No one saw the siege coming. No one saw the still young but power greedy apprentice. No one knew what had happened until it was too late.
It was just pure luck that Mark was playing with Ullr, a shapeshifter cat that turned into a panther at night when the siege was cast. Even in the dark night, you can see the magical light of a siege.
Mark's first thought was to try to break the siege on the beloved Wizard Tower. He wasn't a very good wizard, but he still tried.
It was after he tried five times that he remembered that only the caster can save the trapped place.
His second thought was to get away from the castle, for they might blame him for the siege.
As Mark tore through the dark, muddy swamp, and realized he was going to die. Without the Wizard Castle for protection and food, he had nothing. No home. No one to protect him. No food supply. Not that he had a family in the Wizard Castle, for he was just an ordinary orphan.
He climbed up a tree to rest, closely followed by Ullr. He leaned his head against the trunk of the great oak when suddenly Ullr growled and bared his teeth. He jumped up, alert, grabbed a nearby stick, perfect for a staff, and stabbed the thing. Could this be the one was cast the siege? Was that person coming back for him? He stabbed again. This time it met its target. Wooft! Thump! Crash!
The thing dropped out of the bushes. Mark was surprised to see a young, worn out boy. But what wasn't a surprise these days?
When the boy woke, up he looked like a scared animal being hunted. Mark tried to calm and sooth the boy. It was no use. Mark asked the boy what his name was. No answer.
After a long time, it was as if the boy just realized that Mark had talked to him, he wrote on the ground, "I can't hear or talk." Mark took out his pen and pad and wrote, "What is your name?"
The boy wrote, "My parents died when I was a baby. But my master called me Croach. I was the only one who has seen and knows the one who has cast this siege. He is that wizard's apprentice, Fume."
After writing for a long time, Mark found out that Croach got adopted by the nasty, old, always grumpy lumberjack. Croach finally ran away, because the apprentice, Fume, was making a deal with the lumberjack. Fume would siege the castle because the lumberjack hated the always teasing, magical, castle kids. In return, the lumberjack would give Croach as an apprentice to Fume because Fume wanted an apprentice to do all his dirty work. Croach knew "dirty work" was killing the king and queen. Without the king and queen, Fume could rule the Wizard Castle.
Even as an orphan Croach was loyal to the Wizard Castle. He didn't want to kill or hurt his ruler. Running away was his only choice. Without Croach, no one wanted to do Fume's dirty work. But that didn't stop him from casting a siege upon the castle. Soon the castles food supply will go down, then the people of the castle will have to surrender or starve.
Somehow they were supposed to find and capture Fume before the castle people starved. At this thought, he drifted into uneasy sleep.
Mark woke up at something biting his side, and the thing was inside his pocket. He stuffed his hands into his pocket and grabbed the biting, snorting thing. When Mark opened his hand, a small ball of fire came from the thing. The thing then unfolded bladed wings. The thing, as Mark looked closer, was a dragon.
It was rare to have a dragon that is a child to touch you. When it does touch you, he or she becomes your faithful friend and loyal warrior. This small dragon was only the size of a robin, but he or she will grow quickly.
Mark decided to call the young dragon, Young Flare. Young Flare, because he was young to flare his first flame.
They set off first thing in the morning. Last night they went hunting. Now they had enough food for the whole trip. Croach knew where the lumberjack and Fume's camp was, so the journey was quicker.
On the trip, Young Flare grew from the size of a robin to the size of a panther to the size of three mules.
Halfway through the journey, Young Flare was big enough to carry everyone on his back.
Young Flare has never flown before, so this was risky. But risks must be taken. They started out rough, but they soon started cruising. They made it in just a week.
Fume was not at the camp at the time. So the lumberjack was on guard till Fume was back. At the sight of his old master, Croach almost tumbled of Young Flare. Mark caught him just in time.
Night soon came and the sound of snoring echoed through the silent night. The gang poked around and collected a lot of food, weapons, magic books, magic maps, and Fume's apprentice's robe. After storing and collecting useful items, they set off towards the loud snoring.
They soon found the lumberjack fast asleep. It was easy to lock up the lumberjack. They dragged him into the lockup. The lumberjack screamed and spit. The gang had to set his clothes on fire. The lumberjack gave up and begged for mercy. He swore never to come back. One down. One left. Soon after the lumberjack left, the gang set up their trap.
A couple days late, Fume was met at camp by a boy wearing an apprentice with signs. The signs said, "I'm Croach. Your bounded apprentice." Fume chuckled. The lumberjack did keep his side of the deal. Lumberjacks were known for being untrustworthy.
Fume's new apprentice flipped a sign that said, "Follow me, master." Fume followed his new apprentice up winded steps. Where was his apprentice going?
After a very long trip, the duo reached the top of the lockup. Fume's heart leaped. Was his apprentice going to lock him up? Was the lumberjack untrustworthy after all?
Croach flipped another sign that said, "Look inside. I caught the only one that escaped." Fume peered into the lockup. Sure enough, inside was a shaggy, young boy. Fume felt proud for his apprentice.
Suddenly, a giant dragon crashed through the top of the lockup. Claws gripped Fume's shoulders tightly. Fume kicked, shouted, bit, screamed, punched, yelled, spit, and scratched at the dragon. The dragon made no response.
At dawn, they arrived in front of the of the Wizard Tower. There Fume was wrestled to the ground. Mark quickly bound up Fume. Croach? Escaper? Dragon? Panther? Fume's thoughts were jumbled. But before he could finish his thought, he was knocked out.
A few days later, Fume was tired, hurt, hungry, cold, and still not giving up. That night, the gang was roasting duck over the fire Young Flare made. The roasted duck was overpowering. Fume's favorite food was roasted duck, and luckily, Croach knew this. The smell drifted around his nose, teasing him.
Wailing, swearing he would break the siege on the castle, Fume gave up. The gang untied Fume, gave him a roasted duck, which Fume quickly gobbled up, and waited for morning. In the morning, Fume approached the Wizard Tower gates, with Mark and Croach by his side, guarding.
Fume raised up his hands and did a undo spell. The gates lifted from their rest. Hungry people spilled out. They ran to the young heroes and surrounded them with kisses, hugs, and praises.
Fume was put in the lockup. Croach started a sign language school. Mark was named, Savior Mark. Young Flare and Ullr got personal warehouses. Everything was good. For now, at least.