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The Lion of Garatoth

Finding hope in a war-torn land

By E.J. RobisonPublished about a year ago 27 min read
The Lion of Garatoth
Photo by Nik Shuliahin 💛💙 on Unsplash

The air of war surrounded me. Thousands of boots marching in sync produced an earthquake that rattled my very bones. Shouts mingled together into a raucous cacophony. Though I had no view out of my cramped tent, I could see the soldiers in my mind’s eye: smiling, backs straight, eyes forward. Confident.

It felt wrong.

Suddenly, a terrible feeling of sickness overshadowed the mental picture. I hunched over, pressing my hands into my stomach as I willed the affliction to go away.

But it wasn’t just an affliction, and it would be with me forever.

In the blink of an eye, my tent disappeared and the sickness was years away from my thoughts. A deserted wasteland stretched before me as far as I could see, and in the midst of it stood a silver tree. The wind raged in my ears, but the branches of the tree did not bend. The ground quaked and cracked, but the tree’s roots remained resolute.

But as time passed, the wind finally had its way and stripped the glittering bark from the tree, revealing plain wood underneath. A flash of yellow sprang onto the scene: a lion with a streaming golden mane. It eyed the vulnerable tree with envy, gathered its pride, and attacked.

I felt a flash of sorrow for the beautiful tree that would be shredded to bits. But as the rays of the sun touched the tree in just the right way, I caught a glint of precious metal.

My heartbeat quickened as my concern instantly shifted to the lions. I tried to cry out, but all that came from my mouth was a sheep’s bleating. I realized that I was, indeed, a dumb animal covered in wool, but at that moment it didn’t matter. I watched, hopeless, as all but one lion continued the charge on the tree. The magnificent beasts leapt and latched their jaws onto the tree’s trunk, only to find that underneath the bark, it was still made of solid silver.

The fearsome teeth of the lions fell out and clattered to the ground. Their jaws bled, and one by one each lion dropped down dead.

I met the eyes of the only lion left alive, the one that had heeded my warning. It wagged its head and its mane fell out in clumps to the dusty floor. Its face was expressive, like a human’s, as it trained a curious gaze on me. In a flash, it rushed forward. Fear rooted me to the spot. But instead of feeling my flesh torn away, a sense of calm washed over me. The lion picked me up in its jaws and ran far, far away from the silver tree ringed with blood.

I inhaled a sharp breath as I opened my eyes. Tremors ran along my body and the nauseous churning in my gut slowly began to ease. I wrapped my arms tightly around myself and a resounding clank followed as my chains shifted. The vision played through my mind again, as clear as if I’d seen it with my physical eyes.

I struggled to steady my breaths as the shudders subsided. “Guard!” I called.

An unfamiliar young man poked his head into the tent, the latest in my long line of guards; the king never let one man guard me for long for fear that I’d be stolen. This one was similar to all the rest, though his clean-shaven face and closely bundled scarf stood out as minor oddities.

“What is it?” the soldier asked.

I hesitated, experiencing a different kind of vision this time as I imagined how furious the king would be when I warned him.

I can let him go.

My sickness washed away in the wake of the greed that swept through my veins. It was difficult for one to imagine power when one was in chains, but in a moment of clarity, I reminded myself that the shackles on my wrists were just an illusion put there by a delusional king.

Really, it was I who owned him.

He feared me as much as he despised me. Just last night he had spat in my face upon hearing I’d had no vision about the battle the following day. And yet, I’d smelled the sweat on his skin, seen the uncertainty deep in his eyes.

I can let him ride to his hideous fate.

With a long exhale, I relinquished the lust for control and pushed the tempting thoughts from my mind. My visions weren’t given to me for the sake of power. No matter what King Gormul did, I had to use my curse…my gift as it was intended: to warn and to guide. Never to control.

I lifted my head, a little surprised by the inquisitive look on the guard’s face. I must have been musing for a few minutes, and yet, he hadn’t prompted or threatened me once. I took another silent moment to study his face and search within his light grey eyes. A sixth sense pricked at the back of my mind. The briefest flash of a vision jumped in and out of my head, too quick for me to grasp.

Maybe one day he will be a wealthy noble and create legendary farming laws, I told myself, shaking off the premonition and focusing back on the task at hand.

“I must speak to the king,” I told the guard. My gut clenched in terrible anticipation. “I have seen a vision.”

The guard’s eyes widened. Without wasting a moment, he snapped his head up and down in a curt nod and ran off. Though I tried to figure out in which direction he went, his footsteps were soon swallowed by the tumult outside.

I counted over two hundred heartbeats before a tall, stately man entered the tent. With his thick brown beard and long, greying hair, he might have inspired awe in someone who didn’t know his cruelty. The golden lion emblazoned across his uniform sent a shiver of foreboding down my spine.

The king smiled at me in a predatory show of teeth. “Have you seen our victory, seer?”

I knelt before him. “My king, may the Creator bless and preserve your reign; I tell of my visions only to serve you. I have seen your battle today.” I lifted my head and met his eyes, clasping my hands together in supplication. “If you attack Laau, the Spring River will run with your blood and the blood of your soldiers. Your mighty kingdom of Garatoth will be destroyed.”

One of the king’s eyes twitched. His face slowly reddened as his lips pinched into a thin line. When he spoke, each word felt like a punch in my gut: “You saw this?”

“Yes, Your Majesty, I saw—”

“You think I care?” The king’s hand whipped out and slapped me across the face, the force of it throwing me onto my side. A flash of images stormed my brain at the brief contact. “What are the words of a weak and delusional seer to me? Laau is weak and we will strike and be victorious!”

I held my stinging cheek in my hand as tears slipped from my eyes. In the moment he had touched me, his morbid future had become clear. “The weakness is a façade. Please, do not fall prey to this trap.” Mustering my courage, I gave one last attempt. “I have just seen it as you touched me. If you do not heed my warning, you will fail.”

The king turned and stormed out of the tent. He murmured something to the guard and a moment later the young soldier entered once more, wielding a mace. He held the weapon in both hands, his grip constantly shifting, and glanced around as if making sure there were no witnesses.

“To arms! We leave now!” The king’s voice outside pierced right through the tent and into my heart.

He’s hurrying the attack. Guilt clutched at my conscience, but as the guard advanced towards me, I knew there were more pressing things to focus on.

“Please.” I stretched out my hands as far as I could. “You must believe me. My commission is to act as the king’s oracle and I advise without any personal judgment. If you go to battle, everyone will be slaughtered! Do you want that for this kingdom?”

The guard’s eyes softened. “The king is entrenched in his ways; there’s no convincing him otherwise once he sets his mind on something. I’ve never seen him sway once in the two years I’ve been in this company.” He knelt down in front of me and let the mace rest on the ground. “But I believe you.”

I blinked. “You do?”

He reached out towards me, then hesitated. Finally, determination steeled his gaze and he quickly grabbed my shackled wrist, pressing my hand between both of his. His future flashed before my eyes, images of blood, hardship, tears, and an uncertain destiny that flickered in and out of focus. But the prophecies fell to the wayside of my attention in light of the guard’s recent past.

I gasped and looked into his—her eyes, seeing beyond the scenes of heartbreak and determination that had brought the soldier to this moment. “Why would you show me this?”

The guard’s voice pitched a little higher, the new alto tones sounding much more natural than the baritone she’d been forcing. “Though the king has put you in chains and done nothing but use and mistreat you, you still told him of the danger.” One corner of her lips twitched into a smile—a true smile, the likes of which I hadn’t seen in a long time. “I think you can be trusted.”

Her voice now carried the rural cadence of a Lowlands accent as she drew out her vowels and overly enunciated her consonants. As I had the thought, images of wide-open fields and acres of farmland played through my mind, all tinged with a feeling of fondness. Yes, she was far from home.

“Freya.” As I opened my eyes, she stared at me in shock. How long had it been since she’d heard her given name? “You are the bravest of women.”

Freya squeezed my hand. “Not any braver than you.” She looked down at my chains, reached into her pocket, and produced a key.

My mouth went dry.


“Where did you get that?” I asked, hardly any breath behind my voice.

“King Gormul ordered me to kill you.” Her eyes briefly met mine as she unlocked one of my manacles. “I decided right then that I would free you instead. He was so distracted by his anger that he didn’t notice me picking his pockets.” She shrugged. “You pick up some bad habits in the army.”

The second manacle fell loose to the earth with a heavy thud. I lifted my weightless arms. Marks of my imprisonment remained as raw, angry wounds on my wrists, but I hardly noticed.


Fear grabbed hold of me in a moment. Freedom had been denied to me since I was a girl—surely it couldn’t be this easy to obtain. I glanced at the tent flap, expecting King Gormul to come storming through at that very moment. Freya glanced back over her shoulder to follow my gaze.

“I agree,” she said as if she could read my thoughts. “We have to get you out of here before the king returns.”

Cold dread gripped my newly freed limbs. I found I couldn’t move an inch. Before this tent, I had lived in a damp dungeon cell. Prior to that, I couldn’t remember. To stand, to face the whole world with arms open…

It was a thought almost as terrifying as coming face to face with the king again.


I sucked in a sharp breath. Freya’s eyes anchored me to reality again. She frowned and bit her lip.

“That…is your name? I thought I heard the king say it once.”

Once. I remembered that night well, when King Gormul had called down every curse he knew upon my head. Of course, he’d made sure to use my name then; otherwise, it was just “seer.”

I nodded, unable to speak past a lump in my throat. My mind couldn’t grasp the events developing so quickly—emotion grew within me and I wasn’t sure whether I’d laugh, cry, or fall to the ground thanking the Creator for this thing called freedom that I didn’t understand.

Gruff voices passed by just outside the tent. Freya and I both froze, our gazes locked together, and I only breathed again once the men had passed.

“Let’s go. Now.” Freya grabbed her mace and jumped up in one fluid movement, leaving me to struggle after her. She turned back in surprise and leaned down to offer a hand. “I’m sorry, it must be difficult to stand after being chained to the ground for so long.”

I grasped Freya’s wrist as tightly as I was able, allowing her to haul me to my feet. Her grip was firm and strong; I supposed it had to be, as she had apparently passed for a member of the king’s army for two years.

My legs felt as scrawny as a bird’s. I wobbled and tried to find my balance. Despair flooded Freya’s eyes, though she tried to cover it up with an encouraging smile a moment later.

But all the smiles in the world couldn’t hold me to my feet. A sudden wave of weakness washed over me and I tumbled to the ground, the wind knocked out of me as I rolled onto my back.

The light of day seemed further away than ever.

I caught my breath as I sat up. Freya crouched beside me, brow furrowed in concern.

“You have to go without me,” I said with a shake of my head. “I will slow you down. But you can escape—you must escape, and take as many as you can with you. Tell them that the king will fall today.”

Freya chewed on her lip as she glanced towards the tent’s entrance. She turned back to me, a tortured look of indecision colouring her features. She opened her mouth to speak but I intervened.

“I know you have a noble heart, but my life is only one. You can save many if you spread the word now before the whole army leaves.”

Freya squeezed her hand into a fist. “Lion’s breath,” she muttered, a pseudo-curse that seemed fit coming from a soldier but not from a lady.

“I will distract the king from your escape as long as I can,” I added, trying to meet Freya’s eyes.

“It’s not right,” she spat harshly at the ground.

“I would not know what to do with freedom even if I had it.” I tried to laugh, but it came out as a sigh.

Suddenly, Freya’s head snapped up. She eyed me head to toe, lips puckered in concentration. Slowly, her features relaxed, something like a smirk crossing her lips.

“We had to trek long distances carrying sacks of grain as part of our training.” She nodded at me as if I’d passed some assessment. “Maybe it’s a good thing that you’ve been underfed.”

I glanced down at my scrawny frame, wondering what I had to do with sacks of grain until—


A shoulder dug into my gut and the world flipped. I gasped breathlessly, my head spinning even as my view righted itself. I found myself staring at Freya’s back.

“Play dead,” came Freya’s harsh whisper. Before I could respond, I was bobbing up and down with her gait, only just having the presence of mind to close my eyes and let my head hang limp as Freya carried me into the sunshine.

Abruptly, she stopped.

“Ah, Stant,” a deep voice boomed. “I was wondering where you’d got to. King finally lost his temper, eh?”

My heartbeat raced, pounding so loud I was sure the man could hear it. Did I look convincing enough?

“Yes, sir,” Freya said in her gruff soldier’s voice, not a waver in her tone. “I’m off to dispose of the body.”

“She don’t look so fearsome. All the legends say the seers can curse you and the next ten generations, but seeing this one here, I say that’s all grub guts. She’s just a puny little thing, isn’t she?”

Freya didn’t answer, but I felt her stance shift.

The man sighed. “All right, off with you, Stant. Our squad is forming up.”

“Yes, sir.”

I let out a long sigh of relief as I bounced on Freya’s shoulder again.

The next several minutes became a blur of pounding heartbeats, hushed voices, and searing heat on my back. Freya spoke to a few choice soldiers and told them of my vision, asking them to join her at the nearest bend in the barren Spring River, but she never revealed her secret or that I was alive. By the time she was finished, her steps began to flag.

The sounds of the camp grew distant.

My breathing eased. Freya remained silent. I imagined the sound of hoofbeats following us at any moment, but they never came. It struck me then that her story of getting rid of my body was even better than I’d initially realized—no one would have questioned her leaving the camp to toss out a carcass.

“Did you do it?” I dared to whisper, barely moving my mouth.

“I hope so,” Freya whispered back, her breaths ragged.

I tried to find a comfortable spot in my position folded over her shoulder, but any way I moved was stiff and painful. “We should stop, just for a moment.”

Freya came to a halt, kneeling down to carefully deposit me onto my feet. I instantly lost my balance and fell hard to my seat. A cloud of dust exploded around me.

Freya coughed, waving away the orange cloud. “Sorry. I should have sat you down.”

I huffed through my nose, trying to clear dust from my nostrils. “No matter; I am comfortable now. Thank you.”

Freya stared at me like I’d just said the sky was purple. “You can drop the whole ‘submissive seer’ act now; I’m not your master. No one will ever be your master again.”

My head spun. No master? How could a thought be so terrifying and so joyous at the same time? What would I do with my visions if not further the purpose of some greedy, wealthy individual?

“It’s…not an act, is it?” Freya asked softly, her eyes full of pity.

I kept my eyes downcast as I sketched a random pattern in the sand. “I have been a slave practically my whole life.” I swallowed, though the saliva did little to soothe my parched throat. “I do not know what else to be.”

Heatwaves danced before my eyes in the silence that followed. Sweat covered every inch of my body. Practical questions I hadn’t yet considered came to my mind: Where would we find shelter? Water? Food? How long could we survive in these wastelands?

Had trusting Freya been foolish? Had she even considered these things? If we died out here, how would it be any better than dying from King Gormul’s judgment? I would die free, yes, but I’d much prefer a quick killing blow to slow starvation or thirst.

“A lion.”

Freya’s statement confused me until I came to my senses and took in the unconscious drawing I’d created: the rough image of a lion baring its teeth.

In my mind’s eye, I saw the lion’s mouth dripping blood as its teeth cracked and fell out. My stomach roiled as if I were having another vision and I quickly wiped the sketch away.

“What’s wrong?”

“My vision. It is coming true even as we speak, and nothing I can do will stop it.”

“It’s not your fault, but the king’s.” Freya stood and dusted herself down. “I’d like to hear the details of your vision if you don’t mind telling, but we’d better get going. We need to get you walking, so I’ll take turns helping you walk and carrying you.”

I glanced back toward the camp. It was simply a dot in the middle of the drylands now, but I could still go back.

Back to what? Both before and behind me stood death. To go forward would be a longer and more difficult path, but at least, for the first time in my life, I would have someone to travel the road with. If only I could see my own future.


I opened my mouth to voice my doubts, to tell Freya that there was no point anymore. By the time the sun set, Garatoth would be only a memory. Though I’d never had a personal sense of allegiance to its king, this kingdom was the only real home I’d ever had. Why go on fighting for nothing?

“What will we do?” I met Freya’s eyes and savoured this last moment of rest before I had to test my weak legs. “When—if the other soldiers come and we are never found by the king, what happens next?”

“I should be asking you.” She reached out a hand and, internally groaning, I grasped it and stood on unsteady feet.

“Your future is still uncertain.”

Freya nudged me south, away from the camp, and I took a couple of halting steps. “What does that mean? I thought you could see everything.”

I shook my head, gritting my teeth as I focused on taking another step. No falling this time. “No,” I ground out. Freya’s arms suddenly supported me and I sighed with relief, able to shuffle forward easily with most of my weight lifted. “Not everything. Some things are still to be decided.”

“Anything I should know about?”

I relaxed my mind and saw, once again, visions of despair in her future.

“No.” If I’d learned one thing from my life, it was that knowing the future often did more harm than good.

Freya scoffed. I expected her hands to disappear, leaving me to flounder on my underused legs alone, but instead, her grip tightened.

There is good worth fighting for.

The truth came from nowhere, maybe resurfacing from something I’d heard long ago. After living for so long in the mires of cruelty, it was hard to believe that even a single dot of kindness could be left anywhere in Garatoth.

And yet, here it was in the form of Freya, risking her own freedom and safety to help me escape. Holding me gently even though she could have used her strength to force my visions of her future out of me. Speaking and acting encouragement when hope seemed far away.

Ouch. My legs burned. Had Freya let up on—?

There were no hands supporting me. A pair of boots clomped by my side.

“You do get distracted easily, don’t you?”

Suddenly aware that I’d been walking on my own, my legs wobbled and collapsed. Freya caught me with a chuckle. “I probably shouldn’t have pointed that out.”

I shook my head. “My legs started hurting.” I glanced back and saw my own footsteps in the sand. I’d taken at least twenty steps by myself.

“What were you thinking about?” Freya stood me up again and encouraged me forward. “Whatever it was, it worked.”

Something strange happened. Muscles in my face that hadn’t been used in years began to twitch and take shape.

Is this what a smile feels like?

“Hope,” I murmured.

Freya didn’t seem to need any further explanation.

It took us a whole day to reach the southern bend in the Spring River, so named for its tendency to only hold water during the rainy season of spring. Those days were long gone, and yet, as we approached the bank of dark mud, the trickling of water came to my ears. My throat felt as if it had swallowed handfuls of sand and compelled my feet to move faster. Freya let go of me and beat me to the water’s edge. Her shoulders slumped, eyes blinking in silent dismay.

In a moment, raging thirst turned to horror as I finally caught a glimpse of the water’s surface.

Not water.

I turned instantly and hobbled a few steps away before I fell to my knees and retched. Nothing came up—the king had ordered no food for two days as punishment for my lack of visions—but I coughed and sputtered, spitting out thick saliva. Shivers wracked my body.

“Tempes.” The harshness in Freya’s voice drew my attention. I met her hard, determined stare as she crouched in front of me. “Look at me.”

Eyes. Grey. Grey. Not red. Anything but red…

“Tempes.” Once again, Freya drew me back to reality as my mind started spinning out of control. “Don’t think. Just look. What colour are my eyes?”


“My uniform?”

I swallowed hard. “Green.”

“The sky.”

“Burning. Bleeding.” Harsh reds and oranges streaked the horizon, the sun displaying the last of its fearsome power before it was conquered by the night. Visions of death haunted my thoughts—the corpses of lions, the proud army of Garatoth’s soldiers reduced to rotting remains, rivers of blood streaking the wastelands and proclaiming the end of the kingdom. My home.

Freya’s eyes widened as she no doubt realised her mistake. “Stop. Stop. You need to save every drop of moisture in your body. Tempes…”

I could see the moment when she realised there was nothing she could do. I was a seer, my head filled with endless visions of doom. What were words against the tempest of life’s destruction?

This was why I could never have freedom. When in chains, my thoughts could stay focused from threat of pain or hunger. When given free rein, my mind ran rampant. Freya was understanding that right now.

Kind words would be exchanged for harsh blows. My thoughts and visions would be beaten into submission once again, because I would not, could not ever be free.

“Tell me.”

Fire. War. Blood. Death. Red, red, red…

“Tell me what you see.”


The physical sensation banished the wild thoughts. New visions trickled into my mind, flowing from the point of contact at my shoulder. Pain, strife, heartache… The familiarity of the now thrice-seen future brought me to awareness.

But unlike before, the vision continued.

“A lion. Female, the same from my earlier vision.” My voice was hoarse and ragged, every syllable scratching my dehydrated throat. “She sits atop a mighty mountain with a new pride before her. The sky is clear overhead, but all around hangs a furious storm. Yet, she is unafraid. Her pride is unafraid, despite the corpses that litter the ground. There has been a great struggle, but the lioness has won…and her head is bowed in humbleness to the blue sky. The stones of the ground shout a song of praise, but I cannot hear the words. The banks of the Spring River are flooding over, the clear water creating new streams and brooks throughout the land.”

Weakness overcame my body. I gasped in lungfuls of air. I blinked, my eyes adjusting to the fading sunlight.

Eyes. Grey… The same as the lioness.

Freya watched me with a worried crease between her eyebrows. “Tempes?” she hazarded, her small voice a far cry from the commanding tone she’d used long ago.

Moments ago, I corrected myself as reality settled around me. It was only moments ago. And yet, the world seemed a different place now. The thought of the pooling blood in the river behind me still filled me with dread, but I knew that wasn’t its final condition. One day, pure water would flow ceaselessly through the Spring River.

And before me sat the key to its—and the whole kingdom’s—restoration.

I placed my hands on the ground to steady myself as I shifted my body into a kneeling position, my head bowed.

“Tempes, what are you doing?”

“My queen, may the Creator bless and preserve your reign; I tell of my visions only to serve you.”

Freya was silent for a moment. “Er…what?”

Words flowed from me without a thought, almost as if they came from someone else. “Garatoth is scattered and hopeless, its people like sheep without a shepherd. But you…though a lion at heart, you are a friend of the meek. A protector of the sheep. The bringer of hope.” I looked into her eyes. “So it has been ordained: you are the new Lion of Garatoth.”

Freya’s mouth slowly dropped open.

“Your path ahead is filled with turmoil,” I continued, some of my own words now mingling with those given to me from elsewhere. “You will fail many times. But as you have helped my faltering steps, so I will help yours. I will take this journey with you and offer all I can give to your service.”

“Is that you talking, Tempes?” Freya sat fully on the ground, her eyes full of fear. “It sounds…” She trailed off and shuddered.

“Sometimes, I speak with the voice of our Creator. Do not fear; your story will end in victory.”

Yet, she continued to frown. “I don’t want a seer. I don’t want a slave.”

I shook my head. How to explain the way in which divine purpose melded with human will? “I am a slave no longer. I was shackled with omens of death and visions of darkness, but you have shown me hope. I willingly serve you.”

Freya looked down and burrowed her fingertip into the soft earth. “I can’t be a queen.”

“Not by yourself. Others will arrive this very night to walk by your side; I am only the first.”

We sat in silence for a long while. Wave after wave of peace washed through me. The lost war filled my heart with tragedy for all of the innocent lives snuffed out, but as darkness fell and the moon rose, I knew that a new day would dawn soon.

I was roused from my thoughts when Freya shifted and looked into my eyes. A weary smile stretched across her lips.

“Whatever happens,” she said gently, “I’m glad I met you, Tempes.”

“And I, you.”

As the lonely chill of the wastelands settled in for the night, Freya and I sat together with our faces turned southward, toward the centre of our homeland. Her fear and uncertainty were almost tangible. Worries still chanted horrible truths in the back of my mind, too, but the glorious vision of the distant future kept the voices at bay.

If only she could see it, too. My words were insufficient to describe the glory that awaited her, but maybe that was a good thing. She would just have to experience it for herself. In the meantime, it was up to me to remind her of her destiny.

Purpose. Real, meaningful purpose.

“Can divine beings have friends, Tempes?”

I considered the question thoroughly, letting the thoughts distract me from the cold. “I have never had a friend, so I would not know. But I have heard that friendship is good, and our Creator is good also. Perhaps it is so.”

Freya shifted. “I’m just…a little scared.”

“Scared?” The thought was nearly comical after all she’d faced today without a hint of fear. “Of what?”

She twisted her fingers together and stared up at the stars. “What if I don’t do things right? Will you prophecy doom for our kingdom?”

I suddenly realised what she was getting at. “I am not a divine being here to judge. More of a…messenger.”

Her eyes narrowed. “But your visions…”

“Are a gift from above. I am simply a woman burdened with great responsibility, as you are.” I breathed a long sigh. “My purpose is often unclear to me, but right now, I know that it is to follow you. And that is enough.”

Freya tapped a finger on her knee. “I guess that’s what I need to do, too: see this through one step at a time.”

I began to wonder why the Creator would see fit to burden someone with knowledge of their future, but as Freya smiled, I thought I already knew the answer. The way she handled the vision even now proved that she was the leader Garatoth so desperately needed.

Suddenly, Freya clasped my hand. “I’m glad I’m not alone.”

I looked down at our intertwined fingers, intertwined futures, and felt like someone brand new. All my life, I’d been a trophy, a disappointment, a fearsome creature. The future, though it was my domain, had frightened me at every turn.

But now, I finally had a place. I didn’t need to see my own destiny—it was right here, using my freedom to serve willingly.

To warn and to guide. Never to control.

I smiled back at Freya; it felt a little more natural this time. Friendship, I thought. It is definitely good.

. . .

Author's Note: This is a rewrite of an older short story; the original version can be found in the short story collection The Drabbles of a Dreamer.

If you enjoyed this story, please leave a like and a comment and consider visiting my website! Your support means the world to me as an indie writer. ♥️

FantasyYoung AdultAdventure

About the Creator

E.J. Robison

Ever since I could first form words and hold a pen, I've been telling stories—from the sloppily scrawled tales about getting ice cream with my exotic pets to full-blown sci-fi and fantasy epics. Soli Deo gloria!

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