It seemed like ages that he rested beneath the old tree. His hours turned to days, weeks, perhaps even months or years. He no longer knew. It didn't really matter. He spent the time contemplating his past and how it held so tightly to his future. He tried to decide what he would do now. The fires had left the village. The dragon slept unnoticed, but for a few brief clouds of smoke as it rolled over from time to time. It remained in it's dreamlike state.
The princess now walked among the living. Though her innocence was long gone. In the back of her mind was always the reality that once again the dragon could awake and demand of her again. Her spirited youthfulness never returned.
No one faulted her for the changes. Though underneath no one could forget the evils she and the dragon had caused. The horrors when they flew together burning everything in their sight. The villagers couldn't forget that there was always the possibility that she knew what she did.. and enjoyed it. She was still the princess. It was her birthright no matter to her actions.
It was a hard road she was to travel. Loneliness was her constant companion. He stood by her side constantly reminding her of how she was different than all of the common people. That she could never be one of them. He would continually remind her that their suffering was because of her. She and her dragon had stolen it all and destroyed what they couldn't steal. With nowhere to go she was forced to be part of what she had destroyed. She lived with them closely, yet from a far distant place.
Often she came to the woods trying to speak to the trees and the powers of nature. But their silence only made her feel more desperately alone. She felt even they blamed her. She knew it wasn't all her fault. The dragon was wicked and ugly. Making her do all sorts of things she would have never thought to do. He told her they were bad people, and were trying to destroy her. That she should be the one to destroy them first. If only she had not listened. She silently cried invisible tears. She missed her life. She missed the way things had been and cursed herself for not listening and trying to heed the directions of her Knight. She had driven, even him away.
The knight watched her from a distance. No one paid him any attention. They couldn't see him any more than he could see himself. So he quietly watched it all from behind his cloak on nothing.
He felt bad for the princess. He knew with his own transformation he could not help anyone. He was in the void. Cursed by himself to feel, and be nothing. He had struggled with it for years now and was slowly making peace with himself. He had given up the "If only's". He was at peace with the fact he had done all he humanly could. He knew he could not have changed what the Fates had destined, no matter how hard he tried. They had written it down long before he was made into being.
He knew now that the princess would survive too. She had met her demons head on. He knew only she had the power to keep the dragon where he was, even if she didnít know herself.
The knight sat one day watching her as she toiled with her daily chores. Though she was a princess she chose to suffer her life as the villagers did. No matter, that it was harder for her then someone who had been raised in that sort of life. She had headstrong determination and knew that she could do it. He watched her drop her heavy arm full of logs as she struggled to ready for the coming winter. He was almost amused by her struggles and refusal to ask for proper help. All she would have had to do was ask. She had her pride that one. She just glared and stomped off when the children giggled at her from behind their fence. She was not going to give in and admit her weakness. She would rather struggle through simple everyday life.
Sometimes it amused him a bit when she acted that way. She got no sympathies from the children. He couldn't even count how many times she yelled back at them "What are you looking at? Have you nothing better to do?" Then watched them scamper off in various directions.
But deep in his heart he still felt sad for her. Such a beautiful young thing she was. She had no one now. There was no one, but Loneliness and herself. He knew Loneliness was no fun to be around. He knew it first hand. He had spent too much time with his sister Misery a few months back. Those two were quite a pair. It took him a long time to convince Misery he didn't want her around any more.
Once in a while he had seen her around the village visiting various people. She would look back over her shoulder toward where he was. He knew she would never be alone. She loved the company of men too much. He would just turn his head and she would she would dart off in some other direction and hang on the arm of some other unfortunate soul. Ah, sweet Misery, he shook his head with the memories of her.
Out of the corner of his eye he noticed her. Where is she going this time, he wondered. Oh no, he thought it couldnít be. He watched as she knocked on the Princesses door. "Send her away, send her away!" he said aloud. He willed the princess to hear him no matter to the distance. Of course she didn't, she couldn't, yet. Just before Misery entered the house they both seemed to look right at him.
"Damn it" he cursed Not both of them. It wasn't fair. The Princess already had her hands full with Loneliness the last thing she needed was his sister in her life. He knew he had to do something. He couldn't let those two torture her like that. It just wasn't fair. But what could he do? He was nothing he had no substance.
He nearly ran to the lake. Surely she would help him. The Lady had never failed him before.
The sudden stirring of the leaves alerted a nearby deer. Who stopped grazing for a moment and looked in the direction of the strange movement of wind. Curious it slowly followed the wind's movement towards the lake.
The Knight stopped just short of landing in the water. He searched out over the stillness of the lake. Will she come? He could only hope so. He stood there for what seemed like an eternity, waiting and contemplating what he could do. He finally settled on a familiar rock where he had sat many times in the years before. He knew he had to make himself be again, the Knight he once was. Surely, if she would hear him she would tell him how. The Lady had always been there for him before.
He closed his eyes for a few moments, as they grew tired of looking into the glare of the sun on the water. He was almost asleep when he heard something come up behind him. Startled he spun around and there stood a magnificent deer. She had dark blue eyes. He had never seen a deer with blue eyes before. She seemed to see him. But how? Nothing had reacted to him in ages.. Except for Misery that is. He looked back towards the water. With the glare behind her was The Lady. Even after all the times he had seen her he was still awed by her beauty. He stood there watching her, forgetting to speak.
She raised her hand and pointed toward the deer behind him. "Go with Patience dear Knight. For you now have the strength in yourself to seek your worth. She will take you to meet with Destiny. For only Destiny has the power to make the changes you seek. "
"How will I know Destiny?" He asked
"It is best you meet Destiny with Patience" his visionary spector told him. "Go Now Destiny awaits" she added. The knight turned to see the deer named Patience scratch her hoof against the ground and bow her head in acknowledgement of her task.
He turned once more to the lake and through the glare he could barely make out the mist that had once again taken away the vision that had been his advisor.
He turned toward Patience and followed her as she led them to the darkness of the forest.
Patience and The Knight walked for quite a while in silence. From time to time she would look back over her shoulder to make sure he was still following behind her.
"Do you need to rest?" The Knight looked up at her startled.
"Did you say something?" he asked the deer. He was rather unsure if it was his imagination playing tricks on him.
"Well, I guess in some way you might say that." The blue-eyed deer responded. The Knight was watching her closely now. He noticed that her mouth did not move yet he heard her.
"What enchantment is this?" He inquired
"Our thoughts are linked" she pawed at the ground stopping to look at him. "I am not what I appear any more than you are what you... don't appear." She seemed to choose her words or thoughts carefully.
"Then how do you know I am at all?" he quizzed back at her.
"I can sense you there. I smell you. Though you do not appear as a man, you still are of them. "Some thingís donít change", she snorted slightly almost as if the scent of him offended her in some way.
He thought for a moment he seen humor in her blue eyes.
"Do you need a rest?" She asked him again. "Something to eat perhaps?"
"Though I don't really need a rest I could use a bit of food." He looked around the area.
"Over there behind those bushes there is a berry bush. " She showed him with a slight motion with her head. "The berries are suitable for men," she added. "I will be just atop that hill when you are ready. The grasses are sweeter there"
He watched as she gracefully moved away from him and out into the meadow where she joined a few other deer that grazed there. He could no longer hear her soft voice but he could see her and the other's communicating amongst themselves. He couldn't help but wonder what they would be saying. He pondered asking her when he met up with her, what deer speak about when together.
He walked behind the bush she had told him of and sure enough there was a huge bush of black berries. How strange, he thought. He knew blackberries were long out of season this time of year.
It was good that there were plenty of them cause he hadn't realized how hungry he really was. They tasted even better than he remembered. He picked a couple handfuls and placed them on a fallen log. He went back another time. Adding them to his pile he sat down and ate.
Suddenly he started to feel tired. Strangely over powered by the feeling he tried to fight it. There was no time for sleep now. He had to get to Destiny. As he stood up his legs betrayed him and he fell to the ground.
A Date With Destiny
The Knight moved a bit taking a deep breath.. "Ah, awake from your little nap, are you?"
Slowly the Knight opened his eyes and squinted from the brightness before him.
"Where.. what.." he coughed a bit trying to speak.
"Ah, better to wait till the berries where completely worn off before trying to speak," came the old mans voice. The Knight squinted a bit more as he tried to sit up and look around.
Where is that voice coming from? Where am I? So many questions were filling his head as he tried to piece together the fuzzy thoughts of what he could remember.
Finally his eyes seemed to focus. He seemed to be in some sort of a cave. There was extremely bright light, but he couldn't see where it was coming from. Only a few feet away it was completely dark. He could see there were parchment strewn all over the place. Most of the pages seemed to have some sort of cryptic writing on them. Nothing he had ever seen before. He picked up one of the pages and started to examine it. " Well come over here and let me see you," came the voice. "Or not," it added.
The Knight placed the page back where he had found it. Again he scanned the room looking for the source of the voice. "Come on... Come on". The voice seemed like it held the impatience of an old man too he thought.
The Knight followed the voice as close as he could and waited for his eyes to once again adjust to the sudden darkness. He stepped out of his light. It went out, as if it had never been there in the first place. Now the room seemed to be lit only by torch and firelight. It indeed looked like a cave to him now, no longer the room with the scattered pages of parchment. He looked around confused.
"Don't be betrayed by the eyes, Knight" The Knight spun around in the direction of the voice. NothingÖ What is going on? he thought to himself.
"Show Yourself Old Man," he shouted growing annoyed
"Why do you only believe what you see? Have it your way." The room flashed in a quick burst of blue smoke and before him appeared a man. Not near as old as he first thought. Then he looked again and realized it was not a man at all. But half man half deer. As he blinked again he was only a man. "You seeing what you want to see?" the strange creature asked.
"I'm not sure what I see," The Knight answered rubbing his eyes.
"Well, decide on something will you so we can past this." The creature quipped. The Knight opened his eyes once again and it was indeed an old man as the voice had first suggested. He blinked a couple more times and the strange creature remained the old man. Satisfied the strange being stood before him.
"So what did you think of my Patience? Is she not an exquisite creature?" The old man asked. The Knight looked around his surroundings a bit more to get his grip on where he was. When he looked back it was a Buck with 15 points that stood boldly before him. The Knight forgot the question he was asked in shock of the oddness.
The buck let go a sigh and the creature spoke again. "Focus Ma,n Focus! And they wonder why I live in a cave" he mumbled before he again turned into an old man this time right before the eyes of the Knight
"What are you?" the awestruck Knight asked.
"I'm what ever you think me to be. I guess you would say I was a changeling of sorts. I am everything and I am nothing. But then again.. Youíre nothing..." He pointed toward the apparent shadow of the Knight. "At least I am something." The changeling said amused with himself for his joke about the Knights obvious deficiency.
"Anyway, I am Destiny" the being proclaimed "and I believe we had a date?" The being laughed again at his own joke quite pleased with his folly "date with destiny??" he paused waiting for a response from the Knight who didn't seem all that amused.
"I understood," The knight confessed not hiding his agitation with the creatureís amusement on his behalf. "That is what I am here about. This.. this.. Lack of me," he further explained.
"I see.. I see," said the little man who began pacing. He seemed for the time being to be holding his form. "So why did you come to me?"
"The Lady sent me"
"The Lady hmm?" He said stroking at his chin that suddenly started growing a beard.
"She said you were the only one who could help me," The Knight said.
"Help You.. Help youÖ" the man paced more, stroking his newly grown beard in apparent contemplation. "Hmmmm"
The Knight proceeded to tell him the story of the Princess and the Dragon. He told him of how he became downtrodden and he disappeared before his own eyes. Then told him of Loneliness and Misery and how they were after the Princess and had both worked their way into her life. He explained how she needed his help but being invisible he could help no one.
"Loneliness and Misery... ahhhh, why didnít you just say so.. I have had my dealings with that Lone Wolf of a father and wretch of a mother of theirs. I can only imagine what those two turned out like." He paused for a few moments muttering to himself. "First you must help me" he said matter of fact-ly.
"Help you do what?" The Knight asked. "I need you to get something for me. Yes, that's it.. Mhmm."
"I will get you what ever you need" The Knight offered. It was not as though he had much of a choice if he wanted this weird little manís help.
"Down in the Valley of the Dreams there is a house near the swamp it belongs to Ogre Dark" he paused for a moment thinking again. "I need a jar from his shelf"
"A single Jar?" The Knight questioned. It sounded easy enough. "What is in the jar and how will I know it?" He thought that it sounded way too simple.
"It is a jar of.. Hmmm.. You would call it changeling magic I suppose" he tried to explain. There is nothing else like it so you will recognize it easily enough"
"I will get you your jar," The Knight declared aloud.
"Good Good. Take Patience with you. She will show you the way there. And be careful with the jar Knight. Magic is dangerous in the hands of humans" The changeling vanished and was once again just a voice. "I will get with my sister Fate and see if we can design a new path for your life while you are gone."
Before the Knight a great door, he hadn't noticed before, opened up into the light of day. Standing outside the door was the same Blue-eyed Deer that had brought him here. She was ready again to lead the way for the Knight.
The Changeling Jar
"So tell me about this Ogre Dark" The knight was growing used to the deer and was walking beside her.
"He is a big, mean, ugly Ogre that smells bad. What more do you need to know?" She replied.
"Well, I was hoping a wee bit more than that"
"Basically all I know is one day he came to the cave, stole the jar and left," She told him.
"Didn't the old man try to get it back?"
"Old Man? Oh, you mean Destiny.. No a changeling like him cannot leave his cave" She explained. "As a cave changeling he has to remain there until his job is done. And as Destiny is till the end of time, so is his time in the Cave. He will be there till man is no more"
"What is his job if you don't mind me asking?" The Knight asked
"He designs the future with his sister Fate of course. You sure do ask a lot of questions," the deer responded
"Why didn't I meet Fate?" The Knight asked even though he knew he was pushing his luck.
"Fate is out in the world taking notes. When a person is born Fate steps in takes notes on his or her circle of life and then Destiny and her choose a future designed for them. Pretty simple actually. Can we just walk quietly for a while? All this talk is a bit much for me"
The Knight obliged her with silence as he considered all the things he had seen and heard in the past day. They walked together with only the sounds of nature surrounding them for about an hour.
"There it is" Patience nodded in the direction of a tall, yet small shack at the bottom of the hill they were standing on. "This is the perfect time he is probably out doing his daily chores." She sniffed at the air testing for his scent and seemed not to acknowledge it if she did sense him near.
The Knight had never really thought of an ogre having chores to do. But in some ways he guessed that everything had something of some sort to attend to. "You stay here," he told Patience giving her neck a quick scratch as he started heading down the hill toward the house.
Patience watched the grass part as he made his move down the hill. She was excited about him retrieving the changeling jar. She smiled in her heart knowing he could make the difference.
The Knight moved down the hill. He watched for the Ogre but saw no sign of him anywhere. Maybe this was going to be easier than he thought. He opened the door to the little shack slowly. He peeked in and still didn't see any sign of the Ogre. He moved in quickly so not to attract any attention in case he was somewhere nearby.
RRRROOOOOOW!!!!!! A cat stood up arched its back and hissed and spat in his direction. Damn it! He nearly said out loud. Didn't plan a cat. He was a bit amused at his being taken back by a silly house cat. He walked past the cat. It did a little jumping dance as he passed in order to stay looking with warning in his direction.
He took a deep breath and walked into what appeared to be some sort of a pantry. There were all sorts of jars. Big ones, small ones, funny shaped ones colorful ones. Which one was it? He tried to think hard for some sort of clue that Destiny or Patience might have given him. He couldn't think of anything either of them said that might have given him a clue.
Then he saw it. Like a purple spinning cloud suddenly lighting up as if to make itself glow and stand out for him to see. He grabbed a sack that was sitting on the shelf and put the jar inside and headed back out toward the door. One step out of the pantry and the cat began spitting and hissing at him again.
"What is it Cat?" The Knight froze in his step. He didn't hear anyone come in. Could someone have been here the whole time? He peeked out around the pantry entry way. It was a young ogre child. He thought it was a female but wasnít sure. It was hard to tell with ogres. The Knight was definitely glad he was invisible. He watched for a moment as the child picked up the cat and stroked it trying to sooth it into relaxing. The cat looked so tiny in the youthís hands. He stood back against the wall on the other side of the rooms entrance trying to decide what to do.
"You going to bring me those arrows or not?" came a deeper larger voice. The Knight swallowed deeply looking for something he could use, for a weapon. It now seemed this was not going to be so simple, as he had originally feared. He heard the youth sigh in frustration and drop the cat to the floor. Once on the floor the cat took up its former stance facing him. Damn that cat he thought to himself.
"Coming Father" the youth called back. The Knight again peered out from behind the wall and watched as the young Ogre grabbed up his fatherís arrows from the corner and headed towards the door.
"Hurry up or itís going to get away" He heard the grown Ogre say in as hushed a tone as an ogre can make.
Suddenly it dawned on him what the Ogre was worrying about getting away. He had to get out and warn Patience off. He decided to make a break for it. After all he was invisible. He tried to think to her as hard as possible hoping maybe she could read his thoughtís as he could read hers. He took a deep breath. Grabbed a good hold on the bag and crept out slowly at first. Seeing the Ogres had left the house he was out as fast as he could go without tripping and falling over the, still agitated, cat.
He reached the door he as the arrow was about to leave the bow toward the hillside. "NOOOOOOO!!!! He yelled out. Running toward the huge beast of an ogre, he landed square on its back just as the arrow released. It was like slow motion as he watched the arrow fly through the air towards itís now alerted target. The Ogre swung around trying to dislodge whatever sort of shadow creature had attached itself to him in such a manner. First one way and then another. Finally dislodging the Knight who flew several feet before landing on the ground.
The Knight lost track of the arrow. He thought he seen Patience run back into the woods toward the cave. Maybe he succeeded after all. But now he had to think of himself. He had an angry Ogre to contend with here. He jumped from the spot the Orge had flung him. The Ogre looked from side to side and around looking for this screaming creature that had been bold enough to try and attach itself to his on his back.
He lunged at the movement of a shadow that he could see but he was slow with his size. The Knight was much faster than he was. He grabbed up his sack and made a run for the hill. The Ogre chased after him for a few steps and quickly gave up the task, perplexed at the sack that seemed to be floating off in a strange fashion towards the hill.
The Knight kept running till he reached the top of the hill where he dashed behind a huge tree that was big enough to hide behind. He seemed to forget that he couldn't be seen. He stood there catching his breath for a moment when he noticed blood on the ground beside the tree where he stood. Patience!
He looked around where he stood and didn't see her. He heard the Ogre and his child coming his direction caring a long stick and some rope. Obviously they were going to look for what they thought would be their next meal.
The Knight was beside himself. His thoughts were racing. He headed back through the trees following the same direction that they had come in just a short time ago. He hoped she had stuck to the same path back toward the cave. He looked in all directions looking for clues to where she had run. There was more blood on the path.. Iím still going in the right direction. He continued on his path, traveling quickly. He knew her time was growing short. What is that.. ahead on the path? Is it her? He couldn't quite tell. Yes, it is.
He ran as fast as he could to her side where she had fallen. She was alive but barely. He could hear the Ogres as they started coming through the woods towards his location. He looked at the large deer on the ground before him. Deciding to give it a try. He took a couple really deep breaths and tried to pick her up. She was much lighter than he had anticipated by looking at her. He put her up over his shoulders almost in a super human way. She was trying to tell him something but he couldn't understand her. Her thoughtís were confused and fading as if she was loosing the ability to think.
"Quiet. Patience, we will be back to the cave soon. Save your strength." He pleaded to her. He could feel a tear in his eye. "Just hold on."
"Put me down Knight." She said in a very commanding way for someone in her condition. "Put me down now." He stopped at her commanding tone.
"Please Patience.. Just hold on."
"Knight put me down. You don't understand." Unwillingly he lowered her as gently as he could to the ground. The weight of her body still sounded like a thud to his ears, echoing all the way to his soul.
"What Patience? What don't I understand?"
"In your sack" she gasped to him. She panted struggling for air. "Open the jar!" Her thoughts were getting more labored and clouded. "It can save me," she said weakly.
He took the jar from he sack. He knew it was the only thing that was between him and the Princess but he also knew it was all that was between Patience and Death. He barely hesitated. He pulled at the cork that was in the jar. Fighting to get it undone. He felt it start to give way.
As it let go a flash of blue light and smoke filled his eyes and nose. When he looked down Patience and the jar were gone. In his head he heard her words. "Thank-you."
The Knight looked a bit bewildered staring for a moment in the direction of where she had laid. Now there was but a slight imprint in the leaves to show that anything had even been there.
He was forced back to reality of the moment as he heard the heavy footsteps of the Ogres coming his direction. He picked up the now empty sack and ran toward where he believed the cave was. "This should be it," he breathed heavily. He looked for the door but couldn't find it. He pounded his fists on the rocks where the door should have been. But it was nothing but rock. It was just hard solid rock.
He leaned back heavily with his back upon the rocks. He tilted his head back head, exasperated toward the sky. "What have I done?" He muttered under his breath. He closed his eyes and gnashed his teeth. "Rrrrrrrr! WHAT HAVE I DONE?" He yelled out not caring if the Ogres heard him or not.
"You have set me free of my bonds of shape." came a familiar voice.
The Knight opened his eyes and looked forward and before him was the most brilliant emerald light. In the center of the light was a woman. Her face was soft in features. Her long wavy tresses of auburn framed her perfect face. She hovered slightly above the ground for a moment before the brightness faded into a dress of rich emerald. It was decorated with the leaves and flowers of the forest. She settled before him and took full form. Her large dark blue eyes were like sapphires sparkling in the sun.
"Patience?" He asked.
"Yes, it is I, as you see me" She stated.
"You are a changeling too?" he puzzled.
"Yes, I too, am a changeling. You have set me free of the confines of the shell. I am once again free to be who I was meant to be," she told him with a tear in her eye. But her smile told him it was a tear of happiness rather than sadness. "Thank-You. You are truly a great knight." She smiled at him. "Now I may face my Destiny as I have wanted for so long. "
"And I mine" He looked down. Again he started to feel defeated as he looked to where should have been the view of his hands.
Patience reached over and lifted his chin. "Do you not see who you are?" she said shaking her head at his own eyes deceptions.
He looked her in the eyes "No, I do not"
"You should see you as I see you. Not from without but from within where your true being is. You must see the good in you." Patience looked at him as he shook his head from side to side. "Walk with me a while?" She said to him softly.
There was no way he would ever say no to such a being as her. Destiny was right she was exquisite in every way.
They continued through the woods. Not speaking but enjoying the time together. Patience smiled and waved to her deer friends as they passed the meadow where she earlier had grazed with them. They lifted their heads and snorted in seeing her.
"Will you miss being with them?" the Knight asked
"No.. I am always with them.. and they are with me. They are part of who I am. Just as you are now a part of me, and I of you. Each and every wonderful and bad part of life is what makes me who I am... and who you are..."
He listened trying to comprehend her riddles.
They stopped walking at the same place they had met. Almost immediately the mist began to form over the Lake. He watched in wonderment as The Lady and Patience greeted one another. Touching only the palms of their hands it looked almost as if they were looking into a mirror. He realized they were kin in some way. Sisters perhaps. Bound by nature.
"You indeed sent me a true Knight. He has saved me and returned me to my Destiny," Patience told the misty form of The Lady. " We must help him." The Lady nodded once deeply in agreement.
"Knight, kneel before the water. Cast your eyes into the water and tell me what you see." Patience directed. The Knight did as he was told. He knelt down and gazed into the water. "What do you see?" Patience asked.
"Nothing but water" He replied. The Lady reached down and swirled the water beneath his face then stilled it.
"And Now?" She asked again.
He looked again. "I see The Lady and you."
"Would you see me, if you had not seen you" She inquired. He looked at her puzzled. "Look again deeper and see." He looked again. This time he saw the Princess fighting with her chores scolding the neighborhood children.
"Would she have that strength had it not been for seeing your endurance?" He looked deeper still. "See the cave without smoke. Would she have been able to stay the dragon had it not been for seeing your love and unconditional caring?" He thought some more. "And would I be here now, if you didn't care enough to sacrifice your very dreams and life for me."
He still was a bit unsure. "Now look again.. from my eyes.. and see who I see." He once again looked into the water and he seen a gallant knight upon a white steed. "Do you see yourself now.. as you are viewed by others"?
He looked at her for a moment and looked back to the water. As he had lost himself so long ago, he was now seeing his true-self return. He looked down at his hands and they appeared slowly before his eyes. He had again found his true self. He could now see once again who he was.
"Those are the hands and arms that held the Princess when no one else could. That is the face the Dragon saw before he was put to rest in his in the cave. The strength of those hands lifted me up when I was nearly gone to give me back the life I had almost left behind. ... See yourself now, as others see you. Your love is your Grail oh Brave Knight. You areÖ The White Knight"
The Knight looked up from the water. He seen there was no longer anyone there beside him. But he smiled. He saw the reflection of who he was in the minds and hearts of all those he rescued over the years. He could now, once again, see himself for who he really truly was. And could once again return to being who he had always been. He was again, A Knight in Shining Armor.