That night while the king slept, he dreamed of his boyhood. He was not destined to be king, but he was next in line if Arthur, the great prince of the land was unable to fulfill his royal duty to receive the crown.
In times past:
That time was a time of war and strife in his kingdom of Ur. The kingdom of Yore had declared war on the kingdom of Ur. The present king, the father if his second son, Philip sent his first son, Arthur, into battle with the kingdom of Yore. Arthur was killed in that battle. After Arthur was killed in battle, Philip became king.
In the Present time:
King Philip slept fitfully. He was taken back in time when soon after he was crowned king he met a beautiful young maiden who was a commoner of the kingdom. She was the second daughter of a poor shoe and boot maker. Her name was Gwendolyn. Gwendolyn delivered boots made for the knights. Philip was speaking to the Master Sergeant over the knights about who that fair young woman was who delivered the boots to the army of knights. Hearing this exchange, Gwendolyn politely stood a ways away from the king and his royal subjects until their business was done.
The king turned to make his leave and he saw the most beautiful maiden he had ever seen. Gwendolyn was almost frightened as the king’s eyes pierced into hers. His eyes were an ocean blue that changed colors with his moods; his blue eyes could either put a person on edge or at ease.
The fair maiden quickly realized that the king fancied her. The king ordered all of the royal staff’s footwear to be made by the father of Gwendolyn. Gwendolyn’s became very wealthy. The king always asked for the shoes to be delivered by the shoemaker’s daughter. Every time his eyes fell upon the fair Gwendolyn, he fell more in love with her.
Over time the king asked Gwendolyn to marry him. After taking several days to think about the king’s proposal she accepted and was married and crowned his queen.
While he slept:
“Gwen. Dearest Gwendolyn.” The king spoke out during his sleep. He woke up with tears in his eyes.
When the king woke up he was flooded with the memories of his love for Gwendolyn. He saw, in his mind’s eye, Gwen’s swollen belly which housed their baby. They both were expecting a bouncing baby. They didn’t care if their baby was a boy or girl. They just wanted a healthy baby. Gwen’s visit to her husband during his dream reminded him to relive the good and the bad.
One of the lessons he learned from his beloved wife was that their daughter, Princess Isabel, was the very essence of her mom. She looked like her mother. She was smart like her mother.
Months past, and King Philip was haunted by the face of his beautiful daughter. He was also visited quite often by his beloved late wife, Gwendolyn.
“Our daughter is maturing into a beautiful young woman. She’s in love you know “
“in love?!” The king said. There is no one down in the dungeons except the hired help and there are rumors of a pesky old dragon. I’ve heard stories of a dragon but I think it’s no more than nonsense.” The King said.
“Tis true my love. There is a dragon in the dungeons. He is a magic dragon. There was some sort of curse put on him over 200 years ago that was supposed to make him live out eternity as a dragon in the halls of the dungeon. However, the warlord, his very own uncle, that put the curse on him did the spell wrong. He can become a human boy at will but he cannot stay a human indefinitely. He eventually turns into a dragon again. His name is William. “
Gwendolyn was quiet for awhile to see how this new information was affecting the king. He wavered; he began to think maybe his punishment wasn’t so harsh after all, and on the other hand he felt the judgment was indeed called for. This news made him feel relieved on the one hand and on the other he felt his decree meant nothing. This infuriated him.
That night when he went to sleep his precious Gwendolyn came before him and beckoned him to follow her.
“Where are we going? ” asked the king.
“Hush my darling I have something marvelous and magical to show you.
Gwendolyn interlaced her fingers into his and she used her power of thought to take them to the magical realm in which his daughter now lived.
The dungeon was no longer a dungeon. He gasped at the change from a damp, smelly, dirty dungeon to a pristine palace with futuristic appliances that brought indoor plumbing with bathtubs and an indoor outhouse, or privy, called a toilet. It came with a chrome handle that flushed away waste and renewed fresh water in the bowl. There was also a lavatory with running water.
“What us this?!” The King demanded. “This dungeon has more modern appliances than my palace. Some punishment she is getting for killing you!”
“Don’t you see be now, our daughter did not kill me. It was my time. I may be dead from this world but I’m very much alive in my own world. Come, I have more to show you.” Gwendolyn instantly transported her husband to behold the beauty and happiness of his daughter. The king could only watch and listen. He could not be seen.
What the king saw was his daughter riding upon the back of a dragon. When they landed, he saw the dragon crouch gown to let the Princess Isabel dismount. Then before his eyes the dragon transformed into a young man..
“I want to see her. I need to talk to Isabel. I need to make up for all I have put her through.” The king said to his ethereal wife, Gwendolyn.
“Ah, but you can’t dear husband. She is in another realm, another reality, if you will. Just like I live my reality, you live yours. In your reality you have our daughter locked away in the dirty, dank dungeon. She learned through magic how to alter her reality to live happily even if you couldn’t.
“How can I change it? How can I get my daughter back into my life?” Asked the king.
“It won’t be easy, dear heart. You must humble yourself before my father, in the realm I live in, because he holds the keys to all the realities and all the realms in the universe. His name is Abba.”
“What must I do?”
“You must ask first for the curse to be lifted from William, the dragon boy. Then you must ask forgiveness from Abba for what you have done. You must also forgive yourself.
“Then you go to the dungeon and unlock the door and open your arms to your daughter. You also must free William, for William and Isabel are in love.
The king did all that was asked of him. With trepidation he entered the bowels of the castle and entered the dungeon. It was dark except for the torches that lit the pathways to the cells.
He stopped in front of the cell where Isabel lay on a bed of straw. Isabel heard a key enter into the lock that has left her cell shut for all these years.
The only thing that saved her from going mad with loneliness and grief was the magical reality that William created for her. For her she still laid on her comfortable bed but in the king’s reality he saw her in the way he had condemned her.
She almost didn’t hear him. “Isabel”
Isabel sat up and looked at her father. She saw tears in his eyes. She had grown into a young woman already. She was old enough to marry.
“Please forgive me Isabel. I blamed you from the day you were born for the death of your mother. You may not believe this, but she came to me several times to show me how you were not at fault for your mother’s death. You did not ask to be born. We brought you into this world with love. Then your mother died. I want you to know I understand now. My grief and anger was directed towards you.
“Please come out of the dungeon and take your rightful place as Princess.” Isabel just looked at her father in wonder. She couldn’t believe that her prayers were answered.
“Darling daughter, Abba, the Father of your mother and the universe has lifted the curse from William. He is now free to go.”
William changed from his dragon form for the last time. A bright light appeared before him and a tremulous voice came from the almost blinding light. “I am Abba. I am the Father of all things. I am known by many other names. William, you are free. You are no longer bound by the curse of the dragon. You are a mortal young man who will have an average lifespan of 80 years.
“You are free to express your love for Isabel if you wish. She is free also.
Soon after their release from the dungeon, Isabel and William were married. Many years passed. William and Isabel were had a child. They named him William II.
The king stepped down as king and asked Princess Isabel to become queen of the kingdom. The former king did one last thing. He passed his crown to William. Together, Isabel and William ruled the kingdom of Ur with much love.
The former king was happy to be a doting grandfather for the rest of his days.
Previously published on Bubblews