In the mines within the five mountains that lay at the kingdom’s borders, Baron Raven discovered a most wondrous stone. Even in its raw form, it shone with a cosmic gleam that kindled the baron’s curiosity. The gears of his clever mind spun and whirred.
Once upon a time, there was a thriving civilization living under the light of a warm yellow sun. As eons passed, the civilization spread. It advanced. It regressed. It advanced again. It rose. It declined. And it rose again. It changed, became unrecognizable from its past self. And as the civilization did, so did the sun that burned above it and smiled down upon it. The warm yellow sun was aging, and as it did, it grew warmer and warmer, and bigger and bigger, darker and darker, yellow to orange to red, until the smiling yellow sun became a glaring red giant.
Does the flower remember who built it? Is it trying to tell me? Is that why I’ve kept having these dreams whenever I consumed the formula?
The dreams of the man who made the flower?
The king is the hound and the hound is the king.
The feasters come and eat, but they don’t suspect a thing.
It’s a feast like none they’ve seen, a spectacular repast.
They never e’er suspect that the meal will be their last.
“I should go first,” Azi whispered, wiping his brow and adjusting his cap in one movement. It was unnaturally warm in the dragon’s den.
The little brown mouse, standing on her hind legs beside him, twitched her whiskers. “You’re too big. She’ll hear you, and she’ll smell you. We’ve already decided. Why do you waver?”
Her name was Carlotta Alice Hood, but the wolf king did not know this. And his name was known only to him. It had been a nervous jest for them not to give each other their names when they first met. The wolf had claimed that giving his name would give her power over him. She was the granddaughter of an alchemist. And was to be an alchemist herself. She, for her part, refused to give her name because she had been afraid of him. He could have and probably had learned it long ago, for even as he watched over her, his kin and kind watched over her family. Out of that jest grew a superstition. The girl and the wolf would not give each other their true names until they fulfilled their common quest.