The magician paced about his cell, searching in his mind for a way out.  How could they have found them so quickly?  How could he find Aithan?  How could they escape?  The magic was his only recourse, and he feared it would not serve him well in the attempt.  He began to despair.

“Come with me if you wish to save the boy,” came the voice, and the magician turned as if struck.  When he saw the soft, golden-eyed dragon, he flung himself back into a corner as if thrown.  “Leave me!” he cried.

“The boy needs you, my friend.”  The soft dragon looked at the magician with beaming affection.

“Get out, I have seen you in my dream!” shouted the magician.

“You have not seen me, friend.  But you have seen those who have come to destroy the boy.  Will you allow this?”

The words stung the magician.  He wanted to trust the dragon, to go with him, but there was some deep revulsion that kept him from moving.

“The demon struggles against us both, friend.  You must find the strength to choose.”

Instantly the magician felt his revulsion vanish.  He knew, in some way he could not describe, that he had been given a moment of perfect freedom to act.  “What must I do?” he asked the dragon.

“Come with me,” replied the dragon, and it went out the door.  The magician followed and looked upon the sleeping guards.  He suddenly stopped.  “What about the boy?  We must save him!”

“The boy is safe for the time being.  But he will need you soon enough.  You must come now.”

And so it was the magician’s turn to climb out of the dungeon and into the courtyard, to look into the hate-filled, fearful eyes of the bound demons, and to fly off on the back of the soft dragon.



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