She smiled. “Do wishes ever really come true?”
“Only if you truly believe in them,” he replied.
“Well then, I’ll make a wish on that star,” she pointed. “And I wish that I can be rid of my dragon form forever. I know it is a great opportunity but a responsibility I do not want. And many in Middle Earth will curse me as a dragon.”
“No curse has power over you, Lira. Love is greater than any curse. Remember that.”
Mordah was getting closer. He could nearly sense the power within her and the lust within him growing. He still remembered every day they were together within the former life. He had remained in Middle Earth for years dormant. But soon his explosion would occur. Morgoth had trained him well. Though he had never seen his master, they were connected telenetically, and he learned much in his state whereas Lira had merely grown up. He watched her as she grew and was on the verge of approaching her when she left Gondor. However, in his state of tracking her, the Valar confused his path. His anger overcame him. They could not touch him when he returned to the World Beyond. And as he entered the world, he felt his power grow and his senses keener. She was close by. He could feel it.
Lira awoke the next morning eager to discover what Sean had in store for her that day. His words from the previous night remained with her. ‘Love is greater than any curse.’ And yet, every night she grew more terrified as the stranger in her dreams haunted her. Every night, he appeared to her always the same but in different places. One night, it was a lake clouded with mist and darkness. Another night it was a maze of caverns. Another night it was a dense forest in which she was lost.
Lira turned her attention away from the dreams and onto her appearance. She took a long shower relishing the touch of the hot water to her skin. She had never experienced this in Middle Earth. The only hot water she ever felt was when she took the time to work in boiling it which was rare. She normally bathed within the lakes near Minas Tirith. She took her time and washed herself thoroughly with soap and body wash and then added what Sean said was used for growing hair stronger and keeping it in a clean state: shampoo and conditioner.
She finally left the shower and wrapped a towel around herself and began brushing her hair. As she looked at herself in the mirror, Lira suddenly screamed as another face appeared. She looked behind her seeing no one. A tingle floated up her spine as she stared at the face knowing it was the man within her dreams. He was clearer now. His hair was long and dark flowing to his shoulders. His skin was fair, and his eyes cobalt black. He was handsome but in a fearful way.
“Lira,” a smile slid across his features as he observed her.
“Who are you?” she continued looking behind her as if expecting someone to be there.
“Child,” he seemed amused. “You have known me for a milennia, but your memory is gone. I will rekindle it soon. Do not fear, Lira. You will remember all in good time, and I can release you from your dragon form.” His face faded away, and a vision within the mirror came to her. She beheld two dragons within a deep cavern. She knew well who it was. The image faded leaving the man’s face. “Soon, Lira soon. Trust no one. Not even the young man running up the stairs.”
He instantly disappeared, and Lira jumped as Sean knocked on the door. She slowly walked toward the door and opened it a crack.
“Hi, beautiful. Ready for our big day?” he then looked her over and replied, “Oh no, sorry…” he stopped noticing how pale her face is. “Lira? Is something wrong?”
“N-no, I’m all right. Think I might have spent too much time in the shower. I’ll be down soon.”
“All right,” he began to leave but stopped. “Hey, I love you.”
She nodded, but he closed the distance between them and softly kissed her lips. She felt torn at the moment. When he kissed her, it felt so natural. She felt loved and protected within his arms. Yet, her dragon form debated within her. He finally released her and smiled. He closed the door behind him.
Just when she was starting to trust Sean, this man came to her. Why did he make her feel so wary toward Sean? The Valar were before her when they told her the story. They would not lie. The gods of the earth would never lie. They said Sean was the boy who had saved her life. The dragon was the enemy. The man whose face was in the mirror was the enemy. But how could she escape him? He was in her dreams every night. She could never be free of him. What did he want of her?
Lira dressed quickly and met Sean downstairs. She made up her mind to tell him everything. Not even the pancakes with strawberry syrup and sweet cream laying on the table could distract her. Sean pulled out a chair for her, and after they said a brief prayer, she began before he could even pick up his fork.
“Sean, I’ve just seen a vision.”
“I knew you would tell me when you were ready,” Sean listened intently. “It was him, wasn’t it?”
She looked up in surprise as he continued, “Varda came to me in my dreams last night. She told me that the one who is chasing you has escaped. He has channeled some of Morgoth’s power and has been able to cross the veil into our world. She says we must always be on alert. Remember, he is seeking you so he can mate with you and bring a new dragon breed to Middle Earth and possibly our world as well. If that happens, it could be the kindling of power Morgoth needs to escape the Void. Lira, we can’t let that happen. Do you know what he could do to Middle Earth?”
“I know Sean. But what am I supposed to do?”
“We can fight him together, Lira. But I need you to trust me. I think you’re beginning to otherwise you wouldn’t have told me.”
“I am, but trust isn’t love.”
“It’s the beginning of love. Do you believe in love at first sight?” he reached over and took three pancakes from the pile and began to devour them hungrily.
“No,” she replied.
“It’s never really happened.”
“You mean it’s never happened to you,” he corrected with a sly grin.
“Why, has it happened to you?”
“Definitely,” he winked at her.
“Kind of deep for the breakfast table, isn’t it?”
“You tell me. Do you like the pancakes?”
She sighed and took a bite. “Yes.”
“Thanks my own recipe. I’m going to take you to the Zoo today.”
“Yes, that way you can see what kind of animals we have here. The Zoo is a place where they have different places set up where animals stay, and people can come and look at them. Almost like a barn but much bigger and much more exciting and not just for horses or farm animals.”
“What kind of animals would you keep in this place?”
“Oh, you’ll be surprised!”
Lira clapped her hands and smiled in anticipation as the dolphins made another leap into the air. This was by far her favorite part of the tour. They had already seen monkeys, otters, flamingos, bears, tigers, lions, zebras, and turtles amidst a host of others. Lira seemed most pleased with the dolphins since she had come into contact with these creatures before. However, she had never seen them perform like this. One of the trainers through a ball into the middle of the pool, and one of the calves took it in their mouth and played catch with it. Two of the males rounded the tank, dove under, and rose up together in a majestic leap leaving the audience clapping for more as well as soaked with tank water.
When Lira and Sean finally exited, she was so exhilarated by the event that she could hardly keep from talking about it. Sean laughed as she continued rambling on and decided to buy her an ice cream cone.
“What is it?” she held it up looking at it in curiosity.
“Try it. I think you’ll like it, but be careful. It’s kind of cold.”
Lira slowly brought it to her lips and sampled the delicate treat. She instantly smiled and continued licking it.
“Hey hold up there,” he laughed. “You look like an anteater that just found a ten foot wide ant hill. I thought you might want to go see a movie after this.”
“What’s a movie?”
“Well, did you ever see stage productions in Minas Tirith? Did anyone ever put on a play, a skit like with actors?”
“Sometimes they did. I’ve only seen one or two.”
“Well it’s just like that except you don’t see them live. You can see them on this big picture that keeps changing. I think you’ll like it. There’s a new comedy out.”
“Well everything you’ve done for me today has been wonderful. Thank you for the teddy bear,” she smiled admiring the stuffed animal he had bought for her.
As they rounded a corner to their car, Lira instantly stiffened when seeing him standing up against it. He slowly blew out puffs of smoke from a cigarette and then ever so casually threw it away.
“Your customs and addictions are so very unusual, mortal,” the man eyed Sean. “But then again blowing out smoke that could easily turn into fire is not so unusual for a dragon. Isn’t that so, Lira?”
“You’re breaking the rules, Mordah. You’re not supposed to be here,” Sean threw a warning at him.
“The Valar can cook up whatever punishment they desire, but I believe I am too far out of their reach. And besides, my business here is not finished. I see Lira has not taken my advice either.”
“If it was wise advice then I might,” she replied briskly.
“Ahh so I see she has a mind of her own. Well you always were a hard one to tame,” he approached her, but Sean was ready for anything, and he stepped in front of her. “Oh, I see she has a new protector. Do not worry, mortal. I will not try anything now, but you know I could crack you like a toothpick if I so desired. Watch your back. And my Lira, I must say you are looking quite beautiful even more so than Middle Earth. This country does have its benefits such as beauty salons. Until our next meeting,” he turned his black cloak catching in the wind and then finally concealing him as he disappeared into thin air.
“Sean,” Lira instantly turned pressing her face against his chest.
He slowly caressed her hair. “Don’t worry. I’m here. I won’t let him hurt you.”
“I can feel him inside of me. He won’t let me go. He won’t stop invading my dreams. He keeps coming into my mind. I wrestle with him all day, and even at night when I finally try to rest, he comes inside my dreams. What can I do?”
Sean knelt bringing her down with him. He bowed his head and closed his eyes firmly. Lira did the same though she didn’t understand. After a moment’s silence, he began to speak.
“Dear God, Eru, great Illuvutar, I ask for your protection right now. Give Lira the peace that she needs. Help me to be patient. Let me be able to help her through this. Give us the wisdom to know what to do. And give us courage to fulfill it. Your will be done.”
He finished and lifted her up. Lira felt better for some reason. She had never prayed before, but she felt stronger. And she felt braver knowing that Sean was with her to face it.
“Come on, I know that comedy will definitely cheer you up.”