“You have three choices”, it had said. When I gave my desperate plea for any form of hint, it only replied, “Each has its own path, battles, consequences and concept of rewards. Of the warring forces, one must win. I cannot tell you more. You write your future.”
I stood there, my choices before me, three identical doors. The entrance through which I had entered the room, exploring the musty old house, now but a faint outline behind me. The right? I’ve always been right handed. The left? We’re always told to stick to the left of the road. The center? That’d be the most obvious. But it’d expect me to take that one. Or would it expect me to expect it to expect me to take that one?
I walked up to the center door. There was no key hole through which to peek. So I listened, placing my ear against the cold metal knob in the hope of a clue as to what was on the other side.
The center door had the sound of flowing, babbling water. There must have been a river there. There was a soft and melodious music, a reed instrument.
The left hand door had the sounds of a workplace, of civilization. There were voices. People. This must be the one I’m meant to enter. The people will help me.
But I must first check the third. And I did so. Nothing was to be heard, until what sounded to be a faint breath of wind and the rustling of leaves.
I stood back, three choices before me. The left seemed to be the most familiar, the middle the most appealing and the right… peaceful? I stood there, reverse psychologising myself into a knot.
I have to make a decision. I will go with what I first felt was right; the right door. I write my future, it said. So I walked towards the right-hand door and opened it in a rush to see how I had doomed myself to die.. Before me stretched seemingly endless tunnel of leaves. I stepped in. The door slammed behind me and was gone, an endless tunnel of trees before me. I sensed that something – no, somethings – were pleased I had chosen them and not the others. They wanted me to run.
So I ran, down the tunnel of leaves no idea what I was doing or what was happening. I just knew I must run, like a hamster in his wheel. Time distorted, my mind dimmed, I was only vaguely aware of running. Or galloping, swimming, crawling, slithering, even flying. I only managed to concentrate for brief moments. I was always still myself, two legs and two arms, but there seemed to be a different ghostly form surrounding me each time, me feeling as if I were the creature. I could not recognize the creatures as anything I had seen before, but it may have been my addled mind. I was being tested, by whom or to what purpose I did not know. But as eternity stretched on, I gradually faded into blackness.
I awoke, my body numb but still. I could hear whispering. It was remarkably clear, though I somehow knew it was several meters away.
“…remarkably strong. It’s no wonder our enemies are bitter that he chose us. He might well be the one that leads to the end of the war.”
“He will still have to go through training like any of us. We, and our rival leaders have taken an oath that none of any our faction will know of this.”
“I am sure he will excel at the training. Especially in this new form, no longer a weakling human like those that rely so heavily on their contraptions and technology. He almost broke himself free when we were testing what would be best for him.”
“It went on too long. Anyone else might not have woken up from being in that state for so long.”
“He was suited for almost every form. We could not decide, until we found that there was one he showed a particular reaction to.”
A third, softer-spoken voice joined, “Shh, he stirs. Remember that there are more ways to end a war than merely defeating the opposition.”
I was indeed beginning to move. Feeling was returning to my body. But… something felt wrong. There was a warmth inside me. Did I have a second pair of arms? No, they bent wrong, the fingers felt stiff and… meters long
I opened my eyes, seeing a beaked face in front of me. I feebly tried lifting my head, opening my mouth, managing but a squeak.
“Shh now,” it was the third speaker who I saw, “You will forget everything. Your past and this. Your memories will be returned to you when you are ready. Sleep now. When you wake up, you’ll only know that you are of this world.” There was an aspect to her voice which inclined me to do nothing but agree. The world again faded to darkness.
“Wake up recruit!” I woke with a start. Once I had gained my bearings I stood up on all four feet. Where am I? Who is this pegasus in front of me? “Who am I?” I realized I had spoken aloud.
“You are Duane. I was informed that you were found wandering the woods, having lost your memories. Those blasted elves, think their magic is so high-and-mighty. Well, you’re at the training camp and I am the instructor over here. I am under orders to train you from bottom up – seeing as you’ve forgotten a lot. Hopefully sometime during your training the Elves’ magic might wear off, or it might not. Either way you are going to make new memories here. I hope you at least have not forgotten what you are?”
“N-no…” I managed, looking down at myself, “I’m a dragon.”