A cool whisper of breeze caressed Kaiya’s tanned cheek as her purplish-grey, steel-colored eyes fluttered open. She discovered herself lying on soft grass in the center of a forest glade. Kaiya stood up and brushed dry leaves from her faded Levis and tugged the lavender polo down. She noticed a strange color of dust marred her sneakers. She pushed her spectacles with their small octagonal lenses back up her nose. Where am I?
Kaiya turned slowly around taking in the minute details of the glade in which she stood. Trees as thin as a broom handle, yet taller than redwoods ringed the tiny clearing. The bark shimmered in the dappled sunlight filtering through the canopy above her. Strange little bushes nestled to the side of the glade caught her eye. She moved closer to examine them. The tiny leaves shattered like brittle glass when she touched one. The sound rang through the trees as loud as a cannon shot. Several alarming cries followed the sound of breaking leaves followed by flashes of color streaking overhead. Yet Kaiya knew those flashes of color didn’t belong to any birds she knew.
The last thing I remember, I found two carved, marble columns where none stood before. Two massive wrought iron gates hung between the columns. I didn’t find any sign that a wall once stood there. Where did those columns come from? Why were they in the middle of Shadow’s Canyon? I touched one column, a blinding flash of green, and then what…? Why can’t I remember?
The crackle of crushed leaves caught her attention. She whirled around to find a man limping through the glade towards her. He was so thin he could slip through a flute and not sound a note. The sunlight made his teakwood skin golden. Kaiya wasn’t quite sure of what to make of the strange fellow. He was dressed like a jester sort of. He wore dhoti styled pants with a gathered waistline and puffy legs narrowing to the ankles. The pants almost blinded Kaiya with their bright shades of orange, mauve and charcoal grey. The shirt was just as outrageous as his pants with ruffles running down the middle and lacey cuffs. The shirt of hot pink and plum clashed with the colors of the pants. His fiery red, hat looked like a pancake with three tails hanging from it. A silver, jingle bell rode the end of each tail.
“Young lady, ye seem lost. May I offer my services to a damsel in distress?”
“Who are you?”
“Delsin. And ye milady?”
“Kaiya. Where am I?”
“Shady Lady Forest.”
“Which is where exactly?”
“Where does ye think ye be?” Delsin asked. Amusement filled his shadowy umber eyes as he stroked his neat, thin mustache.
“Am I dead?”
“Why won’t you tell me where I am? Am I trespassing or breaking some unknown law?” Kaiya asked. Her eyes darted around.
“Ye have nothing to fear unless ye enter the Silver Mist Grotto. Chakor and Ziven don’t like unannounced visitors.”
Kaiya flipped her waist length ash blonde hair. Both tiny braids that held her hair in place had pulled loose so the gentle breeze kept hitting her in the face with her own hair. “Who are Chakor and Ziven?”
“Ye wish not to know.”
“It seems obvious that you want me to know about them. Perhaps even seek them out,” Kaiya said. “Why?”
The strawberry birthmark on Delsin’s left cheek turned an angry shade of red. “Ye act as if I’m trying to mislead ye, Milady. I only wish to aid ye in this time of distress.”
“Stop dancing around and tell me exactly where this Shady Lady Forest grows.”
“The kingdom of Tivoli.”
“Delsin!” Why is he being so elusive? I wonder what he’s trying to hide. Am I in danger?
“Pandora is suspended in a magical realm that’s not quite here nor there. Exactly where Pandora resides is hard to say.”
“How did I end up here?”
“What were ye doing before ye came to be here?” Delsin asked.
“Hiking in Shadow’s Canyon near Phoenix, Arizona. Planet Earth.”
“Did anything unusual happen?”
“I came across two carved, marble columns in the middle of the canyon that are not part of the natural formation there,” Kaiya said. “Nor are they part of an old building gone to dust. The columns were right in the middle of the trail.”
“Carved in what way?”
Kaiya closed her eyes to picture each breathtaking column in her mind’s eye. “Each column towered over me at about eight feet. The wrought iron gates, not black, yet a golden color. What color exactly, I couldn’t say. The color shimmered and seemed to change as the breeze waltzed through the canyon. “The lavender column resembled a totem, yet contained only one critter. A dragon. The other column, of black onyx, resembled a strange dog.”
“The Columns of Jacarel.”
“An ancient magic used to lure those disenchanted with their worlds into this one,” Delsin said.
“Who would do such a thing?” Kaiya asked.
“Ye be safer not knowing the answer to that question.”
“Stop talking in riddles and answer my questions. Why are you trying to evade answering me?”
“I be a mere jester, Milady. Riddles and stories are all I speak. Heed my words and ye be safe. If not, thy fate rest solely in thy hands.”
“Who can tell me how to leave this place?’
“Tiny as a mouse,
Yet more trouble than need be,
Seek what ye shall,
Within the grotto silver be,” Delsin said.
Kaiya stomped her foot. “I give up.” She threw her hands in the air then started off down the faint trail winding through the trees. She walked maybe half a mile when she came to a stream of clear emerald water. Her mouth and throat were dry to the point of closing. She kneeled and started to put her hands into the water when Delsin jerked her away from the stream’s edge. “What are you doing?” she asked.
“The water isn’t water. It’s a magical elixir that causes strange dreams. It‘s a trap that an evil wizard uses to capture folks that he forces into slavery.”
“You mean hallucinations.”
Delsin nodded and the bells on his hat jingled and bounced. He pointed to a wicked looking mushroom. “Eat only one of those.”
Kaiya examined the orange and violet fungi then picked one and placed it in her mouth. She felt her eyes pop wide with surprise as the liquid slid down her throat. It tasted like peppermint. She started to pick another but stopped as Delsin reached toward her. He shook his head. “One.”
Kaiya shrugged and started down the trail once more. She traveled perhaps a couple of miles before she came to a second clearing. She noticed that Delsin’s eyes kept darting everywhere as if he knew something was going to happen, yet not exactly when. “What are you searching for?”
Fearful eyes jerked toward her. Delsin shrugged and moved quickly past her, yet stopped at the edge of the trees.
Kaiya paused next to Delsin then noticed the plume of smoke. Her eyes followed the smoke to its source. The ancient volcano rose out of the grassland at the edge of Shady Lady Forest across the glade. She glanced at Delsin to see his reaction, yet he showed no sign that he noticed the smoke. “Is that volcano active?”
The ground shook violently and Kaiya fell to her knees. Smoke belched from the volcano’s mouth followed by a small trickle of lava. “How often does the volcano erupt?”
Fiddlesticks. I’m trapped in a weird place with a volcano ready to blow. Will I die in this strange land? Why am I so unlucky? What did I do to deserve such a fate? Mom, I hope you don’t think I abandoned you in your hour of need.
Kaiya just shook her head and started across the second clearing. Pain shot through her and she dropped to her knees again. The clearing started to spin around her and dark spots danced before her eyes. Delsin, you . . . You poisoned me.”
“No, Milady. You ate an enchanted plant that contained a sleeping potion.”
If Delsin answered, she didn’t hear him, everything went black.
Kaiya’s head pounded when she opened her eyes. She tried to stretch, yet discovered she could move her arms or legs only mere inches. When her eyes focused, she found herself locked in a cage. A small fire burned nearby. Delsin slept curled up against the trunk of a tree next to the fire.
He jumped at the sound of Kaiya’s voice. “Why am I in this cage?”
“Ye be a present for Gerik.”
“You’re giving me to some stranger in exchange for what?”
“My freedom. Gerik promised me if I found him thirty slaves he would release me from my debt to him.”
“Please don’t do this to me. I need to find my way home. My mom is very ill and could die at any moment. I don’t want her going to her grave believing I abandoned her when she needed me the most.”
“You’re a heartless, little. . .”
“Temper, temper, Milady. Thy mouth shall get ye into trouble with Gerik. He hates women who don’t know their place.”
The ground shook and the cage moved several inches. Delsin gasped. He wiped sweat from his brow. “Is that volcano going to erupt?”
“Probably not. It rumbles like that all the time. Spits out some smoke, a wee bit of lava, yet settles down after a few hours of grumbling like a mad dwarf,” Delsin said.
Kaiya tried the cage door. Pain shot through her hands and she jerked them back. Her palms turned bright red as if they had been burned. “What’s on the door?”
“A magic ward to make sure ye don’t escape. Gerik would have my head if I allowed such a beautiful creature to get away. He may decide to keep ye for his harem or he may enjoy your favorites for a few days then sell ye.”
“How do you plan on getting me to Gerik?”
“I don’t. I sent a message, and Gerik shall come to us.” Delsin stomped off into the trees.
Sunset came, yet Delsin hadn’t returned. The ground began to shake. Kaiya could see smoke rising from where the volcano tower only a mile away. An explosion sounded and rocks flew into the air as the volcano erupted. A river of lava roared down the side of the mountain. Without thinking Kaiya grabbed the cage door. Tears slid down her face as she tried to force the door open and pain shot through her palms.
The hissing of a snake snapped her eyes toward the volcano. The lava moved closer and closer to the cage. Icy shivers racked her body as she closed her eyes, and she waited for the lava to reach her prison and burn her to death. After what seemed like an eternity, she opened her eyes. She blinked several times in disbelief. The lava flow stopped only mere inches from the cage. Steam rose from the red hot rock as it began to cool. Kaiya felt faint, yet didn’t pass out.
Strange sounds emitted from the forest which made her skin crawl. Tiny beads of sweat trickled down her back. The bushes near the cage rustled and goosebumps danced dance Kaiya’s arms. Butterflies fluttered in her tummy. She swallowed the grapefruit-size knot that threatened to choke her. “Where’s Delsin?” a voice asked.
Kaiya half screamed as her eyes darted toward the sound. “Show yourself.”
“Not until ye answer my question.”
“He took off into the woods this morning. Who are you?”
A swirl of bluish-silver fog wrapped around the cage. When it cleared a man towered over her at six-three. Green eyes with black swirls within the green irises gave her the once over. Waist length hair fell like a curtain of silver with lavender highlights over his broad shoulders. His pale lavender skin glittered in the faint moonlight.
“What are you?” Kaiya asked.
“I’m a Shadow Wisp. A Fae in your world.”
“You mean a fairy.”
He nodded. He moved to the door of the cage and reached out.
“Don’t. Delsin placed some kind of magic ward on it. Or so he said.”
“Thanks for the warning. Yet how do ye know such a thing?”
“I touched it and my palms turned bright red. I thought fairies had wings.”
“Not all Fae do.”
“Who are you?”
“Belen. Let’s see if I can set ye free.”
“Why would you help me?”
“Delsin kidnapped my sister, and gave her to Gerik. Gerik raped her, and then sold her into slavery. She died at the hands of her owner. When I catch Delsin, he shall die.”
“What shall happen to you if the law discovers what you did?”
“I could be executed for taking another life. More than likely, the Council of N’Djamena shall strip me of my magic and banish me to another world,” Belen said. “No more questions until I get ye out of this cage, and we’re gone.”
A cool gentle breeze danced around Kaiya as she followed Belen. Her eyes kept darting to the trees with each sound she heard.
“What are ye searching for?” Belen asked.
“Delsin, for one. Where are you taking me?”
“The Silver Grotto. Ziven can help ye go home.”
“How do you know that?”
Belen gave her a smug smile. “I’m a Fae, I know many things. Ye are not of this world so that’s the logical assumption.”
“Delsin told me not to go there. He claims Chakor and Ziven don’t like strangers coming into the grotto.”
Delsin jumped from the trees and landed on Belen. “Run!” Belen yelled as Delsin swung a knife toward his throat.
Kaiya started to run, yet couldn’t leave Belen to die. She found a rock and struck Delsin. He rolled off Belen, who sprang to his feet, grabbed her by the hand and started pulling her down the trail.
Delsin moaned then pounced onto Belen again. Both men fell to the ground. When the wild punches and kicks stopped, Delsin rose slowly to his feet. Belen lay dead with the knife rammed into his heart.
Kaiya stood there for several seconds as if frozen in place, and then she turned and ran. elsin ran after her and grabbed her arm to halt her. Kaiya jerked loose and started . . . .
A snarl followed by a vicious growl made Delsin’s eyes pop wide with fear.
“Lost, Tiny Female?”
The disembodied voice echoed through the trees. Kaiya watched as the color drained from Delsin’s face. His whole body shook violently before he turned and fled as if chased by a demon.
Kaiya’s eyes darted back and forth several times before she spotted two glowing orbs. The animal stepped from concealment. Kaiya took a step back. “What . . . I mean what kind . . .”
“A Silver Mist Hellhound to be precise. Excuse me, I have a rodent to eliminate.” The massive dog bound after Delsin. Kaiya heard a faint scream before the hellhound returned. She noticed fragments of Delsin’s pants caught on the creature’s claws. A fragment of shirt hung from its mouth.
Kaiya wanted to run, yet knew she could never outrun such a gigantic creature. The dog stood as tall as a Clydesdale only streamlined like a greyhound, with glowing, thunderbolt-blue eyes that watched each move she made. Gleaming silvery fur covered the animal’s body, and shimmered with a hypnotic lure. He stopped right in front of her and sat down on his hunches so his eyes were level with hers.
Kaiya felt her heart pounding and feared this monstrous creature would smell her fear. Yet fear wasn’t quite right. It’s true this creature’s appearance is quite unnerving. His paws are the size of a small shovel. Yet I sense a gentleness about him. He puts up a great front, yet deep inside he wants . . . What?
“You don‘t seem to be afraid of me,” the hellhound said. “Yet there’s fear etched all over thy face.”
Kaiya took several gulps of air before she tried her voice. “What are you going to do to me? Eat me like you did with Delsin.”
The hellhound threw his head back and howled, which sent goosebumps up and down her arms. She stepped back a few feet.
“Why haven’t ye fainted or try to run?”
“Neither will save me if you decide to eat me. Do you have a name?” Kaiya whispered.
“Chakor. Fear not, I didn’t eat Delsin, though I should have. I just gave him a good scare. Something he won‘t forget anytime soon. That should keep him from capturing unknowing innocents to give to Gerik as slaves.”
“Delsin already tried doing that to me.”
“Did he give ye anything to eat?”
“A tiny orange and violet mushroom. Or at least that’s what it looked like.”
“How many did ye eat?”
“Delsin would only let me eat one.”
“What did I eat?”
“A manitari. One shall knock ye out for awhile. More than one, I cannot say,” Chakor said.
Before Kaiya could speak again, the clearing spun around her. She took several wobbly steps and felt herself falling as everything turned hazy purple then black.
When Kaiya’s eyes fluttered opened she found herself lying on what appeared to be a bearskin, yet she knew it probably wasn’t. Chakor lay across from her and watched her quite closely. “How do you feel?”
“As if a rocket exploded inside my head.”
“The pain of the manitari shall wear off soon. Until then ye are my guest. Before ye went under the spell of the manitari, ye stated that Delsin tried to enslave ye. How did ye escape?”
“Belen.” Tears slid down her cheeks.
“Why do ye cry?”
“Delsin attached us and killed Belen. We have to go back and bury him. It’s the least I can do.”
“Ye can’t bury a Shadow Wisp. Upon death, they vanish into a swirl of smoke,” Chakor said.
“Will I pass out again from that strange mushroom that I ate?”
“Why do ye ask?”
“I’ve passed out twice now.”
“Ye be a stranger to this world. The manitari affects everyone different even those who live here.”
“Do you live in this forest?” Kaiya asked.
“I do now.”
“Then you came from somewhere else.”
“Not willing, but yes.”
“What do you mean?”
“Long ago I foolishly took a dare as a teen and stole a Drakontas Virag. The queen doesn’t take to people stealing from her. Even though I was only a youth she decided to make an example out of me. Her wizard created a special spell or curse just for me, and made me into what ye see.”
“How long ago?” Kaiya asked.
I’ve been a hellhound for more years than I can remember and I’ve lived 1,955 years. I’m tired and just wish to die.”
“What are you suppose to do?”
“Keep people from entering the Silver Mist Grotto, where the Drakontas Virag grow.”
“This Drakontas Virag is what? A flower?”
“Why does the queen have a hellhound guarding a flower? Is there something special about these flowers?” Kaiya asked.
“Each flower possesses a different kind of magic. Some good, some evil.”
“There might be a flower in the grotto with the magic to send me home.” Kaiya started to sit up, the lair spun around her and she laid back down.
“Ye won’t be going anywhere for at least another half day. Sleep and try to dream pleasant things.”
Kaiya pretended to sleep until she knew for certain Chakor dozed off. With caution she climbed to her feet and wobbled toward the lair’s entrance. She’d taken only two steps from the cave when she was forced to the ground. “Ye are not going into the grotto. I cannot allow it. Even if you somehow get past me and enter, Ziven won’t let ye anywhere near one of his ‘precious tiny darlings’ as he refers to the Drakontas Virag.”
“Just what does Drakontas Virag mean? Or does it translate into my language?”
“Drakontas mean dragon in Greek and virag is Hungarian for flower,” Chakor said.
“What a strange combination?”
“I didn’t create the language here. I just use it.” Chakor scooped Kaiya up by the collar with his mouth and carried her back into his lair. He carefully set her down on the animal hide. “Don’t try to sneak past me again. I won’t be so gentle the next time.”
“What shall Ziven do to me if I try to enter the grotto?”
The hellhound smiled if one could call it that. Amusement filled his thunderbolt-blue eyes. “Don’t let Ziven’s size fool ye. His magic is quite powerful.”
“I know what old yellow tail, Delsin, spouted when he first came across ye. Why I haven’t killed ye is beyond me. Normally by now, I’ve at least maimed whomever or whatever dares enter my forest,” Chakor said.
“If that’s true, why haven’t ye maimed or killed Delsin?”
Chakor tipped his massive head one way then the other. He let out a howl that sent shivers up and down her spine. He licked his lips and bared his long sharp teeth. He took several steps toward her.
Kaiya back away until her back hit solid rock. She swallowed hard several times before her voice would come. “Your size and nasty disposition may terrify most creatures, yet I don’t scare easily. I won’t pretend that you don’t make me nervous,” she said. “Will you kill me to prevent me from going to the grotto to see Ziven and ask him to give me a Drakontas Virag?”
“I cannot kill nor maim ye. Why I do not know, so don’t ask me to explain it.”
“Come with me, then. You seem to need a friend. I’m not much, yet I’m better than nothing.”
“Ye be far better than anyone I’ve ever known with the exception of Ziven. We have a sort of strange relationship that’s hard to explain. Once ye meet him ye shall understand.”
Moonlight filtered into the lair’s opening as Kaiya woke from a refreshing sleep, the pain in her head gone. She noticed that Chakor sat just outside the lair’s opening. “Chakor?”
The hellhound glanced back at her. He nodded toward the rock ledge next to her. She discovered an apple and some strawberries. She gobbled the fruit down as if she were starving even though only a day had passed since she eaten last. When she finished, Chakor said, “Come.”
The two mismatched souls wandered across the glade toward the grotto. An eerie glow caught Kaiya’s attention. It emanated from between two giant boulders. A chill ran down her spine as she approached the strange light. An opening in the base of the volcano revealed a hidden paradise. A pool of clear emerald water rippled as the hint of a breeze played across its surface. She stepped through the opening and her breath caught in her throat.
Kaiya spotted the shaft of golden moonlight coming through the hole in the vaulted ceiling. It reflected from the pool of water and bathed the grotto in aquamarine light, while objects in the water appeared silver.
Kaiya found another surprise. Tucked in the nooks and crannies along the stone ledge that surrounded the pool, flowers swayed in the gentle breeze. Stubby stems with a tuft of long, narrow, arching, strap-shaped leaves and a central flower stalk holding glorious clusters of lily-like blooms with bell-shaped flowers. The blooms were a beautiful shade of lavender, yet they gave off a golden glow. “Ye see the magic that surround each and every bloom,” Chakor said.
A flash of amethyst caught Kaiya attention. That’s when she spotted the wee dragon, no bigger than a mouse. The flying critter looked harmless, yet her inner voice warned her to approach with caution. It landed about a foot from her and puffed its chest out. She gasped when she got a better look at the creature. The wee dragon was a perfect match to the tattoo that graced the back of her left shoulder. Tiny spectacles with elliptical lenses somewhat hid silvery blue, sea-smoke colored eyes and he wore a vest. He’s rather scholarly looking for a creature of magic. Kaiya smiled. “Ziven, I presume.”
“Chakor, why did ye bring an outsider into the grotto? Why didn’t ye kill her, as the queen ordered of any who dare enter Shady Lady Forest?” Ziven glared at the giant hellhound.
“Please don’t be cross with Chakor,” Kaiya pleaded. “Why he took pity on me is beyond my understanding. Yet I’m grateful he decided against maiming me or killing me. My life isn’t much, yet I don’t wish to die so young.”
“Chakor risks his own life by allowing ye anywhere near here. What did ye promise him for disobeying the queen?”
“She simply asked for my help,” Chakor explained. “Gerik place the Columns of Jacarel in her realm. Without knowing she touched the gates and found herself trapped in our world.”
“I might have known. Gerik would do something like that. Send the Columns of Jacarel into a world that knows nothing of magic, or believes magic is nothing more than a fairy tale,” Ziven said.
“Who is Gerik and why would he do such a thing?” Kaiya asked.
“Gerik is a powerful wizard who uses his powers to force others to do his bidding. He uses the columns because he knows most folks coming upon them shall touch them because they’re so unique. There’s a spell that lures the unsuspecting into touching them if the folks don’t touch them on their own. The columns are a gateway to this world,” Ziven said. “Ye didn’t answer my question as to why she’s here.”
“I know one of the Drakontas Virag has the power to send her home,” Chakor said.
“Don’t even ask such a thing from me. I don’t wish to remain here for the rest of eternity,” Ziven said.
“What will you do if I take one of your flowers?” Kaiya asked.
“Take a look around. Tucked within the larger nook and crannies ye shall find some items that may interest ye,” Ziven said.
Chakor followed Kaiya as she poked her nose inside the places Ziven suggested. To her shock she discovered several people, animals, and creatures she couldn’t identify nor cared to. Moonlight shimmered off each and every one of these poor unfortunates. Their bodies were composed of sparkling crystal.
Kaiya stumbled back toward Ziven, her mind whirling with so many wild thoughts it made her dizzy. “What did you do to . . .”
“I used my icy breath on them after warning them not to touch the Drakontas Virag. Not one of them listened and paid the price. Shall ye be next?” Ziven said.
Kaiya flopped down and let the tears run freely down her cheeks. “I don’t wish to cause Chakor or you any harm. Yet by being here I seem to be placing you both in grave danger. Just point me in the direction of the nearest town. And I . . .”
Chakor growled at Ziven. “Do something. Ye have the power to give her one of those darn flowers.”
“No! The queen’s wizard comes by and counts them every day. If one goes missing . . .” Ziven swallowed the rest. “Hide, Tyee approaches.”
Chakor and Kaiya watched from concealment as a fragile looking man entered the grotto. “Let anyone steal a flower, foolish dragon?”
“Finally got smart, did ye?” The wizard counted the flowers then vanished in a puff of smoke.
Kaiya touched one of the crystal statues. She gasped when she tried to follow Chakor. Icy crystal began wrapping itself around her legs freezing her to the spot where she stood. She screamed.
“Ziven!” Chakor shouted.
The tiny dragon flew into the chamber where Kaiya was slowly turning into a statue. “Do something?” Chakor said. “She doesn’t deserve this.”
Ziven vanished for what seemed like an eternity. He returned and placed two different drakontas virag at Kaiya’s feet. He whispered an enchantment and the crystal shattered as if struck with a mallet.
“Chakor, bring the girl quickly.” Ziven approached Kaiya and handed her a tiny orange crystal. “Chakor take her back to the spot where Delsin found her.”
“How do you know about my encounter with Delsin,” Kaiya asked.
“When the Columns of Jacarel are activated, Delsin is sent out to capture, then bring the creature to Gerik, Chakor said.”
“Do ye wish to go home or not?” Ziven asked.
“Then do as I ask and stop asking questions,” Ziven said.
“I’m sorry. Sometimes I speak before thinking,” Kaiya said.
“What’s she supposed to do with the crystal?” Chakor asked.
“The crystal shall tell her when she reaches the glade. Keep her safe and guard thy backs,” Ziven said. “Be gone!”
When they reached the glade, Kaiya looked around. “This isn’t right.”
“It terra formed while ye were gone. Places throughout Pandora do this on a regular basis. Touch the ground. It shall tell ye, ye be in the right place. Hold the crystal to thy lips and listen closely. It shall tell ye what to do.”
Before Kaiya placed the crystal against her lips she hugged the gigantic hellhound. “Thank you for becoming my friend.”
Chakor turned without a word and vanished into the trees.
Kaiya touched the crystal to her lips and closed her eyes. She thought about the canyon and her somewhat miserable live back in Phoenix, yet knew her mom needed her. With a flash of blinding light, Kaiya found herself lying on the canyon floor. Her head ached and she found a trickle of blood when she touch her right temple. Did I fall and hit my head? I must have. What a strange dream! I dreamt of a hellhound, a jester, and a dragon the size of a mouse with a beautiful golden flower in a far away land. She started to climb to her feet when another, tinier flash of light caught her attention. About a foot from where her left arm stretched above her, she spotted something orange. She picked up a tiny crystal and she sucked her breathe in.
manitari is Greek for mushroom