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Papa 3

By rodneylikes All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Fantasy

Untitled Chapter

In the following days, the dragon makes his return 

a blemish to the city of Ishmera. His daily raids on 

the citizens have them living in fear. Rhiannon and 

I patrol the city in the early mornings, but to no 

avail. The dragon strikes quick and silently and we 

can't be everywhere at once. He is elusive, 

disappearing after every attack.

Blue Stockings, the Gazark, makes his appearance 

at the end of the week. I had gone to meet him at 

the same place i had first met him. His blue feet 

transform to green as he silently pads over the 

grass, blending into his surroundings.

"Lo, Citizens," he calls, drawing my attention. I 

can't see much of him. Only the whites of his eyes 

give any indication of where he is.

"Hello, Blue Stockings. I squint in the bright 

sunshine as I try to keep track of where he is.

"I hear the red dragon is up to his old antics again, 

attacking your people and setting fires in the town. 

Is this true?"

"Yes. He is making it a habit to raid the town for his 

meals, meaning us. The residents have gone into 

lock-down, afraid he'll return."

"Have any plans how to stop him?" the gazark asks.

"Nope." I drown at him. "Rhiannon and I are trying 

to catch him in the act when he attacks, but haven't 

had any luck yet."

"I'd like to talk to you and Rhiannon about it." He 

shuffles his feet while standing still. "Will you take 

me to her?"

"Sure, but -"

"I'll be okay. It's been a long time since Elves and 

Gazarks have been at odds." He smiles reassuringly 

at me. 

"I hope so," I mutter as I lead him into Ishmera.

Outside of the guard house we meet Rhiannon 

walking our way.

"I was just coming to find you," she says. "What's 

going on?"

"Blue Stockings wants to speak to us about the 


"Oh?" She raises an eyebrow at him as she falls in 

step with us.

"I'm wondering. What are you doing to do with the 

red dragon? David says you are attempting to catch 

him, but you haven't had any luck yet."

"He's right, we've been scouring the city during the 

early hours when he attacks, but without -"

"It's the frigginin' gazark! It's back after all these 

years! Just when the red dragon reappears and 

now he's back!" A tall elf interupts her, running at 

us. In his hand, he carries a long javelin, which he 

waves in a menacing manner. He has a wild look in 

his eyes as he reaches back to throw his weapon.

Rhiannon steps in front of Blue Stockings, shielding 

him from the newcomer's wrath.

As our attacker launches his spear, I dive in front of 

Rhiannon to shield her from his deadly intent. 

I'm knocked to my knees and a searing pain rips my 

chest. I've been hit!  She covers her mouth with 

trembling hands. My mind flashes back to the war , 

but Rhiannon's scream brings me back to the 

present. I look down to see my blood spill out in 

vast amounts. I topple over, my knees bending into 

an ackward position beneath me.

A sickening relief washes over me as I realize i've 

crossed the chicken line where feet may fail.

Rhiannon's next scream brings me to my senses for 

an instant. I can't let her see me die. I have to spare 

her from this!

The pouch around my waist burns firey hot. 

Numbly I seek to open it, as it grows hotter. The 

headband! I can spare her from the painful 

memories of witnessing my death by  pulling it on 

and slipping into the Mists. I pull it on as I see the 

chicken line spinning out of reach and turning a 

bright yellow as it bobs in an ever-widening pool of 


I'm not aware of when I enter the Mists.The angelic 

sounds I normally hear are even more acute to my 

ears. Michael stands nearby as if he's waiting for 


"Take the headband off, David," he urges. I resist 

the temptation to ignore his suggestion as a 

moment of terror sweeps over me.

I tear it off and immediately feel as if I'm drowning 

as cool fluid fills my lungs. I struggle for breath as 

darkness closes in on me. Black then engulfs me. 

This is it. I'm going to die! At least Rhiannon is safe!

A bright light shines in the dark, growing closer and 

closer. Voices murmur in the background, but are 


"It's not your time, my friend. I have plans for you."

The light recedes to blackness. The cool liquid 

soothes the burning agony and in my chest and the 

piercing pain is gone. 


I watch in horror as the guards carry David's body 

into his room at the palace. Physicans scurry like 

cockroaches around him. They turn to me with 

somber faces. 

"He's dead, Princess. There's nothing more we can 

do." They pull a sheet over him and walk out of the 


Rytkovia wraps her arms around me, but there is 

no comforting me. My heart is heavy and I struggle 

to breathe. I approach the sheet, but Rytkovia 

intercepts me. 

"No, Rhiannon. I'm not sure it's best for you to 

remember him this way." All fight leaves me and I 

allow her to lead me away to the courtyard. She sits 

beside me as i weep. Sobs wrack my body for hours 

while Rytkovia wraps her strong arms around me

"Oh, David!" I wail as my tears fall like rain. "Why?"

She trembles and I know she's crying too. We cling 

to each other until my eyes are swollen and red. 

There is no relief for the pain and regret I feel. The 

love of my life is gone. Dead from a senseless act of 

violence from some revenge-maddened citizen. For 

a second, white-hot anger flashes through me and I 

hear a loud thunder clap above me. It is gone as 

soon as it comes though I realize the futility of such 

feeling now. The night drags on. Never-ending 

misery hollows my soul and when I think I have no 

more tears left to cry, another wave washes over 


I'm not sure when the rain began, but when a tree 

erupts in a shower of sparks, the spectacle catches 

my attention for an instant. Lightning illuminates 

the uncovered portion of the courtyard, followed by 

a deafening crack of thunder. The thunder becomes 

a continuous roar. It's as if the elements are 

sharing sympathy pains with me and are running 

amok, but I don't care, none of it matters. My mind 

is numb and empty as the deluge increases around 


The rain pummels the ground the hardest I've ever 

seen. It's as if the storehouses of Heaven have 

opened, and are flooding the palace. It reminds me 

of an old Earthism that David used. "It's raining 

cats and dogs." The memory sends me into a 

renewed fit of tears and it rains harder.

The wind, formerly howling through the protected 

courtyard, increases to an Undulouvian wail, as 

branches are torn from trees and bushes. Soon the 

ground is strewn with them. I walk in the rain and 

wind. With my love destroyed, I don't fear death. 

Not even the red dragon scares me. I would 

welcome death over this pain.

Rytkovia stares at me, her eyes wide at this display 

of the elements. It is unlike any of us has ever 

experienced. At last, I fall into a fitful sleep in her 


I stir, hoping to shake this nightmare, but when I 

wake we are still in the courtyard. David is dead. 

My loss isn't a nightmare but a horrible reality. 

Tears again fall from my eyes as I sit up.

Stirring beside me, Rytkovia sits up and pulls me 

into her arms again. We huddle together and 

continue our ceaseless grieving.

 More time passes and I pull away from Rytkovia., 

wiping my tender face. She does the same thing and 

stares into the dim light over my shoulder.

"Oh, My God!" Rytkovia bolts straight.

"What is it?" I leap to my feet and towards where 

she is staring. David stands before us. "David! 

You're alive!" Black spots dance before me until my 

vision turns dark.


I awake on my bed the next morning, still my blood-

soaked clothes, a sheet over my head. Has it all 

been a terrible nightmare? No, the blood suggests 

something entirely different and real. I feel like 

something the cat dragged through a knothole. Or 

better yet, road kill.

I attempt to remember the events of the previous 

day, but my memories are of seeing a bright light in 

the Mists and feeling content like I was going home. 

All else is dark.

Changing into clean clothes, I walk into the 

courtyard where I see Rhiannon and Rytkovia 

huddled together, sobbing. I'm startled when 

Rytkovia sees me and gasps a little squeal.

"Oh, My God!" she screams, and springs to her feet, 

her face paling.

"What is it?" Rhiannon leaps to her feet and turns. 

"David! You're alive!" Her knees buckle and I run 

forward, catching her in my arms as she faints.

Rhiannon's red and swollen eyes flutter open. They 

grow wide, shock and confusion present in her 

every feature. They pop wider with a deer-in-the-

headlights stare locking with mine.

"David! What happened to you? I thought you were 

dead," she whispers, tears glistening in her brown 


"I don't remember anything after I saw the elf 

throw his javelin."

"He struck you in the chest with his spear. You 

pulled the headband on and collapsed. I tried to 

revive you and the physicians pronounced you 

dead!" She breaks into tears, crying a half 

hysterical, half-relieved rasp, and dances from one 

foot to the other, locking her arms around me in a 

death grip.

"I think that reports of my death are a little 

premature." I wrap my arms around her. "All I 

recall is seeing Michael, you remember him? In the 

Mists? We met him there."

"Yes!" She trembles in my arms.

"I think he told me to take the headband off and I 

saw a bright light, but it went away. The next thing I 

was aware of is waking up in my room with my 

bloody clothes and a sheet pulled over me as if I 

were dead. And here I am."

"You scared me out of a year's growth," Rytkovia 

growls, shaking her blonde curls.

I grin at her, remembering her shocked expression. 


"I'm glad you're ..."Rhiannon says with a shudder, 

and begins sobbing uncontrollably. After several 

minutes of clutching me tightly, she steps back and 

says, "Let me see the damage."

She opens my robe, revealing the angry red mark 

where the javelin struck me. She runs her fingertips 

over it gently. I feel her channeling her healing 

power on it as warmth flows from her fingers.

"It missed the heart, but still it should have killed 

you. You took the weapon meant for the 

Mandogia... or me... didn't you? I'd rather die than 

live without you."

"And I would rather lay down my life for you and 

consider it an honor," I say.

"Obviously," says Rhiannon. "Don't do it again. 

Promise me."

For once, I tune her words out. That's not 

happening. No way.

I continue to ignore her pleas, until Rytkovia says, 

"all right aready, both of you. We know you both 

would rather rather die for each other, but didn't. 

Let's be happy we're all alive and well, okay?"

"Yes, let's." I grasp her hand and shoot Rytkovia a 

grateful glance as I turn; I'm relieved to have 

Rhiannon's mind diverted elsewhere. I know this 

has been a terrible experience for her, but at the 

time, the Mists had seemed the best option 

available to me. I remember I was dying. Something 

about seeing a bright light triggers a memory of 

something my mother told me as a child about 

death, but I can't recall it.

Rhiannon spends the rest day hovering  next to me. 

I know she's worried I will disappear again. She's 

moody, with lips straight, brows drawn tight and 

quiet, appearing deep in thought. She excuses 

herself to speak to her father. They murmur in 

hushed  tones, bit I still can't help but overhear 

some of their conversation.

"David took the brunt of the attack for me and went 

to the Mists so I wouldn't watch him die. Is that 

what happened with Mother? She removed the 

pain and injury for you? Tell me, Father!" Her voice 


The king lets out a weary sigh. "I was struck a 

mortal wound and she saved me at the cost of her 

own life. She poured all her strength into me, to 

save me." He pauses and clears his throat as an 

expression of pain crosses his throat. "When she 

finished and it was apparent I would live, she 

hadn't enough strength to carry on herself." After 

another brief pause, he chokes out, "I've mourned 

her loss for years. I hold on to my guilt and shame 

with no end in sight. I would have done anything 

within my power...." The king chokes at reliving his 

terrible loss and sobs rack his shoulders.

"That's how I feel about David saving me from the 

attack meant for ... whom ever it was for... me or 

the mandogia. He should have died."

He wraps her in his arms and pulls her 

"Then let's us be joyful neither of you died. It seems 

he made a wise choice; don't let guilt tear at your 

soul. His quick-witted decision was your salvation; 

not many do so. He made a split-second decision to 

protect you; it's not everyone who would have 

made that choice so quickly and willingly. Cherish 

him, cherish your love. One may never their end 

nor how soon, not even a king or a princess. You 

never know when death will come."

She smiles at him and gives him a kiss on his 

forehead. "Thank you, Father, for setting the truth 

of Mom's death." Her footsteps are lighter as she 

returns to where Rytkovia and I sit.


I'm not certain what happened when he entered 

the Mists. David died. He did it for me; perhaps to 

spare me from watching his lifeblood draining 

away. This surreal dimension, brought a miracle 

and David lives. Should I regret he died? No, I tell 

myself. He is alive. My mother, she gave her life for 

her husband, the king. I'm surrounded by heroes. 

But, with that heroism comes with great sacrifice 

and loss. I'm immensely glad I didn't die. In fact, I 

have more to live for, as I know the depth of 

David's love for me. He'd died for me in a 

heartbeat. How many women ever experience the 

kind of love in action that moves without thought? 

I smile, enlightened. Now I know what David refers 

to when he talks about the chicken line and doing 

something beyond where feet may fail to take him 

David has crossed that line in spades, yet I feel his 

doubt he can do so.

I stay close to him for the rest of the day, my nerves 

rattled by his near death that nearly left me lost and 

alone. That line seems wider than ever. Do I have 

what it takes to cross the line and die to save 

another? I sigh as I shove the thought deep in my 

mind to contemplate on later.

For now, I'm content to enjoy his presence while I can.


My fathe as a child, if I was thrown off a horse, to 

get back on immediately, lest my fears win because 

I would become afraid of getting bucked off again.

I know I must return to the Mists and face 

whatever terror I had experienced there. To me, 

the experience hadn't been as terrifying as much as 

it had been traumatic.

I slide the headband on. Instantly, I feel the pull in 

my stomach and find myself in the Mists. They are 

clearer than they've ever seemed in the past and 

suddenly i'm conscious of the fact there isn't any 

ground beneath me. It's unnerving. Soon, I'm 

aware of another's presence.

"Hello, David, a deep voice rings out from behind 

me. I jump as this new source of sound startles me.

"Who's there?' I demand.

"It is I, Gabriel," the voice responds, sending echos 

through the atmosphere. 

"What is this place, Gabriel?" I ask

"This is a corridor for angels. You know you're not 

supposed to be here, don't you?"

"No, I didn't know that. Why?"

"Because only the dead, angels, and demons are 

meant to traverse this realm," Gabriel explains.

So that's it! I gasp.

"I was dying," I mumble, "the last time I came here."

"And they let you come back again?" His voice is 


"Yep. I saw a bright light and heard a loud voice. 

Then the light faded away and I woke up in my 


"It wasn't your time," Gabriel says. "The 

atmosphere varies with your need. When you are 

dead or dying, it revives one with a fluid like the 

legendary ambrosia, the drink of the gods. It 

restores the mind and body until they are judged. 

But the second time you are exposed to it will be 

your last..." he warns. "The headband protects you 

now, but without it....

I'm speechless at his revelations and stand mute 

for a few minutes. Before I regain my voice, he 


"This is where I must leave..." and he disappears 

with a whoosh of his wings.

Wings? I stunned by the events I've just 

experienced. When my eyes flutter open, I realize 

i'm back in my bunk.

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