As the princess navigated the forest, she began to feel the strength bubble up inside of her. She began to get angry. Angry in a good way. The kind of anger that brings about action. She stopped for a minute and breathed in the air around her. It was a musty smell. She knew the dragons were near and for the first time in a long time she was not afraid. She could conquer them. Slowly she traveled looking behind the tree’s and under the rocks of the forest. She knew they were there. She imagined the dragons as paltry and unsightly creatures ready to attack at any moment. She knew that they had been created in her mind to be bigger, angrier and more threatening than they truly were. She had given them a power that they neither deserved nor had earned. The princess was a fighter and she was not inclined to give anything a power over her, except the dragons. The more that she played the moments in her head where the dragons had defeated her the more the anger bubbled up inside. The time was now. She was no longer going to be bound by their shackles. She was going to be set free and they did not stand a chance at the hand of the princess.
“Come out you beasts!” she yelled. There was deafening silence. Not even the sound of the wind. Nothing was moving. She called for them again “I know you are out there, show yourselves” her cry was returned with silence. It was black and stuffy. The darkness fell over her like a heavy blanket. She stopped to steady her breathe while waiting for the dragons to slip out from the rock or from behind the trees that they were using for cover. She felt all of her senses at full alert. She closed her eyes and calmed her body as she listened for the slightest sound. From somewhere afar, she could hear a slight crepitation and she knew they were close. The princess knew not to move. She had to control herself to bring them out from where they were hiding. She had to make them think that she was not prepared. She listened and felt the cold dark air float across her. She shuddered with momentary fear as she remembered the control that the dragon once had over her. She took a moment to relive the events of the past. The sense of helplessness, the cry for someone to rescue her, the silence on the other end of the plea for help. She could feel the cold hard blow to her head from the dragons weapon of choice. The Princess wanted to run, she wanted out of the forest and out of the memory, but she stayed right where she was. She kept a steady breath and allowed the memories to flood over her. The panic and the fear that she once felt had to be relived once more time. She was going to defeat this dragon once an for all. There was no room in her heart for the space that the dragon took up. Slowly she allowed the night from so long ago play in her head. All the while she was aware of the dragon creeping up on her. She would not move. This was her fight and she was going to stay in control. The violation and the burn of the dragons touch, the fight to get away. The final relenting just to let the moment pass. She knew in that moment that she was forever changed. She would never be the same because the dragon had stolen from her. He had stolen her innocence and her trust. This was the first introduction the princess had to survival. The walls began to go up and the hardness began to set in. She would forever be tainted never to be a person worthy of true love and happiness. The dragon had done this.
The princess dismissed that thought and went back to the night that forever scarred her. She took a moment to remember what she felt. She thought she was so invincible back then. Even then the dragon was devious, he pretended to be something he was not and when the princess caught a glimpse of his shady and dirty ways she showed her hand. She was quick to react, but the dragon was faster. Before the princess knew it, the dragon had her in his grasp. He taunted her and laughed at her. He had her exactly where he wanted her and he knew that she was too young and weak to defeat him, but that was then. She could feel the dragon coming closer, slowly, waiting to strike. He saw her as the weak young girl that she once was. “Steady and still. Don’t move until he is close. This is your turn” she thought to herself. She went back to that night. The dragon was physically strong and he was not afraid to show it. “Stop, you are hurting me” she had yelled out to him, but he just laughed at her with the most disgusting laugh. As she remembered it, her blood ran cold. “Keep remembering” she thought “You get to change the ending this time”. She could feel his presence, and soon she would feel his breath. When she did she would strike, but before he got to her, she had to first remember who he is. She could show no mercy.
As the memory continued, she could feel the fire on her face as if she was there in that moment. She could hear his instructions and demands on her. She could remember the feistiness that she had, she was going to get away. She would run as fast as she could, only when she tried he was there ready to do the damage. He grabbed her by her hair and threw her to the ground and made sure she knew that there was no way out. The dragon yanked her to his cave and had his way with her. He was so dirty, she could smell the sour breath and the saltiness of his sweat, she could feel him on her and all she wanted to do was run. “quit fighting or I will kill you” the dragon had said. The princess was not accustomed to taking orders, nor was she accustomed to such violence. This was not something she was prepared for. Eventually, she was so worn down from fighting that she had not choice but to give up, the battle had been lost. When the dragon was finished destroying the princess physically and emotionally he had locked her in his cave with the promise of more. The princess sat and cried sure that she was never going to see the light of day again. Darkness fell over her until the dragon returned and released her back into the world. He threatened to come back for her and that is when the princess first began to run. Tonight was going to end differently.
As she continued to relived the memory, she was aware of the dragons every move. The moment was near. She was so ready! She was not going to lose this time. There was too much to fight for. On the other end of this fight was happiness and a life that she had only dreamt of in the past. Closer, closer, he was so close that she could smell his breath, it was just as sour as she remembered it. She could smell that salty, dirty, pungent scent that oozed off of him. He was so close. The princess kept her breath slow and steady. She was barely breathing. Just then the dragon leapt into the air, the princess opened her eyes, drew her sword, swung around and barely missed. The dragon was angry. He was not going to let her go easily, but she was more angry. For the first time since the dragon showed her his ugliness, she felt she had something to fight for. She stepped back and was aware of what was around her. She bobbed in and out of the trees, keeping the dragon moving. He would leap to the left and then to the right in an attempt to catch her off guard and breathe out his fire when he thought he was close enough to burn her. The princess would move the other direction. She was alert and one step ahead of him. All of the training of her past was coming back to her like it was yesterday. She was spewing words of fire right back at the dragon, she was fueled and running on an adrenaline that was familiar but not common. The princess told the dragon how insignificant that he was and that he no longer had control over her. He winced at her words and hesitated for a moment. She took the opportunity to pierce the dragon in the heart. As she stood over him, staring him in the eyes, she knew that she had control of the dragon. As she pulled her sword out, she knew that the he hadn’t died, he would always live in the forest, but he was no longer in control of her. She had a choice. She could return to the forest whenever she wanted and visit the dragon or she could walk right out of the forest and never look back.
There were other dragons hiding in the forest, but she had just defeated the biggest one. It occurred to the princess as she was walking out of the forest headed towards her future that the other dragons were so insignificant. She was feeling pretty good right about now. The princess felt lighter than she had in years. She was walking from the dark into the light, she had fought a battle that she didn’t think she would ever choose to fight, and came out victorious. There was a slight spring to her step. She wanted to run, but this time she wasn’t running from her past, she was running to her future!