Eleven year old Ezekiel Allan Mayhill does not believe in magic, unlike his twin sister Tamara Ellen, whose favorite hobby is reading about magical people. But his twelfth birthday is approaching and suddenly a series of events occur that turn his world inside out.
He experiences some very odd dreams that turn out to be true; an elf appears demanding a crystal; the evil wizard Pampertil sends two of his evil monsters to fight for the crystal. Tam gets captured, taken into the third, magical dimension of Earth, and Zeke goes in and rescues her. There he meets the elite group of people called the Lifa Dia who ride colorful dragons and hunt for the angel crystals. He meets Baladorn, the Grand Wizard, and learns of the prophesy which states ‘Three will walk among us who will be our saviors’.
But now he and Tam can’t go back home because Pampertil, to vent over losing the crystal, does something horrible and now Zeke wants to punish him, but how? But within three days, he bonds with a green dragon who wants to be called Pearl, gets chosen by a four and a half inch wand that’s too powerful for him to control, and gets told he needs to learn magic before he can defeat Pampertil. A mighty tall order for a boy who can’t even imagine himself doing such a thing.
Zeke Mayhill's Dragon Nest
There was nothing really extraordinary about the plain, white, three story house on 1313 Windborn Street. It was an orphanage with ten bedrooms and five full baths. A five foot, slightly rusting chain link fence surrounded the large back yard. It closed in the makeshift basketball court, which was a tall pole set in a slab of cement where a garage once sat. It had an old plastic laundry basket with the bottom cut out for a hoop. It looked down on a swing set and a twelve foot long artificial pond set inside a hosta bed where various frogs and turtles had moved in.
The pond was situated along the opposite side of the yard from the basketball court in the shadow of a huge mulberry tree. There was lots of yard in between. Tall bushes lined about three fourths of the back yard fence. Behind the back yard was a paved alley the city decided to make a narrow street. The house’s occupants were amused the city named it after a pickle. Gherkin Street.
This house was the Crandon Orphanage and at the moment there were only a few left of the assortment of children from different races who had not been adopted. Fifteen year old Dan was part Asian. Trisha, the same age, was a tall, athletic African American girl. Fourteen year old Ivan was African American, also. The rest were white children of varying ages of which two were an eleven year old boy named Ezekiel Allan Mayhill and his twin sister Tamara Ellen.
Nothing distinguished this boy. He had nondescript, wavy brown hair, blue-green eyes, and he was short. He was skinny and most of his clothes were hand-me-downs from the older boys. But Zeke always felt he had been born to do something special. He didn’t know what, but he’d had that dream ever since he became old enough to know he lived in an orphanage.
He often visualized himself as everyone’s hero, having saved the world, and everyone thinking ‘We should have adopted him when we had the chance’.
Everyone would revere him then, even old Mr. Crandon, a tall, thin, middle aged man with graying brown hair, who owned and ran the orphanage. Mr. Crandon would be praising him, bragging about him to the world, instead of having him stand here in his office accusing him of wrong doing.
“I’m going to do what?”
“Young man, don’t use that tone with me. You’ll do as you’re told. You’re going to peel potatoes for all the meals and you’re going to clean all you kids’ bathrooms for a week.”
Zeke couldn’t believe it. Mr. Crandon was punishing him for something that evil boy Ivan did. “But I didn’t do—!”
“Now, Zeke, all the evidence says you did.”
Well of course all the evidence did. Ivan did a great job of arranging that.
Zeke could hear sniggering out in the hall and knew ‘Ivan the Gross’ was listening. Ooh, he thought, if only he could do magic like the fairies and elves his sister Tam was always reading about. He was forever poking fun at her for her interest in such things but right now doing magic didn’t sound so bad. He’d turn old Mr. Crandon into a yard gnome to join the ones already out in the yard and he’d turn that toady Ivan into a real toad. And make him live out his days in that artificial pond out back. Eating flies.
Zeke screwed up his mouth and glared at Mr. Crandon, who was glaring right back at him from across his desk, then he turned around and marched over to the office door. He jerked the door open, hoping to make Ivan tumble into the room from having his ear glued to the keyhole.
He wished he could make the door open out into the hall so he could slam it into Ivan’s face, maybe flattening his pudgy nose, but neither goal was reached. Zeke couldn’t make the door open outward and Ivan didn’t come tumbling into the room. He was already sprinting off down the hallway, still sniggering behind his hands.
Zeke stood rigid just outside the office door, glaring at Ivan’s back as the oversized boy disappeared around the corner into the kitchen. Then he tried to slam the office door shut but his hand slipped off the knob and the door just floated quietly closed.
Zeke knew Mr. Crandon would give him another disgusting job to do if he had slammed the door but it would have been good to hear the loud bang. Now he was going to have to go hit something.
The vision of it being Ivan’s big fat nose was very satisfactory, but Zeke didn’t follow Ivan down the hall. He knew Ivan would already be out the back door and on his way down the alley street to report to his cronies ‘mission accomplished’. He balled his hands into fists and marched down the hall in the opposite direction to find something else to pound.
Zeke stomped up the stairs to the second floor where his sister’s bedroom was. He needed to talk to her. To vent. To try for the thousandth time to figure out why he was so picked on all the time. He was not a bad person. Many kids at the orphanage liked him. Why did Ivan hate him so much?
Admittedly, it was hard watching other children being adopted while he had to stay behind but that didn’t mean he was bad. He and Tam weren’t the only older kids not being adopted. Besides Ivan, there were Joy, Carly, Trisha, Denise, Tom and Dan.
Out of all of them, only Ivan hated him. And if Ivan didn’t watch out, he, Zeke, was going to, truthfully and vehemently, start hating Ivan before long.
Ivan was new to the Crandon Orphanage, having been there for only three years. Maybe that was his problem, Zeke thought, having to come to the orphanage from a regular home. Zeke could feel sorry for him because of that. He and Tam had been there since they were babies, their single mother having died in childbirth.
But why does he have to pick on me? Why not any of the others? Surely it can’t be because I’m the shortest one here.
All the other kids were tall like Ivan. That is except Tam. For some sinister and vengeful reason of nature, Zeke and Tam hadn’t reached five foot yet. Tam had only just reached the height of four feet. Zeke was only four foot, three inches. And they were going to be twelve years old in just four months! What was wrong with them?
He arrived at his sister’s door and knocked. A high pitched, soprano like voice called for him to come in. Zeke didn’t know why but for some reason he was always reminded of music when he heard his sister talk. It was really rather soothing, actually.
He opened the door and stepped into the room, then looked around for her. He found her up on the top bunk of one of the two sets of bunk beds in the room. Her room really wasn’t just her room. She had to share it with Denise and any new girls that came to the orphanage. She was reading as usual. He could barely see her long tawny curls behind the book.
“Learning more about your elves, are you?” He stomped over to the desk, pulled the chair out, and sat down.
She looked up from her book. “You sound cross.”
“I am cross.” He folded his arms in front of his chest. “Do you know what Crandon is making me do? I have to peel all the potatoes and clean all the kids’ bathrooms for a week. And all because Ivan put a frog in the candy compote to frighten Mrs. Jorkins when she came to visit Mrs. Crandon this morning. And he made it look like I did it. He put one of my hankies in the compote for the frog to sit on and he put mud on my old sneakers to make it look like I went to the pond to get the frog.”
He huffed and puffed for a moment, then said, “Boy, you just wait, I’ll get him back for this.” Then he banged his fist on top of the desk.
His sister watched him sympathetically. This was only one of a long list of times Ivan had set her brother up for trouble. “Are you going to try to beat him up like you tried the last time?”
Zeke scowled. “No. This time I’m going to get him alone, without his cronies to protect him. Man to man like it should be and then we’ll see.”
Tam sighed. “I don’t know how you’re going to punish Ivan without Mr. Crandon finding out and punishing you again.”
“I don’t care. All I want is to feel my fist going clear through Ivan’s nose.”
Zeke’s anger and sense of ill usage did not lessen for the rest of the day, even though all he had to do was peel potatoes for only the evening meal. Tomorrow, he thought, he’ll have to peel potatoes for the noon meal also. It was not fair.
His mood lasted clear to time for bed. He traipsed upstairs after his roommate Carly and flung himself onto his bed. He’d hardly spoken to anyone today, and he didn’t see any reason to talk to Carly, but Carly wished him a good night so Zeke reluctantly mumbled a pleasant night to him. Then he rolled over, on top of his covers, and thought he’d just spend the night in his jeans and T shirt. To heck with his pajamas. If Mrs. Crandon caught him and asked why he’d just tell her. . .well. . .he’d just say. . .ah, he’ll think of something tomorrow. Right now he was too tired. He drifted off to sleep before he knew it. And dreamed . . .
It was the year 919, ADE, in the magical land of Edenton, third dimension of Earth existence through the Door of Dimensions, that a reverence of silence fell over the land. Gadof the Great came and sat down near the fire, in the circle of his four fellow wizard friends who were too exhausted to celebrate the end of the war.
Pampertil has been defeated and his master, the evil one, is banished at last. Gadof had come to give an accounting of his part in the conflict.
“Will Josephus be here soon?”
William the Wonder raised his head, tilted sideways a bit as if listening. “He comes now.”
A gentle ‘pft’ sound was heard a short distance away as a tall gentleman, all in white robes, appeared, his long white hair and whiskers glistening in the moonlight. Josephus, the Grand Wizard, ruler of the magical people of Edenton, had arrived. Several ‘pfts’ were heard immediately after as seven witches and seven warlocks, all in black, appeared behind him.
He approached the fire with a gentle step and said, smiling, “Well done, my friends.”
Gadof frowned up at the beloved face. “How can you say that, Josephus? Pampertil is not dead and the angels’ crystals are lost, scattered far and wide.”
Percival the Proud moved over a little so His Grand Highness could sit with them. Josephus smiled at him, then rested his hand on the gray clad wizard’s shoulder as he lowered himself onto the log. The witches and warlocks gathered around behind him.
Micus the Mighty handed him a cup of his restorative tea, then handed cups and the teapot to a warlock behind him.
Josephus smiled at him as he accepted the cup, then looked up and around at the stars twinkling happily in the clear night sky and at the darkened trees that completely surrounded the camp sight. After a moment, he lowered his gaze to the fire, revealing in the glow of the flames how tired he was. He took a sip from his cup, then quietly said, “All is as it should be.”
Gadof gave a snort and started to argue. But the emerald robed gentleman on his left, the one who had been silent until now, gazing into the flames in deep concentration, nodded. “It is.”
Gadof frowned at him, but the man, Albius the Ingenious, continued, “The final battle against Pampertil, the one that will destroy him, is not ours to fight. That is in the distant future, for those of whom the prophesy speaks. Three will walk among us who will be our saviors.”
Gadof turned his frown to the fire. “But the angels —!”
“Yes, Gadof,” Josephus said, looking up at him. Gadof thought he saw a flicker of sadness in the old gentleman’s eyes. “The angels are imprisoned now inside the evil one’s Black Crystal. Only their own crystals can create the portals through which they can escape.”
“Their crystals are lost.”
“Yes. Caused by Pampertil. Only he and the evil one know where they are.”
“I say we storm his citadel and make him tell us where.”
Albius looked up at him. “Suppose you tell us how.”
Gadof gave him a furious look, then sighed and turned his gaze to the fire. “I hate defeat.”
Josephus’s gentle voice came forth again. “We are not defeated. We accomplished our part. Pampertil is subdued and will remain so for at least a thousand years. Maybe a little more.”
“I want our angels back.”
“Then you must find their crystals.”
Zeke woke up with a chuckle. What a dream, he thought. Tam’s going to love this. He looked up, through the darkness, over at the old clock radio on top of the chest of drawers. Its shining red numbers said 3am. He looked over at the set of bunkbeds on the other side of the room to see if Carly was awake, but Carly lay, gently snoring with his arm hanging over the side, on the bottom bunk.
Zeke turned his gaze through the window at the clear June night and thought, it will be another hour before the sky will start to lighten up. He closed his eyes and lay still, thinking about his dream. He hoped he would remember enough of it to tell his sister.
He gave a snort of amusement. Wizards. He actually dreamed about wizards. Yeah, she was going to love this. But why was he dreaming about wizards way back in nine hundred nineteen? The puzzle was intriguing, but it was not enough to keep him from falling asleep again. And dreaming once more . . .
It is gorgeous outside, thought the Grand Wizardess Celesta as she ambled down a gilded corridor with a little girl skipping happily at her side. The twelve foot tall, six foot wide, arched windows on the left side of the corridor allowed in plenty of the June sunshine. An abundance of it, actually, because there were fifteen of them, lined up and down the hall in five foot intervals.
Clear blue sky and emerald grounds could be seen through them. Small castles could be seen nestled here and there in the wooded hills beyond the ponds. Flowering trees and shrubs were everywhere and white swans glided across the water.
Everything was bathed in the golden sunlight, but the sunshine, reflected off the gold lining of the windows, shed such a golden light into the corridor that it made all the rich colors in the carpet of burgundy, yellow and green look as if they had a sprinkling of gold dust spread over them.
And the pale burgundy and gold of the stained glass phoenixes, soaring in the arches of each window, sent beautiful color onto the pale gray wall on the right of the corridor. There, the phoenixes, shining half way up the wall, looked like misty murals.
In between each bird, and directly across it, too, between each window, stood a small white marble pedestal, each supporting a four foot porcelain statue. There was a unicorn and a phoenix, also a graceful female centaur, a winged horse, fairies, several other beautiful birds, and lovely, blue clad angels.
And in the center of the wall on the right, situated in a place of honor between two ornately carved oak doors, was a six foot statue of the Blessed Mother. She stood tall and firm in her blue robes, her right hand raised in blessing to her children and her left hand resting on the golden hilt of a sword. At her feet were two pots of miniature red roses. At the end of the corridor were a pair of golden doors.
The Grand Wizardess, in her pale mauve and gold robes, wended her way down through the golden haze, her gold sandals making no noise on the carpet and her golden hair mingling with the light. She had a gentle smile on her lips as she looked down at the little girl.
The little, tow-headed child smiled up at her with her deep blue eyes, swinging the Wizardess’s arm with her right hand while in her left she held out her pale pink skirt in an attempt to mimic a real lady. “Mama told me about the angels, Grandma.”
“Uh huh. And all about God making them so we can have help when we need it.”
“Did your mama tell you what the angels were called?”
“Uh huh. The Christmas. . .Eyes. . .Angels.” She emphasized the angels’ name with a swing of her grandmother’s arm.
“Very good, Cecilia. Do you know what they look like?”
“They’re very pretty. Mama said their eyes are all kinds of colors. Like rainbows and flowers. They’re real small, too, so people won’t be afraid.”
“Do you know why their eyes are colored like that?”
“So people will smile when they see them and not be afraid and will listen to what God told them to tell us.”
“And do you know how many Christmas Eyes Angels there are?”
“You are learning quite a lot, Cecilia. I am very pleased with you.”
The child beamed.
Then the Grand Wizardess said, “Do you know why they are called the Christmas Eyes Angels?”
“Because everybody likes Christmas. All the world has Christmas and people are happy then. And sometimes they don’t fight or hate each other then. And God wanted us to feel like that all the time so he called them Christmas Eyes Angels to remind us.”
“Very good. Oh, you are getting so smart.”
“Mama told me what happened to the angels, too.”
“She did? What did she say?”
“A bad wizard named. . .uh. . .”
“Yes. Pampertil. He caught them and put them in a big black crystal ball.”
“Yes,” the Grand Wizardess said. “He put them into the Black Crystal and he caused their own crystals to be lost. Do you know why he did that?”
“Mama said it was so the angels couldn’t be saved.”
“But one angel was saved, right?”
“Yes.” The Grand Wizardess nodded. “The friendship angel. Do you know her name?”
“Yes. Her crystal was found two hundred years ago by Wizard Cornelius Jome. He was a member of the Lifa Dia. Do you know what the Lifa Dia are?”
“Mama said they are a special group that go out and hunt for the angels’ crystals.”
The Grand Wizardess nodded again. “That’s right. You are doing very well, Cecilia. I am proud of you.”
They arrived at the golden doors, which opened as the Grand Wizardess approached. There, in the center of the room and bathed in bright sunshine, was a crystal ball.
The ball was a naturally formed quartz crystal that had attached to it in back three, four foot long crystal rods. They spread out in a fan shape behind the ball. The bases of the rods were embedded in a cluster of numerous smaller crystals. The cluster came around to form a base for the ball to sit in. The ball was huge, three feet in diameter.
The sphere was perfectly clear but the rods behind it and the cluster below were full of rainbows and milky dust. The three rods had eight flat areas around their perfect points.
The carved, circular, mahogany base upon which the whole cluster rested was so old it had become nearly black. On the base were carved various star constellations.
The whole thing stood six feet tall and five feet around. It was the only thing in the room.
The room itself was circular, about twenty feet in diameter, with a black marble floor, gold and mauve striped walls, and a clear, solid glass dome for a ceiling. The rim of the dome, where it met the walls, rested in a ring of solid gold. There were no windows.
The Grand Wizardess approached the crystal ball still talking with her granddaughter. “The evil one hated that God made the angels. They made things hard for him so he went in search of a wizard who would accept him as master and he found Pampertil.
“Pampertil obeyed the evil one and imprisoned the angels. The magical world fought back but could not free them. So since fire enhances the power of crystals, the magical people built the Hall of Flames to house the portals through which the angels will be released.
“Another battle was fought and that was when the evil one and Pampertil were defeated. But that was also when Pampertil caused the angels’ crystals to be lost. And now Pampertil lays cradled in his master’s powers, waiting to rise again, because the evil one has learned that the power of the angels’ crystals can be used for other things. And the Oracle once revealed that the evil one now wants them.
“But the prophesy speaks of the time when evil will rise again in the magical land. And it says that three will walk among us who will be our saviors.”
The Grand Wizardess approached the crystal ball and held out her left hand, palm down, over it, holding her wand with only her thumb. She moved her hand in a counter clockwise circle over the ball. When she leaned over it to see what it revealed, she caught her breath in alarm. . .
There was a vast wasteland, and a tall, black, very slender structure. Hidden in the ruin of the citadel, a man lay as if dead.
“Pampertil,” came a whispered voice.
“Yes, Master,” the man weakly responded.
“Your time approaches.”
“It does, Master?” Pampertil could hardly open his eyes.
“Take hold of this crystal,” came the whispered command.
Through his blurred vision, Pampertil barely made out the small form resting on the stone pedestal beside him. With a mighty effort, he reached for it, his hand shaking. The effort was too much. He fell back.
“Take it, Pampertil. It is a source of strength.”
He tried again. And again.
“Take it, Pampertil.” The whisperer was becoming angry.
Fear stirred in Pampertil’s chest. He tried again, this time grasping the pedestal and inching his hand forward with his fingers.
He touched it. A surge of strength filled him weakly. He inched forward some more and grasped it, pulling it into his palm. His fingers closed over it and he fell back once more.
With the crystal tightly grasped in his right hand, he could feel tiny surges of strength flowing through him. He looked down, opened his hand to see what he had.
It was a small crystal, barely an inch long and three quarters inch wide. He picked it up with the fingers of his left hand and turned it this way and that, examining it.
It was a broken piece of a healing crystal, about a half inch thick with a few inclusions. On the flat face of it he saw a small spot of rainbow. But on the right side of that flat area—next to a gouge—in the very center of that side—was a black spot.
The evil one had given the crystal a heart.
Pampertil’s eyes grew wide as he stared at it. Then he began to shake.