“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose…The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time.
But it was a beginning.”

- Robert Jordan, The Wheel of Time

 

The Dragon’s Rise: Prologue

Written in Legend

 

A supernatural meteor shower burned across Earth’s upper atmosphere. The shooting stars illuminated the night sky above Angel Grove City, a massive metropolis sprawled across the west coast of California.

 

The meteors were a message from dark forces older than time itself. The message foretold a coming: the coming of the Dragon. The coming of the End. 

 

***

 

Fifteen-year-old Tommy Oliver ran through a dark forest in the middle of the night. Fear gripped his throat. He could feel his unseen pursuer behind him. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. The foreboding presence was all around him, closing in from every direction, penetrating him, peering into his soul.

 

He was vulnerable. He opened his mouth to scream, but he couldn’t. His voice was caught in his throat. Only a wheezing escaped his mouth. He kept running.

 

“The Dragon…” a voice hissed from the shadows.

 

***

 

Tommy awoke screaming in bed. Cold sweat dripped down his forehead, and his heart pounded in his chest.

 

He took deep breaths to try and calm down. He closed his eyes and focused inside himself, as his Sensei Mugensai had taught him. “Same dream…what the hell is going on…

 

His “twin” sister Chelsea opened the bedroom door and poked her head into the room. Tommy was adopted into her family, but they were the same age and shared the same birthday. She had long, dark hair. “You okay?”

 

Tommy flashed her a reassuring grin. “I’m fine. Just realized I have a test tomorrow in Mrs. Applebee’s class. I had a dream that I failed, so she ate me.”

 

Chelsea smiled. “Well, she does like to eat.”

 

“She’s huge,” Tommy said.

 

Chelsea rolled her eyes. “You want to tell me what’s really wrong?”

 

“It was just a nightmare,” Tommy said. “That’s all.” 

 

***

 

The barren surface of the moon rippled and cracked a seal embedded in the lunar dust. The seal tore open with a whirlpool of shadow energy that reached into a pocket dimension contained within the moon’s surface. 

 

***

 

The next morning, Tommy stepped into the library of Angel Grove North Community High School. He found the school’s new librarian hunched over a laptop on his desk, behind the main counter. The Asian man was dressed in a ruffled brown suit and had streaks of gray in his hair.

 

Tommy hesitated before walking closer to the man. Rumor had it the new librarian, Mr. Koji, used to be a college professor before he went crazy. Koji was acquainted with a school board member who pushed to hire him out of pity.

 

Tommy cleared his throat to get the man’s attention. “Excuse me…I’m looking for a book on the Greek goddesses called the Moirai.”

 

Professor Koji opened his eyes wide at the sight of Tommy. “You…” He walked closer to Tommy. “Yes, of course it’s you. You look just like the first…yes…”

 

Tommy took several steps back away from the librarian. “Um, what?”

 

“Do you believe in destiny?” Koji asked.

 

“Sure why not,” Tommy said in a hurry. “Anyway, I really need to pick up that book for my girlfriend and get back to class.”

 

“Girlfriend…” Koji frowned. “How tragic…so young…”

 

Tommy narrowed his eyes. “What?”

 

“Look here…” Koji went back to his desk and flipped open a laptop. “The data’s somewhat fragmented but good enough for me to see the signs.”

 

Tommy looked around to see if anyone else was nearby who could explain the man’s odd behavior. But they were alone in the library.

 

Professor Koji pulled up a map of Angel Grove on his laptop. A star highlighted each of Angel Grove’s main districts: Angel Grove North, South, East, West, and Central. Each district was a city in and of itself.

 

“The Five Stars of Heaven,” Koji said. “You see, Angel Grove sits on a nexus of magical energy that runs through the Earth. The Five Stars of Heaven are the guardians of that nexus. That’s why each of you will come from within a specific area of the city. North, south, east, west, central. You are from here. You are the Red Star of the North. The Dragon.”

 

Tommy shook his head. “I think I’ll find that book myself, thanks.”

 

“Wait,” Professor Koji pleaded. “I can prove it to you! You’re adopted, yes? And, you must be, yes, you are trained in the martial arts. Well trained. All five of you will come from the two schools that were once one.”

 

Tommy glared at the librarian. “Have you been stalking me?”

 

“No, no,” Professor Koji said. “You’ll forgive me, it’s just, I have anticipated this moment for so long and it’s just…I was beginning to doubt it myself, but now that you are here…and it is true.”

 

Koji turned his laptop towards Tommy. “Look it’s all here. This hard drive…I had trouble believing it myself at first, but so much that was written has already passed.”

 

Tommy shook his head. “I really just need that book.”

 

Koji sighed. “Very well…perhaps you could come see me after school? We would have more time.”

 

“Sure,” Tommy said. He had no intention of returning to see the librarian. He was more than likely going to report the strange man to the principal’s office. He did not like the idea of being stalked. 

 

Koji reached behind his desk and pulled out a book about the Moirai. “It’s fitting you would ask for this particular book on this day.”

 

Tommy took the book and left as quickly as possible.

 

***

 

“Creepy!” Tommy’s girlfriend Shannon said. She had long, black hair and blue eyes with subtle rings of green. 

 

She and Tommy walked hand-in-hand across Central Plaza, a shopping district in Angel Grove Central. The shopping plaza was circular, wrapped around a towering monument that marked the exact center of Angel Grove. The monument had a circular base with wide, amphitheater-type steps to the north and south and pools of water to the east and west. A towering spire rose from the center of the base.

 

The couple walked across a street of brick, separated with a path of trees and bushes, that wrapped around the monument.

 

“Did you report him to the principal’s office?” Shannon asked.

 

Tommy shook his head. “I couldn’t. The more I thought about it the more I felt sorry for him. He obviously has issues.”

 

“Still…he knew you were adopted. And he knew you were into martial arts,” Shannon said.

 

“He probably just gets bored and looks through student files,” Tommy said. “Or maybe he’s heard about me.” He shook his head. “Anyway, that’s enough about the librarian. Let’s talk about something more interesting.”

 

“Like what?”

 

He flashed her a grin. “Like how amazingly beautiful you are.”

 

Shannon smiled and rolled her eyes. “You are so cheesy.”

 

“I try.”

 

“And you succeed rather well,” she said.

 

A bright flash of light suddenly spread across the plaza. The light was so intense that Tommy and Shannon had to shield their eyes.

 

Then they heard the screams.

 

Shannon’s hand squeezed tightly around Tommy’s. “What’s happening?”

 

Tommy shook his head. The light died down, and people everywhere were running in a frenzied panic. “I don’t know…”

 

***

 

Professor Koji had the library’s television tuned into the news. The news broadcast was live coverage of a “terrorist attack” in Angel Grove Central.

 

Koji opened his eyes wide with fear. “The End is coming…”

 

His laptop displayed a translation of an ancient prophecy from a world called Eltar.

 

Tragedy will set his path. The Dragon, born of rage, born of hate, will rise on the winds of death. The earth will shake. The heavens will tremble. And all will know fear. His pain will blanket the skies.  

 

Born of The Light. Born of The Shadow. His path to redemption will herald The End of All Things. The savior. The destroyer. The end to us all.

 

To be continued…Chapter One