Chapter 8 - The Boy

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Magdalena and Zara gasped in unison and looked at the old woman kneeling in front of them.

“King,” she had said! Magdalena felt a fear she had never felt before and tightened her grip on Kadin’s shoulder. Zara looked at Magdalena and whispered

“So, this is where he came from.”

Welcome home Our King,” the old woman repeated, looking up before briefly ducking her head in reverence once more.

“Thank you,” Kadin answered solemnly, indicating that the woman should rise. As she did so, Magdalena whispered,

“Where are we Kadin?”

“I don’t know,” again, his answer was simple, but neither of the women doubted him.

Zara spoke for the first time.

“Kadin, is there nothing that you remember of this place?” Looking around, Zara noticed that the villagers had started to slowly move toward them, heads bent.

Kadin frowned slightly but before he could answer, a small figure on the far side of the village caught his attention. Seeing the tiny figure emerge from a burned thicket, Kadin’s face wreathed in smiles and he ran toward it.

“Kadin,” Magdalena called, now certain that she should never have gone along with Zara’s plan. This place was appalling. Parts of it had been burned and the huts were shabby and run down. The people were dressed in nothing but rags and she could not bring herself to believe that Kadin had ever been part of this world. As she started after Kadin, Magdalena felt a restraining arm on hers. Turning to Zara, she kept her voice low but insistent.

“He doesn’t even know where he is. We must bring him back and find a way out of here.”

“Not yet,” Zara responded gently. “I think he knows more then he realizes. We must try to discover what this place is and why Kadin left it.”

“What does it matter?” Magdalena hissed. “He’s better off with us in the Inner World!”

Before she could reply, Zara looked across the village to where Kadin now stood with a small figure that looked to be a child, perhaps slightly older than himself. Seeing that the villagers were no threat, she said to Magdalena,

“He’s fine, and you can see that the villagers mean him no harm. Wait Magdalena. Just be patient.”

Still fearful for her son, Magdalena shook off Zara’s arm and answered,

“No Zara. He clearly doesn’t know anything about this place. We don’t know if we are safe here. We need to keep him with us.”

Saying this, Magdalena realized that she was disobeying her queen but right now her thoughts were for her son.

“Look,” Zara smiled, nodding her head.

Magdalena watched as Kadin and a young girl came toward them. The girl seemed to be carrying something. Stopping in the middle of the village, she transferred it to Kadin’s arms and once more, Magdalena gasped. A tiny dragon poked his head from the young girls arm and his tongue darted out to lick at Kadin.

“Despite its’ appearance, this is truly a special place,” Zara whispered, awed.

Magdalena too was in shock. Dragons had not existed anywhere for many years. She had heard stories from her grandmother about them but knew that they had long since disappeared. Wondering again what this place was, she watched as the villagers drew closer to Kadin and the girl. Finally, a small murmur came from the villagers and Magdalena could tell that they were not happy. Once again, she worried about Kadin but Zara restrained her. Slowly the two young people came closer and soon they stood in front of Zara and Magdalena.

“Isn’t he beautiful Mama?” Kadin beamed. “His name is Madel, and this,” he nodded toward the young girl, “Is Kytra.”

Zara spoke first.

“Hello Kytra,” even Zara was a little disconcerted by the appearance of a dragon. Looking at the old woman, Zara finally addressed her.

“Are there many dragons in your land?” she her voice friendly, but reserved.

“No,” the old woman glared at the girl called Kytra but softened when she saw the look on Kadin’s face.

“Are you pleased with this dragon my king?” she sounded doubtful.

“He’s beautiful. He’s one of the last of the walakes and Kytra has gifted him to me. Would you like to hold him Mama?” Kadin started toward Magdalena but was interrupted by the old woman.

“My King, you must forgive Kytra. She should never have brought him here. It was a walake that destroyed our village mere days ago. We were once a vibrant, beautiful village until a walake destroyed much of our village with its’ tail. Once the destruction started, the village deteriorated more and more, even after the walake had gone. That is the way it is here. Our villages thrive unless something to happens to them. Once destruction comes, deterioration continues, and we often simply die off. We have been striving to maintain what is left of our village while Kytra was sent to track and destroy the walake. You need not be kind to that dragon because of Kytra. She was wrong to bring him here. Please My King, I beg your mercy. Kytra will be punished appropriately.”

“No, old woman,” Kadin’s voice had changed and he spoke with an authority that neither Magdalena nor Zara had ever heard before. Kytra has told me the story of how this little dragon’s mother mistakenly destroyed part of the village because she was injured. Her injuries cost her her life and now there is just this tiny walake left. He has no mother and needs our help. Kytra was right to bring him here. We will fix your village.”

Magdalena and Zara exchanged quick glances and wondered how the village could be saved. Magdalena had never heard such stories as the one the old woman had told of villages deteriorating, and knew that she and Zara did not have the resources to bring the village back to its original state.

Kadin’s voice cut through their thoughts.

“I can do it,” he sounded confident. “But only if you promise to help Madel.”

The old woman looked doubtful but answered “Yes My King. If it is your will.”

“It is,” Kadin replied tersely, then walked to Magdalena. “Isn’t he beautiful?” he repeated as he showed the tiny dragon to Magdalena and Zara.

Repressing a shudder, Magdalena managed a smile and agreed that he was. Looking beside her, Magdalena saw that Zara’s was smiling broadly. Reaching out, Zara gently petted the dragon and asked Kadin,

“How will you restore their village?”

“Kytra will help,” Kadin’s answer was cryptic but Zara seemed satisfied.

“Kadin, these people believe you to be their king.” Magdalena whispered, still fearful for her son. “How can that be?”

“I am their king Mama. These are my people. This is where I came from.”

“How do you know? Are your parents here then?” Magdalena was still whispering, wishing that she had never allowed Zara to talk her into allowing Kadin to do this. It would seem that her fears of losing him were becoming very real.

“You will not lose me Mama,” Kadin smiled at her and Magdalena flushed as Kadin spoke her fears aloud in front of the entire village. “But I need to help.”

Your mother has a good question Kadin,” Zara spoke. “How do you know that this is where you came from. You said before that you didn’t know where we were. How is it that you know now?”

“I know that these are my people because I feel it,” Kadin answered with a small frown. “I am still not certain where we are but I know that these are my people. My parents died when I was a very young.”

“Yes, that is so,” the old woman said, sorrow in her eyes. “Your parents were our king and queen and much loved by all but they were killed when a vanek destroyed your village. That left you an orphan, barely old enough to walk. You wandered off one day, grief stricken, and never came back. Until now.”

A vanek! Again, Magdalena and Zara gasped. Vaneks had died out before the dragons!

“How long ago did this happen?” Zara addressed the old woman again.

“Many, many years we have waited to see if our king would return,” the old woman answered soberly. “The law of the Old World says that until we have proof that he is dead, a new king can not be chosen.”

“What is your name?” Kadin asked the old woman gently.

“I am Alahryn, My King.”

“You knew my parents then Alahryn?”

“I did,” was the simple answer.

“You will tell me about my parents and I will help rebuild your village,” Kadin said in his simple manner.

“Of course, My King. It would be our pleasure to tell you of your parents. As I have said, they were well loved.”

Magdalena interrupted,

“Kadin, how? How will we help these people rebuild their village? We are from the Inner World and know nothing about this world and you don’t even remember your parents.”

“Magic,” Zara said simply. “There is magic here isn’t there Alahryn?”

The old woman looked surprised. “Of course there is magic. Do you not have magic in your world?”

Choosing to ignore her question, Zara said to Magdalena,

“I believe that with Kadin’s help, we can rebuild this village. Do we not owe that much to Kadin’s people?”

“Of course,” Magdalena floundered for words. “But if there is magic here, why can’t they fix their own village?”

“Because there are different types of magic,” Kadin answered before Zara could respond “When someone or something destroys a village, it takes a kind of magic that they don’t have to rebuild it.”

“Our king is right,” Alahryn looked at Magdalena beseechingly. “Please, allow the child to help his kin.”

“Kytra will help,” Kadin said smiling at the young girl standing silently, awaiting punishment for bringing a dragon to the village. She spoke for the first time.

“Me? I have no magic other than that of my fellow villagers! How can I help?”

“You helped the mother of Madel as she lay dying. Walakes have special powers too. A kind of magic that humans don’t understand. You helped her and took care of her baby. Besides, you are the daughter of my mothers’ sister. That means that you have more magic than you realize.”

“Kadin?” Magdalena asked gently, “Do you simply know this or do you remember it?” Magdalena realized that the fear had finally left her and she was willing to help these people who were kin to her son.

“I just know it.”

“Well that’s enough for now,” Zara broke in. “You may remember if we stay long enough. But for now, we need a place to stay.”

Alahryn pointed to the far end of the village.

“The king and queens home was not totally destroyed when the walake came through. You will stay there.”

As Magdalena and Zara began to follow Alahryn, Kadin’s voice stopped them.

“Alahryn, you must promise to protect Madel. He will be a great help to you in the years to come if you allow him to stay. Kytra will know how to care for him. But he must be permitted to be raised in the village.”

Kadin’s voice was stern and he stared at Alahryn, waiting for an answer.

“As you say Our King. The dragon will be protected and raised by Kytra.”

Kadin smiled. “Good, he said then handed Madel back to Kytra. “You might as well get started,” he told her as she cradled Madel in her arms.

“Yes, My King,” Kytra answered with a smile, then turned to walk away.

“I think you should stay with us for now,” Kadin said thoughtfully.

“With you?” Kytra repeated, dumbfounded.

“For now,” Kadin smiled at her before turning to his mother and Zara.

“Thank you for helping my people,” he looked lovingly at Magdalena.

Reaching down, Magdalena hugged him and whispered,

“You are my son. You may be king in this world, but you are first and foremost my son. I will do anything for you.”

In an uncharacteristic show of affection, Kadin took her hand as they followed Alahryn across the village and into the large home where they would stay.

Created: May 16, 2017

Tags: story, fiction, fairy tale, dragons, forests, magic

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