Chapter 2 - The Stranger
It was evening by the time Dyne and Noah arrived back in Burg.
They were still talking about their meeting with Quark, and
wondering what the villagers would say when they showed them
the White Dragon Ring. Dyne grinned, imagining the welcoming
throngs, cheering for the two brave adventurers who met Quark,
the mighty White Dragon of Althena. He could hear the village
A harsh, all too familiar voice shook him out of his daydream.
Oh no, thought Dyne. Please, Althena, don't let Grandpa
be angry with me and ruin my day! Please, please...
It was not to be.
A graybearded, burly man strode out from one of the nearby
houses, his fists clenched and his face filled with anger. "Dyne!
Where the hell have you been, you little brat! You were expected
home hours ago! Your grandmother has been worried sick about
"But grandpa, we went to the White Dragon's Cave and got to
meet him! He gave me a magic ring, and..."
A backhanded blow struck Dyne to the ground. "I'm gonna give
you something too--a walloping you're not ever gonna forget!"
roared his grandfather. "You're off trying to get yourself killed,
when there's work to be done here! You ought to be ashamed of
"Grandpa, the White Dragon says it's my destiny to travel
and have lots of adventures! He..."
Dyne gasped as his grandfather's boot smashed into his stomach.
"Destiny? You? Bah! You're not going anywhere! Not while I'm
around to look after you, you ungrateful scoundrel! Your destiny
is gonna be farming, milking, and one hell of a beating tonight!
Now get inside!"
Noah and the other villagers watched helplessly as Dyne was
dragged off by his grandfather.
"It isn't right," Noah heard a nearby man mutter. "Mycroft
has no right to beat that boy, his own grandson-especially for
all to see."
Growing up with a tyrant like that, thought Noah, no
wonder Dyne's always dreaming of adventuring and seeing far-off
places. And I can't say I blame him. I pray that he can find
a way to escape, and achieve the destiny Quark told him about.
# # #
About an hour later, Dyne was sitting by the spring in the
woods on the outskirts of town. It was his favorite place to
go when he wanted to be alone and away from his grandfather.
Tears swelled in his eyes, from physical pain, and from the
memories of how his grandfather had humiliated him in front
of the whole village on what was supposed to be the greatest
day of his life. He had risked his life to meet the White Dragon
of Althena, fought with monsters, and had shown no fear. Yet
he was helplessly beaten by his own grandfather for all to see.
He should have been proud of me for what I did today. If
he hates me so much, why won't he let me go and travel? It's
not my fault my parents left me in his care before they died.
Why does he always have to take it out on me?
He sighed, and took a small ocarina out of his pack. It was
a gift from his mother. Before she had died, she had taught
him to play the ocarina at this very place. He always carried
it with him, but this was his favorite spot to play. He closed
his eyes, and started to play a melody he had come up with.
As he played, he could almost hear words, sung by a beautiful,
In your dreams, magical thoughts
All things are real, unless you dream they're not
In your dreams, love is the plot
Carried on wings of hope
Each of our souls
Intertwine, when we do...
Instantly we see it, the time to grow and be it
When everything is pinned on a hope
Let rise the dreams of your heart
That innocent youth, careless and kind
Free to roam the breeze in love
Only when two brilliantly shine as one...
He stopped, put the ocarina down, and gazed into the water
of the spring, lost in his thoughts.
"You play very well," said a voice behind him.
Dyne turned around, and saw a strange man standing there.
He was tall, slender, rather pale, and dressed in simple traveling
clothes and a gray cloak. He carried a staff in his hand, a
satchel was slung over his shoulder, and a long sword hung from
his side. Dyne's surprise quickly turned to curiosity as he
gazed at the man's face. It was an ageless face, framed in long,
silvery hair. His ears were pointed, like an elf. But perhaps
the most intriguing thing about him was his eyes: dark red,
catlike, and very intense. Dyne felt like they could see right
through him, and far beyond.
"Uh... thanks," he muttered, uncertainly.
The strange man smiled. "I hope I didn't disturb you. I was
passing by, and I heard you playing. It was very nice." Then
the smile faded, replaced with a look of concern. "Are you okay?
Dyne touched the right side of his face where Mycroft had
first struck him, and felt a trickle of blood. He also felt
a couple of bruises.
"I'll be okay," Dyne said sadly.
The stranger said nothing, but walked towards Dyne. He knelt
down, placed his hands on Dyne's head, and whispered a few words.
Dyne shuddered as a strange energy passed through him. The he
noticed that all of his pain was gone. He touched his face,
and there was no trace of blood or bruises.
"Wow, are you a priest?"
The stranger smiled wistfully. "I've been many things in my
time. I did study to be a priest, but I never took the orders.
I couldn't spend the rest of my life cooped up in a shrine when
there's a whole world for me to see. My kind has the gift of
long life. But our lives, although lasting for centuries, still
must end one day. So I want to see all that I can, savor all
this world has to offer, while I still am able to."
"Don't you have a home?"
"Oh, if I like a place, I'll stay for a while. But sooner
or later, I'll eventually get restless and need to travel and
Dyne stared at him, awe-struck, wondering what this strange
man had seen, what adventures he had had in his obviously long
life. "How old are you?"
The stranger laughed. "To be honest, I don't know. I've never
bothered keeping count. I don't even know when my birthday is!"
Suddenly, the stranger seemed to turn ice-cold. "But enough
about me. Those bruises of yours weren't caused by an accident.
Who did this to you?"
Dyne silently hung his head in shame.
Softening his tone, the stranger said "Did someone beat you?"
"Some other kids? Bullies?"
Dyne shook his head.
"My parents are dead. I live with Grandpa Mycroft and Grandma
"Does your grandfather beat you?"
Slowly, Dyne nodded.
"I dunno. He just doesn't like me. He doesn't like taking
care of me, and he really gets mad at me because I want to go
on adventures, and see the world."
"What about your grandmother?"
"She doesn't hit me, but she yells at me over nothing. And
she never stops my grandfather from beating me."
The stranger's eyes instantly turned from ice-cold to blazing
with anger. "No child," he said bitterly, "should ever have
to put up with such pain. Especially from family."
Then he softened. "So, you want to be an adventurer some day,
"I already am!" Dyne said eagerly. "My friend Noah and I went
to the White Dragon Cave today! He gave me this ring! He said
I was destined to go on lots of adventures and be a great hero!"
The stranger looked at the Dragon Ring on Dyne's finger, apparently
impressed. "Wow. That's quite a feat for someone your age. How
old are you?"
"Eleven and a half."
"That's it? Maybe you do have the life of an adventurer ahead
of you. These days, there aren't enough heroes out there. By
the way, what's your name?"
"Pleased to meet you," said the stranger, shaking his hand.
"My name is Ghaleon."
# # #
"Dyne! Dyne, where are you?"
Dyne stiffened as he heard his grandfather's voice calling
him. "Oh great," he groaned. "Now I'm gonna get it again for
being late for dinner."
Ghaleon said nothing, but looked grim. This boy's had enough
punishment for one day, he thought. I will not let him
be harmed again.
A few seconds later, Mycroft's massive frame burst through
the trees, his heavy footfalls crushing the grass beneath his
feet. "Dyne! Damn it, didn't you heart me calling..."
"Forgive me," said Ghaleon, as he turned to face Mycroft.
"I was lost and this young man was kind enough to give me directions.
Is he your son?"
"Grandson," growled Mycroft, apparently angry with the stranger
for taking away a reason to thrash Dyne. "Where are you headed?"
"It doesn't take that long to explain how to get there," said
Mycroft menacingly, glaring at Dyne.
"I noticed that the boy was injured, and needed medical attention.
Apparently, some bullies had given him a terrible beating. It's
a pity that people can be so cruel to a child, don't you think?"
"Yeah..." Mycroft muttered, and if looks could kill, there
wouldn't be enough of Ghaleon left to fit inside a thimble.
Ghaleon smiled. "Well, it looks as though I should be on my
way. I want to reach Saith by morning. Dyne, thank you for your
Mycroft was about to wish him off, when he noticed Ghaleon's
satchel. Perhaps this freak's got some money on him,
he thought. "What?" he said, pretending to be astonished. "You're
not really going to try and go through the Weird Woods at night,
"It's full of monsters, and it's impossible to see through
the fog at night! You'll be killed!"
Ghaleon fought the urge to laugh, knowing exactly what was
going on inside Mycroft's greedy mind. "Oh, I think I can take
care of myself. But thanks for your concern."
"I won't hear of it! Please. Won't you spend the night at
my house? We're about to have dinner, and I'm sure my wife won't
mind setting another place."
Ghaleon looked into Dyne's eyes, and saw the eagerness in
his eyes. "How could I refuse such a gracious invitation?" he
said, bowing to Mycroft.
Mycroft led the way back, Ghaleon and Dyne walking behind
him. Dyne looked at him curiously.
"You wanted him to invite you over, didn't you?"
The mischievous gleam in Ghaleon's eyes gave him away.
"That's right," he whispered.
"Why? Not that I'm complaining or anything..."
"I don't think I should leave you alone with your grandfather
tonight. Besides, you look like you could use some company."
Click Here To Continue
1 2 3
4 5 6