He wakens with no memories in a nearly empty land of magic. Only Mohan, a massive dragon, greets him and makes Owailion his apprentice.
Why? The dragons are preparing to enter hibernation for a thousand years, and Owailion must remain behind to protect the Land from all invaders, coveting the Land’s magic. Not all the dragons feel happy about this arrangement and Owailion has his own doubts as well. He will be alone; the only human sealed off from the rest of the world Then Owailion learns that the thousand-year old rune stones that foretell his coming have been stolen, and he is charged with finding the missing stones, as well as dealing with the thief.
Owailion is about to learn that even limitless powers have their limits. He can conjure anything, speak with minds across vast distances and even move instantly anywhere we can imagine, but he’s unable to control his own fate.
A tremendous crash woke him and fine dust fell on his upturned face. He opened his eyes in alarm but saw only profound darkness. Blind? Another explosion just beyond his head drove him to sit up in alarm and he groped across a rough stone floor, feeling his way away from the fearful blasts.
“You’ve got to come out now!” a voice roared, making his head ache with the reverberations.
“How?” he shouted back, groping around for a wall or something to give a frame of reference. “I can’t see.” A third explosion rocked the chamber and he desperately staggered to his feet. The cavern sounded as if it was crumbling and he could barely remain upright when his reaching hands finally met a wall to help him balance. “What’s happening?”
“You are under attack,” the deep voice returned. “You are outside the Seal. You must break through before they find the cavern. Feel your way toward my voice.”
He staggered against the wall, groping along as the pounding continued, bringing down a rain of rubble onto his head. “I can’t break through solid rock. Where are you?” he called again.
“I am right here. You must wish very hard. Feel for the power. Yes, right there. Now push!”
The terror of being buried in a collapsing cave, of eruptions, of utter blindness and the alarming awareness that he could not even remember his own name combined to flood him with adrenaline. He wanted out, even if his own death awaited him on the other side of this wall. Out!
Abruptly the rough stone barrier disappeared and he staggered through, almost thrown forward by yet another explosion and landed on his knees on a ridge in bright daylight. With bloody knees he realized he was naked as a baby and he rose up painfully. At least he could see but the light almost burned. When he finally got his vision to focus he saw something so large he had to step back.
A gold and black iris, flecked with fire and as large as he was tall blinked at him no farther away than his reach. The iris belonged in an eye the height of a house. He tilted his head back to look up and up and found the face of a golden dragon, scales and spikes flaring about the jaws and sharp ridges over the eye that had come down to his level. An entire dragon lay draped over a black cinder mountainside, gold and glittering like a jeweled necklace on the throat of a lady.
I’m dead, he thought.
“No, little one,” the voice rumbled. It took a bit of concentration to understand it, as if this was a foreign language. “You have just been on a long journey and it will take some time to recover.”
Journey? He couldn’t remember a journey. Indeed, he couldn’t remember anything. That observation made him shudder as another detonation rained cinder down the mountainside behind him. Where was he? Who was he? How did this happen to him? Explosions around him, a dragon about to eat him and a vast void where his past must have resided; there was nothing to steady his thoughts.
“We must deal with the sorcerers now that you have hatched,” the dragon’s voice returned. “If you will move aside, I will deal with this one.”
So the thunderous explosions within the cavern had not been this enormous reptile attacking but something else? Without any recourse, the human stepped to the right, as far as he dare on the little shelf that stood out from the mountainside on which he perched. Curiously he watched the dragon’s eye close in concentration and then a wave, almost invisible to his eye, pushed out from the dragon’s forehead and into the mountain.
The rock wall imploded and avalanches of stone roared above and below. Only this little landing and wherever the gigantic dragon rested remained untouched. The top of the mountain erupted, blowing out the far side in a wave of billowing gasses and washed over, out of sight. The human instinctively crouched down to balance against the earthquakes that threatened to pitch him off the shelf. Then the eruption above eased abruptly and the dragon again rested his head on the ridge again to look at him.
“There, that’s better. I’m sorry that your hatching place was outside the Seal but we didn’t know precisely when you would arrive and the mountain just kept growing until it left the protections of the Seal. And of course that made the outlanders think they could come attack.” The dragon’s golden eye rolled down at the stupefied human. Apparently the dragon’s pushing the volcano had done its job for the explosions within the mountain had ceased.
“We will call you Owailion,” the voice returned, as if nothing had interrupted this singular introduction. “It is not your true name, which we will keep hidden. Owailion means the awakened one. You are the one we were promised.”
The human straightened up, stupefied by it all. Owailion….could he accept the name? He couldn’t remember his real name. Nothing, not his work, or if he had a family; nothing of his life remained. The looming fear this emptiness created in his soul threatened to swallow him, and he deliberately dropped those thoughts like burning coals.
About Author Lisa Lowell
Lisa Lowell was born into a large family full of hands-on artists, in southern Oregon. She escaped that mob by diving into fantasy, science fiction and university. After traveling the world, tapping into her Scandinavian heritage and becoming a middle school English teacher she finally settled into writing all the books she’d dreamed about.
She returned to Oregon where she lives with her husband Pat, raised three children and has become an award winning teacher as well as author of the Wise Ones series.