Although Adam fell asleep, it seemed that he had fallen awake … awake in another age. He was standing at the edge of a forest. Behind him loomed murky darkness where trees, shrouded in mist, stood side by side like rows of silent sentries. Faint sounds broke the eerie stillness—the rustle of small creatures scuttling in the undergrowth, the occasional soft hoot of an owl, and the whispering of the wind as it shook leaf-laden branches.
Adam shivered in the chilly air. It was hard to tell if it was early morning or late evening because the moon was still visible, a pale disc hanging in a dark gray sky. Ragged shreds of clouds scudded across the moon’s face, casting strange shadows on the ground in front of him. Mist floated around his ankles and swirled in soft eddies when he moved his feet. In front of him lay an open field, grayish green in the dim light. Farther away, he saw the mound of a huge hill. Adam got the feeling he had fallen through a hole in time—back to the Dark Ages, back to Arthur’s era.
He heard a faint howling noise in the distance. Wolves? Adam froze with fear. He desperately tried to remember whether there had still been wolves in England during the Dark Ages. There must have been because there was no other sound quite like the howl of a wolf. The hairs on his arms rose as he heard the howl again. Although he pinched himself to wake up, it was no good; he remained in the dream. At the sound of distant hoof beats, he shrank back against a large tree trunk. There was no time to run away because suddenly the drumming hooves were all around him. Then came the faint melancholy wail of a battle horn and the tinny sound of chinking metal. He could hear the crisp snap-snap of fluttering pennants and when he turned, he glimpsed banners waving among the trees. The surge of spectral riders halted and one man, seated on a white horse, appeared at the head of the cavalcade.
The eerie figure came closer, the horse lifting its feet carefully, clip-clopping right up to the trembling boy. The horse was huge, its trappings gleaming with pinpoints of metal rosettes, its long tail and mane hanging like ghostly cobwebs in the pale moonlight. The beast snorted and stamped restlessly. Adam saw the burnished glint of a helmet with a dragon-shaped crest topped by a red plume. Although the cheek pieces of the helmet obscured the man’s features, the shadowy figure was looking right at him. A red cloak swirled around the warrior’s body and, as the fabric swung aside, Adam saw the gleam of chain mail and the dark shape of a breastplate on the man’s chest. The warrior’s armor seemed more Roman than he expected. A banner flapped from the spear of a man behind the warrior: a red dragon on a white background. The warrior raised one arm, and a roar erupted as the sounds of cheering burst from what seemed to be thousands of throats. Although Adam heard strange words in another language, somehow he understood what the voices said.
“Hail the Pendragon!”
Adam was so close that he could have reached out and touched the rider. The spectral figure drew his sword from its scabbard and held it aloft. It seemed to Adam that he saw every detail with strangely magnified clarity. It was the same sword from the museum, but it looked so different now. The metal gleamed with a peculiar bluish sheen. Curious characters embossed the length of the blade. At the top, just under the crossguard, was a small circle with a seven-pointed star inside it. Sparkling gems decorated the hilt and pommel, with two dragons’ heads facing inward on the crossguard. The stone between the dragons’ open mouths glowed brilliant red. Suddenly, a fiery, almost blinding light shot from the stone, dazzling him. The white horse reared on its hindquarters. The radiant beam lit up the forest as the warrior whirled the blade around his head several times. Adam fell to his knees, shaking with a mixture of terror and excitement as he realized the second Stone of Power was embedded in the sword of Arthur. But the stone in the museum sword was nothing like this one.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish