The Valkyrie War (Act 2)

With war officially declared on Merope, the tension between the humans and the kree is greater than ever, with Amelia and Ellisia stuck in the middle of it all. They promised to stay together no matter what and without any secrets, but as more secrets are revealed, the pressure mounts and when King James starts his plan in motion, they will find that it's not as easy as they had hoped. With the battle lines forming and sides being chosen, will the two ever have the happy, quiet life they so desire? Or will their differences be far too great to handle and force them to turn against each other? Don't miss the epic second act and conclusion to this beautifully tragic love story, of the star-crossed lovers, born from different worlds.

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7. For Whom the Bell Tolls, I Give Love Everlasting

*** “The East Garden”, Garmin-The West Province, Fall Year 2530 ***

          Elli gazes upon the woman in front of her, her maple hair shining in the setting sun as it falls on either side of her chest. Her once sharp eyes, like those of emerald, seem to pale in comparison to their usual glow, but the tears in her eyes make them gleam. She’s dainty, delicate and more feminine then Elli has ever seen her before. She looks like a true Queen, her elegance shining through as brightly as does her white and gold battle suit, draped with a flowing cloak. Her crown shines brightly, as though to reiterate that she indeed a Queen and is standing in her final moment of glory. However, it’s her gentle smile that almost renders Elli speechless and leaves her breathless. She has to shake her head, to snap out of Amelia’s intoxicating aura.

Amelia keeps her smile, as she turns her attention directly to Elli and speaks gently. “I guess our fated day has finally arrived, hasn’t it Elli? I suppose we should be grateful it waited this long.”

“I didn’t come here to chat Amelia. If you think you can stall and somehow convince me to change my mind, it’s not going to work. No matter how much I love you, what you’ve done cannot be so easily forgiven or overlooked. Besides, if I recall, you were the one who promised to kill me the next time you saw me. So, is there anything for us to even discuss?”

“I’m not trying to stall or persuade you Elli. I’m fully prepared to accept my fate, but don’t you want a proper explanation? I’d hate to die with you hating me for the wrong reason.”

“So, what? There’s a right reason I should hate you then? Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Yes. You hate me because I killed Liam and I certainly won’t deny that. I did kill him, in cold blood, in front of the entire court. I didn’t hesitate either, so it happened very quickly.”

“Is this supposed to make me feel better?! Hearing the details makes me hate you even more!”

“Of course, that’s understandable, but please hear me out. Despite these things, doing such a thing to Liam was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. It still haunts me even now.”

“Are you trying to use that as an excuse? Should I forgive you simply because you feel bad?”

“No, but I hope you’ll at least understand that I’m not a cold-blooded monster. I’m not my father and despite what everyone feared, he hasn’t corrupted me. I made that decision on my own.”

“How does that even make sense? You say you’re not evil, yet you say it was your own idea to kill him. That’s a major contradiction. Just be honest. You came to like your newfound power and decided to take advantage of it. Your father didn’t have to pull your strings because you’ve been pulling them all on your own. He had a family Amelia! He had Delia, who he loved so much and she loved him just as much. They were going to get married and live happily together with their precious child. She’s a beautiful baby girl, who’s going to need her father, but she won’t because you took him from her! I know what it’s like to grow up never knowing your father. To only hear snippets about him and all of them being terrible things. Only recently did I even know that he actually loved me. That he fought to the very end to keep me safe, even if he’d made mistakes. No young girl should have to know that pain of not knowing the man who helped give her life. I had it even worse as I didn’t know who my real mother was until only two years ago. That’s a lifetime growing up never knowing if I was even wanted! I’d do anything to make it so that she won’t ever have to feel that pain or have to wonder about him, but I can’t. Liam will never get to see her grow up into a beautiful and kind woman he’d have wished for her to be because he’s dead! You took him away from them and you took him away from me. He was all I had Amelia.” Her voice starts to crack. “He was all I had for my entire life, before I ever imagined I’d have you. Then, once I’d finally found someone else to complete me and give me such happiness and love, the one person I always thought would have my back, betrayed me in the worst way. You killed our love, which killed me and then you killed my life, so that I had nothing left. Now, I’m even going to lose my mother. Everyone I’ve ever cared for has either left me or died and I’m alone. I’m no more than a walking corpse, living for just one final purpose. That is of course to kill you so that I may go to my grave in peace. So, here I come Amelia!”

Elli charges at Amelia with impressive speed, grazing her face slightly, before Amelia steps aside. She’s faster than I remember, Amelia thinks to herself. They used to sometimes practice sword fighting together, back when times were simpler and they thought their love would never end. How naïve they were back then. Who’d have ever thought those peaceful girls from back then would become so aggressive? “It’s so sad,” Amelia says out loud as she ejects her blade.

“No use feeling sad about it now, it’s already been done. But if you don’t fight seriously, you’re going to die, because I won’t go easy on you!” Elli charges her again, this time aiming more directly, causing Amelia to raise her sword in defense. Elli keeps at it, never letting up.

Amelia seems to move gracefully, even in such a fierce battle, and despite being on the defense. However, she doesn’t switch to the offensive, but rather but tries to get Elli to understand her. “I’m not trying to make excuses Elli and I’m certainly not power hungry. I didn’t want to do that to Liam and hurt either of you that way, but I had no choice. You left me no choice Elli!”

Elli halts and looks at her in disbelief. “I left you no choice? Are you blaming me for this?” Elli looks at her and Amelia returns her gaze, the tension in the air so thick, even a knife can’t cut it.

                *** “Outside the Royal Estate”, Garmin-The West Province, Fall Year 2530 ***

          Navi sneaks up behind a pair of guards stationed just before the South Garden. In one swift motion, she slices at their backs, killing them instantly. Silent and deadly is her style. “Clear.”

Upon hearing her confirmation, Makena, Johan and Amy come out from behind a wall. “You’re so amazing Navi babe! I thought I was doing pretty well for myself, but you really are on a whole other level. I guess that’s Demikri for you.” Makena grabs Navi’s arm and cuddles it.

“Jeez, get a room you two.” Johan walks over to them with a grin.

“Oh please, as if you can talk Johan. I swear you guys are always going at it like rabbits.”

“Are you sure you’re not mistaking us for you and Navi?” Johan pokes fun at her.

“You know what, I-.”

“Hush Mak! Please.” Navi shuts her down instantly with just those few words.

Johan laughs. “Wow, looks like someone is whipped.”

“No way! If anyone is whipped, it’s definitely Navi. Right babe?” Makena looks to Navi, but when she sees she’s not paying attention to her, she scowls and punches her shoulder.

“Ow! Babe, I’m sorry. I was listening, but then something pulled my attention away. Look at the ships. Don’t they seem to be getting further away?” The others look up and realize, she’s right.

“Maybe they’re just moving to a different location?” Amy tries to propose an optimistic reason.

“I’m not so sure about that Amy. It seems like they are leaving to me. That’s not the plan, is it?”

“No, that’s not the plan at all. They were supposed to land and meet us here, not leave! Why…?”

“Because I told them to.” They all turn around, startled by the deep voice. At first, they think it might be James, but they are shocked to see who it really is. Garrett comes forward.

“Garrett? What, you were a triple agent? What is this bullshit? Did you rat us out to them?”

“Well, naturally. As if I’d let my species be wiped out by inferior beings such as humans and Kree. I’ve been undercover here all my life as my father was before me. Who do you think it was that convinced the previous King and Queen to go on their Kree hunt? My father was quite the persuasive man and he was well respected by them. So, naturally he raised me to be the same.”

Navi flares up. “So, it was your family that lead to the death of my clan and so many Kree?”

“Yes, that’s right. And it was I who gave James the idea for his elaborate plan to use team up with the Smee. He thought we’d work together to destroy you and then let him rule as we served as his bodyguards, how foolish of a man he was. We’d never planned to yield to him, we were going to destroy him too, along with all the other pesky humans. We don’t want this planet. Why would we want such a worthless planet as this, when we have a far superior one of our own? We were jealous of the Kree? Please, whoever came up with that story must have been sick in the head. We hate the Kree simply because they are a weak imitation of us. We were the first of our kind and are superior in every way. Kree were a mistake, so it’s our duty to correct that mistake, which I’ve just taken care of myself.” He smirks.

Navi clenches her fists, but it’s Makena who speaks now. “Wait, so you’re telling me your father came down from your planet and has been working as a spy? How did no one realize it though? I thought Smee were always in their natural form? You don’t look much like the Smee I’ve heard of. If you’re such a proud Smee, why not show us?”

“I would if I could, but I’m not pure Smee. My kind has been here on earth for far longer than any of us have been alive, but naturally, we couldn’t blend in if we didn’t look the part. So, we had to lessen ourselves just a bit, and go as far as procreating with humans so that we could have hybrid children. Similar to Kree hybrids, we look human and can blend in as such. Some of us can turn, some can’t, but regardless, Smee blood runs in our veins. It’s because of my hybridity that James never caught on, just as Almyra’s parents never caught on to my father. My ancestors before me made this sacrifice, so that we could achieve this goal today, and how splendid it has been. With the Kree gone and the human population all but depleted, the Smee are supreme.”

“So basically, this has all just been a huge power trip for your kind? You never had a real goal or desire, but rather, you just wanted to show that you were powerful enough to wipe us out?”

“Yes, I suppose that about sums it up Johan. Anticlimactic I’m sure, but we don’t really care.”

“If you were the mole, and the one corresponding with the Smee to prepare for this day, then who was the Author? James mentioned that this Author had been acting as the mediator.”

“Well Amy, it’s true that the Author was the one corresponding with James, so he would say that, but that man wasn’t corresponding with the Smee himself, as he has no means. He was corresponding with me of course. I have a secure method of contacting my home planet and my commanders and the Author simply passed on the information to James, and to you all.”

“So basically, this Author guy has been playing everyone. But why? For what reason? If he’s not Smee, then what does he gain by helping this all play out? Why bother to get involved with it?”

“No Johan, I think the question is, why not?” Suddenly, the Author comes out from the garden, his hat pulled down, such that his face is obscured. “I’m a writer, just a simple writer of stories. Not just any stories however. You see, I come from a long line of writers, who’s Ancestor had lived long ago, before history books of our time were even written. They wrote of the various monsters that once roamed this earth and beyond, as was the final will of their god. Of course, those monsters soon became the legends we know of today, but they really did exist. So, continuing that tradition, I’ve been recording the supernatural events of our time, which is why I had to leave behind those I loved. I started out by just observing and recording, but it became boring. I wanted excitement and adventure, but since none was coming to me on its own, I had to make it happen. So, I manipulated James, and Ellisia, to help achieve this splendid story!”

“You’re a monster!” Makena shouts this out. “To soil the integrity of honest writing and genuine stories by doing such underhanded things. It’s sick! My father taught me the beauty of books and the power the pen holds. He told me that it must never be abused and exploited, but rather nurtured and cherished. He left us behind, but I never forget those precious moments with him!”

Makena gets teary eyed and the Author finally looks up from beneath his hat. “Maki, you actually remembered all of those things? I thought you’d have forgotten them and me.”

Makena looks up, shocked to be hearing his words. She has a moment of recognition. “Dad?”

The Author looks touched. “Oh, it’s been so long since I’ve heard that. It reminds me of my younger years, when I was naïve and foolish. A boy with ideals, rather than the reality of the world. The world is not a beautiful place very often and things are for more interesting when there is chaos, so it felt like a greater sin not to nurture that and create compelling stories. I’m happy my words stayed with you for so long Maki and that I remained somewhere in your heart, but that old me is gone now and I won’t be going back to him. If I can say I do regret one thing though, it’d be not coming back to you sooner. Perhaps, if things were different, I could’ve been a proper teacher for you. It’s your legacy after all, to carry on the title of Author.”

Don’t give me that crap! The man I remember was one of integrity and honesty. If I can’t have him, I don’t want anyone else and I certainly don’t want to follow in your crooked footsteps. If I write, it’ll be by my own convictions. I want nothing to do with you. You are dead to me!”

The Author laughs. “Yes, I figured it would turn out this way and that’s fine. The pen has a way of finding you, whether you want it or not, so I believe you will find your path, I hope you do.”

Finally, having had enough, Garrett interrupts. “Well, as touching as that was, I think it’s time for me to take my leave. Don’t want to miss my ride out of here.”

“Wait!” Navi intercepts him. “What did you mean when you said you’d taken care of the Kree?”

“You mean you haven’t figured it out yet Navi? I guess you always were more brawn then brains. Your precious bombs of course. Elli was absolutely right, they work like a charm. After I triggered them within your precious city, the citizens dropped like flies. You hadn’t forgotten they were susceptible to the bombs just as Smee would be. I know that’s why you had planned to keep them tucked away down there until we’d been wiped out and you could load them up on our ships. How obnoxious of you I must say. Though it seems I’ve made a liar out of your Empress, as she assured them they would be safe. She never saw that sneak attack coming and her subjects suffered for it. The Demikri who managed to survive looked so dejected, as though everything they knew had been a lie. It was a beautiful sight.” He grins in amusement.

Navi finally loses her cool and shouts, “you bastard! I’ll kill you!” She charges him, but he easily dodges. They go at it fiercely, until Garrett manages to strike Navi, smashing her into the ground hard. He continues his assault, causing her to scream out in pain. “Ah!” She lies on the ground, unable to get herself up, as she writhes around, hurting more than she ever has.

“Navi!” Makena starts to run towards her, but her dad stops her. “Don’t interfere or you’ll die!”

“It’s not your job to worry about me anymore, so let me go!” She snatches herself from his grip and again attempts to go to Navi, but she yells at her to stay back. She reluctantly listens.

Garrett laughs out loud. “Yes, listen to your whipped bitch, she has some sense it seems. If she couldn’t even match me, what do you think you could possibly do. I’m Smee, hybrid or not. No one will ever be able to outsmart or get the jump on me. That is why the Smee are superior be-.”

Before he can finish, there is a quick motion and slash. He becomes paralyzed momentarily, and then like a geyser, blood comes shooting out of the slash in his head, right across his brainstem. He collapses to the ground, as Alice lands before him, in her transformed state. “Shut up dude!”

Everyone watches as he bleeds out, caught off guard by Alice’s sudden appearance and assist. “You could’ve shown up sooner you know? I totally got my butt kicked in.” Navi stands up.

“Navi!” Makena runs over to her, happy to see she’s ok. “Thank goodness, I was so scared.”

Alice turns to the Author, still transformed. “Are you my next victim?” She approaches him.

“No! Please don’t kill him Alice. He’s my father. Not that I care for that reason, but more so, I want him to live. So, he can always remember his role in this tragic day.” She faces him now. “You find that chaos is far more exciting than peace and harmony, but that just shows you don’t really understand the beauty of life at all. Life isn’t beautiful because of the chaos, but because it still persists even with it around. Humans may be weak, but they are also stronger than any other species out there; in spirit. Until the day comes when you can wipe out every single soul, humans will always remain and we will always rebuild and come back stronger than before. We’ll never truly be gone and will rise above all that threatens us and still find ways to enjoy living. That is what it means to be human. I hope that one day, you’ll be able to find that again.”

He sighs and then smiles. “I’m impressed by your insight Maki. You’ve grown so much. I’m proud of you. I sometimes wish I could’ve found the will to stay with you and your mother. Though, I suppose the happiness she found with Liam and now with her new child, is more than I could’ve ever offered her or you. You may not agree with my methods or my ideals now, but I think one day, you’ll at least see things from my side, even if you choose not to follow that path. Either way, my time is done and its officially time for me to put down my pen. I leave you this.”

He hands her a small journal and pen. “This pen and journal has been passed down for centuries and is your birthright Maki. Inside this small book, is a world of stories, written by your ancestors. This story is also inside and this pen was used to write them all. It’s a magical journal and pen, that will never run out, and every story has been archived, able to be pulled at the touch of this pen to the desired chapter. It’s your choice whether you will continue on our legacy Maki, as I won’t force you. I hope you do though, I really do. I’d like to see how this story ends.”

Makena takes the book and pen and considers smashing it to the ground, but somehow, she can’t bring herself to do it. She can’t tarnish a book in that way, it’d be like sacrilege. “Fine, I’ll take it and keep it safe, but I won’t promise I’ll use it. I never want to see you again, understand?”

“Loud and clear my dear. I will do what I do best and drift into the night, following the wind wherever it may take me. Do take care of yourself Maki, and know, that I will always love you.” He tips his hat and then he’s gone, just as suddenly as he came.

Navi walks over to Makena and hugs her, and she accepts it, graciously. Everyone looks somber, unsure of what to do now. However, Alice speaks up. “I know things seem bad guys, but I know we’ll get through it. Elli will see us through this somehow, because she always comes through when it counts. Speaking of her, I must find her and tell her what’s happened. She ditched me earlier. Can you believe that?”

“Actually Alice, we can. But I think that’d be a good idea. She needs to know that this was all one big set up. I hate to say it, but perhaps the Kingdom wasn’t our enemy after all. James was the only one with truly bad intentions. But I’m sure Evani has taken care of him, right?”

“Oh yes, she’s certainly taking care of him. I don’t think he’ll be giving us anymore problems.” Alice laughs, but then suddenly Amy shouts out.

“Um guys, I think we have a problem of our own!” They look up to see a final fireball, the biggest one yet, set to hit the estate directly. “They’re trying to finish us off!”

“Everyone get down and run for cover!” Navi shouts this and everyone reacts. As they are scattered, everyone can only hope that the others averted the blast, but it’s for now, unknown.

After the impact, the compound begins to come completely undone, crumbling, burning and otherwise being destroyed. Soon it will fall, crushing anyone who dares remain inside its walls.

                  *** “The Royal Estate”, Garmin-The West Province, Fall Year 2530 ***

          “It’s over James.” Evani stands before him, glaring as he holds his side. Beneath his hands, there’s a large gash from Evani’s dagger and were it not for his applied pressure, the blood would splurge out of the deep wound. He falls back against the wall and slides to the ground.

“So, it would seem. Oh well, I suppose this is a fitting end.” He laughs and blood gushes from his mouth. “How unsightly.” He motions for Evani come closer. “Why not sit with me a bit?”

Evani frowns, but walks over to him and sits beside him. Soon after, James lies back onto her lap with a weak smile. Evani sighs deeply and manages a coy smile of her own. “Even after all these years and despite being such an evil man, you’re still a baby when in pain.” She laughs.

“Yes, so I’d heard many times from Almyra. I may be a baby sometimes, but I’m a man when it counts.” He manages a wink, making her smile.

“Don’t flatter yourself.” She laughs, but then winces in pain. Her skin slowly begins to change, becoming leathery and scaled. Her eyes become a translucent yellow, with an orange cornea and face morphs, becoming more lizard-like. She can no longer maintain her human appearance. She sees James looking at her and as though suddenly subconscious, she looks away. “Don’t look.”

“Why not? What do you have to hide? You’ve always worried so much about how people would see you in your Kree form and you always tried to avoid it as often as possible, as though it was an affliction. You’re beautiful, in both your human and Kree forms. I’ve always told you that, haven’t I?”

She smiles. “Yes, I suppose you have. Though it’s unwise to trust the words of a liar.”

“I may be a liar, but I’ve never lied to you.” He coughs and more blood drips from his mouth. “I remember lying together, just like this, in the grass, when we were younger. I always found your lap to be the most comforting spot, so I can’t think of a better way to die.” He finally releases his hand from his side and raises his right up to Evani’s face, grazing it tenderly. “I’ve always loved you Eva. Even now; I still love you more than anyone. I hope…you know…that.”

Having finally succumbed to his injury, James’ eyes glaze over as his hand drops, the life leaving him, as he slowly closes his eyes. Evani’s tears fall on his face, and she takes his head into her arms as she says, “I know. I’ve always known that you fool. I also…always. So, just rest now.”

She leans down and kisses his forehead. There’s a huge explosion, as the estate is hit directly with a fire bomb, and its walls start to crumble. “We’ll always be together Love, even in death. I’ll never…let you go…again.” Her body finally shutting down after years of oxygen exposure and lack of proper nutrients, Evani closes her eyes. As the floor beneath them gives in, they fall together into the dark Abyss.

                *** “Outside the Compound Gates”, Garmin-The West Province, Fall Year 2530 ***

          Almyra and Clara walk together through the ruble, assisting the resistance forces in checking for survivors. However, they’ve found very few. Almyra places her face in her hands. “So many innocent people. It’s just too terrible. Why did it have to be this way?!”

Clara hugs her in support as she says, “this is the horror of war. This is what greed and corruption will bring. It is terrible and so sad, but it’s reality. But for there to be change, we must change ourselves and in this dark hour, it’ll be more important than ever for all of us, humans and the Demikri who remain to come together and reach peace. We need to learn from the mistakes we keep repeating, so that we will not make them again in the future. We must.”

“Yes, we must and I will do my best to make sure we cannot forget.” Makena comes up behind them, Navi at her side, Johan and Amy just behind. “My father left me this journal. It’s filled with stories of the past, including what has happened here today. I may not agree with him on many things and want nothing to do with him ever again, but I do agree with him on this. This story must be told and what comes next must be recorded. We will learn from the past, to shape a better future. That’s what being an Author truly means, and it’s the value I shall live by.”

“I’ll do my part too.” Navi speaks now. “I’ve lost my family again, unable to do a thing. It frustrates me to no end, how powerless I am, but I’m not going to let that beat me. I’m going to be stronger and ensure that others like me can be strong too. There are not many of us left now that Garrett has betrayed us.” Clara and Almyra are shocked, but don’t interrupt. “He may have stolen the lives of many Kree today, but he cannot kill our spirit. I will make it my mission to guide those Demikri children that remain into a brighter future. I know how painful it is to be orphaned by such a tragic event, and I refuse to let them grow up with the same malice. I want them to see that humans can be kind too and I hope that you two might help me with that.”

Almyra says, “of course, we will Navi. I only want there to be peace now and I will do what I must to make it happen. I will speak with the other provinces and together we will find a better way. We will rebuild and create a stronger, united nation. Division is not the way to go and I’ll be sure that they understand that. This must become a nation for all, including the Kree.”

Clara says, “naturally, this won’t happen overnight and there will likely be a lot of power struggles, so I will continue to serve in the armed forces, to keep all of us safe and have a peaceful transition.”

“We’ll help in any way we can too.” Johan speaks for he and Amy, who nods in agreement.

“Don’t forget about us.” Tobias says this as he joins in the group, with a now conscious Spencer. “I’ll help Mom with the political stuff. I’m so happy you’re alive Mom. I never gave up hope.” He hugs her and she hugs him back. Everyone smiles at the heartfelt exchange.

“I can’t do much, but it’d be an honor to serve under you Commander. I’ve heard so much.” Spencer smiles and holds out his hand to Clara, who takes it with a smile of her own and a nod.

“Us as well.” Wanda and Walter appear from behind. “We wish to help in rebuilding,” she says.

Almyra confronts them in anger. “It’s thanks to your crooked schemes with James that we are in this mess! I should kill you both for the crime of treason!”

“We know we did wrong, but James made us do most of those things, I swear.” Walter pleads their case. “Our loved ones were at stake, so we did what we had to do. I for one will do anything you ask my Queen. I’ve always been your loyal subject, even when forced to do bad things.”

“The same goes for me. I promise to never abuse my medical privileges again. In fact, when you have time my Queen, there’s something we must show you. Something Walter and I were working on in secret. It was to be our hope for the future if James were to succeed. He may have failed, but I believe it’s still something very special and it’s only right it’s left to your family.”

Almyra looks at her skeptically, but doesn’t say anything about it now. Instead she says, “very well. I shall come to see it shortly. For now, we must contact the other kingdoms for aid.”

“Wait, what of Amelia and Elli? Are they still fighting? They’ll settle things peacefully, right?”

Everyone is suddenly somber, no one quite sure what to say. But as before, Clara says once again, “we must trust them to work things out on their own. For now, let us do what we can.”

                  *** “The East Garden”, Garmin-The West Province, Fall Year 2530 ***

          “Fight back Amelia!” Elli shouts at Amelia as she continues her onslaught of slashes with her sword. However, Amelia continues to simply block and evade, not striking back. “If you don’t want to fight, then just stand still and let me run my blade through you. I’d prefer to kill you honorably, but if you decide to give it up without a fight, I won’t object. I just wish you’d make it easier on me. So, make up your mind, what is it that you want to do?!”

“I want to talk to you! I can’t die until you know the truth, but I can’t exactly explain it when you’re coming at me with your sword so aggressively. So please, just hear me out and then I promise you can kill me. I’ll stand in one spot and happily take your blade into me.”

Elli doesn’t want to hear it, and prepares to lunge again, but suddenly, there’s a huge explosion, as the estate is hit with a massive fire bomb. The ground beneath them breaks apart, knocking them off their feet as the aftershock of the blast sends them flying back. At the same time, the walls of the estate have begun to crumble and the pieces fall all around them. Elli rolls just before a huge column lands on top of her and quickly gets to her feet, as the shaking settles down. She looks all around, at the rubble, fire and upturned grass and looks for any sign of Amelia. She knows she shouldn’t care, as she plans to kill her anyway, but somehow, she can’t help it. She wants her dead, but for her to die in any way other than by her own hand is something she couldn’t bear. She calls out to her. “Amelia!” She runs back towards where they were. “Amelia!” She hears someone cough. She runs over and finally finds her, laid out on the ground. “Are you ok? Speak to me!” She scans for any serious damage, but it seems she’s ok.

Amelia sits up and looks at Elli in amusement. “I didn’t realize you still cared so much.”

Elli looks away stubbornly and says, “I don’t care that much! I just, I won’t be happy unless I’m the one that kills you. That’s all there is to it.” She blushes slightly, despite frowning. Amelia laughs again, which only increases the color of Elli’s blush. “Stop laughing at me!”

“I’m sorry.” She stands up and as she gets to her feet, she brushes off the debris and dust.

Elli stands upright as well and faces Amelia. She sheathes her sword as she says, “you’ve got five minutes. If you can’t effectively get your point across by then, this blade is going through you no matter what. So, choose your words wisely.” Elli’s voice is sharp and intense.

Amelia retracts her own blade and faces Elli. “I will do my best.” She takes a breath and then she begins. “What I meant when I said you left me no choice, was that you didn’t give me another option. I could tell that you weren’t taking my threat seriously enough and believed that I’d offered leniency. I knew you’d never have gone to see Liam if you had truly believed I was capable of punishing him the way I was supposed to. I killed him so that you would see that I wasn’t going to be lenient. I wanted you to believe that I hated you and that I wanted to annihilate you and the Kree. I needed to convince everyone of that, even my father. However, my father is not an idiot. He would’ve seen through me if I’d been even slightly lenient on you or Liam. So that’s why I had to do it and Liam understood that. He accepted his fate gracefully.”

“Am I supposed to find comfort in that? Even if he knew what would happen when he went to see you that day and was ready for it, that doesn’t change the fact that it was still you who carried out the punishment. I may have been able to forgive you if it’d been your father or even if you had simply ordered a guard to do it. Maybe then I could’ve believed it was all for show. But taking your blade and stabbing him through the heart with your own hands; that’s not a show. That was personal and I know it was payback for your mother. You wanted to make me hurt, just as you were hurting. Because I’m Kree and they were the ones who you believe took your mother from you, you felt that it’d only be fair if you as a human took away someone I loved. That’s the message you wanted to send me, even if you don’t want to believe it, I know it’s true. I got the message loud and clear and as you can see, this is my response. I feel bad that so many innocent people have to lose their lives, but I’m not sorry because no one in this Kingdom ever showed me an ounce of kindness, before you. They all treated me like trash and like a freak, so frankly, I think they got what they deserved. As for you, well, you brought this on yourself when you cast me out. You threw away our love and didn’t have faith in me to believe it when I told you Navi didn’t kill your mother. So, if you feel sad about what’s happened, blame yourself.”

“I do blame myself Elli, trust me I do. I deserved this and so did all those who wronged you. However, you don’t understand that I didn’t send you away for hate, but for love.”

“What? What kind of nonsense are you even saying? You did it for love? Don’t even try that!”

“But it’s true Elli. I sent you away because I knew you’d never leave on your own. Navi knew it too, that’s why she said she killed my mother when she didn’t. I’d realized that eventually and knew that she was innocent before I ever sent you away. However, my father didn’t know I knew that and so it gave me an opportunity to convince him. In the end however, I sent you away because if you didn’t think I hated you, you’d stay and the Kingdom and my father would turn against you. They’d blame you for my mother’s death as Kree and you’d have been the scapegoat. The citizens surly would’ve demanded your execution and Father would’ve left me no choice but to accept it as he carried it out. I was sparing you from that, and the only way you’d believe I could ever hate you, was if I threatened to kill you. As we can see, it worked quite well, too well and now here we are. The point is Elli, I did all of this, I broke us, solely for your sake.”

Elli’s expression has gone dark as she looks down at the ground. She trembles slightly as she says, “for my sake? You’re saying you did this for my sake!” She charges Amelia and draws her blade, stopping it just before her neck. Amelia doesn’t try to avoid her. “If you really cared so much about me and my wellbeing, then you should’ve just let me stay! If I had to die for everyone to feel fulfilled, then so be it. I’d have proudly walked up to the guillotine if I knew it was necessary to secure your future. At least I’d have been with you right up until the end and Liam would still be alive. He’d have been sad, but still, he’d have moved on with his life and new family over time. Soon enough, I’m sure your mother would’ve revealed herself to everyone and the feud between the Kingdom and the Kree could have probably been brought to a peaceful end. James would’ve been exposed and removed and happy days could’ve been had. That’s a future I’d be happy to die for. But for you to banish me, and to destroy us, our love, because you were too scared to see me die; that’s not acceptable. You turning away from me was the first stab to my chest and it left me bleeding out slowly. Killing Liam was you twisting the knife in and striking me down completely. You didn’t save me. You killed me! I’ve lost everything and I’m living now as no more than a corpse. I pray to be released from this world of suffering, but I can’t lay down in that cold grave until you’ve paid for what you’ve done. That’s why I’m here now.” Elli is fighting to hold back her tears as she looks directly at Amelia. Amelia feels pain in her chest from seeing Elli’s pained and broken expression. She never meant for her to feel that way and she never thought her actions would hurt her so deeply. She may have made a mistake.

“Elli, I-.”

“Elli!” Alice comes running into the garden, interrupting Amelia’s words. “Oh, thank god, I found you.” She runs over to her. “What was the deal about ditching me by the way, jerk!” She punches Elli’s arm, but doesn’t get a response. She finally seems to have caught on that she interrupted a tense moment, as she looks up at Amelia. “Oh, hello. Fancy meeting you here.”

“What are you doing here Alice?!” Elli finally looks up to face her, annoyed at her playfully attitude in such a serious situation. “If James and the Smee have been taken care of, shouldn’t you be assisting in getting everyone aboard the Smee ships? They are dead, aren’t they? Otherwise, what was this huge explosion just now?” She waits for Alice to answer.

“Well, that’s the thing Elli, that explosion wasn’t ours. It was the Smee’s final attack, intending to wipe out both Kree and humans once and for all. With that taken care of, they’re leaving as we speak. You can see for yourself, just look up.” She points to the sky and Elli follows her finger.

Elli’s eyes go wide, as she sees just what Alice described. The Smee ships are indeed flying away, back up into the sky and the Kree are presumably not on it. She turns back to Alice and frenzy and shouts, “what of the Kree? Are they at least safe?”

Alice finally loses all traces of her smile and changes her expression to grim. “I’m sorry Elli, but it’s just us now. Just our team and the group of Demikri who took refuge with us. Garrett was a creep and Triple Agent Smee undercover. He used those bombs meant for the Smee on our city and naturally, it killed all of those with pure Kree blood, even the hybrids. The Demikri were able to survive of course because they are not susceptible to the effects of oxygen. They’re all dead Elli. The Kree are all but extinct now. I’m so sorry.” Alice finally starts to sob.

Elli grabs Alice’s shoulders in support, to keep herself from buckling under the devastation she’s feeling. Even Amelia behind her, is devastated. She’s never have wished that on Elli, no matter what malice she may have had for the Kree. Elli uses all the strength she has to look up at Alice and softly say, “you have to go now Alice. Return to our city and find out who remains. Gather them together and find a place for you all to go. I know you can do it Alice. With Navi’s help, maybe even Johan and Amy, even the resistance, hell, even the humans; you can find a haven for the Kree. We may have lost our past and present, but you can still see that the Kree future is preserved. Even it’s through the Demikri, our race will live on. That’s my final dream for us.”

Alice takes Elli’s arms in support. “Well, of course, I’ll do that Elli. I’m sure everyone will do their best to help us find solace and move forward. However, you make it sound like you’re not planning on coming too. I won’t go without you Elli. I told you before, I’ll always stay by your side. Even if everyone else leaves you, I’ll still be here. So, let’s just go and-.”

“I’m not going with you Alice!” Elli yells at her harshly, making her reel back. Elli feels guilty, but isn’t backing down. “I need you to understand what I’m saying Alice. I’m counting on you to lead the Kree now. I won’t be able to be their Empress anymore, I doubt they’d want me now anyway. So, that leaves only you. You are the only one I trust to lead our people in my place.”

Alice finally grasps what she’s saying. “Elli, are you saying you want me to take over as Empress?” Elli nods. “I can’t! I’d never be able to lead them the way you can. They will forgive you Elli. They need you. We all do. So, please just come with me.”

“I’m sorry Alice, but I can’t. Even if they forgive me, I can’t forgive myself. It was my vengeful desires that lead us to this point and so I have to atone for that. So, I’m asking you for the last time Alice, please lead them in my place and keep the Kree alive, no matter what.”

Alice finally starts to cry. “But…I don’t want to be without you Elli. I…I really-.”

“I’m giving you the Kree Alice. I’m giving you a huge part of my heart. It’s the only part I can give you, so please, take care of it. This is my gift to you. It’s all I can do. Please, understand.”

Alice can see Elli’s genuine plea in her face and although she wants to, she cannot object anymore. She’s always known her feelings would never be returned, they never are. Not before with Navi and not now. Perhaps it’s her fate, to only be able to love others, without being allowed to receive love in return. Perhaps this is the most she can hope for. “Ok, I’ll go.” She leans in slightly, as though she might kiss her, but she doesn’t. She just rests her forehead on Elli’s and says, “I don’t know what you’re thinking, but no matter what it is, just please be safe and if you can, please be happy. You deserve that Elli, even if you don’t believe you do.”

Elli manages a smile and says, “thank you Alice. You as well, be safe and be happy.” They pull apart and after another glance, Alice runs off through the ruble, presumably to find the others. Elli turns back to Amelia, her tears finally breaking free. “Did it hurt this badly for you too?”

Amelia runs to Elli and hugs her, tears also falling from her eyes. “Yes, it did. It hurt like hell.”

“I guess we’re the same now, huh? We’ve both made terrible mistakes that led to the death of our innocent subjects. They had to die because we had the nerve to love each other. We probably should’ve never met. I believe that things would’ve been better for everyone if our eyes never met. However, I can’t say I regret it. Even if my soul has been damned in sin, feeling your love was worth it. I guess I should’ve just listened to you. We probably should’ve just run away.”

“Yes, I feel the same. I don’t regret us meeting either and if I could change the past, I’d still have us meet. Maybe things would have been better if we’d run away like I initially suggested, but now, I’m glad we didn’t. If we had, you’d have never met your mother, or Alice or anyone who has come into your life after all this time. I believe that the people we meet have a way of impacting our lives in amazing ways and even when we die, those memories can never be taken away. They will always remain in those who still live. I think that’s beautiful, don’t you?”

“You’re right, it is a beautiful thing. However, all sins must be accounted for in one way or another. So please, Amelia, kill me. Kill me for real, so that I can pay for my greatest sin.”

“If you mean letting your people die, that’s not your sin Elli. You shouldn’t blame your-.” Amelia’s sentence is cut short, as she feels the cold steel of Elli’s blade piercing her heart.

“That’s not my greatest sin…this is.” Elli screams out loudly as she snatches her sword from Amelia’s chest and blood starts to gush out. “I still can’t forgive you, but I also can’t forgive myself. So, kill me! Please, before it’s too late, kill me!” Her body becomes limp as she falls into Elli’s embrace. Elli pulls her close and holds her up. Her tears stream down her cheeks.

Amelia continues to hug Elli and smiles. “I won’t. I won’t kill you, not ever. Because I love you too much. I was bluffing before. You could kill my entire family before my eyes and even then, I’d still love you and could never kill you. I’ll love you forever…and always...Ellisia.” Her body becomes completely limp, as she dies, right there in Elli’s arms.

“No! No! No…Lia…. Please, take me with you. Don’t leave me here alone.” She clings to her. Elli falls to the ground, with Amelia in her arms and cries harder than she ever has before.

          After crying for the longest time, Elli finally runs dry. She stares out into the ocean, Amelia still in her arms. She remembered that Amelia often imagined drifting away, to some far-off place, where she could always be with her and live a simple life with no responsibility.

It’s where she hoped it would take her that time she attempted to take her own life and she’s sure, it’s where she’d want to go now. So, with the last ounce of strength she possesses, Elli stands and walks waist deep into the ocean, carrying Amelia with her as she goes. It’s there that Elli whispers so that only she’d hear, “let’s run away Amelia. Just the two of us. Let us go away to that place.” She kisses her once more. “I love you Amelia, forever and always.” She continues on, walking into the deep blue ocean until they are pulled under by the current. She doesn’t fight, letting it carry them wherever it will. All the while she holds her beloved in her arms. She can think of no better death, than this. To be with her only love, her soulmate, her Valkyrie Princess.

***

          Emerging from the shadows, the Author stands at the edge of the water. He can see no trace of the two, the strong ocean current having likely taken them far away by now. Where they will end up, even he cannot predict, but he has habit of believing that true love never really dies and always finds a way to come back around and manifest in other ways. Out loud, he says,

          “The story of the Valkyrie Princess has come to an end as a new age dawns. It was a story of the two star-crossed lovers that dared to dream that there could be something more and something better, who dared to love against impossible odds and who never gave up on each other, even at the bitter, tragic end. It’s a story that will live on in the hearts of many, inspiring future generations to never settle for a mediocre life. Most importantly of all, it will inspire them to find a love as magical as the one Elli and Amelia shared. And when they do, maybe…just maybe, they’ll give birth to a miracle too, as pure love remains and will always be…everlasting.

                                         *** “Someplace”, Somewhere, Sometime ***

          In a faraway place, on a day brighter than most, a single soldier walks through the countryside, with nothing but the clothes on their back. They are tired, weary and barely hanging on, but still, they smile, because they are going home. They passed through deserts, forests, and towns, riddled with obstacles and hardships. But they never gave up, for their love awaits. They don’t know how long their journey has taken, but none of that matters, when they finally see a small house over the horizon. In a field of flowers, stands the soldier’s wife, arms wide, eager to see her soldier home. At her feet, a child waits in anticipation. The soldier runs to them, their duty to protect fulfilled, and now, they can live peacefully together, surely…forever, and always.

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