Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter One, Part Eleven

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter One, Part Eleven

~~~~~~~~~~

Jonathan was dumbfounded by the position they found themselves in, having clearly not expected anything like this to happen, but happen it did.  His mind raced with the possibilities of what they might do next to extract themselves from this predicament, but as the leader of this adventure, he needed to reassure Sammy – and himself – that everything would be okay.

“Give me a moment to open the door and we’ll get out of this tunnel, Sammy,” explained Jonathan as calmly as possible, trying to put on a brave face in the total darkness.  After kicking on the door numerous times with his foot to no avail, he somehow managed to turn around in the tunnel and push against it with his hands, but the door didn’t budge.  Remembering that the door opened from a gentle push from the outside, Jonathan tried to find some attachment point to pull the door tighter and then release it, but to his shock and amazement he couldn’t feel a single point on the smooth inside surface that he could grab a hold of to pull it inwards with.  They were stuck!

Banging on the door to alert someone that they were trapped in the tunnel was of no use, as whatever Jonathan tried to do against the door only resulted in a low thudding sound, and nothing that anyone could hear outside the tunnel.  Even if his mother went looking for them in the cellar, chances were she’d take a glance and see they weren’t there and assume they’d run off to play in the cornfield despite being grounded.  They could wait forever to be rescued, and if rescue never came, they’d perish in the darkeness of the tunnel.

I have no intention of perishing in a dark tunnel, Jonathan thought to himself as he slowly turned around and made up his mind that they would keep going forwards until finding some way out of this hole in the ground.  “Here’s the plan, Sammy,” said Jonathan in the calmest voice he could muster.  “We’re trapped in this tunnel with no way out back into the cellar, so it’s up to us to find our own way out the other end. That’s the plan, to go forward until we reach daylight.  Any questions?”

Sammy’s expression looking back at the sound of Jonathan’s voice in the pitch darkness was more than doubtful, had Jonathan been able to see it.  Only then did Jonathan realize he didn’t have his backpack, any supplies or a flashlight, or even a single water bottle or a chocolate chip cookie to share between them.  If this was going to be an adventure, it would be one like they’d never taken before – or the shortest lived adventure ever in the grand scheme of things.

Yet there was always hope, for in that moment Jonathan perceived a faint bluish-white light begin to glow under his shirt – and realized he was still wearing the medallion and Talspin pendant Gramps had given him in Myllanthar!  “See, Sammy, there’s always hope – we have light!”

(The End of Book Two, Chapter One)

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Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter One, Part Ten

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter One, Part Ten

~~~~~~~~~~

Sammy had no intention of going farther into the tunnel, even as Jonathan assured him it would be alright and nothing would happen to him.  Sammy clearly knew what was expected of him, but continuing deeper into the passageway felt wrong to him, and it clearly wasn’t his intention of stumbling on further into the darkness.

“Okay, Sammy, give me a second, and I’ll show you what I want you to do,” said Jonathan as he propped an old apple crate on edge to stand on under the opening. He climbed onto the apple crate only to hear the cracking of one of its thin boards under his weight, but his foot was supported by the two other boards and didn’t crash through.  With some difficulty, Jonathan got his knee up to the opening’s edge and pulled himself into the tunnel head first, balancing precariously on the edge of the doorway with half of him inside and half outside the opening.

Sammy looked back at Jonathan in amazement, clearly thinking to himself with surprise that he was entering the tunnel, too.  “Here’s what we’re going to do, Sammy,” explained Jonathan matter-of-factly.  “We’re going to explore this tunnel a little ways and see if we can find anything, and if not we’ll go back to the cellar and explore the passageway further another day.”

It wasn’t Sammy’s idea to lead the way, but Jonathan was almost beside him on his hands and knees as he carefully inched down into the tunnel, leaving Sammy no room to maneuver in the tight space without going farther down the passageway.  All of a sudden, a gust of wind slammed the hinged metal door closed behind them with a dull clicking sound, as the latch caught from the force of the door slamming shut from the wind.

How did such a heavy and stiff door slam shut from a draft of wind? thought Jonathan, realizing that he’d now have to open it again if they were to see anything at all.  In such a cramped space and in complete darkness, it was difficult for Jonathan to maneuver backwards to the door of the passageway without banging his head or elbow onto the unseen stones lining the tunnel – but somehow he was able to do it and pushed on the door with his foot – only to find that the door didn’t budge…”

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter One, Part Nine

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter One, Part Nine

~~~~~~~~~~

Jonathan stared in disbelief at seeing the metal plate pop open from something as simple as a slight pressing inward on it.  His imagination ran wild with images of the possible treasures hidden behind it, with all sorts of pictures projected in great detail in his mind.  He carefully used the tips of his fingers to get between the open edge of the metal door and stone blocks, to pry it slowly open on its hinges – surprised at how heavy the door felt and how stiff its hinges were.

I doubt this door has ever been opened before, thought Jonathan from the difficulty and struggle he had to pry it open.  The weight and thickness of the door led him to believe it had been crafted much too sturdily for simply being set into the wall of the farmhouse’s foundation.  It was almost as if it had been fashioned by Medieval blacksmiths who had no other way of creating a door like this one, other than to cast it this thick in a primitive foundry.

After finally opening the door to the full extension of its hinges, Jonathan looked into what appeared to be a level tunnel of the same dimensions across and high as the door, about two foot square.  He could see from the initial opening, that the tunnel was lined in stone blocks of a different size and type than the stone blocks the farmhouse’s foundation had been constructed of.  The stones lining the tunnel were each about the size of a loaf of bread – all cut and fashioned into the same shape and size, fitting together in exacting precision to create a very smooth finish – almost like a castle wall.

Other than the types of stones used to line the tunnel with, there was little else Jonathan could see except for the pitch darkness lurking in the depths of the passageway, as there was no light at all coming from the tunnel.  Jonathan felt a draft as he peered into the opening, realizing that it was pulling air from the cellar into the hole created by the doorway.  Even though there was no wall safe behind the door – or key and map to a buried treasure – Jonathan was pleased and excited by his discovery, for he didn’t think anyone had ever opened this door before or peered into the depths of this passageway.

Consumed with curiosity as to what this tunnel was for, Jonathan stood on his tiptoes and tried to look deeper into the passageway, but to no avail – he couldn’t see anything.  Suddenly he had an idea, and lifted his hesitant pup into the opening of the tunnel, as Sammy fit perfectly into the two foot high clearance.  “It’s okay, Sammy, just go into the tunnel a short distance and see what’s in it – nothing will happen to you…”

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter One, Part Eight

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter One, Part Eight

~~~~~~~~~~

A momentary glint of a reflection caught Jonathan’s eye as he was turning to go over to the root cellar to complete his errand.  He took a second look back in the direction it came from, and saw that behind an old, leather horse collar hanging from the floor joists, was something metal set into the stone wall of the foundation.  Curious as to what it was – and wondering why he hadn’t noticed it before – Jonathan went over to the horse collar to take a closer look behind it.

On closer examination, it turned out there was a hammered metal plate set into the stone blocks about four feet above the dirt floor of the cellar, that the horse collar was partially covering up from plain view.  Jonathan struggled with the weight of the horse collar as he awkwardly lifted it off the hook it was hanging from, and set it down in the dirt.  After brushing the dust off his hands on the side of his jeans, he looked closer at the metal plate.

The surface was made of some type of hammered metal, fashioned into a square shape about two foot long in each direction, and appeared to be hinged on the left side with two old fashioned hinges.  The surface was otherwise smooth, but not polished, perhaps tarnished from age and the dampness of the cellar’s air.  Despite its nondescript appearance, which seemed to have kept it from his attention earlier, Jonathan was impressed by the primitive craftsmanship of the person who had originally made it.

In a way it seemed out of place here on the cellar wall, for why would a hinged door of some sort be set into the stone wall of a cellar, unless there was something behind it?  Perhaps it was an old fashioned wall safe, thought Jonathan, holding a treasure trove of cash from the old days – perhaps from the California gold rush, or a train robbery or bank heist by none other than Billy the Kid himself!  Or better than that, it might hold a key and a treasure map to an even bigger treasure buried in the ground somewhere!  The possibilities that ran through Jonathan’s mind in that moment were endless!

The funny thing was there was no apparent latch to the door – if it was a door – for why would a metal plate be hinged on one side without being latched somehow on the other? continued Jonathan’s thinking as he examined the plate.  He ran his hands over the plate while admiring the rough manner in which the metal plate had been hammered out, as if by a blacksmith over a large anvil.  Jonathan had read in his book about knights and castles how metal plate armor and shields were constructed in the same way, hammered out flat and smooth in the exact size and finish required, but this was a cruder work.  The craftsman had left the obvious hammer marks intact, creating a wonderful pattern in the metal, and not bothering to smooth or flatten them out at all.

Realizing time was running upstairs in the kitchen and that he’d best return soon with the produce, Jonathan ran his hands over the door one last time while resolving to return later on to solve the mystery of the metal plate.  In that moment, he felt a spring latch give way from the final pat he gave the door as if to say good bye until later, and the metal plate popped open on its hinges about a quarter of an inch…

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter One, Part Seven

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter One, Part Seven

~~~~~~~~~~

After patting Sammy on the top of his head, Jonathan began heading around the corner of the old farmhouse to the storm doors leading down to the root cellar.  The Spencer Family Farm was founded by Jonathan’s great-grandfather on his father’s side, who originally constructed the house himself in the late 19th Century.  The storm doors covered a flight of stairs leading down under the farmhouse to the cellar, with both the steps and foundation made of rough hewn stone blocks.  Jonathan always enjoyed going down into the cellar, because it was like going back in time – little had changed from the year 1895 when the farmhouse was initially built, prior to his Grandfather rebuilding it in 1921.

The storm doors were two overlapping doors covering the stairs at about a 45 degree angle between the ground and house wall.  The cellar was always cool below ground, which made it a perfect place to store potatoes, onions, and the fruits and vegetables Jonathan’s mother canned – stretching the produce the family grew on the farm for their own use as long as possible.

It was Jonathan’s routine chore to carry produce to the root cellar for storing and to bring up what his mother needed, so he was very familiar with the process of going down into the cellar.  He grasped the handle of the right clam shell door, pulled it open, and secured it with a long rod that held it in place, before doing the same thing with the left door.  Once the doors were opened and secured, Jonathan headed carefully down the stairs made of uneven stone blocks.  Sammy followed close behind and they both headed down into the darkness of the cellar.

At the bottom of the stairs was a pull-string light switch dangling down from the rafters, and as Jonathan pulled the string, a single bare light bulb dimly illuminated the cellar with its dirt floor and bare stone walls.  Jonathan and Sammy stood in the open area of the cellar by the stairs, and to their right was an antique wooden door leading into the room used to store potatoes and onions, along with shelves stocked with rows of canned fruits and vegetables – each hand labeled and dated by Jonathan’s mother.

To their left was another enclosed room with a similar antique wooden door leading to the oil furnace.  Directly beside that room, was another room that housed the separate oil tank, with an outside fill line the oil tanker hooked up to when the oil tank needed to be filled.  A fourth room to the right, was where coal used to be delivered through an outside coal chute much like a children’s play slide, in the years prior to the oil furnace being installed.  The room was still sooty from the great mound of coal that used to fill the room almost to the top during the winter months, and rarely did anyone enter it now.

Beyond these four individual rooms, there was an open area on the other side of the cellar filled with antique hand tools originally used by Jonathan’s great-grandfather back in the early days.  They looked ancient, with wooden handles and implements made of cast iron along with a few surprisingly complex mechanisms that were ingeniously crafted.  It was like being in a museum of early American farm tools, and Jonathan always took a few moments to look them over and get a feel for what life was like on the farm in the early 20th Century.

Another thing Jonathan liked to look at when he was in the cellar, was the way the floor joists were handcrafted, using building techniques not found in modern homes built in 1960.  There were hand hewn timbers joined together using notches and pegs without nails, and everything rested atop foundation walls made of large granite blocks.  Even the stonework fascinated Jonathan, with each stone block having different grain and coloration patterns in it – and it was ingenious how the stone blocks were fitted together like a giant jigsaw puzzle – each one a different size and shape.

Sammy didn’t much like going down into the cellar, with it’s cool, musty and damp smells, but to Jonathan it simply smelled the way a cellar was supposed to smell. Just then, while studying the old tools hanging from the rafters and propped up against the stone walls, Jonathan realized he had gone into the cellar for a reason – to bring eight potatoes and three onions up to his mother in the kitchen – casting a last lingering look over all the old hand tools, before turning around to go over to the root cellar room to complete his errand.

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter One, Part Six

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter One, Part Six

~~~~~~~~~~

For the third time in ten minutes, Jonathan’s mother asked him yet again to please retrieve eight potatoes and three onions from the root cellar, so she could have lunch ready on time for Jonathan’s father after he finished working on the horse pasture. Exasperation didn’t even begin to describe her world, as far as Jonathan’s not doing what he was asked to do, at least not right away.  She dearly loved her absentminded dreamer of a son, but it didn’t make life any easier for her having to deal with the day-to-day reality of living with Jonathan.

Jonathan shook off his thoughts, realizing that he’d better head down to the root cellar before his mother really got after him.  The irony was that he was grounded for the day anyway, but even he realized that it could get much worse if he didn’t do what she asked him to do.  After all, he had a dragon to slay, and didn’t want being grounded to be the reason he couldn’t help everyone back in Myllanthar – assuming he’d ever get there, of course.

He took one lingering look in the direction he’d last seen Sammy, and was surprised to see him running back towards the house from an entirely different direction with yet another stick in his mouth to play catch with.  At this point, Jonathan decided to wait for his adventure companion to reach him, before heading over to the storm door and down into the root cellar.

Sammy was an eager pup still growing into this paws, and stopping in time was not one of his acquired skills at this point in his young life.  He was still trying to put the brakes on as he collided with Jonathan at the base of the porch stairs in a cloud of dust and fur, knocking Jonathan off balance in a thump onto the steps.  “Next time, Sammy, try to stop a little earlier and you won’t end up crashing into me,” said Jonathan as he got up and scratched Sammy behind the ears before brushing himself off.  Sammy and Jonathan were a perfect match for each other, always eager for action and never really thinking about the consequences.

The storm door leading into the root cellar was around the corner of the house from the back porch, and at last Jonathan felt a little sense of freedom in being able to leave the porch while being grounded.  It was a small gift his mother had given him after seeing her son sitting forlorn while holding his head in his hands, wishing he was off playing in the fields.  She understood her son only too well, knowing that her husband had other thoughts about Jonathan.

Jonathan’s father was a hard working, no-nonsense farmer, who knew the value of a day’s work, and could stretch a penny as far as he could throw it.  He also knew the danger of living one’s dreams, after seeing firsthand how often his father shirked his responsibilities at home while chasing his harebrained schemes – and didn’t look kindly on Jonathan following down the same path in life.  It must have bridged generations, because Jonathan’s father was determined to always be there for his own family.

Of course, Jonathan didn’t have the same perspective as his father, and the pendulum did seem to swing wildly from one generation and extreme to the next.  It didn’t matter to Jonathan, for his mind had long been made up to be just like Gramps – and there was little his own father could do about it, but lecture him until the cows came home.  Jonathan knew his father meant well, but that wasn’t the point – he was going to live a life of adventure, one way or another…

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter One, Part Five

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter One, Part Five

~~~~~~~~~~

Jonathan wished he was adventuring again with Sammy, as he watched his pup disappear from view between cornstalks off in the distance – no doubt chasing after the scent of a long-gone rabbit.  Still pondering a way to discover a shortcut to Castle Penmaryll, Jonathan rested his elbows on his knees while holding his chin in his hands, and was soon lost in thought.  After staring off into the distance for some time where he last saw Sammy entering the cornfield, Jonathan had reached a dead end in his thoughts – in the exact same place he started from, nowhere.

There probably isn’t a shortcut anyway, he thought, and even if there was, it would be impossible to know where to look.  Jonathan’s thoughts soon turned to his grandfather, David Alexander Spencer, and his world-wide travels and adventures. That’s who Jonathan wanted to be like when he grew up!  Gramps was the most interesting person he knew, and it might help explain why Jonathan’s own father was so boring and nothing like Gramps, after growing up under such an overwhelming personality…

Gramps was a larger-than-life world traveler, who stopped in at the farm to visit without notice, and usually left with little word as to where he was heading to next – but he always brought Jonathan a little something – a token of his globetrotting journeys.  That’s how Jonathan received the African tribal knife and lion’s tooth that were now safely tucked away in his backpack, waiting for his own next adventure – hopefully to slay a dragon!

Through the screen door behind him, Jonathan heard his mother asking him from the kitchen to bring up a small bucket of potatoes and a few onions from the root cellar – eight potatoes and three onions to be exact.  His mother knew well enough to spell out exactly what she wanted her absentminded son to do, realizing that Jonathan didn’t mean to not follow directions, but that his thoughts were often lost in faraway places resulting in his lack of focus in the here-and-now.  She wanted Jonathan to keep his feet on the ground, even if his thoughts were somewhere off in the clouds.

Jonathan himself realized that he often found it impossible to follow directions, because he never really heard them clearly when they were first told to him – it was the same in school, as well.  He was a very smart kid, a quick study, and found it easy to grasp anything new – but that was never the issue – because Jonathan’s mind was never still.  Instead, his head was filled with thoughts around the clock, from the very first moment he woke up in the morning, until he finally fell asleep at night.

Even then, his dreams were always very active and exciting, so there was never the opportunity day or night to focus on what other people were saying, because his own thoughts took priority, and everything else was secondary.  Jonathan knew he should try harder in school, but he was satisfied with his mostly A’s and B’s that came easily enough to him without hardly trying.  Besides, his plan was to travel the world on journeys and adventures, and he’d make his own way in the world.  He was almost nine now, so school was simply something he had to do until he was free to strike out on his own in life, and after all, there was so much to plan and think about between now and then.

Five minutes passed by, and like clockwork, his mother asked him for a second time to retrieve the eight potatoes and three onions from the root cellar.  She was starting to make lunch and if Jonathan didn’t soon retrieve what she needed, lunch would be delayed and his father wouldn’t have anything to eat on the table when he returned from mending fences in the horse pasture.  One day she hoped Jonathan would finally do something, anything, the first time he was asked – and because of that, she often felt like a broken record…

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter One, Part Four

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter One, Part Four

~~~~~~~~~~

The next day, Jonathan still had to stay home because he was grounded for the weekend, and on Monday morning he’d take the bus back to school.  He couldn’t go beyond the back porch, visit the barn and his favorite cow Lucy, ride horses, or go adventuring into the cornfields with Sammy – nothing at all.  What a dull way to spend a Sunday morning, he thought, but there was still hope.  By the end of the week, he intended to find a way to return with Sammy to slay a dragon!

Of course, the dragon wasn’t in Hampton, Ohio, but in the far distant world of Myllanthar where Jonathan and Sammy had recently returned from.  Jonathan pondered the dilemma of how to return to the Kingdom of Pengarth and Castle Penmaryll, without first arriving in the Great Forest of the Nether Realm – which was at the opposite end of Myllanthar, and not where they needed to go.  There had to be a shortcut from Ohio to Castle Penmaryll, thought Jonathan, and he intended to discover where it started from…

Grabbing a chocolate chip cookie from the cookie jar in the kitchen without his mother noticing, Jonathan opened the screen door and sat down on the back porch to consider ways of returning to Myllanthar.  Everyone was counting on him to slay the dragon after all, so his first dilemma was simply finding the elusive shortcut to Castle Penmaryll.

Trooper was sleeping in the sunshine on the back porch as Jonathan sat down on the top step beside his trusted friend – the first dog he’d ever had.  The big, black Lab rolled onto his back so Jonathan could scratch him on his chest, which Trooper always loved.  It was sad that Trooper was getting up in age and didn’t have the energy to go on adventures anymore, but he’d more than earned his rest in the sunshine.  Trooper was retired from the adventure business, but Sammy was more than able to fill his big paws and accompany Jonathan.

Speaking of Sammy, the pup with boundless energy came running towards Jonathan from behind the barn, carrying a stick in his mouth to play catch with.  At least Jonathan could still throw the stick from the back porch for Sammy to fetch, while technically remaining grounded.  It wasn’t like going on an adventure, but it was fun – especially for Sammy.  Their game of fetch was short lived though, as it wasn’t long before Sammy got bored playing the game and ran off to follow the scent of a rabbit into the cornfields.

All Jonathan knew was that the path leading into the forest beyond the corn fields led him to the phenomena called Seerlyth Cullyan, which provided a gateway to Myllanthar in the far western region known as the Nether Realm or Nyllaythel – the Lost Realm.  If Arrydor expected him to slay a dragon, it would take much too long to first travel the entire length of Myllanthar before even reaching Castle Penmaryll, if he managed to make the journey at all.  It was through his dreams that he returned to Ohio from Myllanthar, so it was anyone’s guess where he would find the shortcut he was looking for and what it would look like when he found it.  It could be anywhere – or nowhere at all…

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter One, Part Three

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter One, Part Three

~~~~~~~~~~

They think I can slay the dragon, thought Jonathan as he looked down at Sammy, who just then raised his head to look at him in a knowing way.  Of course, it would be a great adventure to slay a dragon, and just the sort of adventure he’d normally be excited to take, but slaying a dragon was a tad bit outside even Jonathan’s comfort zone!  Jonathan pondered the idea for a moment and made his decision – if they needed his help to slay a dragon, then a dragon slayer he’d be!

Jonathan folded up the note and tucked it into the secret zippered pocket of his backpack as his first step in preparing for this new assignment.  His second step was to take his picture book of knights and castles from his bookshelf, and carry it back to bed with him.  Chapter Seven as all about dragons, with every historic dragon encounter that took place in legend and lore down through the centuries noted and written about in great detail.  An eight and a half year old boy needed all the help he could get if he was to defeat a dragon, so this research would be invaluable to him once he arrived in Myllanthar…

Most of the examples referred to fire breathing dragons that could fly, but Jonathan didn’t really know what kind of dragon he’d be encountering.  If it came out of the depths of Kriegareth, he didn’t think it would be a flying type – but of course it could still spit fire!  Then again, all dragons seemed to have long, sharp teeth and claws, so fire or no fire, it was still something very dangerous to encounter, let alone slay.

Jonathan knew he’d need a knife, so he added the tribal knife his grandfather gifted him, as well as the lion’s tooth to his backpack as well.  An adventurer needed to be prepared for any encounter, dragon or otherwise, when he traveled to distant worlds. It was getting late, so he closed the picture book and placed it back on the bookshelf, climbed back into bed and turned off the light.

When his mother came in after a while to check on him, Jonathan pretended to be sleeping to avoid any ‘mom lectures,’ and she simply kissed him on the top of his head – after all, dragon slayers didn’t need any extra fuss or bother about going to sleep – there were plans to be made!

Meanwhile, Sammy quickly fell back to sleep, and as Jonathan lay there under his covers, he looked across the room at the poster of Snoopy flying his doghouse on his bedroom wall.  Snoopy had such grand adventures, thought Jonathan, yet the others seemed to believe otherwise, thinking Snoopy only made them up.  Even the poster showed him flying a doghouse instead of his actual Sopwith Camel.

Jonathan realized that his adventures were just-as-real as real could be – like Snoopy’s.  It wasn’t important if other people, like his parents, thought they were all in his imagination, because he had the proof.  The silver medallion of an oak tree engraved within the sun and the Talspin pendant safely hung around his neck – and in his backpack was a personal invitation to slay a dragon – it didn’t get any more real than that…

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel) – Book Two, Chapter One, Part Two

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Book Two, Chapter One, Part Two

~~~~~~~~~~

Snoopy was in the middle of a dogfight in his Sopwith Camel against the Red Baron in the poster hanging on the wall of Jonathan’s bedroom, and as Jonathan looked across the room at his hero, it was beginning to sink in to him that Myllanthar hadn’t been a dream after all!  The medallion was proof enough his adventure was real, and Sammy had been there with him, too – and he even still had the Talspin pendant given to him by Arrydor hanging around his neck that his mother had missed seeing.  They really had been chased by Nierron’s riders, had been rescued by Arrydor, and then journeyed with Dijia all the way from Glandwr to Castle Penmaryll.  The mercenaries and bandits had been defeated and Arrydor helped show him the way back to Ohio – it was all coming back to Jonathan…

As Sammy lay curled up on his bed, a thought came to Jonathan – the note!  Arrydor had given him a note sealed with a wax seal to read – where was it?  Only then did Jonathan realize it was in the pocket of his jeans that were now in the laundry, and he had to find it before his mother did!  He tiptoed over to the door to his bedroom, listening first for anyone in the hallway, before cracking open the door as quiet as a door mouse.  The coast was clear!

Trying to be as stealthy as he could, Jonathan made his way down the hallway as quietly as possible until reaching the laundry area just outside the kitchen.  His parents were nowhere in sight as he made his way to the laundry basket on the floor, and dug through the clothes until finding his jeans – the note was still there!  Now all he had to do was make his way back to his room undetected to read it privately.

Much to his relief, Jonathan made it back to his room without being seen, and after closing the door quietly he hopped back into bed to read it.  If his mother came in to tell him good night, he’d quickly hide the note under his covers.  Holding the yellowed parchment paper in his hands, Jonathan took his first good look at it. There was no envelope, only a single piece of paper folded over at both ends and sealed with a red ‘A’ in wax.  I wonder what Arrydor wanted to say to me, thought Jonathan.  It must have been important to have taken the time to write it down…

Jonathan very carefully broke the seal without tearing the note, while trying to keep as much of the wax ‘A’ intact as possible.  He quietly unfolded the parchment so as to not make any undue noise – taking every precaution to not let anything raise his mother’s suspicions.  Fortunately, Jonathan could read Arrydor’s scripted handwriting, since his mother wrote in the same longhand cursive script – although this note had obviously been written using a quill and not a ballpoint pen.

~~~~~~~~~~

From: Arrydor, Castle Penmaryll

To: Jonathan Alexander Spencer, Knight of the Kingdom of Pengarth, Spencer Family Farm, Hampton, Ohio

I trust that both you and Sammy have found your way back home safely to Ohio, Jonathan.  I’m writing to you about something Sylth, Miylla and I discovered in an ancient text while researching the subjects of Seerlyth Cullyan and traveling between worlds.  In an obscure volume, dating back to the earliest portions of the First Age that none of us had ever read before, was this prophecy:

~~~~~

In the days,

Of the dragon,

In a City,

Of Sparkling Light,

Arrives a boy,

To become king,

And a dragon to fight…

~~~~~

 From across,

The horizon,

He comes,

From afar,

A knight,

To do battle,

A soul,

From the stars…

~~~~~

A people,

To rescue,

A kingdom,

To rule,

A boy,

Becomes king,

A dragon,

To fool…

~~~~~

A boy,

Is no match,

For a dragon,

Some say,

But wait,

For one day,

 A dragon,

He will slay.

~~~~~

Vyanthal has been vanquished, Jonathan, and a dragon has emerged from the depths of Kriegareth – The Wastelands of Fell Ignar!  A disturbance in the deep must have roused the dragon – a sight which hasn’t been seen in Myllanthar since the First Age.  The dragon rules Talgarth and terrorizes everything in the Kingdom of Talgar which has no king after Vyanthal, and the fear is that more dragons will emerge from the depths.

You are the ‘boy to become king’ and ‘the boy from across the horizon,’ Jonathan – the only one who can save us.  Find a way to return again as quickly as possible, for only you can to defeat the dragon – otherwise, there can be no hope for Myllanthar…

Your Friend,

Arrydor (Gramps)

~~~~~~~~~~

Jonathan lowered the note onto his lap, staring wide-eyed across his room in disbelief thinking, A dragon?  Me?  Quickly?  He couldn’t believe what he had just read – but if they were all depending on him, somehow he’d find a way back to Myllanthar – for it was his duty as a Knight of Pengarth…