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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Three, Part Ten


Jonathan pondered Arrydor’s last point of trying to gain an upper hand on the dragon, but failed to think of anything he could do that would create such a position.  It wasn’t like he could just round it up on horseback into a corral and lock it in.  What could he possibly lock a dragon into that would be safe and secure?

“What could I possibly do to gain the upper hand on the dragon, Gramps?  I can’t think of anything except maybe to hide in a place where it can’t find me, but what good would that do?  That’s no way to slay a dragon…”

“I don’t know either, Lad, but attempting to gain the upper hand on the dragon is the only approach I can think of that would allow you to get close enough to surprise it.  Hiding won’t fool a dragon though, because dragon’s have excellent senses including their ability to see, hear and smell.  If you’re within a day’s travel of it it will be able to find you.  A dragon can even feel the impact of your feet while walking quietly in the distance – once you begin tracking the beast it is liable to find you long before you find it.”

Arrydor continued saying, “Surprising a dragon isn’t the same as slaying a dragon though, and I don’t have an answer for either part to make it work, but time is of the essence.  We’ve discussed this enough for one day, and you’ll need your rest for what’s to come.  For now we’ll have to sleep on it and tomorrow we’ll try to make a plan, but the best plan may just be to head out and make up a plan based on the situation you find yourself in outside The King’s Preserve.  Good night, Jonathan,” and with that Arrydor’s voice faded away into distant birdsong and the faint rustling of leaves in the trees above.

Sammy remained by Jonathan’s side there in the grass of Myullar Wood, quietly keeping his thoughts to himself.  Although he didn’t know all the details of what was ahead of them, Sammy at least understood that the way wouldn’t be an easy one.  At this point he decided it was better to just relax in the grass, because he was sure this refuge in the Wood wouldn’t last very long.

At that point, the light in the Wood dimmed, and a number of lanterns illuminated alongside the banquet table with a new spread of delicious foods prepared for the two of them.  Jonathan fixed a plate of various meats and bones for Sammy to chew on, and filled a bowl of water for him.  He then helped himself to servings of stew, bread, nuts, fruits and vegetables, all the while pondering what had transpired that day.

Gramps was teaching him what he needed to know about dragon slaying, and Jonathan was placing that information into the context of an adventure and a game, in order to be able to better grasp what he needed to understand.  Jonathan already knew enough on his own to know that perception was reality in this situation, because if he viewed this quest to track, hunt, fool and slay a dragon as it really was, he’d be too scared to do anything.  The only way he could see this task as something doable, was to make it as fun as he could – even if it was a deadly game he was playing, at least, he would play it – because his friends were counting on him…

(End of Book Two, Chapter Three)


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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Three, Part Nine


“How am I to outrun a dragon, Gramps, after all, I’m only a boy?  You say I need to stay quick on my feet and one step ahead of this creature, but it’s so much faster than I am…” questioned Jonathan.

“I’m not referring to how fast or quickly you can run, my friend, but what matters is the speed of your intellect.  You will need to be able to make a plan on the run, so to speak, and then act on it as the situation dictates, for everything will happen and change in a moment when confronting a dragon.  It is the speed of your thinking and reaction time that matters, along with the choices you make.  One false move and your foe may not give you a second chance.”

“Maybe I can think of tracking and hunting this beast as an adventure, Gramps, like it’s something fun to do.  That way I wouldn’t be so afraid, and could turn it into a game for Sammy and I to play – like fetch on the farm – except instead of a stick, we’re playing fetch with a dragon!”  For the first time since arriving in The King’s Preserve, Jonathan was smiling and pleased with himself for turning this dragon slaying quest into a game.

Arrydor smiled in his invisibility, thinking about the mind of an almost nine year old boy equating dragon hunting with a game saying, “You can think of it as ‘to catch a dragon by the tail,’ Jonathan, but the object isn’t to hold on for long – instead it is to lead the beast where you want it to go – and you’re the bait…”

Jonathan gulped and said, “When you put it that way, Gramps, I’m not sure I want to play cat and mouse with a dragon – with me being the mouse – and Sammy as the cheese. Perhaps we would rather be playing ‘tag you’re it’ with the creature – that way we’re both long gone and it has to chase us!”  Jonathan was again quite pleased with himself by choosing to instead play tag with the dragon, or perhaps it was just his way of fending off the deeper feelings of fear that were gnawing away inside him. Humor was the quickest way to put a lighthearted spin on such a serious task, as one to free all of Myllanthar from the scourge of this dragon.

“I think your arrow is closer to the mark with playing tag, than it is with equating dragon hunting as a game of fetch, Master Jonathan.  This is a life and death situation you’re entering into, and perhaps equating it to a game is the one way to keep your sanity intact.  The goal of this game is to not let the dragon tag you back though, and somehow lead it into a situation that gives you the upper hand where you can deal with it on your terms – there are few situations when a boy can achieve the upper hand on such a beast – but if anyone can gain the upper hand on a dragon, it would be you, Lad.”

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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Three, Part Eight


“I understand that, Gramps, but how am I to have the confidence that I can succeed against this dragon, for the situation looks hopeless to me…” asked Jonathan in a subdued and depressed tone.  “How can everyone be counting on me when I’m just a boy?”

“Never give up hope, young Jonathan, for there is much to know about life.  Some things are known, yet most of the future remains unknown to us.  Somehow the prophecy identifies that you will succeed against this beast, so there is much that is unknown to you and to me as to how this will come to be.  We may not know where, or when, or how you will succeed, but we can take courage in the fact that it will come to be – if you remain committed to the task and prepare accordingly,” answered Arrydor reassuringly.  “You can find comfort in the fact that you have the knowledge that victory will be yours, while the dragon remains in the dark regarding the truth.  Perhaps you can use that knowledge to your advantage to secure the outcome.”

“The creature is so terrible and huge, Gramps, how do I even have a chance against it?  All I see in my mind is the strength and power of this beast, and how it mocks me as a challenger – it isn’t a fair fight…”

“Nothing in life is fair, Master Jonathan.  Life is what it is, and our task is to deal with it as we find it – however, we don’t have to accept it at face value – for no outcome is predetermined in life.   Any outcome can be swayed by imposing our will on the situation to rise above our own limitations.  We don’t seek a fair fight in this matter, only a winning fight will do in this case.  It’s up to us to prepare you for it.”

Arrydor continued, “The prophecy tells us you will succeed, that we know.  We also know that you are smarter than the beast.  The dragon makes decisions based on instinct, while you are smart enough to adapt and react in ways it can’t know or prepare for.  That’s why it’s important to somehow work the monster into a blinding rage that will dictate how it will react, and then use that rage to your advantage.”

“We know how the dragon will react, Gramps, it will grab and eat me – and Sammy, too!” exclaimed Jonathan.

“Not if you don’t let it, Jonathan, you need to think on your feet and stay one step ahead of the creature…it’s the only way.”


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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Three, Part Seven


The image before him on parchment paper terrified young Jonathan, and he understood the enormity of the task ahead of him.  The dragon resembled a Komodo dragon or monitor lizard, with characteristics resembling both green iguanas and certain types of dinosaurs.  It was covered in heavy scales, with a flared dorsal fin and neck shields embedded with spikes, numerous defensive bumps, spikes and horns protruding along the sides of its back and behind its elbow joints, massively long sharp claws on its toes, and armored skin folds sagging around its torso.

Jonathan knew a lot about about animals and dinosaurs, as he read all the books he could find and check out from the library, but he had never seen anything as horrible as this appeared.  Even the illustrated dragons in his book about knights and castles recounting the lore of dragon encounters in Medieval days were nothing like this beast.  Worst of all, he was to set out on a quest to track, hunt, fool and slay this dragon by first taunting it into a blind rage – how was that to work…

Gramps had stated that this beast was as long as 20 men are tall, which placed it well over 100 feet long – longer than even the largest of dinosaurs!  Its tail made up half its length like a snake, covered in sharp spikes at the very tip.  It resembled a giant version of a dinosaur Jonathan had read about called a Megalania, a huge monitor lizard that lived ages ago in Australia that grew to well over 20 feet in length.  The dragon’s teeth were long and pronounced in its jaw like that of a Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur, while its skull was more streamlined like that of a monitor lizard with sharp, curving spikes protruding behind its eyes.

Jonathan shuddered at the sight of this beast, and Sammy picked up on his master’s fear with a soft whimper before burying his nose under his front paws.  Sammy hadn’t liked the idea of this adventure ever since they first discovered the narrow tunnel in the cellar of the Spence Family Farm’s historic farmhouse – and he certainly didn’t like the feelings he was picking up from Jonathan now.

The scales of the beast were the color of charcoal, tipped and edged in a deep blood red that highlighted its defensive ornamentation.  Its lizard-like shape was well adapted to the confining tunnels and passageways running deep underground, allowing it to not only run and climb very quickly, but to also swim efficiently in underground lakes and rivers.  The dragon’s flared fin protrusions along its dorsal spine and around its neck contained a series of spikes like spears, which seemed to be able to flare and fold at will – vastly increasing the size and shape of its appearance when confronting a foe.  There seemed to be no hope for Jonathan against such a foe…

As Jonathan sat in stunned silence staring at the image of this beast, Arrydor broke the stillness saying, “It is a formidable opponent, Master Jonathan, which explains the seriousness of the task before you.  This is why you must arm yourself with every tool available if you are to fool and slay the dragon.  Your only weapons are the courage, bravery and confidence of your heart, along with the rigorous training of your mind to outwit the beast – there is nothing else that will save you…”


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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Three, Part Six


How was this even possible, thought Jonathan, that in order to succeed in his task of fooling and slaying a dragon, he would have to first taunt and goad this dragon to enrage it – this was bound to have a bad ending any way he looked at it…

“If I’m to tease this dragon to make it angry, Gramps, then it’s best I know more about it, like what does this dragon even look like?  Does it fly and breathe fire?” asked Jonathan matter of factly.  If he was to become a successful dragon slayer, then he’d better at least act the part.

“No, Lad, this particular dragon neither flies nor breathes fire, because it normally spends its life underground in the dark and terrifying caves and tunnels that lie deep beneath Myllanthar – all leading back to the terror of Kriegareth, the Wastelands of Fell Ignar,” explained Arrydor, “Until now, of course.”

“It would help if you could describe this dragon in detail to me, Gramps, so I know what I’m up against.  I wouldn’t want to be surprised the first time I encounter it,” spoke Jonathan bravely, while deep inside he was terrified to know the truth of what he was up against.

“I can do better than a description, Son, here’s a picture for you to study that will answer most of your questions about the beast,” responded Arrydor.

With that said, a momentary swirling wind revealed another sheet of parchment floating down out of the trees above, as his voice of sparkling waters faded into the sounds of this forceful breeze within the wood.  Jonathan was now completely used to the fact that Gramps remained invisible – his voice reflecting the nature of this forest of ancient trees.  What he wasn’t so aware of though, was the fact he now relied on previously long-dormant perceptions to heighten his awareness and understanding of the environment around him.  A clear sign of progress.

The action of stooping to pick the sheet of parchment up from the grass caused Jonathan to lose his breath and take a step backwards, stunned beyond words at his first glimpse of this image of the beast.  After a long pause and hesitation while trying to compose himself to stop his arms and legs from shaking, Jonathan calmed himself with the knowledge that this was only an image – not the dragon itself – but one that made a future encounter all that more dangerous and deadly…


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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Three, Part Five


“Everything you need to defeat the dragon lies within you, Jonathan,” continued Arrydor, “You just need to know how to focus your attention at any given time to make the right decisions, and take the necessary actions to not only prevail, but to also survive the encounter.  That’s why our training begins with you.  Your heart and mind is all the enchantment you’ll ever need to succeed in your quest.  There is no other way now, Lad, for time is running out and all of Myllanthar depends on you.”

So how do I learn to make decisions, Gramps, and how do I know they’re the right ones?” asked Jonathan.

“First of all, you need to know and understand the environment around you at all times, Jonathan, which means you can never let your guard down.  Perception is everything when it comes to surviving this quest, and you’ll need your senses at full alert at all times – sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch – and most importantly, your 6th sense of knowing when something’s not right.  Sammy will assist you in this, by complementing your senses with his, which are often more sensitive, especially his senses of smell, hearing and knowing when something’s wrong.”

Arrydor continued, “Secondly, your love of adventure has already instilled an inner strength of courage, bravery and confidence, Son – otherwise you couldn’t have been such an avid adventurer at your young age.  You already understand leadership and responsibility, especially concerning Sammy when adventuring, and you are familiar with decision making and overcoming challenges, as evidence of your first visit to Myllanthar.  Without these key skills, you wouldn’t be the adventurer you’ve become today.  These are the skills you will need to rely on, as you proceed to track, hunt and encounter the beast.”

“But this dragon is so much larger and more powerful, Gramps, how am I to gain an advantage over it?” asked Jonathan, wondering how this could ever work.

“Dragons are indeed large and powerful creatures, Jonathan, with this one being as long as twenty men are tall.  It is also very cunning, calculating, bold and deceptive – much smarter than one might think – but it is not as smart as you are, Lad.  It also doesn’t know that its fate is sealed in prophecy, which makes it even more dangerous, as it expects to win any encounter.  It is this expectation that may serve as his downfall, Jonathan, if you can find a way to use it to your advantage.  If you are to fool and slay this dragon, you will need to enrage it as much as possible, for only in its blinding overconfidence do you have a hope of turning its rage against it.”

“I’m supposed to make this dragon even an-gri-er?” hesitated Jonathan, swallowing his words as he pronounced them.  “I’m not sure I can do that, Gramps…”

“But you must if you are to complete this quest and free Myllanthar of this scourge upon its soil.  Everyone and everything depends on you, Son – you must exploit the dragon’s sole weakness by blinding him with rage – which is your only hope of success…”


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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Three, Part Four


“Very well, Master Jonathan, we start at the beginning…” stated Arrydor, “With you.”

“What do you mean we start with me,” questioned Jonathan, “I thought we’d start with dragons and enchantment?”

Arrydor’s still invisible voice paused for a moment with a sigh before continuing, “You thought wrong, Lad, and if that happens with the beast it will be your final thought – do you understand?”

“I guess,” Jonathan apologized, “But didn’t you say I’d need enchantment to slay the dragon?  Where and when do I get this enchantment, Gramps, for without it I’m just a boy.”

“Are you then finally ready to learn your lessons, Son?  I will teach you what you need to know, but you are to remain receptive if you are to learn anything from what I say.  As for the dragon, those lessons will occur at the end of your training, once you are ready to comprehend them.  I will deal, however, with the nature of enchantment now though, so that you understand there is no easy answer to your task.”

Jonathan sat quietly on the ground with Sammy lying beside him, listening to Gramps’ voice begin the lessons.

“There are two types of enchantments, young Jonathan – one that resides outside of us, and another which lies within us.  The enchantment used by the Sylth and Myull Peoples are examples of external enchantments, derived from the energy and power of the sun, moon, stars and trees.  This type of enchantment is learned over the course of lifetimes and generations, and beyond the ability at your age and time of preparation.  Besides, there is no known enchantment in Myllanthar that can overpower a dragon – for even I can’t defeat a dragon on my own.”

“Then my task is hopeless, Gramps, because if you can’t defeat a dragon, how am I to do it?” lamented Jonathan.  “I’m not even nine years old yet..”

“Open your mind, Lad, for all is not lost – remember, there’s always hope – because the second type of enchantment resides inside us all,” continued Arrydor, “Even you.”

“There’s nothing special about me, Gramps, you ought to know that.  What could Sammy and I do against a dragon?” replied Jonathan meekly.

“First of all, you’re not from Myllanthar, Jonathan, and the prophecy states you are the one who will fool and slay a dragon.  Secondly, the type of internal enchantment we all have is shared between the heart and mind – the heart for courage, bravery, and confidence – and the mind for practice, plans, preparation, persuasion, techniques, tactics and skills – all of which you are beginning to learn even now.”


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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Three, Part Three


“Is that really you, Gramps – but why can’t I see you?” asked Jonathan with surprise.  “How did you find me here in the Wood?”

“Yes it’s me, Lad.  I’ve been expecting you – all of Myllanthar depends on your learning the lessons I am to teach you,” began Arrydor.  “Much has changed since the day you left us, and there is no time for delay.  One day you will see me again, however, this technique of instruction is required in order to awaken your inner awareness, and learn to think and act on your own.  The dragon will not give you an inch, and you will need every ounce of perception you can find in order to detect a weakness in the beast you can exploit – your very success and survival depends on it.”

“Where is everyone, Gramps, why can’t we just do this training in Castle Penmaryll?” questioned Jonathan to the air around him.

“Everyone’s gone, Jonathan, evacuated to the southern coast.  The dragon descended from the Tregarrons and attacked the Kingdom of Pengarth.  The beast now lives in Castle Penmaryll, and often perches on its towers.  The only deterrent that worked temporarily against the attacking dragon was a Light Sword, but even it proved to have its limitations when Captain Pallamar perished in a final defense of the castle against the monster.  His final stand was the action of last resort that allowed the others to escape with their lives.”

Jonathan became very quiet, noticeably moved by the loss of Captain Pallamar and the plight of his friends.  Finally, after a few moments taking in all Arrydor had said, the seriousness of the situation became apparent and caused Jonathan to step up and do what was needed saying, “I’m ready, Gramps, please continue the lesson.  It’s my duty to slay this dragon, and I will not fail…”


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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Three, Part Two


“Do you really think I’m an invisible dragon trying to trick you, Jonathan?” replied the stranger’s voice out of a swirling breeze.  “This isn’t a game, young man – if you’re to ever become a dragon slayer, you’ll have to do much better from this point on.  Your training is of utmost importance if you are to succeed in this quest, and all of Myllanthar hangs in the balance.”

“No, I don’t suppose you’re a dragon…if you were, I wouldn’t be here talking to the air,” answered Jonathan with Sammy sitting at his side, quizzically trying to follow this most unusual of conversations.  “You still haven’t told me who you are or shown yourself to me.  I don’t know if I can trust you to tell me the truth.”

“Open your mind, young Jonathan.  You have to learn to think beyond your eyes and the world around you.  Now think very hard and tell me who I am,” insisted the voice impatiently.  “You will never succeed in slaying a dragon if you can’t open your mind to the answers you require.  The beast will not be as patient with you as I am being, Lad.  You must rise to the occasion, or simply go home…”

“I don’t know your voice,” said Jonathan in a quiet and subdued tone, as if scolded by his teacher at school for not paying attention.  “Your voice sounds like falling leaves and sparkling water, like wind moving through a forest and birdsong in the distance. How is it I’m to know who you are?”

“Perhaps this will jog your memory, Master Jonathan – but from here on out, you must answer all questions on your own – or else return to Hampton, Ohio, having failed in your quest to slay the dragon and save Myllanthar…”

A sudden movement caught Jonathan’s eye, as if a leaf was gently falling from the trees above.  It was early autumn, yet the leaves hadn’t begun turning in The King’s Preserve, and as Jonathan focused on the undulating movement above him, he realized it was a piece of aged parchment.  He tried to catch the elusive movements of the parchment in midair with his hands, but it eluded him and gently settled on the ground before him.  After picking it up and turning it over, Jonathan realized he had seen this note before:


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 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 First Age that none of us had 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,’ Jonathan – the only one who can save us.  Find a way to return to us quickly as only you can to defeat the dragon, for otherwise, there can be no hope for Myllanthar…

Your Friend,

Arrydor (Gramps)


After reading the note slowly and carefully to himself for the umpteenth time – the same note that was tucked away in the secret compartment of his backpack in his bedroom at home – Jonathan looked up into the air with disbelief and asked: “Gramps?”


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

Jonathan’s Return (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Two, Chapter Three, Part One – Enchantment


“No dragon is invincible, yet slaying one isn’t an easy process and requires great skill, courage and bravery.  Such is also the process of living life itself, for dragons often lurk in the mist and shadows of our lives – and it is our task to confront and slay them…” – Mark D. Jones


“I don’t understand,” stated Jonathan to the nebulous voice coming from the air around them.  “Why won’t you reveal yourself?  How am I to learn anything without knowing who you are and what you are trying to teach me?”

“Precisely stated, Master Jonathan, for that is the very purpose and reason why we’re here.  See how you rely on your sight for most everything you do?  Once you lose sight of your opponent – or in this case your teacher – you become helpless and lost.  So it is with a dragon.  If the dragon can’t see you, how is he to defeat you?  Oh, of course, a dragon has many tricks and strengths to fall back on, yet the advantage of his size and power is checked once his vision is taken away.  You must always think in terms of defeating a dragon, Jonathan, for mastery of your every lesson is required if you and Sammy are to survive an encounter with the beast…”

“To take a dragon’s sight away from him means I must first approach him – how could I possibly get so close to something so large?  Even if I were to succeed with taking away the vision from one of the dragon’s eyes, there is still another.  The idea seems to be an impossibility!  Just like this conversation with the air!”

“‘Just like this conversation with the air,’ you say?  So right you are, my Lad, so right you are!  A conversation with the air…  Your first lesson is to learn to unlearn everything you know about yourself, dragons, Myllanthar, and even what it means to be alive.  Only once you forget what you already know, can you then begin to learn what you must understand and master…”

“Show yourself to me, whoever you are, and I will see if I will learn from you.  For all I know – you may be an invisible dragon trying to trick me…”