The 4th Paladin Chapter 4

The 4th Paladin Chapter 4

A Chapter by Maria Mercurio

Two girls, one from the present, one from the past, are chosen to fight against a demon invasion.


Chapter 4

The Sorek Valley

1100 BC



     I awoke to the unfamiliar sensation of being held.  It was hard to pull my mind away from sleep.  I was groggy and opened my eyes with great difficulty.  It was then that I stopped breathing completely.  He was holding me.  Large arms wrapped around me and my head was pressed against his bare chest.  We were both lying down.  Remembering his earlier state of undress, I flushed hotly and struggled to get free of his massive arms.  He increased the pressure of his grip and I failed to separate us.

     "Ah Delilah."  His voice was deep and rich.  "You have come back to me."  He sat up taking me with him until I was sitting in his lap.  A quick glance down showed me he wore coverings.  This lessened my panic enough to cease my flailing and take stock of the situation. 

     We were in my small room.  It felt even smaller with this giant man in it.  We were on my pallet, or rather part of him was.  The small cot was not large enough to accommodate his bulk.  We were alone.  "Let go of me."  I demanded.

     He looked at me with those stormy blue eyes.  "Shhhhh," he crooned soothingly as he stroked a hand over my hair and patted my back. 

     This had the opposite of his desired effect.  It made me stiffen and fight to pull away again.  I was not going to be treated like some frightened child!  I stumbled out of his lap and hit the packed dirt floor hard.  An intense burning pain seared through me.  I arched my back convulsing and started to see spots darkening my vision.  He grabbed me and drew me to him and the anguish ended abruptly.  I slumped against him lifeless and limp.  "What is happening to me?"

     "All will be well.  You must calm yourself."  He shifted away from me slightly so he could see my face, yet he still held me.  His heated skin pressed against mine.  Oddly, I felt stronger for it.  "I am sorry Delilah for the pain I caused you.  When I left my domain I needed to take a form to exist in yours.  There is a bond between us.  Part of you was needed to make me, and part of me was left in you."

     Part of him is inside of me?  I stared in confusion.  He was clearly a divine being.  His size alone would mark him as different, but it was his appearance that assured me he was not a mere mortal.  I have never seen any man that looked the way he did.  He had perfect features, glowing golden skin, light honey colored hair that looked so soft and large expressive eyes.  Where I was like everyone else.  I was drab and dull.  I had hair the color of dirt and eyes to match.  How could any part of him be in me? 

     "Why did it hurt just now?"  I stammered feeling truly fearful of the pain.

     "You are feeling the loss of the part of you that resides in me.  The bond is still new.  With some time the pain will lesson considerably, but there will always be the feeling of the loss.  We will always need to be fairly close.  You are my anchor."

     "Always?"  The word fell from my mouth is disbelief.  "When you defeat this evil will you not return to where you came?"

     "I can not undo what has been done.  I can never return.  That was my sacrifice."  He stared at me as if he had explained everything so clearly.

     "I do not understand.  You never said . . ." I stammered not able to formulate a clear thought. 

     "I told you I required a life, not a few months, but a lifetime.  Your life is with me now."  He spoke softly.  I think he was trying to lessen the blow.  It mattered little.  I was angry that this man had trapped me.  I was so proud of my status as the Oracle.  It meant I had freedom.  It meant I would never been owned by any man.

     "You tricked me!"  I hissed with gritted teeth.  "You lied."

     "I have never lied to you Delilah."  He shook his head saddened by my reaction.

     "Then you did not state the truth clearly in order to suit your purposes."  I wanted to run from him, but I lacked the strength to endure the pain.  "Can this bond be broken between us?"

     He looked at my gravely.  "The bond can only be broken by death.  If you die, I will die as well.  You are my only true weakness Delilah, but for both our sakes it is a secret you should never tell."

     "I am a weakness indeed if I can not be apart from you."  I glared at him darkly.  "Why must I bear this pain and not you?"

     "I feel the pain as you do."  Samson answered in all seriousness. 

     I stared at him in horror.  "How will you defeat this great evil then?  We will be hopeless.  I have made this sacrifice for nothing!"

     "I will defeat it with you by my side."  He shrugged as if it was clear.  "The pain will lessen.  We will both learn to endure separation when needed.  Until then, I will fight with you."

     "But I will surely die!"  I shouted.  How could he not see this plan was madness?

     He gave me a knowing smile.  "You are stronger now than you think.  A part of me is in you.  You will not be easy to kill."

     I never thought I was weak, but I was not a warrior.  He was insane.  I have been listening to the advice of an insane deity.  I felt heart sick.  We would all die.  I was beyond sad as my last hope flickered out.

     He frowned seeing despair settle over me.  "I think a demonstration is in order."  He stood yanking me to my feet. 

          Standing, I discovered that he was not so very large.  I did not have to crane my neck very far up to see him as I thought that I would have.  I remembered seeing him before the world went black and he had towered over the other men.  Maybe the pain had played tricks with my mind. 

     He kept a tight hold on my hand and forced me to take a few steps.  My legs felt awkward and gangly.  I looked down at them confused.  I was shocked to realize that something had happened to my clothes.  I was still dressed in my halug, but the tunic was torn and barely covered me.  “I cannot go outside like this!” I shrieked covering my exposed flesh with my one free hand.

     “I am not sure you will have anything that will fit you.  We will need to get you new things.” He was looking me up and down and I blushed hotly.  Divine or not, no man had seen me so little dressed.

     “I have another halug and shawl in my chest.”  I pointed to the small unadorned wood crate in the corner of my room.  I tugged him slightly, so I could reach my possessions.  He walked with me willingly, and I was grateful.  To think he would lead me outside dressed in fewer clothes than a prostitute would wear!  He was insane AND dim witted!  I grabbed the tunic and stopped not sure how to put in on.  To my extreme embarrassment he started to help me get undressed.  “Stop that!”  I yelled batting away his hand.

     He tilted his head.  “Do you wish to keep them on now?”

     “No, I just do not require your aid in undressing.  Turn around.”  I ordered tersely.

     He smiled as if I was being foolish, but complied with my wishes.  It took a long time to remove my shredded garments and I had to release my hand from his twice.  Each time my knees buckled as the pain laced through me.  He steadied me by letting me lean on his arm.  To his credit, he kept his head turned away.

     “What do I call you?”  I asked, realizing I had never thought of him as having a name.

     “Samson.”  He said in his melodious voice.

     “Samson.”  I repeated, testing out the sound.

     My clothes did not fit.  At first I thought that I must not have put them on properly, but it was clear my tunic came only below my knees, when it used to sweep the floor when I walked.  I vaguely remembered the feeling of my body breaking and stretching when he came here.  “You made me a giant!”  I squeaked.

     His laughter sounded like pealing bells.  “You are hardly a giant.”

     I looked at my new body in dismay.  I would be as tall as our biggest warrior.  I was an aberration.  I took my long shawl, that would normally cover my hair and shoulders, and wrapped it below my waist in an attempt to properly cover my legs.  To my dismay my ankles still showed.  “I cannot go out.”

     “We will need to.  The evil does not care about your dress.”  Samson did not give me a chance at a rebuttal.  He jerked me out of my room and into the narrow streets. 

    The sun was about to set.  It appeared I had slept for most of the day.  I wish I felt rested and ready, instead, I wanted to dive back into my little room, preferably alone, and sleep until this nightmare was over.  The streets were blessedly deserted.    Most of the people, fearful of the approaching dark, would be huddled in their homes praying they would make it through the night.

     “We will start with the fields.  That will be easiest.”  Samson spoke with confidence.  His long strides had me stumbling to keep up.  I wobbled like a newborn foal on my new long legs.  My toes hung over my leather sandals, and the laces were near to fraying from the pull of my larger feet.  I would have toppled over several times if Samson had not held me so tightly.

     "You cannot imagine I will be of much use to you!  I can barely walk let alone run if something comes after me."  I complained in the loudest whisper I could muster.

     Samson frowned down at me.  "It is true we will not be of much use to the people until you are more sure of your body.  Tonight I will not need to fight to save the fields.  You just need to stand next to me.  I will keep you from harm."  He continued on with his hurried pace.

     As the sun dipped behind the horizon, we reached the first field.  I wondered if my eyes had been damaged during my transformation, because I could not understand what I saw.

     Samson spoke no louder then a sigh.  "You see them?"

     My eyes grew wide.  I was not imagining this?  "They are real?"

     "As real as you or I."  He was grave as he surveyed what was before him.

     The field was besieged with black beasts that looked like rodents bred with foxes.  They had red glowing beady eyes and high pointed tuft ears.  They moved as if boneless, slithering like snakes with long bushy barbed tails swaying behind them.  They did not devour the crops, but sucked the very life from the plants instead.  Leaving behind a sickly slime like residue that birthed maggots and weevils as they passed.  The sight turned my stomach sour and had my skin crawling.

     "Why do the farmers not try to kill them?"  I asked.

     "They cannot see what you can now.  To them it is a mystery when they wake to find their field spoiled." 

     Yes, this was the truth.  I had heard the farmers lament to the elders about this very thing.  A healthy field one day and rotten the next.  "What can you do?"

     "I will need to use both my hands.  Stand behind me and place your hands on my back.  Do not separate from me no matter what you see.  If you break our connection I will not be able to cleanse the fields.  Do you understand?"  He placed his free hand on my chin to raise it.  While he spoke to me his thumb continuously stroked the line of my jaw.  It was unnerving and unsettling.

     "I am not a simpleton."  I jerked free of his touch.  "You do not have my permission to be so familiar."

     That earned me another of his knowing smiles.  "Who could be more familiar to you than me?  We are made from each other."

     "Just do what you came here for."  I scowled. 

     I hesitated only briefly before I placed my hands, one at a time, on his bare back.  He was so warm it felt like standing before a hearth.  His skin was smooth like polished marble.  Without even thinking, I ran my hand down to the small of his back marveling that skin could be so soft.  I was used to skin feeling like wrinkled leather dried from too much sun.  I heard Samson chuckle and realized my actions.  Mortified, I snatched away my hands, only to quickly return them when the sharp burn pierced me.  The muscles in Samson's back tensed and flexed as he felt the pain.  I understood then that he was being truthful.  We both shared this agony.

     "Delilah," he berated me.  "I thought you understood NOT to remove your hands."

     "Sorry."  I felt truly chastened.  It was an unfamiliar feeling.  I blushed and was grateful I stood behind him, so he could not see my face.

    "Very well.  Just do not let it happen again."  He sounded slightly amused. 

     I bristled at hearing his tone, but kept hold of my tongue.  We were here for a reason, and at least I had a sense of urgency.  I took a deep breath to steady my resolve, and placed my hands in a comfortable position, so they would not tire if we needed to stay in place for long. 

     Samson nodded to signal he was about to begin.  He raised up both palms to the sky as if in supplication.  Tiny blue flames sprang from his hands and licked at his fingers.  It startled me, but I did not remove my hands.  The thought of another rebuke kept me in place.

     The flames grew.  They circled around his wrists, moved down his forearms and dripped from his elbows.  The fire splattered onto the ground and behaved like no fire.  It scampered and leapt like a creature with its own mind.  The first spark jumped from stalks of wheat until it reached its' target. The creature had completely ignored the flame until that first spark hit.  With a blinding flash the fox like rodent burst into flames.  I could hear its screeching as the fire reduced it to cinders.  That brought the attention of the creatures to us.  Their red beady eyes looked up and over to where we stood.  Samson was making more and more fire fall from his fingers, and I held my breath wondering if they would attack.  The creatures were slow to respond.  They were either dull of wit or they did not understand that death was coming for them.  Spark after spark ignited, and the creature's wails were loud and piercing.  After what must have been twenty or so deaths, the others started backing away and trying to flee from the approaching flames.  They slithered and hopped but not nearly fast enough.  The flames outpaced them, burning the rotten crops and bugs along with their little bodies.  When the last flame left his fingers, Samson lowered his hands.   Only a small part of the field was left standing.  I noticed that it still looked healthy and hale, and I wondered at his control that he managed to destroy only the infestation. 

     He reached behind and grabbed my hand, pulling me beside him.  "Come, we have many more fields to tend before the sun rises."  I nodded mutely and followed where he pulled.  I considered offering praise, for what I had seen was astonishing, but could not formulate the words to speak. 




     It was nearly dawn when Samson approached the last field surrounding our city.  We had walked father then I ever had in my lifetime in this one night.  Only four fields had been free from infestation out of sixty.  When Samson finished a field the soil smelled rich and fertile and the stink of decay and rot were burned away with the flames, but I worried if there would be enough time left of spring to plant new crops.

     If I had wobbled on untried legs before, I could barely stand now from exhaustion.  Even Samson looked weary as I took my place behind him.  Watching the flames was no less miraculous to me the last time as it was the first.  There was a grim satisfaction in watching those seeking sparks hit their marks.  I enjoyed seeing the evil creatures try to flee as the flames raced and caught them.  I still winced at hearing their high pitched screams, but felt it was no less then they deserved.  This last field was better off than most. Almost half of it was able to be spared.

     When Samson dropped his arms, his shoulders slumped too.  I wondered what it must be like to have so much power coursing through you, and how much it must have drained him.  When the sun crested the sky all I wanted to do was sleep.  I kept closing my eyes as we walked away, barely able to place one foot before the other.  Before I knew what was happening, I was being carried in Sampson's arms.  It was a true mark of how tired I was that I did not protest.  I laid my head on his chest and fell into blissful oblivion.       

© 2013 Maria Mercurio

Author's Note

Maria Mercurio
My chapters rotate from present to past

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I really liked it and can't wait until the next chapter. The only thing I saw was that you mention the name Samson before she actually asks him his name.

"Samson answered in all seriousness."

Posted 6 Years Ago

Maria Mercurio

6 Years Ago

OH! Thanks for the catch!

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Added on March 5, 2013
Last Updated on April 24, 2013
Tags: young adult, paranormal, angel, demon