I ran from the safety of the castle walls into the darkness, not knowing what I was running from. Was I running from fear or hate? Did I want to get away from myself?

The cool autumn morning was drying the sweat from my forehead. My dark brown hair flowed behind with each step I took. My eyes stung from the tears that were streaming down my face. The darkness was setting in. I did not realize how far I had run and did not keep in mind where I had come from. The sounds of the forest were comforting to me yet, to most it would be terrifying. There was safety offered to me in the castle, but in reality is could not be given to me in the confined stone walls. Finding a place that was covered with leaves from the trees, I sat down, wiped the tears from my face and took a deep breath. I knew I was beginning a journey that no one had ever experienced. I felt like I was at home, yet missing something. I pondered over what I was missing and could not touch its essences. With the peace and turmoil on my mind, I fell asleep wrapped in the comfort of the forest.

As morning rose and the sun tapped my eyelids, I woke to the love that I thought I always wanted. Warmth, peace, no anxiety, it all seemed like a dream. Stretching each muscle and realizing it was just me and the world, I engulfed every energizing spark and sound it offered me. Standing up, I slowly started to walk into the unknown future ahead of me. Life was surrounding me. The birds were singing and the trees covered me. Beautiful wild flowers of every color peeked out where the morning sun touched. The aroma of the woods and plants, all deepened my senses.

What seemed like minutes was actually hours. I had walked through the trees and beautiful plants’ touching their tender leafs and taking in everything they had to offer. I wondered if there was something ahead, something I was searching for, in the depths of my mind I thought I should turn around and accept what was offered to me at the Castle. My legs would not let me turn around, my body had taken over of every movement it made, and I could not leave the new found comfort of the forest. Turning back was not a part of the wonderful future I had dreamed about.

By late morning, I realized someone had been following me. Was it my Father? Was it the Servants who my father had hired to keep an eye on me? I could feel their presence and hear their steps not far behind. I turned around and no one was there. I continued to walk and found a tree up ahead and stepped behind it, hoping that whoever was following me did not notice and pass on by so I could see who they were. A very distinguished man with a body only a sculptor could make passed by. His hair was long and dark. It was braided and flowed down his back like a waterfall. His skin was bronzed from the sun. He walked past the tree that was hiding me and turned around to face me. It seemed as though this man knew I was there all along. His deep blue eyes captured me and my heart pounded like the beat of a drum. He was not someone who wanted to hurt me and not someone who wanted to return me to my father. I brushed my hair from my eyes and pulled it back. Showing no fear I stood in his presence.
“Do you fear me?” was the only whisper from his lips I heard. I was hesitant to answer for fear of the response. In that moment his hand reached across me and he carefully placed it over my mouth to let me know not to answer. His scent was warm and his hands were strong. He pulled up close behind me in the safety of the tree. Within seconds a large terrible looking creature passed our place of invisibility, looking as thought he was hungry and on the hunt for food. The Monster passed on by in pursuit of what ever it was searching for. I looked deep into the eyes of my beholder and lost all reality of my mind. Even with the possibility of death and mutilation by the creature, all fear left my soul.
“We must be moving on.” Spoke the handsome man whose voice brought me back to reality. Taking me by the hand he led me on in silence.
A few steps further into the woods I whispered, “Who are you and where are we going?”
“You already know me.” A smile came upon his face, “In time you will understand who I am, but for now we must continue forward if we are to make it to our destiny.”

We continued to walk carefully, so the leaves below our feet would not give us away. We came upon a stream which divided the forest in half. The sun was warm and our hearts were warm too. The sounds of forest life were all around us. I turned to ask where we were headed but the mystery of my rescuer became larger, he was no where to be seen. I looked around seeing the edge of the trees from which we came from. A tree branch laid half way in the stream that lightning had destroyed. I sat down wondered if everything was a dream and I had been walking in my sleep. I wanted to call out but I did not know the name of my defender. I had to decide what my next move was going to be. I returned to the edge of the tree line and found a tree with beautiful blue flowers beside it. I sat against the tree and thought of the options I had. I touched each petal of the flower next to me and slowly drifted off to sleep.

“Come with me and I will keep you safe.” A shadowed figure spoke. I stood up and walked into the arms of a man who made me feel warm. Our lips met and the most tender, loving kiss was shared between the two of us. The passion took me into a world I had only dreamed of. I felt nothing could ever break us apart. His tender touch took me to a world of bliss.

“Did you sleep well my love?” A voice that sounded familiar woke me. The sun was setting and I realized I had been sleeping for hours. “We must be on our way. The walk is far and the dangers are many.” As the stranger spoke the anxiety rose in his voice. The strange feeling I had when I looked into his eyes reminded me of someone I knew, but who? He took my hand and helped me up from the warmth of my sleeping place. He brushed my hair back with the tips of his fingers and pointed the way.

We followed the river stream and used the light from the moon to see. I noticed something like a bird flying back and forth between the trees. Then I realized that birds usually sleep at night. What could be shaking the branches of the trees above us an owl? Before I could take my next breath I was pushed to the ground and was only able to hear the growling of some wild animal and the flapping and screaming of the bird like creature above us. When the sounds had stopped I looked up to find a yellow mess of bloody feathers a few feet from me. Standing up, the man who had been taking me to where ever we were heading, was covered in the same bloody, yellow feathers.

My hair was in tangles and my jeans were torn at the knees. Looking again into the bluest eyes I asked, “Who are you? You never told me.”
“Raytin,” were the words that flowed from his lips. “I am Raytin the III to be exact.” His words even sounded like some one royal.
In an instant I realized who he was. He was the image in my dreams each night. He was the one who kept me safe when I felt threatened. He was the man who loved me every night when I felt unloved. He was the one who gave me strength when I was weak.
“Raytin.” I repeated in a trance. No other words came from my mouth. All my thoughts were scrambled. The only thing I could ask was, “Where are we going?”
“To where I live, if you will honor me with your presences there,” he said with the voice of an angel.
“Why me? You don’t know anything about me.” I spoke as though I might have a dark secret.
“I know you love to walk in the woods.” Raytin’s voice was soft as he continued to tell me who I was. “You put up with the lectures of how a young woman should act and live. You are engaged to be married to a man you do not love. Your father is the one who has made the arrangement for you only to prosper him. You summon me into your dreams every nigh just for the security and love you seek. And your name is Lucy.” At the sound of his voice saying my name and the feeling of his hands in mine, I realized this is the man I love.

Seeing a familiar shadow not far in front of us, we turned and started to run the other way. Finding a hiding place beneath some bushes, we sat and listened. The sound was a low groan as though the creature had been injured. Slow hollow steps came closer, as the groans became only the sound of the creature’s breath. I noticed a spider next to me slowly climbing her web which sparkled in the dark. Raytin slowly pulled out his sword from his side and prepared to fight. The black shadow had glowing red eyes and his long sharp fangs hung out of his enormous mouth. He stood on what appeared as his back legs. I noticed the blood dripping from the fangs of the monster as Raytin raised his weapon to kill it. With one swift swing of his sword, the bloody-toothed head flew off its large shoulders as though it had never been attached. His body fell lifelessly to the ground as the head rolled a few feet away still gushing blood and its eyes still glowing.

My hair was a mess and my jeans were torn at the knees. Looking again into the bluest eyes I asked, “Who are you? You never told me.”
“Raytin,” He replied in a royal voice, “Raytin the III to be exact.”
In an instant I realized who he was. He was the image in my dreams each night. He was the image who kept me safe when I felt threatened. He was the man who loved me every night when I felt unloved. He was the man who gave me strength when I felt I had none. “Raytin” I repeated in a trance. No other words came from my mouth. All my thoughts were scrambled. The only thing I could ask was, “Where are we going?”
“To where I live if you will honor me with your presence there?” his voice was of an angel.
“Why me? You don’t know anything about me.” I spoke as though time and space stood still.
“I know you love to walk in the woods. You put up with the lectures of how a young woman should be and how she should live. You are engaged to be married to a man you do not love. Your father is the one who has made that arrangement for you only to prosper himself. You summons me into your dreams every night just for the security and love you seek. And your name is Lucy.” At the sound of his voice saying my name and the touch of his hands that have taken mine I realize this is the man I love.

“I do not know you.” Trying to sound like he wrong, not wanting him to know my deepest secrete.
“Yes you do, every night we take walks and you tell me all your private secretes you hold in your heart.” His words were as thought he knew me better than I knew myself.
“I do know you, the kindness you show to everyone you meet. Sharing in all you have to those who have nothing. And the way you make….” At that moment a sound from deep in the woods startled us and our conversation turned into Raytin pulling me off the unseen path we were taking.

Seeing a shadow that seemed familiar not far in front of us, we turn and went another way. Finding a hiding place in a bunch of trees that had fallen, we sat and listened. The sound was a low groan as though this creature had been injured. Slow hollow steps came closer as the groans became only the sound of the breath of the creature. Noticing a spider slowly climbing her web which sparkled in the dark, Raytin slowly pulled out a sword from his side and readied him self to fight. The black shadows glowing red eyes and long sharp fangs hung out of his enormous mouth. He was the size of a Silver Back Gorilla. He stood on what appeared as his back legs. I noticed the blood dripping from the fangs of the monster as Raytin raised his weapon to kill him. With one swift swing of his sword, the bloody toothed head flew off his large shoulders as though it had never been attached. His body fell lifelessly to the ground as the head rolled a few feet away still gushing blood..

“Come, we must hurry. I am sure there are others following him, looking for the what ever it was that the creature had killed.” Raytin’s voice was full of anxiety. We carefully stepped over the lifeless body that lay in a pool of blood. We found our way back to the stream only to find what the creature had killed and what the others would be looking for. A young man’s body laid next to the water’s edge. He was missing his arm and his face looked as though it had been put in a meat grinder.
“Come, not much time.” I could hear Raytin’s heart racing in his voice. We walked a few more yards and found the missing arm. Wrapped in the fingers was a broken, gold chain. “I knew this was going to happen.” Raytin’s voice was full of anger.
“What was going to happen?” I asked with hesitation.
“In your dreams, do you remember a beautiful sapphire amulet?” I had to think, then I remembered a sapphire amulet the man in my dreams had gave to me.
“Yes, the one you gave to me in my dream?” I sounded surprised.
“The amulet is the one missing off the chain. It has special powers and a very special meaning. Do you remember what the amulet does when you hold it close to your heart? Again I had to think, “No, I always wake right before I put it to my heart.” With the look of the deepest love, Raytin begins to tell me about the now missing amulet.

“I gave you the amulet as a token of my love and the size of your strength. With it in your hands and close to your heart it gives you the power to heal.”
I pondered the thought and asked, “What am I to heal?”
“You heal physical wounds but you can also heal the hearts of the ones who truly love. With it in the wrong hands it can do just the opposite. It can harm and kill beings and their hearts.” Raytin’s voice drifted off in the foggy thoughts of my mind.

Taking my hand in his, Raytin and I walked slowly around looking to see if the amulet had fallen somewhere close to the remains of the young man. Noticing wet, bloody foot prints on the leaves, Raytin insisted, “No more time to look it’s not here. The Sypers have it.”
“The Sypers, what is a Syper?” With more fear in my voice than I want to hear.
Raytin Explained, “A Syper is the creature we ran into a moment ago. They are the ones who want to destroy what is left of this kingdom.”
I felt the urgency in his voice to find the sapphire and with out hesitation I asked, “So what do we do next?”
With a smile on his face he said, “You are a woman after my heart. Now let’s find the sapphire amulet so you can save the hearts of many.”

The ground was wet and damp and the farther we walked, the softer the ground became. “We must take the trail less traveled. Taking it will be safer than out here in the open like the mouse the owl had for dinner.” His voice had a slight since of humor. We turned and entered the wooded area again where the air became cooler and the sounds became more muffled. The path we took seemed to be less leafy and had more stones in it as thought it had been traveled many years ago. I stepped on a stone and my ankle turned. I stumbled slightly but did not fall. Stopping for a moment, with Raytin’s arms holding me from the fall, I uttered with embracement, “I am alright, Clumsy me.” Laughing slightly. Continuing on. the trees became thicker and we had to push away branches and overgrown plants along the way. The next thing I remembered was the pain I felt as I fell down a steep cliff. With each tree and obstacle in the way the pain became more intense. The sharp stones and rock burned as they slashed out at my body. Finally without movement I realized I had fallen deep within the depths of the darkest part of the forest. I tried to move but the pain would not let me. My head throbbed with pain. I thought I heard voices but I figured it was only my imagination from the fall because there was only one person with me at the time of the fall, Raytin. Hearing the voices, I tried to roll over. I reached for the branch next to me and pulled myself up. I reached up to rub my head and realized the blood running down my face and the gash above my brow.

The aroma of the flowers I had landed on deepened my senses and I realized I had to crawl to the edge of the trees to find where and who the voices came from. Slowly I pulled myself along the ground with anything I could possibly grab a hold of. Feeling the wetness under me I finally came up to a bush next to a tree and moved the branches. There, before my eyes, was a campfire burning bright. Three men were sitting around the fire. “You did what?” asked a tall and stocky man. “How could you lose the amulet? Raytin killed the monster for you and you still lost the amulet?” Anger rose deeper in the man’s voice. My mind raced with thoughts as though it was racing with my pain. Raytin? Why were they talking about him, and where was he? Did this man hire Raytin to get the amulet or to protect the one that was trying taking the amulet? Was he using me just to get the amulet which I did not posses? Many confused questions went through my head.
The man bowed his head and said, “I found the young man who possessed the amulet, but before I could retrieve it from him, the Syper came out from among the trees by the stream and surprised the boy. He tore off the the young man’s arm in attempt to retrieve the amulet and as he was screaming the monster slashed his face to stop the sound. I heard a gun shot and the terrifying scream of the Syper as the young man aimed without any idea where the gun was pointed and fired a shot before he took his last breath. The shot hit the creature in the leg and he ran off into the woods.” His words faded as he ran out of breath.

“Why did you not go after the Syper?” the tall stocky man questioned.
“It was dark and he had already killed one man. Who was to say he would not kill me if I was found?”
The man who sounded familiar said, “Like this?” as he pulled a gun and shots the story teller in the head. Blood splattered against the bolder that the man was sitting against and his body fell over like a drunk passing out from to much whisky.

I turned my head and realized I was still all alone. Where was Raytin? I had to be quiet so the men would not hear me. Pain continued to travel through my body. The voice of the man who had pulled the gun said, “Bury the bloody body and clean up the mess.” At that moment I knew who the familiar voice belonged to. The man was my father.

I smelled the smoke from the wood burning. I was afraid to open my eyes for fear I had been caught. I opened my eyes and saw a beautiful fire place burning bright. I realized I was in some kind of cabin. The bed was warm and soft. The floors were made of fine wood and a rocking chair sat next to the fire with a rug in front of it that had been made by someone’s own hands from the past. A wood burning stove sat in the corner with a kettle of boiling water and the smell of food filled the air. The beautiful kitchen table had been hand carved of dark wood. There were only three chairs around the table. It looked like one was missing.

“Good morning sunshine,” A voice spoke softly, “How are you feeling now?” Raytin sat in the missing chair next to the other side of my bed. I was feeling the pain and remember my father taking the gun and killing a man. It must have been a dream. Tears filled my eyes and I just wanted to fall back to sleep.
“Better. Did you see the men and the campfire?” those were the only words I could speak.
“Yes.” Raytin walked over and dished up some stew from the pot on the stove. I sat up in the bed fighting the pain in all my muscles. Raytin brought over the bowl and sat beside me on the bed helping me take bites of the stew. With each bite I felt stronger. “The sapphire amulet, did you find it?” My voice must have sounded desperate from the look he gave me.
“No. We will look for it as soon as you are strong enough. The men at the camp are gone; they too are looking for it.”
I blurted out, “The man that shot the other man was my father!” The look on Raytins face showed the pain he felt for me.
“Your father wants the amulet so he can rule this land. When the Sypers took the amulet, your betrothed and father went to find it and get it back. The man your father shot was the one you were to marry.”
I had no words to say. My thoughts were covered with red, the red of the blood my father had shed. I noticed the sun’s rays were coming in through the window.
“We must find the amulet before my father does.” As the words came out of my mouth, I pushed away the bowl Raytin held in his hand and tried to get up. Raytin’s big and tender hand touched my shoulder and gently laid me back into the feather mattress.
“You get some more rest, and we will leave tomorrow at the first setting of the sun.” Raytin’s voice lulled me back into a deep sleep.

The next evening, I was still sore and bruised, we packed some food that had been in the cabinets of the cabin and filled the cantinas with water. Raytin made sure the fire was completely out. Looking around the cabin one last time we sat out to continue our journey. Stepping out on the porch, the air was fresh. The cabin was so secluded in the middle of the woods that no one could have found it. They could only stumble upon it. Walking into the woods, our journey started again, but things seemed so different. I had a reason now for going into the unknown darkness.

The trees were so tall; it looked as though they touched the clouds. Most of the sky was covered by their branches that were full of life. The woods were getting darker as we went further into its depths. I noticed a plant I had never seen before. I remember when my father would take me on long walks in the woods and would teach me about every unique plant we came upon. This plant was not one I was familiar with. The small bright orange flower that bloomed at the top of the plant was like a bright sun. The smell was sweet and stood out yet blended with the wood smells. “Beautiful isn’t it?” Raytin’s voice brought me back to reality. He bent down and picked one of the flowers and put it in my hair. With a tender kiss he took my hand and we continued to go forward.

We walked into a clearing with rose bushes all around. In the midst of the bushes was a beautiful stone with carving on it. I walked up to the stone and realized it must be some kind of head stone. Turning to Raytin I asked, “Is that a burial?
“Yes,” was Raytins reply as he bent down and touched the stone. “My Sisters place of rest.” was all he could say. I noticed the tears swell up in his eyes but never fall. “She sleeps under this tree where she met her final fate. When I was younger we played in the woods. This was our playground. Emily wanted me to make her a special swing and before I could climb up and put the ropes around the branches, she had climbed up and tried to do it herself. She wrapped the ropes around her shoulders instead of her waist to get them up there. See the broken branch?” as he pointed up to the branch that stuck out from the tree. “It broke on her and one of the ropes got caught around the broken branch and wrapped itself around her neck as she fell to her death. I tried to get her down but I was too late.” Silence fell upon both of us. I came closer to Raytin and pulled him to me. Touching his face I gave him a tender kiss to try to ease the pain. He took me by the hand and led me back to the path and on our way.
Wondering how close we were to where Raytin lived, thinking the grave would not be far from there, I asked him, “Are we close to your home?”
“There is still a long walk ahead of us. We must find the amulet first.” Were the words that came from his once trembling lips.

We came upon another clearing and noticed that a camp had been made there. Raytin walked over to the place where the fire had been and knelt down and touched the ashes. They were cold so it had been at least half a day since the fire was burning. The foot- prints of someone who had been there showed that two men were traveling in the same direction we were headed.

I tried to swat a bug away from my face. It continued to flutter in front of me. Raytin began to laugh. I had never heard him laugh. “What do you think you are swatting at? You will never get her to leave you alone now that she has found you.” The words he spoke made his eyes shine brighter and bluer than ever.
“What do you mean her?” was my question as I continued to swat at the flying object.
“Arleea, she is a fairy who will help us find the amulet.” Raytin’s voice still had laughter in it. Arleea finally landed on a yellow flower in front of me. Her beautiful dark blue wings outlined in red sparkled I heard no words but the feeling I was getting was as though I was reading her mind.
“How are you today Arleea?” asked Raytin as though they were best friends. The fairy fluttered her wings in excitement. “It looks as though she wants us to follow her.” Raytin’s words drifted as Arleea hovered in front of us and Raytin took my hand and led the way.

Following Arleea, things seemed to become brighter, and safer. I felt stronger. Then my heart sank as we came upon another terrible sight. Lying in the path were two Sypers. Both were dead. It looked as though they had been in a fight together. Wondering if the amulet was in their possession, I ran to the bodies and started looking through what remains were left. The first body looked like he had been picked to death. Searching around the other mangled body, I noticed a sparkle. I moved the wet bloody leaves and I found a ring. I moved the blood soaked leaves and picked up the ring. It was the one my father wore. The one my mother gave him before she died from a sickness.

Memories flooded my mind again, overwhelming me. My mother was a beautiful lady. She had a slender body with shoulder length blond hair that fell to her waist in curls. Her eyes of green looked like emeralds. Her voice was as soft and gentle as the summer breeze. I remember she would take me to the flower garden and we would sit on the bench and make up stories about dragons and castles and knights in shining armor. My father was cruel to her. They would send me to my room when a heated argument was about to start. I never really knew what they were fighting about, but it always ended with my mom running up the stairs crying.

I placed the ring on my finger and it was too big. The ring continued to slide off as l admired the beautiful stone. I then realized that the stone matched the amulet we were looking for Sapphire. The stone was sat in a man’s gold wedding band. I looked up, and Raytin was standing there staring at me. He was in a trance. When I asked him what was wrong he replied, “Nothing, it’s beautiful just like you.” I took Raytin’s hand and placed the ring on his finger. “Please accept this ring from me. It was given to my father by my mother as a token of her love. She loved him with all her heart. I love you with all of mine.” The words came out of my mouth before I even thought. Raytin took me in his arms and kissed me with the love and passion I had longed for all of my adult life. I noticed that not only was Arleea fluttering around us, but hundreds of fairies were there. Different colors of wings fluttered above our heads reds, blue, purples, even an elegant black. I never wanted the beautiful moment to end.

We continued our journey down the path with the fairies leading the way. In a few steps the deepest moan came to our ears. Arleea and her friends also stopped fluttering and hid within the covering of the woods. Raytin put his finger to his lips with the gesture on not saying a word. He carefully walked ahead of us. He waved his hands, motioning me to hide behind something. I stood behind the tree listening to see if I could hear anything. The silence deafened me. I peeked around the tree and saw the most terrifying sight. Raytin was standing in the middle of a circle of Sypers. The four Sypers all were drooling at the mouth. Their eyes glowed of red, and they had the snarl of death. Their paws were raised to strike and the sharp claws drawn out able to slash apart anything in their way. The fear for Raytin rushed through my veins. One of the Sypers lashed out as Raytin raised his sword and brought it down at the claws of the demon. The sword swung back around cutting the paw off of the attacker. The other Sypers started to attack. Raytin again raised his sword and with a mighty yell he swung with all his might. The look on his face was that of anger, love, hate, and determination to kill each and every one of the evil killers. Raytin took a step back as the second Syper lunged forward landing on Raytin’s sword sending the sword through his heart. As the creature fell to the ground, Raytin turned and removed the sword as quickly as it went in and in one enormous movement, turned and cut the third Syper’s head off. Blood splattering all over the trees and plants, making pools in the leaves that had fallen from the beautiful trees. Raytin still had two evil beings to deal with. The Syper with only one paw, started for his second attack on Raytin. I looked away not being able to withstand the sight anymore, and at that moment saw a glimmering light fly through the air and land next to the beheaded Syper in a pile of brown wet leaves. Raytin continued the war on the Sypers, as I crawled out from behind my place of safety. Worried about Raytin, Arleea, and the other beautiful fairies which were fluttering above the glimmering object, I cautiously crawled toward it. As I grew closer to the object, it started to glow. It seemed that everything had stopped in motion as I reached out and took the stone in my hand. The feeling that the trees were swaying, the flowers blooming instantly before my eyes, and the life of the animals in the forest all came to life. I picked up the beautiful glowing sapphire and admired it in my hands. I looked up and in that instant Raytin was swinging his sword and ended the life of one of the creatures. The other evil demon lashed out with death in his eyes and sliced Raytin across the chest. Raytin grabbed his chest and as he did the sword came across the middle of the Syper and the top half of his hairy, bloody body fell forward to the ground. The other half, started to run in fear and fell in a couple of steps into a bloody heap on the forest ground.

Instantly, the forest leaves started to absorb the blood that was shed. I ran toward Raytin and within a few steps from him I heard a voice. “Lucy, stop. You touch him, and you will die.” The voice of my father came out from behind the mixture of beautiful fairies, blood from the evil demons and the entrapment of the forest trees. My love for Raytin burned from within me and I ignored my father’s wishes for the first time.

Raytins heart beat was shallow and I knew he was dying. My heart broke into a million pieces. The hate for my father grew in an instant and I wanted to die along with my love. I reached down and touched Raytin on the shoulder. I had forgotten about the amulet even though it glowed brighter and became the deepest blue. Tears filled my eyes. “Please don’t leave me. I love you. You have been the one in my dreams. You have been the one who made me strong. I was able to stand the pain my father bestowed on me and my mother. You were the one who kept me from killing him when he killed my mother by breaking her heart. Don’t leave.” My tears streamed down my face like a waterfall over the edge of its cliff.
I felt a touch on my shoulder and I jumped to defend my love. To my amazement it was Arleea, sitting on my shoulder. For the first time I heard her small voice, “Take the sapphire amulet and hold it to your heart. True love will show its face.” As I held the amulet tight bringing it close to my heart, I reached out and touched the wounds on Raytin’s chest. They glowed with the same sapphire blue. I heard a scream and looked up without moving my hand away from either my chest or my love. My father had fallen to the ground. I thought he was dead. Joy and sorrow took over my heart. A cloud appeared within the mists of the chaos and the forest turned to nothing but a light blue aura.
There my mother stood. Her blond hair blowing in the breeze, her smile was as comforting as I remember. “Please remember, I forgave the hate and torment. You must too. I love you Lucy and Raytin loves you.” With those words swirling in my head, I felt my mother’s kiss on my brow and then she was gone.

Looking around, Raytin started to stir. I helped him sit up and without any words we embraced and kissed. “I love you.” Were the words I heard from the heart of Raytin. Raytin began to stand. The moan from across the bloody mess made me realize my father was not dead. Raytin touched my shoulder and said, “Go to your father. He needs you. Remember what your mother told you.” In astonishment of Raytin’s words, I walked through the still warm blood of the demons, feeling sorry that they were not able to feel love and compassion. I stood at my father’s feet and asked him, “Why, father, did you cause so much pain?”
I then realized the Sapphire Amulet was glowing as much as it was when I touched Raytin.
“I thought I could rule and get what I wanted with the amulet.” my father said. “But I was wrong. Love is much stronger than any power and worth more than any amount of money.” My father lowered his head and cried.

Raytin was standing at my side. He had managed to get up and his wounds were healed. The sapphire amulet in my hands was glowing the brightest that it ever had. My father started to stand and realized he could not. I looked down and saw the bone in his leg protruding from it. Raytin looked at me and said, “Remember Lucy, the amulet will heal the physical if its love is true.”
I took the sapphire amulet in my hands and shut my eyes. When I opened them it was still glowing and this time it was warm. Raytin took my hand and we together reached out and touched my father. The bone started to move. I looked in my father’s eyes, wondering if he could feel the pain. From the look on his face, he could only feel the love that brought us all here.

Raytin, my father, and I walked along the path to our destination. The fairies led the way. Walking out of the forest I realized I was not afraid anymore. Looking out across the green grass of the field and seeing all the wild yellow and white daisies, I knew I was home. Home was where Raytin had been taking me from the beginning. The Sapphire Amulet hung around my neck from the vines the fairies had made and the love was in all of our hearts

I woke up in a beautiful room filled with every kind of flower you could imagine. The sheets of the bed were warm and cozy. Turning my head I came face to face with the blue eyes that had been in my dreams. Only this time it was not a dream. I sat on the bed and then walked to the window. I looked out across the kingdom, and saw all the people down in the village. I knew the amulet, not me, had healed the hearts of every man and every creature that had love within them. The ones who hated and never had that kind of love, left or died and were buried with the Sypers. Still in my heart, I wish even the evil hearts of the evil men and creatures could have been changed. The love Raytin and I share is what keeps our family safe.

Sandra Kaye Hill