Father Figure

By vampy27

Chapter 1. Dreams and Nightmares

I had yet another sleepless night. For some strange reason, I kept having this reoccuring dream and this is the forth time that I've had it. My dream starts out as any normal day here in our town Alistia, except I was not at home, but in a vast meadow. The sun shone brightly and the sky was a beautiful shade of light blue and dotted about it were big, puffy white clouds. I sat in the middle of the meadow and I was surrounded by Daisies. Hundreds of them. I picked one and felt on the delicate yellow petals and laid back on the cool, green grass as a soft, warm breeze flowed over me.

This dream was so very comfortable that it didn't seem much like a dream at all. My long red hair was sprawled about the grass and my long blue night gown was gently blown here and there due to the wind. The sun warmed my skin, making me feel calm and a bit drowsy. I stuck the stem of the daisy in my hair, weaving it through the wavy follicles. I breathed in deeply, taking in the beauty of the meadow, and slowly closed my eyes.

Before I could even close my eyes completely and nod off, it suddenly became colder. My meadow was gone. There was nothing left but complete darkness. I pulled my night gown over my legs and held them close to my chest tightly-I shivered. I actually shivered! Never had I been so cold as to shiver. I lifted my head to see my surroundings. To the far left and right of me, the meadow was still in exsistance. If that was the case, then why was the darkness just over me and nothing else? I gulped and turned my head back around to find that I was towered over by this enormous shadowy figure. The form it took was that of a human's, but how could it be when it engulfed me in its huge shadow?

My jaw simply dropped in awe and fear of his massive size. Before I knew it, he was reaching down to grab me. I screamed and shielded myself with my hands, but that's when I woke up. I quickly sat up in bed, giving a loud abrubt gasp. I was breathing hard and my heart was racing. I looked around and saw that I was still in my room. My window was slightly open, which caused a small breeze to flow in. A beam of moonlight shone through the window onto the sand colored carpet in my room. I gave a sigh of relief and looked at my clock on top of my dresser on the right side of my bed. It read 3:30, just like the last three times I had this dream.

I groaned and rubbed my temples. I wanted to believe that my dream was just a dream, yet it felt so real. I groaned again and then got up out of my bed. I walked over ro my window and closed it. The stars were still shining brightly and beautifully. I sighed. I wanted to go back to bed, but somehow, I didn't want to at the same time. I walked out of my bed room and tiptoed across the hall, trying my best to not disturb my younger sister and my my mother. My sister is six years old and I am sixteen. Even though she is ten years younger that I, Elise has a lot of the same intrests as I do. I love to draw and write stories. So does she. She would come up to me with her gap-toothed smile and say "Isha, will you draw with me?"

Of course I would give into that cute smile of hers and draw. I want to draw as a career, but my mother, Mina, would disapprove.

"Why won't you get a real career?" she would say. "Drawing's for daydreamers." I was highly offended by her comment because I was a bit of a daydreamer. I'd carry around my little sketch book, drawing and doodling anything that caught my eye. Across the hall was the den. It was a large spacious room that could fit about ten people. In the very back of the room were two sliding glass doors that led to the balcony. To the left was a large computer desk and a computer. To the right of the doors was a long white couch. It was soft and quite comfortable. Just laying on that couch would put anyone to sleep. I walked across the soft cream carpet towards the glass doors and slid the one to my left open. On the balcony were two wicker chairs and a wicker table, all white. There was a thick black railing that surrounded the rectangular shape of the balcony.

I touched the black steel and felt how cold it was, how hard. The town's streets were quiet at this hour. None of the daily hustle and bustle broke the silence. A few stray crikets chriped their final songs of the early morning and then one by one, they all disapeared. I sighed dreamily at the night sky as the stars glistened and sparkled like diamonds. I suddenly yawned, now feeling tired. I decided to head back to bed. I stepped back into the room and closed the sliding doors behind me. I then walked back across the hall and into my room. I pulled back the covers and slid into bed, bringing my comforter close to my chin. I stared up at my ceiling, still thinking about the gigantic dark figure from my dreams. I was still very frightened by his size, even though he was only a figment of my imagination. I gave a great sigh and closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep.

The next morning I awoke to the shrill voice of Elise.

"Isha, wake up!" she cried. "You must see what has happened!"

I groaned and looked at her, my eyes unfocused. I yawned and rubbed my eyes.

"What are you talking about?" I asked still half asleep.

"Come and see! Come on, c'mon!" she said pulling my arm. I had no choice but to get up. As I stood, I almost fell back down. I was still very tired. I looked at my clock. It was 8:15. I sighed and streched. I reached under my bed and grabbed my white slippers and slid my feet into them. Elise continued to pull on my arm, dragging me across the room and into the hallway. I grumbled softly as I slowly made my way down the stairs. Through the two windows, to the right of the front door, I saw people gathering outside. I heard their voices murmering with excitement and fear. I stared curiously at the group of people that soon grew into a crowd.

"Sisiter, sister!" Elise cried, now tugging on my night gown. "You have to see this! It's amazing!" I sighed and pulled back my night gown form her small hands.

"Alright, alright," I said stretching. "Let's see what all the fuss is about."

The last time Elise had something "amazing" to show me just turned out to be a doll that our next door neighbor's daughter had recieved for her birhtday. One that cried and laughed and wet it's diapers. And for some reason, she found this...this simple object, this doll, to be the most incredible thing that she had ever laid her eyes on. I hoped that this time, she'd actually have something to show me that was amazing. As I approched the front door, I slowly pushed it open and saw people standing around in an odd shape. The murmors grew louder as I came closer.

"Look how big it is!" a man said

"It's absolutely enormous!" exclaimed a woman.

Whatever "it" was, almost everyone in our part of town was here, surrounding whatever it was that had them so hyped up. I finally came up to the crowd, hoping to see what everyone was all worked up about. Too bad that I couldn't peer over them. I was too short. Probably the shortest sixteen year old in town. I stood at a total of 5'2" which, I thought, was far too short for my age. Some other sixteen year olds seemed to loom over me. It was unfair. Everyone else, except all of the little kids, towered over me.

"Pardon me, excuse me," I said, managing to squeeze my way through the crowd. As I entered the center of the crowd, I backed up a bit, bumping into someone behind me, in disbelief of what I saw.

"Hey, watch it!" a man behind me yelled. I turned around to look at him. His eyebrows folded in and his mouth formed a frown. I said nothing, just stared at him. I slowly closed my open mouth and lowered my eyebrows. I quickly turned back around, my long red hair swaying about my shoulders. I still didn't believe what I was looking at. Never had I seen such a thing. Well, I've seen one, many before, but never this immense. It was a footprint. That of a shoe. There were more that continued to tread on leading to our forest. I gulped and put a cold hand to my warm cheek.

"Ish! Hey, Isha!" I heard a voice call my name. It was my friend Mia. She walked toward me, black hair shining in the sun and off her olive colored skin. "It's amazing, isn't it?" I looked back down at the massive footprint.

"If you say it is," I replied with a shrug. Mia ajusted her grey oval frame glasses and stared at me with her large blue eyes.

"I take it that you don't think that it's an amazing find?"

"Actually, I think it's scary," I said rubbing my pale skin.

"How so?" she asked. "I find it quite fastinating."

"Just think about it, Mia," I said. "We've got a monster here. Who knows what it's intentions are. Giants are dangerous. You should know that."

"Well, how do you know when you've never met one?" she asked with a smirk. I kept quiet and turned my head the other direction. Mia sighed. "You worry too much." She plached a hand on my shoulder. "Sometimes you just have to accept things the way they are." She then walked off into town to who knows where.

"The way things are," I mocked and scoffed. I quickly returned home, since I was still only in my night gown. My low self-eseem started to get the best of me. As I came to the front yard, Elise was in the garden sniffing the various flowers that grew along our white picket fence.

"Where's Mom?" I asked. She picked a few purple wild flowers but didn't look at me. She still wore her sleep wear, a pink pajama top with matching pants, but adorned them proudly.

"She's in the kitchen," she said still never looking up to meet my face. She closed her eyes as she sniffed the flowers. As I entered the house, all was quiet, until the I heard the sound of rustling papers.

"Mom?" I called.

"I'm in here, dear," a voice called from the kitchen.

She sat in a chair at the table looking through photo albums. Dozens of pictures were spread all over the table.

"I finally cleaned out the attic." A smile crossed her face.

"Oh, really? Gee, I hadn't noticed," I said in a sarcastic manner. All the pictures were familiar to me. Most were just baby pictures of me and Elise. But there was one photo that was strange...It just looked like a shadow. "What's up with this picture?" I asked.

"Umm, nothing!" she said quickly taking the picture out of my hands. "Here, look at this one instead."

I gave her a confused look and took the picture out of her hands. It was old and worn, but most of the pictures where.

"It's a picture of me...And dad," I said sadly. My dad left the family when I was only ten. It was only a few days before the birth of my little sister, yet he wasn't there. I wan't sure why he wanted to leave. Neither did mom. She never told me why. I just stared at the photo, holding back my tears.

"Why did he leave?" I asked, my voice cracking. "He Had a beautiful wife and two children, but he left that all behind. Why?"

She didn't answer. Silence filled the room for a moment, but weeping soon broke that silence. I walked over a bit to console her. Of course she didn't know why he left. No one did. Only he held the answer to that question. If only I knew where he was. I hugged mother more tightly in my arms than I ever have before. My town was once home to great warriors. So I thought it would be a pitty to cry. I learned to hold back my tears and to never cry in the face of danger, or despair.

Later that day, I took a refreshing shower and put on my favorite peasant dress which was white and had pink and blue flowers lining the bottom and the collar of the dress. I had a matching pair of sandels to wear along with it. I braided some of my hair on the left and right side of my head and tied a hair band at the two ends of the braids so it lay flat on my unbraided hair.

I ventured to a large field not far form town. This vast filed was home to many, many free growing wild flowers, daisies, butter cups, and dandielions. The sun was bright and warmed my skin. It was mid-day now, but the sun was still at it's high peak. I sat down on the grass and picked a dandielion puff. I stared at it and a warm breeze blew. I heard that If you make a wish before you blew the seeds away, it'll come true. I knew that it was just something that adults tell children, giving them false hope; lies basicly. But why waste a perfectly good dandielion? I closed my eyes for just a second and then reopened them, blowing away the seeds. I watched as they were all wisked away by the swiftly blowing wind.

Attached to every seed were the words: I want to know why he left. I doubt that I'd ever know. I was not going to let it bother me. It was a beatiful day and I wasn't going to waste it sitting here and wondering if a silly weed was going to give me the answer to my wish. I laid on the soft grass and looked up into the sky.It was a beautiful blue just like in my dream. And the grass! It was softer that I had ever imagined grass could be. I felt comfortable in these conditions. So comfortable, that I fell asleep.

I was rudely awakened out of my sleep by a loud THUMP followed by trembling. I quickly sat up. I was cold and wrapped my arms around myself tightly. Ahead of me was the field and to my left and right. I was afraid to look behind me simply because I knew what I would see. Even though I was scared beyond all reason, I slowly turned around and gasped. Kneeling down before me was a giant! I looked up into his face. My eyes became large when I saw him smile. It was a small, pleasent one, but the size of his teeth is what scared me the most. He suddenly placed a hand on his chest.

"Excuse me, Ma'am," he began to say, but he was cut off by my scream, which was a bit loud and high pitched. It seemed to surprize him as he had gasped and jumped back. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to frighten you." His voice seemed worried as he lowered himself down, now on his hands and both knees. I quickly stood up and backed away from him, even though there was a conciderable distance between us. He stared down at me with his big blue eyes. His eyebrows raised a bit and a small smile cracked across his face. I began to shake from being so very nervous and I tried to make as little eye contact as possible. His expression suddenly changed. "Now, now, little one. I mean you no harm."

I noticed that he was lifting one of his great hands off the ground as he began to reach towards me. My knees felt weak and my head was spinning. I staggered back a bit, tripping over my own feet in the process. I began to fall back believing that I was going to land on the hard ground when, to my surprize, I landed on a soft flesh-like surface. my vision began to darken as I heard the giant's voice.

"Are you alright?" he asked, his voice echoing.

Suddenly, everything became black.

Chapter 2. Learning the Truth

When I had woke up, I found myself in a bed surrounded by sheets. It felt like my bed. A bit firm, yet comfortable. As I crawled to get to the head of the bed, the sheets seemed to become an endless sea of fabric. Not before long, a ray of light appeared before me as I grabbed hold of a softer surface than that of the bed. It was a pillow, and a giant one at that! I popped up from underneath the covers to look at my surroundings. The room was amazing! Everything was unbelivibly enormous! The ceiling seemed to stretch hundreds of feet above me. To my right was a small (well, not really) dresser, that was a bit shorter than the bed, that had a lamp on it. And the bed! It was colosal! If I were to fall off of it, I would probably break every bone in my body. I wanted to get up and explore, but I suddenly heard footsteps. Large, loud footsteps and they were comming closer. I sunk back into the sheets, tightly grasping them in between my fingers.

The closer the foot falls came, the deeper I sank into the bed. I thought that this was the end for sure. I sighed and accepted my fate when suddenly, the foot falls stopped. The room was filled with an eerie silence. I peeked my head out of the covers to find myself bathed in that all too familiar darkness of the giant's shadow. His long black hair was spilt over his shoulders and some down his back. He had a hansome face and his jaw was a bit square-ish. Although he was dressed casually in a white shirt and jeans, he made it look classy. Those large blue eyes of his stared down at me with a gentle kindness to them; his smile was still small, yet friendly.

"It's good to see that you're awake," he said softly. Even though his voice was soft and calm, I couldn't find myself to say anything back to him. I just slid back under the sheets, the only thing that separated us from one another. He saw my reaction and raised an eyebrow. Then, he knelt on both knees so that he was at chest level with the bed, although, he did still had to look down at me. "As I've said before, there is no reason to be frightened of me. I promise, no harm will come to you."

He folded his arms on the bed and rested his chin on them. Still, he continued to stare at me.

"W-what is it that you want of m-me?" I asked cluching the sheets tighter and tighter in my fists.

"There are things you need to know...Things that you want to know about your father, correct?" he asked. I nodded my head slowly. He stood up now, making the bed quake from the pressure released from the springs in the matress. He now stood slightly bent over and placed both of his hand on the bed and started moving toward me. I could feel myself sliding toward a small pit created by his monsterous hands in the bed. That cover sheet turned out to be more of a life presserve than a hiding place. Without it, I would have surely slid under one of his approaching hands.

Before I knew it, he was there. Right there in front of me. He slowly lowered himself so that we were somewhat eye-to-eye.

"My f-father was a great warrior when he was younger!" I exclaimed. "Never to be seen around the likes of you!" I cluched my life presserve tighter in my hands. He chuckled and shook his head. His warm breath swept over me.

"You've been tought to hate our kind," he said with a hint of sadness in his voice. "But what if I were to tell you that giants and humans once worked together?"

"I've heard the stories," I said with a small fierce voice, "yet I never believed them!" He moved a bit more closer to me. So close that I could feel the warm air from his nostrils spill out and pour onto me.

"What if I told you that you father and I once worked together?" Lies! It had to be! My father would never work with these monsters...Would he?

"You know nothing of my father or his whereabouts!" I said scowling at him. I became so flustered that I lifted my left leg from under the sheets and gave him a good kick in the nose with my sandaled foot. He groaned softly and stood up to his intire height which was an impressive two-hundred feet. He rubbed his nose and stared back down at me. I gasped and dove back into my sea of sheets. I expected him to be extremely angry when he found me. So angry in fact, that he would decide to kill me. My eyes swelled up with tears at this thought of him killing me, but I held them back. To think! The daughter of a great warrior crying! I'd be the laughing stock of the entire town!

Suddenly, without warning, the sheet that I used for protection, warmth, and hiding was ripped off from over me. I wanted to run, but I couldn't move! And if I could run, where to? Off the bed? There was no where to run, no where to hide. I accepted my fate. I wasn't going to make it back home today. My mother and sister would be left alone and it would be all my fault. Even though my eyelids were full to the brim with tears, I allowed not one to fall.

I saw the giant's hand inch closer and closer to me and finally felt his thumb and index finger pick me up by the back of my now off-white dress. As he lifted me up, I couldn't help but to feel nauseaous, but I was able to keep it down. The closer I was raised to his face, the more hateful I believed his eyes would look. He was going to kill me. I knew it. All movement stopped and our eyes met. I stared into those gigantic pools in his face which were not hateful at all, yet more concerned. I looked down at his nose and saw a small red mark on the tip. I stared back into his eyes and swallowed hard.

"There's no need for violence, Isha," he said calmly. I stared at him hard with a confused look on my face.

"How do y-you know my name, giant?" I asked.

"Please, call me Kraven," he said. " 'Giant' is so demeaning. As I had said, I knew your father." He placed me in his palm where I fell back on the uneven fleshy surface.

"But how did you?" I asked. "The only time that I heard about humans and giants together is when they were fighting...Against each other."

"For hundreds of years, giants and humans worked together," he said. "Peacefully at that. We lived in the same environment and, believe it or not, ate at the same tables at times. Each warrior from your town of Alistia was assigned a giant warrior from my town of Krytezen. I ended up being paired with your father, Saul. We were young at the time, no more than seventeen. It was hard for us to see past our differences and to get along, but eventually, we became friends. As we began to learn more about each other, I found out that he was married and his wife was expecting a child in six months. During that time, we fought many battles and your father became sort of a hero in your town. On our return home, your mother gave bitrh to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. That baby was you, Isha."

"Me?" I asked stunned. "You knew me as a baby?"

"That I did, little one," he said. "He extended an index finger down and gently patted me on the head. I jumped a little at first, but then calmed down. His touch soothed me. "But there's more to this story."

"Oh, please go on," I said staring into his gigantic face.

"For a while, all was quiet. There were no battles to be fought, but that did not mean that someone was plotting against us," he continued.

"What do you mean?" I asked

"Not all giants liked the idea of having a tiny warrior/companion by their side," he replied. "In fact, I knew who it was that hated humans more than anything else. His name was Cortel, a childhood friend of mine. At the assigning he refused 'to be a slave to a flea!' So, he worked alone. During the time that there were no battles, Mina became pregnant again and was planning to have the baby two days after your tenth birthday. I was quite excited that Saul and Mina were expexting another child. The months flew by like minutes until there was only a week before your's and the unborn baby's birthday."

I looked at him with wide curious eyes.

"What happens next?" I asked eagerly. He sighed.

"Perhaps I should stop," he said. "I'm not sure if you want to know the rest."

"Go on," I urged. He sighed again.

"Later that day, there had been a distress call form a neighboring village," he said. "There was a giant rampaging through the small town. I couldn't think of anyone who would do this. They would be thrown out of Krytezen for treachery. Saul and I didn't want your mother to worry, so we left as quickly and as quietly as we were able. The village wasn't too far away. At least to me it wasn't. We arrived in under ten minutes. Destruction was everywhere. Homes and buildings were toppled over and people were fleeing for their lives. In the middle of town, we saw Cortel lifting up a foot then slamming it down onto a small house, demolishing it. Thankfully, no one was inside.

'Run, run tiny ones!' Cortel bellowed. 'It would be a travesty to end up like your friends!' "

"There was a small group of humans standing before him. They were all huddled together, frightened of the behemoth monster that towered above them. He lifted up a foot and held it over them.

'Say good-bye to this world, fleas!' he said slowly lowering his foot. 'For it is the only world that you will ever know of.'

'Stop, Cortel!' " I yelled.

"He backed away from the group and turned to face us. The small group ran off.

'Oh, Kraven,' he said. 'You've come to ruin my fun?' He then knocked over the building next to him.

'Fun? This is madness!' I exclaimed. 'Have you learned nothing from working with our tiny friends?'

'Those parasites you call friends are no friends of mine!' he replied, pointing to Saul who stood on my shoulder. Saul cluched his sword in his hands tightly.

'Beasts like you have no place here!' he said. 'Kraven, put me down! I'll handle this monster on my own!'

'You'll do nothing of the sort, my friend,' I said.

'And why not?' he asked. 'He's reduced a whole town to rubble and you don't want to do a thing about it?'

'Maybe we can talk him out of it,' I said. 'Cortel used to be a childhood friend of mine.' "

"Saul looked surprized at what I had said. He didn't want to believe what he was hearing.

'So you mean to say that this brute was once a friend?' he asked.

'Sadly, yes," I replied. 'Yet evil has corupt-'

'Evil hasn't done a thing!' Cortel interupted. 'Humans have always been pests. They got in the way too much. And even though I was told to watch where I stepped, I couldn't help it! They're specks! So what should I care for them? Their lives are not my concern. Only the battles matter to me.'

'Foul creature!' Saul exclaimed. Cortel scowled at him.

'I've had enough of your name calling!' he said, quickly grabbing Saul off of my shoulder and formed a tight fist around his waist. He groaned loudly.

'Kraven!' he called out to me. 'Please, help me!' "

"I grabbed the hilt of my sword that hung on the side of my belt.

'I wouldn't do that if I were you,' Cortel said. 'Unless you'd rather risk losing your puny friend.' "

"My grip tightened around the hilt as I kept my eyes on Cortel's empty, dark brown ones. I slowly began to raise the sword from under my belt. Suddenly, I heard Saul cry out in pain as Cortel's grip around him became tighter.

'Make a wise choice, Kraven,' Cortel said. 'Remember, your friend's life is on the line.' "

"I knew that this was all too true," Kraven said, tears rolling down his face. And if I would have made the wrong move, your father would have been dead." I sat quietly, fighting back my tears. "But if I had done nothing, I'm not sure what would've happened. I lossened my grip on the hilt and lowered my head. Cortel chuckled.

'Just as I thought,' he said. 'You're nothing but a coward!'

'He is no coward!' Saul strained to say. Cortel looked down angrily at the squirming figure in his fist. 'He is the bravest warrior that I've ever seen! You are the true coward! Kraven, save yourself! Don't worry about me, please...Just take care of my children and Mina...Tell her that I love her.'

'Enough!' Cortel boomed. 'Your life means nothing to me.' He opened his hand and picked Saul up by the back of his shirt. 'Say farewell to your friend.' Saul gasped as an evil smile crossed Cortel's giant face.

'Nooo!' I screamed as Cortel lifted him over his open mouth and dropped him in, swallowing him whole.

'You monster!' I said angrily, pulling my sword from my belt. He chuckled.

'Your friend is gone now,' he said, 'and there is nothing that yopu can do about it.'

'There is still one thing that I can do,' I said. I then lunged at him quickly and stabbed him in the chest. A disturbing squelching sound could be heard as the blade entered and exited his chest and back. A surprized look appeared on his face."

"I looked at him in his most pathetic state as he gaged on his own blood.

'Goodnight, Cortel,' I said as tears glided down the sides of my face. 'May flights of devils wing you to your rest.' I then snatched the sword out and he flinched. Cortel slowly lowered his head and stared at the gaping hole in his chest then back at me. His expression became blank as he fell to the ground."

"After cleaning the blood off of my sword and my face, I returned back to Alistia. The people who once smiled at me as I came into the town now frowned with disaprovement. Obviously, word on Cortel's attacks spread. As I came to your home, carefully stepping over the other houses, your mother came outside upon hearing my arrival. I crouched down.

'Where's Saul?' she asked looking about franticly. I tuned my head as a tear streamed down my face.

'I'm sorry,' I said. She gasped and covered her mouth. 'He told me to take care of you and the little ones.' Tears fell down he face and onto her blouse."

"As I was reaching down to comfort her, I was stopped by a voice.

'Stop right there, Kraven,' the voice said. I looked behind me to see a man dressed in a purple suit and a purple top hat. It was the mayor. 'I know that you mean us no harm, but we can take no chances...You have to leave us.'

'No, please sir!' Mina protested. 'Please, allow him to stay!'

'I am sorry, but he must go. I will not risk losing my town to a giant. No matter how careful he is.' "

"Mina sunk her face into her hands and sobbed. I gently stroked her long brown hair with a finger.

'I will return again,' I whispered. 'I cannot promise you that it will be soon, but I'll come back.' She stared up at me, her face wet with tears. She grabbed hold of my finger, hugging it tightly.

'Please, come back to me soon,' she said. 'My love is gone and all I have is you.' I sighed.

'I must go now,' I said. I slowly removed my finger form her gasp as she still tried to hold onto it."

"I slowly walked over the buildings, and with that, I left the town and went home. Probably never to be seen again."

Chapter 3. The Way Things Are

I sat in Kraven's giant palm holding my knees to my chest. I wasn't sure what to do. Should I be angry? Depressed? My father was gone and I was alone. More alone that I've ever felt before. I wanted to cry...I wanted to feel the sensation of tears gliding down my face. I held my tears in, not wanting to show my emotion. Kraven let his tears flow freely down his face, so why couldn't I?

"It's alright to cry," he suddenly said, wiping his tears away. "You shouldn't be ashamed."

It was as if he'd heard my very thoughts.

"I haven't cried in a long time," I said, my voice cracking. "I was always told that crying shows weakness and if I cry, my enemies will see it and take advantage."

"Spoken like a true warrior," he said with a slight smile. "You truely are your father's daughter. He never liked anyone to see him cry. He thought that it showed weakness as well. You remind me so much of him. It's like you are him in a way. You've got his stubbornness and his tenacity...And his eyes, green like emeralds."

I hiccupped and giggled a little as a tear fell down my face. I lowered my head so he wouldn't see it, but I was too late. One of his giant fingers raised my chin to meet his eyes. I stared into them as more tears made their way down my face.

"It's alright, Isha," he said softly. "Sometimes you need to cry. This time is now."

My bottom lip began to quiver as I wept. More and more tears began to slide down my face. I covered my hands with my face as I sobbed. I finger gently rubbed my back, comforting me and coxing more tears to fall. He brought his hand close to his chest as to hug me. I colud hear the sound of his heart pumping away. I grabbed onto his shirt tightly and laid my head on his chest. I felt better now that I had released six years of anger, depression, and a boatload of other emotions stored up inside me.

I took a final deep breath and released my hold on Kraven's shirt. I wiped away my tears and looked into his face. He smiled that same small smile he gave, yet still pleasent.

"There now, don't you feel better?" he asked. I sniffed and wiped another tear away. I nodded, turning my eyes in a different direction. "Now, smile for me." I hiccupped and gave a small sad smile. "Oh no, no, no. That'll never do!" He smiled sweetly. "Give me a real smile and mean it this time." I giggled and smiled a little bigger. "Hmm..." He rubbed his chin quizzically. "It's still a little on the small side, but it'll do." He poked my stomach which made me smile a little harder. "Are you hungry?"

"Oh, yes. Very." I said. Suddenly, my stomach growled loudly. I turned bright pink!

"Well, I can't dissagree with you on that one," he smiled.

"Heh, yes, I suppose not," I said, still very pink. He began to walk out of the bedroom and into a hallway. I crawled across his palm and sheltered myself under his curved fingers. Even from this height, his footsteps were still quite booming. As he made his way down the hall, we passed many other rooms. Most of the doors were closed so I didn't get a good look inside. Finally we reached the stairs. He carfully made his way down them, trying his best not to cause me any motion sickness, then headed to the kitchen.

"What would you like to eat?" he asked.

"You cook?" I answered crawling back from under his fingers.

"No, but that's what cooks are for," he said. I giggled softly. Suddenly, the sent of food hit my noise.

"Oh, what smells so heavenly?" I asked dreamily. Kraven sniffed the air.

"Mmm, smells like dinner," he replied. He walked into the kitchen where four cooks buzzed about getting the meal prepared for Kraven and I...Or just kraven for that matter. The cooks had no idea I was here. One cook noticed Kraven's pressence.

"Sir Kraven!" he said. the other cooks took notice as well and greeted him. This was a young cook. He was tall, (then again, who here isn't?) but Kraven towered over him. Even though he was shorter than Kraven, it still didn't make me feel any better about being tiny. His hair was short and blond and his skin was a shade of light brown. His eyes were an icy blue color. Kraven greeted them back politely.

"Is dinner ready yet?" he asked.

"It should be just about done in the next ten minutes or so, sir," the boy replied. A small smile crossed his face. He noticed Kraven's open hand. "Sir, if you don't mind me asking, what is it that you hold in your hand?"

He winked at me and I quickly crawled back under his fingers. He curled them more securely untill I was enclosed in his palm. I could feel his hand lower and turn. He had placed his hand behind his back.

"Pardon?" he asked.

"Oh, nothing..."the boy replied.

"Good. Well, try to finish up with the cooking," he said. "I'm expecting company."

"Company?" I said to myself. "What does he mean by that?"

As we left the kitchen, Kraven brought his hand from behind his back and re-opened it. A flash of light filled the small warm space, making me shield my eyes. We were in the dinning hall. It was beautiful! A long table was at the center of the room and about eight chairs were on each side. The walls were painted red, giving it an elegant look. In the center of the ceiling was a huge glass chandelier. It was adorned with candles and gold outlined each hanging crystal. Pitcures, busts, vases and other ornaments also gave off hints of elegance.

"Oh, Kraven, this room is amazing!" I exclaimed looking about.

"I try my best," he said. "But it's my mother whom you should be thanking. This house once belonged to her, so some of the things that are in this room was because of her. She did all the work. I only improved it to my tastes."

"Oh, where is she?" I asked looking at his face. He stopped walking.

"She's passed on," he said quietly.

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that..."I replied. He smiled at me and begain to walk over to the table. He pulled out a chair and sat down. He placed a hand on the table and I hopped off. "I want to apoligise for eairlier today."

"What for?" He asked crossing his arms.

"For kicking you...And for not believing you," I replied.

"Oh, forget about that!" he said with a big smile. "I'm sure that I'd behave in the same exact manner if I were taken away from my home by a giant." I smiled back at him and looked at the gigantic towering form that was a candlestick next to me. It's flame danced on the wick ferociously.

"Do you live alone here?" I asked. He looked down at me, hesitant to answer.

"Um, well I...umm..." he stumbled over his words. I looked at him, patiently waiting for an answer. I couldn't help it but to laugh at his loss of words. Suddenly a cook came through the door.

"Dinner is served!" he annoucned

"Ah, excellent!" Kraven exclaimed.

Chapter 4. The Uninvited Guest

Kraven placed his hands on the table and motioned me to come over. I dashed over to him and dove under the tent that was his hands. I peeked through a crack between his fingers and saw the gigantic dishes being laid before him. Various scents filled the room, but I couldn't really tell what it was. All of the dishes were covered so it would be impossible to tell. And with all of these other giants surrounding me, I wasn't really in a hurry to find out either. Each cook bowed to Kraven as they sat the dishes down on the table. When the entire spread was out on the table, Kraven dismissed them. He lifted up his hands slowly.

"You can come out now," he said. I cautiously walked out from under his hand and my eyes widened.

The covers have been removed from each dish to reveal the most delectable looking food I've ever seen. A fifty foot turkey stood before me. It was still so hot that I began to sweat. There was a humongus ham and a dish of Potatos Au Gratin that was to die for.

"Where would you like to start?" Kraven asked now standing, plate in hand.

"I have no idea!" I said. Besides the turkey, ham, and potatos, there was lobster, catfish and a slew of other dishes on the table.

He went to each dish and small amounts of food from each one.

"Well that's alright," he said. "Whatever you don't eat, I will."

"I'm quite sure that you will," I said under my breath.

After getting food for me, he went on to get food for himself which was a large amount. But what else could you expect from a man...and a rather large one at that? He came back to his seat and placed the plate down on the table and sat in his chair. The hot, steamy plate of food was just calling to me. I was ready to dig in when I realized: I had no utensils!

"Um, Kraven?" I asked. He looked down at me. "You wouldn't have any forks or knives small enough for me to use, would you?"

He scanned about the room, looking for something. He reached his arm over me and picked up a small container of toothpicks behind me.

"Here, use this," he said handing me one. The toothpick came up to my chin. It seemed more like a spear.

"Oh, sorry," he said with a smile. He then snapped the toothpick in half using only his thumb and index finger. I swallowed hard as I saw him do this. It just showed how strong he actually was! Even though to him it was just a slither of wood, to me it was like a tree branch. The toothpick splintered upon being broken. He handed me one half and placed the other on the table. I stared at it and then back at him.

"What?" he asked abruptly.

"No-nothing," I said sitting down.

"Well, your food's getting cold,"he said. "Dig in."

I nodded my head slowly. As I was about to stick my toothpick into a slice of turkey, a huge blade decended onto the plate with a loud CLACK. I screamed and backed up away from the plate. Kraven looked at me with a raised eyebrow.

"Are you alright?" he asked offering to help me up with a finger. I grabbed hold of it and stood.

"No-I mean yes! I mean..." I sighed. "I don't know."

"You aren't still afraid of me, are you?" He asked. "There's no-"

"I know, I know," I interupted. "You don't have to continue repeating yourself. No I'm not scared of you, it's just..."

"It's just what?" he asked a bit concerned, putting the knife down.

"I miss home," I said. "I want to go home, but then again I don't. Everything is just so different here. It's just hard to get used to so quickly."

"Well, yes I understand that," he said. "That's why I was planning to-" the doorbell rang loudly. "Stay here." He then got up from his seat and walked out of the room. I hid behind his tall goblet and listened as he opened the door.

"S-sir Kraven!" a voice said.

"Ah, Avel my friend!" Kraven said. "Come in, come in. Please, make yourself comfortable. Dinner has just been placed on the table."

"W-where is the little one you have been telling me s-so much about?" he asked, stuttering. He had an accent, a bit stronger than Kraven's.

"She's in here," Kraven replied. I heard their footsteps approaching the room. "Isha," Kraven said softly calling me, "will you come out? There's someone here that I'd like you to meet."

I didn't want to come out. I wanted to stay put. But maybe this giant was like Kraven. Maybe he didn't want to hurt me. I peeked from behind the goblet and stared at the man next to Kraven. Avel was the same height as Kraven, but he looked a bit younger than him. He had curly brown hair and bluish-gray eyes. He had on a red trench coat that was slightly open to reveal a puffy white shirt and from what I could see, he had on black dress pants. He looked very presentable, yet I took cautious steps as I walked from behind the cup.

"Ah, there she is," Kraven said with a smile. "It's alright, dear. No one's going to hurt you."

As I began to slowly walk toward Avel, he lowered himself down to get a better look at me.

"My word," he exclamed. "S-she's just as you described her to me, Kraven!" He looked at me a bit harder and a hand brung me closer to his face. His eyes widened as he saw me up close. He noticed my dress and began throwing "tsks" at me. "Oh my, this will never do. Luckily for you, I've brought some dresses along with me."

"Avel's an expert tailor," Kraven said. "He specializes in making dresses for humans." I gave a slight smile and nodded my head, looking away from Avels face. I rubbed my right arm with my left hand. He rose up and looked over to Kraven. "She's a bit shy. It'll take some time before she gets used to you. But in the meantime, how about you have something to eat? We were just about to eat something ourselves."

Avel agreed and made himself a plate and sat next to Kraven. They talked to each other about things of the past. It seemed as if they haven't seen each other for years. All the while they were talking, Avel kept giving me looks or just staring at me while I ate. I felt a bit uncomfortable around him, but I didn't tell Kraven. I didn't want him to be offended and besides, it was just a feeling. Yet still, there was something quite suspicious about him; a feeling that I couldn't shake off. I felt that under his gentle stuttering form, there was something that he was hiding...something dark. After we finished eating, Avel thanked Kraven for inviting him and suggested that we go upstairs so I could try on the dresses and choose one that I am most happy with.

Kraven stood and placed his huge hand on the table. I pressed down on his figertips and got on. He raised his hand up when he saw that I was securely seated in his palm. We left the dinnig hall and came into a hallway. We then accended the stairs. Kraven had told me that we will be going to his room this time and not to the guest room.

"That was a guest room?" I squeaked.

"Yes. So are many of the other rooms upstairs," he replied.

I became silent and looked behind me. I saw Avel past Kraven's giant shoulder slowly making his way up the stairs. He gave me a small smile. I smiled back, but I still had a bad feeling about him. We made it up the stairs and walked down the long hallway, past the expanse of doors and past the room that I once slept in. His room was at the end of the hall, the master bedroom. It had two large wooden doors, a mahogany color, and gold handle doorknobs. He opened the doors to reveal a HUGE room! About two times bigger than the guest room. The walls were purple (his favorite color) and the furniture was black. Pictures in beautiful frames hung on the walls and even more were on the dressers and shevles. I looked about at everything that I could see as Kraven lowered his hand on the bed. He turned on the light which was a bit bright.

"Well, w-would you like to see some o-of my work, Isha?" Avel asked.

I said nothing and turned to look at Kraven. He gave me a reassuring smile.

"Don't worry, Isha," he said. "He doesn't bite."

I sighed and looked back to Avel who was awaiting my answer. I gave a another small smile.

"Y-yes, I suppose," I managed to say. "I think that it's about time that I had a new dress."

And for some reason, I just knew that I should have just said "no thank you". I wanted to say it, but he seemed, well...Nice. In a creepy sort of way.

"Ah, excellent!" He exclaimed and reached into his pocket. He pulled out a carring case and placed it on the bed. "T-this is some of m-my best work." He opened the case to reveal seveal beautiful dresses.

"Oh, they're gorgeous," I said picking one up and looking at it. "How were you ever able to create this?"

"Um, y-years of pratice, m-my dear," he replied. He seemed a bit hesitant to answer. I just looked at him and then back at the dress. It was a light blue color with flashes of lavendr in it with a sash that tied around the back. It was a simple dress, but it was still pretty.

"I like this one," I said.

"R-remeber, there are s-still many to choose from," Avel said.

"Yes, Isha," Kraven said. Take your time. Once you've chosen, you can have a nice relaxing bath. I'll be back. I'm going downstairs to check that everything's been cleaned up."

He then left the room and closed the doors slightly, leaving me and Avel alone together. I heard as he walked down the hall and his footsteps disappeared.

"Well, I suppose that it's just you and I," I said with a nervous smile. "Well, I'd better take a loo-"

"Take off your clothes," he interupted.

"I beg your pardon?" I asked with a frown.

"Your clothes, you should take them off," he said.

"I will when I've made my choice," I said in a small voice. "And besides, you would have already left the room by that time. You don't need to see me undress."

"Here, allow me to help you," he said reaching for me and ignoring what I had said.

I backed up just in time before he could wrap his hand around me.

"Sir! What has gotten into you?" I shouted. "I am capable of getting dressed and undressed on my own!"

"But your clothes, they look so tight on you," he said grabbing me. I gasped and kicked and screamed, trying my best to wriggle out of his hand, but his grip was too tight. "Let's not waste anymore time getting them off!" I heard my dress rip a little.

"Let go of me!" I yelled banging on his hand. "Kraven! Help me!" I remebered back to the story that Kraven told me about my father. He was in the same predicament (more or less) as I am now. I screamed and yelled and kicked as much as I could until I became tired.

"Oh, your skin is just so very soft," he said with an evil smile. He rubbed me roughly on my face and arms with a thumb. That's when I noticed something. Avel's stuttering stopped! Not one word he said was a stutter when Kraven left. I looked at him fearfully as he stared down at me fiercefully. I then bit down hard on the base of his index finger. He shouted in pain as he opened his hand. Luckily, we were still over the bed and my fall was broken by the soft comforter.

"Why you little pest!" He began reaching for me again. I quickly got up and started to run across the bed. I ran as fast as my legs would let me.

"KRAVEN!!!!!" I screamed. "KRAVEN HELP MEEE!!!!" I was crying now, full blown tears this time. I hid under his pillow hoping that he didn't see me. I heard him slowly walk about the room. I flenched at each loud footstep.

"Come out, come out where ever you are..." he said. "I won't hurt you if you just come out, dear. You can come work for me...And make dresses for an eternity!" I heard him knock something over and it broke on the floor. I was terrified that he would find me under here. Suddenly, I heard the doors open up as they hit the walls of Kraven's room loudly.

"Where is she?" Kraven asked angrily.

"I...I...I d-don't-" Avel said. He was frightened of Kraven.

"Where?!" He asked again more sternly.

"T-there! She's there!" Avel answered.

The pillow was gently lifted up from over me, and revealed me tightly curled into a ball, shaking, crying. Kraven took me up into his hands and cradled me.

Avel was walking back over to the other side of the bed to gather his things.

"Leave the dresses here," Kraven said softly, anger in his voice.

"B-but I need-" he began to say before he was interupted by Kraven.

"Leave! Now!" Kraven shouted. He nearly deafened me! Each shout he made shook my small frame, making me jump. Avel quickly ran out of the room, down hall and the stairs, and finally out the front door that he slammed behind him. Kraven gently stroked my hair, which was now mangled up, not in its neat braids as before. His palm was warm and so was his touch. It didn't do me any justice, though. I was still in shock. "You need not worry about him anymore, little one." His voice was calmer and softer now. "You or I won't be seeing him for a while."

I wasn't sure how long "a while" may be, but I hoped that it ment forever. When it came to giants, I couldn't live without Kraven, but Avel I could do without.

Chapter 5. Recovery

I sat in his hands for a while, still trembling, still crying. I don't think that I would ever get over what Avel did. I've never been touched that way. Never. I was embarrassed, I felt violated and unsafe. But sitting in Kraven's wall like hands did give me some sense of security. I pulled my tattered dress over my legs and held them close to me and looked at Kraven. He gave me a gentle smile and wiped my tears away.

"Now, tell me," he began, "what did he do to you that has upset you so much?"

I hesitated to speak at first, not knowing how he'd react.

"He...he was touching me...Feeling on my skin," I said, "and violating my personal space. I wanted to tell you about all of the looks that he gave me at the table."

"How did he look at you?" he asked, with surprized eyes.

"Lustfully," I said. "It was like he was going to snatch me up at any time...I should have told you."

"You really should have," he said sitting down on the bed. He laid back on a pillow on the black headboard and placed my on his stomach. "I don't want anything happening to you. I'd be devastated if you were hurt." I sniffled and smiled up at him. I still felt uncomfortable about the whole situation. Now I really wanted to go home.

"Kraven, when we were talking at the dinner table, you began telling me that you were planning to do something, but you never finished," I said. "What was it? And what of my other question? Do you live alone? You ne-" He put a finger on my mouth.

"Please, slow down!" he said with a smile. "I'm planning to keep you here." He removed his finger from my mouth.

"What? Kraven, I-I can't stay here!" I said franticly, now standing. "My mother and sister will be worried sick! I know that they are now!"

"Yes, I'm aware of this," he said. "That's why we're going back to Alistia tomorrow. I must talk to your mother first."

"So you plan to leave my mother and sister there alone?" I asked, hands on my hips.

"No, I want them to come as well," he replied. "I want all three of you to live with me."

"Live...with...you?" I asked slowly. "But how can we?"

"All will be explained in due time," he replied. "But for now, I think that you should get some sleep. You've had quite a day.''

He was right. All in one day I've met two giants, learned the truth about my father, eaten an enomous feast, and been fondled agaisnt my will. And through all this, I never got to try on any of my new dresses or take a bath. I stretched and yawned. I felt myself being hoisted up and placed on the pillow beside him. I snuggled into it as white sheets covered my head. I pulled them down to my chest and looked at him. He sat up and went to turn out the light. I looked at the clock on his dresser. It was 9:20. A bit early for my bed time, but I was tired.

"Goodnight," he whispered as he flipped the switch and turned out the light. He then left the room, closing the door slightly. His footsteps echoed down the hallway. I turned on my side, clutching the sheets in my hand as the hypnotic rhythm of his footsteps put me in a trance like state as I drifted off to sleep.

In the middle of the night, I couldn't sleep. I was now facing the window, looking at the night sky. I turned over to find Kraven's huge, sleeping form laying before me. I let out a squeak and backed away from him. I sighed and went to the edge of the bed and stared at the night sky. I then felt the bed quake. I looked behind me to find Kraven now sitting up in bed.

"What are you doing up?" he asked sleepily.

"I couldn't sleep," I replied. He placed a hand beside me on the bed. I jumped on and he brought me to his face.

"Is there anything wrong?" he asked with concerned eyes, turning on the lamp on the dresser.

"It's not that there's anything wrong, it's just that I have a lot on my mind," I replied.

"Well, now that I'm up, do you want to talk about it?" he asked placing me on one of his gigantic knees.

I was hesitant to speak, so I sat there for a few moments. Kraven sat patiently with a hand under his chin. "Do you...do you love my...my mother?" I finally asked. His cheeks flushed a pale pink.

"Well, I (ahem)...I have strong feelings for her...but I wouldn't con-consider it....love..."

I looked at him with a raised eyebrow, the same look he always gives me, and a smirk. He laughed nervously and cleared his throat. "W-why do you ask?"

"Oh, no reason..." I said.

"Well is there anything else that you may want to know or ask?" he asked, trying to get off the subject

"Yes, was my father a good man?" I asked.

"Oh, but of course," he answered. He loved you very much. he would do anything for you and Mina. And I mean anything. He gave his own life for me and his family. A man like that has got to be good."

"So he would never leave us? I asked. He brought his face closer to me.

"Never. Not even if he was paid to do so," he said. His breath surrounded me with warmth.

"Oh, " I replied. I then became silent.

"Well, that's enough questions for tonight," he said returning me to my pillow and turning out the light. "We have to get up bright and early tomorrow morning. Alistia awaits."

Chapter 6. Journey to Alistia

I was woken up by the bright sunlight from the window. I groaned and covered my head with the sheet.

"Isha," Kraven called. I uncovered my head to look at him. He seemed a bit distorted for my eyes have not ajusted pior to me waking up. He stared down at me, bare chested, revealing a very nice six pack, and with a wide smile on his face. His hair was neatly combed, his face washed and his eyes bright and wide awake. "Good morning. Did you sleep well?"

"Gwood mornink..." I said groggily. He laughed at me and shook his head. I began to yawn. My red hair was wild and untamed and the shoulder strap of my dress kept falling due to a certain someone who ripped it.

"Well, we must hurry if you still want to get a bath," he said. I looked at his clock. It was 7:00. I started to get up when I lost my balance and tumbled down onto the bed. I groaned and slammed my face on the matress. Kraven chuckled as he lifted me up. "I've already made your bath." He pointed to a bowl on the dresser on my side of the bed. "The case that Avel brought over contained more than just dresses. There were toiletries and intimates as well. I'll allow you to bathe and dress in privacy. The cooks will be finished preparing breakfast in fifteen minutes. At that time I'll come retrieve you." He placed me on the dresser then left the room, closing the door. He started traveling down the hallway, footsteps ecohing as usual.

I was absolutely relieved that he was nothing like Avel. Kraven wouldn't try to sneak peaks at me while I had got undressed. Avel's caring case sat open directly behind the bowl. I went over and just as Kraven said, towels, soap, a comb and brush, and other pesonal items sat at the bottom. I grabbed them all and went back over to the bowl. After slipping off all of my clothes and my sandals, I climbed up the box of matches that was laid in front of the bowl and slid in. The water was nice and hot. I slid deeper into the steaming pool, relaxed.

Thankfully the bowl was small, so I had no problems getting in and out. The water was a bit deep, though. It came up to my neck, much like the hot springs back in Alistia. When it got chilly out, Elise and I would put on our bathing suits and travel to them and get comfortable. I missed home terribly. Just hearing the word home made me smile with delight. I sighed and blew bubbles in the water as I thought about Kraven. I wondered what life would be like living with him. And what would my mother say? Would she say no? Or would she just fall for him instantly and decide that going with him is best? I wasn't sure, but whatever the outcome was, I'm sure that Kraven would understand. He was that kind of person. He listened, he was kind and...well, handsome. I turned pink at this thought. But I couldn't deny it. He was.

I didn't stay in the tub- er, bowl long. Although I was enjoying the warmth of the water very much, I knew that Kraven would soon make his way back up the stairs. I quickly washed up and hopped out of the bowl. I dried myself off with the big, fluffy towel that I found in the case and slipped on the underwear. I decided to go with the blue dress that I was going to try on yesterday and it fit perfectly. As I sat on the dresser combing my hair, I heard footsteps approaching the door. Then there was a knock.

"Are you dressed yet?" Kraven asked.

"Yes," I replied. He slowly opened the door and walked over to the dresser. His footsteps shook its foundation, making the water ripple in the bowl. I stood up as he came closer. He smiled up at me, crouching down to get a better look.

"My, that dress is beautiful on you," he said, still smiling. "Could you turn for me?" I giggled and twirled around, the skirt of my dress gliding about me. "Beatiful, simply beautiful." I curtsied out of pure randomness. I've never really done it before, but I felt comfortable doing it around him. And for once, for one time in my entire life, I felt like I didn't have to hide anything from him. That I could be me while I was with him. Much like a father and daughter should be...and that relationship seemed to fit us perfectly.

"You know, you remind me of my mother in that dress. She always loved dresses like that." He walked over to the other side of the room and put on his white short sleeved button down shirt and splashed a bit of cologne on his neck and grabbed something off his dresser. Then he sat on the bed and slipped on his tall black boots which rose almost to his knees. He walked back over to me and crouched down.

"My mother wore this perfume. It was her favorite fragance. Close your eyes."

I closed them gently and was suddenly surrounded by the scent of Chamomile and Lavender. I coughed and waved my arms about, trying to dissipate the mist of the spray that floated about me.

"A little strong," I said coughing, "but nice." He smiled and placed his hand beside me on the dresser. I hopped on and felt him slowly lift up his hand and walk out the room. Again, we traveled down the hallway and the stairs, heading for the dinning hall. He sat me on the table and pulled out a chair for himself, though he did not sit down. The spread for breakfast was out on the table, ready to be eaten. My mouth was watering at the selection of food. Pancakes, bacon, eggs, and lots of ther food. He took the plate from off the tabe and began to get food me and himself.

He returned back to his seat and sat down. He began cutting up my food and his, trying not to startle me like last time. He filled a small container with syrup for my pancakes. He took another toothpic and snapped it in half and gave a half to me.

"You know, it's not fair."

"What's not fair?" he asked.

"You did all of this for me," I replied. "You've cooked for me, well, not really, gave me a place to stay, and saved my life. Yet, I've done nothing for you. I feel like I owe you." He shook his head.

"You owe me nothing," he said. "Seeing you happy is my reward. Don't think that way. Now, eat up. We've a long way to travel."

"We do?" I asked, stuffing a piece of pancake in my mouth. "How far away is Alistia from Krytezen?"

"Well, when you walk there, it takes about three days," he said. 'When you get a ride there, it's about four hours. But that's only because when you approach the great wall that separates us, you must walk the rest of the way."

"THREE DAYS?!?" I asked with big eyes. "You had to walk back home for three days?"

"Well, I had no other means of transport back home, so why not?" he replied.

I became silent and stuffed a piece of egg in my mouth. It was strange. Kraven knew me as a baby, so I should remeber him, right? I mean, it's common sense! I should know him, yet, I, well, I just don't!

"Tell me Kraven," I began, "how is it that you know me, yet I hadn't the slightest idea of who you were when we first met?" He cleared his throat and stayed silent, flapping his napkin in his lap. "Kraven!"

"I don't think that I should tell you," he finally said. "Some things are just not ment to be revealed."

I knew that he was hiding something from me. Was it bad or something? I just had to know. I wasn't just going to sit there and not let anything that can be revealed about my past just pass me by. I walked over to him and sat in front of his plate. He just looked down at me.

"What?" he asked, looking as innocent as he could.

"You know what," I said folding my arms. "Your hiding something from me and I intend on finding out what it is."

"You don't need to know," he said looking away from me.

"Kraven, what is it?" I asked calmly, unfolding my arms. "What could there be about my past that is so devastating that it's worst than when I lost my-"

"That you never had a past," he blurted out.

"W-what?" I asked shocked. He sighed deeply.

"You don't remember me because it never happened," he said. "Your father didn't die, but left the family. Everything about your past is a lie."

I didn't understand. A lie? How could it be? It seemed so true, so real when he told me about what happened to my father.

"What do you mean?" I asked. "Are you saying that you lied to me? Everything that you told me was a lie?"

"No, everything that THEY told you was a lie," he replied, raising his voice a bit. "You needed to know the truth and they damn well knew it! Before I had left Alistia that day your father died, the mayor insisted to me and your mother that your memory about me and everything that had to do with me was to be erased."

"Erased?!" I yelled, now standing. "You didn't even try to stop him?"

"Believe me, I wanted to!" he said. "But there was nothing that I could do or say that would change his mind. He only did it to protect you, Isha. Not to harm you."

"Harm me from what?" I asked. "The truth? You were the only thing that mother had left to rely on! The only thing I had left to rely on..."

"He was afraid that if you remebered anything that you would try to find me," he said. "You'd try to go to Krytezen and bring me back to-"

"Like I'd survive!" I yelled. "What with all these giants walking about! And to go and find you? It would take me weeks to get there! Sure, it takes three days to get here-Yeah, to you! I'd probably die from starvation or something!"

"You're quite the dramatic one, Isha," he said. I scoffed and paced about the table. "Are you still angry with me?"

"I'm not angry at you, Kraven," I replied. "I'm more angry at the situation. Ah, why would they even think about doing that to me?" Kraven pushed the plate futher back on the table and enclosed his hands around me to stop my pacing and lowered his chin on the table. His black hair spread on the white table cloth.

"Because, believe it or not, I was considered dangerous," he said. "No, in fact, I was more hazardous to you and everyone in your town. One wrong move, and I could take someone's life just like that. Because of people like Cortel, giants and humans are no longer allowed to live in peace together. Separated by fear and haterd."

I made a tight fist upon hearing the name Cortel, the very definition of evil.

"Well, come on. I know that we didn't eat very much, but we need to leave soon. The carridge that will take us to the great wall will be here momentarily. So, we've best get your things packed." He stood and slid his chair back under the table and placed his hand on the table. I quickly hopped on and we left the dinning hall.

"Do you think that we'll ever see Avel again?" I asked fearfully. He chuckled.

"Not to worry, little one," he replied, scratching my head gently. "He's long gone now. He ran off with his tail between his legs. I doubt that we'll see him again."

He words were reassuring, but was it true? Did Kraven scare off Avel so badly that he'd never come back? I found it a little hard to believe. But when you're being watched over by a two-hundred foot muscular giant, what's to fear?

Kraven made his way up the stairs and down the hall back into his room. He placed me on the dresser where I took my bath at so I could pack up the rest of my belongings. He took the bowl of water into his private bathroom in his room and poured it down the sink. Then he walked over to his wardrobe closet and grabbed a long black coat with gold buttons going down the front and on the cuffs. He looked in his mirror, straightening himself a little then came back over to get me. He put the carrying case in one of his side jacket pockets and placed me in his left breast pocket. It was deep and I could feel his heart beating. It was almost hypnotizing.

He looked down and smiled. He began to walk. His footfalls echoed though the halls yet again. It was a sound that I was used to now. I liked hearing the rhythm of his steps reverberate off the walls. I looked up though the slilt that was the opening of the pocket and saw the ceiling gliding quickly over me. I saw a fragment of his strong chin and the side of his face. I could tell that he was thinking about somthing. He made his way down the stairs, which was quite a bumpy ride. I held on to the fabric of his pocket as I went in an up and down motion very quickly. Finally, it stopped, leaving me with quite a headache. I groaned and held my head. Kraven must have heard me because almot immediatly, two huge fingers came into the pocket, making the opening wider. Two big, blue eyes and a bit of black hair filled my vision.

"Are you alright?" he asked.

"Yeah, I'm fine," I replied softly. "I just have a little headache, that's all. Do be more careful when you go down the stairs next time."

"I'm sorry, Isha," he said, removing his fingers. "I'll be more careful next time."

I laid on my back in his pocket, making myself comfortable. His heart steadily beat away, which made the ride even more comfortable. I heard a door open which ment that we were on our way back home. When we were outside, I wanted to see what Krytezen looked like.

"Kraven, I want to see," I said, attempting to stand. I sighed and tugged as heard as I could on the inside of his coat pocket. "Kraven! Can you hear me? I-whoa!" I was picked up suddenly by Kraven's finger and thumb unexpectedly. He raised me up high enough to grab ahold of the lip of the pocket. I mannaged to find my footing amoungst the course fabric and lifted myself up the rest of the way. I was amazed at what I saw. Brightly colored buildings and leafy green trees towered over me. The people darted about the streets, much like in Alistia. Going here and there, to and fro, store to store. And these people were huge! I had a good look as Kraven walked pass them. Though, they had no idea that I was in his pocket.

As I looked about in awe at the people in their brightly colored apparrel, I couldn't help but notice a figure in a dark cloak in the center of the crowd. I couldn't see his face, but a lock of curly brown hair and bluish-gray eyes caught my attention. My eyes widened as I sunk back into the pocket.

"It couldn't be him, could it?" I asked myself. "No, I'm just being paranoid, that's all."

But was it him? That hair and those eyes were much too familiar to say that it wasn't him. Was Avel intending to follow us? Or is it just my imagination?

It wasn't before long that the carridge arrived to take us to the great wall. Once inside, Kraven put up the privacy window, which was tinted and sound proof, and took me out of his pocket and onto his lap. I held onto his pant leg tightly as the carridge began moving down the cobble stone road.

"Kraven, before we go any further, look out the window," I said, my voice jumping. He looked out and eyed the streets.

"What am I looking for, Isha?" he asked.

"A figure in a dark cloak," I replied. He kind of looked like Avel." Kraven peered out the window again, yet saw nothing.

"There's no one out there," he said.

"What?" I asked.

"Here, take a look for yourself," he replied lifting me up.

He was right. The streets that were once filled with people now seemed like a ghost town. Only a few people were on the street, but none were wearing that dark cloak.

"But-but I could have sworn that I saw him," I said looking up at him. He placed me back on his leg.

"Please Isha, relax," he said. "It's probably just your imagination getting the best of you. You're probably still a bit shocked as well, and it's going to be okay. I promise."

He smiled sweetly at me, but it felt painful to smile back. I wanted to believe him. I did. But I had a feeling, a feeling that things aren't as okay as they seemed to be. Danger and secrets lied around the bend, so could I trust Kraven with my life? Much like my father trusted him with his? I felt sick to my stomach, my head felt light. I needed to think, but had I enough time to? I curled up on Kraven's massive thigh and just laid there. I felt his gentle fingers around me pick me up and put me back in his breast pocket. Ensconced in the warm fabric, and comforted by the sound of his consistently beating heart, I snuggled up against his chest and fell asleep.

"Isha...." I heard a voice call my name. It was a bit distorted at first but it then began to clear. "Isha, wake up!"

I got up and saw that I was in my room. I panted and looked about. I was! I was home! I got up and looked around. All my trinkets and treasues lay on my shelves like they once were. Pictures of my friends and family hung on the walls, but there was one that I didn't remember seeing in my room. I looked at it closely and saw that it was the one that I had saw in the Kitchen that day! The shadowy one. I wondered how it got there. Mom! Maybe she knew. I ran to my door, but stopped when I heard a booming voice.

"Put your backs into it!" the voice yelled.

That voice...it was so familiar! I slowly opened my door, expecting to see the hallway and stairs that led to my living room, but instead, I saw what seemed to be a factory of sorts. Hundreds of people worked on what seemed to be...DRESSES?!? I gulped and backed up a bit, bumping into something. I turned around to see Avel towering above me! He gave me a wicked smile, much like that of a monster's. I wanted to run, but couldn't. It was like I was frozen stiff.

"Well, well, well, what have we here?" he said reaching for me. I finally unfrose and ran for it, but was stopped by Avel's huge hand. He then gathered me up and wrapped a tight fist around me, crushing my arms, waist, and legs.

"Kraven!" I yelled out franticly.

Avel laughed loudly. "Your human loving friend cannot save you!" He pointed to a corner where Kraven was tied up with shackles and restraints around his neck, wrists, and ankles.

I gasped and tears began forming in my eyes. Two men were shocking him with what looked to be cattle prods and whipping him with heavy leather whips. They seemed to enjoy it, laughing as they tormented him.

"Enough! Let him speak."

Kraven's body quaked from the lack of strengh he had left . He raised his head to meet my gaze. Avel brought me closer to him and loosened his hand just enough to free my arms. He could hardly keep his head up long enough to look me directly in the eyes. He was drenched with blood. Fresh wounds covered his body and the shackles tore at his skin. I just covered my mouth in disbelief.

"I'm-I'm sorry," he whispered as tears rolled down his face. "He said that he would kill you if I...if I didn't surrender...I am weak..."

I placed a hand on the tip of his nose. I opened my mouth, but I could say nothing. Suddenly Avel tore me away from Kraven's face.

"Okay, time's up!" he said and kicked Kraven in his stomach, causing him to cough up blood. "Back to work, boys!" The men began to shock and whip him again, causing him to cry out painfuly.

"Kraven!" I yelled. "Let me go, you flithy creature!" I kicked and screamed as much as I could, but to no prevail.

"You've got a temper much like your father, don't you!" Avel said, making his fist tighter around me. "Well, I know just what to do about that!" He laughed sinisterly as he grabbed me with his thumb and index finger and held me over his mouth. I screamed at the top of my lungs.

"Nooooooo!" I heard Kraven yell. "ISHAAAAAAAA!!!"

"No, No, No!" I screamed.

"Isha! Isha, wake up!" A voice cried out.

I was rocked out of my sleep violently. I quickly sat up to find my vision filled by Kraven's gigantic face. I gave out an ear piercing scream and backed away from him, bumping into his fingers. I was absolutely hysterical.

"Isha, please, calm down! It's alright! It was only a dream!"

I inhaled and exhaled extremely fast. I was sweating, crying, and shaking. One of Kraven's giant fingers rubbed my back gently as he continued reasuring me that everything will be fine.

"No it's not!" I blurted out in tears. "It's not okay! Something's wrong. My dream was horrible! Avel! He...he was trying to kill you...and then he tried to kill me!"

Kraven was silent. No words could explain how he felt as I told him more about the dream. His eyebrows folded in as his hand became a fist. He held it so tightly I thought that he would break his hand.

"As I've said countless times before, I will protect you from all danger. And if it means getting rid of him, so be it."

Chapter 7. Destruction

Obviously, we weren't in the carridge anymore, but in a bit of a wasteland. The land looked dead. No flowers or grass...Just dirt and a few dead weeds. The air was chilly and the sky was dark.

"Where are we?" I asked, rubbing my arms to keep warm.

"We're at the outskirts of Krytezen," he replied pulling out a handkerchief from his side coat pocket. He handed it to me and I quickly wrapped it around my shoulders. "We've passed the Great Wall some time ago. I wanted to show it to you, but you were still asleep. We should arrive in Alistia in less than two hours."

As Kraven began to walk, the cold air rushed pass me, blowing my hair about. I shivered a little and wrapped the quilt sized handkerchief tighter around me. I looked behind me to see the Great Wall. It seemed to shrink as we continued to walk on.

"So, how long has it been up, the Great wall?" I asked looking up at him.

"Ever since I can remember," he replied. "The first time that I remember seeing it is when I was about ten years old. My father had took me to see it. It was quite a sight to see. It was high and made of strong stone. Vines from various plants crept up the sides and our best watchmen kept a look out for any intruders or opposing force that dared to disturb the peace."

"Did you know of our exsistance at that time?" I aksed.

"Actually, I did not," he replied. "I always have heard the stories, but it seemed like a bunch of rifraf to me. But when I joined Krytezen's army, I learned that the stories were true after all."

"That's kind of how everyone in Alistia was raised," I said. "Off stories that their parents told them. Some of them were true, while others were just lies." When I was told that giants exsisted, I didn't believe it. I guess that's because when my memory was erased, well, that's what I was told to believe... But I would always hear the stories and deny your exsistance. Well, I guess that I can't say that I don't believe now. But that dream...I guess I was trying to remember something that never happened."

"What dream?" he asked, looking down at me with a confused look on his face.

"It was a dream that I kept haveing for four days, right before you and I met," I replied. "Remember how you found me in that meadow?" Kraven nodded his head. "Well, my dream was much like that, except instead of you, it was a dark shadowy figure of someone. I wasn't sure who it was. And that picture! It was almost the same resemblance as the figure in my dream."

"A picture?" Kraven asked. "Was it a Polaroid?"

"Yes," I replied, shifting my position in his hand, "but what does that have to do with it?"

"Your mother took that picture of me when Saul and I had came home from battle that day," he replied. "She took it to remember me...If she had never saw me again."

I kept silent and looked ahead of me. The road was still long and I could tell that this journey was going to be a bit longer that what Kraven said. Suddenly, I felt a drop of water on my head. It was raining. I covered my head with the handkerchief as the rain became harder, although Kraven never stopped walking.

"Kraven, are you aware that it's raining?!" I said.

"Yes, I am," he replied.

"Then why don't you stop walking?" I said. "It doesn't look like it's going to stop anytime soon. We should stop to rest."

He lifted me up to his face and smiled.

"I'm flattered that you worry about me," he said, "but I'll be fine. I've walked through weather worse than this." He put me back in that familiar space that was his breast pocket and went on walking.

I could hear the rain hitting agaist his coat and the sound of each gigantic step he took thundering against the ground. I sat there in his pocket, listening to his heart beat and picking off pieces of lint from the fabric. I sighed, bored. I decided to rest my frazzled nerves. I was still a bit shaken by the dream that I had. But I was starting to get tired, so I became comfortable and slept.

I was woken up a little while later by Kraven's deep, powerful voice.

"Isha wake up," he said. "You're almost home."

I sat up sleepily, my eyes half way open. I found myself in his hand and looked up to see him smiling at me. He was no longer walking and the rain had stopped. The skies were clear and blue.

"Look ahead." He motioned me to turn around. My eyes widened as I saw familiar surroundings. We were at the Alistian Moutain pass. I knew that when we went around the bend, we would be home. I stood up and rubbed my eyes and looked again to make sure that what I was seeing was real this time and not a dream. The mountains stretched up high above us and clouds hid its peak.

"Just around the bend is the meadow," I said. "From there will be the big hill and then I'll be home!" I turned to Kraven who had a bit of a sad face. "What's wrong?" I asked.

"Oh, nothing, just thinking, that's all," he replied. "If your mother says no, then I don't know what I'll do."

"My mother wants a husband, Kraven," I said reassuring him. "If she says no, she's not going to find another in Alistia. And that's a fact."

"How so?" he asked as he began to walk. I fell back and under his fingers.

"Because, almost every man in town is married," I replied, crawling back into his palm.

"What about the surrounding villages?" he asked. "Can't she find a husband there?"

I shook my head slowly.

"Why not?"

"It's the law," I answered. "We cannot marry outside of our village."

"Well, what of me? I don't live in Alistia."

"Well, you're not even classified as 'human', so I'm not sure..."

"Well, we'll soon find out."

The meadow and hill came up quickly. I was excited. Just beyond the hill, I would see the spires of town hall appearing and the intire town would follow. As we came closer, the spires didn't appear, but smoke! Was Alistia on fire?

The closer we came, the more smoke we saw. Town Hall and several homes were ablaze. I gasped and scanned the area to see if my house was one of the many unfortunate ones on fire. My vision became impared as the smoke became thicker, making me choke.

"Kraven," I said coughing, "we've got to help! Put me down so I can see if everyone is alright!" He nodded and placed me down on the ground. I slipped off my sandals and began running as fast as I could towards town.

"I'll try to find some water!" he yelled after me. "Hurry and be carefull!"

I heard and felt as Kraven walked off to find a near-by water soucre. From where I was, town was a bit far away and the shortest way there was to follow a path through the woods. As much as I detested the woods, I really couldn't complain right now. I took the path, sprinting as fast as I was able, ducking and dodging tree branches and and rocks. Although the ground was litered with pine needles and fallen leaves, making the trek less dangerous, I managed to cut my foot on a sharp stone. It was bleeding, but not too much. Not enough to make me stop. As I exited the woods, I saw the entrance to Alistia! Only a few more feet and I would be at the gates. Suddenly, my path was blocked by a giant boot clad foot that belonged to Avel. I began to slow down, stopping short of his heel. I slowly backed away as he looked at me angrily. I stared up at my nightmare, panting hard and frozen with fear, unable to move. He surrounded me with his dirty, calloused hands, gathering me up, still staring at me with those big, bluish gray eyes of his.

"You didn't think that you'd get away from ol' Avel that easily, did you?" he asked with a monsterous grin. I kept silent, staring back at him, fearful of what he may do to me. "I didn't think so. Well, today my dear, is the day that you meet your demise." He grinned harder at me. It seemed as If he was savoring this moment.

"Put me down!" I squeaked. "W-when Kraven gets here, he'll-"

"He'll what?" He interupted. "I highly doubt that he will be doing a thing. The mayor will not allow it since he and I are such good friends and all."

"The mayor?" I asked, confused. "What does he have to do with anything?"

"Oh, you don't know?" he asked laughing. "Mayor Osmo and I have been working together for some time. In fact, he was the one that planned the whole attack on Alistia's neighboring village, and please, do not pretend that you don't know. I'm sure that Kraven has told you the whole story. He was trying to draw Saul out into the open, knowing that he would be willing and able to come to the rescue. But plans went awry when he brought his pet along with him who killed Cortel, my brother!"

"Cortel was your brother?!" I asked stunned

"My, you catch on fast," he said sarcasticly.

"B-but why would he do that?"

"I believe that I can answer that question," a voice from below said. It was Mayor Osmo, dressed in is usual purple attire. He stared up at us with his deep brown eyes. "You see, Isha, you're mother and I were quite the couple when we were younger. Mina was my world and I would do almost anything for her. Our relationship was failing, so I had decided to propose to her to save us, but she said no and left. That's when Saul appeared out of no where, unbeknownst to me, and taking her away from me forever. I waited a few years before proposing to her again, but she told me that she was to be wed to another man...Saul.

I was heartbroken and upset, and I wanted to do way with him so that she and I could be together once again. I hired Cortel to destroy him, but I wasn't planning on Kraven to show up with him. Now he is the only thing that stands in my way of having your mother's hand in marridge."

"She would never marry you!" I said. "No woman would want to be married to a sleazy man like yourself! And I would never agree to be your daughter!"

Osmo looked at me with pure hatred burning in his eyes and a frown formed on his face. I stared back at him with anger.

"Kill her," he comanded and walked off.

"My pleasure," Avel responded, taking me in one hand and squeezing me tightly. I cried out in pain as I could feel my body being crushed. He laughed evily as a terribly monsterous smile cracked across his face. "I have been waiting for this moment for a very long time."

"Kraven..." I managed to whisper. "Kraven...!" I could hardly breathe now. My lungs were slowly being crushed and my legs and arms went numb. I struggled to keep my eyes open.

"Kraven! Kraven!" Avel mocked, laughing. "Say 'good-bye', little one!"

"Drop her, Avel!" Kraven said. Avel perked up and turned his head upon hearing his voice. I lifted up my head as high as I could and a small, small smile appeared on my face.

"K-kraven..." I said weakly.

Avel turned all the way around, facing him.

"Kraven, there's no need to be petulant about this," he said. "I and the little one here were-"

"Drop her!" Kraven demanded.

"As you wish," Avel said. I felt his grip loosen up from around me. My lethargic, frail body slumped and slid out of his hand. I felt myself falling fast as the ground filled my vision. When I thought that I had finally hit the ground, I found myself on a soft warm surface. Nothing like what the ground felt like.

My vision was beggining to fail me once again. The last thing that I saw was a shadowy black blur and then all faded.

Chapter 8. Visiting Hours and a Duel

I could feel my consciousness returning as I slowly opened my eyes and blinked. I looked around to find myself in a hospital room. I laid on the stiff bed, surrounded by warm, fluffy blankets. I tried to move, but a jolt of pain made it's way through my body, causing me to yelp. I heard a gasp and a voice. A blurry figure stood next to my bed. As my vision cleard, I realized who it was. It was my mother.

"Nurse! Nurse, she's coming to!" she said excitedly.

A short woman dressed in a white smock and blue scrub pants came rushing into the room, her long blond curls bounced here and there. She pushed her glasses up the bridge of her short nose as she checked my vital signs.

"Oh, Isha," she put a hand on my cheek, "I thought I had lost you." Tears rolled down her face.

"Mom," I said weakly. I couldn't speak above a whisper. My breathing was a bit shallow and my entire body ached.

"Well, her heart rate is a lot better," the nurse said, recording notes on her clipboard. "Her breathing isn't doing all that well. Your lungs were brusied pretty badly. You've got a few broken ribs as well. But I'm glad to see that you're alright. Try to get some rest." She then left the room.

My mother stroked my head as more tears fell. There were so many things that I wanted to ask her. I wanted to know why she didn't tell me half the things that Kraven told me. Wait...Kraven!

"Mom, where's Kraven? Where is he?" I asked franticly, trying to sit up.

"Isha, please!" she said. "You're hurt! Get some sleep."

"Not until you tell me where Kraven is," I said, calming down. 'And the fires? What about them? Are they out?"

"Yes, they've been put out,"she said. "Kraven and the other had left Alistia. He wanted no further damage to be made here, so he forced the other-"

"Avel," I said. His name is Avel and you know it."

"So Kraven's told you?" she asked looking shamefully.

"Everything," I replied. "Everything that you and Osmo told me was a lie. How could you do this to me? Because of you, my entire life is a lie. All I wanted was the truth, but you couldn't even give me that much."

"I'm sorry, Isha, but I had no other choice!" she said. "Osmo and I wanted your life to be normal like everyone else's."

"Osmo doesn't care about me or you!" I said. "All he cares about is getting you back! He wants to marry you and the only way he'll be able to is if he gets rid of Kraven!"

"Kraven has nothing to do with this!" she shot back at me.

"He has been there since the day I was born, mother!" I said. "He was best friends with my father! He kept Avel's insane brother from wreaking havok on other towns, including our own! He's saved my life...twice! And now he's risking his life out there, for us! So don't tell me that he has nothing to do with this, because he's played a bigger part in our lives than you know."

She looked at me as if I were mad, thinking that I had only made up these things that she knew were all too true.

"I need to go see if he's alright. It's the least that we can do. I need to be there for him, like he was there for me."

"No," she said. "I will not be putting you in harm's way! Look at yourself! The doctor wanted to pronouce you dead when he saw you! But he wanted to get you a chance! I am not risking your life! Not again!" Her tears came down now much like rain, falling non-stop.

"Well, I'm still here," I said seriously. 'I want to help him. You can't sit and pretend that he doesn't exsist. he loves you, mom. And he loves me. If he wasn't out there-"

I was interupted by booming and trembling. The walls of the hospital were shaking violently. Some things in the room fell over and broke. I could hear the sound of struggling and grunting coming from outside. Across the room was a balcony and the curtains were pulled back to reveal the outside. I looked out the glass doors intently and suddenly saw two gigantic figures spring up, fighting. A punch thrown here, a kick delivered there. Kraven and Avel had made their way back into Alistia! I saw as Kraven gave one good punch to Avel, knocking him back a bit. I then saw as he ran back, delivering a blow to Kraven's jaw.

Avel laughed and tried to give another punch, but his fist was stopped by one of Kraven's huge hands and bent it back. Avel yelled loudly as he was forced to his knees. He gave Kraven a punch with his free hand to the stomach, making him bend over a bit and then gave him another blow to the jaw, knocking him to the ground. The building shook with tremendous force as Kraven landed. He then placed a foot on Kraven's neck, choking him. He struggled to breathe, flailing his arms about. Avel laughed again, his hands at his sides. While he was distracted, Kraven grabbed his ankle and twisted it as hard as he could. Avel cried out painfully as he fell to the ground. My mother and I held on to each other as the the building shook terribly. While on the ground, Kraven delievered several devastating blows to Avel's face, knocking him out cold. He didn't even wait for Avel to come to before he pulled a dagger out from his coat and stabbed Avel in the heart.

Kraven stood back to up, panting hard. He reached down and picked up Avel's limp, lifeless body. He threw him over his shoulder and left Alistia.

"Where is he going?" I thought as he stomped off.

Chapter 9

It had been only hours since Kraven left, but it felt more like days. My mother continued to insist that I rest and relax, but I could not. Not until Kraven had returned. Later that day, it began to rain. Some of Alisita was now in ruins due to fire and the fight that Kraven and Avel had. A flash of Lightning flew across the sky, filling my hospital room with a bright light. My mother walked over to the balcony door and pulled the curtains across them. She gave a heavy sigh and walked back over to the bed.

"Do you think that he'll come back?" I asked.

"I don't really know," she said. "He took Avel's body away, I suppose to bury him? There's a possibility that he'll come back. But who can really say?"

Suddenly there was a gentle knock at the door. Mother went over to open it and saw Osmo.

"You!" I exclaimed. I tried to get up again, but I was still in a lot of pain.

He steeped into the room and closed the door behind him. He walked over to my bed.

"You think that you are so clever, don't you?" he asked with apathy in his eyes. "Just because Kraven has killed Avel does not mean that this is over."

"What do you mean?" I asked, still suffering from my pain.

"When Avel had came to Kraven's home that day," he explained, "he had dinned with you and Kraven, correct?"

I nodded my head slowly.

"Well, while you and Kraven were not looking, Avel slipped a transmitter into Kraven's food. When the time is right, this transmitter will allow me to control his every move."

He pulled out something from his jacket pocket. It looked like a small remote with two buttons and a knob.

"When I press this button, Kraven will be forced to do my bidding."

"Why would you do this Osmo?" mother asked. "This is madness!"

"I love you Mina," he replied. "I loved you more than anything. You and I could have been happy together. I've tried to save us. I really did, but you leave me no choice. If I can't have you, then no one will. Not even Kraven! I'll give you one last chance: Mina, marry me and I'll stop this all right now."

"Don't listen to him!" I yelled. "He doesn't love you!"

"Shut up!" he screamed and turned back to mom and kneeled down. She stood there silently, contemplating on what she should do.

"Osmo, I do admit that I did once love you," she began, "but, that was a long time ago. I need someone who I can rely on. Someone that Loves me as much as I love them. Kraven has been there for me more than you have ever been and I trust him more than anyone else. Even you. So I must decline your proposal."

Osmo was absolutey furious. He stood up now, Staring a hole and mother's face.

"So, you deny me once again?" he asked. "Fine." And with that, he pressed one of the buttons that made a beeping noise. He chuckled evily and left the room, slamming the door behind him.

Mother and I looked at each other, curious, yet afraid at the same time. For a few moments, there was complete silence, but then the ground began to tremble hard, maying the building shake. My mother went to the glass doors and peeked throught the cutains. Sure enouth, it was Kraven, walking back into Alistia. He carelssly stepped on houses and kcocked over buildings, pushing his way through to get to the hospital. Mother panicked and ran back to the bed.

"We need to get out of here!" she said. There was a wheelchair across the room against the wall. She rushed over to get it bringing it as close to the bed as she could. She tired to get me out of bed as carefully as she was able, but it was too late.

Kraven had grabbed hold of the concrete balcony and ripped it from it's iron holdings in the building, leaving a huge gaping hole. Bits and pieces of concrete and glass fell onto the floor. A giganitc hand reached in and grabbed my mother by her waist and retacted. She screamed hysterically, protesting and yelling. She was helpless! Then I remembered the chair. I needed to get to Kraven and my mother. It was going to be a painful move, but I needed to help.

The chair was facing towards the bed, so I turned around as quickly as my body would allow me to. I cried out as my sides and back throbbed with pain. I worked my legs as much as I could, seeing how they were still a bit numb and pushed myself slowly towards the chair. With one more painful grunt, I managed to get in the chair. I pushed myself away from the bed and made my way to the hole. Kraven was much taller than the building, for I could only see his chest. As I came closer, I heard Osmo. He had to be on the rooftop.

"Well, now, Mina," he began, "seems as if you're in quite the jam! Remeber, I can stop all of this if you just marry me!"

"Never!" she said, struggleing to breakaway from Kravens grap.

"Very well!" he cackled. "It's your choice! Do it, Kraven!"

Kraven simply followed orders and slowly began rasing my mother over his mouth.

"NO, KRAVEN!" I shouted. "Stop!!"

He looked down at me with furious eyes which were no longer the sultry blue I once knew, but a dark, putrid black and red. He snarled, which started me. I tried to move back, but my chair was stuck. I panted franticly trying to move way from him. He lowered himself and looked at me eye to eye, still with that menacing glare.

"Don't you know who I am?!" I asked sobbing. "Isha! It's Isha, remember?"

He looked at me harder, as if trying to remember who I was. He placed a hand to his head as if suffering froma headache and closed his eyes tightly. When he re-opened them, they were returning to their normal blue color.

"I-Isha..." he said blinking. "What happened?"

"You were being controled by Osmo!" I said. "He tried to make you destroy mom."

"K-Kraven!" mom yelled. "I'd like it if you p-put me down n-now!"

He sat her next to me after realizing that he had her in his hand.

"Don't listen to them!" Osmo said. I heard as he franticly pressed the buttons on the remote. "It's a trick! You're still under my control! Stupid, faulty electronics!"

Kraven plucked the remote from his hands and crushed it with his index finger and thumb. He then picked him up by the back of his shirt and held him up to his face.

"Please, don't hurt me!" he cried out. "I'm an elected official!"

"I don't think that anyone would want to vote for you anytime soon," Kraven said. "Once word gets out that you've be up to no good, if you're lucky, you may just get thrown out of Alistia. If not, I know some kids that have been dying to have a pet."

Chapter 10. Proposal

Osmo surrendered and was handed over to the Alisitan police force. They had their bows and arrows at the ready just incase Osmo tried to escape. I looked about the destroyed town. Many homes were destroyed and no one seemed to be around.

"Where is everyone?" I asked. "And Elise! Where is she?"

"Relax, dear!" mom said. "Everyone in town took shelter in hte hospital. They're all here. Elise is in the children's ward with the nurses. She's fine."

The police headed into the hospital to making sure that everyone got out safely and those who needed medical attention had recieved it right away. As people exited the buiding, they stared up in shock at Kraven. He smiled at them all warmly as they surrounded his giant boot clad feet.

"Ladies, come with me please," a voice said. We looked behind us to see and officer motioning us to come out of the room. Mom rolled my chair out and into the hall. Many other people from town were in the hallway, including Mia and Elise.

"Mia!" I said excitedly. She ran towards me and gave me a small hug, trying not to hurt me.

"Sissy, sissy!" Elise yelled as she came up to me. She smiled with big hazel eyes pearing behind her dark hair. "Mommy said that a mean man hurt you. Are you okay?"

I smiled and rubbed her head.

"Yeah, I'm fine," I said.

We got into the elevator and went to the ground floor and left the hospital. Kraven was kneeling down in front of the people now. He placed a hand to the ground. One brave child came up to him and placed his hands on Kraven's fingertip and smiled up at him.

"Oh, my," Mia said, fixing her glasses on her face. Her jaw hung there staring up at Kraven.

"What's wrong?" I asked, knowing exactly how she felt.

G-giant..." she said, backing up a little.

"Yes, I know. That's Kraven," I said, smiling.

"You know him?" she asked shocked.

"Yes," I replied. I met him the day that the footprint appeard in the town."

"Isn't he dangerous?" she asked, looking at me fearfully. I sighed.

"You worry too much," I said, reciting the very words she said to me. "C'mon, I'll introduce you. I wheeled myself through the crowd and came up to Kraven's knee. Mia followed slowly behind. She looked up at him as he directed his attention to us. I cleared my throat. "Kraven, this is my friend, Mia. She's been dying to meet you!"

Mia gave me a look, but I just smiled back at her. Kraven placed his hand down in front of her, but she backed up and tripped over herself and fell. Elise, on the other hand, bravely made her way up to his hand, but had a bit of truble climbing up. He gently picked her up by her waist and placed her in his hand.

"Are you alright?" he asked picking Mia up and placing her in his palm. She shook uncontrolibly as he raised her and Elise up to his face. He smiled. "It's alright. I'm not going to hurt you."

Mia kept quiet as she sat in his palm. She didn't move, didn't speak. Elise gave her little gapped tooth smile, which made Kraven smile back. He patted her and Mia on the head gently, which seemed to startle her a bit, and put them back on the ground.

"Now, that wasn't so bad, was it?" I asked her. She sneered at me and looked back up at Kraven.

My mother had come up to us and looked at Kraven and smiled.

"I knew that you'd come back," she said.

"It was promised to you, was it not?" he asked. She gave him a big smile. Bigger than any that I've ever seen. "Mina, there's been something that I've been meaning to ask you. He reached into his pants pocket and pulled something out. It was a ring box. He placed it down on the ground and opened it. Tucked inbetween the fabric was a small glinting object. Mom walked up to the box and picked it up. It was a ring. "It's taken me ages to find one that was just right."

She admired the 14 carat single diamond ring and slipped it on her finger.

"Mina, please, accept my proposal. Will you marry me?"

Her eyes welled up with tears and she covered her mouth, looking up at him. She simply nodded.

"Yes, Kraven," she said.

Everyone cheered as Kraven swept my mother up and gently kissed her on the cheek. She hugged him back on the face. I clapped my hands as Elise and Mia cheered.

Chapter 11. A New Start

With Kraven's help, Alistia returned to the glistening, happy town it once was. Even more happier now that Osmo was gone, put away for good. After a couple of days resting, my legs regained their full mobility and within weeks, my ribs healed nicely, but were still a bit sore. In time, homes and buildings were rebuilt from the damage they recieved from the battle between Kraven and Avel and the fires that were started. Life seemed to take a turn for the better, now. The Alistians became friends with Kraven. Not fearing him as he made his wy through the streets and greeting him as he passed by. He was treated much like a celebrity here. The mayor was quickly replaced by a man named Tokal, a much more trusted canidate than that of Osmo. He ran against Osmo before, but lost. Mayor Tokal honored Kraven with a medal for Bravery in the Face of Adversity.

As time passed, I opened up a bit more. I was no longer the timid girl with low self esteem and high anxiety, but a charming young lady who was quite sanguine and happy. Each and everyday, Kraven and my mother became closer and closer with each other then ever. It made me happier to see my mother happy. She smiled more now, more than I'd ever seen before. Even Elise had changed. She drew more on her own, making her little scribble-scrabble pictures of all of us. She was becoming much more independant now.

Wedding plans were made after the chaos settled over where the reception would be held. But what about the wedding? There couldn't be a traditional one! Not in a chruch at least. And the rings, would they have to be brought seperately? Considering the size factor, they just may have to be. There was just so much to do, but everything was worked out by Kraven and my mom. It was their wedding after all.

My mother's dress was to be the traditional white and so was the bride's maids and maid of honor. Kraven's tux was to be black and white and so where the best man's and groom's men. I was to be a bride's maid and so was Mia and mom's best friends Kara and Anette. The maid of honor was to be my father's sister Halyn. The groom's men were to be four TRUSTED friends of Kraven whose names were not revealed. The flower girl was to be no one else but Elise and the ring bearer went undecided. He had to be strong enough to hold the weight of Kraven's ring and small enough to keep on eye on my mother's.

So much to do, yet so little time! I hoped that everything was settled before the wedding! Time was getting closer, now, so questions needed answers before time ran out.

Chapter 12. Prejudice

Because of the way society is today, things that we are not used to seeing on a daily basis is automatically strange and absolutely unacceptable. Take my mother for an example. For her to be married to Kraven seemed a bit taboo to some, simply because he was different. It was unnatural and absurd. On a lighter note, there were some who took a liking to Kraven. They enjoy his company and are very grateful for what he has done for us. There were some who had no issues with the marriage, while others wanted nothing to do with it. That included my grandparents and my Aunt Dayshia.

You'd think that when you are to be married, that your family would be quite ecstatic about it. Running here and there, getting the flowers arranged and picking out the dresses...Yet, our family is quite strange...Quite strange indeed. Most of my mother's and father's family lived in a city called Drakin. It was a bit far from Alisita, though. About three or four hours away. I can't say that I know much about my father's side of the family, but what I do know is that after my father's death, his mother Tasun, suddenly became "ill". The only way that she'd be revived is if mother married one of her sons...Looking back at those photos, I can safely say that my father was the most handsome of his three brothers. He has a sister as well, named Dayshia. She's very pretty...I don't believe that I've seen her in person before, just in pictures. His father had died a while back of a serious illness. But that's just what I've heard. I can't say that it's true or not...

My mother wanted to tell them the news of how she had finally found a man worth marrying, so she wrote to them, inviting them to afternoon tea. She said nothing more, other than that she was very excited about being married to this mystery man. Her parents were delighted and wrote back saying that they would love to come, yet, grandmother Tasun wasn't so welcoming and open to come and have tea. She was "suffering" from her "aliments" and sent Dayshia instead.

The horse drawn carriage made it's way up the bumpy, dirt road. The horse's steady hoove-beats echoed through the walls of the house. I looked out the window to see what all the clatter was when I saw the carriage driver hop down form his seat and open the door. Out stepped Dayshia. She had long, flowing brown hair and a beautiful smile and wore a casual blue and white dress. Next came my grandmother who, much like grandmothers do, wore something very elegant. It was a pretty white and gold gown, but it was just right for her. Not too old, not too young. I'd guess that's what you would say about it. I could tell where my mother got her looks from. She was short, much like me and my mom, but pretty. Last came my grandfather. Truthfully, he didn't what to come here for tea, but grand mama insisted.

Once everyone was off, the carriage driver left. The trio mad their way to the front do which I courteously opened for them.

"Oh, Isha!" Aunt Dayshia said, hugging me tightly. "It's so good to see you again. And my, how you've grown!"

I couldn't help but to feel embarrassed. My Grandmother came over and planted kisses on me all over. She was a grandmother, therefore, this was her job. My grandfather hugged me gently and gave me a smile. It felt strange to be around these people in a way. I didn't really know them that well. My mother ran in at the sound of their voices and greeted them all with hugs and kisses. She led them upstairs into the den where tea was served.