The planet Sandar is home to Topaz, a fairy tale fantasy world lost in a universe of portals and sophisticated technology. The day the Queen of Topaz refuses to take her potion, 'The Guardians of Sandar' begin to lose their control. Topaz will never be the same again and Sandar will be shaken to its core...
“But you have to take it your Royal Highness. You have been taking this medicine since you were a child, and no one knows what will happen to you if you stop taking it now,” whined her doctor.
The young Queen frowned as she considered the doctor’s statement.
“We’ll soon know,” she answered, “because I am never, ever going to take that vile mixture again.”
There were spontaneous gasps from the courtiers who participated in the ritual and then dead silence. Each courtier tried to imagine the catastrophic repercussions that would follow. In the annals of Topaz, no sovereign had ever refused to take the royal medicine that was delivered each month in a crystal vial by an intimidating dragon.
“I think…” began the doctor.
“Don’t bother,” said the Queen snappily. She didn’t want anyone to try and change her mind.
Noting the look of determination on the Queen’s face, the doctor didn’t insist but bowed low before her, ceding to her royal ruling.
“As you wish your Majesty. Permit me to leave you so that I may return the vial to the most illustrious of dragons.”
He spoke in flattering terms of the dragon of whom he was terrified. He knew, however, that with such words he was currying favour with the reptile, who was said to have acute hearing or extra sensory perception. Either way, the chances were that he knew what was being said.
“Queen Cassandra, your Highness…” he backed away bowing. When he reached the grand doors to the state room, he relied on the efficiency of guards to have opened them for him so that he might continue backing out without turning. The left arm, held behind his back for the bow, served a second purpose. It helped the aged doctor to regain an upright position, while the right hand continued to carefully hold the vial. He wasn’t sure of what steps to take now as the dragon usually took the empty vial back with him as proof that the potion had been taken. And this had happened every month for as long as anyone could remember. Before Queen Cassandra it had been her father, King Hugo, and before him his father. Over time, the dragons had changed as well.
Not only was it an established tradition but a necessity, or so it was written somewhere.
He waited until the doors closed again and then righted himself before addressing a young page, who happened to be loitering in the hallway.
“Would you please go and find the Chancellor and ask him to meet me in the Privy Council Room. Hurry now. This is of the utmost importance!”
“Yes, Sir Doctor,” he replied with a quick bow before scurrying off in search of the Chancellor.
It was indeed of the utmost importance, because the doctor had no idea how long it would be before the previous medicine’s effects would dissipate. And then what?
The venerated doctor did not know why it had been given to the country’s sovereigns over the centuries and he certainly didn’t know what would happen now that the Queen had refused to take it. Only the Chancellor had access to the most secret of royal documents which, perhaps held the answer to what was a well-guarded secret. Only he had the key to the vault where they were retained.
Zak, the illustrious dragon was perched on the castle’s ramparts sun bathing. His eyes were closed as he absorbed the sun’s heat with every scale on his body and consequently recharged the energy for fire-throwing functions and the general ability to fly. It wouldn’t be false to say that the sun recharged his batteries as each of his scales acted as a mini solar panel.
From a distance, anyone seeing the shape, which interrupted the castle’s stream-lined architecture, would automatically know from the shining mass that it was a dragon and would delay their visit. Everyone knew just how unpredictable dragons could be and preferred to keep their distance.
The iridescence was unique to those dragons who had been delivering the potion for as long as anyone could remember. With the sun illuminating each nano-section of this one’s body, it glowed varying blues, purples and pinks, making an impressive sight.
As Zak lounged on the top of the castle’s walls, he had been aware of the consternation created by the Queen’s refusal to take the potion. He was not unduly disturbed by this new change of direction because he was fairly philosophical (although this new development was the beginning of trouble, he knew).
Nothing remains static eternally. There are far too many elements in constant movement which, by the laws of probability, will one day affect those that are motionless. Black holes alone are a perpetual source of motion. If only there were a way to harness that great non-entity, man would solve his never-ending search for sources of energy.
Zak had once seen a black hole from afar and it was one of the few things in life that had profoundly frightened him.
Now, without thinking, he stretched himself to release the tension that the thought of black holes had caused. That threw him off balance. He tried to regain his balance on the granite parapet, but then he thought better of it. He plunged sideways off the castle towards the moat far below. As his body gained speed, he opened his wings at the last minute to soar away from the murky moat water. He loved the sound made by the rush of air over his body in free-fall. What a shame that the air passing over each scale didn’t generate power also, to be stored and reused later in a moment of need. He realised, however, that that antiquated sort of technology would have created drag, and his scales were such that his air resistance was negligible and the energy he used to fly was minimal.
He flew around the castle twice, eavesdropping on various conversations as he veered near the walls. Finally, he alighted gently on the same stretch of rampart as before, folded his wings and waited for the call that was soon to come.