Once there were dragons

By Isla Connolly

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I hobbled up the hill, scraping my hands as I hoisted myself onwards. I had almost made it to the top when sparkles swam around me, the hill disappeared from my view, and I was back in my room. Clothes strewn around; bowls, cups and food wrappers scattered on my floor. A short and lean lady with fiery golden hair stood in the centre of this chaos. The look in her grey eyes was murderous and her mouth was set in a devilish grin. I knew this expression. It was an expression which only occurred when my mother was ready to tell somebody off, and that person was me. Then the screaming came—about my sloppy etiquette and how horrendous my room had become. After the screaming, my mother was out of breath. She spun towards my door and rushed off in a huff of steam.

I ran over to the mirror that hung on my grey wall to fix myself up. I looked into the reflection of myself as the sunlight rebounded around the glass. An amber eye stared back at me, just one, the other was nowhere in sight. A third-degree burn surrounded that eye. It had been burned out when I was five by a hooded figure. I remember the fire reflecting my surroundings. It drew closer until I felt the pangs of pain that ran through my blood. The pain only lasted a few seconds, but it seemed to drag on for an eternity. Everything flooded back to me, the memories of the ambulance, my mind fading in and out of darkness, people talking but nothing coming out of their mouths. Since then, I had been labelled as weak, unable to do anything but piece together words with one eye. I didn’t understand at the time I wouldn’t have an eye ever again, but now I did. When I found out, I ran. I started running now; the warm tiles flowing under my bare feet soon turned to gravel prying at my feet. The cuts dug deep into my flesh, leaving behind drops of blood. I ran towards the hill, gripping onto the rocks that steered a path up the hill. This time, I was faster and more agile while climbing. Never misplacing or missing a step, my hand reached for another rock, but instead grass brushed against my fingers. I dragged my body upwards; my feet were the next to hit the grass.

I slowly looked around at my surroundings, marvelling at the apple tree that stood strong and the almost candy-like grass. I noticed a podium that was elegantly perched in the middle of the environment. I stepped forwards, drawing closer and closer to the podium. A piece of paper was lying sprawled out on top of it. I reached out my hand. My fingertips brushed the piece of paper. As soon as the contact was made, a beam of light broke out from the sky forcing me to lurch backwards in amazement and confusion. An owl emerged from the beam. It was pitch black with a crescent moon on its forehead. The owl spoke …

“Wizard, I am here to inform you that you have been chosen to bear the ‘Map of Helaton’ and find the healing spell at the top of the mountain. Once you have this spell, you can do with it what you want.”

I just stood there. A spell that could heal? I had never heard of such thing. I knew every spell from transfiguration to hexes but I was bewildered there was such thing as a healing spell. I wracked my mind for a response that I could give this owl, but the only thing I could think of was …

“What’s your name?”

The owl’s eyes grew even bigger, as if it was offended that I would ask such an ignorant question. It stared at me for a long time before replying. “I am Sir Judas, faithful servant of the ‘Helaton Alliance’” it said. “I will be escorting you up the mountain. Considering we will be together for a while, I will tell you I am surprised that you even asked such question. Many before you have tried to gain the healing spell and failed, but none has asked for my name.”

“Don’t you think you’re getting a tad over your head? Why would I even want to come?” I snapped back.

“Well, Williamson … I happen to know that your mother isn’t impressed with you at this current moment. Plus, you could heal your eye with this newfound spell.”

The greed of healing my face filled my stomach and a new type of adrenalin surged through my veins. What I wanted more than anything was to have my eye back again. I didn’t want to be called weak anymore. I didn’t want to be known as the kid who couldn’t do anything, so this would be my break. I nodded my head back and forth in the acceptance of his deal, and then I walked away, knowing that in the morning I would have an adventure waiting for me.