Alastair could feel the mist building around himself as he rode towards the tower. The blood red sky gave way to the pale moonlight which dyed the world around him shades of blue. The entrance was barely visible though the outreaching thorns and roses. He could feel his heart in his throat and he dismounted from Sammy to unload his gear and get a fire started. The fire gave him comfort that things would be okay in the end, that this would be nothing more than an empty tower, an empty promise of life changing fate. Nothing more than chasing shadows and dreams before his return home and to his marriage to Lynette. After what he had seen the last few days that bit of normalcy would be a relief. He sighed grabbing his sword. The cold steel felt heavy in his hands as he raised it above his head and began slashing at the tangled mess to clear his way into the tower.
The brittle briars shattered below the razor blade flashing light lightning in the moonlight. The work took far less time than Alastair had expected and his hands met the rough wooden door that looked as though it hadn’t been opened in ages. He looked around expecting the briars to come to life to bar his way back or prevent him from entering in, but they only lay still at his feet leaving him with a deep feeling of disappointment.
The door moaned in protest as he pushed it open. Dust filtered down from above like a soft snow catching in his black hair. He sighed stepping into the shadows. For a brief second he believed himself alone until the door slammed behind him. He readied his sword, but reminded himself that in this darkness he was at the mercy of whatever the shadows held. Fear chilled him to the bone and he clenched his teeth together searching the darkness for any point of light.
“Put your sword down knight.” A deep voice said calmly above him. It reminded Alastair of the sound of a distant thunder storm rolling in. Relaxing, but with an ominous promise of natural chaos and power behind its soft rumbles. Alastair closed his eyes clutching the hilt tightly, how could he put down the one thing that could possibly keep him safe?
“Show yourself and I’ll put it down.” Alastair cried. He could feel his voice shake, betraying him. Soft laughter filled the darkness.
“Are you afraid?” It taunted. His stomach churned. He wanted to scream into the darkness that he wasn’t afraid; that he was fearless. He imagined his voice cracking as he bellowed those words and realized how laughable he would sound. He took a sharp breath and uttered the words he knew to be true.
“I’m afraid,” Alastair said weakly. “I’m very afraid.”
“Of what I can’t see.” The darkness rumbled again.
“There is nothing here in the darkness that wouldn’t be there in the light. The light is the biggest illusion of safety.”
“But at least I could see you.” Alastair raised his arms up to guard his face as the room filled with flame. Alastair felt his mouth run dry as he looked into the eyes of a black dragon that was now illuminated by the torch light.
“Put your sword down.”