The two dragons came together in a vision of fury and rage, claws and scales and fiery breath. The cave beneath the mountains shook violently. Rocks and boulders cascaded down its side.
The noise of ancient stone being split asunder was deafening. Those who heard the earthly thunder cowered in fear. Many fled in terror. Those who remained hid in the forest.
For a year and a day, the dragons fought. For a year and a day, the fate of the land lay in shadow.
Until a young magician dreamt of the battling dragons as he slept beneath the gaze of the full moon, lost in a magical sleep as he quested for answers amongst the ancestors. He woke full of inspired purpose and the need to understand the meaning behind his dream. And so he set out to find the dragons who fought beneath the earth.
He walked for miles and miles, crossing the ancient land. He travelled over hills dedicated to the sky spirits, across sacred streams and rivers where water deities were worshipped and through sacred groves where ancestors and gods and goddesses – of this world and the one beyond the celestial seas – were honoured, not stopping until he reached the mountain he had seen in his dream.
Once there he spoke to the people who had taken shelter in the woods that lay just beyond the mountain’s reach. They watched in awe as the stranger began to climb the mountain. A handful, encouraged by his bravery, shed the safety of the trees to see what he would do.
On the mountainside he lay down on the ground, oblivious to the dangers of falling rocks. And then he listened. For three days and nights the magician lay there unmoving. On the fourth morning, one of the men who had ventured as close as he dared, called up to him.
‘Merlin? What do the dragons say? What have they told you?’
The man on the mountain whispered something through a crack in the ground and the dragons fell silent. The earth stopped shaking. A strange quiet fell over the land.
Merlin stood up and made his way down the rocky path, his mind lost in thought at all he had heard.
When he reached the bottom, the man, who had thus far been ignored, tried again. ‘Merlin? Why have they quietened? Is the dragon battle over? Are we now safe?’
The magician shook his head. ‘They will wake again soon. But they have sent us news…a warning of things to come. The dragons have brought us a message.’
‘What is this that you speak of? What news? What message?’
Merlin sighed. ‘A warning that trouble is coming. Like none we have ever known…and whatever happens, the world will not be as it was, as it is now. Things will never be the same again – for good or for bad.’
As soon as he finished speaking, he started walking again, moving swiftly towards the path that led through the woods. The people who had been stunned into silence by his words, watched him leave.
Before he was lost to the trees, the man who had spoken earlier cried out after him. ‘Where are you going?’
Merlin stopped and slowly turned back around before answering. ‘To awaken destiny.’ Then he disappeared into the forest.