As the sky began to lighten the magician rustled through his bag and pulled out a piece of dark bread.  He broke it and gave the larger portion to the boy.  Since winning Aithan as a child, the magician had always thought of him as a boy, and neither the magician nor the brawny young man sensed the growing incongruity of this.

Aithan in turn took a wine skin from the donkey’s pack and handed it to the magician, and they ate and drank as they walked.  When he was done with his bread, the magician ruffled the crumbs out of his beard and spoke.

“Tell me about your new dreams, exactly.”

Aithan answered quickly.  “They are getting worse.  The dragon is getting closer, and I’m sure it knows where I am hiding.”  He looked around him when he said this.

“You will be happy to know that as of last night, I finally believe in your dragons.”  The magician said this without smiling.  Aithan looked surprised, but not happy.  The magician continued.  “I had a dream too.  This was unlike any dream I have ever had.  It was a true vision.  I saw your accursed dragons, an army of them, and they were consuming the world.”

“Uncle Fri!”

The magician raised his hand.  “No, they do not know where you are, yet.  That is why we are leaving.”

“So you know the dragons are real then?  You always told me they were only figments”

“What I saw last night were no figments.  Your dragons are as real as anything can be in a vision.  And I saw something else, an old and very real friend.  We will not take any chances.”

They walked on a bit, then Aithan spoke again.  “And the red stars.”

The magician grunted.  “Yes, and the red stars.”

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