Enchantment – Chapter Two

At her present age of twenty-six, having just had a birthday, Third Sisullia Issabeau had become accustomed to a lifetime of being the hunted. Issabeau would jokingly compare herself to a little field mouse, instinctually making her every move with survival in mind. The attacks on her life were as constant as the sun rising and setting. One day Issabeau was busy defending herself while being attacked or on other days she was on alert of an ambush. Some days, Issabeau fought with added brutality. Other days, she slaughtered with little effort. Her effort depended on her mood. And that was where Issabeau’s comparison to a field mouse ended, because unlike the field mouse, Issabeau kills her predators.

There was another part of Issabeau besides a warrior. Deep inside the fabric of her essence she was desperately unhappy. Not because of her everyday life, she bitterly accepted that as normal for her. Issabeau’s unhappiness was more heartfelt, more profound, at the very core of her existence. This dark sadness resonated into everything Issabeau did, taking away from any small joy Issabeau may have felt.

Issabeau desperately wanted the sadness to go away, and she truly believed that the key to this was resolving something from her early childhood. But whenever Issabeau searched her past and tried to recall childhood memories, these memories that were either lucid, down to exact details or vague and distant. She was frustratingly never sure which memory, either clear or vague, was a dream or reality. As well, whether or not they were a dream or real, sequentially the memories were always the same, they started from pleasant to the unforgettable ugly truth.

Over the years of silently searching her past, Issabeau pieced together an understanding how in her youth, she could not have possibly recognized or understood how seriously different her life was from any other Sisullia in the history of Creation, because she had no other Sisullia besides her mother to compare her life to. Over the years, she slowly realized that this closed belief also included a closed view of what she thought all typical Sisullia’s families would be like: her mother – a Sisullia, her father – a Sentinel Gargoyle, and her sister – a great white wolf. This was not a typical family for a Sisullia. And even more sad, was how Issabeau didn’t truly understand that the coping skills she developed over the years to manage with her life on the run would hinder her from stepping into her fullest potential, into her destiny as Métier.

This Third Sisullia felt she was slowly becoming more human than Divine.

The pleasant memories of Issabeau’s early childhood were walks with her mother throughout the many different wintery forests, ocean shores and snow covered fields of Artus. As always, Issabeau and her mother would find a nesting spot, where they would sit and watch nature go about its business. A variety of wildlife would stop by for visits. Some of the animals would walk with her mother, while little Issabeau stayed behind and snuggled a soft lynx or mighty elk. What little Issabeau didn’t know was the purpose of these walks were to be away from the ears of the young Sisullia. Why? She would learn many years later how these animals would offer to help protect the Sisullias from humans, but Issabeau’s mother refused. She would explain that there was already too much human blood spilled as a result of their insanity to try and capture them, resulting in needless poisoning of the soil on Artus. Queen Katianna would not allow her beloved animals blood be spilled as well.

Issabeau’s favorite memory of these walks was deep in the Carpathian Mountains, along the southern tip of Artus. Here, snow covered land yielded to the sun allowing for beautiful sunshiny walks over the crisp snow, that glistened like diamonds in the brilliant light. This particular memory however, was not during the day, it was in the dead of night. Instead of the sun, clear moonlit skies allowed for brilliant beams of silver to illuminate the sparkling white snow. As they dressed in warm layers, her mother was very excited to get going because this walk was for a special meeting she had been waiting for.

Four year-old little Issabeau was still nervous of the Carpathian Mountains. It was only the night before, during the full moon, that her mother introduced her to a new creature called a werewolf whose clan lives deep within these mountains. The werewolf was friendly and tall like Malfius, had big dirty teeth and smelled funny. Still, Issabeau thought to herself (and didn’t understand why), this werewolf was scary because he would turn into a human when the sun rose.

Photo Credit – White Wolfee by Ronni Pricell on Deviant Art

Little Issabeau was still a bit scared as she followed her mother closely up the narrow mountain path, that twisted through the eerily silent dark forest, like a snake slithering through grass. After meeting the werewolf, little Issabeau had had a nightmare about his teeth, woke up terrified and was unable to go back to sleep. Zarus curled up with her, reassuring her that she was safe and that not all wolves were smelly and had dirty teeth.

Little Issabeau rubbed her tired little eyes while walking on the crunchy snow, wanting to complain because she was tired, hungry and longed to be in front of a warm fire. But she knew better, as her mother was very eager to meet this animal.

Katianna stopped abruptly in a clearing surrounded by tall, ancient pine trees who were illuminated by the brilliant moon way up in the clear, starlit sky. Little Issabeau was relieved to have finally stopped walking. Catching her breath, while inhaling the fresh alpine air, she gazed in awe at the moonlit snowflakes that dusted the air like fairy dust.

The Elder Sisullia laid out thick blankets under one of the towering trees at the edge of the clearing, then took her little hand and had them both sit upon it.

Little Issabeau’s heart started to beat fast with anticipation as she stared up into her mother’s bright violet eyes.

“Who’s coming mommy?” she asked breathlessly.

Her mother smiled as she answered, “Magic and wisdom”

Suddenly, the rustle of tree branches off in the distance indicated the approach of something. Little Issabeau’s heart started to beat even faster with every step of the approaching visitor. Until finally, stepping gracefully out of the shadows of the dense flourishing woods, was an enchanted white unicorn.

Resplendent against the pearly, moonlit trees, the unicorn’s magical essence radiated a soft, silvery haze that matched with the moonlight. The enchanted animal slowly approached little Issabeau, who froze as the unicorn lowered her regal head to softly brush her whiskered nose against her cheek. The beautiful creature exhaled a gentle puff of warm air from her nostrils as Issabeau giggled, then tentatively reached up with her chubby hand to touch the unicorn’s silky coat and mane.

Photo Credit – Anne Stokes

The magnificent unicorn lay down on the snow by Katianna, letting little Issabeau cuddle up to her neck. The unicorn spoke. Little Issabeau knowing she would understand.

“Young Third Sisullia, your mother has granted me the opportunity to talk with you about non-magical beings called humans. It’s a difficult story, with many different ways to tell it. I will tell you what I know. What was your question? Yes, it is okay to ask your question, sweet child. Why did I call you Third Sisullia?”

The unicorn paused, quickly glancing at Katianna, whose violet eyes indicated not to answer.

“My child,” answers the unicorn, “that is a story for another day.”

“In Creation,” she quickly continued, “there are beings who have magic, and others who do not. You know what magic is? Yes, Good. All magical and non-magical beings have free will that allows them to make choices. And with choice there is a consequence.

“Animals such as butterflies, griffins, bears, dolphins and myself do not have free will therefore we cannot make choices. Our behaviors are inherent to the Laws of Nature. We cannot break these rules. We have no choice. That is what makes us different from all beings. Do you understand this difference between animals and beings? Yes, I thought you would. Your mother told me how smart you are.

“Now, all magical beings in Creation respect the existence of a Sisullia. Magic is an enigma that empowers magical beings with the ability to believe in what they cannot see. Humans do not have the gift of magic therefore they’re sadly living without tangible mystery. Yet their lives are full of mystery they can see. This is called faith. But most humans do not have faith. Their lives are limited to their own logic, beliefs and perceptions, blocking them from their heart and thereby preventing them to have faith. It is a human’s ability to be connected to their heart that allows them to the see the mysteries of faith.

“But, sadly, human beings also need proof for faith, ignoring the impalpable miracles our Great Goddess bestows upon them. But I’m getting off track, as this too is a story for another day.

“The magical beings of Creation understand and respect the Laws of Nature, and have the proper hallow respect of the Sisullia. This helps keep their behavior in line because no being’s magic in Creation is stronger than a Sisullias. This healthy fear keeps Creation safe from any magical being who may get a few bad ideas. Meaning that a magical being may stray and cause harm to nature. Maybe they get caught up in the behavior of greed or envy, but these actions are rare. That’s when a Sisullia steps in as Métier to make things right. What is a Métier? Good question! We will get to that.

“Non-magical beings, humans, are a totally different story. They have free will like magical beings, but surprisingly and strangely, humans fear nothing and respect little. Humans try and try again to prove they are almighty by striving to control Creation, celebrating greed and power, not love and truth. Humans have no respect for animals and the Laws of Nature. They never seem to learn from their past mistakes when they have harmed nature and animals – almost to the point of extinction. It is the humans who have had to be rescued over and over again by the Sisullia.

“But not all humans are disrespectful of Creation. There are some that are the unsung heroes who do the right thing by respecting our homes and us. Issabeau, these humans are few and far between. That is why, my child, if ever you come across a human with honorable qualities, protect this human, she or he is rare.”

The beautiful unicorn took in a deep breath.

“Soon you will be taught about having regard for the human race, and from what I have just told you, you may wonder how it would be possible to so. Do you understand what I mean by that Issabeau? Yes. Now listen carefully. A Sisullia is made of the essence of our Great Goddess; thereby a Sisullia is unconditional love. Humans also have the ability to feel and share unconditional love. Yet it is easier for a human to fight on the battlefield with a tangible foe, than deal with their elusive emotions… like love. A sword fight is predictable and conquerable. Emotions are unexpected and messy. A human’s behavior and emotional reactions are both complex and at the same time predictable because the majority of humans suffer from their inability to truly be in touch with their free flowing emotions. What’s even sadder is how human culture promotes it is better to not feel emotions, than to share and express them. Why or even how this way of thinking started with humans is still a mystery to me. But that’s a choice the humans have made, and choice is the result of having free will. Remember this, young one, and feel sorry for humans.”

The revered unicorn paused.

“Issabeau, some humans make the brave choice to come into the light of their true emotions. This courage takes hard work because there are humans who chose to remain unconscious to their emotions and to the beauty in Creation and want to tear down other humans who seek a life of love and freedom. This behavior on the part of the destructive humans isn’t done consciously; it’s out of fear. Fear that the enlightened humans may somehow show them the true darkness and pain in their own life.

“Issabeau, most humans sadly remain in the dark. And it’s sad, very sad watching true human potential wasted. Humans turned bitter with broken dreams, thinking of what could have been, becoming a victim to his or her own pain while reasoning that they have no other choice but to simmer in it.”

Pearly white tears started to spill softly from the unicorn’s large gray eyes.

“What’s even sadder is the truly wounded state of the human civilization.” explained the unicorn.

Little Issabeau felt scared because the unicorn was crying.

“Why are you crying?” she asked.

The unicorn answered.

“Because humans who allow their essences to be defeated and smothered become resentful and evil. Issabeau, life is about love and freedom. Freedom to be true to one’s self. And like I had said, it’s the bitter and jealous humans who want to break down and hurt any human who tries to live free and true to themselves. It’s very sad Issabeau, very sad indeed.”

Little Issabeau watched as her mother leaned in to comfort the unicorn. The love and peace that radiated from her mother was somehow contradictory to the tears also spilling down her cheeks. Little Issabeau felt really scared now, and not so sure why.

“Mommy are humans making you cry too?” she blurted.

An emotion flashed quickly across her mother’s bright violet eyes that a four year-old could not fully understand.

“My darling,” explained Katianna, “You are perceptive. Yes I am crying because of humans. Humans who hurt those who are pure of heart. Humans who destroy and tear down all that is good and loving. But don’t you worry Issabeau. You are safe and so am I. No human being can hurt you because Malfius, Zarus and I help to keep us safe.”

Little Issabeau felt reassured by her mother’s words, but still scared, scared of something that wasn’t said. But at four years-old, little Issabeau didn’t have the words to explain this.

“Do you promise mommy?” pleaded little Issabeau, “Do you promise not to let one of those mean humans hurt you, unicorn, Zarus, Malfius or me?”

Her mother paused. “I must choose my words carefully Issabeau. I love you more than Creation itself, as does Malfius and Zarus. We will protect while you cannot yet protect yourself. And, I will tell you that you have the most powerful protectors in Creation taking care of you. But when you are older you will have to learn to protect yourself. And that is when you will truly see the mean humans.”

Her mother lay a warm hand gently on her cheek, “I see fear growing in your golden eyes. Issabeau, do you think Malfius is going to let anything bad happen to me? Zarus? You?”

Little Issabeau sulked, “No.”

“Then know you are safe. We are safe. And when you get older, you will be very powerful just like I am, and no human can ever hurt you.”

Little Issabeau liked the sound of that.

“What is a Métier?” she asked again.

Katianna nodded to the unicorn to proceed.

“A Métier,” answered the unicorn, “is a fully trained Sisullia who protects all of Creation’s animals and nature from magical and non-magical beings. One day, you too will become a Métier, and protect those who cannot defend themselves against these apex predators.”

Little Issabeau thought for a moment.

“Mommy,” she asked, “were you once a Métier?”

“I was, many years ago. But, we’re not here to talk about that. That story is for another day.” she replied.

At that, Katianna stood, signaling the end of the meeting.

✵✵✵

Spirituality was a large part of who her mother was; therefore, other memories of Issabeau’s childhood were of her mother telling her about the Great Goddess. That She was their Creator. She lived way up in the sky with the stars, watching down on them below. And even though She couldn’t speak to them, Her Essence was all around them.

Issabeau’s favorite memory about her mother talking of spirituality was on her fifth birthday. Little Issabeau and her mother were walking on a frosty beach somewhere along the coast of Artus. Issabeau knew she was five during this memory because deep in a pocket of her new blue birthday cloak from Zarus, were five purple candles Malfius had made for her birthday cake. As little Issabeau walked with her mother, she kept rolling the candles through her gloved fingers, the candles still sticky from the cake they once decorated.

With the one hand in her pocket, the other holding her mother’s hand, they walked along the beach, mostly in silence.

“My darling daughter,” whispered her mother, “Do you feel the fresh, cool breeze blowing on your cheek?”

Instantly, little Issabeau stopped playing with her candles in response to her mother’s gentle voice. She turned her attention to the wind, then immediately slapped the sticky gloved hand to her cheek. “Yes, mommy I do!” little Issabeau squealed in delight. “I do feel the breeze on my cheek!”

“Do you know who that was?” she asked.

“No mommy, who?” asked little Issabeau, who was breathless with anticipation.

“Why that was our Great Goddess kissing you on your cheek!” she exclaimed.

Little Issabeau’s wide eyes filled with wonder as she looked up in awe at her mother.

Thinking back, Issabeau had never forgotten this vision of her beautiful mother. As her mother looked down at her, her long wavy white hair blew out besides her like streams of clouds against the clear blue sky. The sun behind her radiated all around her like a yellow aura. The thick, ornate white cloak, a gift from Malfius, snapped in the salty breeze and billowed out as little Issabeau watched her mother slowly sit down beside her on the cold sand. Mostly though, it was her eyes, those bright violet eyes that stared deeply into little Issabeau’s, radiating love.

“Mommy,” asked little Issabeau, “Did she really? Did our Great Goddess just kiss me?”

Katianna tickled little Issabeau’s nose with a fingertip. “Yes sweetheart, she really did!”

Little Issabeau giggled as her mother picked her up and cradled her gently in her arms.

“My sweet little angel,” her mother’s voice soft as rain, “our Great Goddess’ kisses are the gentle breezes of the wind, the delicate snowflakes that tickle your cheeks, and all the golden rays of sunshine that warms Creation. That is Her way of always reminding you that She is always with you, and how much She deeply loves you.”

“Just as much as you love me Mommy?” asked little Issabeau.

“Just as much as I love you!” answered her mother.

Little Issabeau threw her arms around her mother’s graceful neck, hugging her hard, “Oh Mommy, and just as much as I love you!”

It would be many years later when Issabeau would be able to describe the inner-peace radiating from her mother that day, making Issabeau feel safe and the most loved she had ever felt.

Malfius would later say, that that inner-peace was the kind of love all Sisullias give Creation.

A few days after that special day on the beach with her mother, a five year-old Issabeau started her training of what it ethically means to be a Sisullia and how to properly use her magic. Little Issabeau loved learning and was becoming well-trained with her ability to create the elements and use them for protection, while Malfius trained her with size appropriate battle maneuvers and how to properly yield her tiny sword.

She was lectured over and over again about the values inherent in the essence of a Sisullia. That a Sisullia was a Divine being, created out of love, to take care of nature and animals because they were at the mercy of magical and non-magical beings and they needed a powerful defender to protect them.

How a Sisullia’s form is that of the human race, therefore they have free will but not the same type of free will as humans. A Sisullia’s free will only allow them to make choices of the best intentions for nature and animals, because a Sisullia’s destiny is to become Métier. As Métier, she will act as a mediator and protector between magical and non-magical beings with nature and animals. This means Issabeau must have regard in her heart for humankind. This way, a fair balance is kept in Creation. However, even though her mother has her inherent regard for humans, she is still able to slaughter humans. This is for two reasons: the first in self-defense {at that time, five year-old little Issabeau had no idea this was her mother’s reality} and second – when necessary – to protect nature and animals (her mother would educate Issabeau about this specific teaching many years later, because at five years-old, she was too young to understand its political delicacy and consequences).

Her mother never stopped repeating these values and standards to little Issabeau because her destiny was foretold to become Métier. Little Issabeau became excited to someday fulfilling this destiny, remembering the unicorn’s wisdom, as well. She was proud to be a Sisullia.

So, she practiced her magic as much as she could. She used her telepathy to search out blue jays and hawks, learning to compartmentalize her mind to discern what the hawk’s response was from the blue jays. Soon she was able to reach out to a flock of starlings, tell the entire flock one thing, and then in return, listen individually to each of them.

Eventually, the now seven year-old Sisullia was able to stir a calm sea into a rage of waves, make winds strong enough to snap trees in half, and fires hot enough to burn down stone castles. Her amazing ability to heal surprised her mother. Within seconds, Issabeau was able to turn acres of poisoned land back into fertile soil. Issabeau felt herself coming into her own. Her childlike confidence blossomed and she felt she could take on all of Creation on behalf of animals and nature.

The regular day to day life, while the young Métier-in-training grew up, involved moving from place to place across Artus, either living in caves or abandoned castles. In the beginning of their travels (as her mother would call it) they would sometimes stay with sorcerers, elves or giants. Still unknown to little Issabeau, to house the Sisullia meant danger was often near, so the family of fugitives began isolated themselves from others, to protect other beings from humans and the BloodSkulls.

So the family settled in damp and drafty abandoned castles for a few weeks, then packed up once again, to move onto the next location. Growing up, Issabeau never knew the comforts of a soft feather down bed or having her own room. Normal for her was wrapped up in blankets, on the damp ground or floor in front of a fire, while falling asleep with her mother while Zarus or Malfius kept watch. Then when the familiar sounds of thunderstorms without the lightning were approaching, Issabeau and Zarus would go for walks in the woods. Zarus always walking quickly, Issabeau’s growing legs having a hard time to keep up. Sometimes Zarus would let Issabeau ride on her back, which was fun, but not every time because Zarus didn’t like being compared to a horse. As well, Zarus never seemed to want to stop and look at snow flowers or anything else along the way. That was the point of a walk, wasn’t it? And there never seemed to be any animals around when there were these thunderstorms without lightning. Issabeau concluded that the animals must have gone for walks away from the thunderstorms, like she and Zarus did.

Issabeau always felt fear about these thunderstorms without lightening. Something wasn’t right. There was never rain or lightning during these sudden storms and sometimes the skies were clear blue and sunny when the thunder noises appeared. How could a thunderstorm be approaching if there weren’t any clouds? Issabeau hated that walk away from the thunderstorms without lightening. Something wasn’t right. And yet, she still had to go with Zarus, deep in the frozen forest, away from the warm comforts of their camp, her mother and Malfius.

As Issabeau grew older, and her telepathy developed, she soon started sensing there was a dark secret her mother, Malfius and Zarus hid from her, and her sharp intelligence also told her that something was wrong with living in so many different secluded places.

Thus began the unconscious conception of inner tragedy for the young Sisullia. Her developing mind began to cope in ways that Issabeau never truly understood or had the words to describe it. She started to ignore her clever senses that conflicted with her mother’s continual reassurances that the way they lived was normal. Issabeau knew that even though her mother said she wasn’t afraid of the thunderstorms without lightning, she knew her mother was lying. And what about Malfius’ sudden disappearances during the times when things were good and they felt safe? Where did he go? Why for so long? Was he looking for something? Issabeau was told he just went to look for supplies, that’s all. Nope, the young Sisullia didn’t believe that – Malfius was never one to be unprepared or caught off his guard.

This unconscious result of ignoring her own inner truths created inner confusion and distrust about her own thoughts and emotions. Issabeau didn’t like the scared pains in her belly and sought comfort by telling herself that her mother, Malfius and Zarus wouldn’t lie to her. But why didn’t Issabeau have any other friends to play with? Why was her mother secretly crying? Why were they always traveling, moving from place to place? Why did the unicorn call her Third Sisullia? Were there more Sisullia she didn’t know about? Is there a secret they are hiding? Why would there be a thunderstorm without lightening in the middle of cold, blue sky, sunny day? Why would the ones who loved and protected her, lie to her? What were they hiding? So many of Issabeau’s important questions remained unanswered. She somehow sensed asking these questions would be pointless anyway, because she wouldn’t get the truth. This made her belly feel sore. These circles of unanswered questions created more confusion in her young mind and heart, as well as reinforcing her belief that her family was hiding a terrible secret. Slowly, she learned it was better not to think about it or ask any questions at all.

Issabeau’s imagination started questioning and wondering, though. What could be so terrible that her mother kept it a secret? Issabeau was furious because she wasn’t blind to her family’s hidden whispers when they thought she was asleep. Even more difficult was when her mother was sad and tried to hide her tears from Issabeau.

Then Issabeau started to sense this feeling of dread in her family. It was always simmering, lurking in the shadows or hanging over their camp like a dark cloud. Issabeau could feel the fear; she felt it in her mother, in Malfius and Zarus. It vibrated off of them, even when they blocked out her telepathy. Issabeau couldn’t understand why this fear was never talked about. Her mother talked openly about so many things, why not this? So, Issabeau pushed her own doubts and fears down about this dreadful fear plaguing her family, and forgot about it.

For that reason, many of Issabeau’s other important feelings remained unexpressed because she somehow felt that if she wasn’t allowed to talk about what she sensed from mother, then she mustn’t be allowed to talk about other thoughts or emotions too. This resulted in the inception of Issabeau’s all or nothing way of thinking. From this cause and a way to cope, Issabeau focused on being the good girl – always happy and content. From playing hide and seek with Zarus, to riding on Malfius’s shoulders so Issabeau could see the birds hiding in the trees and helping her mother gather roots and berries for supper; Issabeau told herself that it was better to be the good girl; her family had enough to worry about.

But Issabeau could not ignore her dreams. That was where her emotions screamed out loudly, demanding to be heard. And the emotion that screamed the loudest was always fear. Nightmares of demonic horses with glowing red eyes who chased Issabeau through a viscous black fog that clung to her like a spider’s web, trapping her so the wild dark horses could trample over her. Or half-decomposed things jumping out of the darkness wanting to take her mother away. Issabeau would awaken lathered in sweat, screaming out for her mother. Sobbing and full of fear, Issabeau would repeat her dreams to the shocked violet eyes of her mother. Comforted and told that no one would take her away, Issabeau restlessly fell back to sleep.

But Issabeau still felt afraid of losing her mother. The fear never left her.

Then, one night, something happened that would forever change Issabeau’s outlook about life and herself. It was the transition from her early pleasant childhood memories to the beginning of the unforgettable ugly truth. That evening, her mother, Malfius and Zarus sat around the campfire and told a now ten year-old Issabeau that it was time she knew the truth. Issabeau listened to this truth as her mother revealed stories about their true home, the Isle of Lindorly, her role as Queen, and for the first time in its history an inconceivable dark magic had been used to capture Lindorly by soldiers known as BloodSkulls. How her mother’s Divine Sisullian magic was powerless against these brutal BloodSkulls and that she couldn’t even control their mighty war horses. As well, most of the remaining human race wanted to capture Issabeau and her mother because of their Pure magic. So to stay uncaptured and alive was why they moved around and lived in so many different places. They have been living like this since a few months after Issabeau was born. Now they could no longer protect her from the truth. Yes, this was a lot of information for a young girl to take in, but too many growing realities were taking precedence over consideration of her feelings on account of this most pressing fact: her mother was growing too old to do battle against the BloodSkulls and she now needed Zarus’s help as well as Issabeau’s. There is a lot more information, but for now know that you have an older sister, the Second Sisullia – who is out there in Creation as Métier. That is why you areThird.

This startling information awakened Issabeau’s repressed confusion, another coping skill Issabeau created to protect herself with when she knew her mother was lying. It was easier for Issabeau to confuse herself about a situation than admit her mother was lying to her about it. Mother’s weren’t supposed to lie.

Now her mother, in a very roundabout way, admitted that she had lied to Issabeau. This overwhelmed Issabeau, who went into a new protective dissociated state. Staring into the fire while trying to assimilate this unreal/real discovery, the ground beneath her feet started to tremble as she heard the familiar thunderstorm without the lightning. Issabeau automatically behaved the way she was supposed to behave every time this happened: She walked over to Zarus, and together they would go for a walk deep within the woods. Zarus never explaining the sounds of the bloodcurdling screams behind them, Issabeau learning it was better not to ask.

But this time her mother ordered Issabeau to hide up in the oak tree over their camp. Her mother yelled quickly over the approaching thunder that she wanted Issabeau to witness what a BloodSkull is and what their war horses were like – to understand what Issabeau would be up against.

Photo Credit – Pinterest

Issabeau immediately did as she was told and with Malfius’s help scrambled up the tree. Hidden safely up in a tree, holding onto a thick tree branch with all her might, Issabeau’s heart pounded with fear while the thunder became louder and louder. She watched down between the tree branches, by the light of the campfire as her mother, Zarus and Malfius quickly pushed all their belongings under bushes. Zarus suddenly disappeared into the forest toward the approaching danger. Then there, for the first time in her life, Issabeau watched Malfius transform into his full force as a Sentinel Gargoyle. Malfius’s huge hands grew long claws, his large black wings thrust out with powerful force and his usual fatherly manner turned into a vicious howl for Issabeau to stay quiet and not move.

But Issabeau had no time to absorb Malfius’s words because for another first that evening, Issabeau witnessed her galloping nightmares come to life. Like an avalanche, huge black horses with glowing red eyes came crashing into their camp, carrying enormous soldiers whose deathly appearance made them look like their only purpose was to kill anything in their way.

Issabeau screamed in terror as she grasped the tree for her dear life as it rumbled with the pounding of the black horse’s hooves. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Zarus lunged from the darkness, taking a soldier by the neck, crushing it. An instant kill. The war horse cried out in rage as it turned to attack Zarus, but the great wolf had already disappeared back into the woods. Issabeau screamed out for Zarus, and with the ground shaking so violently from the thunderous horses, she lost her grip and fell to the ground. Her magic instinctually protecting her as she rolled away in time from being trampled by one of those horses. She scrambled to her feet and froze against the solid oak tree. For that split second her mind saw the reality of their attack, an image now held in her memory – frozen in time: many soldiers surrounding Malfius, her mother thrusting her sword in combat with three soldiers, Zarus keeping the war horses away from her mother.

Then her mind snapped to her own reality as an enormous soldier came running at her. Lunging away from him, she screamed for help and started running blindly into the forest as the enemy’s pounding footsteps followed. Not yet learned in using her night vision, the darkness offered Issabeau no direction as she raced through its tangled network of snow-covered trees, their branches poking into her eyes and tugging at her hair. Her feet stumbling over frozen stumps and icy rocks as she pushed herself forward. Over her own grasping breath, she could hear the soldier shouting words that she would never escape.

Issabeau felt this was it, she was going to die.

Her legs ached from exertion as she tried to push them faster. As if by a miracle, out of the corner of her eye, Issabeau saw a white rabbit look at her, then hide under a huge and ancient oak tree. Her adrenaline surged with instinct as she ran toward the tree and followed the rabbit into the hole. She was instantly relieved she fit, as she pushed herself down as roots and rocks tore her clothes and cut her skin. Now hidden and barely able to breathe, Issabeau was sure her beating heart was going to give her away, betray her.

Instantly, Issabeau heard another set of pounding footsteps and the savage roar of Malfius. Relief shattered Issabeau’s terror knowing Malfius was here to save her. She listened carefully to the searching soldier’s footsteps that suddenly came to a standstill, then heard its scream of instant death.

✵✵✵

Enchantment

Enchantment – Introduction

Enchantment – Chapter One

Enchantment – Chapter Two

Enchantment – Chapter Three

© Stephanie Wells and Travels and Adventures of Joyful Stephanie, 2015-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.