“Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” - G. K. Chesterton
Amy took one last look at the rolling hills, covered with rock and occasional brush. No sign of those goons that had been chasing them, thank God. She only hoped that Hannibal would understand that jumbled message she'd left back at the trailer. How was she supposed to tell the team where she'd taken the kids without spelling it out for Moore's men at the same time? She sighed, climbing carefully down from the boulder. Well, not everyone was up on Hannibal and his elephants, so maybe... She slipped inside the small cavern where the three children, ranging in age from six to nine, waited.
"Is my daddy coming?" The youngest peeked over her brother's shoulder, tears barely contained.
"Not yet, honey. My friends will bring him soon, don't worry." She smiled, encouraging. "Okay, who knows a quiet game we can play while we wait?" Silence answered. Okay. Probably not a good idea anyway. "A story? Anyone know a good story?"
"You're sposed to tell the stories. You're big." Bright brown eyes frowned at her from the shadows.
Great. Just great. She looked out at the deepening blue sky. It would be dark in a couple more hours. Would they be found before that?
Yes. She had to believe that. She looked back at the children. They were watching her. Waiting.
"Okay, I'll tell you a story. It takes place a long, long time ago in a kingdom far away." Not the most original beginning, but what the hell... "On the edge of the kingdom was an evil wizard named Martin. He tricked the king's beautiful daughter into running away from her father, and then Martin kept her prisoner in his castle. The king was very worried about his daughter, and called on his greatest knight, Sir John, to rescue his daughter.
"Sir John was very brave, and not a bit afraid of some old wizard. But he knew Martin had many soldiers and he didn't want the princess to get hurt in a big battle, so he cleverly chose three special friends to go with him.
"The first was named Bosco. Bosco was known throughout the land for the clever weapons he built, and Sir John knew this would come in handy in defeating the wizard.
"The second man he chose was a sorcerer, the Great Templeton. He could cast spells and make anything appear out of thin air.
"Then Sir John called on a very special friend." Amy stopped short, thinking fast. "His name was M'dok, and he was one of a very special group of men who could ride dragons. This would be especially useful against the wizard Martin.
"Sir John and his friends waited in the village for Martin to show up with his soldiers and some of the prisoners, including the princess. Sir John and the sorcerer Templeton created a diversion and snatched the princess from the soldiers. Then M'dok spirited the princess away on his dragon.
"Unfortunately, Sir John and his friends were captured by Martin and taken back to the wizard's castle where Martin decided to make them run the gauntlet. But Martin's soldiers weren't very good, and Sir John and his group escaped. They found themselves at a small farm, which just happened to be owned by a tin peddler. Well, that was all the blacksmith Bosco needed - he immediately started making weapons to use against the evil wizard.
"Finally, Sir John and Bosco took the chariot Bosco had built and attacked the wizard's castle. The wizard's men chased after the chariot, following it to the farm. There, Sir John's band launched a huge trap and with help from M'dok and his dragon, defeated the evil wizard and his soldiers.
"Sir John went back to Martin's castle and freed all the captives, who were forever grateful."
The older girl sat up on her knees, a big grin on her face. "And did Sir John go on to be king?"
"No," said a voice from outside, "Sir John went on to rescue a very important prince."
Amy whirled around, barely keeping her balance as the three children ran screeching out of the cavern into the arms of their father. Amy grinned in relief.
"I was afraid you wouldn't find us, Hannibal."
Hannibal grinned. "The knight always finds the princess, even in a world full of dragons."