This room had always intrigued the young wizard. Why was it called the restricted section? What secret did it hide? Owen wanted to find it out and had made it his quest to do so.

He had never noticed the door at the back of the Restricted Section of his uncle’s bookstore. Although he had been to the Mengerie a number of times, the green eyed boy had only been in this room seven times in the recent months since his family had moved to America from England. If his Uncle Marty caught him in here that his father would find out, and his wand would be taken away. It would be hard, nigh impossible, to cast an Aperte-te spell to open a door without a wand. This wand was a good one too. It had belonged to his grandmother and held a precious emerald on the tip of the mountain ash wand. The emerald offered both insight and protection from evil, and the mountain ash offered connection to the magical realm and protection from the darker elements there. It was exactly what the young wizard needed. He often pondered if he would ever need his own wand, but of course, he could not get one until the age of 14. So, it did not matter yet, in any case.

The 11-year-old walked in silence, almost as an elf could, and cast his opening spell, but the door was locked. In frustration, he tried again, and while the wooden door at the back of the room did not open, it shimmered near the handle, as if a lake hit by a cast stone. He closed his eyes, and focused all of the energy of his element, fire, onto the lock of the door. He said the spell a third time, and a thin yellow light spewed forth from the tip of the emerald and the entire door shimmered this time. He stepped towards the door and tried to touch it, but his hand disappeared through the door. Looking over his shoulder and seeing no one, the young wizard stepped through the door.

Owen found himself in bright afternoon sunshine, though the time in Maryland was early morning. As his eyes adjusted, he saw a small grey creature at the foot of the nearby tree. He approached out of curiosity.

“You should not be here.” Speaking to the boy was a three foot high dragon!

“You should not be able to talk.” Owen retorted.

The dragon rolled his eyes and sighed. He closed his eyes and mumbled a spell. The dragon grew to the height of a VERY tall man, and before Owen’s surprised eyes, lost his wings, and grew a beard. Where a small dragon had sat, now stood a very tall, and very old… elf.

“But… you were a—“

“Dragon. Yes. It is a difficult spell to cast, but yes, I am able to transform. A dragon is my animal spirit. So, it is what my spiritus animalus is when I transform.”

Owen stammered for a moment before the elf interrupted him. “You should return to Termari, the land from which you came. Great harm can befall you here, Owen.” The 11-year old’s jaw dropped.

“How do you know my name?” the young wizard asked, shaking his wand at the old elf. The elf nudged the boy’s wand to the side with a gentle motion of his bony hand.

“I know many things. You must leave, but I will permit you to return before your 14th birthday on one condition. You must return with your brother Glen.”

“How do you—“

“As I said I know many things, young master White.” A beast howled nearby. “You must leave quickly, though. A beast is seeking you, as a young one from Termari. You do not yet bear a protective amulet. It is only your wand which holds them at bay.”

“And you, I am guessing.”

“Yes.” The old elf stroked his long beard. “Go quickly, your spell is diminishing.” Owen looked behind him and could see the size of the mid-air shimmer getting smaller.

“What is your name? And will I see you again?”

“I am Lord Ayershall. You may call me headmaster. And indeed we will meet again. How else would you get your spell lessons? Your first lesson is this: ‘Mittere vocem’. Point your wand to a distant door you can see, and call out ‘I’m in here.’”

The beast howled again.

Owen nodded his head to the elf in respect, pushed his wand hand through the diminishing shimmering point in the air, and found himself standing on the floor of the Restricted Section once again.

He heard a voice in the hall. He could see the bathroom door through the frosted glass of the Restricted Section. “Mittere vocem.” Then he said quietly, “’I’m in here.”

“Hurry up, Owen,” his uncle spoke to the bathroom door. I have my own business to do in there.” His uncle glanced about the restricted section, and not seeing anyone, closed the door.

Owen breathed a huge sigh of relief and wondered when he would meet the headmaster again. He hoped it would be soon. Two things were for certain: he would be bringing Glen next time, and the quest would be to locate Lord Ayershall again.