”The trees had dwindled into nothing, leaving only dusty earth and rocks, when Rom noticed a large stone structure in the distance. The path would take him straight to it, so he kept on walking. When he got closer, he could see it was a large open gateway made of big blocks of carved grey stone, and doors of heavy blackened wood. They were open, and behind it he saw an impenetrable darkness. The path went straight through the Gates, meandering for a while until it disappeared from view. Although there were no walls that he could see, he was convinced that the only way forward was through the doors, into darkness.
As he stood contemplating the way ahead with some trepidation, Rom felt movement in the air around him. A hot, dry wind was rising. It plastered his clothes to his back, and blew his hair across his face. Rom looked up, swept dark strands out of his eyes and looked straight into the face of an enormous dragon that swooped past him and landed on top of the Gates.
Rom stared up into the large, yellow eyes of the creature. Each eye was as big as his own head, with vertical slits for pupils, like a cat’s. They had a disconcerting intelligence to them. In fact, there was something about them that made him feel as if they knew exactly who he was, what he was thinking, and what he’d had for breakfast that morning. Another dragon, as big and impressive as the first, landed on the other side of the Gate, folded its great, leathery wings and stared at him in silence. Rom laid his hand on the hilt of his sword and took a deep breath.
‘I have come to pass the Gates of the Underworld,’ he cried.
He waited breathlessly, wondering if he would have to fight the creatures, like in the old tales. The idea was laughable. They would erase him within a heartbeat, crush him against the rock floor, maybe leave a smear of blood on it to mark his passing. He shuddered and vehemently reminded himself once more that he wasn’t really there. Faced with a pair of very real-looking dragons with dull bronze scales, their acrid smell in his nostrils, it was getting rather hard.”