Once Upon A Road
(Excerpt from the original novel, Darkheart)
Aimee L. DuPré
Once upon a road . . .
. . . one summer's day, a young wizard surprised one of the
twelve-fingered, humpbacked trolls – a derwytth.
The derwytth said he lived under the bridge in the nearby village, and he
told the wizard of the evil dragon that devoured both the derwytth and the
village humans. There had been
mysterious murders, weird accidents, and unexplained disappearances.
Once upon a time, a strong human warrior with long flowing hair had come
to their rescue. He had wielded a
sharp sword and had valiantly fought three of the dragons, alas, to little
avail. For the warrior had killed
but two before he, himself, had been killed by the third.
Even now, this dragon ruled the surrounding area.
When the wizard asked the derwytth why he told all this to him, he
replied that a wizard had been prophesied to come to the aid of the derwytth.
He then told the wizard of the mysterious Standing Saracens in the center
of the forest, and of the tales of all the secrets locked within that bluestone
circle. You see, the ring of stones
fastens the two worlds together – this world and the Otherside – and makes a
gate through which one can step from one world to the other.
Some call this the Gates of Hell. The
wizard already knew about the Standing Stones – they were a thousand years
older than any of the Druids -- and he had even helped move them once – but
that’s another story.
The derwytth told the wizard of a Crystal Cave hidden beyond the Standing
Stones – which was where the dragon lived -- and he peaked his interest with
talk of creatures stranger than even the derwytth – the druids, who are a race
lost to this day and age.
The wizard knew he told the truth, because he was also a bard and was
familiar with the fables of the ancient peoples. He had heard about them at his
mother’s knee because the ancient runes were written, read, and kept only by women -- later
this was regarded as witchcraft. The
northern priestesses preserved sacred poetry, although even official
chroniclers have been known to distort historical records.
You see, experiences that give power were made secret, because forbidden
magic always seems stronger. The
sacred beliefs of the ancients were handed down from generation to generation by
word of mouth in myths and fables, in songs and dance, and in rituals.
People make secrets so they will have secrets to tell -- they like
telling other people not to tell. But
it was no secret that dragons nearly always had hidden treasure.
derwytth said the faeries knew of apparitions and strange creatures, but they
would not be so friendly to a wizard dressed in all in black, such as he was.
The faeries, he told him, might think him a demon, although when he first
saw the wizard, he thought no such thing, and no, indeed, he was not frightened
of him at all! The faeries, he
continued, would attempt to terrify him with talk of ghosts and monsters, and
hideous, alien creatures and dragons.
derwytth said, “And if not for my bad leg . . .” the derwytth trailed off.
“If not for my bad leg,” he repeated, “I would go to the Crystal
Cave myself, and I would speak to the dragon myself, and I would get this dragon
problem resolved, all by myself. If
not for my bad leg,” he said, “I would not need your help.
I could lick that old dragon myself.
You only need to speak to the dragon and reason with him, and he would
stop killing the derwytth and humans.”
Naturally, the wizard wanted to help rid this fair land of the rampaging
dragon. Apparently, at no danger to
himself, he simply needed to search out the dragon and reason with him, thereby
destroying the menace. So he
traveled into the unexplored forest realm that the derwytth described, where the
dark forces were alleged to assemble.
It has been said that ghosts were created when the first man woke up in
the middle of the night. Now, all
around the wizard were shadowy shapes -- whether reflections or phantoms’
shadows, he could not say.
Within the wizard was a warning voice -- perhaps a premonition – that
told him to return the way he had come. He
did not -- he met his deepest fears and conquered them – but that, too, is
The wizard felt mysterious energies all around him, and there were
peculiar chanting voices in the distance, although from which direction he could
not discern. Before long, he came
upon the Standing Stones, and inside the ring there was a group of derwytth
intoning what he at first thought was a long epic poem.
As he drew closer, he discovered they repeated in their ancient language
what sounded to him like a list of attributes.
He listened carefully, and this is what he heard.
and good fortune are in the first ring.
and knowledge the second will bring.
the third ring, should you dare,
discernment is in store
he who wears ring number four.
secrets are revealed,
with the fifth, you will be healed.
is the key;
sixth gives invisibility.
seventh ring protects your fate.
of beasts is ring number eight.
is the ninth ring’s gift,
spirit-spells the tenth will lift.
of the twelve jeweled rings,
and righteousness wearing it brings.
number twelve, most dread of all,
wide the gates of Hell.”
They chanted this over and over again, until the bard in the wizard
easily had it memorized. Of course,
in their language, the words rhymed and made a song.
The wizard knew their language from his mother.
The power of suggestion can be very strong, and this singsong chanting of
the derwytth seemed to pull the wizard into the “Otherside.” He knew not whether they were memories,
dreams or inventions. He only
remembered that the ancient ones had
considered all dreams in some sense prophetic.
Dream images were taken seriously.
Then the sun went dark -- whether it was a mirage,
fantasy, or illusion, or a nightmare or vision, he knew not -- but with an
earth-shattering thunder and a three-pronged bolt of lightning, there was the
gateway to the Otherside right in front of him – the Otherside of legends and
fables. Amid mysterious lights
over the land - nocturnal lights – and inexplicable sounds, he suddenly
knew where the cave was located. He
knew he had to convince the dragon to stop his rampaging -- to take revenge on the
dragon was unnecessary. All that
was needed was to overcome the dragon with words, or drive him away with
enchantment, in order for the populace to survive.
The wizard roamed through secret passages along an elaborate maze of
stone and brick walls, thick brush and bushes, and finally an incredible
labyrinth of hedges. He came to a
ghostly waterfall that must have been reached a hundred feet above a deep, dark,
still pool of water with many sharp-edged rocks – this is the famous Blackpool
you hear about in legends -- and walking behind the falls, he discovered the
entrance to the Crystal Cave.
As his eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness, he smelled the odor of hot blood -- as from a
slaughterhouse -- which filled the air, and he realized this was the Crystal
Cave that was the dragon's lair.
Death, destruction and eternal doom
drew nigh as, rounding a twist in the cave, he saw the dragon ahead, just
waiting for him to make a wrong move. In
front of the dragon was a disgusting sight -- the bones and rotting flesh of
both humans and derwytths in various stages of decomposition. Suddenly, his task was clear.
He knew he could not reason with this beast -- it would be necessary for
him to destroy the dragon.
Once the wizard succeeded in his mental struggle, the physical struggle
was much simpler. He thought fast
and was able to come up with a plan – a plan to kill the dragon even though he
had no weapons. Though he felt
fear, he knew the embarrassment of failure would be much more distressful,
should he live.
He allowed the dragon to see him and chase him back through the cave.
By the time they had reached the waterfall, the dragon was gaining on
him. The wizard went straight
through the waterfall without stopping; when he jumped through the falling
waters, he grabbed hold of a large grape vine that hung over the falls; he had
noticed it on his way underneath the falls the first time through.
There was no way to test its strength beforehand; he had to rely upon
luck – for, you see, he did not know the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior like
we can. Christians never depend
upon luck; we depend upon God.
Anyway, the vine held his weight, and as he swung out over the Blackpool,
he first heard, then saw, the dragon coming after him, straight through the
waterfall just as he had. The
creature appeared to be suspended in midair for the longest time, and as it
realized there was no longer any solid ground beneath, the wizard could see a
look of surprise come over its grotesque face.
The beast looked down and saw its reflection in the black pool of water
below. Then the corporeal and the
reflected likeness rushed to meet each other.
Neither image survived the impact on the rocks below.
The dragon was destroyed, and the water and blood splashed up so
forcefully from Blackpool that it stained the night sky white – dragon’s
blood is white, like milk, you see. As
a matter of fact, you can see the place tonight in the southeast sky where the
blood splattered; these days we call it the Milky Way.
When the wizard swung on the grapevine, back through the waterfall and
into the Crystal Cave, with more time to look around, he eventually discovered a
hidden treasure – how and where are another
story. The most important thing the
wizard found, though, was a golden ring with an onyx stone – the most powerful
ring of all – and a scroll telling about twelve
rings of power – rings made with different precious stones and jewels – and
the scroll listed the location of the twelve rings – who they had been given
to, and when. And that, my friend,
is another story.
We must always remember what God tells us in Leviticus chapter 19, verse
31: “Regard not them that have
familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the
LORD your God.”
(to be continued as the novel Darkheart)
This page was updated Tuesday, April 11, 2006 03:34 PM