The shadow of a flying reptile runs smoothly over the rocky surface of a mountain, and a glimpse is caught of a large, grey wing.
The dragon hovers by an elevated ground, where eight broken pillars stand as a reminder of what once stood there. Dust rises, and all of a sudden a beam of light bursts from the midst of the pillars, shooting up to the sky. The Avatar materialises in the beam, and as it dies down, he picks himself up, tired from the journey.
Looking around to orient himself, the Avatar notices an unfamiliar landscape. Mountains and a red sky are all that is visible.
On the other side, however, is a keep with a very familiar shape. This keep bears the shape of the Guardian's head, and smoke from two braziers in front of it is being blown by the wind.
The Avatar gets a fright when all of a sudden a mighty grey dragon appears before him from out of nowhere. This dragon descends slowly to settle upon the mountain, and while it roars, the wyrmguard on its back pulls an evil smile on his face and draws his sword in challenge.
The Avatar reaches his belt for his sword, but it isn't there. He sighs helplessly, and from the dragon's mouth shoot flames that engulf the Avatar... and the entire mountain's summit. The wyrmguard chuckles excitedly as he sees it burn. After that, the dragon and its mount leave the mountain.
Meanwhile, the entire scene is being watched through a dark mirror, lightened by the flames at the scene.
A man's hand waves across the mirror. "My lord," came his voice, "the Avatar has arrived in Britannia, and has easily been dispatched by my wyrmguard." The gravely silence lasting half a moment nearly suggests the end.
But a deep, rough voice answers, dispelling the illusion of the end. "Do not be so sure." the Guardian answers, "The meddlesome Champion of Virtue is not so easily defeated." A red arm is seen on a weird throne banging lightly on it.
The man beside the mirror, still certain of victory, replies, "Of course my lord, but I ask you, where is he now? The mirror of darkness would reveal Lord British's lackey. If he lives --"
"The Avatar," the red figure interrupts, "has been teleported to a place hidden from the mirror's sight. Our virtuous paragon," he turns his hand while explaining, "could only have been taken to Stonegate..." he strokes his chin thoughtfully, "and by one of great power."
The servant grows weary, and the figure on the throne lifts his head to listen to what he has to say. "Shall I reduce Stonegate to a cinder, my lord?"
"No... I want the champion of Britannia to see what has become of the land and its people. I want to feel his rage burn as he sees what I have done to Britannia. You are to keep the Avatar occupied while I complete my plan for Britannia's conquest. What remains is yours when I am finished."
The door behind the servant starts opening automatically. "Now leave me." is the Guardian's dismissal. The servant shakes with anger but bows in obedience. "Yes, my lord." He looks down and frowns before walking out, and the door closes behind him.
"Blackthorn", mutters the Guardian in his absence, "you are indeed a fool to want Britannia... once I have finished with it." The Guardian leans forward while he speaks, revealing a greater part of his red body.© by Daniel D'Agostino 2002-2021