The Lake Guardian


Skip’s heart beat fast as he contemplated all 22 years of his life. He had lived a happy life with his beloved, close knit family; a family he could not find the strength to say goodbye to and though he was terrified of losing his life at such a young age, he would much rather give up his life than watch a single one of his family members slain.

Skip was prepared to die for his family, including the woman that he adored, Della. He had known Della since they were babies and he had looked forward to the day he would be forever bonded to her as her mate. It had been such an honor for Della, one of the last remaining Nereid females, to chose him as her mate despite the fact that they had not conceived a female child yet to seal their bond.

On what would undoubtedly be his final night alive, he and his father used every bit of magic they had to protect the females of their family; Della included. Della wept as she lovingly caressed her mate’s face. “You- you shouldn’t have to die, Skip. Just… just give into whatever they say. Please, Skip- I- I adore you and I want to spend the rest of eternity with you. Please- please do not be foolish. Surrender,”

Skip shook his head. “These monsters do not care about such things. They’re bloodthirsty and vile with no empathy at all,”

Della shook her head and kissed her mate passionately before stating, “They will ask you to renounce your religion. They will ask you to profess that the one true goddess is the goddess of Enlightenment. You don’t have to mean it but…”

“There is no way I would renounce worship of the one true Goddess. Gaia is and shall always be the only Goddess this household worships. She- she will save us, Della, but even if She doesn’t- we are assured of a happily ever after in the Oceans Beyond,”


“My love, go hide. Let my father and I take care of it and if they find you- fight- Della. Do not go down without a fight. Fight for the Goddess! Fight for your right to profess the One True Religion,”

Della hesitated but soon joined Skip’s mother, Sedna, and his sister, Azure in their hiding place. Skip observed their hiding spot with his heart thundering faster and stronger than the turbulent waters of the lake near their home.

“Skip,” his father called out to him in a stoic voice. Skip looked up and observed his father frightened. His father, being Part Ice Pixie was usually the comedian of the family but the smile that spread so easily across his face on every opportunity he got was gone and replaced by a grim look. Seeing his father like that scared Skip more as he moved towards the living room.

The memories of his childhood flooded his mind and made Skip feel nostalgic. Fiernon had not always been the way it was but lately, it appeared that the forces of darkness had taken over and religious freedom was nothing but a dream.

The front door shook violently- the first sign that the forces of darkness had caught up to Skip’s family. His father turned to face him with a reassuring, firm look, ready to fight for his home and his family.

Skip prepared himself for the battle of his life but for the first time since he and his family had received the news that the elite task-force that had been silently hunting down and executing anyone that did not profess the religion of the Goddess of Enlightenment, he suddenly felt hopeful.

The door burst cleanly off its hinges and flew across the room, reduced to splinters and ash. The protective wards they had placed all over their house had only held up for so long as Skip and his father Zale, had anticipated. The line of salt on the door held back the pursuants a few seconds longer but even that did not prevent the inevitable.

The elite force filled up the room with wicked smirks spread across their faces. Their uniforms bore dark runes and mystic symbols of the Entity.

“Zale son of Kona, where is the family Matriach this evening?” asked their leader.

Skip bravely observed the wicked faces of the elite force each in turn memorizing them for all time. When he settled on the last face, he was suddenly stunned. For some strange reason, observing the woman made his heart race but for an entirely different reason other than fear. The longer he looked at her, the braver and more hopeful he felt.

“She is long gone from this home and country. It is clear that we are no longer welcome here, after all,”

“You are a terrible liar, Zale. We sense her presence here as well as that of your daughter. We shall make this easy for you. You have been accused of worshiping a false goddess whose time and place in this world is long gone. Renounce and repent to the Goddess of Enlightenment and she may grant you mercy. Persist in your foolish, unwise ways and you shall perish a most slow and agonizing death,” the leader spoke threateningly.

“I shall never waver from exercising my faith of the One True Goddess, Gaia,”

“You sound so brave now but I believe observing your family’s suffering shall soften your resolve,” the leader spoke nodding to two elite officers to bring out Skip’s mom and sister. Skip resisted them as did his father but it was futile and soon Sedna and Azure were brought out just as Della was.

The officers forced the women down on their knees and restrained both Skip and Zale while they took turns torturing them.

“Is Gaia worth their pain and suffering?” the leader asked them sardonically.

Zale shut his eyes but the elite officers violently shook him, forcing them open so that he could witness their depraved acts of torture.

“You can end their suffering, son of Kona. You too, Skip. You can end your mother’s, sister’s and mate’s pain,” the leader stated.

“Please- please Skip,” begged Della.

“Stop it! Torture me instead- let them go,” Skip begged the leader.

“You know how to stop it- both of you do- just renounce your religion and accept the goddess of Enlightenment now,”

Both Skip and Zale held onto their resolve and Skip endured twice the labor witnessing his father breaking as a result of his mother’s and sister’s torture. Della’s screams would haunt his dreams forever but Skip held on, constantly turning to observe the female elite officer that made his heart beat with hope (who had been the only one not to lay a single finger on his family). She showed no emotion that would cause him to believe that she was on his side but for some reason, Skip felt safe with her in the room.

His family’s suffering seemed to have no end in sight and it became apparent that his mate, mother and sister would die right before his and his father’s eyes. He considered turning over to the darkness- anything to make the torture stop. He opened up his mouth to say that he would renounce his faith- he couldn’t take it anymore.

However, it appeared that the night had one last nasty surprise in store for him. Della’s torture was abruptly ended and she stood up, badly disfigured face and all and weakly slapped Skip’s face.

“You coward! How dare you claim to love me when you would so happily watch me die! Look at your beloved mother and sister! They are hardly recognizable after all the torture they have endured and all for what? You really would have us killed so you can continue worshiping an unworthy, obscure Goddess! Where is she now? Your precious Gaia remains invisible while your father loses his mind and your family is destroyed!”


“You stupid moron! I gave you the solution from the very beginning- all you had to do was renounce your religion! Your mother and sister and even me, the one you claim to be the love of your life would have been saved from this agony! Would you have them die before you gain the courage to do it? Then choose- Skip.Who would you rather died first? Mommy dearest or your beloved sister?”

“What- what are you talking about? These beasts- how can you speak for them?”

“My eyes were opened long ago, Skip. I profess the true religion of the Enlightenment,”

Skip gasped, trembling as he made the sudden realization at the same time he spoke it, “You tipped them off.”

“I have a Sacred duty. I wished to save my love and his family from their false religion. I still want to save you, Skip but only if you let me,”

“Della- how could you? How could you do this to us? We treated you like our own daughter. We opened up our home and our hearts to you and all along-” Zale snapped and shook his head several times.

“Father-” Skip stated.

“I will avenge them- you will all suffer my wrath,” Zale vowed.

“No father- please- this is exactly what they want. Do not give in-“

“My- My beloved wife, my precious daughter, look at thy beloved faces, so disfigured by torture. My son’s heart has been corrupted by- by a monster- I- I shall not let this go by- I shall- shall-” Zale continued to murmur.

Skip felt all the despair he had well up in him. He shut his eyes and felt something arise in him- a power that had once lain dormant waiting for him to reach it. He saw the vision of an Ancient Lake- a Lake that had appeared to him several times while he dreamed; a lake with still dark waters that consoled his ailing soul. He felt a special connection with the Lake in that moment and called out to it for its intervention in desperation.



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