Ron Cannon laid his young daughter down in bed. She was going to be 13 soon;
in fact, as soon as the clock struck one she would be 13. Hers was a very unusual
birth, being born right on the hour. She hadn't even been a second off. He knew
she was special, his little Thena, and once she turned 13 he would start her
on a new life, a life in which she would never have guessed possible.
"Papa?" she whispered, still partially awake. She had had a long day in the fields and even though it was only 9:00 p.m., she was exhausted. "Sleep now, Thena. You'll be getting up early tomorrow for your new work. You're growing up and it's almost time for you to take your place with the rest of the Cannon family," he whispered gently in her ear.
"Okay, papa," she mumbled and immediately closed her eyes. He bent over and kissed her forehead. Then he mumbled something in a language Thena had never heard before and it made no sense to her. She heard his footsteps go down the stairs and she slipped into sleep despite her curiosity to what he meant about taking her place with the rest of the Cannon family.
For years her papa had hinted at this momentous moment when she would turn 13, but he had never really told her what he meant. She knew that it was a secret, a gift that not even her half-brother could have but she could never figure out what it was. She looked in all the hiding spaces, searched for it in her mother's journal, but there was no sign of it. She doubted even her mother knew what it was and her father never told anything but that it was very important and it would change her life forever.
As she felt the wonderful lightness that signaled her dreaming she knew that the mystery would only be revealed to her at the anniversary of the hour of her birth and that soon she would have her answers.
Then the Dream came.
She was sitting on the edge of a cliff looking out to a large lake far below.
Her feet were dangling off the 30-foot drop but she wasn't the least bit afraid.
A cool breeze blew her hair and the long, light blue dress she was wearing.
Around her neck was a medallion of gold and red in the shape of a key.
She sighed and looked up at the sky, gazing at the beautiful stars as they twinkled as if to greet each other and the larger moons. The names of constellations she had never seen before popped into her head in a language she had never before heard. What could this all mean?
A shadow danced across the third moon but when she looked up she saw nothing but the blue-white glow of the giant sphere. She sighed again but caught her breath as she suddenly felt eyes upon her. She looked about her, glancing into the woods and spotted a dark figure partially covered by the bushes.
She peered into the gloom and realized that it was a young man. One of his blue eyes was touched by the moonlight and it almost glowed as he watched her. She felt frozen to the spot as the dazzling eye soaked in her image. If only she could see his face!
Suddenly, a single word popped into her mind but before she could say or even recognize the word, a bright light blinded her and a multitude of images flooded her mind. There were so many she couldn't picture some but a few got through to her and almost burned into her mind.
A girl riding a dragon an angle with black wings a boy holding her and a bright light forming between them, engulfing them hundreds of flying warriors a piercing, inhuman cry that made her ears want to shatter. The same pictures that entered her mind every night as she had the Dream burned into her mind again but this time it was different this time it was more urgent and more clear than it had ever been before.
Ninta veroon cala, ninta veroon. Naniho
Then the visions were gone and she was again alone in her room, her bed soaked with her sweat. She looked over to the clock. 10:45 p.m. Only an hour's sleep but she knew that she wouldn't be able to go to sleep again for the whole night. It was always this way, every night. She would go to bed, have that strange dream, half of which she couldn't remember anyway, and then sit in bed the rest of the night, completely awake. And even if she did manage to go to sleep again she would just have the Dream again.
It wasn't always like this. Before, when she was young she would only have it maybe once a week, sometime twice but as she got older it came more and more often with more and more images to confuse and disorient her. Why did this happen to her? Why so often now? Why was tonight so different, so brain-splittingly more important than before?
And that voice that eerie voice that had never came before? Where did that voice come from and why now, after so long? What did those words mean those words she remembered words but she didn't remember what the words were...she couldn't even remember! Just like the images and the word that she was going to say to that boy.
But no this time she did remember more of the dream, more of the images. And maybe there had always been a voice it was just that now was the only time she could remember it. Maybe it had always been there but deep down Thena doubted it. Her gut just told her that it had never been part of the Dream until now.
Suddenly she heard an amazingly loud clatter coming from right outside her window, in the courtyard. She rushed over and pulled open the curtains. She couldn't believe what she saw.
Outside, about 40 ft. in the air and centered right over her farm, there was a bright light. It reminded Thena of those space tears she had seen in all those Sci-fi movies. But this time it wasn't a special effect that she saw on the TV, it was here, in real life, right in front of her window!
Then a scream came and pierced her ears, threatening to crack her skull and an object flew at high speed from the tear or whatever that wavy, green light was. It was a dragon a silver and black dragon with a small figure on its back. A human rider hanging on as it flew, avoiding the arrows that emerged from the rip behind them.
The dragon hovered above the barn as the rip closed and then started to land in the courtyard. Thena couldn't believe her eyes. A dragon a real life dragon in her courtyard, on her farm! No one would believe it!
She was glued to the window as the rider slid off the dragon's back and walked towards the house calling, "Rivrondu Kannin! Rivrondu Kannin, we know you're here! Come out! We need your help!" Thena leapt off her bed and started flying down the stairs to the door, practically running into her family as they too gathered at the door to see these two strange visitors from who-knows-where.
"Dad, what is it? Is it aliens?" Mikey asked as he stood bravely at his stepfather's side. "No Mike, now get back in the house. All of you, stay in the house," Riv said. "But papa " Thena started but stopped as she met her father's stern glare. When he got like that you knew not to push or question him.
Opening the screen door her went out to where the young rider and the dragon stood. Thena walked up to the screen, ignoring her mother's words about disobeying her father. There was something strange about the dragon and she needed a closer look. Her eyes almost bugged out of their sockets when she realized what it was.
The dragon was shrinking! Not only that, it's shape was changing as well as his side. His wings were disappearing into a cape, his snout shrinking until she saw a nose and a mouth, his claws fading into fingernails. He was becoming human!
"Oh, my " Thena gasped as she clenched the screen. Ron didn't look a bit afraid as the now silver-haired and black-caped dragon joined his rider. Even she barely glanced at the dragon that now looked like 20-year-old man. She had long, black hair, brown eyes and a tight pair of leather pants and a black top with no sleeves, leaving most of her back exposed. She must have been about 18. She couldn't be any older than that.
"What do you want here?" Thena's father finally asked, his arms crossed and a grim and uninviting expression on his face. The girl looked him up and down, not intimidated by this man at all. "Are you the magician, Rivrondu Kannin?" she asked. "There is no one here that goes by that name," Ron stated.
The girl raised her eyebrow. "We know he is here. We must speak to him," the girl insisted, her hand on her hip. "I suggest you go back to where ever you come from. There is no one here who can help you," he said and started to walk back to the house. The girl looked at her transformed dragon who just stared at the man.
"You are the Mage Rivrondu Kannin. I can feel the magic flowing through you. You must return with us to Tania," the dragon said. He had an amazingly gentle voice. Thena looked him over and realized he was quite handsome for a dragon. "I don't have to do anything," Ron answered, turning around to face the dragon.
"It is your duty to protect Tania. You swore under the Four Goddesses that you would protect and serve Tania as the Guardian of the Purespirit. Please, Master Kannin. You knew my parents, Vron and Tila Mei. You told me that a Guardian's life was to serve their world, that nothing was more important than that honor. Please you must help us," the girl pleaded. Ron still looked rough.
"This world is my home now. Go back to yours," he said and again started to leave. "You don't understand! Yuki and Yukan have destroyed the Six Kingdoms!" she shouted, stopping the large man in his tracks. "The Twin Whitewing sons of King Lufer?" Ron asked, not believing it. "They were the Hope of Tania and the key to linking the Above with the Surface."
"They have gone mad and have destroyed all of the kingdoms. All that's left is the town of Rindle. Everyone has gathered there and is being protected by the Dragons but even they are being defeated," she stated, tears almost forming in her eyes. She choked them back. "How can this be? Even the Whitewings cannot defeat the Six Kingdoms as well as all the Dragons," Ron stated.
"If it was just the Whitewings, you'd be right, but the brothers have called together most of the Whitewings and the Batwings. With the Blackwings and Dragons by themselves and no Kingdoms to fall back on Tania will fall to the New Order which the Twins call the Rightwingz," the Dragon explained. Ron lowered his head in contemplation as his family watched on from the house.
Thena couldn't believe it. Her father knew of this? Could he really be this Kannin they were speaking of? She looked at her mother who was holding Thena's baby brother in her arms. Her mother was just staring at the scene, looking puzzled. Then it dawned on Thena her mother couldn't understand what they were saying! She looked at Mikey and realized he couldn't either!
Now, she listened very closely to the words they spoke and realized that none of them were speaking English. It was a language that she had never heard spoken before, a language the Dream! It was the language that she had heard and understood in her dream!
Before she knew what she was doing she rushed out of the house and ran to her father. "Thena! Get back into the house. Now," her father ordered but she would not listen. "Father, what is this? What's going on? What's this Purespirit and who are these people and how do you know what they're talking about what they're even saying?" she demanded, totally freaked out.
Her father looked shocked as the two strangers clad in black. Had she been speaking in English or their language? She couldn't tell but it didn't matter anymore. She just had to find out what was going on. "You have not told them who you are, have you Kannin?" the Dragon asked. Ron just looked down. "This does not concern you Thena. It doesn't concern me. I cannot help you," he said again, this time a trace of sadness came through.
"If you do not Tania will crumble," the girl said. "I'm sorry," Ron apologized and guided his daughter with him to the house. "Once they are done with Tania they will come here and destroy you and your family! They want the Purespirit and they will destroy this world if it means obtaining it!" the girl yelled yet again. "You don't understand young Someisa. Yes, I remember your name. It's true that I was once the Mage Kannin but no longer. I cannot help you," he said.
"Papa you can't turn your back on them. They need your help," Thena said despite not understanding what was going on. "Thena you have no idea what they ask of me," he said to her, his eyes full of sadness. Thena looked back at the two strangers. "Then explain to me," she answered, looking from either of them to tell her. Her father only looked down.
"Your father is a powerful Mage from a world called Tania. He was once a Dragonrider, as I am and my parents were before me. Before I was born he lost his dragon, Merok, and became a magician, learning from the best magic users in all of the Six Kingdoms. When King Lufer of the Human Kingdom had two sons with a Whitewing, the world erupted in chaos," Someisa began.
"You see, Whitewings are angle-like creatures with dove wings. Most of them are evil demons that feed off of death and destruction. Everyone fears and hates them with good reason. They have only one true enemy the Blackwings, their cousins with raven wings, who are mostly kind and peaceful," the dragon now continued, stepping closer to the girl and her father.
"Once Lufer created these Whitewing-human crosses, the whole world retaliated. No one had ever heard of such a thing and they planned to destroy the Twins and the Kingdom. However, the oracle predicted that these Twin half-breeds would be the key to bringing true peace to Tania for another 5,000 years and bring the Above and the Surface, the Land creatures and the Sky creatures, together," Soma continued on with the story.
"Kannin was chosen to save the world from destroying itself and the Twin boys by becoming the Guardian of the Purespirit. Only he had enough magic to control the Power of the Purespirit. With the help of Someisa's parents and the Dragonriders he was able to succeed and make the others understand the boys' importance but it came with a price. He was banished from Tania, whether he was the keeper of the Purespirit or not," the Dragon said.
"But now the Twins have gone insane and forged an alliance with the last cousin in the Angle-like family the Batwings. They are creatures that look like demons and who sleep within the Beneath, the caverns within the ground, itself. They are beings of magic, unlike the other two Angel cousins, and now give the Whitewings the upper hand, especially now that the Blackwings have disappeared. Yuki and Yukan now have an entire army of flying magic-users and even though the dragons are more powerful and harder to destroy, there are so many Rightwingz that even they are falling.
"Your father must now come with us, back to Tania and stop these Rightwingz before Tania is lost forever and they move on to this world. We need the power of the Purespirit and we need his magic. He is our last and only hope. There is no longer any choice. They must be destroyed to save Tania," Someisa finished, her heart steely cold from the misery she had seen in her world.
"I'm sorry Someisa. I cannot do it. I cannot help you or the others. I'm sorry," Ron said again, still denying the help they so richly needed. "How can you be so cowardly?! My parents said that you could save us, that you were so brave and honorable and that nothing could stop you! How can you say you cannot help, that you will not fight when my parents were the first to die at the hands of Yukan and Yuki?! How?" Someisa demanded, tears running down her face.
The old Mage looked as if he had just gotten a knife through his heart, he was so ashamed and sad. "You don't understand Someisa," he simply said, but the young girl wouldn't stop. "Thousands of people have died because of them! Hundreds of dragons and their riders have parish so that you could be found! How can you betray their spirits!? How can you sit by and let the monsters destroy the last of us?" she continued on, furious now.
"Someisa " the Dragon tried to put in but only got snapped at. "Not now Rutan," she yelled, turning her fiery eyes back on the man. "Someisa, he is right. He cannot help us. He is not as he once was," Rutan, the dragon stated calmly as dragons are always calm. "What? What do you mean?" Someisa asked, finally listening.
"I sensed the magic in him and I knew that he was the one we searched for but I didn't realize the truth. His magic is not as strong as it should be. It's not as strong as it once was. The magic I sensed in him was just an echo of his power. He can no longer help Tania," Rutan spoke, amazed that he had not realized it before. Someisa looked at Ron, not able to believe it, even from her deepest and most loyal friend and companion.
"It is true, Someisa. Once I came here, I dispelled my magic. I swore never to use it again because I feared I would become too arrogant and destroy this world as it is now. No one here has magic and those that have the gift are untrained. I would be too powerful for my own good, despite the fact that I was the Guardian of the Purespirit. So you see, I cannot help you Someisa, despite my wish to. My magic is gone forever," Ron confirmed, ashamed of it.
"Then so to is all hope for Tania and this world," Someisa stated gravely and turned away in disgust and disappointment. Thena couldn't take this. "There must be a way. There has to be," she stated. She felt so helpless, probably like Someisa did at the moment.
She hung her head but felt a hand lift her chin up. It was the dragon. His fierce green eyes comforted her as nothing had ever done before. He studied her eyes as she studied his alien but yet so human eyes. "She has the power we seek," he stated and turned to his rider. "Her magic is still growing as we speak but already she has all we require to control the Purespirit," he stated again to the amazement of Thena.
"No! She can't do it! She doesn't have the control for the Purespirit. It could destroy her and all of us if she tries it. Besides " Ron yelled. "Besides what? We must try. It's not only our world that is threatened, it's this world and countless others," Someisa said. "NO! You're not using my daughter in this war of yours. Her powers aren't even mature yet and she won't be able to use them yet not until the hour of her birth. But I won't risk her like that. I won't allow her to fight this war for you. She wouldn't be strong enough," her father said, very sternly of course.
"With the Purespirit she will!" Someisa insisted. "The Purespirit is gone!" Ron yelled and there was silence. "When I dispelled my magic it disappeared. I don't have it anymore and I wouldn't let my daughter use it even if I did have it. She won't be used as instrument of destruction. You have no idea about the powers of the Purespirit. She could never use it!" Ron explained with a rage Thena had never seen from him.
"The Purespirit is gone? Fine. She'll just have to destroy Yukan and Yuki by herself. She's now the only one with enough magic," Someisa tried to speak calmly. "No. I won't allow it," Ron stood by his convictions. Rutan just shook his head. "I understand your reservations Master Kannin but this is more important than your instinct to protect your daughter. Hundreds of lives are in stake and we need everyone who has the strength. She has the strength. She can destroy the twins," Rutan suggested.
"No. The Oracle could not have been wrong about them. They will save Tania. We cannot kill them. My daughter will stay out of this," Ron continued with his nature. "Listen. We have no choice, she must take out the Twins."
"Listen, listen, LISTEN! Don't you think that I should choose whether or not I protect a world or not?" Thena yelled. But before they could answer her, however, a sound was heard from above. The spacial rip that had brought Rutan and Soma here to begin with opened again, only much farther up, and through it a dozen angels appeared.
"In the name of the Goddesses! They followed us!" Someisa exclaimed. "We must take them out before they report back to Yukan!" Rutan instructed and he and Someisa took to the skies.