The Dragon’s Blood Key

Chapter 1

Tales of the day when a Champion would come from a far off realm filled the hearts of the people in the Kingdom of Walandra.  They had long awaited the one who wore the sacred Breast Plate and Blood Key to come and free them from the rule of the Evil Queen Alona.

For hundreds of years, Queen Alona had enjoyed complete rule over the Kingdom.  Yet, she would soon find her rule challenged by the appearance of the Champion Abigail.

While wearing the sacred Breast Plate and Blood Key, which had transported Abigail to the realm of Walandra, she challenged Queen Alona in battle and fought without fear even as the Queen prepared to strike her down.  Then at the last possible moment in a flash of blinding light; the Blood Key transported Abigail safely back to her realm.  In her rage, Queen Alona had forbidden the name of the Champion spoken aloud again.

In spite of the Queen’s demands, the subjects of the kingdom would regale the tale of the young woman who came to their world, and fought the Evil Queen.  They would speak in hushed tones, telling the story of Abigail, as they anxiously awaited her return to complete her destiny and save the kingdom.

Seventy years later…

“Why do we have to go?  I want to stay home and hang out with my friends,” Melissa moaned as she forced another pair of shorts into her overly stuffed suitcase.

“Stop your complaining.  You’ll have a good time, and besides your father and I have wanted to get away alone for a long time,” her mother chided.

Melissa rolled her eyes, not convinced that she was going to have a good time spending a week of her summer break in a creepy old house with her great-grandmother, her twin sister, and younger brother.

“Once you get done packing, take your suitcase and set it by the front door,” her mother chuckled, seeing the frustrated look on Melissa’s face.

“Fine, but I’m not going to enjoy myself.”  Melissa locked the clasp on the suitcase and carried it toward the door.  She had just stepped out into the hallway when her little brother ran past her holding his basketball above his head.

“What the heck?” Melissa groaned.

“Move, I need to finish packing,” Aaron yelled as he went into his bedroom.

“Mom, Aaron seems to think he needs to take his basketball with him in his suitcase,” Melissa said as she walked down the hallway to the living room.

“Oh, my goodness; Aaron, I told you to pack your clothes, not fill your suitcase with things you won’t need,” their mother said sternly.

“But I need to stay sharp on my moves if I want to make the team,” Aaron groaned.

Cassy ran out of her room with a look of utter despair on her face.  “Mom, I can’t find my swimsuit.”

“It’s in the bottom drawer of your dresser,” her mother said as she followed Aaron into his bedroom.

“No, it’s not.  I looked there already,” Cassy stood with her hands on her hips.

“Melissa, help your sister while I take care of Aaron.”

“Mom, why can’t she do it herself?” Melissa protested.

“Because Mom told you to help me, that’s why,” Cassy grinned then she laughed when she saw the look of anger appear on her sister’s face.

“Fine, I’ll help her, but once we get to great-grandmother’s house she’s on her own.”  Melissa stomped her foot then followed her sister into her bedroom.  While she loved her twin sister, she could not understand why she was so strange.  She had no love of fashion or looking good.  All Cassy cared about was playing soccer, and hanging out with her circle of strange friends.  Melissa never understood what Cassy saw in sports and hanging with people who did not care what clothes they wore.

“I hope you’re packing something other than tee shirts and worn out jeans,” Melissa groaned as she walked into Cassy’s room.

It took nearly half an hour, but all three suitcases finally sat by the front door, packed and ready to go.

“Okay, let’s eat our dinner then I want you kids all to take your baths and get ready for bed.  Your father will be home in a bit, and I’m sure he’ll want to relax some before tomorrow.”

“Why aren’t you and Dad taking us to great-grandmother’s house?” Cassy asked as she reached for a slice of pizza.

“I’ve already told you.  We have to be at the port to board the ship for our cruise.  Your great-grandmother is sending Mr. Saunders to get you.  He is a very nice man, and you will have a good time.  She’s a wonderful and loving woman.  I’m sure you’ll come to love her as well.”

“Mom, I don’t understand how we’re going to get to great-grandmother’s house.  Maine is a long way from here, and you haven’t mentioned how we’ll get there,” Melissa asked then took a bite of pizza.

Their mother knew this next bit of news would please them, “That’s where the adventure comes in.  You will get to go on your great-grandmother’s private jet.”

“What?  You mean she has her own airplane?” Aaron said excitedly.  “Wow, that’s cool.”

Cassy reached for another slice of pizza before speaking, “Dang, I knew she was rich, but you never said she was that rich.”

“It’s because it’s not polite to speak in such a manner.  Your great-grandmother has lived a good life, and she wanted you all to come spend some time with her before…” she could not bring herself to finish the statement.

“She’s getting old.  That’s what you mean,” Melissa said flatly.

Their mother looked at all three children and only nodded.

Cassy looked at her mother and saw the sadness on her face.  “We’ll have a good time visiting great-grandmother, and we promise to be good too.”

“Thank you, Cassy.  I’m sure you all will.”  She was thankful they would have this opportunity to get to know their great-grandmother.

“Hello, I’m home.  Where is everyone?” a voice called out from the living room.

“We’re in the kitchen eating some pizza, Steve.  If you hurry, you might get some.”

“Good evening, family,” Steve said as he walked into the kitchen and took his place at the table.

“Dad, mom just told us that we get to go on Great-Grandmother’s private airplane.  Isn’t that cool?” Aaron said with a broad smile on his face.

“It sure is, and I know you will all have fun visiting her,” Steve said as he reached for a slice of pizza.

“Donna, I didn’t think I’d ever get things straightened out at work today.  You’d think I was going to be gone for a year, not a week,” he laughed then took a bite of pizza.

“I’m just glad that they won’t be able to call you all the time while we’re on the cruise,” Donna grinned.

“No kidding.  As a matter of fact, I think I’ll leave my cell phone in the glove box of the car,” he winked.

“That’s an excellent idea.”  Donna knew his boss would call endlessly if he were able to reach him.

Steve looked around the table into the faces of his beloved children.  While he was excited to spend some time alone with Donna, he knew he would miss them and the drama they brought to every day.  Having two sixteen-year-old daughters and a thirteen-year-old son could make for an exciting life.

“So, is everyone packed and ready for tomorrow?”  Steve saw the mixture of emotions on their faces and wondered how this visit would go for all of them.

“Yes, and I made sure not to bring any clothes that match Cassy’s too,” Melissa said as she glared at Cassy.

“Good; just because we’re twins doesn’t mean that I want to dress like you,” Cassy smirked.

“Why would I want to be anything like you?” Melissa said sarcastically.

Cassy was about to respond again when their mother interrupted them.  “Girls, stop it right now.  I don’t understand why you feel the need to argue all the time.  You both used to be so close when you were younger.”

Each girl glared across the table, neither willing to surrender the challenge.

Melissa and Cassy had come into the world on a cold and stormy night.  Donna had felt strange the entire day, but with the due date still two weeks away, she figured that she was just experiencing normal feelings of a first-time pregnancy.  Steve was working late at the office, and Donna was relaxing in bed reading a book when her water broke.  Her first impulse was to call Steve, but once the first contraction hit her, she decided it was best to call her neighbor and have her drive her to the hospital.

After several hours of labor, Melissa and Cassy came screaming and kicking into the world, and they had been fighting ever since.

Steve looked at his two beautiful daughters and felt his heart overflow with love.  “You two will have a day when you’ll need each other.  I know how much you each want to be your own person, but you also need to cherish the strength you both share.”

Cassy looked at Melissa and rolled her eyes.  “I’d like her more if she wasn’t such a Diva.  She never likes to have fun.  All she wants to do is shop and do her stupid nails.”

Melissa looked at Cassy with a look of utter disgust on her face.  “I’d rather be a Diva than a social zero like you.”  Melissa stuck out her tongue, and then laughed at the angry glare on Cassy’s face.

“Girls, stop it right now!  You both are old enough to stop acting like two spoiled brats.  I want you to promise me that you’ll behave yourselves while at your great-grandmother’s house.  The last thing she needs is to put up with a couple of arguing teenagers,” Donna said in a loud voice.

Of course, this brought both girls to full attention, as they realized that they had pushed the subject too far.

“I’m being good, Mom,” Aaron said with an angelic tone in his voice as he took the last bite of his pizza.

Donna looked at her sweet son and had to admit that at least he was not misbehaving.  “Yes, you are.  See girls, you need to learn how to behave like your brother.”

Both girls turned and glared at their brother, both rolling their eyes.  Aaron looked back at them with a mischievous look on his face.  Of course, this caused each girl to stick out her tongue at him.

“Mom, they stuck their tongue out at me,” Aaron cried out, as he tried to hide his joy at upsetting them.

“Girls, I want you two to behave yourselves.  Okay, everyone is finished eating so go take your baths and go to bed.  Tomorrow is going to be a long day,” Donna said trying to hide her own amusement.

The three children got up from the table without saying a word, but as they walked down the hall toward their bedrooms; Steve and Donna could hear them arguing.

“It’s your fault!”

“No, it’s yours!”

“I get to take my bath first.”

“No, I get to go first this time.”

Steve and Donna looked at each other and it was at that moment that they realized how much they would miss the children in spite of all the fighting.

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