"OOFFF…" cried out Ragnar, as he was woken up by his sister falling on him.
"Happy birthday, little brother," she whispered in his ear, then quickly ran out of his reach.
"HEY! I thought we agreed that I'M the older twin!" he yelled to her retreating back.
"Sure, sure. Whatever you say. Come to the kitchen if you don't want to miss your breakfast!"
Grumbling, he got up and noticed that he had fallen asleep in front of the fireplace… Again, and her sister hadn't been bothered to take him to his bed… Again.
Oh great, another ruined page. I really need to stop doing this, he thought, I always fall asleep on my books. I just can't help myself, they are too damn interesting!
He quickly scurried off to the kitchen. Though his growing days were mostly over, it didn't make him any less hungry. A smile had adorned his face when he entered the kitchen, it was soon replaced with shock when his sister grabbed him from behind and yelled: "Ambush!"
"What was that for? I thought you knew I don't like being startled!"
"Of course I do. But it was payback for yesterday. Now come on, let's eat!"
The breakfast passed quickly with a couple of jokes made on the side about Ragnar's morning daze and Runa's enthusiasm. After the breakfast was over, they went to fetch their presents. They had decided years back that they would hide each other's present with only a clue as to where it is. It made the birthday quite fun.
It seemed like Ragnar actually had hidden Runa's present and had thought of a good one (for him) this year.
He gave her a piece of paper:
A pile of words
Jackets of hordes
Take a quick look
In the place of the book.
Well, that's an easy one, though you should have things other than your books in mind, she thought at first and headed for the library. In the library however, she saw another piece of paper.
Look through the window.
What do you see?
This you should know:
it is of course, the tree!
She ran outside to look in the hollowed out tree in their backyard. In there she saw ANOTHER piece of paper.
Now get back inside!
This isn't the right place.
Do you really need a guide,
to find the fireplace?
He really put a lot of time into this, didn't he? I really do like these… present hunts. He got to the fireplace and looked around for the next piece of paper unless he had already decided to give in and let her get her present. She finally found the next piece under the pillows.
Fine, this is the last,
so I'll say it fast.
To find you seek,
seek the place you sleep.
When she arrived in her room she instantly noticed a small bump in the middle of the bed under her blanket. Fishing for her present, her hands came in contact with some wooden object. Taking it out, she saw that it was an elegant carving of an animal she thought majestic. It was standing on its hind legs a top of a mountain. It had its front legs stretched out in front and its wings were stretched on the sides. Nowadays you would be lucky if you saw such a beast, as they were very rare in Stella Jord, the land of stars. It was of course, a dragon.
At the same time, Ragnar was frantically searching for his present. He couldn't make heads or tails of the clue he was given.
When it gets late and you turn out the light, this is the place you should be found each night.
He thought it would be easy. He went to the fireplace and started to search for it there. After a while of searching, he saw Runa come and go, smirking at him as she left. He panicked as he thought of losing once again. It was obvious Runa was much better at figuring out these clues.
Moments later, he saw his sister running down the stairs with her gift in her hands ready to hug him: "Thank you so much, little brother! This is the best present ever!"
"Well, I was walking through the forest one day, thinking about what to get you as a present. Then I saw a child's carving of a dragon on a tree and decided to make a statuette for you."
"Well, I'll give you a small hint in exchange for this wonderful gift. My gift is nowhere near as good. The hint is: the gift isn't in this room."
"How can it not be in this room? I mean, I could be found..."
It seemed to dawn on him what the riddle meant.
"Oh hardy-har-har, very funny. Should. I didn't read it very thoroughly apparently."
He went upstairs into his own room and noticed a book lying upon it. It was titled A Brief History of Magic. He looked absolutely ecstatic.
"Thanks, Runa! I've been looking for this book for ages! I personally think that this is a better gift than what I gave to you!"
"Nope, your gift was better. Let's not argue about it anymore. Now come on, let's go to the village. Who knows, you might even meet someone."
"Like that's going to happen. But doesn't matter, let's go."
The first stop they made in the village was the same tavern they went to.
"Back so soon? What can I do for you?" the voice of the barman rang out across the whole tavern.
"We're just here to celebrate our 18th birthday, we're finally old enough to drink!" Ragnar declared as soon as he reached the man.
The man bellowed in laughter. "Well, what would you like? Some ale? Brandy? Wine?"
But before they could answer, the door burst open and in stepped their mother with a sad look on her face: "Kids, we need to talk. Follow me."