It was all my fault. I had failed to protect Aura’s Jewel, and had to pay the price. For many years, I had to endure one dangerous adventure after another. Though now that my punishment is finally almost over, I can think about the past without feeling much grief, and I can see that the new life I had to endure was a lot more interesting than the one before it. But I sure wouldn’t have thought so back then.
Let me think here... When did this all start? Ah, yes, it was before the first curse started. I can’t quite remember how many years ago that was. It’s been so long; I lost track of time a long time ago. Hmm, what a power-hungry fool I was back then. I even attempted to overthrow the king and take the throne. That sure was a failed attempt. I couldn’t even get close to the king before I was somehow found out. I at least was able to flee from the guards, losing them in the mountain forest. I figured that I could rest on the mountain for a while, and make another attempt at the throne.
Night had come quickly, and I couldn’t rest, since the guards were still looking for me. I could see a little due to the moonlight, but I still got lost. Eventually, I came upon a small cottage. I would have just barged in there, and kicked the owner out, but now was not a good time to do so. The owner would have gone and told the guards of my intrusion. So I knocked at the door, and was answered by an old woman. I told her that I was traveling through the woods, when I was attacked by wolves and lost all my gear in the process. I had scraped against a few rosebushes during my escape, so I certainly looked like I was attacked. She let me stay, and tended at my injuries. As I looked around her house, I noticed an odd book sitting at the desk next to the fireplace. I asked her about it, and she told me it was her late husband’s diary. I would have believed her, but she seemed a bit hesitant about answering me.
That night, while she was asleep, I snuck out of my makeshift bed, and turned it open. It was in this book that I first found out about Aura’s Jewel, a jewel that had the power to allow the user to shapeshift into any creature he desired. I grinned at the thought of turning myself into powerful, unstoppable beasts. I remembered how I wanted to take the thrown, and decided that I had to get that jewel. Before I closed the book, I read one little bit about it being forbidden to use the jewel for any sort of greedy purpose, but naturally I was blinded by my greed, and ignored it. That was the mistake that started it all.
The next morning, after eating some breakfast, I left the cottage, thanking the old woman. I remember her taking a look at the book, but I didn’t think anything of it. Anyway, I headed up the mountain. It was there that Aura’s Jewel was supposed to be hidden. Some distance up the cave, I came across what appeared to be a makeshift shrine. Thinking that this was the location of the jewel, I rushed in. The cave was strangely lit, and there wasn’t a torch to be found. Not far into the cave, I found the reason why. There it was, Aura’s Jewel. A ray of light shown from a hole in the ceiling, and the jewel seemed to reflect that light all over the cave with a blue glow. I took the jewel from its pedestal, and to my delight, found that there was no trap attached.
I had the jewel, now I had to decide what to turn into. A giant hawk? A griffin, perhaps? It didn’t take long before I finally decided on a dragon. What else would I turn into, but the most powerful creature ever to grace the land and sky? The jewel seemed to work on its own, and in seconds I found myself in my desired form. It was an experience unlike any other. I had experienced a greatly heightened sense of sight, smell, and all my other senses. I moved around with the greatest of ease, wings and all, as if I had been a dragon my entire life. Unfortunately, I found that the clothes that I wore didn’t fare so well. Apparently the jewel only works on living things, and my clothes had been torn to shreds. I took one of the pieces of clothing, and tied the jewel around my neck. It was time to try my hand at the throne once again.
No sooner had I left the cave when I was met by the old woman from before. I can remember her words perfectly, most likely due to better memory thanks to the new form. “I know that you have read my book. You know that a greedy person cannot use the stone. Now, you must pay the price.” She held out her hand, and the jewel came off my neck, right into her hand. There was a bright glow, and she started to change her form. I looked, and she had turned into a beautiful goddess. “This is my true form. I am Aura, and this jewel is mine. Because you have read the book and ignored its warning, you are forever cursed! No longer will you be able to use this stone! The form you are in now, you will stay in for the rest of your life! You will not be able to leave this mountain! You are forever tasked with protecting my jewel. If you let anybody use this jewel, you will find yourself with a much worse punishment!”
She tossed the jewel back into the cave, and disappeared in a brilliant light. Hoping that she was bluffing, I ran back into the cave. I found myself unused to my dragon form, most likely due to the jewel being out of my hands. I found the jewel back on the pedestal. I tried using it, but to no avail. I indeed was stuck in this form. I panicked, and started running back out the cave, practicing moving my wings while heading out. When I got out of the cave, I had gotten a little used to my wings again. I took a leap of faith off the cliff in front of the cave, and started trying to fly. I had almost hit the ground, when I was suddenly able to flap my wings just right, and started clumsily flying away. I could see the kingdom in the distance, and, thinking that there was no possible way that I could be kept on the mountain, started heading to the king’s castle. I thought that even if I won’t be able to change back to normal, I could still achieve my goal. But as I neared the edge of the mountain, I suddenly crashed into something, and fell to the ground below. I got up and tried to see what I hit. I couldn’t, but I knew it was there. There was a barrier, invisible even to my dragon eyes, impenetrable by myself, but not to others. What Aura said was true. The curse was real. I was stuck on the mountain in a form I wasn’t used to, away from civilization, tasked with protecting Aura’s Jewel for the rest of eternity. And if I failed, who knows what might happen!
To Be Continued...