I know, I know.” Said Alberto with a smile on his face.
“Ok. What is it?”
“I want to be a Ninja!”
Merlin though for a while and asked, “the Japanese assassins from the middle ages? A strange choice for a young boy.”
Alberto stared at him,“assassins? I don’t think so.” Said Alberto. “Warriors with a code of honour more like it.”
“Project your idea of a ninja to me please. Do it like when you talk to your dragon brother.”
Alberto closed his eyes and thought of the best ninja he could think of.
“Who’s Naruto?” Asked Merlin. Alvaro quickly explained about the TV series and Merlin laughed “Hehehe. I think it’s a good choice.”
He then got up and in his hand a beam of light appeared. He touched Alberto with this light which jumped and enveloped him, it shone brightly making Alberto nearly disappear. When Alberto appeared again he was dress in black, like a Ninja. He looked down and with wide opened eyes a shouted, “cool!”
“You should have the skills of my idea of a Ninja and your Naruto. Try them please.”
Alberto who was still looking down at himself looked up and said “Ok. Here it goes.” He ran across the room with his arms stretched behind him, got to the wall, ran up the wall and nearly at the top he did a somersault falling back down and gently landing on his feet. He then, with hardly any effort, jumped on top of his dragon. “Wooo hoooo!!” He shouted.
Alvaro closed his mouth and decided he had to think of something as cool as that, but better.
“That’s the wrong way to do it.” Said Alvaro the dragon, reading his mind. “Use your heart, not logic.”
Alvaro then quieted his thoughts and stopped looking at his brother. He felt a presence that seem really familiar and a voice that said “Be yourself and I’ll be there.” Alvaro looked at his dragon and asked “Was that you?”
“No it wasn’t, but I also heard that.” They both looked at Merlin. He smiled and said “Whatever it was, it wasn’t me.”
Just then Alvaro knew what he wanted to be. “Ok. I’m ready.” He said. “I want to be a wizard.”
Merlin seemed to relax and said “Fantastic! I could see it in you.” The beam of light appeared in his hand and he walked towards Alvaro. As before, the light seem to reach out and surround the boy. It shone brightly and then Alvaro reappeared. He looked just like he did before.
“Don’t worry about the clothes. We wizard don’t have a dress code, we simply choose the most comfy stuff. Look in your jacket pocket.”
Alvaro put his hand in his pocket and found what he expected. “A wand!” He took it out and saw it was a beam of light.
“Try it please.” Said Merlin.
“How? Don’t I need any magic spells like Alohomora or Avada Ked….”
“Don’t even think that!” Shouted Merlin. “The words themselves don’t do anything but the idea behind does and you have the power to make that idea true.”
“Sorry.” Said Alvaro looking quite upset realising what he nearly said.
“Ok. I think I have the idea.” He turned to his brother who was looking at him, and he pointed the wand to him. Alberto clothes changed to girls clothes.
“Eh! That’s not funny. Get my clothes back!” When the two Alvaros stopped laughing, he did so.
Merlin smiling said, “you have to be careful with that. One of the reasons spells are used is so that no mistakes are done. In reality you don’t need them to make magic but you do have to be extra careful.”
Merlin asked them to follow him out into the square, and then, turning to all four of them, he asked them to go to the mountains and find out what was changing the dragons. They had to find out and come back. Under no circumstances were they to confront whatever it was. And in case of trouble, to come straight back. He said this last bit looking at the dragons who nodded but he still worried that the would meet dangers head on. They were dragon brothers after all.
The boys climbed on the dragons and Alberto said, “Alvaro, can you do something about a saddle? It’s a bit uncomfortable sitting here on a bare back.”
“What? Why me?” Responded his brother.
“You can just make one. Imagine a good one and make some magic please.”
Alvaro thought about it for a while and said “Ok. Here goes…” He pointed the wand to Alberto’s dragon (who closed his eyes just in case) and a beam of light jumped to the dragon.
Alberto looked down and saw he was sitting in a saddle that held his feet and legs and had a type of console in front. “What’s the Playstation for?” He asked his brother.
“It’s not a Playstation. It’s a flight console.» Alvaro replied smiling. «It shows altitude and objects around you. That way you can see stuff at night or in a cloud. Like a radar but better.»
“Ok. Here we go.» Said Alberto the dragon as he took off and then headed toward the mountains followed by Alvaro and his dragon brother. Alvaro looked behind to see the town getting smaller and smaller. He switched on the console and saw that the mountains even though big where still faraway. Alberto the dragon shone gold with the sun light and his brother had a big smile on his face. Alvaro also smiled. He was having a real life adventure in a real dragon.
After they left the city Alvaro the dragon said that they had to stop at the village of Mountainfoot to meet their guide.
“They are not very original with their names, are they? Said Alberto.
“A lot of the town and city names back home also had similar beginnings.” Answered his brother. “It’s just being practical.”
They kept getting closer to the mountains and Alberto still felt the dense presence coming from it. Now, however, he got the feeling that it knew about them but he didn’t tell his brother, although he did tell his dragon brother who said that it was best was not to think about it as doing so would probably attract it even more.
After a while flying over green fields they saw a column of smoke in the distance. Alberto suddenly felt some fear coming from below and saw a line of people, some walking, some on carts and some on horse back. A few where looking at them and were very scared.
“It’s the people from the village,” said Alberto the dragon. “They are going to the city were they’ll be safer until this is over.”
When they got near the village they saw a lot of burned houses and felt much sadness coming from the valley around it. They circled down and when they got closer they noticed that some people were running to hide and some had bows and arrows ready for them.
“Don’t make any sudden movements or anything that might look aggressive,” Alvaro the dragon told everyone. Just then, they saw a man running towards the archers and talking to them. They lowered the bows but didn’t look comfortable about it.
When they got down and the boys slid off the dragons, there was a general murmur from the crowd of people and some pointed at them. Alberto could feel a drastic mood swing from fear to relief and even happiness. The man they had seen before came walking towards them.
“Look at his ears!” Said Alberto.
“Wow! He’s an elf!” Answered his brother.
“He looks like Legolas, but with black hair.” Alberto answered.
It was true. The elf was much more elegant and stylish than most of the other men they had seen. He approached them with a self security that bordered on aggressiveness, but he had a big smile on his face and this gave him a strange look.
“Hello there!” He said. “The brothers from the old legends have arrived.”
The boys looked at each other wondering what that meant as they hadn’t heard anything about a legend.
“My name is Ashram. I’m a mystic warrior on my life pilgrimage from the Northern Continent. How long have you been here?” He asked.
“We just got here, about half a day ago.” Answered Alberto.
“What? But that means that you don’t know anything about this place,” he said moving his arms so as to show everything around them.
“Well, we have our dragon brothers,” said Alberto, “and we are supposed to meet a guide.”
“Mmmmm. I think that would be me,” answered Ashram. “Come, lets walk to the village.”
They started walking and when they got closer to the rest of the people some of them looked really surprised.
“Ashram! They are just children!” Shouted one of them.
“Yes! But they are the right children!” Ashram shouted back. Some cheered and others clapped when they heard this. Some children appeared between the legs of the adults. A boy with long red hair smiled at the boys.
They got past the horses and then Alvaro noted that they weren’t horses but some type of lizard about the size of a horse. “Did you see that?” Asked Alvaro to his brother. “Yes.” Answered Alberto. “And look at the ones pulling the carts. They are also big geckos or some other type of lizard.” Alberto looked at his brother and asked “Have you seen any birds?”
“Actually now that you mention it, no I haven’t.”
“What are birds?” Asked Ashram.
“Little flying creatures that like to live near trees.”
“Oh those. Yes we have them but they don’t come out of the forest.”
Closer to the village the boys noticed that some of the houses were still smoldering. Some had obviously been destroyed by explosions as their pieces were spread around. There were only a few that didn’t have some type of damage.
“How many people did they hurt?” Alvaro asked Ashram.
“In the houses that exploded they killed all the family. In the others most people managed to escape the fire, but then they grabbed some… It was awful. I have never seen dragons doing this and for no reason that we can understand.”
Alberto now understood Merlin’s sadness and his dragon brother shame.
“I can see now why the people were scared of us before,” said Alvaro. “Did they know we were coming?” He asked.
“In order to give them some hope, I told them about an old elf legend that fits very well with the two of you. The legend talks of two human brothers of great power that had dragon brothers here and came from the Western desert. The combination of all their skills gave them more power than all the wizards and witches from the two continents.” Looking at them he added, “who knows. Maybe it’s more than a legend.”
The group crossed the village and gathered on a clearing on the other side. Here Ashram explained that he was not from this land but, as his life pilgrimage took him to this land, he had to learn all about its people. All of the people, including the dragons . He knew the mountains quite well by now and that’s why Merlin had asked him to be their guide. Alvaro asked why the local people couldn’t do it, but it turned out that they didn’t like the mountains so they avoided them. Too much trouble they said.
“We have to cross the forest at the foot of the mountains and then go higher. It’s better if you don’t fly as you could be seen by the other dragons and I would have difficulty keeping up with you.” He said smiling.
They started walking towards a forest they could see in the distance. When they got nearer, the boys noticed that Ashram was following a path that led led into the forest.
At the beginning the forest had trees of all sizes but then they became bigger and bigger. The boys couldn’t believe the size of some of them. «It looks like Elwynn Forest.» Said Alvaro.
«I know.» Said Alberto, «Dad said that in the olden days there were trees like this on Earth but we cut them all down.»
«Look!» Said Alvaro, «a bird!»
Alberto looked and noticed that it was a strange bird. When they got closer they realised that some looked like baby dragons, others like bats and others like flying squirrels. Alvaro asked Ashram what they were. «Those are the birds you mentioned before,» he said. «Aren’t they?» He asked when he saw their expressions.
«No they are not.» Answered Alberto, «our birds have feathers, they sing and they are what’s left of the dinosaurs.»
«What’s a dinosaur?» Asked Ashram.
«A type of lizard but with hot blood that lived a long time ago in our side of the universe.» Answered Alvaro.
«A lizard with warm blood? Were they dragons?» Asked Alberto the dragon.
«Mmmm. I don’t think so,» Alvaro looked thoughtful and added, «maybe what happened here is that the dinosaurs never became extinct. I’ll have to ask Merlin about that.»
After a while the path became narrower and narrower and the dragons had to go into single file.
Alvaro who had seen lots of adventure films said, “I don’t like this. We could get ambushed.”
“Ah, military skills. How did you get those?” asked Ashram.
“Just watching TV.” Answered Alvaro “And you don’t need to be a military expert to see that.”
“You are correct of course. We do have to watch for danger further into the forest. It’s not a big forest so we should be Ok.”
When they had been walking for over an hour in the forest, Alberto was going to complain that for a forest that wasn’t big they were taking a long time to cross it, but just then he felt denser presences getting closer. “I think that ambush Alvaro mentioned is going to happen soon,” he said.
“Yes,” said his dragon brother, “I can feel them also.”
Ashram took his sword out and told the boys to be ready to fly. They boys climbed their dragons and carried on riding on their backs. “Should we turn back?” Asked Alberto.
“No there’s a small clearing just ahead. We’ll be better off there.”
They got to the clearing and saw about six dragons flying in circles. They could also hear a rumbling all through the forest. The rumbling got louder and louder and they could hear some trees falling down.
“Sounds like T-Rex from Jurassic Park,” said Alvaro, but instead of dinosaurs they saw movement all around them in the trees and five dragons appeared at the edge of the clearing. Then pushing a young tree out of the way a bigger one appeared. They were all black and stood staring and ready to charge.
“You have come to a forbidden place and you will pay for it.” A voice boomed in their heads. “We will have the two legged imps as food and the dragons as slaves.” It added.
Just then, with no warning, Alberto the dragon jumped towards the nearest dark dragon while Alberto the boy swung something over his head. Just before they got to the dragon, which by this time had noticed the attack and was running towards them too, Alberto let go of the object. A black net flew through the air and tangled the dark dragon’s front legs and head making it fall face first. Before the dragon had even hit the floor Alberto had turned and gone to the one on the right which had jumped at them with open wings. Again something flew out from Alberto, a string with two balls on each side spinning across from each other. The string wrapped itself around a front leg and a wing, making the dragon fall towards the right and crashing on the ground. All this happened in just a matter of seconds.
When Ashram saw Alberto attack, he ran across the clearing towards the big dark dragon who had spoken to them. “By the Elves of the Northern Continent and their Princess you can not win!” He shouted.
The large dark dragon, who had been watching Alberto’s attack, turned towards Ashram and got ready to spit fire out and vaporise the elf. By this time the other three dragons had come into the clearing. One ran towards Alberto and the other two towards Alvaro.
Alvaro, who was still thinking that his brother had gone nuts attacking like that all by himself, saw the two dragons approaching fast. He didn’t know what to do and then something popped into his head and he shouted “Impedimenta!” and the two dragons fell on the floor one on top of the other, frozen to the spot. By this time the third dragon was also on the floor with a net around it.
The big dark dragon saw all this and it threw a ball of fire towards Ashram, who jumped to one side. The dragon was expecting this so it simply grabbed Ashram and pinned him down on the floor while it shouted to the frozen dark dragons, “get up you fools! That’s a simple magic spell!» It then turned to the ones Alberto had attacked, «use your fire to burn the nets and ropes!” It shouted.The fallen dragons carried out the orders. The trapped ones burning the ropes and nets with their breath and the two that had fallen because of the impediment curse, said «Patorius Permissum» and stood up.
Alberto looked at Ashram and stopped. Alvaro who hadn’t moved was looking around and thinking hard.
“Get off your dragons and come here!” It then ordered.
Just then, Alvaro had an idea. He grabbed his staff, looked at the forest and whispered strange words to it. A huge oak tree that was next to the large dark dragon moved faster than anyone could think and grabbed it using its branches like a giant hand. Everyone was surprised as the leader of the dark dragons was lifted up in the air letting go of Ashram, who ran to get out of the way. The large dark dragon was going to throw a fire ball to the tree but the tree just banged it on the floor knocking him out before it had the chance to. The other smaller dark dragons saw this and were scared. They had never seen a tree move, never mind attack one of them. They all turned and ran or tried to fly. The problem was that whatever they did, they got close to a tree who grabbed them and pushed them to the floor with their branches and roots would come up from the ground muzzling them thus stopping them from breathing fire.
The fight was over but Alvaro saw that the oak was still banging the big dragon on the floor time and time again. He lifted his wand and looked at the oak. The tree seemed to turn towards Alvaro, stopped and let go of the dragon. Then it went back to its place and looked like it had never moved.
“WoW!” Shouted Alvaro.
“Wow!” Shouted Alberto, Ashram and the dragons brothers.
“I mean I got the idea from Internet game WoW. It’s a skill the druids have in that game.”
“I hope I never have to fight one of those druids,” said Ashram.
“Don’t worry,” answered Alberto. “It’s just a computer game. They don’t really exist.”
“Yeah. Just like dragons,” answered his brother.
Alberto looked nervously towards the forest realising his brother was right. He then pointed at the large dark dragon and shouted “Look!”.
Alvaro and Ashram got ready to fight again, but the dragon was still on the floor were the tree had left it.
“Can’t you see it?” Asked Alberto. “There’s a type of energy coming from the dragon and flowing to the ground and the trees!”.
Ashram looked at him and asked, “you can see that? I have heard of it. When someone dies his life force goes back to nature and his spirit goes into the higher dimensions. I’m not able to see it. Your life perception is truly great.” He then turned to Alvaro and asked “Why did the tree kill that one and not the others?”
“He had hurt many of his family in the past. He was well known in the forest. The other dark dragons are new here so the forest has nothing against them.”
“Hey! Those dragons are not totally dark! Look, light seems to appear from them sometimes,” Alberto said. He then realised that the others couldn’t see that. He slid down his dragon and walked to the nearest trapped dragon.
“Be careful!” Shouted Ashram.
“Don’t worry,” said Alvaro “The forest still has them.”
Alberto walked next to the dragon’s head and asked,“what’s your name?” The dragon looked at him and growled. “Just ignore the anger. I know you can hear me. What’s your name then?” The dragon looked longer at him and seemed to relax. “That’s it!” Shouted Alberto. “My name is Alberto. That over there is my dragon birth brother and the other boy is my human brother riding his dragon brother. The elf over there is Ashram. He’s from the North.”
The others then noticed that the dragon Alberto was talking to wasn’t dark any more but was turning red. “I’m Peter,” he said. “I’m also supposed to have a brother somewhere.” And by saying this he turned completely red and the roots holding him started to release him and returned to the ground. He stood up, opened his wings and said, “thank you dragon soul. You have the voice of an old dragon king. You reach deep within our hearts and soul and we can hear you. Before, after I got caught I could only feel hate. Everyone was terribly bad and had to be attacked. I’m very sorry for what I did.”
Ashram was amazed. In just a few minuted he had seen stuff from legends. He saw Alberto walk to each one of the trapped dragons and talk about different things. All of them first listened and then reacted to Alberto’s voice changing to their original colours. After a while there were five very thankful dragons.
“One thing before you go,” said Alberto “You must help the villagers rebuild their village. The one you destroyed.” The dragons were more than happy to do so, but asked if they could go to the mountains with them first as there were more dragons trapped in darkness there whom they wanted to help. Then Alvaro remembered that there had been dragons flying above them and he looked for them but they were not there. “They’ve gone back and told the soul slaver about you.” One of the free dragons said.
“Who’s the soul slaver?” Asked Alberto.
“It’s a being that we have never seen but no dragons can resist its orders. We simply feel hate for everything and that’s why we attack when we are ordered to,” said a yellow dragon.
“Well, we’ll see how he stands against free dragons an elven prince and the Dragon Birth Brothers!” Shouted Ashram.
They took to the air now that they knew what to expect and had help.
“Did you know he was a prince?” asked Alberto.
“I had no idea,” answered his brother and they flew towards the high mountains. Ashram on top of the yellow dragon.
«My great grand father had the honour of having a dragon birth brother.» Ashram told them. «His dragon was yellow and now, even though he’s not my birth brother I’m also riding a yellow dragon. This day will not be forgotten.» He told the boys. Then he added. «Merlin told me to look after you, but we did not expect you to have the military skills from your TV. I think we can carry on and confront what the dark dragons throw at us.»
«Military skills from our TV? What’s he talking about» Alberto asked his brother.
«He thinks it’s some type of military school or something like that,» Alvaro replied. «Better leave the explanations for later. Otherwise he’ll send us back.»
The boys and their dragon birth brothers followed Ashram higher into the air thinking that this adventure was a million times better than any TV program.
Alberto thought that the mountains looked big from a far but being right next to them was impressive. They looked like a solid wall of towers higher than the clouds and he felt very small.
“I know the felling,” Alberto the dragon told him. “I always feel that way when I fly near them.”
Alberto could feel the tension coming from the rest of the group. He felt safe riding his dragon brother but reason told him that they were flying into a fight and he was only an eight year old boy. He knew he didn’t want to fight anyone no matter how cool it was being a ninja who had a dragon brother. This was real. Someone could really get hurt.
“I’m glad you feel that way,” his dragon brother told him. “You are going to make a fine dragon rider. It has been known in the past that when some humans discover they have a dragon brother, they become power crazy and usually end up hurting others.”
“What happens to them after that?” Asked Alberto.
“They end up being exiled to other universes. Some fight until one of the brothers dies and in some cases the dragon refuses to participate and they break up the brotherhood.”
They were surrounded by high peaks and it was getting colder. Alvaro shouted at Alberto to switch on his flight console. It wasn’t difficult as it had a green button with the word “On” on it. When the console came on, it showed a little yellow dragon in the middle, a blue one next to it, and five white dragons flying around them.
“I can’t tell which one is Ashram!” Alberto shouted to his brother.
“There’s no need to shout,” Alvaro’s voice said from the console, “we can talk through this.”
“Thanks,” said Alberto. “How can I tell which one is Ashram?” He asked.
“There’s that green dragon in front and Ashram is in front of him. Just click with your finger on the image that is on the same place on the console and say his name.”
Alberto touched the little white dragon that corresponded to were he could see Ashram and said “Ashram”. The word ‘Ashram’ appeared on top of the image and it became a brighter white.
“The graphics are not very good are they?” Alberto asked his brother.
“It’s not a Xbox. It’s supposed to give you information on what’s around you in a easy to understand way.”
Alberto was wandering how his brother had thought about all these details when he hear the console beeping and five red dots appeared in front and higher than them on the screen.
Alvaro looked at the red dots and shouted to Ashram, “five bogeys at twelve o’clock above us! They are still far!” He knew this because they were still little dots on the console and not little dragons.
“By the Great Tree of the South! What are you talking about!” Replied Ashram.
“Sorry! Five dragons in front and above us coming fast!” Replied Alvaro.
“Ok. Next time don’t talk funny like that. We have to understand each other!” Shouted Ashram.
“Yes please!” Agreed Alberto. “No fighter pilot stuff that only you can understand.”
Alvaro slid his finger on the console and the picture zoomed out. Now he could see a bigger area around them and the mountains that looked a bit 3D. He saw on the right an area were they could fly higher without being spotted by the other dragons.
“Let’s go over there to the right! We’ll have time to fly higher without being seen!” He shouted to Ashram.
Ashram gave him thumbs up and all the dragons flew to a space between the mountains on their right. Then Alvaro realised that Ashram had no saddle or console.
“Ashram! Hold on! I’ll put a saddle on your dragon!” He shouted while he pointed his wand towards the elf.
“Don’t worry about…” Ashram said but by then the beam of light had jumped across the air and for a second it surrounded him. Next thing he knew, Ashram was sitting on a saddle looking at the console with a surprised look on his face.
“What’s this?” Alvaro heard him say through the console.
“It’s the flight console and communications device,” answered Alvaro. He saw Ashram turning around and again gave him the thumbs up while he heard him say on the console “Great idea!”
“Slide your finger to the right to zoom in and to the left to zoom out,” Alvaro instructed.
He heard Ashram say “Zoom…? Ahh. This is very good. I was wandering how you knew about the dragons. The beeping is a bit annoying though.»
“The closer the beeps, the closer the dragons.” Alvaro said.
“Excellent idea. You have to tell me about this things when we have a little time.”
By then they had reached a small valley surrounded by high mountain walls and were flying in circles and gaining altitude fast.
“Come on! Faster! We have to be above them quick!” Alvaro told them. He knew from playing flight simulators that it was the best option in a dog fight.
Alberto who had also played fighter simulators was looking at the screen with a feeling something could be improved. Then he got it.
“We should separate,” he told the rest. “The three dragons with raiders should attack first and the free dragons should act as a backup in case we can’t handle them.”
“More military skills,” Ashram said. “Where do boys as young as you get all this knowledge?”
“TV and computer games,” answered Alberto.
“You mentioned that TV thing before. It must be a very aggressive and violent place if you get that type of know-how from it,” said Ashram.
“My mum would agree with you,” Answered Alberto, “but it’s only entertainment. It’s not real.”
Alberto saw the look on Ashram’s face and he knew Ashram had realised that TV was no military training and now he wasn’t happy about taking the boys to a dragon fight.
«Hold on! If TV is not real then we should turn back like Merlin said. You can’t go into battle without some sort of training.» Ashram told them.
«It’s true,» Alvaro answered «but we are dragon brothers. That means that we have the knowledge and skills of our dragon brothers. I can feel it in my bones.»
«It’s true.» Alberto agreed. «I can also feel it.»
«Those skills plus what we have learnt on our world makes us warriors to be reckoned with.» Alvaro said and their dragons agreed.
Ashram seeing the four of them united and in agreement decided to carry on although keeping a close eye on them.
By then they had reach the correct height above the other dragons which already look like little dragons on their screens, which meant they were close.
“If we fly over that peak we’ll be right on top of them!” Alvaro said and the three of them flew towards the peak and over it. Alberto saw the dragons below and they dived towards the dark dragons in silence. In his head he heard Alvaro the dragon telling the four free dragons to wait higher up and to only attack if they called them.
Alberto reached forward with his mind towards the dark dragons to see if he could feel anything left from the original dragon but the dragons felt this and realised they were being attack. They tried to separate but it was too late, the brothers and Ashram were on top of them.
At the same time Ashram had shot one of his arrows to a smaller dragon. The arrow seem to overshoot and miss the head of the dragon, but right in front of it, the arrow exploded into green powder. The dragon flew right into the small cloud of powder and was blinded by it. After a few seconds flying blind it crashed on the side of the mountain and fell bouncing off the edges and rocks on the mountainside.
Alberto got out three ninja stars and threw them towards the dragon that was right below him. The stars got the dragon behind the head but rather than hurting it, it just made it mad. Just before the Albertos got to it, it turned upside down and waited for them with its legs and claws up towards them. Alberto the dragon open his wings wide to slow down and threw a ball of fire towards the waiting dragon but just missed him. The dragon who was now falling backwards got ready to flame them and opened its mouth. Alberto who had seen this coming threw a ninja star to the dragon’s open mouth with an unexpected result. There seem to be a huge electric short-circuit and electric blue sparks came out of the dark dragon’s mouth. The dragon turned the right way up and tried to fly but couldn’t and just fell as if it had been stunned. Just then Alberto felt a violent jerk and saw one of the other black dragons digging it’s claws on the side of his dragon brother. The pain shot through his own side and he screamed in pain and fear. He looked to his side but there was no injuries there. He was feeling his dragon brother’s pain. He felt anger at the other dragon and looked for it just in time to see it falling surrounded by one of Alvaro’s sticky bubble things. Ashram was further away protecting him from the fifth dragon who ran away when he saw the four free dragons flying towards them.
“Let him go!” Shouted Alvaro, “we have to help Alberto’s dragon!”
“There! There’s a space between the mountain. Looks like a cave.” Shouted Ashram.
Alberto knew he had to concentrate giving love to his dragon so that he could glide to the cave below them. They crash landed in the cave which thankfully was big enough. Alberto quickly got off to have a look at the wound. They were deep cuts and his dragon brother was bleeding. Just then Alvaro and Ashram arrived.
“Quick! Get some cloth on the wounds to stop the bleeding!” Ashram shouted.
Alberto took his cloth belt off and tried to stop the gush of blood coming out of his dragon brother with it. Alvaro also helped with his shirt and the bleeding slowed down.
“I wish I had my medicine herbs,” said Ashram.
“We could cauterise the wound with some fire,” Alvaro the dragon suggested.
Then Alvaro said, “what have I been thinking of?” Looking angry he stood back and said “Episkeu Maximus!” while pointing the wand at the dragon. A huge bright light surrounded the hurt dragon and then it seemed to go into the wound and disappear.
Only then Alberto realised that the pain that had been on his side all along was now gone. His dragon brother raised his head, looked at him, then looked at the place were the wound had been, and then around the cave.
“What happened? Were are the dark dragons?”
Alberto who was too surprised to say anything ran towards him and hugged him. “I was so scared,” he told his dragon brother. “I though you were going to die. Alvaro made you better with some magic.”
“Thank you,” the dragon says to Alvaro. “I’m glad you know healing magic.”
“Yes Alvaro. That was good magic you did then. Did you also learn that on your TV?” asked Ashram.
“Actually I’m not sure were I got the spell from. Maybe from a film.”
“Remember that the spells are simply a way to focus. It’s the intention behind the one that counts. You did very well,” Ashram told him.
“Help!” They all heard in their heads. “My sister needs help!”
“Who said that?” Asked Alvaro.
“I think it’s one of the free dragons. Were are they by the way?” Asked Alberto.
“They are gathered below around one of the dark dragons,” replied Ashram, who had walked outside of the cave to the edge of the precipice and was looking down.
Alberto the dragon stood up and said, “let’s go! I’m OK now. They need our help.” He then lowered his head to let Alberto climb on him.
Alvaro and Ashram ran towards their dragons, climbed on them and the dragons walked to the opening of the cave.
Alvaro, Alberto and Ashram all jumped off the edge and flew into the precipice on their dragons. The fall the dark dragon had taken had been great and Alberto felt that they were going to be too late.
“Alvaro please get ready to cure it. Look most of the black is gone!” Alberto told his brother, but when they arrived he could already see the energy sipping into the ground and a wisp of bright red light flying around one of the free dragons and then flying up to the clouds. A great sadness fell on Alberto. He knew what had happened. “She’s dead,” he told the rest of the group.
It was the dragon blinded by Ashram’s arrow.
Once on the ground Alberto slid off his dragon brother and walked towards a dark red dragon who was lying next to the body of the dead female dragon.
“You are her brother aren’t you?” He asks.
The dragon turns towards him and says, “yes. She’s my sister. I didn’t recognise her all dark like that and we fought her. This is so unfair.”
Alberto could feel the pain in the dragons heart like if it was his own. He sat next to them and began to cry quietly. This death, plus seeing his dragon get hurt, was just too much for him.
“This is what we have to stop,” Ashram told him while he sat next to Alberto, putting his arm around him. “You are too young to be here fighting like this but without the dragons birth brothers we are lost.”
“It’s true,” the red free dragon told him. “We can’t allow the soul slaver to take any more of us. The old dragon king inside you will make us free and happy again. I know it.”
Alberto looked at his human brother, then at his dragon brother and felt the love, pride and respect coming from them. He realised that, even though a boy, he had to stand up and become a warrior like in the stories his dad told them. He now knew that all of them together could and would defeat whatever it was that was causing so much pain. This was not a game any more. It was real life.
Alvaro, remembering a film he saw, surrounded the body of the dead dragon with rocks and then he turned them into crystal, making the body indestructible. For a while and in silence they looked at the transparent tomb.
“It’s time to finish this!” Said Alvaro. “Let’s go and kick some soul slaver butt!”
some soul slaver butt!”
After the rush of battle they fell quiet. All immersed in their own thoughts while they flew towards the heart of the mountains. It was getting dark and Alvaro could feel the air getting colder. After a while the chill brought him out of his thoughts and he looked around. Dusk was nearly over and he could already see a number of stars.
“How long until we get there?” He asked the group in general.
“We still have about six hours of flying.” Answered one of the free dragons. A light orange coloured one who was a bit smaller than the rest but also more agile.
“What’s your name?” Asked Alvaro.
“Ell en,” answered the dragon.
“Are you a female dragon?”
“Yes, and somewhere I also have a dragon brother… or sister,” she said.
“Is Ellen spelled with a H or without it?” Alvaro asked remembering someone he knew.
“I don’t know,” answered Ellen. “I’m hoping that my dragon brother will tell me about the name.”
“Well it’s a girls name so it’s bound to be a girl, and it’s quite possible that she’s from Ireland.”
Ellen the dragon looked at him with eyes full of hope and asked, «why do you say that?”
“Well it could be nothing. I’m sure there’s lots of Ellens in the world, but I know someone that reminds me of you.”
Alvaro looked at Ellen wondering if maybe he shouldn’t raise her hopes up too high. Then he realised that he couldn’t see her eyes. It was too dark.
“I don’t think we should fly in the dark in a terrain we don’t know,” he told the others.
“But we have the flight console,” answered Alberto. “I can see everything here.”
“Still. I think Alvaro is right. We have the consoles but the free dragons don’t and even if they can see better in the dark than humans or elves I don’t think we could stand a surprise attack,” answered Ashram.
Alvaro who had been fidgeting with his console looked up and said, “nearly at the top of that peak over there, there’s a big cave. I think we can all fit there.”
They all flew higher, over the smaller mountains towards a high peak that stood above the rest. True enough there was a big cave, with a flat floor. When they got there Alvaro was surprised to see that the floor was so flat that the cave looked like a big balcony. At the back, the cave turned right and opened to a bigger hall.
“This is just perfect!” Shouted Alberto.
“A bit too perfect,” Answered Alvaro. “What type of geological forces would make anything like this on the top of a high peak?”
“The type called Dragon Lookout Brigade,” answered his dragon brother. “This was made by dragons along time ago as a lookout post. That’s why is not fancy but is very practical. Enough space for one or two dragons at the entrance who do the lookout. A hidden hall at the back were they can heat stones up and be warm and protected from the wind. And more importantly, where about ten dragons can comfortably fit and be ready to fly out in case of unwelcome visitors.”
Alvaro walked towards the back of the cave and at the corner, were the hall started to open up he saw Alberto the dragon, Ellen and Ashram’s red dragon heating a pile of big stones with their fire. Alberto and Ashram were walking towards him getting away from the heat.
“How long do the stones keep the heat?” Alberto was asking Ashram.
“All night. They are big stones and soon they will be red hot. The dragons will sleep next to them and we will sleep on the other side of the dragons. That way they’ll protect us from the heat. I recommend sleeping closer to the entrance that way it won’t be too hot as you will get some fresh air from the entrance of the cave.”
Alvaro looked up and couldn’t believe what he saw. The sky was simply full of stars, a million more than he ever saw back home. He sat down staring up all the time.
“What’s so special about the stars?” Ashram asked.
“It’s so many of them,” Alberto answered. “Every little corner of the sky has some, and at the top there seems to be a river just made of stars.”
Ashram looked at were Alberto was looking and said “The dragons call that Mother Earth’s Milk.” But before he could say anything else, the boys shouted “The Milky Way!”
“Wait a minute,” Alvaro said pointing at a spot lower down, ”that over there looks like the Big Bear. That means that that W over there must be Cassiopeia. So the three bright stars on top of us must be Orion’s belt.”
“We call them The Three Kings,” Ashram told them.
“But they are all in the wrong place,” Alvaro said.
“Yes, and how come you have more than us. It’s not fair,” Alberto added.
“I think it’s because there’s no light pollution here. Back home a lot of the lights we use at night go up to the sky making it brighter. So we are not able to see some of the stars. We only see the bright ones,” replied Alvaro.
“Were you live is the Plough higher up in the sky?” asked Ashram.
“The Plough is also another name for Big Bear and yes is much higher. Nearly as high as Orion’s Belt here.”
“Then you are from the northern lands like me!” Shouted Ashram ever so exited. “Here the stars are in different places because we are in the Southern Lands. You can also see some new constellations like The Great Cross of the First Elven King.”
“I think that would be the Southern Cross,” Alvaro thought aloud.
“In old elven history it is said that Jarus, the sun god, is crucified and reborn after three days on the exact spot the three kings point after following the guiding star Stirus. Of course we now know that is just normal astronomy. It’s what happens in the Winter solstice to the sun when it stops moving south next to The Great Cross and after two days the Three Kings align with Stirus and by coincidence point to the place were the sun raises and starts to move North again. That would be the rebirth bit.”
“That sounds familiar,” Alberto said.
“Yes, a bit too familiar. I’ll have to ask dad about all that. It can’t be a coincidence.” Replied Alvaro.
“Here in the south is all different of course. The dragons have different stories based on the movement of the stars, the sun and the moon.” Said Ashram.
“Wait a minute!” shouted Alberto “How come you have the same stars as we do?”
“That’s because this is not another planet, but a parallel universe. Lots of things are the same, but others aren’t. No one knows why,” Answered Ashram.
They all stayed looking at the sky and after a while a full moon appeared on their right making the sight more spectacular.
Soon after, the boys went to the entrance of the hall at the back of the cave, got some blankets out of the back of the saddles and went to sleep next to their dragon brothers. Ashram and the red dragon stayed up for the first lookout shift.
The next day, Alvaro woke up to see that only himself and his dragon were left in the hall. He got up and walked towards the entrance of the cave were he saw Ashram and Alberto looking right, toward the East.
“What’s going on? Where’s all the dragons?”
Alberto turned towards him and pointed to the rising sun. “We are all doing some sun gazing. The dragons are doing their morning meditation flight.”
Just then, Alvaro the dragon shouted, “let me through, let me through! I’m late,” and jumped over the top of their heads into the air, rushing towards the other dragons who were flying in slow moving circles.
“A sleepy head just like you Alvaro,” said Alberto.
“Dragon brothers have lots of things in common.” Replied Ashram with a smile on his face.
“Very funny. What’s so special about staring at the sun anyway?” Asked Alvaro.
“It’s not staring at the sun. It’s Sungazing. You get energy from the sun at dawn or sunset when you can look at it. Ask mum. She knows about it.”
“I can’t look at it,” said Alvaro squinting at the sun.
“Force yourself a bit. At this time of day it’s still safe and a dragon rider has to learn to look towards the sun. It’s a common tactic to attack with the sun behind so that your enemies don’t see you.” Said Ashram.
Alvaro who knew that to be true from flight simulators and films covered the sun a bit with his hands and when his eyes got used to the red bright light he pull them away. First the sun just seem like a big bright area of the sky but after a while he could actually see the circular ball of fire. After a few seconds he looked away and no matter where he looked he saw a red spot.
“I don’t think this is safe,” he told the others.
“You left it too late really. You should only do it when the sun is first rising. After some minutes the light is too strong. In the winter you can do it for longer though.” Replied Ashram. “It’s an old dragon technique to fill up with energy. They say that if you do it properly you can go days without food, just sun energy.”
“Talking about food. What are we going to have for breakfast?” Asked Alberto.
“Just wait and see,” replied Alvaro getting his wand ready and closing his eyes. He then pointed to the floor and the flow of light jumped and made a pool of light on the floor which then transformed into a low table with glasses full of milk, a plate full of doughnuts and another with buttered toast with jam.
“Yummy!” Shouted Alberto and got a doughnut and a glass of milk.
Ashram walked towards the table picked a doughnut up and smelled it. He then had a small bite and looked surprised.
“You have sweet food for breakfast?” Asked Ashram.
“It’s the best type of breakfast,” replied Alvaro. “What do you have?”
“Usually fresh fruit with some fruit juice or a glass of water.”
“The more I know you the more I think my mum is an elf,” Alvaro replied getting his wand and making some apples, pears, kiwis and melons appear on the table. Ashram looked at them, put the doughnut down and picked one of the kiwis.
“I know the apple and the pears but what’s this?”
“It’s called a kiwi. It comes from New Zealand but now they are everywhere,” Alvaro told him. “The other one is a melon but I don’t know were they come from. Probably somewhere tropical or hot. Don’t eat the skin of either of them!” Shouted Alvaro as Ashram bit the kiwi.
“It’s very good.” replied Ashram.
“It’s better if you peel the skin off first,” replied Alvaro smiling.
Ashram took a knife out and amazingly quickly peeled the kiwi. He then slowly ate it enjoying each bite. He then did the same with the melon with a smile on his face.
“You have to tell me where this comes from. I’m sure I can organize some sort of trade with the people of the lands were they grow.”
Alvaro was going to tell him that New Zealand was very far away but then remembered that Ashram had come from the northern continent which sounded like the northern hemisphere and that was also along way away. Apart from that, he wasn’t sure were they were anyway and New Zealand was in the southern hemisphere so maybe it wasn’t too far.
“Whenever you can, show me a map and I’ll tell you were they grow,” Alvaro told Ashram.
They had finished eating when the dragons arrived. They put the rest of the food in their bags and saddles, and the low table they took to the back of the cave in case anyone else ever used the cave. Then they mounted the dragons and they all jumped into the air and flew West.
“Great. We have the Sun on our back,” thought Alvaro.
They carried on flying for a number of hours and,, amazingly the mountains kept getting higher. It was hard to fly higher as they had problems breathing and even though it was sunny it got cold quickly. This meant that sometimes they had to go around some mountains making the trip longer although more interesting.
Alberto could feel the dark presence getting stronger now and realised that after the battle with the dark dragons it had disappeared. He told Ashram about this and the reply was that, in elven folklore, dark beings stretched themselves so as to know what was happening in other parts but this made them weak, so if the Soul Slaver had known about the defeat of the dark dragons he would have retreated to his body to be stronger when they got there. Alberto wasn’t very happy about this as the presence he felt was very strong indeed.
“I don’t think it’s that strong,” Alberto the dragon told him.
“Why do you say that?” Alberto asked.
“I have a feeling he has retreated and is actually you reaching out and sensing him. Which in my book makes you the strong one. Not him.”
Alberto thought about this and realised that it was true. It was him reaching out with his senses. This meant that he could tell were the Soul Slaver was. He reached for the console and told the others about this.
“So where do you think he is?” Asked Alvaro “I’m getting worried that this free dragons are a bit lost.”
“We are going in the correct general direction,” replied Alberto “It would be better though if we turned North now.”
Alberto the dragon told this to the rest of the group, but the free dragons weren’t happy about it. It seemed that they only knew one way to get there. Alberto the dragon explained to them that Alberto could tell were the Soul Slaver was and it was actually better to arrive from a direction which was not used. That way the surprise factor would be better.
They turned North and the peaks got a lot higher so they had to constantly fly around them. If it hadn’t been for Alberto and the 3D console they would have quickly been lost.
After one of the turns, Alberto saw in the distance five peaks that looked like a castle. Each mountain looked like the corner towers and a chain of smaller mountains like the walls. It even looked like there were windows in the towers.
“Look at those mountains. They look like a giant’s castle,” Alberto told his dragon brother. The dragon looked at them for a while and answered, “you better tell the others we are arriving. That really is a castle.”
Alberto told the others and the two boys and the elf simply stared in amazement.
“Who could make such a thing?” Alvaro asked.
“It’s so big that we don’t seem to get any closer no matter how much we travel.” Alberto added.
“I never thought I would ever see this. It’s the fortress town of Ignis. Build by the first dragon kings. All elven scholars consider this a myth as no one alive has ever seen it. Also they found it hard to believe that a town fortress could be made out of five mountains as high as those.”
Alberto knew that inside was the Soul Slaver, he could feel him clearly. The dragons and Alvaro could feel it too and they started getting nervous. The free dragons fell a bit behind looking all around expecting to be attacked at any moment.
Alvaro, who was back working on the console said, “according to this, there’s a type of tunnel below us. It comes from the other side of that mountain on our right.”
“It could be some sort of escape tunnel. Can you see if it’s blocked? It probably has been a long time since anyone used it.” Asked Ashram.
“Seems to be Ok, but I can’t really tell small details here. I think it would be better to sneak in rather than a frontal attack,” Alvaro said, we don’t know what they have waiting for us.”
They all agreed and turned to fly around the other side of the mountain to look for the tunnel entrance. They started to fly lower to go down to the level were the entrance appeared on the console but they reached the ground and didn’t find any type of entrance or way in.
“According to this, it is right in front of us,” said Alvaro, “it’s that piece of flat stone wall,” he added, pointing ahead.
Which, when they looked at it, it did look like a closed stone door rather than part of the mountain.
“Maybe we need a magic spell or password,” said Alberto remembering when The Fellowship reached the Mines of Moria.
“There has to be an opening mechanism somewhere,” answered Ashram. “Dragons are not into magic spells and even less into passwords. Anybody can work those out.”
“Maybe we can use sonar.” Alvaro told the others, and without waiting for a reply he got his wand out and made a pool of light on top of the console that turned into something like a Star Trek tricorder.
“A sonar is an old mobile phone?” Alberto asked, looking at the shape of the new device.
“It’s not a phone. It’s s fully functional diagnostics device. Look at this,” Alvaro opened the device and pointed it towards the wall. The device made a loud ping sound and then Alvaro put it next to the console. “Look at your console,” he told the others.
Ashram and Alberto looked at their console and saw what looked like an X-ray image of a door. After a moment Ashram said.
“I think I know how it works. Two dragons have to pull up that rock over there.”
The rock was huge and it took five dragons to lift it. The moment they did, the rock wall slid to one side silently and when the dragons let go of the rock, it started to sink slowly and at the same time the door started to slowly close. Giving them enough time to get inside.
Before the door closed they could see they were inside a big straight tunnel and when it closed they were in complete darkness. Ashram lit a torch which gave some light.
Alberto was surprised to find out that even though the torch gave little light he could see very well.
“You’ve changed to Dragon sight.” His dragon brother told him.
Suddenly everything became white with light and he was blinded like someone had fired a flash directly at his eyes.
“There! That’s better,” Alvaro said.
“Wow! What have you done?” Asked Alberto who turned off his dragon sight and was getting his vision back.
“Halogen lamps on the consoles. We don’t have to be in the dark,” he answered with a smile.
“Let’s hope the batteries last,” replied Alberto still rubbing his eyes.
Ashram who was open mouthed looked at his torch, blew it out and threw it on the floor.
They started walking along the tunnel and Alvaro gave them powerful torches that looked like space guns with which they could use to see down the side tunnels that appeared sometimes.
Alberto, who was still thinking of the Mines of Moria, was a bit nervous about these side tunnels, which, even with a powerful torch, could not be seen to the end. He looked at the console and saw that the side tunnels ended in bigger halls or caves. There were no little red dots on the console which meant there were no dark dragons nearby, but his senses told him that something knew they were here and it wasn’t dark dragons or the Soul Slaver.
“This tunnel is a bit clean for a tunnel that has been abandoned for a long time,” said Alvaro.
“Who said it has been abandoned?” Asked Ashram.
“Well. A secret tunnel of a city that no one has seen for millennia. I can’t imagine who would be using it,” he replied.
“It could simply mean that no one has been here since they closed the tunnels.” Answered Ashram.
Just then a huge high pitch howl sounded all over the tunnels.
“It’s coming! It knows we are here!” Shouted Alberto.
“Who? Where?” Asked Ashram and Alvaro.
“I don’t know. But it’s not a dragon or the Soul Slaver and it doesn’t go beep on the console, but I can feel it.”
“Me too,”said Alberto the dragon.
“If it doesn’t appear on the console then it’s not an enemy.” Alvaro told Alberto. “So we have nothing to worry about.”
“Define enemy. I’m sure the fish don’t think of the fishermen as their enemies but they still get eaten,” Alberto replied.
“Ok. We have to be ready for anything. Myself, Alvaro and Ellen will walk at the front. Alberto and Peter in the middle and the rest at the back. Be ready to fight.” Said Ashram.
Alberto saw a red dragon moving next to him and assumed he was Peter. He made a mental note to ask the rest for their names.
Alberto could see on the console that they were getting to a large cave. It was the heart of the mountain that was next to the giant fortress. When they got there not even the powerful halogen lights could light up the huge hall they were in.
“Weeeeeeeeeeegh!!” came the howl again and the dragons froze.
“Come on Alberto! Keep moving!” Shouted Alberto to his dragon brother but nothing happened.
He could see that Alvaro and Ashram had the same problem and looking around he saw the free dragons were also standing still like statues. Then he saw movement through the corner of his eye but when he pointed the torch to the spot, there was nothing there. He then heard a sound behind him and he quickly turned, but again nothing. Then he realised that one of the free dragons was missing. Ashram had noticed this too and shouted. “Let’s get in the middle of the dragons, back to back. That way we’ll see what ever it is coming and can protect the dragons!”
They stood back to back looking around. Alberto could see the two free dragons left that were at the back of the line. He blinked and one was missing. He then felt a rush of air coming from that direction. He felt another rush of air and Alvaro shouted, “Ellen has just disappeared!”
“Whatever it is, it’s faster than we can see. It can take us any time it wants,” Ashram said.
“What! I won’t let it take Alvaro!” Shouted Alvaro while running towards his dragon and started to climb on him. Then he was also gone. Alberto felt the rush of air and at the same time he heard Alvaro’s shouts going straight up. Alberto and Ashram looked up just in time to see far in the distance a flash of light from Alvaro’s wand. Then all the dragons woke up and roared making Alberto jump.
“Where is she!?” Shouted Alberto the dragon looking around.
They then heard a zooming sound and a huge big BANG. They turned and further away enveloped in Alvaro’s plasticky bubble thing was giant snake who was trying to break free but couldn’t.
“No one messes with the dragon brothers!” They heared Alvaro shout above them. Soon the dragon brothers, Ellen and the rest landed next to them, now free from the snake and whatever spell it had placed on the dragons.
“What happened? How did you? What’s that?” Asked Alberto.
“When it grabbed Alvaro the dragon I was caught on the stirrups and it didn’t realise I was there so I had time to bubble it. Doing that broke the spell of the dragons and they were able to fly.”
“Where did you get the idea of bubbling things with sticky plastic?”
“It’s not plastic so they can breath, and I got the idea from the The Supernaturalist book dad got me.”
“What is it anyway? I’ve never seen a snake that big,” Replied Alberto. “Is it a Chinese dragon?”
“Could be a basilisk.” Replied Alvaro.
“No, it’s a Queen dragon and you were lucky that she wasn’t aware of your presence when she grabbed Alvaro the Dragon.”
“A queen dragon? But she has no wings,” Alberto answered.
“Actually she does, but they stopped growing when she became a queen and now they are too small.” Said Ashram.
“Why, what’s so special about a dragon queen?”Asked Alvaro.
“Dragons are intelligent beings. Being a queen is a position of great power, great skills as you have seen and great responsibility. They are the ones that give birth to queen and king dragons.”
“Why did she attack us?” Asked Alberto.
“I don’t know. We should ask her that.”
“No way! I’m not letting her go after what you just said.” Replied Alvaro.
“Alberto should talk to her.” Said Alvaro the dragon. The rest of the dragons including Alberto the dragon agreed to this.
“Do I have to get close to her?” Asked Alberto.
“It would be better.” Replied Alvaro the dragon.
“Well I hope that sticky bubble can hold her.” He replied while walking towards the fallen queen dragon.
Alberto wasn’t sure what to do. The most disturbing thing was that she felt so different to the rest of the dragons. Like she wasn’t quite here, like trying to grab smoke with your hands. He had to walk a long way to find the head and even though the light got there, it was a lot darker and he started to get scared.
“Don’t worry. I’m right behind you.” His dragon brother told him.
Alberto jumped with the fright he got hearing his dragon brother next to him. “Don’t do that! You scared me!”
“I don’t think it was I that scared you. You were scared before I spoke.”
“What ever. You gave me a fright anyway.” Replied Alberto.
“Sorry about that.”
Alberto walked a bit more and saw, through the plastic (or what ever) film, the queen dragon’s eyes. She was staring at him like you stare at a mosquito that has decided you are its next meal. Alberto was going to talk when the queen dragon moved. It was like seeing a house move in an effort to try to splatter you. Alberto jumped back fast and his dragon growled.
“We were only defending ourselves!” Alberto shouted. “We didn’t want to hurt you really.”
The queen dragon moved even more then, trying to squash him, making Alberto jump out of the way this time using his ninja skills to get further away. His dragon brother jumped with him.
We have to understand here that a dragon is probably twice the size of an elephant and a queen dragon probably twice the size a blue whale. It could have crushed both of them easily.
Alberto stood next to his dragon brother and with a hand he touched his leg. He then changed to dragon sight with his eyes closed and looked within him for the dragon strength he found when he talked to the dark dragons. It was easier this time, after being through the fight of the battle. When he found the strength he opened his eyes and was left speechless. The beauty of the queen dragon reached him and he was left with no words just standing there. He noticed that she was mad with anger but then she felt him and became a little curious.
Alberto realised that there had to be no fear. Only enemies were scared of the queen dragon. He smiled and walked towards her.
“My Queen. We have come in peace from a far land to fight the Soul Slaver. The slaver of dragons and all free things in this land. We never meant to anger you, attack you or disturb you. Please forgive our careless intrusion,” Alberto said, wandering were he got all the long words from.
“My brother bound you because we didn’t know it was you. As a proof of our innocence I will ask him to release you.” When he said this, all the others who still saw the queen as just a huge mad wingless dragon stepped back.
“Are you sure Alberto?” Asked Alvaro.
“How dare you doubt the word of a dragon brother when talking about his Queen?” Alberto replied.
“You little cheeky…” Alvaro was going to say when his dragon brother pushed him.
“Hey! What’s the matter with everybody?”
“Just do what he says. He has the way of the old dragon kings. Do it now. It’s important.” His dragon brother told Alvaro.
“Sorry Sire! What ever you say… SIRE!”
Alvaro pointed his wand and the light enveloped the queen making the restricting bubble disappear.
As quick as a flash the queen stood and faced Alberto getting slowly closer to him. Alvaro couldn’t believe what he was seeing and was thinking of another bubble attack when in his mind he heard his dragon brother saying “It’s Ok. If she wanted to attack we would already be dead.”
Alberto simply saw a gorgeous multicoloured creature getting close to him. True enough she was very serious and with a mouth full of big sharp teeth but pretty anyway.
“It’s a long time since I’ve heard anyone talk that way. What are you little one?”
“My lady, I’m one of the last dragon brothers. My name is Alberto and I’m here on a quest to defeat the Slaver of Souls.”
“A dragon brother… Who’s the sneaky one with the strange powerful magic?” The Queen asked.
“He’s my human brother my lady. Also a dragon brother. The elf is Prince Ashram from the Northern Lands and the rest are the last of the free dragons.”
“Two dragon brothers!? I know of the legend that tells of two brothers from the East that riding their dragon brothers free the world from the darkness from beyond time.” She looked at Alberto and asked “Could that be you?”
Then Ashram stepped forward and on one knee replied, “we the elves from the Northern Lands believe so my lady.”
With a whoosh sound that arrived after she got there, the queen appeared facing Ashram.
“A cheeky elf. Talking even when they are not addressed. You wouldn’t be a descendant of Asraya would you?”
“She was my great grand mother my Queen.”
“Yes. You look like her. We fought many battles together. Probably the greatest elven queen ever.” The dragon queen replied.
Ashram slowly changed to disbelief and looked up at the dragon queen. “But that would mean you are the queen of the City of Ignis, Lady Sandipani the Sage with which my ancestor queen Asraya was supposed to have secret alliance,” Ashram said. “Legend tells of a trip of self awareness of which you never came back. This is the reason why modern historians don’t believe that queen Asraya actually met you or that you actually existed.”
The queen dragon seemed to relax after hearing these words and looked at all of them, including Alberto and his dragon who had arrived next to them.
“I did go on pilgrimage of self awareness but fell to a trap and was enchanted in rock until not long ago. Before I was turned to rock I saw in a vision the brothers arriving from the East and told my captor, this. That’s the last I remember until I woke up and was not fully a dragon again until you appeared. I believe it was the strength of the dragon brothers and their friends what brought me back,” The queen said looking at each one in turn.
“Who captured you my Queen?” Asked Alberto.
“It was the king. My cousin. He must have taken over the hole world by now.” She answered.
“No my lady,” Answered Ashram. “The dragons have had no king or queen for aeons. They are a race of free independent individuals.”
Surprised the queen answered, “but that doesn’t make any sense. Without me he had no one to stop him.”
“Could there be a relation between the Soul Slaver and your cousin the king?” Asked Alvaro. The rest of the dragons and Alberto stared at him. “You should address her as My Lady.” His dragon brother told him.
“Bugger off. She’s not my queen.” Alvaro answered with his mind.
“It is true.” The dragon queen answered giving Alvaro a surprise. “You have been born and have grown independent. I am not your queen. Until I earn my title back I will treat you all as my equals.”
“Great!” Alvaro answered. “So what about the Soul Slaver then?”
The queen looked a bit annoyed just for a second and then turned to look to the other side of the cave. “I sense a dark presence that does feel a little bit like my old cousin. You could be correct. The two could be related.”
“My Queen, then it would be an honour for us to help you revenge the injury imposed on you so long ago,” Ashram told her.
“The honour is all mine. Come. I know of a secret way into the fortress.”
The group followed the dragon queen across the mountain hall to a metal door which covered the entrance to a tunnel. The queen breathed into the door and it opened with some difficulty at first. On the other side there was a tunnel just like the one they had used before. Straight and with side tunnels disappearing in the dark. They started down the tunnel and Alvaro who was going in his mind through the encounter with the queen asked after some hesitation, “Mmmmm. Excuse me your majesty, but how are you able to move so fast?”
“Your majesty?” Said his dragon brother with his mind, “you should say my lady. It’s the proper way.”
“Come on. I just want to talk to her. I can’t talk funny like Alberto and she did say it was ok,” Alvaro replied speaking aloud as he knew she could hear him anyway.
“That’s correct,” the queen said, “I did say that but don’t make fun of it. In reply to your question. I slow time up for myself so to others it looks like I move fast. Most dragons have a certain control over time and space and queen and king dragons even more.”
“Then that means if the Soul Slaver is a king dragon that he also has that ability,” Alvaro said.
“Yes. That’s why it’s a good idea that I come along,” the queen replied.
Alvaro wasn’t happy about that reply. There was something fishy about it but he couldn’t put his finger on it. He decided to leave it for now and to think of something that would give them an advantage.
They had nearly reached the end of the tunnel. They could see it ended in the distance with a huge metal door blocking the way, but instead of going to the door, the queen turned right into the last side tunnel and after a while they got to a cave just big enough to hold them. The queen went into the cave first and alone as otherwise she might crush someone without realising it. In the middle of the cave there was a well which was wide enough for the queen to slide into. The boys and Ashram looked down the well when the queen had disappeared down it and saw just blackness and the scraping sound the body of the queen made on her way down.
“How can we go down it?” Alberto asked.
“We could sit on the dragons and they could fly down. It looks big enough,” replied Ashram.
“I don’t think we have enough space to fly down it,” Alberto the dragon replied and the rest of the dragons agreed with him.
Alvaro had been looking at the metal structure above the well and got an idea. He closed his eyes pointed his wand to the structure and the beam of light jumped to it, making Alberto and Ashram jump back in surprise. The light from the wand surrounded the structure and seemed to drip down like a huge big drop of water and then it was gone. In it’s place there was a platform that could hold two dragons which hang from the metal structure which was now in a much better condition. Alberto the dragon climbed on it one leg at a time and decided it was safe enough so Alberto and Ellen the dragon walked after him. Alberto noticed a panel on one side and when he got closer realised it had buttons. One said UP the other DOWN and a third STOP. He pressed the down one and the whole thing started to go down. Alberto looked up and saw that it was hanging from the metal structure and there was some kind of motor driving it. Alberto looked at his brother and asked, “Where does it get the electricity from?”
“Never mind that. It’s run by magic,” replied Alvaro.
The platform lift was very silent and Alberto could still hear the sounds made by the dragon queen in the distance. After what seemed to be ages he heard some splashing. He looked up and was surprised to see just a little dot of light which was the top of the well. They had gone down quite a long distance. Then the well opened up and they were in the middle of a huge cave which was full of water. The dragon queen was flying and looking at them. Her flight was like a snake swimming.
Alberto climbed on his dragon brother and told him to jump into the air which Ellen also did. Once in the air he called Alvaro through the console and told him about the giant cave at the bottom of the well. Then the lift that had carried them down started glowing and disappeared. After a few seconds they heard a “weeeeeee….” getting louder and Alvaro appeared mounted on his dragon brother who opened his wings the moment they shot out of the well and started flying just skimming the water. The other dragons followed suit all having great fun in the process.
“That’s the way you should have done it,” the queen told Alberto. “That’s why the well is wide.” She then turned and said, “now for the difficult bit,” and she flew closer to one of the walls and dived under the water.
The dragons simply stared. Peter the red dragon said, “she doesn’t really expect us to dive and swim under water, does she?”
“I hope not,” Replied Alvaro the dragon.
“It doesn’t look that difficult,” said Ellen the dragon looking at the water with some new found interest. “If she can do it so can we.”
“That’s right,” replied Alvaro. “ Flying creatures tend to be good swimmers as they have the right aerodynamic shape.”
“I’m just hoping she gone to find a secret mechanism that will open a secret door somewhere,” Alberto the dragon said.
Alberto looked at the dragons and surprised asked, “are you all scared of water?”
“Well. We are fire creatures. We do try to keep away from water. Especially if it’s lots of it,” his dragon brother replied. Just then, the water exploded and the dragon queen came out, “what are you all waiting for!?”
“Seems like dragons don’t like the water,” Alvaro replied.
The queen looked at him and then at the dragons “You haven’t been taught how to fly under water?” The dragon queen asked, “it’s a basic skill for all dragon warriors.”
“We are not warriors my Queen,” Alberto the dragon replied. “There hasn’t been any wars involving dragons in thousands of years.”
“Yeah. Probably since the king and queen disappeared,” Alvaro said before he realised he was going to be in trouble.
The queen turned to him and hissed, “your impertinence is becoming very annoying young human. Dragon brother or not I may become tired of it. Now all of you follow me and don’t lag behind.” The dragon queen turned and dived under the water again.
“Don’t worry about it,” Alvaro said, “I have the solution to this problem,” and he pointed his wand to Peter and made a type of diving bell around his head with big windows so that he could see were he was going. The bell acted as a diving mask.
“Ha ha ha ha!” Alberto laughed “You look like a giant fly!”
“Never mind that. Try it. Dive in the water,” Alvaro told Peter while he did the same to the rest of the dragons. The moment they got their diving bells the dragons dived in the water but when it was Ellen turn she decided she wanted to try it without. After all, dragons had done this before.
“Are you going to put one of those funny masks on us as well?” Alberto asked.
“ No. I’ll just change the console a bit…” he said while touching it with his wand “.. and we’ll have a force shield around us that’ll keep the water away.” Saying this, the consoles lit up and the air around them started to shimmer. “Ok. Dive in!” Alvaro shouted and they all dived in the water.
Under the water the dragons had difficulty moving as at first they didn’t know what to do, but Alvaro told them to just fly normal and it worked. They saw that Ellen had managed to swim quite well. Better than the rest as the masks did bother them.
They saw a light in the distance and some dragons were already swimming that way. Ellen quickly overtook the rest and was first to get to the light, which was a lit up cave. When the boys arrived they saw that the light came from above the surface of the water and that Ellen was already out. It was another cave, much smaller than the previous one, but they all had plenty of room. The light they had seen came from a huge crystal that was one of the side walls.
“How can that crystal shine?” Asked Alvaro.
“It’s the heart of the mountain,” the dragon queen replied. “It goes all the way up to the centre court in the castle. It captures the sun light and brings it to different levels in the castle and all the way down here. It’s one of the reasons why the castle was build here.”
The queen turned and slid to a tunnel that went upwards. The rest of the group followed her and started climbing.
“What part of the castle is this my lady?” Asked Ashram.
“It’s part of the original monastery of Aqua-Ignis were dragon of old would have to spend time meditating. They started at the top and went down the levels passing tests as they came along. The last was to live in a water environment. When they finished they understood the nature and balance of life,” the dragon queen replied.
“Why was it changed? It seems to me that it was a worth while use for this place,” said Ashram.
“An elf’s answer I see. That was long ago. The wars of power came after that and that enlighten way of life was left aside. That’s dragon reality for you elf.”
“Not any more. As far as I see dragons are balanced caring creatures that moved away from violence, power and greed as a way of life. Otherwise Alberto wouldn’t have been able to change the dark dragons to free dragons,” Alvaro replied.
The queen stopped and slowly turned to Alvaro, “if what you say is true, dragons have gone back to the old ways. I’ll have to see that to believe it.”
Alberto with just two jumps got in front of the group, took his sword out and raised his hand telling them to stop, staring ahead to the darkness in front.
“There’s nothing there,” the queen said to Alberto. “I don’t see or sense anything.”
“That’s the problem,” Alberto answered. “With the crystal light and the halogen lamps it is still very dark.”
Alvaro took one of the hand torches and shone it towards the front of the tunnel but just a bit further than Alberto the light seemed to disappear into a type of dark mist that wriggled all the time.
The queen slowly went past Alberto who thought about stopping her but decided it was better not to. Once she got to the edge of the darkness, part of the mist seemed to become a bit more solid and a dark tendril stretched out of it which started to slowly and gingerly reach towards the queen.
Alberto ran sword raised towards the tendril but before he got there it touched the queen who just stared at it. At that very second a huge roar shook the tunnel making bits of the roof fall down. The tendril disappeared into the black mist and this, in the blink of an eye, pulled back and was gone. Then another roar with what seemed like an earthquake, made bigger chunks of roof and rock fall down.
“Come on! Run! It’s trying to bury us here!” Shouted Alberto.
“He’s right! Run!” Shouted the queen.
They all ran and half flew the rest of the way. All the time the roar and the quakes got bigger. Suddenly they turned a corner and came out into bright daylight which blinded them, stopping them in their tracks.
When Alberto came out of the tunnel he simply knew that there was great danger coming towards them fast and jumped with all his might to the left. His dragon brother in synchronization with him. He quickly jumped on his dragon brother and took to the air and looked behind to see what had happened.
The dragon queen had moved fast to the right and was throwing what looked like big electric balls towards a big dark area on the other side of the centre court, the dark mist was there, waiting to ambush them. The centre court was simply a big flat area inside the walls of the Ignis fortress and at it’s centre a huge crystal column rose into the sky. It was the crystal that captured the light which went all the way down to the heart of the mountain. The court must have fitted about a thousand dragons at one time and was probably made to allow for big dragon gatherings. Their tunnel came up on the south side which meant it was the sunny side. That’s why they were blinded by the sun when they came out.
Alberto saw Alvaro and Ashram together running to hide behind a stone that looked like a giant’s seat. The free dragons spread out right and left while they shot balls of fire to the dark mist but their shots simply disappeared inside it and didn’t seem to have any effect on it.
From above, Alberto could see that the dark mist was only concerned in getting to the queen. It seemed to turn to all the places she would appear before she actually did so. The dragon queen was obviously moving with speed up time as Alberto could see and hear the air banging every time she moved and she simply seemed to disappear and appear somewhere else but the mist was always ready for her. It looked like it would quickly expand to one side which was were the queen would appear and when she did so it would shoot what looked like laser shots from Star Wars. These laser shots would make anything they touched explode and Alberto could see two or three wounds on the queen already.
“Come on! We have to help her!” His dragon brother shouted and moved to one side ready to dive into the battle. Just then Alberto saw a bright ball of heat passing down just next to them. He looked up and saw four dark dragons diving towards him. This time he knew what to do and joined his dragon brother to feel, think and act as one. With his mind Alberto told the free dragons to fly and fight the dark ones but not to kill them. He then told Alvaro and Ashram that the queen needed help and showed Alvaro an image of the lasers shots that waited for the queen every time she appeared somewhere. By now the free dragons where in the air which gave him more freedom as the dark dragons had to attack all the group and not just him. Alberto knew that his ninja skills were not enough to do what he wanted so he asked Alvaro with his mind to change his saddle and in a few seconds, that seem really long, his saddle got fatter and enveloped most of his dragon brother’s body and it grew two little wings on the sides.
The free dragons had difficulty fighting the dark dragons even though with Alberto it was five of them, but fighting to the death when you can’t kill your enemy is very hard. The dark dragons had noticed this and had become more cocky, getting closer to the free dragons. Alberto saw one coming for him fast and he pretended he hadn’t noticed but could see it on the console. Just before the dark dragon had a change to flame them, he turned at ninja speed and threw a metal wire net which opened in mid-air and the dragon just flew into it. The dragon tangled in the net fell to the ground but before it got there Ellen and grabbed him and slowly put it on the ground. In the meantime the other three dragons realised that Alberto was the leader and they all went for him, regardless of what the free dragons did.
Ellen on the ground had gotten a surprise. When she had placed the dark dragon on the ground the mist grew one of the tendrils towards the dark dragon and touched the net which simply dissolved. The dark dragon which was all tangled up was already getting up when Ellen gave him a big mighty bang with her tail on the back of his head and the dragon just dropped unconscious. The dark mist reach it but the dragon just lay on the floor so it was obvious that it couldn’t wake it. When Ellen saw this she took to the air to help Alberto and the free dragons.
Alberto saw that Ellen had handled the dark dragon OK so he concentrated on the last three. They had tried to attack but with some quick moves and the help of the free dragons he had managed to avoid direct confrontation. He noticed that the free dragons had one of the dark ones in trouble and he dived to throw one of his nets, but his dragon brother saw the other two dark dragons attacking and moved to one side to avoid their fire balls as they shot them.
“We have to get higher than them!” Alberto the dragon said, “but the higher we get they also do the same.”
“OK. Let’s use the new saddle. Get ready to climb!” Alberto shouted and when his dragon brother was in the right position he pressed the console and out of the new side wings the saddle had, two after burners came on and they shot higher, faster than any dragon had ever done. The surprise of the dark dragons was such that Alberto had time to net one of them that fell screaming in fury. Further down Peter and Ellen were waiting for him and grabbed him. The second dragon turned and flew away fast with the two Albertos flying closed behind. Once Alberto tried the after burner again but they over shoot the dark dragon. They quickly turned and went after him again.
“Gather all the dark dragons here outside the fortress.” He told the free dragons while he landed next to the fallen last dragon. He climbed down and walked with his dragon brother next to the fallen dragon.
“The dragons you have fought are your brothers. That’s why they didn’t hurt you. Look at them. You know in your heart that we are not your enemies. You know that the soul slaver tricked you.”
The dark dragon looked at Alberto and the other dragons and said.
“I don’t have any brothers! The King of Old holds the truth and you are our enemies!”
“But look around you. This dragons were also under the control of the King of Old and now are free again. Like you were when you used to enjoy your life.”
Then Peter the dragon, who had just arrived with Ellen and the dark dragon who was also bubbled walked closer.
“Hello Asif. Remember me?”
“You know him?” Alberto asked.
“Yes. You see that scar on his back leg? I did that accidentally when we were little.”
“You know me. We’ve always been friends. Just look in your heart and you’ll find the truth.” Peter told Asif. Then the dark started changing to a metallic green and soon after they had a bright green dragon surrounded in a plastic bubble looking around as if he had seen them for the first time.
“Please let me go. I won’t fight you.”
Alberto walked back to the console and found an option to dissolve the bubble. A shot of light jumped from the console to the fallen dragon and the bubble dissipated. Asif stood and opened his wings looking at them.
“Thank you dragon brother. Would be OK if I join your flight of dragons?”
“Of course. You are more than welcomed.” Alberto replied and all the dragons present open their wings and roared in unison to welcome their new brother. This process was repeated more or less the same way with the other three dark dragons. They did have problems getting the one in the centre court as the moment they got close laser shots would come out of the dark mist but while from a distance two free dragons pretended to attack the mist, Ellen and Peter in a daring rescue flight got the dragon and brought it to where Alberto was. After the dark dragons were rescued from the dark side they all took to the air and flew towards the fortress just in time to see in the distance Alvaro and Ashram fly with their dragons into a cave in one of the corner tower mountains. When Alberto got there he heard Alvaro talking about three heads being better than one.
Earlier, when Alvaro came out of the tunnel behind Ashram he was also blinded by the sun and would have been hurt by the dark mist if it hadn’t been attacking the dragon queen, and Ashram, who was more used to looking at the sun, hadn’t pull him to one side behind a big stone structure. Alvaro saw the free dragons coming out of the tunnel as if the light didn’t bother them, running and jumping to the left and right shooting balls of fire towards the dark mist. He couldn’t see the queen dragon and hoped she was using her faster than sight speed to attack the mist. Alvaro got off his dragon brother and peeked to see if he could spot the queen, but something like a laser blast hit the stone just in front of him and threw him on the floor with some cuts and bruises. He quickly got up and healed himself using magic. Just then he heard Alberto telling him in his mind about how the queen wasn’t doing very well and an image of those laser blasts he had experienced. Just then all the free dragons took to the air and went to help Alberto who was being attacked by dark dragons.
“Wait!! It’s us!” Alvaro shouted.
“Show yourselves!” The queen shouted back.
Alvaro switched off the cloaking field when they were out of reach from the mist. The queen shot the mist from both sides of the stone structure but the lasers were waiting for her.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. If it is my cousin the king I don’t know what he has sent to attack us. It always knows where I’m going to attack and it’s waiting for me. Speeding up time doesn’t make any difference.
“It’s all very well your majesty, but before we go into discussing tactics I’m going to heal you.” Said Alvaro and did the healing spell he had done with Alberto the dragon.
“Thank you Alvaro. You are an annoying but surprising young dragon brother. Now back to the fight.”
“Wait!” Said Alvaro. He had remembered that Alberto had asked for a change in his saddle. Alvaro pointed his wand to the air, concentrated on his brother and sent the magic to do it’s work hoping it would get there.
“Allow me to use some protecting spell on you my queen.”Alvaro told the queen.
“I already have my own protective spells.” The queen replied.
“Yes, but those don’t protect you against laser blasts.” He replied creating a necklace that acted as a cloaking field which also acted as force shield around the queen.
“I don’t think you can shoot while you have that on. It’s only so that you can move around without being seen.”
“Well if it is what you had before it will sense it any way, but I think it will just give me enough seconds for a good attack.” Saying this the queen was gone head first into the mist which wasn’t waiting for her so it was a good sign.
Alvaro and Ashram turned their cloaking shields on around themselves and the dragons, and ran towards the mist. Through the corner of his eye Alvaro saw Ellen hitting a dark dragon. Just before they got to the mist they felt a huge explosion and saw the queen flying on top of them out of the mist with the cloaking shield necklace burning and landed with a big crash behind them followed by a barrage of laser blasts which, as they were in the way, hit their cloaking shields and didn’t hurt the queen. Then the mist seemed to reach out and the moment it touched the cloaking shield the console short-circuited and they were left unprotected. Instantly the dragons flew into the air but were hit by some of the lasers. As before when they got away from the dark mist, it seemed to ignore them but to look for the queen who was gone. Alvaro looked around but didn’t see the queen. The air around them was empty. Alberto wasn’t anywhere to be seen the same as the free or dark dragons. Just then Ashram spotted the queen on one of the huge towers of the fortress. She was going inside one of the caves that acted as windows. Alvaro quickly fixed the consoles and reactivated them. He then healed the wounds that the dragons had received and flew towards the high tower entrance where they had seen the queen. From below laser shots would come in their general direction but would miss them by a long way. Once they got to the entrance they saw that it lead to a big cave inside the mountain tower from were other connecting tunnels left. The queen was laying in the middle with gashing wounds all over and had difficulty breathing. Alvaro wand in hand ran towards her and did an Episkeu Maximus spell which quickly worked and healed the dragon queen.
“Thank you dragon brother. I owe you my life.”
“It’s nothing my…..” Alvaro managed to say but a got a push from his dragon brother who shook his head. In reply Alvaro mouthed “What now?”
“When a dragon Queen or King thanks you and tell you that he or she owes you their lives it’s great honour but for the queen or king it’s one of the hardest things to do as they tie themselves to whoever they do the pledge to.” The queen replied to Alvaro. “Because we tend to be bad tempered it’s better not to talk about things that makes us uncomfortable. That’s what your dragon brother is trying to tell you.”
“You don’t have to owe me anything. I don’t care what tradition dictates. We are a team here and we help each other.” Alvaro replied.
The queen gave Alvaro a long look and sighed. “You are very different to any other human I have ever met, More annoying than an elf but a heart as big as a dragon’s. From now on you will be called Alvaro Dragon Heart between my people.”
Alvaro the dragon lowered his head and reached towards Alvaro. “Now we are more than dragon brothers, we are officially part of the same species.” He said nudging him with his nose and smiling.
Alvaro, for the first time, thought that the queen wasn’t too bad.
“Considering that we are a team I should tell you what I saw on my attack.”
“Yes please. Three heads are better than one.”
“I think that it’s a lot more than three!” Alberto shouted while flying inside the cave. “There’s four more dragons on our side. Look!”
Alvaro, Ashram and the dragons, including the queen walked outside and looked up. High in the sky, away from the laser blasts there were nine dragons flying in circles.
“You have the voice of the Old Kings inside of you Alberto.” The dragon queen said. “I’m glad you are with us. Now hear what I saw in the battle.”
Alberto who was still looking at the larger group of free dragons suddenly saw them freeze in the sky but without falling. He was going to warn the other but the queen told him.
“I’ve speeded up our time that way we’ll have time to talk. That’s way it looks like they are not moving.”
Then the queen told them about how when she reached inside the mist after some distance it parted and she saw her cousin looking much older in the centre of the mist. He had a device around his neck which was what shot the light arrows (laser blasts). When she uncloaked right next to him he was already getting ready to fight as he had sensed her. He moved to one side to avoid one of her electric balls and she got him on the tip of a wing, but then the dark mist simply grabbed her and threw her out while the device shot her all the time and the dark mist seemed to suck her life energy.
After a moment’s silence Alvaro said. “Well, so the dark mist is a type of weapon worn by the Soul Slaver.”
“More important than that. We now know he can be hurt. Could be the reason why he’s such a bad shot now.” Ashram said.
“According to the image the queen just showed us, the Soul Slaver is wearing a type of saddle or dragon vest which has laser cannons and produces the mist. I get the feeling he’s using a type of intelligent cloak shield and real lasers.” Alvaro told them.
“But those things don’t exist in this reality,” Ashram told him.
“So he brought them from another one.” The queen replied. “Although I can not imagine how he’s controlling them. The mist seems to have a life of it’s own.”
Alvaro sat on the floor and thought hard while the others discussed different possibilities of what the mist could be. After some time Alvaro, who was looking down while he thought, saw a tiny dark mote on the floor which when he looked hard, seemed to move a little. He stood and from his saddle got the tricorder which he pointed to the dark speck. The others seeing this stopped talking and got closer.
“Don’t get any closer!” Alvaro warned them looking at the little screen on the tricorder. “It could still be alive.”
“What is it? Some type of insect?” Asked Alberto.
“I thought so at first.” Said Alvaro stepping away from the dark mote. “Look at this.” He said to Alberto who got closer to the tricorder and gasped.
“It’s a little machine with wings!”
“Yes. It’s a nanobot.” Answered Alvaro.
“A nano what?” Asked Ashram.
“A very small robot. Mmmm. A very small machine that can think for itself according to the parameters of it’s programming,” Alvaro answered.
“OK. Let’s leave it at a very small machine.”
“How can such a small and…” The queen flamed the spot were the nanobot was and carried on saying “… weak thing have beaten me in a fight?”
Annoyed Alvaro answered “It would have been better if you hadn’t destroyed it, but to answer your question, it’s because they all work together.”
“Can they be destroyed?” Asked Ashram.
A smile appeared on Alvaro’s face as he answered. “Yes. I think they can. Come on let’s try something.”
Straight away the dragons starting moving again high in the air. Alberto noticing this said, “look! It hasn’t been more than half a second in real time.”
Alvaro was working on the console that Alberto the dragon was wearing and once he finished he told Alberto to fly towards the mist but to wait until they got close to it and then to fire the new gun on it. Alberto looked at the console and it had a new button with the word “EMP” on it.
“What’s emp?” Alberto asked saying the word rather than spelling it.
“Electro Magnetic Pulse. It will fry any circuit close to it. It should take care of the nanobots and maybe even the lasers.”
Alvaro placed cloaking shields around all of them and Alberto told the free dragons to get ready to help in case they got into trouble. Once the cloaking shields went on Alberto looked around and said.
“Why does everything look red?”
“I’ve tried to filter all electromagnetic radiation, except for the lower light frequency, that way the pulse won’t get past.” Alvaro answered.
“What?” Alberto and Ashram asked.
“I’m trying to keep the EMP out. That way it won’t harm us.” Alvaro answered.
“Why didn’t you say that before!” Alberto shouted while they dived towards the Soul Slaver.
Alberto could see the others on the flight console so he knew when they were ready. He then dived towards the mist and pressed the EMP button and two small popping sounds came from his saddle wings one after the other as two little rockets shot out. When the first reached the mist it didn’t explode or anything but Alberto’s console fuzzed for a second and the dark mist simply fell to the ground. The second little rocket carried on and crashed next to the Soul Slaver who now just looked like an old looking dragon, but before that Alberto’s console fuzzed again.
The old dragon was too surprised looking around to the fallen mist to noticed the huge queen appearing next to him and shooting him a blue ball of electricity. When the ball got to him he was gone and appeared next to the queen, making a huge cut on her side with his tail. The queen screamed and slashed her tail to hit him but he was gone. Appearing on the other side ready to hit her again but Alvaro and Ashram appeared and their dragons shot balls of fire towards him making him jump out the way. Then Alberto saw that Alvaro and Ashram were falling from the air with their dragons. As they reached the ground, the Soul Slaver walked towards them, grabbed them both with his claws and threw them on the floor away from their dragons. Alberto couldn’t believe that the dragons didn’t do anything, including the queen which was hurt but not enough to stop her. The Soul Slaver walked towards Ashram and Alvaro and said, “you can’t beat me! Not even with technology. I have been training for thousands of years in all types of dragon fighting techniques and I have injected myself with nano technology that enhances my psychic control over any dragon that I choose. Your weak EMP didn’t hurt the ones inside my body!”
Alberto then realised that the Soul Slaver hadn’t seen him. Just then he felt Alvaro’s presence and a voice that said “Get ready. Work it out for yourself.” He looked at Alvaro but Alvaro was being crushed by the old dragon king, the slaver of souls. Alberto flew with his dragon to save his brother but then, just on top of the Soul Slaver he saw a flash of light and himself mounted on Alberto the dragon appeared shooting bubble balls like mad. Most of which hit the Soul Slaver and the old king in seconds looked like a giant used chewing gum.
Alberto couldn’t believe his eyes as the other Alberto turned towards him and pointed to the console. He looked at it to see a message that said ‘Press here to travel 30 seconds to the past’. He then knew what his brother had meant and what had to be done so he pressed the after burners, got to the top of the group with the Soul Slaver on the ground and the other Alberto talking to Alvaro, dived and pressed the button.
Alberto and his dragon brother traveled back in time and appeared on top of the Soul Slaver who was just about to crush Alvaro. He fired sticky bubbles until the old dragon was fully covered. He then remembeed something and looked towards where he had been and pointed to the console. He then flew down towards his brother.
Alberto landed and ran towards Alvaro.
“Are you OK?” He asked.
“A bit bruised but OK. Thanks!” Alvaro replied. “I’m ever so glad you got the idea and I wasn’t sure if the changes to your console had worked.”
“They did!» Alberto replied. «You know, it’s really weird to see yourself.”
The queen had reached them by then and Alvaro was going to heal her but she stopped him.
“Not now young healer. I will carry this wound as a reminder of what the greed for power can do.” She said. “I see you had the idea of time travel. This, with the quick thinking and braveness of your little brother, have saved us all today.” She then turned to her cousin the old king and Soul Slaver and asked “Why? Why have you gone to so much trouble to take over the land if the land was yours when you imprison me so long ago?”
Even though the old king couldn’t move they heard the reply in their minds.
“It was because of the prophecy you said just before we imprisoned you in stone. I knew it could happen any time so I tricked the Oracle of the South to tell me that the dragon brothers came from a technological reality and I spent a long time jumping from universe to universe looking for one like this but for dragons. It took me a long time to come back.”
“You always were a fool. It was because you did so that they came here,” the queen told him.
“You lie! As always, you lie!” Shouted the old king.
“My queen,” Alvaro said, “I’m ready to kill the nanobots inside his body.”
“Fine. Please do so.”
Alvaro pointed a modified version of the tricorder at the old king, who was still enveloped in the sticky bubbles, and pressed a button.
“Nooo!” They heard him scream.
“He won’t be able to control anyone now,” Alvaro said.
After that, Alvaro took the constraining bubble away and, even though the old king tried to get away, he was easily controlled by the queen and the free dragons.
The dragon brothers and Ashram were then surrounded by the free dragons who opened their wings and sang a beautiful melodic song in thanks for their freedom. The boys stayed one more day in the fortress hearing stories of old before they got ready to go back to the town of Middleway. The next day Sandipani the Sage, also known as Sandipani the Dragon Queen, and all the dragons were gathered at the centre court in a circle around the dragon brothers and Ashram.
“Alvaro Dragon Heart and Alberto Slaver Slayer, the new champions of the Ignis Fortress. I and my subjects thank you for our freedom. You will always be welcomed here as so will you Ashram Elf Prince of the North.” The dragon queen said and all the dragons raised their head and roared making the earth tremble. «It is the time of a new beginning!» The dragon queen shouted above the roar. Alberto went on one knee as Ashram did and so did Alvaro after some hesitation. All the dragons went quiet, opened their wings and shot tongues of fire into the air. The boys and Ashram were surrounded by multicoloured dragons and fire and were touched by the beauty of it.
When the ceremony was over an idea that was nagging Alvaro took form. He walked closer to the queen and said, “my queen. Don’t forget that these dragons are free dragons and they will only be your subjects if they choose to do so.”
The eyes of the queen fired up but she controlled herself when she replied, “my impertinent young hero. I’m sure they will choose to do so. But if not, they are free to go anywhere they want.”
«Thank you my queen,» Alvaro replied.
He then walked to his dragon brother, Ashram and Alberto and said to the rest,“we will go now. Who will come with us?”
Straight away Ellen and Peter said “I will!”
The queen turned to them and then to Alvaro and said nothing. Then the dragon brothers, Ashram, who mounted Peter, and Ellen flew away from the giant Ignis Fortress which once again was the home of dragons.
The flight back wasn’t eventful. They did stop at the lookout post to pass the night and carried on flying until they got to Mountainfoot. When they saw the town in the distance Alberto said, I wonder why it always seems quicker on the trip back to a place”.
“Does it?” Asked Ashram, “it seems the same to me.”
“I agree with Alberto but I don’t know why,” said Alvaro.
They reached the town at the foot of the mountains and they could see people coming out of their houses to wait for them.
“They are not scared any more,” said Alberto.
“They know us. They probably saw us from a far but they have been neighbours with dragons for a long time so they recognised us easily,” answered Ashram.
“Do you think they recognise us? Considering the damage we did to them?” Asked Peter.
Ashram though for a while. “It’s possible but considering your change of colour most likely they won’t. We have to be careful though. After all they are dragon experts,” he said.
They landed on the same field that they had done on their way to meet the Soul Slaver and there was already a crowd gathered waiting for them.
“Ashram! What are the news!” A man shouted.
“The dark dragons are no more!” Ashram shouted back and the crowd cheered, some of them running towards them. They all climbed off the dragons and were surrounded by people asking questions.
“Where did the dark dragons come from?”
“Why did they attack us?”
“Are they dead?”
It was the type of questions they answered while they walked, but soon realised that a silence was falling over the crowd while a woman was speaking. They stopped and turned towards the woman. She looked angry and had tears on her eyes.
“You destroyed our house! My oldest boy and my husband are badly burned because of you!” She was shouting while looking at Peter.
“It’s true! I remember him!” A man shouted and the welcoming group soon became an angry crowd.
The other dragons closed ranks and stood between the people and Peter.
“Come on! We have to stop this before it gets out of hand!” Shouted Ashram.
They all ran towards the dragons and stood between them and the people of the town.
“Please stop!” Shouted Ashram “These dragons have helped us defeat the Soul Slaver! They had no control over their actions before! The Soul Slaver had absorbed the goodness from their souls!”
The boys were just as scared by the current situation as they had been during the past battles. The crowd stopped and listened to Ashram. It was a good thing they respected him. A man walked forward followed closely by the woman that had lost her house and about ten more women and men. The rest stayed being, some had spades and sticks in their hands.
“You well know that some people were killed by that dragon and his friends!” The man told Ashram.
“As I said. They were not themselves. They were controlled by the Soul Slaver.” Answered Ashram.
“You could say that about a drunk being controlled by the beer!” The man replied.
“You have no idea what this dragons have gone through. The Soul Slaver is an intelligent creature that manipulated them. You can’t say that about beer.” Answered Ashram.
The woman stepped forward looking at the dragons and said, “you mean there’s more dragons that attacked us here?”
Ashram went pale as he realised that he had made matters worse.
“Look at the small orange one!” Someone shouted “I remember her! She burned my barn!”
The crowd raised whatever weapons they had and shouting started to slowly walk towards the dragons. Ashram raised his hands and shouted, “please be calm! We can explain what happened!” but the crowd was too angry.
“What do we do Alvaro?” Asked Alberto.
“Well our dragon brothers are on the side of Peter and Ellen and I’m with my dragon brother,” Answered Alvaro.
“But we can’t fight this people. After all they are correct. There has to be something we can do,” Alberto said.
Just then Ashram told them to get ready to fly. The two boys climbed on to their saddles but when the crowd saw this they became even angrier. Alvaro was going to put a force shield up when they heard a voice shout, “stop! All of you stop! I give myself in!” It was Peter the dragon. He turned to the others and said, “they are right. It was me. Even under the control of the Soul Slaver it was my actions that did this.”
This stopped the crowd who went quiet looking at Peter who lowered his head and walked towards the crowd of people who parted to let him among them and started to get ropes together. Peter lay on the floor without any resistance. The man who had been talking to Ashram rope in hand walked towards Peter and started to place the rope around his mouth.
“NO!” a voice shouted between the crowd so loud that made most of them jump. The crowd opened up and there in the middle was a red haired boy. Who with a high head started walking towards the dragon. Peter the dragon looked at the boy and stood up dropping the rope that was loosely held around his mouth.
“Peter!” Shouted the woman that had told them about her son and husband. The dragon looked at her but she was shouting to the boy.
“Stay away!. This dragon is the one that hurt your dad and brother.!”
The boy looked at her and answered, “it’s OK mum. I know him!” He reached the dragon and touched him. Peter the dragon lowered his head and looked at him for some seconds then he raised his head, opened his wings and sang. No one in the town had ever heard a dragon sing and they were awed.
“A new dragon brother!” Said Alberto who didn’t just see the dragon sing, but also saw multicoloured lights flowing from the boy and the dragon which filled the field, the town and the air around them.
“A new dragon brother!!” Shouted Ashram so that everyone could hear.
The mood of the crowd of people changed from anger to amazement then to sheer happiness when they realised that one of their boys was a dragon brother.
“But Peter. This dragon burned your dad and brother,” Peter’s mum told him.
“No. It wasn’t this one. Maybe the same body but a dragon is first made of his soul and then of his body. Peter’s didn’t burn dad or John. It was the Soul Slaver using Peter’s body,” Peter answered while climbing, with some difficulty at first, onto Peter the dragon’s back. When he was sitting Peter jumped to the air followed by everyone’s cheers and flew around the town while the boy shouted “Yeeesss!!”
Alvaro and Alberto had a big smile on their faces. They knew what the new dragon brother where feeling just then.
“Do you think I will ever find my sister?” Asked Ellen.
“I’m sure you will Ellen. Just wait and see.”
By then the two Peters had landed in the town square and the rest of the people ran towards them. Suddenly our heroes were all by themselves.
“Well. That turned out OK,” said Ashram. “Come on. Let’s go and rest at my house. We’ll go to Middleway tomorrow.”
Once they got to Ashram’s place they had something to eat in the open air as it was still warm, even though the evening had arrived. All the food except the dragon’s food was vegetable.
After they finished eating Alvaro asked Ashram for a map as he wanted to show him were New Zealand was, but the map that Ashram brought had the Americas, Ireland, Great Britain, the west coast of France, northern Spain and a bit of the African continent but no more.
“Where’s the rest of the world” Alvaro Asked.
Ashram looked at the map and answered “Merlin told me that the rest of the world shouldn’t be mentioned. The people here haven’t discovered it yet.”
“That’s silly,” said Alberto, “they know about he UK, France and Spain and not about the rest?
“It’s because that’s how far sailors have gone,” Ashram said.
“What about dragons?” Asked Alvaro.
“They have their own maps in their heads and they cover most of the planet.” Answered Ashram.
“And Elves?” Asked Alberto.
“We also do know a lot more and our maps cover a much bigger area but I’m not allowed to take them out of our kingdom,” answered Ashram, “ordinary humans haven’t had the means to travel far. Until today that is.”
“Why? What happened today?” Asked Alvaro.
“What you saw before. A local boy has become the first dragon brother in history.”
“What about the dragon brothers of old. Where did they come from?” Asked Alberto.
“Mostly from parallel universes like yourselves. Others have been elves.”
Alberto was going to ask him why, but Alvaro looking at the map asked, “Where are we now?”
Ashram pointed to a spot.
“Look Alberto. We are in Argentina. The mountains must have been the Andes.”
“Cool! Dad would have liked to be here,” Alberto answered.
“Ashram. I would need a bigger map to show you were the fruit came from,” Alvaro told Ashram.
“Merlin can use his magic tomorrow and show you all the planet. You can tell me then.”
They carried on talking about what they had seen and done until it was dark and then went to sleep. The next day, early in the morning they took off into the sky to fly to Middleway.
When they got to Middleway, the town looked just as they had left it. The boys were a bit disappointed, as they expected a welcoming party, but obviously news didn’t travel very fast here. Merlin was waiting for them when they landed.
“We did it!” Shouted Alberto.
“It wasn’t easy but they had no chance,” said Alvaro smiling.
“I’m glad. I knew you would it. I also felt a change to positive energy coming from the mountains, so I had a good feeling that you had succeeded,” answered Merlin.
“We also met Sandipani the Sage. The Queen of Old.” Ashram told Merlin.
Merlin turned towards Ashram not too happy with the news. “I suspected she would come back sometime or another. We have to keep an eye on the dragons now,” he said a bit worried.
Alvaro, who never liked the queen very much, asked, “why don’t you like her?”
“During her time, dragons made war on each other. Something that had never happened before.”
“Why would we fight each other?” Asked Ellen.
“Oh. Hello there. What’s your name young lady?” Asked Merlin.
“Sorry,” answered Ellen looking a bit embarrassed. “I’m Ellen. I’m a friend of the dragon brothers.”
“Well Ellen. Basically Sandipani convinced some of them that they were better than the rest and they wanted more. The other dragons didn’t like the idea and didn’t comply. Sandipani’s dragons used force to impose their ideas and the war started.”
“Who won?” Asked Alberto.
“The free dragons but only because Sandipani disappeared and soon after her cousin did so too, so the royal dragons had no leaders. Soon after that they forgot about the class difference.”
“I knew there was something fishy about her,” said Alvaro.
“There’s also good news,” said Ashram. “Actually it’s great news. A new dragon brother has appeared in Mountainfoot.”
“That’s great news! I can’t remember the last time that happened!” Answered Merlin.
“That would have been three days ago,” said Alberto. “When it happened to us.”
Merlin bursted out laughing, “quite right, but I meant here on Pacha. Now come inside. You have to tell me all the details.”
“What’s Pacha,” Alberto asked Alvaro.
“I think it’s the name of this area,” answered Alvaro.
“Actually it is the name of the whole planet and for dragon birth brothers is also the name of this universe,” said Merlin.
They all walked to Merlin’s house and once inside they told him all the details of their adventure.
After listening Merlin sat quietly for a long time. In the end he said, “you have met an enemy much larger that I ever imagined. Had I known I would have not sent you. I knew about the prophecy of course so I knew that there was a lot of power on your side. We have to be extra careful next time.”
“Next time!” Shouted the boys.
“Yes. Even if there are no strange dark enemies you have to come back for your education. There’s plenty you have to learn to become full dragon raiders. It’s a great responsibility.”
“You don’t mean school. Do you?” Asked Alvaro and Alberto looked very worried at the possibility.
“I do actually. We have one of the best schools of magic and dragon flight here, although lately we only teach magic.” Answered Merlin.
“Wow. Like Harry Potter!” Shouted Alberto.
“Not quite,” answered Merlin, “I read the first book and this school is not like that. First of all, every one here knows about magic and anyone with any natural skills can come here. We are not hidden. Also you will be more involved in flight skills rather than magic as you have proven you have enough skills in that area.”
“I don’t,” said Alberto.
“If you have similar knowledge and imagination as your brother, then you have more than plenty.”
“Thanks!” Alberto said, “by the way. When can we go home?”
“You can go now if you so wish,” said Merlin and he took their weapons and clothes with his wand. They boys stood with their normal clothes again.
“Wait. Before we go, can I see a map of the world please? I want to show Ashram were New Zealand is.”
“Yes you can. I have one that you probably know,” Merlin answered and walked to a room at the back of the hall they were in. It was a much smaller room full of books, a fireplace and at the back a table that gave out an eerie light. When they got closer the boys noticed that the light came from a portable computer.
“Hey. How can you run this?” Asked Alvaro.
“Told you before. Solar panels.” Answered Merlin who got the computer mouse and double-clicked on a blue icon.
“That’s Google Earth!” Said Alvaro, “are you going to tell me now that you have an Internet connection?”
Smiling Merlin answered “No I don’t. It takes too much energy. What I did was to go to the Google offices and made a clone of the Google Earth servers.”
The boys just stared at him. This Merlin was nothing like the one in The Sword in the Stone.
Alvaro zoomed into the Pacific Ocean and looked for New Zealand and showed Ashram.
“Ah. That island is supposed to be were all dragons come from. I will organize a trip there.”
Alvaro closed the computer application still feeling weird seeing a computer in a place that had dragons and technology that seemed to come from the middle ages.
“How long do we have to go before we can open the door?” Asked Alberto the dragon.
“There are places around the planet where for some reason it takes much less energy to open them which is were we can actually do it.” Answered Alvaro the dragon.
When they finally got there, Alberto the dragon had to mentally connect to Alvaro the dragon while he opened the interdimensional door. It was like learning by experience. After that Alberto the dragon simply knew how to do it as though he had been doing it all his life.
The door opened and the boys saw a dark hole opening in front of them which had a line of little spots of light. When they crossed over they realised it was the town lights far away on the coastline. It was much colder than they remembered but they realised it was because they had gotten used to the heat from the Sea of Sand desert back in Pacha.
“We have to climb higher.” Alvaro the dragon said.
“Why?” asked Alvaro.
“Look over there.” Answered his dragon brother looking down. The boys looked down and saw a dragon with two boys on top flying in the opposite direction.
“Who are they?” Asked Alberto.
“It’s you on the way to Pacha,” answered Alvaro the dragon. The boys stared until the others disappeared in the dark.
“I don’t get it. We came back before we left?” Asked Alberto.
“That’s exactly it.” Answered Alvaro the dragon “We have to do this as you have to have time to get in bed before your dad gets to the room.”
“Ah. Very clever.” Said Alvaro.
“I still don’t get it!” Said Alberto but he didn’t get an answer as they could see their house and were getting closer fast.
When they got to the house they opened the window and first Alberto and then Alvaro climbed into the room.
“Bye boys! We’ll see you soon,” The dragons said and they flew higher.
The boys quickly changed to their pyjamas and got in bed just as their dad walked into the room.
“What’s that screaming all about?” He asked.
The boys stayed quiet wondering what he was talking about. After a few seconds Alberto who was holding himself back sat on his bed and shouted. “Dad! We are dragon birth brothers. There’s this dragon called Alberto and another called Alvaro and we’ve been to another planet and fought an old king dragon, and….”
“OK, OK. Alberto. It sounds like a great story, but you should be trying to sleep,” his dad answered.
“But it’s true dad! Isn’t it Alvaro?” Alberto answered.
After some doubt Alvaro replied, “sounds like a cool story Alberto but can you keep your voice down a bit. I’m trying to sleep.”
“What! Great! Thanks! I see you are back to your old self,” said Alberto lying down in bed and turning towards the wall.
“Good night kiss first,” his dad told him and Alberto turned and got a good night kiss from dad.
“It’s true dad. We did do all that.”
“I’m sure you did. You can tell me all about it tomorrow,” his dad said closing the window.
“I thought I had closed that,” He said while walking out of the room and closing the door gently. He heard Alvaro say, “good night dad.” followed by Alberto who also said good night.
“Good night boys. Now go to sleep.” The dad answered from outside the room. He then walked downstairs where their mum was watching TV.
“It’s started,” The dad told their mum. She turned to look at him and they both smiled at each other.