The next day was a blur. Samantha liked her new toy. She named it Tyler, probably after her mother, although she didn’t know that.
Since there were no Ward breaches, I spent the day taking care of Samantha and preparing for any potential breaches. The next day, however, I got a call from Dampe.
“I’m getting old, kid. I don’t know how much time I have left. You’ll need to take my place.”
“No…You can’t die…” I wasn’t ready to lose my mentor. But it was inevitable.
“You’re ready, kid. I know you can do it.”
That day, there were, unfortunately, some Ward breaches.
I got home early from dealing with the breaches, so I could spend more time with Samantha than I had expected to be able to.
One day later, I was dealing with a breach when I got a call from M.L.L.F. As soon as they referred to me as “High Warden” I knew exactly what the call was about.
Dampe had passed on. I was now the last of the Wardens.
Grief struck me once again. I had now lost two people that were close to me. But I knew that I had to carry on Dampe’s legacy and protect Dragon Valley for the sake of future generations – and for Samantha.
When I got home, I once again found Tyla, and I had something to talk to her about.
“Tyla, right after you died, I got a letter – a love letter – from a woman named Morida.” As soon as I said that name, Tyla’s ghostly face lost what color it had.
“Morida…do you mean Morida O’Connell?”
“Why yes, I do! Do you know her?”
“She’s the one who drove the stake through my heart.” When I heard that, I knew what I had to do. Tyla’s killer would face justice! While I was taking care of Samantha – and while Tyla was still manifested – Morida called and asked if I wanted to go out on a date.
My response was simple. “I don’t date murderers.”
Before Tyla left, I asked her one more question. “If I’m able to bring Morida to trial, will you be there?”
Her answer was, “I’ll do everything I can to make it.”
The next night, Samantha once again grew up while I was dealing with a breach. I felt bad for not being able to be there for her birthday, but with Dampe dead, I was the only one who was able to handle these incidents!
Since her crib and potty chair were no longer needed, I got her some more appropriate furnishings.
It turned out that Samantha was quite the little baker! I wonder where she got that from…
She also seemed to know what she wanted to do in life: be the best singer Dragon Valley had ever seen!
That said, she also seemed interested in chemistry.
I do have to say, though, that she was a little…is “paranoid” the right word?…about the bathroom. She seemed to be shooing someone out of the bathroom before she used it, but there was no one there!
And it was Samantha’s first day of school! I wondered who she would befriend…
While Samantha was at school, I went to M.L.L.F. to find out when and where Dampe’s funeral would be. The M.L.L.F. people said that it would be the next day at the graveyard – the same graveyard that I came to Dragon Valley through!
When Samantha got home from school, she was extremely happy. She told me about all the new friends she had made, and she also seemed to be telling Tyler. I guess she just has an active imagination.
Just like I did when I was in the Dragon Valley school, Samantha immediately started doing her homework. She was telling Tyler all about it.
In the middle of the night, the day before the funeral, a burglar broke into the house! I confronted him, but I wasn’t able to keep him from escaping with my stove and Samantha’s toybox.
I was able to replace the stolen items, and I also bought a burglar alarm. I called the Bronze to report the theft, and they sent someone over.
And I went back to sleep.
The next afternoon, I got a call from M.L.L.F. saying that the funeral would be starting soon and that Samantha and I should get to the graveyard. We, of course, did.
The funeral was a sad event. Dampe was well-liked in all of Dragon Valley, and the entire town had gathered to pay their respects to him. After the funeral, however, when everyone else had left, I sensed something, and so Samantha and I stayed at the graveyard for a little while longer. Samantha asked why we were staying, and I told her that I felt something was wrong.
And something was indeed wrong. There was a Ward breach, and a major one at that! A full-fledged vampire emerged from the catacombs, and once again, I recognized her face. This time, however, that was not good news.
It was Tyla’s mother, Sabriel K’ien’sha – the Queen of the vampires.
I immediately told Samantha to run and get the Order of the Silver – the military.
“But what about you, Daddy?”
“I’ll try to hold the vampire off! Go!” And Samantha ran, leaving me alone with my worst nightmare.
“Ah, so I’ve found you.” These were Sabriel’s first words to me. “Where is my daughter?”
“I’m sorry to say this, but…your daughter was murdered last week.” Where are the Silver…
Sabriel was enraged at this news. Trying to stall for time, I told her, “I did everything I could to protect Tyla, but I couldn’t do enough. And I will bring her killer to justice.”
Sabriel was still extremely angry. I guess she thought I was the killer, as she spat at me, “You couldn’t do enough? You should have gone out and protected her with your life, stupid human!” At that point, Samantha returned with the Silver.
“So you brought the human military…” With the Silver at my back, I pulled out my trusty Banisher and fired it at Sabriel. “This isn’t over!” she shouted as she was pushed out of Dragon Valley.
After all that was done, three of the Silver apprentices – children whose families had given them to the Silver to train – ran to me.
“Wow, that was cool!”
“How did you do that?”
“Teach us how to do that!”
Thinking about what Dampe had said, I told them that I would talk with the Silver. And talk with the Silver I did. I explained that the Wardens had no apprentices, and that these three bright young children had expressed interest in transferring to the Wardens. The Silver agreed to the transfer, as they had plenty of apprentices and they did not want the Wardens to die out, and they told my new apprentices – Mildred O’Reilly, Miles Dolan, and Mimi Murphy-Finnigan – the good news.
Now that I have apprentices, I have to train them if I want the Wardens – and by extension, the town, to survive…