Chapter 31: Reflections
Copyright© 2015 by Allan Kindred
As Allan lay on their bed, an old man dying from the ravages of time, Emma is still right at his side, holding his hand in her lap and singing her own songs to comfort him.
"Wife." It has always been one of Allan's favorite names to call her.
"Yes, my beloved husband."
"It has been the most spectacular ride I could have ever hoped for. You gave me a life truly worth living. Thank you from the bottom of my heart." The dying part is not making Allan sad, it is just that he will be leaving Emma without him until it is her time.
Allan looks around his bed, and two generations of the gifts Emma has given him are present. Allan is glad their children are there, and their children. It is good to see them again, but Allan is happier that they will be here for Emma once he is gone.
"Make no mistake about it, my love, it was not a life I gave you, but a life we built and lived together. You gave me more and showed me more of the world than I could have ever dreamed. It is I who owes you the thanks." She squeezes his hand harder.
At this point there is not a dry eye in the room. Even Stephen, who will live another fifty years because of the magic flowing through his veins, cries openly.
"Emma, do you remember when we first met?"
"Of course." She catches her breath.
"My creation, you took my breath away. Who would ever believe that that feeling and our love would continue to grow each and every day?" Allan looks over at Emma, and the signs of passing time show on her, too, but her beautiful brown eyes have not dimmed one bit.
"I remember that I was yours by the end of the second day, even if you didn't figure it out for a few more." They both smile.
"My body is tired, but my heart will always beat for you. I promise to be waiting for you in the next level of creation, if it is true." Allan's heart is breaking because he can feel himself slowly leaving Emma.
"I would expect no less from an honorable soldier such as yourself. One day my time will come, as it does to us all, and we will be together again, of that I have no doubt."
"Yes, my love."
"Please live for me. Take whatever time you have left and live. Don't let my memory stop you from living your life. Don't look forward to death like I sometimes did before I met you. Live, live and live some more."
"Anything for you, my love." She is openly crying now.
Emma tells the kids after she can speak again, "Children, tell your father and grandpa goodnight."
"Thank you, Papa, for making this a better world for us." From every hug and kiss he receives he can feel tear drops falling.
"We love you, Uncle Allan." Stephen and Krilly's children say as they leave the room.
"And I love you all very, very much."
Stephen is the last to leave the room, and just before he leaves he says, "It has been and always will be an honor, little brother."
"Yes it was, big brother. We sure had us some wild times, didn't we?"
"That we did, little brother. That we did. We helped change the world. Goodnight, little brother."
Once everybody is gone, Emma shuts the door and lies down next to Allan. Even with the passage of time Emma's skin is soft and silky. Of course Allan is nine years older than her. Emma cuddles up next to him as he puts his right arm around her. Even as the life drains from him he cannot help but rest his hand on her bottom one last time.
"So not even death can keep your hands still." They laugh into the night.
As Allan lay there holding his wife with his head resting against hers, her essence fills his senses one last time and his life flashes before him.
Stephen and Allan are boys again causing mischief just like their own children. Their warrior father is getting ready to leave on the adventure he will not return home from. Their mother is a powerful, beautiful woman, who never leaves them for wanting, but after their father's death Stephen and Allan become closer and watch out for each other. Through thick and thin, through fights and disagreements, they are there for one another. As Stephen had said, they grew into formidable people and took the world head on.
Allan is a teenager when he kisses his first girl. Keely is her name, and she is from the next village over. She isn't the prettiest or the brightest girl in the area, but she is very sweet and very willing.
Allan is also a teenager when he kills his first man. He is seventeen, and Stephen has arranged for him to go train with the elves and minotaurs, since Stephen often trains there when he isn't on the Isle of Bloom or home. Stephen had been on that continent for years as his powers bloomed.
The man Allan kills is a sailor on the ship that he has caught passage on. The seas are rough, and he spends a great deal of his time topside getting sick over the edge. One of the female passengers must have had the same idea, but as she comes out from below Allan sees someone grab her and try to pull her down a hatch.
Allan rushes over and grabs the girl, and pulls so hard that the sailor comes up with her. The sailor is angry and draws a knife on Allan. Even at seventeen, Allan knows he is destined to be a warrior, so he always wears his sword. In fact Allan couldn't remember a time that he ever went without it until that time after he met Emma.
The sailor obviously thinks a youngster such as Allan is no threat to him, "What does she expect, dressing like that." And then he rushes at him with the knife.
That mistake cost him his life, as Allan runs him through and then throws him overboard. The captain is not happy about losing a seasoned crewman, but Allan does not care.
"Thank you." The very pretty redheaded green-eyed twenty-year-old woman says.
"You are most welcome, milady. Has that man been causing you much trouble?"
"It is not just he. Just because I wear cute outfits, many men think of that as an invitation to disrespect me, and as you saw tonight even violate me. I have been called many things, but I call myself a free spirit.
"Just because I want to be strong and pretty, people look at me like I am throwing away all the old respectful traditions, but I believe I am honoring those very things that have helped me bloom into the person I am today. Is it so wrong to want to share beauty with the world?"
"No, milady, it is not." From this day forth Allan knows his destiny and calling.
"I love pretty things and I am a good girl. Still, if not for you, I would have become another victim of the old oppressive ways. Sometimes I wish I knew how to defend myself better."
Allan just smiles, "It will be my honor, milady, to train you."
"Yes, I am Allan of the Rock Clan." At that point the angry captain turns around and walks away.
"I have heard many wonderful things about the Rock Clan, and I will be honored beyond words for your gracious offer."
"Good. What is your name, sweetheart?"
Allan trains with the elves for six months, and returns home with Stephen to visit with their mom for a couple of months before going to train with the minotaurs.
Once Allan returns to the west and starts training with the minotaurs, not even a month goes by before he meets Rax. Rax is already a seasoned warrior. At the time of their first meeting Allan is seventeen and Rax is twenty-seven. It is Rax who introduces Allan to Thunderheart, and later brings him into the Wayfarers.
For the next thirteen years Allan moves from one conflict to another. He meets and gets to know all kinds of people of all the races of the nine realms. Eventually he brings the world together to defend the rights of women, so they can reach their endless possibilities and to be able to walk around looking pretty without becoming a victim.
"Behold beauty in all its glory. Behold glory in all its grandeur."
Besides Stephen, of all the people Allan meets in his journeys, he only brings one other person into the Wayfarers before Emma. She is the same human girl from aboard the ship that transported him to the Isle of Draco, named Trinity, that he helped become a warrior, and she became such a great warrior that she well deserved the honor. Of course a big part of that is everywhere Allan goes, most of the solid people he meets are already Wayfarers. Allan is happy that Trinity survived the war. Trinity survived the war because she was at her home in Wales having a baby of her own. It is good for strong people to have offspring.
One battle after another, and one meaningless encounter with a barmaid after another, and Allan still feels like something is missing from his life. He has no idea what it is until it comes upon him like a summer storm in the light of day.