A little girl was walking through a dark forest, the sky was crying huge tears of rain and everything was soaking wet - and so was she. Great tree trunks surrounded her path and long trails of ivy and moss hung from the branches. Every step she took seemed to take her deeper and deeper in, her feet sinking down into the mud.
This mud sucked at her toes, then at her feet, and at her knees, until she sank right up to her thighs in the muck. She struggled harder and harder to move away from the dark trees, but nothing seemed to be working - the very ground seemed to want to pull her down right into itself. The little girl could struggle and fight no longer, she had no spirit left, so she gave in and fell to the ground, disappearing into the earth, until there was no sign of her at all.
Standing behind a dark tree was a figure, he was tall, dressed in green and held a bright staff in his hand. His name was Elfall and he was the keeper of keys to life. Elfall had seen the child walking through the woods and fighting off the damp and darkness all around her. He had been powerless to help, for he knew this was one battle she had to move through in order to grow and become part of life itself.
Taking his staff, he walked over to the spot where the young child had vanished and struck the ground three times with it. With each strike, he called the names of three dragons - Renton the dragon of Battle, Whiston, the dragon of Light, and Munton the dragon of Night.
There came a great screeching and flapping of leathery wings, and all three dragons landed in front of Elfall. The greatest of the three - the whilte dragon of light Whiston, spoke in thought to Elfall..
"We are here, what is your wish.."
"A child is taken, she needs your help to move forward into life - will you help?"
Whiston withdrew and turning to his companions conversed swiftly in thought, then turned back to Elfall.
"You know that if we help you there will be a price?"
"I am aware"
"Do you understand the price you must pay?"
Elfall sighed..."Yes - that if you help this child, I must eat the suffering and pain she holds, and lose a part of myself for her...yes I know...and I have done this for many thousands of years and one more cannot kill me"
"Elfall - this is a special child, the pain and suffering you must endure will be more than everything you have ever endured..are you still willing to undertake this task?"
"Yes..whatever the cost"..
The three dragons, satisfied with the promise, turned to the spot where the child had disappeared and began to breathe fire onto the ground. The fire dried out the mud and soon the earth was tinder crisp. The dragons then stepped back from the burned area and Elfall placed his staff on the earth. There came a rumbling and groaning such as had never been heard before or since..and the earth split in two.
The dragons took to their wings and dropped steadily down into the dark crevasse which had opened up beneath them.
The journey down to the child was long and dark, no light pierced the silence, but with the power of the Dragon of light leading the way, the three dragons eventually reached the bottom of the cleft.
A sound reached their ears. A sad sobbing such as they had never heard before. Following the sound of tears they finally reached a child, sitting astride a dark rock which had it roots firmly embedded in the in the claw of a ghastly, wild eyed white Phantom.
"You are Erindor, Phantom of the Earth?" bravely spoke Whiston.
"That is my name, and what do you want here, the child is MINE and I will NOT surrender her for ANYTHING or ANYONE.."
"We have the promise of Elfall, that he will take on the pain and suffering of this child, if you will only release her"..
"NO, this child is special, she is mine - many times the burden has fallen to Elfall, but THIS child must take a part in her recovery..."
"What do you ask of her, she is so small, and very weak, how can she fulfill what you demand?"
"That is up to her, life is never so simple as you expect, there HAS to be a payment to MEEE..."
The child looked up at the dragons, something deep inside her had spoken in her mind and she knew what she had to do.
"Dragons three, I thank you for coming to my service, and I am willing to be part of this recovery - I WILL pay the price of the Phantom, and I will return to thank Elfall.."
So saying the child closed her eyes, and deep inside her, a song began to arise within her heart, it echoed through her chest, from the pit of her soul, and issued out of her lips. A song so sweet, so beautiful, and so warm that the Phantom of the Earth threw her to the floor screeching as if burned.
Screaming in fury she cried "Elfall, you will PAY for this", and a flash of fire flew out from her hands, up through the crevasse, striking the staff that Elfall held in his hand - blackening it until it crumbled into dust.
The child climbed quickly onto the back of Whiston, and all three dragons flew back to the surface before the crevasse closed up forever.
Elfall, stood on the blackened earth, and lifted the child gently down from the back of Whiston, and took her hand.
"Child, we have a journey to make, I need your help to find and make a new Staff of light - are you willing to help me?"
The child, her name was Mariposa smiled up at Elfall - "Thank you sir, yes, I know we have a journey to make, and I have just the map to help us.."
"Mariposa - you cannot leave without the amulets of the dragons - they will each give you one, and you must use them, when you need help - for my staff of light is gone, and you will be the only one with the power to move on"..
Renton reached down into his soul and picked out a dark green emerald - it shone with a red\green light - "Mariposa, this is the stone of courage, when decisions are difficult and there seems no way forward, take this stone, hold it to your heart and breath deeply with closed eyes, it will give you the courage and vision to move on"...
Whiston placed his claw on his heart and took out a packet of seeds. "Mariposa, these seeds are the seeds of new life, if you plant one of these for each mile of your journey you will find lightness fills the dark corners of the places you dread to pass..."
Munton - to the child's horror, reached up and took out one of his eyes..."Have no fear child..I will grow another".... The eye shone like a dark star, Mariposa looked deep into the glass and saw thousands of universes within the one eye..
"When you need hope, look into my eye, and marvel at the possibilities around you, for there are many thousands, and each one is a ray of light".
Mariposa took the gifts from the dragons, and Elfall lifted her onto his shoulder.
"Thank you my dragon friends, I love you from the bottom of my heart and my love will be with you as yours will be with me".
Elfall and Mariposa walked off into the dark woods, starting a journey which visited many wonderful, dangerous and magical places - where? and what? That is another story which I am sure Mariposa will tell you on her return...