'Fallyn and the Dragons' by K J Rollinson

Allan and his twin sister Eileen, together with their best friend, Martin, are persuaded by a mysterious visitor, called Dorius, the Keeper of Dreams, to go to the aid of King Rudri of Outha, in the land of Nashta. In the dream world they are known as Lord Fallyn, Lady Eila, and Lord Merin. In the 'real' world Allan and company are aware of their visits to Nashta, and are able to use their conscious thoughts to aid Fallyn and company to overcome the many problems encountered in their adventures in the dream world.

King Rudri and his brother, Prince Bato, have been enemies since their father died, who left the Kingdom in the hands of younger brother, Rudri. Despite King Rudri's brother generosity in granting half of Nashta to his brother, together with titles, this is not enough for the scheming prince, who seeks to gain what he considers rightfully his, the crown and the whole of Nashta. To do this he must invade Outha with his dragons. The plot moves between the real/dream worlds.



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3. Chapter three

When Allan woke, he still felt tired. He passed Martin coming out of the bathroom. Martin’s tousled black hair, and bleary brown eyes spoke volumes as to how he was feeling too.

‘Morning pal,’ Martin yawned. ‘Seen anything of Eileen yet?’

‘Nope. I’ll go and knock on her door after I’ve showered. Then we’ll come to your room to discuss what’s happened in Nashta.’

Eileen still had not made an appearance twenty minutes later. Allan rapped on her door there was no reply. He opened her door, Eileen lay curled up with her back towards him.

‘Eileen! Wake up, wake up!’

He shook her shoulder. Eileen turned, a moan escaping from her lips. She opened her blue eyes, normally the same shade as Allan’s, but now they seemed darkened by fatigue.

‘Let me sleep, I’m so tired.’

‘Please don’t go back to sleep. I need to know you’re safe and in no danger in Nashta. I’ve been worried sick because I’ve not been able to contact you there.’

Eileen yawned. mumbling drowsily, ‘Bates has captured Eila and the dragons.’

‘Not Bates, silly. You mean Bato. Come on, sleepyhead. We’re meeting in Martin’s room; we need you to tell us what’s been happening.’

Allan and Martin listened eagerly to Eileen as she told them the tale of her capture.

‘Bato’s men overpowered me and some of the dragonets. Poor Drana submitted without a fight. Then, they fastened panniers onto the dragons’ backs, and the dragonets were crammed into the baskets.

   Fortunately, they didn’t bother searching for the missing ones. Where did they hide?’

‘Drartica and the dragonets hid in another cave.’  Allan answered. He also told her about Drartica and Dratho fighting.

‘Why do you think Bato took the risk of stealing our dragons, Eileen?’ Martin asked.

‘He’s anxious to extend the gene pool of his three remaining dragons because they are half-brothers and sister. He doesn’t want to interbreed any further. Outha could face a similar problem in the future.’

‘I suppose you’ll be taken to Mount Galla, will you?’

‘Yes. I heard the guards say I’ll be held under lock and key, as they expect an attack from King Rudri sometime in the near future.’

‘I’m worried, sis. We haven’t been able to make much contact since you have been captured. I know Dorius said there could be problems.’

‘I’m wondering whether it’s because we have been flying so high, a little like mobile phone signals. Perhaps we have to be within a certain range or something.’

‘Well, Eileen, I’m glad they don’t intend to harm you.’

 ‘I like the medieval costume we wear in Nashta. You look fantastic in yours, Eileen,’ Martin said admiringly.

Eileen smiled at him, ‘Yeah, I love the long dress and cloak … um, I’m a little worried about Drana. She tries to hide her worries from her brood, but I can still sense she’s wondering what Dratho will do - she knows how hot headed he is.’

‘You can tell her he’s not going to do anything silly. You mentioned the dragonets are to be used for breeding when they are old enough, which will be in…’ Martin counted on his fingers, ‘That will be in about eighteen months time when they’re two-years old. It’s now November, so it’s going to b…’

‘That’s it!’ Allan exclaimed, interrupting Martin excitedly, ‘Absolutely brill. Martin, you’ve helped solve Kalla’s riddle.’

‘What do you mean solve the riddle? And who’s Kalla?’ Eileen enquired.

‘Oh sorry, sis -  we hadn’t got round to telling you about our visit to the King and how this girl called Kalla told us about er, one vision, she saw.’

 Allan quickly cast a warning glance at Martin, not to mention the second vision. He suspected the reference to the white wilting flower involved Eileen. He explained to Eileen the first vision.

‘You said you think you’ve found a clue in what I said to solve, er, the vision. What?’ Martin asked.

‘Kalla spoke of when spring comes around thrice and the bit about and sands begin to fall which ties in what you were saying, Martin, about the dragonets reaching maturity by then. The dragons were born in spring, so by the time the third spring comes around they will be two years of age. So the riddle is telling us to wait and not to do anything until the dragons are old enough.’

‘Oh, Allan, that will mean I’ll be a captive for another eighteen months!’ Eileen exclaimed in dismay.

‘Sorry, sis.’ Allan gave her a big hug. ‘But don’t you see the advantages if we wait?  Bato may get complacent thinking his brother will not attack. Remember, eighteen months there, may be just in fact one or two nights here.’

‘You’ve forgotten an important thing, Allan. We may have solved the riddle in this world but we don’t know the answer when we’re in Nashta. Also there, eighteen months is still eighteen months,’ she added sadly.

 ‘I’d forgotten that,’ Allan said glumly.

Martin, very proud of his unsuspected help in solving the riddle, was determined to be of further help.

‘You know Dorius said that it was important that our conscious and subconscious minds worked together? If we concentrate very hard before we go to sleep, perhaps the answer to the riddle will be in our minds when we’re back in Nashta.’

Eileen looked admiringly at him, ‘That’s wicked, Martin, it might work. What do you think Allan?’

‘Yeah, it’s worth a try.’ Allan glanced at his wristwatch. ‘Hey, Eileen, we better get a move on, it’s nearly one o’clock. We’ll see you tomorrow morning, Martin. We can’t come back this afternoon as we have to help in the garden and Mr and Mrs Pettigrew are coming for their usual Saturday night dinner.’

‘What, old hedgehog Pettigrew?’ laughed Martin. ‘Doesn’t your dad work with him at the bank?’

Martin was referring to Mr Pettigrew’s ‘trendy’ hairstyle. He plastered his thinning hair with gel, coaxing his sparse locks into spikes. He wore outlandish bow ties, and altogether, he looked a very comical figure.

Eileen giggled, ‘That’s the one. He and Dad share the same hobby in anything associated with wild flowers. I think I’ve inherited Dad’s interest in plants as well. That’s probably why Eila’s so good with herbs and things.’

On the way home, Allan noticed how pale Eileen looked. He tried to hide his concern, ‘Come on, Eileen, slowcoach. We’ll be late.’

‘I know I’ve to go back to Nashta, but I can’t bear the thought of being stuck in Orla on my own for eighteen months.’

Allan gnawed his lip anxiously, ‘We’ll definitely discuss this tomorrow with Martin. Our three heads may come up with something.’

Mr and Mrs Pettigrew arrived at seven o’clock; Allan was pleased to see his sister make an effort to eat the delicious dinner their mother had prepared. Allan and Eileen restrained a fit of giggles when Mr Pettigrew apologised following an enormous belch, which reminded them of Drablo.

‘Eileen, you look like a wilting snowdrop, or to be more correct, a wilting Galanthus,’ Mr Pettigrew remarked.

Allan gave a start. He already suspected Kalla’s reference to a white, wilting flower meant Eileen. How strange Mr Pettigrew had used almost the same expression.

Mr Pettigrew now was in full flow. ‘I’m intrigued that something as delicate as Galanthus should be so strong to push itself through hardened snow, although I do feel the flower does resemble a grappling hook. What do you think David?

‘Well, I hadn’t thought of the snowd— er Galanthus quite that way,’ the twins’ father replied, and not to be outdone by Mr Pettigrew’s knowledge, he added, ‘What  fascinates me about the flower are the seeds, which have small fleshy tails containing substances attractive to ants, who distribute the seeds.’

Allan and Eileen said goodnight, but this passed unheard, as the two men were now absorbed in their discussion, with their wives dutifully listening to every word.

To Allan’s surprise he woke up on the Sunday morning, realising  he had not visited Nashta. He knocked on Eileen’s door. After knocking again and still no reply, he rushed into her room to find her fast asleep.

‘Wake up, Eileen!’

To his relief she opened her eyes.

‘I feel tons better this morning. I had such a good night’s sleep.‘ Eileen gasped. ‘I don’t remember being in Nashta. Did you go, Allan?’

‘Nope. Did you concentrate on the riddle as we said we would?’

‘No I didn’t. I wasn’t feeling too good and I felt tired. Sorry if it was me that stopped us going.’

‘Don’t worry, sis. It might not have been anything to do with you. Perhaps Dorius felt we needed time to think through our plans before we go back. I think I’ll send Martin an email and see whether he made it.’

When Allan opened his emails, he found one from Martin that said: ‘Didn’t go. Did you?’

Allan emailed a reply, ‘Neither of us did. See you later.’

When the twins met him, they decided to walk to the nearby lake. Martin agreed with Allan when he told him about Eila not wishing to remain in Orla for eighteen months.

‘Well, that means we have to think of a separate plan to rescue her earlier than the dragons.’ Martin skimmed a stone across the lake. ‘Eighteen months for you – or should I say Eila – to be a prisoner, is too long.’

Eileen squeezed Martin’s hand, and for the first time since their return from Nastha there was her usual spring in her step. She turned to her brother. ‘I know you and Martin will think of something to rescue me.’

‘Good on you, sis. We promise we’ll put our thinking caps on.’

‘I’ll just have to be patient then. Oh, look, there’s Bates and his girlfriend, Ruth.’

The three of them looked guardedly as Colin Bates approached them with a surprisingly pleasant smile on his swarthy features.

Bates smiled at Allan. ‘I was quite out of order the other day. Can you put me back on the team?  I’d like to play in that match against Broadway School next Tuesday.’

Allan looked at Bates warily.  ‘I’ve had a lot on my mind this weekend. I haven’t even thought of the game yet.’

‘Right, you could put me down then, couldn’t you?’ Bates exclaimed eagerly.

Allan had to admit that apart from Bates’ unsporting tactics on the field, he was a very good player, particularly as central defender. The school had lost to Broadway School in their last game, perhaps because Bates hadn’t played, so the temptation to include him in their next game was too great.

‘OK. I’ll tell Smithy what you’ve said. I’ll let you know tomorrow after I’ve spoken to him.’

‘Thanks mate.’ Bates nodded his goodbye.

Eileen narrowed her eyes, ‘I don’t trust him. He’s up to something.’

‘I know what you’re saying, sis, but he’s a very good player, and if he means what he says, we should win the next game.’

Martin was the team’s best scoring centre forward and he too was tempted at the thought of winning against their rivals, which could be a possibility if Colin Bates was included in the team.

‘Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you both when he does the dirty on you.’

Eileen increased her pace until she was some distance in front of the boys.

Allan caught hold of Martin’s sleeve. ‘We really must think of a way to get Eileen back from Orla. I think the white wilting flower in Kalla’s second vision refers to Eileen, and she’s not looking too good, although I haven’t a clue who or what the vision was about when it mentioned a red flower dripping blood.

Martin ran his fingers through his hair. ‘Yeah, I know. We’ve cheered her up a bit saying we’ll do something – but what? Perhaps we can come up with an idea and tell her before she has to return to Orla, and then Eila would learn of the plan.’

*

That night they still didn’t return to Nashta. Although this puzzled them, they felt there must be a good reason, and consoled themselves with the fact that they knew no action could be taken until spring arrived in Nashta.

The next day, Allan saw Mr Smith at break time, and told him that Colin Bates had asked to be included in the game the following day. Mr Smith expressed surprise and suspicion at Bates’ contriteness, but he gave permission for Bates to play.

Allan found Bates smoking a cigarette squatting down, concealed behind rubbish bins, adjacent to the kitchen. He resisted making a comment and curtly informed Bates he would be included in the team the next day.

‘Right on, Morris, I’ll see you down the changing rooms before the game.’

Bates was older than Allan and didn’t attend the same classes, which meant their paths didn’t cross very often. He noticed Bates’ cockiness had returned, and again wondered whether it had been a wise decision to include him in the team.

Next day there was a buzz of excitement within the school. News had quickly spread that Bates was playing. The atmosphere was tense, when after half time the score was one all. The two teams started the second half, but no matter how hard they tried, neither team were able to add to their score.

Allan, played central midfielder, and in the dying minutes of the match he worked hard to claim possession of the ball from his opponent. He looked to see whether he could pass the ball to Martin, but to his dismay, he saw his pass would be blocked by two fast-approaching Broadway players. He heard Bates call to him from behind.

‘Here, Morris, pass back to me.’

Bates indicated with his right hand the direction he wished Allan to take. He had a split second to shoot the ball towards Bates before the two attackers reached him. He curved the ball to the right, and saw Bates dart to the left, as did their goalkeeper. He watched the ball land at the back of the net. His heart sank, and he stood glued to the spot. He had scored an own goal, and given the match to Broadway School!

He saw the triumphant look in Bates’ eyes, and knew that he should not have trusted him. The whistle blew. The match over.

Allan became aware of the roar from the Broadway crowd as they realised their team had won, and the howls of dismay from the Morton School supporters and fellow team players.

Allan puzzled why their goalie had moved to the left at the last second. Of course! That was it! He realised Bates had known he couldn’t see his last-minute left-hand signal, as this was blocked from Allan’s view by Bates’ opponent. Their goalie could see it because he was behind Bates, but by this time Allan was committed to kicking the ball to the right. He knew he would have difficulty proving Bates had deliberately taken the opportunity to seek revenge, causing their school to suffer a humiliating defeat.

As he entered the changing room, the silence and accusing looks were worse than the catcalls from the spectators.

‘Well done, Morris. I think Broadway had twelve players today not eleven,’ Bates sneered.

‘You knew I couldn’t see your last signal telling me to go left.’

 ‘You’re accusing me? You had the ball. You scored the winning goal, pity it was for the other side,’ Bates answered coldly.

Allan balled his fists, steely blue eyes flashed, as he tried to master his rising temper.

Mr Smith entered the changing rooms to hear this exchange of angry words.

‘That’s enough, you two. Yardley, that’s Bates’ opposition player, for any of you who don’t know, has confirmed to his coach he saw Bates signal Morris to go right. He was as surprised as Morris to find Bates and the goalie moved to the left. Can you offer an explanation, Bates, for your split-second decision to move left?’

‘I just thought Yardley was covering the right too well, so thought Morris had seen my hand saying to go left,’ Bates mumbled.

‘Obviously, he didn’t. I’ve no proof you threw the game Bates. On your conscious be it if you did – that’s if you have one,’ remarked the coach sarcastically.

Mr Smith turned to address all the players, ‘I hope you’ll all be sporting enough not to blame Morris for this incident. We must put it behind us and make sure we win next time. Well played all of you. Get off home as soon as you’ve showered.’

‘Yes, sir,’ chorused the boys.

Most of the team patted Allan on the back as they left, and Bates seemed indifferent to the accusing glances and comments cast in his direction.

Eileen and Martin were supportive but Allan continued to show his anger, before descending into a morose silence.

Martin gave Allan’s shoulder a sympathetic punch. ‘Try to forget it, pal. You know everyone knows what a prat Bates is. It wasn’t your fault. Your friends will make sure if they hear anybody saying anything different they’ll put ‘em right.’

But Allan couldn’t forget. He tossed and turned all night. His mind went back and forth playing the fatal shot he had made. Suddenly he shot up in bed. An idea how to rescue Eila flashed into his head. He would play Bates – his tired mind corrected him – Bato, at his own game. Two could play at going right, when they intended to go to the left!                                     

 

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