In the Hands of DarknessChapter Three

"I can't tell you m y name because Milord said not to. And I can't tell you what Milord's name is either because Milord said not to." Cyn warned the others with a glance to make sure her egg was all right. Determining that it was, she smiled and looked back up at the three newcomers. Sir Dar and Lady Kale were sharing an amused glance while Sir Bardon looked down at her with a sympathetic expression.

"The only catch is that you answer any of our questions truthfully as well. How about we go first? Your lord demands a lot out of you, doesn't he, young one?" He asked her, his tone of voice as sympathetic as the look in his eyes. Cyn bit her lip and nodded.

"Yes. And if I don't do what he wants, he beats me. I'm used to it by now, though. I don't cry anymore. Well, I don't cry much. But if I do start crying he puts me in the dungeon for a week without any food other than bread and water. But it's all right, because Hep sneaks me food when my lord isn't paying attention. Hep is very nice." She added with a smile.

"Oh, that doesn't sound like a good way at all to raise a child. Are those bruises from one of your lord's beatings?" Lady Kale asked, petting a green minor dragon on her shoulder that seemed to be looking at her impatiently. Cyn nodded and felt along the bruises.

"Yes, these are from the beating almost a month ago. It was one of the only times when my lord left and I tried a new recipe that I found in a book while Hep was out to the market to get fresh supplies." She grinned sheepishly at Lady Kale. "I set half the castle on fire. My lord told me that I deserved whatever punishment I got. I'm lucky, really. If one of the servants were to do that, I think that my lord would have killed them." Lady Kale looked at her with wide eyes before petting the green minor dragon.

"My Gymn, here, is a healing minor dragon. He could take the aches of the bruises away. Will you allow him to wrap around your neck?" Cyn nodded eagerly, looking at the green minor dragon.

"I would like it very much if Gymn the healing dragon came over here. He seems like a nice minor dragon. There aren't any minor dragons in my lord's castle. There aren't any major dragons in my lord's castle either. He looks like a dragon though, because he's scaly and has wings. I think that it's called a meech dragon when they look like a person, right?" Bardon nodded at her and she looked up at Kale who was looking at the green dragon Gymn. Gymn flew over to her and wrapped himself like a necklace around Cyn's neck. She giggled.

"He tickles!" Kale smiled at her and nodded and then shared a mental conversation with Bardon and Dar. Then she smiled back over at Cyn, who was petting Gymn's head as he healed her neck and back. She was still holding her egg close and Kale could feel the life from inside the egg.

"You haven't asked many questions, little one. Why don't you ask one so that we can balance out these questions and answers?" Cyn bit her lip as she considered all of the questions running through her head. She chose the one that seemed the most reasonable to ask first.

"Why are all of you on my lord's land? He hates trespassers. Despises them would be a better word. And he especially loathes, oh, that's a good one, trespassers that follow the orders of Paladin." Sir Dar the doneel looked over at Bardon, who nodded slightly, allowing him to answer her question.

"Sir Bardon and Lady Kale had a child fifteen years ago that was taken at birth by Lord Ire, or, as Paladin calls him, Pretender." Cyn's eyes widened. Her lord had taken a babe at birth? From people as nice as Sir Bardon and Lady Kale? Her face hardened into a mask of dislike. She knew what her Lord was capable of and the fact that he had stolen a child from the followers of Paladin didn't surprise her at all.

"I'm sorry about your loss. And you're trying to find her, right? I hope that you do. I'm sure that she'll be missing such nice parents as you. I don't think even Lord Ire would stoop so low as to kill an innocent child." She tried to comfort them. Bardon gave a lift of his mouth.

"Thank you, young one. Any other questions you would like to ask one of us? I'm sure that you're absolutely dying to find some things out about us." He smiled good-naturedly. Cyn nodded shyly.

"I do have a question for you, Sir Bardon, but I think that it will make you mad." She bit her lip. Bardon frowned and kneeled down towards her.

"I'm sure that I won't be mad at a pretty little thing like you, little one. Go ahead, ask your question. I promise that I won't get mad." Cyn shyly reached up towards him and brushed the hair away from his ears.

"Why are your ears pointed?" She asked slowly, cautiously. Kale looked like she was stifling a giggle and a yellow and orange dragon near her let out a laugh. Dar kept his face composed, but the merry glint in his eyes told Kale that he was suppressing laughter as well. Bardon stiffened slightly before letting his features relax.

"I'm a halfling. My mother was an o'rant and my father is an emerlindian. That's why my ears aren't as pointed as an emerlindian. You're familiar with the seven high races, aren't you?" He asked. Cyn was about to nod her head, but she was afraid that she would dislodge the little dragon and she didn't want to do that.

"Yes. I listen when my lord has visitors over. I could tell from my hiding place near the cavern where I found my eggs what race you all were because of the way you talked. Then I read and study about the races that I hear in my lord's conversations." She sighed. "It gets very boring in my lord's castle." Bardon smiled and patted her on the head as a gesture of affection. Cyn grinned up at him.

"Now, why did you want to know about my ears, little one? Were you just curious or was there something more behind your request?" Cyn bit her lip shyly, unsure if she wanted to show him the own point on her ears. "Please?" He asked, giving her an innocent, pleading look. She pulled the hair back from the ear closest to him. Bardon's eyes widened slightly and he touched her ear lightly.

"A quarter emerlindian. That's very odd, indeed. Thank you for showing me, little one." He stood and took Kale by the arm, pulling her a little ways away for a hushed conversation and leaving her with Sir Dar. She looked at the couple and then back at Dar, her eyes wide.

"I didn't do anything wrong, did I? I don't want to upset them. Tell them I'm sorry, Sir Dar, don't let them be mad at me!" She begged. Dar smiled and patted her arm.

"Don't worry about it at all, little one. They're not mad at you. Bardon does that when he wants to speak to Kale privately. They are husband and wife, after all, so it's perfectly normal if they pull each other aside at times." Cyn stuck her bottom lip out worriedly.

"As long as they're not mad at me, I'll be all right." She stayed quiet for a moment and picked up Bardon saying 'Wulder be willing'. She blinked in confusion and looked back at Dar. "Sir Dar, who is Wulder?" Dar's eyes widened and he let out a short, choked noise.

"Wulder is the Creator, little one. He made you and He made me, and His presence is all around us right now. He created the ground in which we walk on and He loves every one of His creations." Cyn sighed and wrapped her arms around herself, her downcast eyes turning to look at the ground.

"He doesn't love me, Sir Dar. I am unlovable. My lord said that I am just a wretch and he doesn't know why he doesn't kill me just to keep me out of the way." Tears pressed against her eyes. "Wulder doesn't love me. Nobody does. My lord said so himself." She sobbed. Bardon and Kale looked over immediately.

"Dar, what did you say to her?" Kale demanded. Dar shook his head and Gymn chirred soothingly. A purple minor dragon flew over and sat on Cyn's knee. She hummed a soothing song and Cyn's eyes widened.

"She sings? Metta's your name, isn't it? I can hear you." She smiled happily, though sad tears still lingered in her eyes. "It's a very pretty song, Metta, thank you." She looked up at Kale and Bardon and wiped the tears away. "I'm sorry, Sir Dar didn't say anything. It was me."

"Wulder does love you, little one. Wulder loves everyone, I promise. He wouldn't forsake one of His creations." Kale told her, a smile on her face. "Paladin loves you too. He and Wulder think the same. Wulder knows you, so Paladin knows you. I promise that this gets less confusing, but you have to accept Wulder and let him guide you. Can you do that?" Cyn nodded slowly.

"If He created me, then He surely wants me to follow him, right? I want to follow Wulder, but I don't know if my lord will allow it. He might get mad." Her eyes widened and her hands flew to her mouth. "My lord might be home by now and I'm just sitting here. I have to go!" She stood up with the help of the tree she had been leaning on. Metta and Gymn both flew off and joined the other minor dragons or found perches on Lady Kale.

"Little one, I want to ask you a few more questions. It won't take long, I promise." Cyn nodded and looked at Lady Kale. "Do you like living with your lord?" Cyn paused and then shook her head slowly, sadly.

"No. He's mean and he's cold and he doesn't like me at all. Truth be told, and you told me to be honest with you, I'd much rather stay with you, and Sir Bardon and Sir Dar. You all are so nice." She sighed heavily. "But I must go back to my lord. He'll cause trouble for you all if I don't. He dives into my mind when I don't want him to and drags up all of the things that I've done wrong and punishes me for them."

"Listen, little one, we want to take you with us. We want you to meet Paladin and know the wonders of Wulder, but you'd have to leave your lord's castle. Could you do that?" Cyn paused and nodded her head hesitantly.

"But I need to go back and get my things and tell Hep good-bye. She's been so nice to me all these years. Can I go say good-bye?" She looked at them hesitantly, as if they would say no. All three of them smiled and nodded.

"Of course, little one. You may go. We'll follow you and wait until you're ready to leave. And then we'll go to Paladin. But you must hurry, we can't wait for long." Cyn nodded and ran off in the direction she needed to go. A happy tune sang in her heart and she held her egg close.

Please don't let Lord Ire be home. Please let me get away unnoticed. Please, Wulder, please.