That night Kai had the most vivid dream ever. He dreamt he was walking the plains of Minius on watch, when he saw a lone figure a few hundred yards away. The figure had a brown cloak wrapped around his thin frame. His hood was down and Kai could see long straight black hair that was freely hanging around his shoulders he could also see a beard covering the man’s pale face. Kai was confused because he was sure nothing was there just a moment ago. It was a fleeting moment that was quickly replaced with curiosity. The man stood still with his arms crossed inside his sleeves. He started walking toward the figure, as he did he noticed that the man cracked a crooked smile toward him. As he walked closer, the figure’s height seemed to never change. This struck Kai as weird because he knew that as you approach and object it usually gets bigger. It was almost like Kai wasn’t getting closer at all, but he was sure he was because he noticed more and more features of the man becoming clearer. The man’s eyes were a green-blue like that of a humpback whales belly observed from the surface of the water. His face was gaunt, his cheeks and eyes were sunken in, but there still seemed to be a vibrant aura emanating from those piercing eyes.
Kai felt liked he knew this man from somewhere. As he got closer, the man seemed to finally gain in height. Kai estimated that he had to be about seven feet tall now and he was still fifty feet from the man. That is when something clicked inside of Kai’s brain. Of course he knew who this man was. He was the wizard from the book he was reading the night before or maybe two nights? Kai couldn’t remember when but he knew this man. It was Ifrahim himself.
Kai was overcome with excitement and began to jog to him, calling “Ifrahim is that you? I never thought I would meet you, and here of all places! Can I ask you a few questions?” As Kai stopped in front of Ifrahim he was surprised at how tall Ifrahim really was. He was at least seven foot eight judging by his own height.
“Hello my boy” Ifrahim said bending down to be at Kai’s level. “What is your name now?” Ifrahim voice was raspy as if his vocal cords were not used to talking anymore. His voice cracked several times just getting out those few words.
“Oh I am sorry. Forgive my rudeness Ifrahim. It is just I never thought I would actually see you. It seemed that you died years ago. Oh, I forget myself again. I am Kai.” Kai offered his hand as he introduced himself.
“That is a good name. I like it.” Ifrahim said straightening back up and ignoring the proffered hand. “I am happy to see you still around. I was worried for a while there.” Ifrahim smiled at Kai. For some reason there was a chill that ran through Kai’s spine when Ifrahim was smiling at him. “Now what would you like to ask me Kai?” Ifrahim said this with a warmth of a fatherly figure.
“Well there are many things I want to ask you. I don’t know where to start. Hmm.” Kai brought his proffered hand to his chin as he thought for a few seconds. “Oh, I know, maybe you can show me your spell book? It would be a pleasure to look upon your work even though some of it would most likely never make sense to me. Hey, who knows, maybe I would be able to learn something.” Kai smiled back at Ifrahim.
“This unfortunately would not be the time for that. You still have a lot to learn and grow before that could happen, Kai. I like your ambition though.” Ifrahim looked down at Kai then knelt down again to Kai’s level. “Right now it is time for you to take your true form my child. You have done well. I am proud.” Ifrahim smiled at Kai. The smile was almost that of a person who knew a secret that he kept from someone for a long time and now was the time to reveal it. Kai did not like surprises or secrets.
“What do you mean? Do you mean it is time for me to reach my potential?” Kai’s question was of no use. Ifrahim just smiled and straightened up. He took one step back and vanished. Kai was impressed with the magic prowess that Ifrahim must possess to be able to teleport without using words, or gesturers, or even spell components for that matter.
Kai started to feel funny after Ifrahim left. His ears started to itch, his head seemed all of a sudden to clear up as if he was walking in a fog all his life and it finally lifted. The ever presence of magic that flowed through him seemed to strengthen just a little. Next the headache came on. Kai grabbed his head in pain and curled up into a ball in the grass screaming. When the pain subsided just a little he got up and started to walk toward the gate. Another wave of excruciating pain wracked his head and he fell down right on a rock cracking his head open. Kai watched as his blood started to poor out wetting the ground in a crimson liquid just before his eyes.
Kai woke up gulping air. He calmed himself down quickly and looked around to get his bearings. He was in a room with lots of books, and a lamp was sputtering out above him. The sun looked like it had come up not too long ago. “Phew, it was just a dream.” Kai looked back down at the book he was reading. The story that he fell asleep reading was the one about the gnomes. It seemed to him that there was something different about the book. Almost as if it got just slightly bigger. He also just noticed that the chair seemed slightly big for him. But that couldn’t be so because he remembered it was small for him. He thought maybe Gurmble was playing a trick on him. He shook his head to clear some of the cobwebs and scratched behind his ear as he yawned.
As he scratched he noticed that his ear seemed to have elongated at the top. He frantically checked his ear with his hand. It had a point at the top! But how?! Could he still be in a dream? He pinched himself to make sure. “Ouch!” the voice he heard was familiar but sharper as if it was coming from a smaller person than him. Kai’s eyes went wide and he checked both ears. Not only was the right one pointed but so was the left one! Kai thought for a while but settled down shortly, proclaiming to himself that it had to be a joke. Someone must have gotten ahold of a magic potion and poured it on him while he slept. “That is it” Kai said trying to convince himself. “All I have to do is go see the others and we will all have a big laugh. That’s it.” Kai smiled and got up from the chair. He was clearly a couple of inches shorter than he used to be.
Just in case he had to use any means of intimidation Kai took a mental inventory of his spells. He somehow knew some new spells. That is when the pain came back to him. “Wait you can’t remember a headache from a dream. At least not that amount of pain. Right?” Kai thought for a moment then passed it off as possibly picking the spells up from a book that he read. “Yea that is it. I learned them from one of these books. If I could only remember which one. Enh, that will have to come later.” Kai decided he should meditate for his hour to refresh his head and get the cobwebs out first. He got back into the chair and sat cross-legged on it. He folded his hands together onto his lap and began to meditate, as he did he was picturing building a new lantern that would burn for days on end without needing a refill. One that would hold the same amount of oil as any other lantern of the same size. He was also thinking of a way to direct the light so that it would seem as if it was brighter.
Again Kai shook his head. “That was weird. I have never thought of that while I meditated before.” Kai shook his head and took a mental inventory of his spells again. They were all there plus those few extra. One good thing he guessed was that he felt almost healthier, able to take more. The only explanation he could think of for that was he was smaller. He just shrugged and figured it was only part of his weird dream or the prank everyone was playing on him. He got back out of the chair and headed into the main room of the house. As he approached the door he heard clinking of utensils and people talking. He took a deep breath and walked in.
Gurmble was the first to notice the door opening and as he turned his head he said “Hey, sleepy head. I hope you were able to……….” Gurmble stopped in mid-sentence because he was expecting to see the six foot lithe frame of Kai walking through the door but instead he saw a four foot eight gnome smiling in the door frame. Gurmble gasped, quickly standing up he shouted “Who are you? How did you get in here?” Everyone else snapped their heads to the door as soon as Gurmble gasped and stood up. All of them did the same. Everyone’s hands went directly to weapons that were not on their sides. Spike growled and stood in between Flynn and the gnome.
The gnome had brown hair that flowed freely down his face, points of his ears were sticking out between tufts of hair. His face was clean-shaven except for some peach fuzz that was so light you wouldn’t know it was there if you were not standing right next to him. His eyebrows were thick as was typical of all gnomes. His eyes were a deep brown almost to the point of being black. His face looked a lot like Kai’s even down to the few scars that were on his face. The gnome put his hands up and exclaimed “I am Kai!” The gnome had on the same colored cloak that Kai always wore. It even had the same holes in the same spots but the cloak was smaller of course.
“You can’t be Kai. Kai is a human and…. Well….. taller. You are clearly a gnome. Now tell me what did you do with Kai and why are you trying to be him?” Gurmble said taking a threatening step toward the gnome. Flynn flinched slightly when Gurmble took a step toward the gnome preparing herself more for the possibility of confrontation, this made Spike growl and step closer to the gnome as well.
Kai put up his little hands in defence and said “Look, I am Kai. I was here reading the book about the wizard Ifrahim.” The gnome pointed toward the door he just came from. “You can look if you would like.”
“You just came from that room. You could have easily put any book down on the table. I can’t trust you.” Gurmble said stepping closer again. The gnome took a step back but ran into the closed door. His eyes were wide from fear and his mouth was hanging open, almost like he wanted to say something, but he was at a loss for words.
Joanan took a step forward, bent down and squinted. “He kind of looks like Kai.”
“I am Kai. Joanan, you have been my friend my whole life. You know me. Tell them it’s me.” The gnome looked past Joanan and said “Whoever decided to pour whatever potion on me that did this to me it isn’t funny, okay? I would like it if you guys would stop. You are starting to scare me right now.”
“How can we really take you for your word? You could have done anything to Kai in an attempt to find out any information from us. If you really are Kai then you will have to prove it.”
“I told you I AM Kai! How else would I know that your father died recently, or that all of us came to you on the exact same day with similar stories? And who would still have this shoddy dagger because he paid ten gold pieces for it?” the gnome said
“Everyone knows all that. The dagger you could have easily taken from Kai. You need to do better than that.” Gurmble said stepping closer threateningly. “What did you do with my friend, you thief?” Gurmble growled this last part out.
Joanan put his hand on Gurmble’s shoulder to get his attention. “Let me try Gurmble. I know a way that can truly let me know if this is Kai or not.” Gurmble huffed and took a step back and gestured for Joanan to go ahead. Joanan stepped forward and slouched to be more at the gnome’s height. “So, if you really are Kai then you will know what I said to my father as he laid in his deathbed.”
“I was there I remember that. Hmm, let me see.” The gnome looked down at the floor and put his chin in his hand and thought for a while. He smiled and looked back at Joanan and said “You told your father that you know you could never live up to his standards. That he was the bravest man you have ever known. You also told him that growing up you had only one hero and that it was him. He inspired you to do your best at everything you tried out. The last thing you told him was that the lord will accept him with open arms and should he have any sins left in this world, that whatever good deed you did from now on would be for his salvation, and in his name.”