[Prologue, starting from the year 2000]
Many thousands of years ago, the humans of this world prospered; their developed technology, and the resources employed to sustain that technology, all served them well. Shortly, their leaps and bounds in development would soon be raised to a greater level than anyone could have dreamed, ever since one young man, Lucian Archeron, had stumbled upon what could only be described as 'charm energy'. He had been mountain climbing in a remote area in northern Canada, about twenty miles west of his home in the Canadian Rockies, when he had come across a deep cave high up on a mountainside. Discovered quite by accident, Lucian didn't know what to make of it. He never even dreamed of how an encounter with charm would change his life forever, and little did he know what was in store for him.
Chapter 1 - The Discovery
Lucian reached up to grip the large rock crags jutting out of the mountain, breathing deeply to relieve his headache from exposure to the harsh summer sun. After a few seconds of judging the cliff above him, he continued climbing, slowly making his way to the top of the massive rock wall. His efforts and perseverance soon paid off, as Lucian finally climbed up over the last rock face, crawling up onto the warm, flat ground, two thousand feet above the valley from where he'd begun. The sun was lower in the sky now, and Lucian was hungry. Unstrapping his large pack, he sat down, unzipped it, and took a big drink of cold spring water from his canteen, splashing some over his head and neck. Moving well away from the cliff edge, he unpacked his small camp stove, lit it with one waterproof match, and made himself some wonton soup. Afterwards, he explored. The edge of the mountain face was smooth rock, but about five metres back, was a large area of soft green grass and a few pine trees.
Extending over the top of the mountain as far as he could see, was a vast pine forest. Lucian soon came across a narrow rift in the mountainside, about fifty feet north of his campsite. It was growing cooler as the afternoon wore on, and he figured the cave would be a suitable place to sleep, out of the wind and safe from danger. Climbing down into the cave, Lucian called out for anyone. When nobody answered, he continued his descent. A few minutes later, he came upon a smooth sandy floor in the middle of a massive underground cavern. Huge stalactites, most lost in the gloom of the dark ceiling, hung down like massive spears ready to drop on unsuspecting trespassers. Some still dripped water at the cave edges, but that wasn't a problem for Lucian. Soon growing tired, he spread out his sleeping mat on the warm sandy floor, before undressing and slipping into his night attire. The sand, warmed by many long years of sun filtering into the cave, served as a perfect sleeping surface. He laid atop his mat, and was asleep almost instantly. A few hours later, Lucian awoke to a strange sound. At first he thought the wind was playing tricks on him, but as he listened, the sound continued; a low, gentle humming noise. He ignored it at first, and tried to go back to sleep, but then, suddenly, the humming sound spiked to a very loud, deep level.
Jerking awake, Lucian looked around, at first seeing nothing. He got up upon suddenly noticing a faint green glow emanating from a narrow crack in the far wall. Intrigued, Lucian slowly walked over to examine it. The glow seemed to be coming from a cavern behind the wall. He found the crack to be just wide enough to easily slip through when he turned sideways. Emerging into the small cavern, Lucian found something he didn't think he would ever see. Along the walls of the cavern was a long, continuous vein of brightly-glowing green crystalline mineral! For a few seconds, Lucian just stood and stared in astonishment, thinking he'd found a gigantic deposit of jade. What he didn't realize was that he'd actually come across pure, solidified chrysolite, which, while similar in appearance to jade, was of a different composition. Lucian also could not have known that the chrysolite was also a form of 'charm energy', in a solidified form!! Normally, when left undisturbed, chrysolite charm was static and harmless, but against his better judgment, Lucian reached out to touch it. The chrysolite felt cold to the touch, like ice, but then Lucian suddenly felt a tingling sensation flow into his hand. A few seconds later, it spiked into a burst of pain that shot up his arm and through his body, as he screamed. The mineral suddenly turned from green, through yellow, to brilliant fiery red, shifting from one colour to the next too fast to perceive, as he was struck with a sharp pain through his entire body!! Lucian staggered, collapsing to his knees; blood suddenly oozing from his left nostril, before he collapsed facedown onto the ground with a groan of agony, as one hand fell to slap down hard right on the ice-cold mineral; the brilliant light of the transformed chrysolite shining throughout the cave and turning everything fiery red, as he blacked out!
Chapter 2 - New Power
Five days later, at the hospital
Lucian gradually began to regain consciousness, finding himself lying on a gurney inside a hospital room, with an IV in his left arm. For a few seconds, he couldn't figure out just what had happened between finding the chrysolite, and ending up here. Soon a doctor entered, walking up to him. 'Are you all right?' he asked. 'What...happened?!' Lucian asked groggily. 'W-where am I?!' The doctor smiled reassuringly. 'Someone evidently took note of your unusual long-term absence, Lucian.' he explained. 'They traced your location to one of the many caves infused with the mineral you found.' Lucian nodded, understanding. 'Well, I seem to be fine now. Thank you, sir.' Lucian replied. After checking his IV, then bringing him something to eat, the doctor left. Lucian ate his food, before placing the tray aside and resting.
A sudden thought occurred to him, however, causing Lucian to sit back up quickly. He turned his thoughts back to the crystallized charm he'd found in the cavern. If it had indeed done something to him, Lucian would have to make sure that no one else had previously been exposed to it, for he knew nothing of the mineral's nature. When the doctor came back in, there was another with him. 'I think there is something you should see, Lucian.' the doctor said solemnly. He then turned on the TV, which was broadcasting a news report about a strange substance found in several underground caves across the country. A news flash revealed photos taken of the glowing mineral, which had been identified both as 'charm energy', and as 'chrysolite'. Lucian's eyes widened when he saw it. 'That's exactly the substance that I was exposed to!' he exclaimed. The doctors nodded; their expressions grave.
'We don't know what it could have done, Lucian, but we should try to remain optimistic.' one doctor replied. Another then brought in an object wrapped in a white sheet. Placed before Lucian, it was unwrapped to reveal a bright green baseball-sized chunk of the mineral, which almost looked like ice! 'This is the chrysolite!' he exclaimed, as the doctor nodded. 'We sent some mineralogists to extract some for verification.' he said, as Lucian nodded again. He then reached out for it, but no one was prepared for what happened next. Lucian suddenly felt a faint tingling in his right hand as he reached toward the charm, then, slowly, the chunk of mineral began to move across the tabletop, even though Lucian wasn't touching it!
He stopped, staring in shock, and noticed the doctors were as well. He moved his hand to the left, and the mineral moved with it, staying a good foot from his outstretched hand! Moving his hand the other way prompted the chunk to do so as well. Lucian then turned his hand palm up, as the chunk began to slowly levitate, stopping level with his eyes! 'How is that possible?!' Lucian breathed, unable to believe his eyes.
'That makes three of us, Lucian!' the doctors replied. They both then took Lucian to the MRI machine, and proceeded to map his brain. What they found was astounding. Exposure to the chrysolite had somehow altered Lucian's brain, stimulating his unconscious mind to an entirely new level never before seen in any human. Everyone knew about atoms and how they play an important role in the creation and sustainability of matter, but what almost no one understood was that in between all those atoms was a vast, empty space, known as the 'zero-point field'. Tapping into the near-limitless energy contained in this void was virtually unheard of, and Lucian, having unknowingly been subjected to mental alterations that allowed him access to this field, could now control physical matter, which was the reason behind him having telekinetic abilities, and he was found to possess a rare form of the power called 'vector telekinesis', which he would learn about later.
However, there was a drawback. Lucian found his telekinesis to be rather limited, such as moving cups and saucers across tables, opening and closing doors, and lifting/moving small objects. He theorized that his power was like a muscle, needing consistent practice to grasp. The doctors subjected him to various tests, such as creating, moving, and extinguishing flames, stopping speeding projectiles, lifting and moving objects such as lightweight medicine balls, and also levitation. However, Lucian having telekinesis was just the tip of the iceberg. He was later dismissed, and allowed to return home, and was given a piece of the solidified charm to explore for himself, so long as he alerted no one else to it's existence. Arriving home, he went upstairs to have a quick shower. Soon afterwards, Lucian began to get a headache. He thought that he was just tired, but the headache persisted. Then he began to feel a profuse itching on his left arm. He scratched, but the itch only worsened. He scratched harder and harder, then suddenly, without warning, a fist-sized patch of skin tore free from his arm, as he stared in disbelief! Beneath his human skin, fine sapphire dragon scales glistened dully!! He then began scratching at his abs, soon tearing skin there to reveal bright cerulean scales! Intrigued, Lucian slowly began peeling more of his human skin away, amazed to find the process completely painless! Slowly, like an insect emerging from an old skin, Lucian the human was slowly transforming himself into a magnificent blue dragon!
After fully removing his skin(and clothes), the dragon first proceeded to carefully discard his old human skin, then stored his human clothes, which, surprisingly, hadn't been damaged the slightest by his transformation, aside from a rip in both his boxers and jeans from the growth of his tail, and two clean tears in his t-shirt from the emergence of his dragon wings. He then examined his new form. Lucian was a deep, rich cerulean blue, with his chest, abs, hands, and feet a deep dark navy blue, but the cross between the different shades was smooth. He also had a long, dark navy blue mane, like a horse's, and bright cyan dragon eyes. Surprisingly, he also found his senses to be vastly heightened, and his headache was completely gone now. Looking at his reflection, Lucian admired his new draconic form. His eyes still reflected the warmth and kindness he'd always been known for as a man, and he now had high blue ears, somewhat like a horse's. His muzzle was narrow, almost like a horse's, and he had a long tail with a long black ponytail at the tip. It looked solid black, but when the light caught it at certain angles, a brilliant, metallic azure shine radiated forth! His large, smooth dragon wings rested comfortably against his back, the dark blue surface nearly indistinguishable from his body, but unfolding them, he found the wing-webs were soft silver on the underside, and at full span, from tip-to-tip, his wings were an impressive 28 feet wide!!
Exhausted from such a day, Lucian crawled up onto his bed, and curled up, finding the position surprisingly natural and comfortable, before dozing off. After sleeping soundly for several hours, Lucian was abruptly woken by a faint wink of light. At first he thought his mind was playing tricks on him, but then he saw it again, as a pale blue glow surrounding some sort of tiny creature. It hovered just outside his closed window. For a few seconds, Lucian just stared at the glowing light, before raising his right hand, pointing his index and middle fingers together, and with a quick flick, telekinetically slid open his window!! Then the light suddenly darted into the room, and began spinning in crazy loops and circles! At first, he wondered just what this light was, and why was it acting in such a manner, or even why it had come here. It suddenly darted at Lucian, and began flying in dizzying circles around his head! He was about to move when the light stopped directly in front of him, and slowly, a shape began to emerge from the light. Lucian could only stare in disbelief at what had to be another dragon, but this one was unlike any he'd ever seen before. It was bright blue, with a silvery underbelly, short legs, and a long, iridescent purple 'mane' starting from the top of it's head, going down it's back, straight to the tip of it's tiny tail. The dragon also had two small silvery horns, and most unusually, large, brilliant green butterfly wings!! Judging by the dragon's excited manner and erratic flight, Lucian thought it must be excited about something.
Suddenly it darted downward, and began circling Lucian's traveling pack. He was confused for a brief moment, but then suddenly understood. Reaching over, he used his telekinesis to unstrap and fling back the flap on the pack, revealing the chunk of solidified chrysolite charm. Suddenly the aura around the tiny dragon seemed to flare, brightening slightly, as it darted in excited loops around the open pack, before coming to land atop the charm. There, Lucian witnessed something remarkable. The little dragon seemed to be absorbing the charm energy into itself, as thin fingers of livid blue electricity coursed over both the chrysolite and the dragon, but it seemed to enjoy the sensation! It grew brighter by the second, until it was like a tiny dazzling blue star!! Suddenly Lucian knew instantly that this tiny creature was no ordinary dragon, but a faerie dragon! He had heard tales of them, and how they could feed and sustain themselves from charm, as well as having telepathy, invisibility, and also the ability to freely move through solid matter. They also had the ability to sense when charm was nearby, something like clairvoyance. Then the faerie looked up at Lucian, and he saw it smile, as if thanking him. He smiled in return, nodding once. Suddenly it darted right at him, and spun once around his head, before Lucian suddenly felt something brush softly against the back of his head! He suddenly felt a faint tingling numbness begin spreading slowly throughout his body, as he gasped. Slowly, his vision started to go black, then he slumped to the floor, unconscious!
'Lucian? Lucian, are you all right?!' he was vaguely aware of a worried voice calling him up from the darkness. He slowly opened his eyes, and looked up, seeing a hazy shape crouching over him. Lucian blinked several times to clear his vision. 'Who? What?' he slurred, as the newcomer carefully helped him sit up. 'Here, drink this. It will help.' he offered Lucian a small phial of clear blue liquid. Taking it, Lucian sniffed. It smelled, strangely, like fresh pine needles, and carefully sipping it, he was rewarded with a sweet, soothing minty taste. Soon his headache quickly began fading, and his senses slowly returned to him. Looking up, he saw the stranger, and was surprised to find another dragon. This one was a pale silver colour, with off-white chest and stomach scales, silver-black horns, two large silver wings with pale grey webs, and kind blue dragon eyes!! Seeing Lucian's surprised expression, the dragon smiled, offering his hand. 'My name is Kyvan Sunfire.' Lucian smiled. 'Pleased to meet you, Kyvan!' After a minute, Kyvan helped Lucian stand up. 'I hope you will forgive my friend for her strange behaviour!' Kyvan said, attempting to hide a small grin.
Lucian stopped, staring at him in surprise. 'You know this faerie?!' he asked, as Kyvan smiled again. 'Indeed! Alina and I have been friends for over one hundred years!! She became indebted to me when I saved her life after she was poisoned by overexposure to charm energy. She was half-dead by the time I found her just outside of a cave infested with chrysolite. I took her into my care, and healed her, after which she became my friend, and we have remained close ever since!!' Lucian looked at Kyvan with a puzzled expression. 'But how could you?' he started, trying to figure out how they were able to so easily interact with one another. Seeing Lucian's puzzled expression, Kyvan smiled. 'Alina gave me what is known as 'true sight', which is a very rare gift that all faerie dragons possess. It allows them to cause others to see what would normally never be seen, faerie dragons like Alina in this case. The sight also grants the wielder something akin to precognition. Very few dragons have ever had this ability, and even fewer have been able to master it, as I have, that being due to the innate connection I have with Alina. She gave me that power as a gift in return for saving her life, and I must say it has indeed been quite helpful over the years!'
Suddenly Lucian was struck with a realization. 'Up until a short while ago, I thought that the chrysolite that was reported to have been spreading across the land was harmless! I'd heard of it being able to turn humans into dragons, give them healing powers, augment their mental capabilities, and also be controlled by them, but I didn't think that chrysolite could drain the life force of an organism from prolonged exposure!!' But Kyvan shook his head, looking solemn. 'I think you aren't yet privy to everything, Lucian!' Kyvan said gravely. Relaying information to him through Alina, Kyvan proceeded to explain to Lucian how the ever-spreading charm was slowly destroying the world.
Already over one thousand people and dragons alike had died from what was referred to as 'charm poisoning', from overexposure to the mineral. Symptoms included migraines, sluggishness, internal haemorrhaging, and eventually paralysis and death. Also, the solidified charm appeared to drain the life from living vegetation as well, swiftly reducing it to limp, dry, brown twigs and dust!! Lucian and Kyvan knew that even if it hadn't yet reached where Lucian lived in the Canadian Rockies, it would soon, given it's tendency to spread almost a mile over ground every twenty hours. Realizing just how serious a predicament he was in, Lucian knew that he would have to leave his home behind, in order to help both Kyvan and Alina find the source of the charm, and possibly try to destroy it.
Chapter 3 - The Journey
After a fitful sleep, Lucian was woken by Kyvan, who insisted that they go now while it was still early. Quickly rising, and eating a quick breakfast, the two dragons prepared to leave. Lucian paused at the door, and reached up to the sill beside it, sliding open a small panel in the wall, and removing a solid silver pendant on a chain, of a square symbol like a shield, bearing a solid green jade gemstone in the centre! Slipping it into a leather pouch on a belt he had made several years ago, Lucian strapped it across his chest, then followed both Kyvan and Alina out of his home, then turned back to look at it; the pain evident in his expression as he thought of how he was leaving it behind forever.
A gentle hand on his shoulder made him turn, as Kyvan offered a warm, reassuring smile, and a nod, before leading Lucian to a cliff, from which the two dragons, accompanied by Alina, took off to begin their long journey to locate the source of the charm that threatened the dying land. Kyvan and Lucian flew wingtip-to-wingtip, utilizing any thermals or air currents they could to reduce the strain of such a long journey. Slowly, over the course of about four hours, the pair and Alina gradually made their transition from the Canadian Rockies to a range of high mountains known as the Weathered Spires, so named because of their similar appearance to a line of old church steeples. Lucian found the range quite beautiful to see, and was even more so fascinated because he had not had the chance to travel much earlier in his life, having spent nearly his whole life at his home, after his human parents had died due to illness contracted from charm energy. Alina, Lucian, and Kyvan gradually made their way across the high mountains, occasionally flying lower to take advantage of the warmer air near the ground whenever the higher breezes grew too cold.
Suddenly Alina flew upward, going into a rapid spin. 'There it is! There it is!' she chattered excitedly. Lucian and Kyvan flew up to hover beside her, and gasped, staring in disbelief at the sight. Before them, seeming to stretch endlessly to the horizon, was a great shining, shimmering silvery-white field of pure chrysolite charm, with a massive mountain encrusted in the substance on the horizon! As the two dragons flew toward it, Alina cautioned them, 'You must both be very careful not to come within less than twenty metres of the charm. While it can augment the mind and body to an extent, it can also kill you by drawing upon your life force. Do you see how it is shimmering?' Both dragons looked down at the field of charm, taking note of the slowly-pulsing, dancing motion of it's emitted light, and they nodded. 'That is the constant fluctuation of it's contained power. The light itself is actual chrysolite energy, but the shell is merely it's solidified form.' Lucian could only stare, barely able to comprehend the wondrous yet deadly sight before him. As the three of them slowly circled above the field of solidified chrysolite, Lucian couldn't help but feel a strange thrill at seeing what lay below him. It was the same charm that gave him his extraordinary powers, that was also slowly destroying the land, and had very nearly killed him when he had first come into contact with it those few weeks prior in the cavern. Lucian was very grateful that the chrysolite hadn't killed him, but he had never even dreamed of what it had done to him, happening at all!! He was a young dragon, only one hundred and ten years of age, yet he still couldn't imagine how close he had come to death in his first encounter with the chrysolite in that cavern. Surprisingly, while he had been human, Lucian was twenty years of age, although his dragon form, having been a part of him all along, was far older, and also much stronger, and it had actually existed within him as a separate entity from his human self, due to the dragon's strength, age and wisdom.
Kyvan, being slightly older than Lucian at one hundred and fourteen years, was wise to the nature and the structure of charm energy, which was the reason Lucian always looked to him for guidance when around the mineral. Kyvan, in addition to knowing a great deal about chrysolite and charm energy, was also a very wise and gifted young scholar, and had tutored Lucian in the time they had known one another, and all the knowledge Lucian had gained from him had proven to be absolutely invaluable in everyday life, and especially in dangerous situations. In a way, Lucian looked to Kyvan as a father would be concerned for his son. And ever since Lucian's parents had died, and Kyvan had found and taken him in, they had become almost inseparable.
'Is there any way to get inside the mountain, Alina?' Kyvan asked. 'There could possibly lie a source from which the chrysolite is created and spawned, and it could be destroyed!'
She considered this statement momentarily. 'You may be right, Kyvan!' she replied. 'Although there are dangerous creatures known as 'charm worms' abound within the construct. They live and feed off the chrysolite, and can secrete a special form of liquid chrysolite that solidifies into new deposits. I am sorry to say that I do not know much about them, but I do know that while difficult to destroy, they are not invincible!' Lucian looked up at them both. 'Time is short, and given how much the charm has already advanced, we must make haste if we are to stop this madness once and for all!' 'So what we need to do is locate and destroy the charm's connection. Any ideas on where to start?' Kyvan asked. Alina looked momentarily thoughtful, then she brightened. 'I think I know where it is!' she replied excitedly. 'There is a powerful network of charm inside the mountain that we call 'the Source', and if we can reach it before the charm worms, then we just might have a chance! And I know of someone who can help us! He is the Great Fairie, Novaran, who built the Source for all of us to live within. We did so happily for thousands of years, but when the charm began to accumulate, the 'charm-worms' were birthed into existence, and as they multiplied and spread, the world began to die. We know that he can help you stop them, Lucian! I told him all about both you and Kyvan, and he wants to meet you, but you must go alone, without Kyvan, because Novaran said he would only see the gifted one!' Lucian and Kyvan exchanged glances, as Kyvan nodded.
Turning and walking a short distance away, Lucian turned to look at Kyvan, who smiled. He returned it, before spreading his wings, and taking off, soaring steadily skyward with Alina perched atop his head, nestled in his dark blue mane. Lucian and Alina flew steadily on toward a faint glow on the horizon, which Alina explained was the 'network' of charm that was slowly crossing over the world. Although worried for his friend, Lucian promised himself that he would do whatever it took to bring an end to the charm poisoning the world, and if that meant going to the very source of the mineral's growth, Lucian thought, then so be it.
Chapter 4 - A Meeting
As Lucian and Alina closed in on the charm glowing across the horizon, he felt slightly uneasy. But being much closer to the charm than ever before, Lucian was finally able to get a good look at it. Crisscrossing the ground was an incredibly vast network of solidified chrysolite that seemed to glow with all the colours of the rainbow, while at the same time looking rather ethereal. Being so close to charm like this frightened Lucian slightly, but he forced down his fear, soon coming to land on the ground.
Suddenly looking up, he saw what looked like a large glowing white ball, surrounded by several tiny lights zooming around it! 'Is that Novaran?' he asked, as Alina smiled. 'Yes, Lucian! You should go introduce yourself to him!' Lucian smiled, and slowly stepped forward toward the glowing ball of light.
'Hello? My name is Lucian Archeron!'
A voice, deep and masculine, like that of an aged but wise dragon elder, answered him. 'It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Lucian!' the voice replied. 'You have my thanks for keeping Alina safe in all the time since you befriended her! That is admirable.' Lucian nodded. 'I know you are probably wondering why your friend could not accompany you and Alina, but if you listened to what she told you earlier, then you understand that I requested only you to come forth. This is due to the immunity you have been bestowed with regarding the charm, and also of your Sight.' Lucian nodded, understanding. 'Besides, from what we have seen and gathered regarding your friend, I could not bear to see him hurt in any way, any more than either you or Alina would!' He nodded again, and smiled.
'And I thank you, Novaran, for such a consideration!' He nodded, and smiled.
'Think nothing of it, my friend!' he answered warmly. But then Novaran's tone grew serious. 'I understand that you, Lucian, and your friend Kyvan, have tried to consider a way to stop the charm from destroying your world. I want to help, so will you listen to a proposition I have for you?' Lucian thought for a second, then smiled, nodding, as the light around Novaran slowly began dissipating, revealing a large faerie dragon, bigger than any other in the charm web, with a golden body, silvery butterfly wings, long white ivory horns, and bright blue eyes!! He stared at Lucian intently, then smiled. 'Very well, now follow me, and do not worry! Your immunity to the chrysolite will protect you, Lucian!' he said with a reassuring smile. Lucian smiled in return, and followed Novaran toward a gigantic spire of solid charm that seemed to stretch infinitely high into the air. Suddenly Lucian felt as though his paws had left the ground, and looking down, found that was precisely what had happened. Then Novaran darted forward, simply phasing into the pillar of charm and disappearing, as Lucian followed, surprised to feel no impact at all with it's surface before passing into a void of blinding white light.
Lucian didn't precisely recall the feelings he experienced upon first coming into direct contact with pure solidified charm, having been far too worried about either a quick death or lingering adverse effects to commit much to memory, but now, he was sure that it hadn't quite been the same as what he was experiencing at this moment. As he tried to blink away the tears that had formed due to such a brilliant light, Lucian noticed how it was blended with nearly every colour he could imagine, which was indescribably beautiful. 'Are you all right, Lucian?' Novaran asked, putting a hand on his shoulder.
'I am now, Novaran. Thank you!' he replied.
He then looked around. Lucian saw he was standing on a long, wide pathway of brilliant blue glass, and all around him, at various levels, were thousands of different coloured glass paths; the white mist flowing throughout the web softening the colours, giving the charm web an incredibly beautiful, ethereal appearance. Novaran smiled at Lucian's awed expression. 'You, Lucian, lived on Earth, which is actually part of a plane of reality, but what you may not know is that that plane is merely one of many millions!! Each plane is a different reality, and the shine web is basically a crossover point between your reality and all others!!' Novaran paused to let Lucian collect this, although he did find it hard to believe; something Novaran had expected. 'Some planes resemble your own, while others such as ours, are very different. The charm worms come from their own reality, which is much darker and more sinister than many of the other planes, which makes sense considering the worm's twisted ways, deeds, and thoughts. They are naught but pure evil, and sought to corrupt any other plane they could find; your own in this case.'
Lucian digested this new bit of information, then waited for Novaran to continue. 'There are other planes, some filled with light like this one, others with darkness, some planes are dimensionless; naught but empty voids of space, and some where time runs erratically, and even, where reality itself is fractured beyond imagination!!' Novaran paused, but Lucian couldn't begin to imagine what some of those other planes must be like, and, thinking of his own, he hated to think so anyway. 'And when, two thousand years ago, your people first began building and using their technology to try and harness charm energy, over the years it became so strong that it caused a great rift that opened your reality to this one, and when you, Lucian, first came into contact with the charm in that cave when your were still a human, it actually managed to partially pull your soul out of your physical body, and onto our plane of reality, which meant that you were actually existing as a whole being between two very different realities, and because you managed to somehow absorb the charm energy present in this one, that is what gave you your powers!!' Novaran paused, but Lucian was too stunned by this revelation to reply for a few seconds.
'So you are saying, Novaran, that my powers came from another reality?!' Lucian asked, unable to believe what he was hearing. Novaran smiled, and nodded.
'Yes they did, Lucian, and I am surprised that you managed to harness them in the ways you have! That is very impressive!' He then continued. 'The wall between this reality and yours, when you touched that vein of chrysolite in the cave, was rent, thus allowing you a brief glimpse into our reality, Lucian, but you didn't realize it at that moment. I do realize also that you could never have known that that one glimpse would allow a connection to our reality from your own, much less give you the powers you have, which are actually fragments of energy from this plane, bound into your form!! Those fragments also granted you access to the 'zero-point field', which I understand you have already learned about. In short, access and control of the field is the key to observable telekinesis!! Levels of control both depend on how long an exposure you have had, and also what part of, and how much, of your brain was altered. The four forms of power, or levels of telekinesis, are as follows: Standard telekinesis allows manipulation and control of objects via simple psionic force. The second, vector telekinesis, allows far more dexterity and control of matter due to invisible appendages of energy, like fingers or tentacles, hence the term 'vector'. The third is a very rare form called 'ballistic telekinesis', or 'telekinetic havoc'. It is completely uncontrollable and unstable, requiring almost no conscious effort from the wielder. The fourth, tactile telekinesis, is also very rare, but is limited to touch and proximity control. You, Lucian, exhibit the second form, vector telekinesis, which is the most versatile of all! And, you already naturally possessed your other powers, regeneration, clairvoyance, and telepathy, if you didn't know, and the chrysolite simply awakened and augmented them!!' Lucian nodded again, surprised to realize that he had never known of them.
Novaran then continued, 'You, Lucian, should also know that chrysolite is actually a biblical element, told of in the Book of Revelation!'
'It is, Novaran?!' Lucian asked, surprised, as Novaran nodded. 'It is mentioned in Revelation 21:19-20, as the seventh stone within the foundation of the walls of Jerusalem! So, in a way, you have control of one of the most sacred elements known in history!! Chrysolite is known for it's healing powers, and was believed to be one of the strongest minerals of it's kind in that aspect!! However, the worms managed to augment the powers of the chrysolite to the point where the beneficial aspects were reversed, causing widespread destruction wherever the excess chrysolite managed to reach!'
Lucian nodded, now understanding. 'But where did the worms come from?'
Novaran looked grave. 'They are partially-sentient lifeforms created from the destructive energy caused by the breaching of the wall between your reality and ours, Lucian. And believe me when I say that you are one of only a very few who can do anything to stop them! That does not mean you are alone, however, because Alina will always be with you! She has the same powers you do, albeit a bit stronger, alongside a few abilities of her own!' Lucian looked up at Novaran, and for the first time, he smiled, as Novaran returned it.
Standing, Lucian put a hand on his shoulder. 'If you will let Alina help me fight them, Novaran, then I can use my power over the chrysolite to turn their own power against them!' Novaran smiled. 'If it does work, the chrysolite could be restored to it's normal state, thus ending it's own destructive power!! It could work, Lucian, and I am behind you all the way!'
'As am I!' Alina replied happily. Lucian grinned, then he, Novaran, and Alina turned and began walking along the blue plane of glass back the way Lucian had come.
Suddenly the world around them seemed to blur, swirl, and shift, soon becoming the familiar world of the mountains and plains of their reality, that Lucian had travelled with Kyvan when they first came to the charm network, but suddenly, Lucian saw something he was not expecting: lying unconscious on the field of charm was a dragon, but Lucian recognized the form of his friend Kyvan!!
'NO!!' Lucian cried. 'Kyvan!!' He flew swiftly down toward the field, landing close to his friend's apparently lifeless body. Kyvan was lying on his side, his wings drooping limply on either side of him, and his eyes were closed. If not for his stilled chest, Lucian would have thought his friend was asleep. He looked up as Novaran and Alina came up beside him.
Crouching by his friend's side, Lucian used his telekinesis to gently roll Kyvan onto his back, before checking his vitals, which by now were very weak, then focused, reaching into his own mind to awaken his telepathic ability. Finding it, Lucian focused on conscious control of that power, which let him scan his friend's mind. Kyvan's thoughts were incredibly erratic, possibly due to the charm draining so much life out of him, and the psychic static from his friend's nearly-destroyed mind almost made Lucian bleed from the muzzle due to the strength of it! Looking up at Novaran, Lucian's eyes held absolute desperation. 'Can you save my friend, Novaran? Please, I'm begging you!' Novaran nodded, placing a kind, reassuring hand on his shoulder.
After smiling reassuringly, he lifted his muzzle to the sky, and whistled, a long, shrill tone, before several hundred glowing lights, each a faerie, came shooting across the horizon toward them. 'Now, Lucian, I need you to channel the energy the faeries will send you into Kyvan, which will in turn awaken your regenerative ability. It will build and reignite his life-force, but you need to focus as hard as you can! You can do it!' Those words of encouragement were all Lucian needed. He then spread his arms wide open, spreading his fingers wide, waiting for the faeries to come. Then they hit, creating blinding flashes all around both Novaran and Lucian; the combined light of all the faeries, including Alina, swirled and danced around the two dragons like a starry storm!!
Lucian squeezed his eyes shut as his felt the hot energy flow through his hands, down his arms, and into his body!! When he felt the buildup reach it's limit, and his regenerative powers strengthen, Lucian suddenly kneeled, slamming both hands down firmly onto Kyvan's chest. Then Lucian's eyes snapped open, now blazing with a ferocity and intensity never before witnessed in the young dragon!!
Lucian bore down with all his might; every muscle and nerve in his body alive and flowing with pure charm energy, the power making him stronger by the second. Feeding more and more energy into his friend's lifeless body, Lucian simultaneously probed into Kyvan's mind, which was slowly, yet steadily, rebuilding alongside his body. The power coursing from the faeries through Lucian and into Kyvan was staggering; any other creature would have died instantly from such power, but Lucian was strong, and with Novaran's help, he was able to save his friend. However, because of Lucian's willingness to risk even greater exposure to the chrysolite than before to save his best friend, the charm slowly began destroying the pigmentation cells within the skin of his hands and feet, as they slowly started growing paler and paler, until the colour had all but vanished from Lucian's paws, leaving them entirely a pale smoky white colour; the cross between this and his normal navy blue skin about halfway up his forelegs and hind-paws!!! Soon, the power, heat, and light slowly began to fade away, as Lucian's grip on Kyvan's chest weakened, then he felt exhaustion creep into his spent muscles, as he toppled heavily onto his side, slipping into unconsciousness. A few seconds passed before Kyvan's eyes slowly fluttered open, and he took a slow, deep breath. 'Wh-what happened?!' he asked weakly. He then looked over, seeing Lucian's prone form beside him, one hand still resting on his chest, and Kyvan smiled, noticing Lucian, though unconscious, wore a smile as well.
Chapter 5- Endeavours for a New world
For the next few days, both Lucian and Kyvan rested fitfully after such a big adventure. Alina looked after both dragons very well, and made sure they were well cared for. Lucian had not traveled very far since his return, whenever he was able to be up and about, but he suffered frequent nightmares about the greatest moments of danger during their voyage, much to Kyvan and Alina's concern. Thankfully, his nightmares only surfaced due to his extreme level of stress from the adventure, and Kyvan spent very little time away from Lucian's side, ready to help his friend at a moment's notice. However, the long period of rest proved well for Lucian, who soon was back up on his feet again, now refreshed.
Later, he and Kyvan were watching the waves roll into the shoreline of the beach. For a while, Kyvan couldn't stop glancing at Lucian's now-snow-white paws, astounded to realize just what the chrysolite had done, but he also knew that Lucian had been willing to risk it to ensure Kyvan's survival, which was the reminder to Kyvan of just how true a friend Lucian was to him. 'You know, Kyvan,' Lucian started, turning to look at his friend. 'I find it so hard to believe that just a few months ago, I was just a normal human person, and never even dreamed of things happening as they did to bring me here, now!! It feels like a lifetime ago!'
Kyvan smiled. 'It does seem strange once you think about it, Lucian,' he replied. 'but just think, if this had not happened, you would never have gotten to experience the life you have now, nor be able to go on such big adventures! Being a dragon has it's own set of opportunities and challenges, and I assure you, facing the dangers you did with all the power you have at your disposal was bound to make the journey more than exciting!' Lucian thought about this for a second, then smiled. 'You know, Kyvan, I think you just helped me realize the one thing that makes me crave any adventure I could have now, even the adventure of just being a dragon!!' They both laughed.
Then Kyvan placed a kind hand on Lucian's shoulder. 'And also, had this not happened, you and I would never have met each other, or become friends!!' Lucian looked up at Kyvan, smiled, and hugged his friend, as Kyvan returned it lovingly. After a long silence, Lucian was suddenly struck with a thought. and looked up at Kyvan.
'Ever since I first learned of the worms, I couldn't help but think of how there must be a connection between them and the charm. It seems as though where more charm is, the worms are there as well.' Kyvan nodded. 'I think you may be right, Lucian, but the question is, how are we going to get rid of it? Trying to throw it into the ocean would be a bad idea, since the worms would just go after it, and possibly worsen the problem, so what can be done?'
Lucian looked up at him. 'Why would it be bad, Kyvan?' he asked, as Kyvan turned to him, a serious expression crossing his muzzle.
'Because,' he replied solemnly. 'the charm is made of crystal, and saltwater crystals are not much different from it's composition. This I know from the doctors who studied the charm after your exposure, Lucian. They found that although it is unknown just exactly what the charm crystal is, they do know that the salt in seawater would simply fuse into the crystal, and bind with it on a molecular level, thus adding to the charm's mass and power!! And even though the worms cannot survive in saltwater, if they stayed close to or within the charm, feeding off of the charm that the crystal converted the salt into, they would be protected, and thus would be able to survive anywhere!!' Kyvan paused, and the expression on Lucian's face told Kyvan that he hadn't considered it in such a light.
This gave Alina an idea, however. 'If the charm has to be destroyed, we can't just take any charm. There has to be some at the Source.' Kyvan and Lucian looked at her. Suddenly Lucian's eyes lit up, as he snapped his claws. 'That's it!! I have to go back to the charm network I found over the plains!' Without further delay, the three friends took flight, and headed back across the flatlands, Lucian keeping a sharp eye out for the veins of glowing charm weaving across the barren landscape, which by now had long been hidden in the shadows of the night, and only dimly silhouetted by a full moon; their own emitted light not strong enough to give their presence away. The shiny silvery-white skin of Lucian's paws did, however, reflect a dim, silvery lustre, which Kyvan found rather surprising! Lucian wisely relied on his clairvoyance to feel for, and thus locate, more of the solidified charm.
For a few miles, the land was flat, covered in sparse veins of charm, but further on, the veins started weaving together more and more, growing thicker and brighter, until Lucian suddenly saw a massive hill in the distance. Banking upwards, he, Alina, and Kyvan soared over the hilltop, and looking down, Lucian gasped! 'Look! There it is! We found the Source!' About half a mile ahead of them was a brilliantly-shining spire so massive that at first glance, Lucian mistook it for a mountain. Contrary to what Lucian had expected, the spire wasn't entirely made of charm, but was rather a solid stone structure wrapped in spidery fingers of glowing charm that made it look like a gigantic lighthouse! Lucian's silvery-white paws dully reflected the structure's light, making them shine like pale silver! For a few seconds, none of them spoke, transfixed by the sight. 'It's quite beautiful!' Alina said in awe, as Lucian and Kyvan both nodded.
'Beautiful it may be, but except for us three, it is extremely deadly to every living thing around, and I imagine there could be enough charm here to annihilate every living thing for miles around in mere seconds!!' The other two nodded, not doubting Kyvan's words.
Suddenly looking up, Lucian spotted something a little further away, and flying closer, he saw what appeared to be the ruins of an ancient city. Great stone buildings, once standing tall and strong in ages past, now were a fraction of their former height, and the ruins of some were almost completely encrusted in glowing veins of solidified charm, giving the place an eerie, ethereal feeling. Then Lucian's clairvoyance suddenly detected something else. Turning slowly in midair, he gasped, unable to believe his eyes! Before him was what had once been the very tallest building in the city, now vanished from when it had collapsed thousands of years before, and the charm that stood in it's place now resembled a gigantic twisted spire of glowing turquoise light, almost exactly resembling the Sandglass from the movie 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time', but this one was supported by absolutely massive stone pillars at each corner!!! It stood at least a thousand feet over the landscape, like a grotesquely-twisted spike; the charm, on various levels, had crystallized so much that it formed a solid surface to stand upon on the tower's edges. For a few seconds, the three of them could only stare in fascination at the structure. Then Lucian saw at the top, a single massive spearlike spire of solid chrysolite charm, as straight as a sword, reaching up like a giant javelin to stab the sky. But unlike the others, this spear of charm seemed to glow with a much more powerful inner light than any they'd encountered before.
Landing slowly upon the platform, they noticed that instead of feeling smooth or slippery, like ice, the charm seemed to be rather coarse, like sand, giving them a good grip for walking about on the structure.
Suddenly they saw a large crystal, seemingly hovering at head height, in midair, in the exact centre of the platform, and unlike any of the charm, this crystal was completely clear, like a giant diamond, but deep within, there glowed a muted green energy, similar to the charm that Lucian had found before, that danced over the two dragon's bodies and Alina, also making Lucian's paws glisten, as it pulsed like flowing oil inside the gem. It was dim enough that from a distance, the green could not be detected from the uniform white of the rest of the charm, but was immediately apparent close up. Suddenly they all saw a flash on the structure from behind them, and turned to see Novaran. Suddenly Lucian looked up at the crystal, instantly recognizing it. 'This is it!' he shouted. 'This gem is the core of the charm. It's where it all has been spawning from!'
Novaran then turned to Lucian. 'This is where you come in, Lucian!' he said gravely. 'The worms will not take kindly at all to the release and destruction of their Core Gem, but it is the only way to stop this once and for all! You are the only one capable of breaking and destroying the Gem, but to do that, you have to infuse it directly into the solidified chrysolite charm. It was originally supposed to exist as it is, within, but not in direct contact with, the charm. The worms knew that by doing so, would overload the Gem's power, and destroy all they had created! But you have to in order to stop this! If it works, the Gem will release it's power, thus weakening and destroying itself!!' Lucian looked up at him, and nodded.
'I will try, Novaran!' he promised.
With renewed determination, Lucian reached into his pouch, and, removing his pendant, wrapped the chain tightly around his right hand, resting the pendant in his palm, before clenching his fist. He then flew back out of the tower, and turned to face it. 'I hope this works!' he said to himself. Then, raising the Core Gem before him in both hands, Lucian waited. Hearing a loud rumbling sound, he looked down, astonished to see thousands upon thousands of frantic charm worms barrelling across the landscape in one giant mass, like a black wave of sludge. Suddenly the mass seemed to split in the centre, before a gigantic worm, more than fifty feet long and about twenty feet wide, with a gaping black maw studded with lethal-looking fangs, and a disgusting purple forked tongue, reared up out of the mass of charm worms.
Lucian stared coldly at the huge slimy creature, which waved it's antennae about, trying to locate the Gem. 'You aren't gonna get your precious crystal back, slug! Not if we want to be rid of you for good!!' Lucian growled under his breath before slowly releasing the Gem, his telekinesis holding it steady in midair between his hands. He glanced down at Novaran, who nodded. Lucian returned the gesture, then with all his might, he kneeled, thrusting his hands down while clenching his fists, his telekinesis slamming the Core Gem down onto the floor. It stuck, and began to glow; the green swiftly shifting to brilliant amber-yellow, which brightened as Lucian held his hands wide, on either side of it. Focusing with every ounce of power he'd been given, Lucian's eyes and hands began glowing with light; his silver pendant blazing like the sun, as his hands blazed like silver reflecting brilliant sunlight! Suddenly, without warning, the structure around him began to tremble; the vibrations increasing as bits of the structure started to crumble around Lucian, but he wasn't afraid. Then, with a great cracking and grating sound, the top of the tower split, and disintegrated into rocky chunks and dust which swirled into the sky, directly above the tower, as if a gigantic vacuum was sucking them up. As the crystal blazed brighter, and Lucian focused harder, larger pieces of the columns and roof of the tower began breaking off and dissolving into black dust which was sucked up into the atmosphere, although still leaving the tower's apex intact, for the moment!
Then, suddenly, Lucian spun, spread his wings, and dived off the platform, just as the Core Gem blazed with a white light brighter than the sun, before a massive jet of light blasted out of the Gem, slamming into one corner of the tower, smashing it to pieces, and ricocheting off to blast the other parts of the tower!! Suddenly the light shot out of the top, swirled around, and slammed into the stone just beneath the tower surface, blasting it to bits, then continuing to zip around the tower like a glowing ring; the energy strong enough to destroy parts of the tower it hadn't yet touched; an awesome sight for miles around!! 'FLY!!' Lucian roared, as both Novaran and Kyvan spread their wings, launching into the sky like arrows, with Alina close beside Kyvan. The faerie and three dragons flew steadily away from the brilliant shaft of light blasting from the top of the tower, then once at a safe distance of a few miles, they all came together, and turned to watch the tower. Soon, in just under twenty seconds, the entire top of the tower was gone; completely smashed to dust and sucked up into the atmosphere to escape into space. Suddenly several glowing cracks appeared to spread rapidly down across it's surface, before the tower itself began disintegrating; massive clouds of dust from dissolved charm, and huge chunks of the weathered stone beneath it all being swept powerfully up into the shaft of light, like a huge vacuum! Then thousands of glowing spots of light, undoubtedly all the charm worms, were sucked up as well; the distant sky suddenly blotted out by massive clouds of flying worms, as they were all sucked up into the light.
Soon, however, the last of the dust from the charm and the stone was sucked through the atmosphere, alongside the huge body of the massive charm worm, before the shaft of light seemed to detach from the ground, swirling upwards like a white-hot flame, before vanishing into the clouds, then, suddenly, there was a loud sound like rushing wind, as the clouds suddenly swirled apart, opening to reveal a blinding white flash of light that was blasting heavenward, like a blazing comet!! Novaran, Alina, Kyvan, and Lucian all watched as the light continued shooting higher and higher, soon becoming a mere pinpoint of brilliant light in the very highest reaches of the atmosphere. Then suddenly, there was a low, distant BOOM! as a blinding white shockwave blasted outward from the pinpoint of light, before it faded away, and finally everything was gone, once and for all!! Lucian, Novaran, and Kyvan came to land on the ground again, just as the first light from the oncoming sunrise broke through the rapidly-fading clouds, revealing a bright new morning, alongside a cool summer breeze!! The three friends watched the first sliver of the rising sun appear over the eastern horizon, before they all exchanged glances, then Lucian slowly raised his right hand, opening it to reveal the silver pendant, which flashed in the sunlight as the jade gemstone in the centre blazed!!
'You did it, Lucian!' Novaran said with a knowing smile, but Lucian shook his head.
'No, Novaran! We did it, together! I knew we could!'
It has been months since the fall of the worms that overran the world, and also of the destruction of the Core Gem which had, all along, been spawning and fuelling the spread of the Charm which had suffocated the land. Humans and dragons alike learned of the heroic efforts of Alina, Lucian, and Novaran, but Lucian's story was the most famous of all, and the transformation of his paws soon earned him the nickname 'Silverpaw', which he found amusing. They also were stunned to realize that Lucian, to date, was the only dragon to have survived direct and prolonged exposure to pure chrysolite, which was renowned for it's deadliness. Everyone was awed at his outstanding courage and determination to end the disaster which had spawned through the worms and the virulent spread of charm, but they knew that he had had great allies to help him every step of the way. And although he never again returned to his home in the Canadian Rockies, Lucian came to enjoy both a new home, and a new life, in the mystical place known as Avalon, which in fact was the true Home of the dragons, and now a permanent haven for all who desired a new beginning for themselves.
Lucian had known all along that he would never return to his home, but he also knew that Avalon was far better a place to live, and he knew he would enjoy living here forever. Novaran, the Great Faerie, was known as a hero by his kind, and was admired for helping to end such a dark time in both worlds. Lucian was also known for his extraordinary powers gained from the charm, but everyone also knew how he himself, not the power, had helped save the world of humans and dragons. There was a renewed bond between them, and soon, many humans had come to live with the dragons in Avalon, where all prospered and thrived for many, many peaceful generations to come.