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       “Tell me a story, Grandma,” a young boy asked his grandma as he climbed into the sheets of his bed.
       “You had a busy day with the doctors, Gregor, and you had just returned home,” his grandma replied. “You need your rest.”
       Gregor had been in the local hospital for over two weeks for his ailing condition. Often times, he would cough phlegm and have bouts of breathing difficulties. His illness has left him fatigued and underweight for his age. It was not new for him; he’s been sick like that since he was a baby (in other words, about twelve years). Still, he wished he could spend an entire year without seeing a doctor, let alone going to a hospital, for his condition. In fact, much of this year was him feeding the squirrels in his yard, or watching the other kids running around, tackling each other on the ground, or clashing each other with wooden swords, re-enacting stories they hear such as tales of dragons, witches, and warriors. He didn’t stay long outside due to his fatigue, or any worsening symptom. Because of this, he would get angry and jealous of all the other “healthy kids”, as he calls them.
       Tonight, he was overjoyed, because he was finally home, and his grandma was there to stay with him. He always loved his grandma, even more when she smiled (it was the way her eyes squint a bit and the way her wrinkles accent her grin), which she did so as she tucked him into bed.
       “Just one story, and I will go to sleep,” Gregor replied softly. “Pleeeeease? You always tell good stories…”
       “Okay, okay”, the old woman said as she laughed. She pulled up a chair by her grandson’s bedside. She adjusted her purple dress as she sat. “What do you want to hear?”
       “How about a story with dragons, knights, and ogres…” Gregor replied with more enthusiasm than previously, he managed to sit up.
       “How about I tell you the story of how Meriwood was created?” his grandma asked as she tucked her grandson back into his covers.
       “Aw, Grandma,” Gregor moaned. “I already know about this story at school.”
       Gregor’s grandma raised her eyebrow. “How much do you know?” she asked.
       “Umm,” Gregor answered. “There were dragons destroying the land and someone killed them.”
       “Mmm-hmm,” Gregor’s grandma replied. “Well, how about I give you a refresher course, and maybe a few things that weren’t taught to you at school.”

       “Since the world was created, once in every thousand years, two dragons, a light dragon and a dark dragon, battled for the fate of the world. The light dragon wanted to ensure peace, but the dark dragon wanted to control the world.  The collisions and attacks formed hills and mountains.  They would fight by the ocean and create waves, which became rivers and lakes. The pattern continued for many years until both dragons could no longer fight, leaving them to rest. In every battle, the light dragon would lead the dark dragon to a barren land with no innocent beings to harm. However, with the humans starting to migrate to different parts of the world, it became difficult for the light dragon to fight. Regardless, the light dragon focused on the fight to tame the dark dragon until they were exhausted, leaving them to rest once more.
       “During that time, the once barren land where the dragons had last fought was populated with animals who call the trees their home. Eventually, humans settled into the land and called it Merriwood. They cut down enough trees to build their homes and businesses, as well as logs for fire (there had been some pretty harsh winters over the years) and a large fence to protect themselves from intrusions, mostly by the ogres (they merely want food, rather than kill humans).
       “They lived in peace for many years until the dragons have awakened and fought again, causing destruction in their path. Homes were destroyed by the dragons’ impact or burned by incineration. Humans and animals who survived the onslaught searched for shelter. The light dragon tried to push the dark dragon away from the battleground, but the dark dragon would attack the humans to bring fear.
       “After a long time of fighting, the light dragon managed to weaken the dark dragon.  In an act of desperation, the dark dragon summoned demons to fight his rival. Knowing the light dragon was trying to protect them and the animals of their homeland, the humans, led by a man named Allastor, gathered weapons and fought the demons and, much to the light dragon’s objection, help fought the dark dragon. Despite their efforts, no weapon in their arsenal could pierce its steel-hard skin. However, a witch named Aya cast a light spell on a bow and arrow, for which she borrowed from the light dragon, and asked their best archer to shoot these arrows at the dark dragon’s eyes. Allastor, skilled with a sword, as well as strategy, enlisted his best archer and best friend, Kai, to defeat the dark dragon.
       “One shot in each eye was all the young woman needed to take the dark dragon down to the ground, where, piece by piece, the light tore him apart, leaving a trail of energy, which departed to the heavens. However, the dark dragon left many casualties behind him, including the life of the brave and wise Allastor.
       “The light dragon, weakened from his battle, slowly approached the humans and spoke, ‘Thank you, humans, for helping me with the dark dragon’s forces.  Please forgive me for the destruction my nemesis and I had caused. When we had last fought, this land was barren. A thousand years ago, I fought the dark dragon because he was determined to be ruler of this land; I had managed to calm the dark dragon. I do not wish to harm any living being. The battle between light and darkness will not end, and I feel my rival will most likely return. Know this: only I can defeat the dark dragon. However, the dark dragon’s forces are still out there and you must protect yourselves from this. So, in recognition of your heroism, I shall bestow upon you the strength of the animals that had fallen, for they have recognized your courage and kindness to them.’
       “With her remaining energy, she gathered the spirit of the animals and covered the human warriors with this energy, transforming them into strange creatures: humans with certain features from animals. Some humans had ears like a fox and a large, furry tail, but with much improved strength and speed; some had wings spread across the arms, which allowed them to fly, and developed a stronger sense of sight; some had developed web feet and arms, with gills that appeared when they went swimming underwater. The citizens of Meriwood were shocked to see their fellow men and women become these creatures, but they knew that despite their physical differences, they were still the same people they knew and loved. The humans and the new race of beings, known now as the ‘nimali’, made the promise to the light dragon, that they shall uphold the dragon’s promise to keep peace in their world. With that promise made, the light dragon drew his final breath and departed to the heavens.
       “And the citizens of Meriwood upheld their promise. You see, the light dragon was right about dark forces remaining since the Battle of the Dragons (as the people would call it). However, all those who would fight back, no matter the race, would protect the land. Over time, people would find a way to combine magic and technology so that even those who are not born with magic would be able to fight back. Because, as the light dragon said, there are those who would protect the world, but there are also those who would destroy it.”

       “Now, it’s time for bed, Gregor,” Gregor’s grandma said.
       “That’s not much of a story, Grandma,” Gregor said, with a sound of disappointment in his voice.
       “What do you mean, ‘not much of a story’?” his grandma retorted. “If it weren’t for these brave heroes of this land, we wouldn’t be here today! Besides, I want you to go to sleep.”
       Gregor gave a big, “Hmph!” He loved exciting stories like the one he just heard. After all, since he can’t have exciting adventures of his own, what with being sick most of his life, he figured listening to them could be the next best thing.
       “But tell you what,” his grandma said. “I’ll tell you one story every night before you go to bed. And I’ll guarantee, they will be longer and more exciting than the one I told you. Although, I always felt that learning about our land’s history is pretty exciting. But I guess you want to hear stories about knights and magic.”
       “Well,” Gregor said as he yawned, “there were dragons and heroes. Plus, now I know where nimalians come from.”
       “To be honest,” his grandma sighed, “that’s something you should learn at school. But then again, I don’t know the school’s curriculum, and the only times you were at school, you didn’t seem to pay too close attention, did you?”
       “Hey,” a soft, feminine voice came from the door. “Is Gregor asleep?”
       “Obviously not,” the old woman replied. However, as she turned around, she saw Gregor fast asleep. “Okay, so he is asleep.”
       The voice gave a chuckle and soon, the old woman joined her.  “Good night, Gregor,” she said as turned off the light and shut the door.
This is a prologue of a series of stories I have planned for some time. This was inspired by a promise I made to a friend of mine who calls himself Elvenboi on dA. He wanted me to write a fantasy story with knights, orcs (which I replaced with ogres), and squirrels. I had the log of the conversation, but I seem to have misplaced it.

I know it's pretty short, but I hope to make longer stories for this series. Let me know what you think.
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August 17, 2015
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