A/N: Hello. This is my second story posted here. I will try my best to update weekly. Reviews are welcome. Thank you and enjoy.
The Marked One
"Let me tell you a wonderful story," said Ryker as he tucked his eight year old daughter in bed. When his daughter was neatly covered up with pink flowery blanket, he stood up and pulled a chair beside the bed. "Now, I can tell you this story if you promise not to tell anyone this story."
"Does that include mommy?" Ryker's daughter asked with a small voice.
Ryker grimaced at the mention of his wife. Savannah was not going to be one happy person if she discovered he told her stories of dragons. Their daughter already had one wild imagination, which was getting her in trouble at school. He received a couple of phone calls every week from the school principal telling him to pick up his daughter because she was fighting other kids in class.
"It's better if mommy doesn't know about this," he solemnly said. "If mommy find out I told you one more story about dragons, then I can't tell you any more stories. Do you want that to happen?"
His daughter fiercely shook her head while her shimmering blond hair fell in front of her face. Ryker laughed out loud and gently moved the strands from her face.
"Okay," he began. "A long time ago, a mysterious kind of creature inhabited the earth. They were here before the humans and they ruled the lands for centuries. They were ferocious, smart, beautiful and grand. Wherever they went, every other creature cowered away from them."
"They were the dragons!" his daughter cried out with enthusiasm.
"Yes, Alexia Draconis." Ryker shook his head disapprovingly. "Let your old man continue the story. Your mother will be home from work any moment."
"Sorry!" Alexia covered her mouth with her tiny hands, but she was grinning.
He smiled too and patted his daughter's head softly. "Yes, they were dragons. These dragons lived in two different places. One place had warm sunlight and fresh vegetation. The other place was dark, cold and hardly had any vegetation. The place with plenty of sunlight became the light world and the place with darkness became the dark world. The dragons that stayed in both places considered themselves to be very different. The dragons that stayed in the light world were kind, compassionate and glowing with otherworldly beauty. The dragons in the dark world were fierce, dangerous and cunning. Their bodies glowed with massive dark energy. Both the light and dark dragons had very powerful leaders who stayed and ruled in their own realm."
The door opened from outside Alexia's room and Ryker heard a feminine voice calling for him. He turned his head away when he noticed his daughter flinched and warily looked at her bedroom door.
"Daddy, hurry up with the story," she whispered. Her small fingers tightly grasped the blanket and her wide blue eyes looked at him expectantly. Ryker twitched uncomfortably in his seat while debating on finishing the tale to Alexia and have his wife discover it or just end the story.
"One day, humans were introduced to the dragons," he quietly continued. "The dragons were not pleased by the humans because they were invading their territories. The dark dragons began killing the humans whereas the light dragons found a way to live side by side with them. Then something unpredictable happened. It was considered a taboo for both the dragon race and human race."
"Daddy, what happened?" asked his little girl, her small face filled with concerned.
"The most powerful dragon of the light world used his powers to shift shape into a human. He traveled into a small village and married a peasant."
"Was that such a bad thing?"
"Yes, it was a bad thing. You see," her father explained, "the dragon lord and peasant were from two different races. The dragon lord was very powerful and the human woman was an ordinary villager."
"Ryker!" his wife called to him. He jumped from his seat as he heard footsteps approaching the bedroom door.
"The dark dragons were angered by what the light dragon did and called for war. The war between the light and dark killed many dragons and humans. The Watchers of earth were vexed by the damages of their children and decided to put an end to the dragons' existence. They killed the dragons and punished the ones who were responsible for the war," he said quickly.
He eyed the door as the footsteps stopped behind the door. The door knob was about to turn. "Ryker?" his wife called to him softly.
Ryker turned to look back at his daughter and motioned with his hands for his daughter to pull the flowery blanket up to her chin and close her eyes. Alexia nodded her head gathered the blanket around her small body. She closed her eyes as her father bowed his enormous head to her and kissed her forehead slightly.
"Good night, Honey Bee," he whispered, calling Alexia her pet name. "The dragons were punished to live human lives on earth. Their powers were greatly reduced in their new bodies and they were humiliated to feel emotions as humans. Their only salvation lies within the marked one. Only the marked one can set them free."
"Will they find that person?" Alexia sleepily asked as her father pulled the light switch off on the night dresser next to her bed.
"Their descendants try to find the marked but it hasn't been possible."
"Also, I need you to promise me another thing."
"What is daddy?"
"Don't get hurt in front of anyone."
"Why, daddy?" she questioned. She burrowed her pale head in her soft pillow.
"Just promise me, Alexia."
The little girl tiredly nodded her head.
Then, the door opened and Savannah walked into Alexia's bedroom. Ryker heaved a sigh as he noticed his wife stopped in the middle of the room and crossed her arms over her chest. He gulped when he felt her glare at him. He crossed the distance between them and placidly lay both beefy hands on her small shoulders and smiled sheepishly at her.
"Sorry, honey," he whispered. "I was tucking our Honey Bee in bed when you came in." He glanced over his shoulder to see their daughter fell asleep.
"You were telling her another one of your dragon stories," Savannah accused in a deadly tone. She shoved his hands off her shoulders, turned around and stomped her way out of their daughter's room.
Ryker grimaced and looked as Alexia's small form shift underneath the covers. As quietly as his massive body would allow, he hastily exited the room and shut the door behind him. He walked down the long and narrow hallway until he reached the open living room. His wife stood in the center of the living room by the white love seats. Her arms were once again crossed over her chest -a reaction meant to put distance between her and him. Her dark blue eyes glared at him and only narrowed more when he waved his hands in the air as a peaceful gesture.
"Oh, stop it!" she almost roared. "I keep telling you to stop filling her head with those make believe stories. There are no such things as dragons."
"I told her one last story," he promised instantly. "Tomorrow, you will be the one to tuck her in and you could tell her another bed time story."
"Yes, I need to start doing that again. You have been very irresponsible lately, especially when we constantly get phone calls from Mrs. Talyor about her flares in school." Savannah's voice sounded too deadly and calm at the same time.
Ryker frowned. "I know I was being very irresponsible but she has a right to know."
"No, she doesn't. I won't compromise her future for anything, Ryker. She is all we have."
His hands fell limp at his sides as he stared at his wife with wide golden eyes. "What are you saying?"
"I am saying to let us live normal lives. If you continue to tell her about dragons, I'll take her away," she threatened. Unshed tears were burning brightly in her dark eyes and Ryker flinched. He brought one large hand to his face and momentarily inhaled a fresh breath of air.
"Please, don't leave," he said with an emotional voice. "If you did, I won't be able to function properly. You and our daughter are all I have left in this world."
He fell down to his knees as he thought of being alone. Savannah knew the tragedies he experienced. She and Alexia were both his miracles. If they left, he would not be able to protect them and he would lose the last precious things that kept him attached to this world.
In an instant, he felt thin and warm arms around his body. She tucked his head against her soft stomach. He closed his eyes as he remembered when Alexia was in Savannah's stomach. Lightly, he placed a kiss on her stomach. Her small hands threaded into his thick brown hair while she muttered an apology for hurting him.
"I know why you tell her the stories and why you believe in them," she quietly told him. She sank to her knees before him and wrapped her arms around his broad shoulders. She buried her face into his chest, seeking his warmth. "You do it to protect her. One day, they will come for her."
She tried so hard to keep her tears at bay, but knowing the truth that her daughter will one day leave them hurt her. She sobbed when she felt her husband wrapped tight bands of steel around her slender form. If possible, she sank more into him and cried harder.
"I don't want to lose her, Ryker," she cried. "I can't lose her."
"Shh..." He crooned to her. Tenderly he rocked her back and forth while running his large hand through her pale blond hair. "I won't let anything happen to her. I will protect you and her from them."
He continued to gently rock her while she cried into his chest. His shirt was soaked with her tears. Her tears left him wondering how many nights she will be crying. Shaking his head, he realized how ironic his life turned out to be. He lost both his parents in a car accident. He grew up only having a couple of friends. He moved from foster home to another one. All the other folks pushed him out of their community. All except Savannah, who showered him with love and kindness. She accepted him when no one else did. She married him and gave him a wonderful daughter. Despite, having a happy ending, her tears constantly kept falling because they were scared of losing something close to them.
Their happiness was a fragile thing and he would do whatever it took to keep their happiness in check.
"It's the more reason she needs to know the stories, honey," he whispered in tangled hair. "She will be able to protect herself when we are not there."
"Shh..." He put a finger to her lips to shush her. "She promised not to tell anyone and she will keep that promise."
His wife nodded her head in agreement. Feeling the tension in the living room begin to simmer, Ryker caressed his wife's cheek before leaning down to kiss her.
Once their lips met passionately, he vowed to do everything to protect his family. Savannah and Alexia were his world.