Chapter 15: Savoring Every Moment
Copyright© 2015 by Allan Kindred
Like a beacon of hope does she shine
Though the people knowing fear
Are saved from the deep darkness of despair
Her heart and her mind
Never showing for an instant the thought of failure
Give all that last ounce of energy and hope
She pushes the people to fight on
Queen she would be for the asking
But it is not her nature to grasp power
Her strength comes from within
And engulfs us all in light and love
No matter how dark the night becomes
Her light will shine bright
Always and the same
"What do you think? Do you care if it is a boy or a girl?" Allan asks, with his hand on Emma's still beautiful flat and fit tummy.
"One or the other will be fine, for I'm sure the other will be along shortly." They both smile knowingly.
The cold winter night is passing outside their door as their embrace in their bed warm them like a summer too hot to behold. Lying behind her with every possible place of their bodies touching, Allan's arm is around her holding her close and tight. His hand intertwined with hers, as they hold on for the hope of a brighter tomorrow. From now till the end of time Allan will feel her breathing next to him. As they cuddle, Emma's hair will sometimes tickle his nose as he inhales the very essence of her.
Even though the smile never leaves his face, sometimes he wants to cry. His dark dreams show him her last breath, and he screams until blood runs from his eyes, ears and nose. From out of nowhere a mirror appears, and when he looks into it he looks like a crazed tribesman watching all come to an end in a war that was never his own.
"You are having another nightmare."
"My wife, my life is the nightmare until I make it back to you." Silence fills the night.
Allan can feel her baby tears hitting his arms.
Allan whispers, "I love you." into her ear as he holds her tight. "Never fear my love, for I will fight all of existence to continue on with you."
They are walking on the beach hand in hand at midday. Even though the sun shines brightly there is still a chill to the air. They walk and talk about everything but the war. Allan thinks Emma believes that the more plans they make for the future, the more likely he will return to regain their family.
They have just reached the end of the beach and have turned around when Emma points out to the sea. "Allan, look, it is a ship."
They don't hurry any more than they have been doing all morning long, but they start heading in the direction of the docks. The ship is too big, with too deep of a draft to come all the way in itself, so the occupants of the ship finish the rest of the journey in a rowboat. Allan and Emma wait patiently as the rowboat comes ever so slowly closer and closer.
As the rowboat hits the dock ever so gently, making the tiny boat rock, the inhabitants throw Allan the line to secure the bow of the boat. Allan catches it and secures it, then moves to do the same for the stern. Allan puts out his hand to help the five occupants make their way up the five-step ladder. The first two are sorceresses and the last three are wizards.
Allan only knows one of the wizards. His name is Talon, and he has as much magical talent as he has true honor, which to say is very proper indeed.
"Talon, you old fool, what has taken you so long to come to our rescue?"
"What would you need rescuing from, Allan?"
"Have you not heard this continent has been invaded and we are barely hanging on? Have you not seen Stephen?"
"Stephen? No, I have not seen the leader of the guilds for many a moon. We did feel despair coming from here, but we had no idea it is so bad. Is there nothing we can do?"
"Of course, I fear without your strengths our army will not stand for longer than a fortnight. You see, the enemy has many demon dragons and dark elves, plus there is an unknown dragonman race leading them who are also sorcerers. You wouldn't happen to have any of that blue dust Stephen uses to bless many of my arrows with magic would you?"
"Yes, we brought bags full of it."
"Please, Talon, there is no time to waste. I have a group of four hundred cavalry riders still here in town. Please, honored magi, start immediately, for it will be only a matter of days, if that, before we have to pull out and ride for the front lines."
"Of course, brother." bows Talon, and then he and his magi family go to work right away.
"That is something anyway, don't you think, dear husband?"
"I do, my most beloved wife. At every opportunity hope is trying to shine through the darkness. I only wish Stephen would hurry the hell up."
The waves lap against the sides of the ship as it floats without care across the ocean. Stephen and his rescued girl are celebrating life as if there is not a care in the world. The girl with the long black hair and emerald green eyes has Stephen under her spell. Stephen, with his mind foggy of love or spell, he is not sure as of yet, only wants to make her happy. The long hard roads of his life led him finally to something he has always wanted and deserved.
The next morning Emma and Allan are woken to the sounds of blaring horns. As Allan steps out of the cottage, Thunderheart is waiting for him, all the while trying desperately not to step on any homes. The look on his face is one of grave concern.
"The enemy is on the move."
"Have the magi finish up with their tasks. We will pull out in the morning."
"Please, Thunderheart, carry out my orders."
"Yes, milord, but we will need to move soon."
"Of course." Allan says, as he bows to the majesty of Thunderheart.
Emma comes up from behind him and puts her arms around him tightly and holds on for dear life. "I'm scared."
"As are all who experience such terrible times, my wife. Fear not, for hope lingers still. You know, I think I could use a huge breakfast. Maybe some pancakes and eggs with bacon and sausage. What say you, woman?" It is at times like these that Allan's Scottish brogue calms her.
"Perhaps I will have ice cream put on my pancakes."
"Yeah, you are definitely pregnant." Emma laughs her sweet laugh and then they get dressed.
They eat as if every bite will be their last, taking the time to embrace the sensations as the food makes its way down into their stomachs. By the time they leave the dining hall it is only an hour and a half to lunch. Emma suggests they just start on lunch now, but Allan grabs her and hurriedly pulls her away from temptation.
They walk to the edge of the nearest fishing village to a hill that still has late blooming flowers sturdy enough to survive the chill of winter as it makes its way into its time.
Allan believes that just like every season that has its time, so do people. Allan picks Emma a beautiful bouquet of wild flowers as they continue their walk. They keep walking, not wanting to acknowledge that their time is coming to an end, but eventually Emma becomes tired and is in dire need of rest. Just to be safe, Allan has Edith, Emma's mom, come and sit at her side as she sleeps, just in case they overdid it.
As soon as Allan knows Emma is in good hands, he goes out and finds his troops, Thunderheart and the magi. They talk of their plans and all the possibilities. Allan can see that the process of thinking about the coming battles is taking more of a toll on his well-trained but still inexperienced warriors than the actual battles will, so he sends them off to enjoy one last night of what they are all fighting to preserve.
At least the girls are properly outfitted for the coming battles in their brown riding pants and varying colors of shirts. It is true there was not enough time or material to outfit all the girls, but the girls that are going to ride into battle in full length dresses as they drape magnificently from them and the horses, will do wonders for the spirits of the Alliance Forces of Light.
By the time Allan finds his way back to their cottage, Edith and Emma have a huge dinner prepared.
"Did you get to eat lunch, babygirl?"
"Yes I did. I ate pancakes and ice cream again." Allan just groans and she laughs.
Then he notices Emma looking sad so he asks, "What's wrong, my darling girl?"
Emma scrunches up her cute face as she says, "There's no more ice cream, and because of the short supplies because of the war they can't make any more." Allan is trying to hide is smile.
They eat a quiet dinner, and John and Edith hang around visiting until well into the night. Allan hugs them sincerely as they exit, and then he turns to his pretty wife.
"Do you remember our first night together?"
"I do, dear husband."
"So do I." Allan says, as he walks towards her and takes her into his arms.
If this is to be their last night together it will be one for the history books. Of course they fall asleep in each other's arms before long, but the memory of this night will last Allan for several lifetimes.
Thunderheart awakens Allan by scratching at the front door. It is still dark outside, so Allan lights a candle next to the bed.
As he opens the door Thunderheart says, "We must get under way."
Allan looks back at the sleeping Emma, and the candlelight lights her face up to goddess status and his heart sinks.
"Order my force to pull out now. Have them take my horse, I will catch up with them in a day or two on your back."
"A day or two? In three days they will reach the front lines, and if you are not with them it will hurt the morale of the army. We must go now."
"No, I will remain here until the very last moment. I will not let a second tick by on the heavenly clock that I can spend with my wife."
"I will lead them for a day, and then I will be back to pick you up tomorrow."
"Perfect. Now be gone with yourself, Thunderhead." Thunderheart is not in a laughing mood.
"Allan." Emma says, still curled up in their bed.
"Yes, my love."
"I too want to spend every possible moment together, but when the time comes you must put me out of mind and become that warrior I first met. Become my knight."
"My love, I fear that no matter how much I love you, that warrior who has done many vicious and horrible things will never truly be gone."
Allan goes back to bed, but never falls back to sleep. Allan is feeling a little guilty about staying behind for so long.
And he whispers silently into his own mind, "Never will I ever be able to put you out of my mind, my pretty wife, my peasant princess."
If it takes every ounce of love and energy Allan possesses, he is going to pack a lifetime of experiences into one day. Not wanting to wear Emma down, he gets a wagon and they ride for hours out in the countryside.
Even though the wagon jostles with every rock and hole it hits, Emma never takes her head off of Allan's shoulder.
Hey pretty girl
In a flowered dress full of color
Looking up at me with those amazing eyes
Kissing me with those rosy lips
Thank you for loving me
Because of the winter chill, Emma has on a heavy brown coat, but all Allan has to do is close his eyes and he can see every mark of her, every curve of her, and it is as if they are sitting in front of a roaring fire naked under a bear skin rug, curled up next to each other.
And they ride and ride to the top of the grassy knoll. To the north shines the great ocean. To the west rise the majestic mountains. To the south and east lay the enemy, but no matter, sitting in their wagon on top of the grassy knoll they begin to kiss.
Every since Allan was a young lad somebody getting up close to his face makes him aggressive, and still does today, but with Emma and her sharp beautiful features that make up a most pretty face, it sets him at ease and forever does he want hers next to his.
"For this most precious gift I will kiss, kiss and most assuredly kiss her some more."