Chapter 25: The Celebration
Copyright© 2015 by Allan Kindred
As they are riding through the countryside at a leisurely pace, Allan looks over and notices Carly crying. "What's wrong, sweetheart?"
"So much suffering and devastation." Allan nods his head with tears of memory coming to his eyes.
Everywhere your eyes fall, death and destruction is visible. The only sign of true beauty is the path of flowers that are springing up behind and around Carly wherever she goes.
"Carly, would you be so kind as to bring Emma to the city."
"Already done, brother, and Krilly awaits Stephen there also."
Surely that isn't fear Allan sees in Stephen's eyes. Allan looks closer and it is not fear he sees there, it is love. Allan smiles.
As they are riding back to the city of Tally, everybody realizes the effects from this war are going to be felt for a long time. The people still have to come home and rebuild and replant, because most of the buildings are damaged or destroyed, and all the crops have been purposely ruined both by the enemy and the allies, neither side wanting to leave anything behind the enemy could use to give the other an advantage.
The land of this world, Serene Primus, is scorched and runs red with the blood of both friend and foe. As the dead, both man and beast, begin to decay, it is hard to celebrate any outcome as a victory. You do what you have to do, and then you put the pieces back together again and go on. You can do no other.
And it's not over, because even though the enemy is greatly weakened, they are still on this continent of Tallyhinder Steen, and still to come, the Allies are going to take the fight to the enemy's homeland to send a true and solid message to those who would oppress others for powers and false beliefs, not to try this again. The world must be made to understand that there will always be those that will not accept the killing of innocents and the oppression of beauty, both physical and spiritual.
Finally, Allan can stand it no longer, "Great Guardian, might I ask one more favor from you, sister?"
Carly looks at Allan surprised, for she has never heard or seen him be so solemn, "Of course, Allan."
"Carly, please will you gather the dead of the enemy and all the decaying animals and send them to the ocean depths."
Carly smiles with tears in her eyes as she replies, "So that something positive may come from this."
"Aye, even our marine cousins need to eat and live."
"Yes, Princess of Light."
"Fear not, much great will spring from this toil of turmoil and suffering." Allan nods his head, as the truth of it becomes acknowledged.
The longer they ride and the closer they get to the city, the harder Allan's heart is pounding. Allan can't wait to see and hold Emma. Allan has to admit that his journey on this continent has turned out to be one hell of an adventure. Make no mistake about it, the cost was great, but an adventure nonetheless. Allan lost family and he met family. The world has a sick sense of irony indeed.
The memories of this adventure will haunt him for the rest of his life. Only Emma and the life they are going to have together will maintain his humanity and sanity. Emma's very presence will keep Allan's savage soul at peace. All Emma has to do is cuddle up next to Allan and place his hand on her, and his rage drains away.
As the journey continues, a shadow comes over Allan's eyes, and then the world goes completely black. Allan is blinking his eyes trying to bring the world back into focus. Allan is squeezing his eyes shut so tight that he is causing himself pain. Allan takes in a deep breath and wearily opens his eyes once more. There in front of him is the most spectacular valley of lush green grasses, flowers everywhere, the most splendid trees of dark green, and red bow-like flowers purposefully spaced around a Pool of Radiance. The River of Existence is feeding it as it falls from the most graceful of waterfalls. Within the mist, a divine rainbow shares its beauty with no thought of payment in mind.
Allan walks towards the pool of radiance and finds Emma staring at the very same wonder. Without turning around, Emma holds out her hand for Allan to take. Allan smiles and comes forward, taking her hand lovingly. They continue to stand side-by-side, watching eons float by on the River of Existence. With not a reason in the cosmos other than the ultimate beauty of it all, tears begin to fall.
Once again Allan blinks his eyes to bring the world back into focus, and this time when he opens his eyes he is once again riding with his army, and Carly and Stephen are talking about creation and how it is shared unselfishly.
"What's that, little brother?"
"I just had a second vision of the River of Existence, and it was falling as a waterfall and into a pool of silver radiance."
Even Carly looks shocked, but proud, as she says, "You have been allowed to visit the Convergence of Time and Creation. It is an honor beyond comprehension."
"What does it mean?" asks Stephen curiously.
"It means that even in the darkest hour, hope shines bright."
Allan is squeezing his eyes shut one more time in hopes of seeing the beauty and wonder one more time, but this time when he opens his eyes he is seeing a beauty that fills his heart and mind with love.
Standing just outside the city on the main road are Emma and Krilly. In unison Stephen and Allan pick up pace. Emma is radiant. She has her hair pulled back in a simple ponytail that Allan loves, because it shows off the pretty features of her face. The only thing that outshines the full-length red silk dress she is wearing are her eyes and smile. With the form fitting elegant red silk dress, you can definitely tell her tummy is starting to show a little. Allan falls in love with her all over again. The dress is once again a gift from Princess Sarah, to show her gratitude and love to Emma for bringing hope and care to her people.
Krilly truly makes a most spectacular human woman. Pretty, curvy, and the ocean shines in her eyes. She has on the almost exact dress that Emma does, except it is pearl white. Both of them take Allan's breath away. Krilly takes his breath away because she is his sister. Emma takes his breath away because she is his girl. Emma's heart and mind has had him reeling since he met her, but my god, there is not a mark of her face or body that does not make his heart skip a beat.
Stephen dismounts and goes up to Krilly. They are feeling each other out, because their love has never been spoken between them, but finally all that is taking too long, so Stephen gently put his hands on each side of her face and kisses her tenderly at first and then passionately.
By the time they have gotten to that stage, Emma and Allan are locked in a loving embrace that he never wants to break. Every moment and every circumstance makes him fall all that much more in love. Stephen and Allan have just fought a battle, and Allan is sure they have to smell pretty ripe, but the girls never complain once. Plus the day is getting long and it is winter, so with their bare shoulders they have to be cold.
"Emma, I want you to know that you are the greatest gift I've ever known. Just the thought of you has kept me going and kept me sane, for I did not slip into the dark places I go when I go to battle. I believe my skills were the better because of it. Thank you."
Emma's eyes well up with tears, "You are not the only one to be blessed, milord, my noble knight. Stop, you are going to make my eyes all puffy, and we have a dinner celebration and dance planned."
Allan is exhausted, but he will never tell her that. "Milady, might I be allowed to take a bath, please, and perhaps a change of clothes."
"Please." When she says that she wrinkles her perfect little nose at him. Allan sticks his tongue out at her.
"You there, boy, oh Mad Marty, would you be so kind as to give your coat to the lady."