In the year 1277, during the civil war for his throne, King Alfonso X of Castile located a secret room in his home. In this secret room was a staircase, at the bottom of the staircase a tunnel. The tunnel wound deep underground, the air cool and musty as secrets. The cool air and winding tunnel took him to a large, well-fortified, and long forgotten vault carrying the secret symbol of a monarch.
Recognizing that symbol as his grandfather’s emblem, Alfonso excitedly pulled an old and rusty key from deep in his robes. The worn and discolored rope that dangled from the key was warm against the king’s palm and seemed to tingle with an excitement to match his own as he wrestled the rusty skeleton key into the rustier lock. IT FIT! The tumblers moved with a quiet sigh, much more easily than he had anticipated. Suddenly a fear of the unknown began to creep up on him, the tingling from the doorknob intensifying to cause his entire body to shake.
What could possibly need to have been hidden in such a manner??
With a mighty groan from both the king and the door, the vault was revealed. Light emanated from the back corner of the room, something was glowing. That glow drew King Alfonso X through the doorway and, as if by magic, torches whooshed to life across the walls on either side of him. The two torches at the corners then each slowly moved down in an arc and touched the liquid that was waiting in the previously unseen troughs that lined the other walls of the room. Flames leapt up to reveal what had been kept hidden for so long; treasures from various histories crowded the tables and rugs, a throne with rusty streaks on the back rest leaned against a wardrobe filled to overflowing with tapestries that Alfonso could not remember having ever seen before. He didn’t spend much time on the wonders around him, however. The glowing statue in the far corner drew him in and left little room for other curiosities.
As he neared the corner Alfonso realized that this was not just a statue. No, this was masterpiece of massive interweaving parts. Two beings, two dragons, twined together as if attempting to protect one another from harm’s way. The orange tinged glow that had drawn the king near was coming from the more feminine of the statues, her features seeming to be blurred in a warm moist fog that was wrapping around the couple.
Entranced, Alfonso spent hours sitting in the old throne and staring at the statues as the mist and fog thickened and boiled across the floor toward him, only to disappear moments later and begin the journey all over again.
Alfonso would sneak away at every chance to visit this secret vault. Occasionally he would bring bits of plunder up to his wife and children, or as present to a political visitor, and pass them off as things he had stored from king’s who went before him.
Life, as is usual, continued on and Alfonso began to use the vault as an escape from pressures as his eldest son passed away and his new heir was left to fight for the legacy. During the Civil War that followed, Alfonso shared his secret with his favored son and the two devised plans and strategies while sitting in the cool of a hidden room. Their plans failed, however, and King Alfonso X of Castile and Leon passed away in the year 1284 leaving behind a soon-to-be-forgotten hidden vault, a key to pass down through his son’s line, and an heir that was not his chosen.
. “No mention of the vault or the stone dragons was seen or heard for over two hundred years.”
Then, Charles I became interested in a family heirloom that didn’t seem to be worth anything but was prized highly in his legacy. An old rusty skeleton key that had no door to open.
Through his convoluted family tree, as all monarchy family trees are, Charles was passed down both the title of King of Castile and an old rusted key that’s known history was that it was said to have been handed down for hundreds of years. Eventually reaching a dead end as he researched the key’s heritage, Charles journeyed to the castle in Seville in search of answers.
Every door was tested, every room searched, and still no home for the key was found. After days of searching Charles became despondent, fearful that he would never learn the secrets the key held. Preparing to leave the castle and return to his usual home in Spain.
Dejectedly yanking his own clothing out of the wardrobe without waiting for his valet, Charles noticed an etching in the upper corner of the back wall. Tracing it gingerly, he realized that the panel moved! When slid open it revealed another panel, this time the room’s wall that was slightly ajar though spider web covered. Gingerly using his pocket square to wipe away the worst of it, Charles shoved open that panel as well. Quickly grabbing a candle and a spare from his room, the Holy Roman Emperor descended the revealed stairs and traveled the musty tunnel, several times almost turning back but prodding himself on with the thought of the key. The mystery had bugged him and he was KING not some frightened coward! King’s get answers.
At the end of the long and musty tunnel stood a door. Though forgotten and alone for centuries, the door had not wavered in its strength and the lock waited patiently for the next heir who would unite it with the key. Charles did just that.
With a mighty heave the door swung wide and, has had happened with his predecessors, when Charles walked into the vault torches and troughs lit to welcome him home. Ecstatic at his success and at the large piles of treasure awaiting him, Charles began to plunder the smaller goods, placing them into his pockets until the golden glow lured in to the corner of the dragons.
Dragons hold a major magic in all superstitious and legendary tales. They are the fire breathers, the knight eaters, and the treasure seekers. They are the wise, the warriors, and the wanted…and OH! Did King Charles the Wise WANT those wise warrior dragon! He yearned after them, he relished in the cool misty fog that slowly surrounded him in her glow. He wondered at the tinge of smoky scent that followed. He made his decision. Those would his plunder, the other treasures meant nothing if the dragon couple were not his. Charles had no way of knowing where they came from or how old they were, but he knew where they were going and that was enough for him.