"Beep,Beep,Beep,..." went my alarm clock and showed that it was four o'clock in the morning.
I searched for it, by slamming my hand repeatedly onto the desk until I found it and turned the alarm off. My glasses came next, which took a while sleepy as I was at that moment. To wake up at four o'clock, outside of the normal rhythm, isn't something I normally like. This time though it was different. I won a journey towards South America, Brazil to be specific. I was really surprised as they told me that I had won. I hadn't expected to win such a journey in the first place. Nevertheless I had and the plane I had to take would leave in about four hours.
Everything I wanted to take with me laid next to my bag, sorted and ready to be put into it. I'm used to pack my bag before I leave the house and not the day before. Simply to see that everything is there and so I wouldn't have to unpack everything again. It's a habit I adopted after a few travels to various countries all over the world. Most time I packed the day before and I forgot something. So I packed my things after I woke up at the day of the travel and it works just fine for me.
I was done after half an hour and went upstairs to eat an early breakfast, so I had something in my stomach before we would drive to the airport. A simple breakfast normally do the trick, satisfying the hunger. My parents joined me a bit later, but only drank coffee. They looked as tired as I did, but they had the advantage to be able to lay down in the bed later on, while I had to sit in the plane.
We went out of the house at half past five and drove towards the airport, as we had decided earlier. I could have taken the train, but the first on that day would depart at seven o'clock and that would be to tight to catch the plane, if something went wrong.
The trip from the town to the airport takes around forty minutes by car, apparently enough time for my parents to bombard me with advices for Brazil. They have travel experience of their own and they care for me, but to hear the same speech over and over again for two weeks, is rather enervating.
We arrived at the airport after a while and I said goodbye to my parents, taking my bag out of the trunk of the car. Our ways separated after a last reminder of my dad to keep the ticket for our small competition. Granted they had a little advantage in it. But I was only three steps behind, two after Brazil.
The airport was crowded as always, every check-in queue was full of people and even more walked around, searching for theirs. Mine was surprisingly short, only twelve people were in front of me and most of them had the same clip of the lottery at their bags like me. The information of the game stated that there would be more winners than normal, so I didn't think about it that much. I was rather glad to see that a few of them traveled with me, so I had someone I could talk to.
The check-in was done quickly, handing my back over and receiving the ticket. I went through security into the lobby and searched for something to eat, which was quickly found. The plane I would fly with was visible through the windows and looked like an A-330, a large variant at that.
Boarding started at half past seven and caused a large crowd in front of the gate as always. The best thing you can do to avoid that, is either waiting until most are on the plane or wait at the front so you could go in at the moment they open it. I prefer option two, which in addition saves to climb over anybody, if your seat is at a window and your neighbor is already there and to lazy to get up.
My seat was at the rear of the plane, which isn't my favorite place. The engines normally seemed to be a bit louder as they do while sitting next to the wings. My jacket went up into the storage above the seats and I then sat down on my place. The seats were as comfortable as I remembered and the seat in front of me even had a TV in it, which could tab into a flight camera in the front of the plane. That is a neat feature, looking into the direction the plane is facing and not only out of your window, if you sit next to one.
The personal closed the door, as everyone was on the plane and seated. While the plane was rolling towards the runway, the stewardess did the safety instructions, where the exits were and the other things. By the time the plane arrived at the end of the runway she had finished her instructions and went to her seat.
The takeoff is my favorite part about flying. The moment when the engines go into full thrust, the pressure while it accelerates and finally the point where the front of the plane takes off, while the back still touches the ground, is simply amazing. The climb itself with a few turns to get on course were nice, but I knew the scenery and so it wasn't that interesting anymore. I turned my attention towards the TV and switched onto the channel were I could watch the feed of the front camera and continued to do so for a while.
We were flying for a while and were just behind the coast of Africa, as the movie they were showing finished. It was a the second "Die Hard" movie, which seemed as an odd choice for a flight, showing a plane crash. I was relaxed at this point, having slept the first four hours and and watching movies, while looking out of the window from time to time. My neighbor had watched the same movie and now took his headset off. I was about to ask him, what he was about to do in Brazil, as he took the first step and opened the conversation.
"What brings you to Brazil?" He asked
"I won a journey towards it and I'm looking forward to it. And you?" I replied "Sorry I didn't get your name."
"You can call me Stefan. I too am here because of that journey. Seems a lot of people are. I'm staying longer though, my company is holding a meeting there in two weeks and I have to organize a few things for that." He replied "I noticed that you aren't so nervous while flying, may I ask why....?
"Call me Rob. I fly a lot myself, traveling everywhere I can in the holidays. So it isn't that big deal for me anymore." I explained "Any idea what you want to do in the two weeks prior to your meeting?"
"Well relaxing will be a big part, perhaps sightseeing, who knows. And you?" Stefan asked
"I'll focus on sightseeing, so I have photos and can tell others about it. And a bit of relaxing myself." I said "You said your company is going to hold a meeting, may I ask what you work as?
"You may, I work as a businessman for a media company and that meeting is largely around dealing with customers. Not that interesting if you have to work with them all the time and already visited two of these." Stefan explained "Still it gives me an extra week here, so I don't complain about it. And you?"
"I finished on an advanced technical college and now I'm traveling until the semester at the university starts." I said, while switching onto the front camera, which revealed a really large cloud formation, which seemed to move towards us, at a really fast pace.
Fast pace were the right words. The cloud formation hit us only minutes later and caused a few turbulence as we entered it. The clouds went from white to pitch black color in seconds and were dense enough to even block the light from the wingtip. There were lightning flashes here and there, but I couldn't make out what exactly was happening outside the plane. Normally the plane should shake, flying trough such a cloud, but it flew as if nothing had happened.
"That's strange. I never saw such a cloud before." I said "Did you see such a thing before?"
"No never, I flew through a few bad weather clouds but non of them where that dark and the flight through them was rough every time." Stefan replied "It's like in a bad movie, where a plane flies into something similar and happens to come out somewhere else. Added points, if said place is in another time."
"Ha, we'll see when we leave the cloud." I said and looked out of the window again, hoping to see something again.
But the clouds didn't go away, only got denser and you had the feeling that they wanted to come into the plane, which was really creepy. The plane began to shake a few times, causing several passengers to scream, but nothing more happened. It went on for about ten minutes until the clouds moved away and it got brighter again. I wanted to talk to Stefan about that, but was surprised with what I saw as we left the cloud.
The first thing was what we didn't see anymore, and that was the coastline of Africa, which I could see, if I leaned forward. No, it was gone. The second thing was, that we were surrounded with northern lights, which was really weird, because we were near the equator. The third thing was the lack of a sun, it was a bright day and the clouds were behind us, so nothing should have covered it, but I couldn't see it from my window and neither could I from the front camera. What I could see in the front camera, was a big building.
It looked like a combination of buildings, more exactly three towers, which were connected by some sort of bridge at half the height of every tower. But we were too far away to get any details. From what I saw and if I guessed right, being big was the wrong expression. Being gigantic would be a better description for that building.
The tower grew as the plane flew towards it, but didn't seem to get any closer. The towers themselves were better to look at and you could notice a few differences on them. They were similar in height and shape, but differed in coloration. One tower used blue colors, while the second used brown and green colors and the third used red colors. The bridge was painted in a mixture of them and seemed to have a big room with glass roof where the connections met.
I noticed a faint light was coming out of said room, which moments later emerged as a bright ball of light and moved towards us. Like the cloud before it hit us with an incredible speed and engulfed the whole plane in bright blinding light. I saw Stefan who was searching in his pockets for something just before I fainted.
'What happened?' Was the first thought I had, after I recovered from the blackout. I wasn't in the plane anymore, that much I could tell without glasses, next was the lack of clothes except my pants. The glasses laid next to the mattress, which was embedded into the floor I was lying on. After putting them on, I took a full view around. I was in a room, which was around eight meters wide, fourteen in length and five meters high. I saw Stefan lying on another mattress on the other side of the room. The room had two doors, barn door would be a better description, being high as the room and three meters wide. One was on the opposite side of the room and the others at the wall on the right.
The wall behind us had a window in it, which had the wide of the room and started a meter above the floor and went all the way to the ceiling. The sky was the same as we left the cloud, being filled with northern lights and still had no visible sun. The room was equipped with a table in the middle and two chairs, which all looked massive and old-fashioned. Next to the mattress was a set of clothing in plain gray color, which I tried on. They were fitting surprisingly well, which left me to wonder what was going on.
I got up and stepped towards the window, to get an idea where I was exactly. The view was not what I had expected it would be. We were very high above the ground, with the water far beneath us. The northern lights were great to look at, being one of my dreams to see someday. I didn't see any of the other towers, so we had to be on the other side of one. There wasn't any trace of land either, only a small dot that hung over the water in a distance, which I couldn't identify in any way, only that it was far away and well hung there.
Exploring further, I approached the big door on the right side and noticed that a smaller, normal sized door was in the door itself, so I had no problem opening it. On the other side was a bathroom of enormous size, it was as wide as the main room but only half in length. A pool took the back half of it and a separated corner held the normal bath equipment. The water in the pool had an acceptable temperature and was around a meter and a half deep. I then heard noises back in the main room and returned, closing the door behind me. Apparently I made enough noise to wake Stefan up and he went through the same situation as I did previously.
"You had to jinx it Stefan, hadn't you?" I said "Slept well?"
"I don't know, all I know is that I searched for my sunglasses and then all went bright, followed by darkness." He replied "I woke up as something moved."
"That would have been me. I was examining our rooms." I explained "We have this one here and a bath with a small pool in it. Considering the size of this room and if the other rooms are equal in size, that tower must be bigger than gigantic. Hope that doesn't count for the inhabitants."
"Inhabitants?" Stefan asked "You mean anyone could life here?"
"Considering that that tower must have been build by someone, plus that the ball of light must have been triggered, I would say yes." I said "The question is, what do they want from us and why did they kidnap us."
We turned around as we heard a clapping behind us. The other small door had opened and a man who looked around seventy years old and wore a silver robe with a strange emblem on his left shoulder was standing in the opening.
"An excellent conclusion. Given the facts you had. But where are my manners." The old man said "I'm Marko Lanx, you may call me Marko if you want and my task is to bring you into the auditorium of this building, if you would follow please."
"Sorry but no. First I want to know where we are and why." Stefan asked "I don't know what Rob thinks, but I'm not fine with being kidnapped."
"Yep, I agree to that." I said and looked at the old man
"I see. Well, we brought you here to join us. I don't want to go into details, but we are a school for Myths. The travel you all won, only was a decoy, so we could gather you all at one point. To the where. You are here, there is no other place."
"Wait wait wait. Myths as in Dragons, Sorcerers or Werwolves? Are you kidding me?" Stefan asked
"Everyone knows that such things don't exist."
"Neither should this tower, which stands in another dimension, engulfed with northern lights all the time and without a sun which is visible for humans. But here it is." The old man laughed "Well yes we have a lot of them here and you'll be elected to join them, if you want. You belong to a kind of humans we call the Wayless. Those are humans in every aspect, but carry a particular strain in them. This strain determines which class you'll join, if you agree to our terms."
"You mean I could have a strain of an unicorn in me and if I join, I would become a cute horse with horn on my head?" Stefan replied sarcastically
"I wouldn't say that next to one, they hate it if you compare them with cute horses. You wouldn't be the first one to wake up at the hospital after arriving. I only say that as warning for you." Marko said with a serious tone "Do you have any questions left?"
"Yes, how long are we supposed to stay here? Would hate it to leave my parents alone for too long, they might think something happened to me." I asked
"At the moment they'll think that your plane has vanished" He replied "You'll return in two weeks, with the basics we can teach and we'll then drop you and the plane onto an island in the ocean with a tracking device. I don't know how it works exactly, you have to ask your teacher about that, but they were very confident that it should work. Now if you would follow me please, the others are waiting."
He guided us out of the room into a big hallway, which extended to both sides holding several doors similar to ours. The hallway itself was as high as the room and around nine meters wide. We followed Marko into a corridor in the middle of the hallway, which descended a floor and lead into a big room in the middle of the tower. Two big rooms were connected to both sides and they looked like big canteens. The left one looked like a normal one with tables and chairs, while the right only had wooden panels onto the floor. Left and right to the corridor we came down, were two more which descended themselves.
We continued on the other side of the room and reached the connection corridor of the towers. The corridor was long as far as I could see, but was well lit even without windows or other lights. I noticed that a few of the stones had a near transparent property and apparently left enough light through to lit the corridor. It took us almost five minutes to reach the room and I began to wonder how they managed to build something like this.
The auditorium was a round room, which had a glass dome as a roof and a stage built between the corridors. On each wall hung a banner of creatures, ranging from manticors to dragons. Most of the passengers were already here and a lot of them looked frightened. Nine persons were standing on the stage, eight were holding a scroll in their arms and one held a wooden staff. The person with the staff knocked it on the ground several times, after another five minutes.
"If I may get you attention please. I know that all this is frightening for you and we'll get through it faster if you keep quiet for a while. A few of you already know, what place you are in and what we offer to you. For the others, we are a school that trains the mythical creatures you see on the banners around you. You may believe me or not, it doesn't matter. All of you have a special strain in you, granting you the gift we are offering to you." The man said "It's up to you, we'll read your name and you may say yes or no. If you say no, we'll put you in an area where you can live until we return. If you say yes, you'll be guided to your class. Every class has it's own test that follows after wards, the training will begin after you passed this first test. Now, let us begin."
First came the werwolves, which sixty-eight persons agreed to join. Next came nagas with fifty-one Persons, Hippogryphs with twenty-nine persons, including Stefan. It went on until we arrived at the calling for dragons, were my name was called out. I hesitated first, but eventually gave my agreement. Me and six other persons, two men and four woman, were brought to the corridor where I entered the room before and was greeted by a man in red robes with a dragon emblem on his shoulder.
"Ah, my new students, let me be the first to congratulate you." He began "Everyone here calls me Jim and so can you. We dragons have a straight-forward way of testing our students and we'll start shortly. But first let me mark you."
He raised his arm and the shirt got a bit warmer on the left shoulder. As it went away we had the same emblem on our shoulders as Jim had.
"If you would follow me please, I'll show you around a bit and then we'll start you test." He said
So we went back to the hallway my room was in, and further up the tower. We went passed the big group of werwolves, which were allocated to their rooms.
"Do we have to change rooms?" I asked as we went passed them
"No, you and the other person which was with you, stay in that room for the time we are here. The other tower doesn't have the room to keep all of them, so a few are living in our tower." Jim replied
"They can put six persons in one room, while we need the whole room for two."
"Why do we need that much room, we are human after all." A voice from behind asked
"Well, let me say it so, the next days will be a changing experience for you all and you'll need the room after that. Besides I don't want to spoil the surprise." Jim replied laughing
We then arrived in an area, with a larger room yet again. The rooms which were connected to this one were named. I saw a library, an room marked as classroom, with yet another library and a lounge.
"Here we are and as you see we only have three doors here, leading to our big library in front of us, our lounge to the right and the classroom with a smaller library to the left. The test will take place in the lounge, or more specific in the rooms that connect to it. Before we enter, Do you have any questions left?" Jim asked
"Is there a way to orientate in this tower?" One question was "What will our future hold, why is the building that large and how old is it, How will this work out?" were other questions.
"Each tower has the same structure and is connected through the room where we elected you for your class. The towers themselves have sections for each myth. For example our tower begins with dragons at the top, followed by griffins and then hippogryphs. The base of the towers, is used as storage area and for food." Jim explained
"We can't tell you what your future holds, probably that what you did before, with the added bonus of your races power. For the tower, he is that big because back in the time we built it, more myths were on earth and we needed the space. The rest is explained tomorrow in an interesting history lesson. As for the 'how will this work our'. We teach you the basics you need to know for survival and the powers you have. Once you return, you'll be contacted and trained further by members of differed holdouts. But first you have to pass our little test. Please follow me."
We then entered the lounge, which was another big room, containing different chairs and tables, several large carpets and a large fountain in the middle. Three doors, two normal and one big one were in the room, the door we entered not counted in. All were open as we went towards the fountain. The door we entered through closed and became locked, from the sound of it, as we reached the fountain.
"Now for your test, we have two normal tests and one difficult one, being the one in the middle. I won't tell you, what test you're about to face, only that the difficult one can be ending deadly. Consider that in your choice. Only one person may enter per test, who it'll be is up to you." Jim explained and sat down on a sofa "You may start whenever you want and good luck."
We stood there for a while and looked at each other, as two went into the rooms to the right and left. Leaving five of us behind. The doors closed behind them, as they stepped through them. We waited for a while, but nothing happened and that was the point I decided, that I won't wait any longer and went through the middle door. Knowing that it would be the difficult test. The door closed itself, as the others did before.
The corridor behind it led into a bigger room, which had a chair and table at one the side and a huge silver dragon who looked at me, on the other.
'Wait a moment. A silver dragon?' I thought and looked again, yes silver dragon, starring right at me
"So, one finally decided that he wants a little challenge, even while being told it could end deadly." He said "What reason led you here?"
The dragon was huge. I would say ten meters in length, from tip to tip and two in height. He had a pair of white horns, blades at the end of his tail and his wings were folded to his sides, but still hung open a bit. He also had a necklace and bracers, which were around his forelegs. An imposing sight to say at least and he still was waiting for an answer.
"I didn't wanted to wait any longer and I like a good challenge." I replied and added in a low voice
"My curiosity may have played a big role too."
"Ah I see, not unlike a good friend of mine." He laughed
"A good answer, I like it. But now I must know, if you can fight to defend your words."
"What?" I asked
"Everyone can talk, but we must see if you can fight to defend the words you use." He explained
"And how should I do that, fists versus claws doesn't sound that fair." I replied, while he went into a stance, that looked very aggressive.
„Brace yourself, young one! I won't stop until you have proven your worth or died." He roared and began to charge towards me.
The ground was shacking slightly under his steps and I only had seconds to jump out of the way, as he snapped after me. I rolled away and jumped up, trying to get another short view of the room, where we were fighting in. It took only seconds, but the dragon had turned around, after smashing into the table and chair and began to charge towards me again, this time holding his head in a position in which he could snap after me, even if I evaded his charge. The charge itself left me with little choice, so I faked a roll to the right and jumped upwards as he arrived. It worked good enough to evade both, his snap and the charge, the only problem of this action were his horns, which I jumped into. That destroyed the balance I had and send me rolling over the floor, luckily out of his reach. I caught a glimpse of an object near me, to which I made a run for after I stopped rolling. It was a piece of the broken chair that he destroyed with his first charge, not enough to do much damage to him, but enough to feel a bit safer. The remaining piece of the chair was heavier than it looked, but was long enough to be used as an improvised weapon.
The dragon was slowly approaching, not charging as before and had an amused look in his eyes. If you can say that from a massive dragon, I mean. He snapped again as he was close enough and almost got me, hadn't I stepped back. I swung the chair in return and hit him across the face, which seemed to surprise him, but only for a second and only long enough to switch into a defensive stance, keeping my weapon between me and the dragon. He stepped back a few meters and pulled his head back, while taking a deep breath. It took me almost a second to long to realize, what he was about to do next, before I dove to my right, jumped on my feet and began to run, evading his fire breath as good as I could. He followed me with his breath a few seconds, before he ran out of air and had to stop, which I took as opening for an attack. I was near enough and ran towards him, which he tried to evade, but I managed to leap onto his side.
The training I got while I was enlisted in the army finally paid of, as I used the momentum of that jump to pull myself up onto his back and out of range of claws and fangs. Next I grappled onto the necklace and began to wail my weapon on his back, or his head if it came close enough. The dragon wasn't pleased with this and tried to throw me off, which he was doing by running, jumping and slamming into the walls of the room, leaving huge cracks in the walls. The third slam forced the weapon out of my hand and threw me of his back. The fall took the air out of my lungs and left me paralyzed for a second, in which the dragon continued to shake me off. I got my thoughts together again, as the dragon realized that I wasn't on his back anymore and caught a glimpse of me lying behind him.
The first slam of his tail went right next to me, destroying various paving tiles, giving me the chance to stand up again and to evade his next sweep. It was there, I saw my weapon lying on the other side of the room. But the idea I had and my legs were swept away, before I could do anything. It went fast after that, the one moment I was in the air, the next I was pinned to the ground under his right forefoot. I struggled to get of, but only managed to earn me several cuts on my right arm, which was pressed at his claw. The dragon, in the meanwhile, had moved his head downwards to me and watched how I was trying to escape his grip.
I laid there for a few minutes until the door was opened and an old man, who had his left arm missing, walked in and looked at us with a small grin on his face. He then looked around the room and shook his head in disbelieve as he noticed the burned marks and cracks on the walls, the shattered tiles and the destroyed furniture.
"I said you should test them, not make such a mess." The old man said "Anyway, I see that he is alive and relatively unharmed, except for a few bruises and the cuts. It surprises me that someone who never fought a dragon before, held himself so fine. What did he do and how was his answer?"
"He improvises a lot. First he dodged all my charges, escaped a full fire breath and used a broken chair as weapon on my back, until I finally got him off his feet. I got a hold on him and waited until you arrived." The dragon replied "His answer on my initial question was interesting and I could sense the truth in it, so I let him pass."
"Ha, that sounds promising, fighting a dragon with a broken chair." The old man laughed, while bending down next to me "Well he has passed the test, while the other keep struggling."
"Listen young one, you have shown your skill and earned your right to join our ranks. There lies much in front of you and it won't be easy to handle. But first we have to do one last thing associated with the test. Marko, would you please."
"My pleasure." Said the silver dragon and raised one of his claws. It began to shine bluish after a few seconds and the glow got stronger. It went on, until a bright light remained where the claw was and that was the moment the dragon rammed it into my left shoulder, causing me a large amount of pain .
"Welcome in your new life, young one" was the last thing I heard, before I passed out.