The Seventh Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series
Landon was playing with Baby, Scorch, and Sly in the field behind Grandpa’s house. It’s not unusual for a seven-year-old boy to play with friends on a Saturday morning, but in this case, Landon’s friends are living stuffed animals.
Well, they are living now, but they weren’t before the magic.
Through a rather unusual set of circumstances, Landon was imbued with magical energy and in order to learn to control it, his dragon companion Buddy had no choice but to train the child in the use of his magic.
So on this bright, cold December morning, Landon is practicing magic with the aid of some of his stuffed animals, a small yellow giraffe named Baby, an equally small stuffed dragon with pink wings named Scorch, and a little red stuffed fox named Sly.
Landon’s breath came out in white puffs as he and his animals played and practiced. The ground was frozen solid and covered with frost, but the child took no notice of this as he ran around chasing the three friends he was levitating above him like kites without strings.
“Whee! Don’t stop, Landon!” Baby was crying out with glee. Scorch was flapping his wings as fast as he could but wasn’t able to overcome the levitation spell with his own powers of flight. He puffed out tiny sparks and flame spurred out of his mouth in frustration. Sly pretended to be swimming and was doing the breast stroke.
From high above, too high for most people to see, Buddy, the Ambrosial Dragon and the little boy’s best friend, was looking down at this scene with satisfaction. He had been giving Landon more freedom to practice his magic without direct supervision, but he still liked to keep an eye on the child when he used his spells. Besides, this was a good way for Buddy to exercise his wings by flying.
It was Grandpa calling. Landon kept the trio of stuffed animals suspended in the air as he guided them along above him and ran back toward his backyard.
“Coming, Grandpa,” he yelled as he headed home.
Buddy heard this too and he dived down to the house barely visible from his great height. The dragon loved Grandpa’s pancakes too.
“How did your practice go?” Grandpa seemed to be getting more comfortable with his grandson using magic.
“Really good, Grandpa. I kept Baby, Scorch, and Sly in the air all the time and didn’t drop them once.” Landon shoved another bite of syrup covered pancake into his mouth.
His nearly year-and-a-half old sister Dani was sitting in her high chair and munching on pancake pieces too, but Grandpa thought she was still too young for syrup.
Buddy had a fork in each of his two front paws and was devouring a tall stack of pancakes. Grandpa had to make a double-recipe of pancake mix to keep up with the dragon’s appetite.
“Landon getting better, much better,” the dragon mumbled as he chewed a mouthful of breakfast and then put another bite quickly in his maw.
“Chew your food and swallow before talking, Buddy.” To Grandpa, being around Buddy was like having another grandchild, even though he suspected that Buddy was older than he was.
“Okey dokey, Gramps,” the dragon replied and started to eat slower.
“So how many more spells will you be teaching Landon, Buddy?”
“As many as there are I hope.” Landon interrupted Buddy’s reply to Grandpa.
“Many more, many more, but slowly. Teach simple spell now, more complex spell when he’s older. Yes, needs to get older.”
“Awwwww.” Landon was disappointed. He didn’t like to wait. He wanted to know it all now.
“Patience, apprentice. Patience.”
Technically, Landon should have been addressing Buddy as “Master” since he was the dragon’s apprentice, but Buddy relaxed the rules a little for the boy since after all, he was only human.
This was also the first time Buddy had taken on an apprentice. Grandpa was right in believing Buddy was older than he was, and in fact, Buddy was a good deal older than he, but the life spans of dragons are immense. In years, Buddy was older than any human, but actually, among dragons, he was still considered quite young and not fully grown.
After breakfast, Grandpa had Landon read to him for twenty minutes, then practice his spelling words for next week. In the afternoon, Buddy would take over, and have his apprentice learn to read a few simple spells in the old language, the language of the Masters who were rumored to have created the first magics at the dawn of the existence of the many realms.
While Buddy was tutoring Landon, Grandpa would take Dani shopping and afterwards, for a walk to play at the park. The little girl loved to swing and go down on the slide.
Night. Landon was in bed sleeping, surrounded by all of his stuffed animals and by Buddy. Grandpa and Daddy, who had to work on Saturdays so he didn’t get home until dinner, peeked into Landon’s room before going to bed themselves. It was an odd and heartwarming sight to see all of the stuffed animals asleep and softly breathing along with the dragon and the boy.
Grandpa and Daddy walked down the hall and stopped in the kitchen. “So you still think all this magic stuff is a good idea, Dad?” Daddy was worried that Landon would get into more trouble by learning spells.
“I don’t see that there’s much choice, David. Buddy says Landon has to continually learn and practice spells in order to control the magical energy inside of him. If Landon doesn’t control the magic, the magic will control him. Besides, he seems to be getting better at it, and the spells seem pretty benign so far.”
“Even though Buddy said he closed the doorways to the other dimensions, I still worry that Landon will attract the wrong kind of attention.”
“Landon’s careful to only do magic when no one but us can see him. I think he’ll be fine.”
“I hope you’re right, Dad.”
Grandpa went to bed a little while later, but his son David, Landon and Dani’s Daddy, sat in the dark, staring out the window into the field behind their house where Grandpa first found the injured dragon last summer. If Buddy hadn’t landed in that field, if his Dad hadn’t found him and brought him home, if the dragon hadn’t become part of their family, none of this would be happening.
But it was happening and there was no changing the past. If there were a way to change the past through, would he stop Buddy from coming to Earth so Daddy could protect his children?
When Landon woke up, he was alone and he wasn’t in his bedroom. In fact, he didn’t even think he was on Earth anymore. He looked around and the room he was in was brightly lit but he couldn’t see where the light was coming from.
He was lying on a table covered by a sheet. The room was round and although the walls looked bright, the ceiling was shrouded in dark shadows. There were five other tables like his in the room and there was a child on each of them. Only two, a boy and a girl, looked Landon’s age or younger. Another boy and girl looked like older, elementary school kids, and the oldest, a girl, looked like a teenager.
“Shhhh, Landon. The children are sleeping.”
The voice came from the ceiling. It sounded like a woman’s voice. He stared straight up. Something was moving in the shadows over him, something big.
It circled down the dome of the ceiling and a great, golden head emerged. It was a dragon!
It wasn’t a dragon like Buddy who was smaller, (a little larger than a collie) and who Landon thought was cute. This dragon’s head a really big, bigger than Buddy’s whole body, and covered with yellow scales. She had a long snout and glistening emerald eyes that were her most “human” feature.
“Don’t be afraid, Landon. I won’t hurt you.”
Landon sat up and was getting ready to run when he realized he didn’t have any clothes on.
As if reading his mind, the great golden dragon said, “You’ll find clothing at the foot of your bed. Get dressed. I have something to show you, or rather someone.”
Landon swallowed hard and then tried to ignore the dragon as he grabbed the clothes and in embarrassment, quickly got dressed. They weren’t like any clothes he had ever worn before. The t-shirt and pants were almost but not quite white, very light like what you wear when it’s hot out, and the pants had no belt but drawstrings to pull the waist tight.
He put on the shoes which were more like slippers and stood up. While all this was going on, the other children hadn’t moved. It was more like they were under a spell than just sleeping. The thought reminded Landon that in his fright, he had completely forgotten about using magic to defend himself, but then again, the dragon hadn’t attacked or even threatened him.
“Come with me.”
Landon jumped and let out a little squeak of fright. He hadn’t heard a sound as the great dragon had slithered down the wall and settled on the floor right behind him.
Landon spun around quickly and then took a step back. The dragon’s face was only inches from his own and he could feel her hot breath on his cheeks.
“This way, Landon”.
The dragon turned and walked out a door that hadn’t been there before, a really big opening to accommodate the serpent’s large body.
Outside, it looked like they were on top of a rocky mountain in a desert. There were only a few bushes and skinny trees dotting the immediate landscape, although in the distance, Landon could see a large mountain range thickly covered with trees.
Now that he could see all of the dragon, she looked like she’d barely fit inside his Grandpa’s living room. She had large wings that were folded against her back so tightly that Landon hadn’t seen them before.
She was golden all over, nearly the same shade of yellow as Buddy, but much, much bigger and more scary looking. The claws at the end of each of her four limbs had really sharp-looking talons. One of them could have easily cut Landon in half.
Landon was still afraid of the dragon because of what she looked like, but her voice and her eyes told him she was kind. She was still dangerous, but only if attacked or if defending those she loved.
“Where am I?” The boy finally got the courage to speak up. He didn’t understand how he could be in a different dimension when Buddy said he’d closed all the doors.
“No place you have ever been to before, but a place you will call home someday.”
Landon started to feel afraid again. The only home he knew was with Daddy and Grandpa and Dani and Buddy. He didn’t want to live anyplace else.
“What are you going to do?” Landon was afraid of the answer but he had to ask the question.
“Why nothing except introduce you to someone.”
Landon heard the newcomer approaching but couldn’t see the person because the mountain trail that led to where he was bent around a hill. Then the visitor slowly came into view. It was a girl. A teenager maybe 15-years-old. She was dressed in clothing similar to what Landon was wearing but instead of pants, she wore shorts and she had boots on, not slippers. She had a long staff in her left hand that she used as a walking stick. As she got closer, he also saw she had a bow and quiver of arrows slung across her back.
When the girl saw the dragon, she grinned, shouted “Shay,” and ran toward the great reptilian.
She dropped her walking staff as she reached the dragon. Shay lowered her head so the girl could get her arms around the golden serpent’s neck and give her a hug.
“I’ve missed you so much.” The girl was nuzzling the dragon’s neck.
I’ve missed you too, my child.”
The girl let the dragon go and seemed to notice Landon for the first time. She stood there just staring at him. Without turning back to the dragon, she said, “I knew you were bringing him for a visit but I…”
“Surprising to see him at this age, isn’t it? You would have been barely 18 months old when he was 7.” The dragon was slightly smiling now, revealing needle-shaped teeth that looked a lot like Buddy’s.
The girl walked up to him. Her hair was a light brown and wispy thin, but long. She bent over Landon slightly. “I know you don’t recognize me but I’ve missed you, or well…sort of you.”
Landon felt uncomfortable when the girl kneeled down to hug him but as she got close, her hair and skin smelled familiar.
She let go and stood again. “I’m Danerys. You know. Dani, your sister.” She pointed to herself and smiled.
Landon took a step backward. “What? You’re crazy. Dani’s only a baby.”
“She is where and when you come from, but not here. Time travel is one of the doors your little dragon could not close. Also, you can never close a door to the dream world.”
Landon looked up at Shay. “How do you know Buddy closed those doors?”
“Because I know you, Landon,” the golden dragon replied. “I can’t tell you the whole story yet. There’s so much you must learn first. I brought you here because I wanted you to understand that there’s so much more to learning magic than just having fun.”
The older Dani brushed Landon’s hair with her hand for a moment. “That’s right ‘big brother’. Someday, you’ll teach me magic, too. Then we have to come here to help.”
“Help what?” Landon rubbed his hair where Danerys touched it.
It was the dragon who answered. “To free us. To free all of us. To restore the world of the Ambrosial Dragons and bring peace to the many realms.”
Landon felt overwhelmed and excited at the same time but he didn’t know what to say.
“Someday, Landon,” the dragon continued. “Someday when you grow up, you’ll come here with your sister. You’ll come here to repay a debt to your friend and to all our kind.”
“You mean Buddy? Where is he? Does he live here too?”
“Someday you will find the answers to those questions but not today. Now we have to return you. The Dragonnys Children are about to wake up and they can’t see you, not as you are now.”
The boy turned around to look at the strange, round building at the top of the desert mountain. It was there those kids were still sleeping. What were “Dragonnys Children?”
Although it was mid-morning out, everything around Landon was getting darker and he was feeling sleepy. Danerys helped him to the ground. The sand and grass under him felt dry and uncomfortable but he was starting to fall asleep anyway.
“I’ll see you in the future, big brother. Have a beautiful childhood and remember to be good to me when I’m a baby.”
Landon was barely aware of Shay lowering her head and whispering into his ear. “You won’t be able to tell anyone about this when you wake up, not even Buddy, and you’ll only remember being here in your dreams. Can’t be changing history, can we Landon?”
Landon thought he felt the tiny tip of the dragon’s long tongue flicker across his cheek.
Then it was night and Landon was asleep.
Landon woke up with a start the way people wake up from a nightmare. He was back in his room, just the way it was when he went to bed.
It was still dark out and Landon could see Buddy and all his stuffed animals were still asleep in his bed. Was it just a dream or did it really happen? Landon couldn’t tell but if it was real, then someday both he and his sister would have adventures in a strange place and know a dragon named Shay.
In a realm still unknown to Buddy and Landon and the family, they were being watched by a pair of emerald-colored eyes. It was Shay, but not as Landon remembered from his dream. She was a Shay that looked a lot like the way Buddy looks now. It was the little dragon they had rescued months ago and who had disappeared.
“Now you know a little more about your future and your destiny, Landon. I can’t wait to meet you again.”
This is the seventh in a series of stories I’m writing for my grandson. The one just before is called The Apprentice. I started the series in late August when I wrote the tale The Day a Dragon Came to Live with us. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as Landon does.
The next edition in this series is Savior in a Storm. David wanted to save his children from the dangers of magic and evil creatures. All he had to do was murder an innocent dragon.