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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5. Past the Point of No Return; Love Withers

*** “Sleeping Quarters”, Outer District-The West Province, Spring Year 2529 ***

          “Here we are, this will be your room. Are you certain you wish to room together? We-.”

“We’re sure, thank you.” Johan answers bluntly and taking Amy’s hand, he leads them inside and slams the door closed. Dev simply shrugs and walks away, deciding to leave them be.

No sooner than they are inside, does Amy latch on to Johan and bury her teary face in his chest as she cries. “How could Navi do that to them? Maybe we could have saved them!”

Johan supports her and guides them to the bed, where they sit together. “I don’t know that we could have Amy. I know it’s hard to face the truth when they were made from our own DNA, I’m also hurting, but they were corrupted. They were breeded specifically for malicious purposes using artificial means and therefore, they were also unnatural. They never would have seen us as their parents and we could’ve never truly cared for them as our children.”

“I know all of that! But still….” Amy doesn’t know what to say in opposition, yet her heart refuses to let her believe any differently. “It’s just, what if I’ll never be able to have more?”

Johan is silent for a moment, knowing he can’t guarantee she will, but he believes there is some hope and so says as much. “I believe you will be able to have more someday and that you will be a great mother Amy. In fact, I promise you here and now that I won’t die until I can give you one.” Amy looks surprised as well as embarrassed at his implication and suddenly he feels embarrassed as well. “Well, you know…I mean, I’d been thinking for a while and…uh.”

Amy actually finds a touch of humor in her to smile and even laugh lightly. “You’re cute when you try to be sweet.” Johan turns redder and laughs nervously. Amy has a sudden thought. “Hearing you say that makes me really happy, but what about…what about Skye. She-.”

“Is dead.” Amy is shocked at his matter of fact and blunt response. He softens slightly, but is still direct. “I think I’ve known it for quite some time now and one of the scientists confirmed it a couple of weeks ago, while speaking with another in secret. I overheard them talking about it.”

Amy has an expression of sorrow. “I’m so sorry Johan, I know Skye was important to you.”

“She was, I loved her more than I’d ever loved anyone before, but it seems we weren’t meant to be. I’ll never forget her, but at the same time, I understand that I can’t keep hanging on to the false hope that she’ll return to me. And if I’m being honest, I’m not sure I’d still feel the same even if we could meet again.” Amy looks at him slightly confused. “Do you understand?”

Amy thinks for a moment, about to deny that she understands, but when he grips her hand and looks at her with a loving expression, it all falls into place and fresh tears begin to fall. “Johan, are you saying that you…you could really love me? Even though I’m so worthless?”

“You’re not worthless!” He grips her hand tighter. “You’re kind and sincere and beautiful.”

“But I may never be able to give you children and I’m weak. I can’t stand on my own feet.”

“I don’t care about that. I’m going to do my best to help you have a child one day, but even if we can’t, I’ll still want to be with you. It may have started as an unwilling partnership, but over time, I started to fall for you and now I have no doubt. I love you Amy and if you’d have me, I’d like to spend the rest of my life with you, no matter what. I’ll never abandon you, I swear it.”

Amy starts crying even harder and again buries her face in his chest. “Are you an idiot? Of course, I’d have you, but I think you’re making a mistake choosing someone like me.”

“Amy, I’ll tell you I love you every day and that you are beautiful ten times a day until you believe it. You’re perfect just as you are. I love you as you are and for nothing more or less.”

She hugs him. “Ok, if you do that, then just maybe I’ll be able to believe it one day.”

He hugs her back. “I don’t know if Nathaniel is still alive or not, but I swear I’ll never stop trying to find him if he is. If I can, I’ll make sure your little brother will return to you.” She nods in gratitude as lies in his arms and he takes her into his embrace and they share a kiss. In that very position, they fall into the most restful sleep they’ve had in a long time, both smiling.

          Elsewhere, Makena arrives to what will be Navi’s sleeping quarters. “Well, here we are, this will be your room for the time being. The bathroom is down the hall there, sorry it doesn’t have its own, but only the Commander, Dev and I have such lavish quarters. So, you could come visit me whenever…that is if you want to of course.” Makena laughs awkwardly, in an attempt to cover her nervousness, but now that that she’s alone with Navi, she seems to have lost her nerve. “Um…help me out here Navi. I don’t usually invite girls back to my room, you know?”

Navi laughs out loud. “But, watching you try is so entertaining.”

“Stop making fun of me! Jerk!” She playfully punches Navi in her shoulder.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. But you really were cute. And you don’t have to try so hard.” Navi grabs Makena and pulls her into her arms and faces her, such that their lips are only inches apart. “I’ll go anywhere you want me. I’m never leaving you behind again Mak, never. Not even in death.”

“Wow, you certainly know your way around a girl’s heart don’t you.” Makena giggles and then leans in to connect her lips with Navi’s. They share a deep kiss, but it’s short as Navi pulls away.

“I was so scared that I’d actually lost you, for so long, but there was a part of me that also refused to give up hope you were alive. I knew you weren’t so weak as to be taken down so easy. You’re feisty and a fighter after all. However, now that you’re here in front of me, I almost can’t believe it. I keep thinking that I’m dreaming and I’m going to wake up and still be in that damn cell and you’d really be gone. I’m so grateful to the commander for finding you first. I’d never have forgiven myself if James got his hands on you, especially since I was the one who put you in danger by bringing you to Merope in the first place. I almost got you killed.” She tears up.

Makena wipes them away. “Navi don’t, don’t you dare blame yourself for that. I insisted on going with you, even when you said humans weren’t allowed, so it falls on me for taking the risk. You tried your best, so I have never resented you. I was more worried about you. I heard they were thinking of executing you and I was so scared. I’m glad your Empress spared you and settled only for exile, but I know with your loyalty, that might as well be death, so I need to apologize to you instead. I’m so sorry Navi, for everything. I hope you can forgive me.”

“Don’t be ridiculous Mak, you don’t have to apologize for anything. It was my fault no matter how you look at it. But look, let’s not even think about that anymore, because it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we’re together now and that I’m never going to leave you behind again.”

“Navi….” Overtaken by emotion, Makena leans in for a kiss once again and this time, it’s one full of passion and desire. She pulls Navi to her, causing them to fall back onto Navi’s bed.

Navi can feel Makena pulling at her clothes and although every fiber of her being wants Makena, she feels scared to go further, as the fact remains that Makena is human and if she loses control, Navi might hurt her. “Mak…we shouldn’t. I don’t want to hurt you. I’m still Demikri, ya know?”

“I know that, but so what? You think because I’m human I can’t handle you? I thought my humanity was something you loved about me. Would you have preferred I’d done like Alice and forsake my humanity? Because it doesn’t seem like that worked out too well for her either.”

Navi looks at Makena in shock. “How do you…have you spoken to Alice? Did she tell you?”

Seeing the pain in Navi’s eyes, Makena realizes she might have spoken rashly. “I’m sorry, maybe it’s not my business, but yea, I had the chance to speak with Alice once, when your empress first made contact with us. Alice escorted her and had apparently heard all about me from Elli and about my feelings for you and yours for me. She knew that the commander had offered me a chance to do as she did, to become like Kree for your sake and she felt it was only right that she enlighten me to her mistake when faced with that same choice. I considered, but between her story and my own reservations, I decided to stay as I was and just train as a human.”

“I’m glad you made that choice. Not just because of me, but just because I’d never have wished this existence on you. I think I just realized something as well though. All this time, I think Alice has had the wrong idea. I didn’t push her away because I was angry she became Kree for me, but because I felt it was my fault she gave up her precious humanity for such a cruel existence. Her fate is worse than mine now, as she became a full Kree, not even Demikri like I am. I couldn’t face her because of my guilt, but I fear I gave her a different impression. I also must admit that using her to alleviate my pain and desires after my breakups was regrettable, but, I had hoped that she would realize I wasn’t worth her love. There was surely someone out there much better for her than me. However, I also never loved her the way she must have loved me. Her love for me, is the kind of love I feel for you now. And so, because of those feelings, I don’t want to do anything to hurt you. So, no I don’t want you to forsake your humanity for me, but I don’t want you to be reckless with it either. I think we should take things slow and maybe learn to become more intimate over time. To go all out now, I fear that I could kill you.”

“I think you’re exaggerating Navi, I mean, based on what I’ve seen from you and Elli, Demikri seem to be nothing but superhuman. You’ve got strength and higher resilience, but are otherwise the same, right? I can’t imagine you’d have such a hard time controlling your strength.”

Navi grins for a moment and then holds Makena’s arms down. They both can’t help feeling a sense of déjà vu. “Mak…I think you’re misunderstanding some very important things. One, Elli and I are quite different, pretty much in every sense. Elli is more human than Demikri at this point, because it’s all she’s really known. However, if she were to train; and she will have to train, she’d unlock a whole new realm of possibility. I however, have been raised as Demikri from birth and had trained extensively, so I can bring down any mere human in an instant. Second, unlike the other Kree, we have no need for the toxic elements and can actually metabolize both those and oxygen. That’s why being around Demikri is so beneficial to other Kree. They can absorb the nutrients they need passively, without causing serious harm to the Demi. Empress Evani used to do it all the time with Elli, though I’m sure Elli never realized it, not back then at least. It’s because she lost that source that she and her people are….” Navi has a pained expression. “Nevermind that. The point is, I could easily kill you and I don’t want that.”

Makena can see Navi is struggling with a lot of worries and emotions, and so she touches her cheek gently, but her response is firm. “Ok, so maybe there’s a lot I don’t know, but here’s something I do know. I’m not weak and I love you. I know you love me too and I know you’d never hurt me. Maybe there’s a lot we need to figure out, and we will, but we’ll do it together, starting now. I had to be without you for so long, just after realizing how I felt and I had no idea if you were dead or alive. It was the same for you with me and so we both had to go through that torture. Now, we’re faced with an even greater conflict, that may very well be the end of us, so I’m not going to wait any longer. I love you Navi and I want to show you that like this!”

Seeing the tears in Makena’s eyes, Navi finally realizes just how serious she is. Although she knows how serious this conversation is, Navi can’t help but laugh. Upon seeing Makena’s frown, she quickly defends herself. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to laugh. I’m taking you very seriously, it just…it’s strange seeing the big, bad Makena be so sentimental. I like this you so much more.” Navi leans down, so that her face is close to Makena’s, making Makena blush and look away slightly. “And one more thing I think you’ve forgotten Mak, girls can be beasts too, remember?”

Her cheeks are flushed, but Makena faces Navi confidentially and says, “I remember. So, show me. Show me just how beastly you can be, so that I’ll never be able to forget. Please Navi.”

Navi’s face is full of surprise and she grins in amusement. “Makena Foster, you really are….” Navi takes her face into her hand and gazes into her eyes with love and admiration. “Fearless.” With no reservations, their lips connect and they become one; hearts full of passion and love.

*** “The Royal Estate”, Garmin-The West Province, Spring Year 2529 ***

          “I’m sorry? Did you say you want to be coronated now?” James is slightly surprised.

Amelia rings her hands, slightly nervous, but she knows she has to stand firm. “That’s right. I know you said you wanted to wait until this war was resolved and for me to be 18, but I don’t think that’s best. The kingdom needs to know that we’re united and that I’ll be able to handle anything that comes our way. If they see that you still haven’t allowed me to be sworn in as a proper Valkyrie Queen, then that will arise suspicion that I’m not competent or that I don’t care enough for my people. They won’t join in our fight to protect ourselves from the Kree or any threat that may present itself unless they can have confidence in my rule. So yes Papa, I’m asking you to officially announce my coronation and have me sworn in by week’s end. I may not have expected to have to take up the helm so soon and I certainly didn’t want this, but none of us could’ve foreseen mom’s untimely death or that the Kree might pose such a threat. If mom could speak to me here, I know she’d tell me to chin up and take responsibility now. The time to cry comes later. I have to atone for my poor manners as her daughter and I want to show her that I can be strong and rule her beloved kingdom in her stead. I owe her that. So please, Papa.”

“The Princess makes an excellent point your majesty. I think the people need to have most confidence possible in the kingdom’s rulers if they are to cooperate and support any desired actions.” Lars, the Royal Advisor speaks directly to James. “I know you’d expressed concerns about Amelia taking the throne so soon, wanting her to enjoy her childhood for as long as possible, but I don’t think we can afford to postpone it. She seems to be much more matured than I initially believed she was and I think she’d do well as Queen now. She is the daughter of our best after all. I think we should go forward your majesty, but of course, it’s your decision.”

James sits on the throne, contemplating on what he’s going to do. He masks it well, but he’s quite livid, that Amelia would ask this of him, but most of all; that she’d do it in audience of the Royal Court Advisor. Even if he wished to deny her request, he couldn’t just by that fact alone. Lars may have left it to James’ discretion, but if he were to say no, Lars would certainly find it suspicious and it’d lead to James’ motives to be questioned. He sneaks a glance at Tobias, looking poised and proud and just a slight bit smug. James knows that he’s the one behind this. He finally grew a spine after years of simply watching from the shadows and convinced Amelia to do this; as she’d never have had the nerve on her own. Perhaps he should’ve killed him too.

“Well father, have you made a decision? I also agree with Lar’s sentiments.” Tobias speaks to James, as though to taunt him. He’s going to take action such that he’ll wish he had killed him along with his mother. “Even I, despite having doubts before, believe Amelia is ready for this.”

James discretely grits his teeth. With this three to one odd, refusal is not an option and they all know it. With a sigh, James finally stands and approaches Amelia. He can see her tense up and he secretly smiles, enjoying the heir of superiority he still has over her. He places his hand on her, as though to calm her. “Amelia, first I must say, I never expected you to have such a strong resolve. It seems your mother left a much greater impact on you then I’d even thought. She’d be so proud. Second, I’m so proud of you, for putting aside your misgivings about this responsibility and doing what you must for the greater good. You’re slowly becoming the strong woman I’d always hoped you’d become one day. I still wish you could’ve enjoyed your carefree youth a bit longer, but I suppose the situation doesn’t quite allow for that luxury. Therefore, I will bend my desires and announce your coronation for this week’s end. Will that be fine?”

Amelia’s eyes light up and she smiles widely. “Yes Papa, that’s perfect! Thank you so much!” She hugs him tightly and kisses his cheek. “I promise I’ll make you proud and do my best.”

He hugs back, his face facing away from everyone. “Of course, you will Baby Love, I’ll be looking forward to it.” He says this through gritted teeth and a discontented expression.

“My King, Princess!” They turn their attention to Garrett. “Mr. Almont is here and requesting audience with you Sir. It seems he got word of your message regarding his sister and he’s naturally quite upset. He refuses to leave on his own. Should I have him escorted away?”

“You can tell Mr. Almont that he can request a meeting with the court through the standard procedures. If he still refuses to leave, then please see him out personally.”

“Wait, Papa, isn’t that a bit harsh? Surely we can hear him out and explain the situation?”

“I appreciate you wanting to maintain peace between us and our subjects, but there’s not much we can say that will make him understand. You personally sent his sister away, exiling her from the kingdom. Do you think he’ll be willing to hear you rationally knowing such a thing?”

Amelia looks down. She hadn’t really thought of it like that, but hearing it out loud, it does sound pretty bad. However, this is the brother of the girl she loves; he deserves an explanation.

“I know Papa, he probably will hate me, but even still; I must go speak with him. I must explain exactly why I did what I did. It probably won’t pacify him, but it’s the respectable action.”

James sighs once again and responds. “You really are maturing right before my eyes. Very well, I’ll allow you to speak with him, but briefly. If you take too long, I’ll send Garrett after you.”

“Thank you, Papa. I won’t be long.” Amelia hurries away.

“She really is becoming a wonderful young woman. You should be proud your majesty.”

“Yes, she surely is. Thank you, Lars. Now, we must prepare for the Queen’s memorial and now Amelia’s coronation. We don’t have much time, so shall we?” Lars nods. “I’ll be there soon.”

Once Lars has made his exit, Tobias finally moves from his corner of the room, with a fully smug expression as he approaches his father. James turns and scowls at him, upset over his interference and Tobias knows it as he says, “don’t look so serious father, you’ll wrinkle.”

James gives him an arrogant grin and stands just besides, so that he may whisper in his ear. “You will regret this son, I assure you. Soon, you’ll wish you’d remained the vain and spoiled little shit you’ve always been. I really should’ve killed you too.” He gives a fake smile and pat on the arm.

As James walks away, Tobias grins is satisfaction, knowing he’s successfully ruffled his father’s feathers for the first time. He’s also pleased to know that he was correct in assuming he was behind his mother’s death. He knows his father left no traces, so he can easily admit it to him without fear of being found out, but Tobias isn’t worried about him or his threat, as he knows there’s nothing he can use against him, especially once Amelia is coronated. Nothing except….

“Toby!” Spencer runs up behind him and hugs him hard. “I missed you! I’m sorry about your-.”

“Spencer! Have you forgotten where you are? Have some respect. Is this how you act in the presence of the Royal Prince?” He moves away from him and wears a stern expression.

Spencer is momentarily wounded by his harsh tone, but then he realizes that he had acted in an inappropriate manner considering they were in a very public space and their relationship wasn’t common knowledge. “I’m very sorry my Prince, I lost myself momentarily. Please forgive me.”

“It’s fine, as long as you understand.” He maintains his stern demeanor, though truthfully, he dislikes being this coarse with him, even for appearances. But it’s better this way. In fact, the fact that they are together and his father is aware of that fact, gives him the only ammunition he has. He almost considers breaking things off between them, so he couldn’t be blackmailed with their relationship, but then Toby realized how that wouldn’t stop his father from going after him or even trying to kill him. So, he won’t do that. However, he can’t allow him to roam freely anymore either. He suddenly comes up with a perfect plan. “Actually, I think you need to be taught a more thorough lesson. I need to teach you proper manners from step one.”

“My Prince?” Spencer is confused and tries to see through his meaning in his eyes, but fails.

“From this day forward, you will serve as my  personal attendant. You will stay in my chambers, escort me everywhere and will not otherwise leave my side. I will lead you in proper manners by example and so this would be the most efficient way. This is a punishment. Do you understand?”

Spencer’s eyes light up, as all he understood from that was he and his boyfriend will be spending every moment together from now on. However, he realizes this must be a show of some sort, so he plays his part. “If that’s your command, then I will oblige my Prince. I will do my best to serve you accordingly and refine my poor manners.” Spencer silently cheers on the inside.

Tobias realizes he’s oblivious to the real reason he’s doing this, but decides it’s best this way. “Very well. Then, please go and gather your personal items from home and return at once.”

“Yes, my Prince, of course!” Spencer hurries along, practically skipping as he goes. Toby can’t help but smile a little at his reaction. It’s not exactly the conditions he’d preferred for them to be moving in together, but he supposes the increased alone time might be the one positive to take from this otherwise troublesome situation. He takes his leave, to prepare things for his guest.

          Outside, Amelia mentally prepares herself as she approaches Liam, who looks just as upset as she’d expect. She can’t tell him the truth, but lying seems so wrong. She has to find a third option. Just before she reaches him, she gently calls out his name. “Liam.”

He looks surprised to see Amelia, but also suddenly relieved. “Oh, thank god it’s you Amelia, you can clear up whatever this misunderstanding is, can’t you?” He places his hands on her.

“Well, I’m not sure I’ll be able to tell you what you want to hear Liam. If you’re referring to Elli’s exile, I’m afraid that’s not a misunderstanding. I really did order it myself.”

His jaw drops and his grip tightens. “What?! But why, Amelia, why would you do that? You?”

“I’m sorry Liam, but she left me no choice. She refused to let me apprehend the culprit behind my mother’s murder. Navi confessed to killing her, yet Elli defended her, insisting she was lying. I couldn’t openly accept someone who would interfere with bringing the guilty party to justice, so rather than execute her along with Navi, as would be the suggested course of action, I exiled her instead. I didn’t wish to do it Liam, I know you understand that. But if it was either that or execution, there was no other choice. Surely you’d have done the same?” It’s a truthful lie.

Liam begins to tear up. Under such circumstances, he knows that Amelia was sparing Elli a much worse fate, but that doesn’t change the fact that he may never get to see her again. “What am I supposed to do Amelia? She’s my baby sister. She’s all I’ve had for so long and even with my fiancé and child on the way, I still need her with me. So, what do I do? How can I forget?”

He finally breaks down, falling at Amelia’s knees and crying. “Liam…I…I also…don’t know.” Amelia finds herself crying, as she falls to the ground beside him. “Sending her away was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. If I could’ve done things differently, I would’ve, but Elli made her choice when she chose Navi over me. So, although I love her and I always will, I cannot permit her to stay in our kingdom. It pains me to say it, but any contact with her is also forbidden, so please, if she tries to contact you, don’t reply. Because Liam….” He looks up to see her serious expression. “Consorting with enemies of the kingdom is punishable by death.”

Liam feels a chill run down his spine at her indirect threat. He stands up with a darkened expression, realizing that the throne has already started to taint her, before it’s even officially hers. He wonders if she even realizes it herself? “I understand, I’ll be sure to oblige your command. Good day to you, your majesty.” Liam walks away, broken and dejected at the fact that he’s very likely lost his little sister forever, and for the sake of his new family, there’s nothing he can do about it. He has to have faith in Elli and her ability to take care of herself. He whispers to himself, “please Elli, be safe. I’ll never forget you, not as long as I live.”

Amelia stands, her heart pained at having to treat Liam in such a way, when he’d been nothing but kind to her, but she had no choice. He needed him to understand that there are powers greater than her own wishes at work and that they all have to stick to the rules, if everyone is to survive. She doesn’t want to become ruthless or corrupted, but it seems she will have no choice. Besides convincing her father, she must convince Elli that she’s not going to be lenient and convince her to stay away and never contact her again. To keep her safe she’ll do anything she must, anything.

*** “The Almont Residence”, Armenia-The West Province, Spring Year 2529 ***

          Elli stands in the shadows, looking up at the small house she’ll never be able to return to again. She ran here after her mother revealed the most devastating news, that she was dying. She knew she looked unwell and had wondered if she was ill, but she never once imagined it’d be such a critical condition as that. It seems that the deprivation of the necessary elements has finally caught up to her and all the pure blooded Kree. Only the hybrids and Demikri remain stable, as they have the ability to metabolize the abundance of oxygen in the environment and don’t require the elements in the same manner. The pure bloods had since been enduring due to artificial methods, the atmosphere of Merope kept polluted with those elements, but it’s no longer effective. Their bodies have adapted to the false nutrients and like a resistance, no longer respond to the artificial elements, only to natural elements. However, due to the kingdom’s efforts, all natural elements the Kree would need are void, leaving only pure oxygen, which is toxic to Kree and causes them to become crazed; becoming the Kree the humans have always feared. Therefore, the only hope the Kree have for survival is to either return to their own planet, or co-habitat with the humans. Both are virtually impossible however, as their planet has long since been destroyed by the vengeful Smee, after the Kree invaded Earth first. The second is equally as impossible, as the Kingdom would never accept the Kree into their walls, especially not after they’ve been falsely informed that Kree are responsible for their Queen’s murder. Ultimately, the Kree are doomed, unless they can somehow make peace with the Smee and join their home planet or make peace with the kingdom and once again live among the humans.

This is, of course, where Elli comes in. Her mother wants her to take over the throne, and lead their people to salvation. She believes that Elli can succeed in whichever course she may take. She’s being given the reigns to lead the Kree in whichever direction she may choose without her mother’s opposition or interference. It’s a generous offer, one that Amelia would never have received willingly from her father. Elli should feel blessed to have a powerful mother who has so much faith and trust in her, that she’d hand over her precious empire to her with no reservations; yet Elli feels overwhelmed and resistant. She doesn’t know that she has as much faith in herself as her mother does and she’s not even sure she deserves it. She’d been living a humble and happy life for almost 17 years, never knowing such a big part of herself and her history. She wanted to continue living as a human and with those who’d wronged her family so much.

Even when she did wake up and realize that her people were in distress and needed help, she did the bare minimum. She didn’t commit herself fully to the cause and the simple truth of why was because she had a conflict of interest. Committing to the cause of the Kree, would mean turning her back on the kingdom and Amelia. She could’ve forsaken the kingdom, but she could’ve never left Amelia behind on her own. In the end, she chose love over her people and although she doesn’t regret it, she doesn’t feel she deserves to be given command over an Empire she didn’t fight for. She’s sure the people would agree. They love her mother and praise her as a ruler, but they have no respect for a princess who only carries that title in name only and not with her actions or concern. She can’t be their Empress and she told her mom as much, then ran away.

That’s how she found herself here, the one place she knew she’d always be welcomed and safe. However, she knows that things cannot be the same, as she’s now an enemy to the kingdom and if she were to make contact with Liam, she could be putting him at risk too. However, she still has faith in Amelia, that even if she’s cast her away, she’d never look badly on Liam and would be lenient. Amelia may fall under her father’s guidance, but even she has a conscious. That belief is the only thing that allows Elli to step out of the shadows and call out to Liam, who had just been arriving home after a long day of work. “Liam!” He looks up and becomes ecstatic.

“Elli!” He runs over to her and gives her a big hug. “Oh Elli, I’m so happy to see you. I thought I might never see you again. After hearing about your exile, I was distraught. I was most surprised to hear Amelia was the one who ordered it. I’ll admit, I never would’ve seen that coming. Why?”

Elli looks down in sadness. “Because I betrayed her. I refused to let her kill Navi or do it myself as she asked because despite what Navi may have said, I know she didn’t kill the Queen. No matter how much I love Amelia, I couldn’t bear allowing innocent blood to be spilled. So, she banished me and promised that she’d kill me the next time we met. Talk about a bad breakup.” Elli laughs lightly at her joke, but Liam can see her eyes harbor no humor, only sadness.

“I’m so sorry Elli. I know that was a difficult decision. Doing the right thing often is unrewarding.” He hugs her again. “Hey, come in for a while. At least for one last time.”

Elli shakes her head. “I shouldn’t. You’ll be punished if you communicate with enemies of the kingdom. Believe it or not, I’m officially an enemy. I just wanted to see you one last time.”

“That’s exactly why I want you to come inside. This may be the last time we get to be together.”

Elli can see him pleading with his eyes and so although it’s against her better judgement, she gives in. “Ok, but just for a few minutes.” He smiles happily and then escorts her inside. When they enter the house, they can hear cluttering in the kitchen.

Delia Foster comes out of the kitchen smiling, ready to welcome her soon-to-be husband home. However, her face drops, when she sees Elli standing beside him. “Liam…why’s she here?”

Liam looks at her as though she asked the most ridiculous question in the world. “Why? Because she’s my little sister and this is her home. Why else? I invited her to chat for a bit, once more.”

“Yes, but Liam….” She looks at Elli, obviously not wanting to say it in front of her face. “Can I talk to you in the other room for a moment please Liam?”

“No, what’s there to talk about that Elli can’t hear? You’re treating her like a criminal Delia.”

“Uh, yea, I really should just go Liam. Please, I don’t want to cause any trouble.”

“No, you’re not leaving. You’re going to stay right here and spend one more moment with me. Elli is staying Delia. Now, I’m sorry if you don’t like it, but if it’s that troublesome to you, then you have your own place to return to.” He looks at her adamantly and she frowns.

She throws down the dishtowel she was holding and says, “very well then! I will go to my own home. If you’re foolish enough to harbor a convict in your home, then I want no part of it anyway. I just hope you won’t come to regret this choice. For our child’s sake, most of all.”

As she walks out and slams the door, Liam sighs heavily. “Well, I’ll pay for that later, but it’s fine. Please, come in and get comfortable. For at least this one day, this is still your home.”

Elli hesitantly walks further in. “I’m sorry Liam. I don’t want to cause problems for you guys.”

“I said not to worry about it, didn’t I? Anyway, let me see what she had cooking in here. I’ll get you some carrot juice too, your favorite.” Liam enters the kitchen, scurrying about like always, obviously happy that he can dote on his baby sister as before. He returns a few moments later, with two glasses of carrot juice and some cookies. “Alright, eat up. You can have dessert first, just this once. Looks like it’s gumbo for dinner.” He sits close beside Elli with a smile.

Elli can see how happy he is and knowing this will be the last time they’ll get to talk for a long time, it hurts. But she wants to leave with happy memories, so she stops worrying and enjoys.

“Thanks Liam, this is great. I’m going to leave right after dinner though, ok?” He nods. “So, how did Amelia seem to you? I’m assuming you met with her since you’d heard about me?”

Liam laughs. “You would ask me about your girlfriend even when spending time with me.”

Elli turns red in embarrassment. “I’m sorry Liam, I didn’t mean to be like that. You know I’m happy to be here with you. I guess I just asked the first thing on my mind…ugh, I’m sorry.”

He laughs again. “It’s fine Elli, seriously. I was just joking. I don’t blame you for asking. To answer simply, she’s certainly learning the ropes quickly. She’s a lot more mature and brutal than she used to be. She even threatened me. Not directly per se, but in a cautionary manner.”

Elli is surprised. “Seriously, what’d she say?”

“That communicating with enemies of the kingdom is punishable by death. It’s a fact I already knew, but the way she said it…it was so serious. I felt like she’d actually kill me if I did it.”

“No way. Amelia may have been forced to grow up by the circumstances, but she’s still herself. Not even James’ influence would be enough to have her kill you. She knows you’re innocent and would never willingly break any laws without reason. She’d probably be stern with you for show, maybe even dock your pay or fire you at worst. Not that I want that for you either, but I know Amelia. Even on her worst days, she’d never kill someone who didn’t deserve it or that she knows are important to those she loves. She knows how close we are and how much I love you and because she loves me, even if she did cast me out, I know she’d spare you.”

Liam looks a bit uncertain and starts to tell Elli the change he saw in Amelia, and how dark she seemed to have become in that brief moment, but decides against it, not wanting to tarnish Elli’s final memories of her beloved. “Yea, I’m sure you’re right Elli. Anyway, I’m sure she still loves you just as you still love her. I don’t think that’ll ever change. I hope you’ll reconcile somehow.”

“I wish that too, but it’s unlikely Liam. She made a very public declaration and so even if she wanted to, she can’t take it back. I’d like to believe that one day we will find ourselves back together, beating the odds, but the cards are stacked against us. Our love was probably never meant to be happy. With us being so different, tragedy is the best we could expect.”

“Well, even if it comes to that, I just at least hope you both will find a way to peacefully resolve this situation between the humans and Kree and lead lives happily, even with other people.”

“That’s a real nice dream Liam, but I fear only a dream. I don’t think it’s possible. I think there’s only one way for there to be peace now, but I fear that will require a huge sacrifice on the Kree.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean bowing out gracefully and accepting our fate. We should just keep ourselves isolated and when our time is up, we take the ferry ride out of here and let the humans solve their own messes. It’s possible Kree and humans should’ve never met, but they did and because of the human’s betrayal, Kree became monsters. It’s only fair that if we have to suffer, humans pay for their crimes and believe me when I say, they will. As a far greater threat than Kree is coming.”

“Well, I understand what you’re saying Elli, but doesn’t that seem a lot like running away and turning a blind eye? You know how it goes, two wrongs don’t make a right? I thought you were more selfless than that. And what greater threat is coming exactly?”

“Why do I have to be the selfless one? Why do Kree have to forgive?! They caused our demise and now we’re still supposed to save their butts? I’m sorry Liam, but my selflessness and riotousness only goes so far. I’m tired of everyone thinking I’m some heroine or something. I’m just me Liam. I don’t want to fight, I don’t want to lead some resistance, I don’t want to rule!”

“Then don’t.” Liam can see she’s caught off guard by his straightforward response and continues on. “You don’t owe anyone anything, so don’t. Just remember that whatever choice you make, it should be the one that you can live with. If you can live with that, if you feel that you won’t have any regrets and have nothing to lose, then don’t fight. Wars fought without a purpose are destined to favor your opponent. So, if you’ve nothing to gain from facing the kingdom, don’t.”

Elli is silent, understanding that Liam just dropped a bomb of wisdom on her. After several minutes, she finally responds. “Ok, I agree that leaving humanity to suffer certain annihilation is probably wrong, but I will not agree that this war against the kingdom isn’t. I will do my best to assist my mother and the resistance in fighting the Smee, who are a new race of aliens coming to destroy the earth. However, I will not engage this pointless war against the kingdom and I will not fight Amelia. I see no merit in that and honestly, I could never bring myself to hurt her.”

“That’s my Elli.” Liam hugs her. “You always do what’s right and that’s why I love you.”

“Stop being so cheesy.” She playfully pushes him away, but then hugs him back, lovingly.

Just then, Elli remembers something important. “Oh yes, Liam! I almost forgot some big news! Mom, like our mother, she’s alive.” Liam’s eyes go wide and he freezes. “She’s alive Liam!”

“Elli, tell me you’re not joking right now, because that’s a cruel joke, especially for you.”

“I’m not, she’s alive! She’s the commander of the resistance outside the limits of the province.”

“This can’t be real. If it is, then why did she never come back? Why’d she leave me and dad?!”

“Because, James killed her, at least he thought he did. But she survived and even more amazing, Almyra is alive too, and he tried to kill her as well. Even crazier, they were lovers in their youth! This is like some tv drama kind of stuff, right?”

“I, I can’t believe this. It’s unreal. But wait, James, our King, tried to kill our mother? Seriously? Almyra let this happen? And why’d he try and kill her? Why doesn’t she come back?”

“I know you have a lot of questions, but I can’t explain it all. Just know that everything is part of a plan and all will be revealed in time. So, I’m sure she’ll come back to you soon.”

He starts to tear up. “I hope so Elli, because I miss her so much.” They hug again for a while.

“Well, maybe we should get to that gumbo now?” They pull apart and Liam smiles again.

“Yes, we should. Allow me.” He gets up, wipes his tears and begins to prepare their plates. After eating together and a few more hours, it’s finally time to say goodbye. Liam starts crying again.

“Oh, come on Liam, please don’t cry. You act like I’m going off to be executed. I’ll still be alive, we just won’t be able to see each other for a while. I promise I’ll come back as soon as I can.”

“I know you will, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still miss you. It’s going to be kind of lonely with you gone. I know Delia is moving in and soon we’ll have a baby to keep us busy, but I still feel like it won’t be complete without you.” He goes over to a cabinet and pulls out a present. “I’d planned to give this to you on your birthday, but I think it’s best I give it to you now. Open it.”

Elli quickly opens it and inside finds a locket with a single picture and she starts to cry. “This is… my favorite memory.” The picture shows she and Liam laying in the field by the stream, his arms holding her tight and they laugh and snuggle. It was their first and most precious selfie.

“Yup, I found the picture a couple months ago, and decided to have it put into this locket.”

“No matter where you may go, you’ll always remember me, your big bro, and our happy times.”

Elli practically tackles Liam, as she hugs him tightly, tears streaming down her face. “Thank you, Liam. I love you. I love you so much! I’ll never forget all our happy times. I don’t know if I’ve said it before, but thank you Liam, for taking me in and sacrificing your youth, just to raise me. I’ll never be able to repay you for that, but I’m so grateful. Thank you for being my brother and for letting me be your sister. Thank you for not turning away from me when you learned what I was. Thank you for being you, no matter what came between us. I love you so much.”

He begins to cry harder, as he returns her hug. “Don’t be silly, I should be thanking you. You gave my life meaning when I had nothing left. You gave me a family again and a love more precious than anything else in this world. I love you too Elli, now and forever.” They hug for a long time and finally they will themselves apart and Elli leaves as Liam waves his last goodbye.

*** “The Royal Estate”, Garmin-The West Province, Spring Year 2529 ***

          “I thought you handled him yesterday Amelia?” James is slightly annoyed.

“I did Papa, but it seems he had something of extreme importance to share with us.”

“Very well, but he gets only five minutes.”

“Don’t worry Papa, I won’t allow him to linger. Mom’s funeral is today and my coronation.”

“Mr. Almont is present my King, my Princess.” Garrett introduces Liam to the court.

Liam enters, dressed formally. “Good Morning Amelia, King James. I hope you are well.”

“We’re just fine, thank you Liam, but that’s Princess Amelia to you now.”

“Yes, of course Sir, forgive my insolence. Princess Amelia, I’d like to report something.”

“Yes, I’d heard as much. What would you like to report Liam? We must make this quick.”

“There’s something big coming, like destruction of our kingdom big. Another invasion.”

Garrett, Lars and Amelia are all shocked to hear such a wild claim, but James is calm. He narrows his eyes and stands. “And just where would you get a crazy idea like that Liam?”

“Does it matter? An invasion is coming, bringing a threat greater than the Kree could ever be.”

Amelia speaks now. “If you’re going to tell us something so extreme, we’d need to know credible sources. We can’t act rashly without knowing all the information available.”

“Ok, I’m sure you’ve both already surmised as much, but if you want me to confess, I will. Elli told me this last night when she came to spend one last day with me. It was our final goodbye.”

Neither James, nor Amelia look surprised, but Amelia does look a bit sad. “I thought so.” James approaches Liam. “So, not only have you communicated with an enemy of the kingdom, but you’ve brought us such ludicrous claims as this. Did you really believe that her word can be trusted? She’s our enemy Liam, and she has hatred for our kingdom. She’s also Kree. I know she’s just a sister to you, but to us she’s dangerous and the fact that she’s got you believing such things and even bringing them all the way to our court, is dangerous. If you were to go around spreading such rumors, there’d be pandemonium! This cannot stand Liam. I had nothing personal against you, I even liked you and thought you were a good kid, but I can’t overlook this. Garrett, arrest him. You will face trial Liam and then will be executed for treason.”

Liam sighs, but isn’t angry. He actually smiles. “I figured as much, which is why I wore my best. Elli would kill me if she knew I was here you know, because she never asked me to do this. In fact, I’m sure she’d have wanted me to keep quiet about it. But she’s learned that sometimes we have to do things for the greater good, even if it leaves us at a loss. If she had to lose something so important to her for doing what was right, it’s only fair I do so as well. I’m the big brother after all, so I have to set an example. So, I came to inform you of a serious threat to the kingdom. Believe me or not, it’s coming and you must prepare, or our people will suffer. You think your conflict is with the Kree, but they’re harmless to you. Elli has already insisted that they will not make moves to fight against the kingdom. She refuses to fight you Amelia. You know why.”

Having had enough of him saying things that could ruin everything he’s worked for, James loses his temper. “That’s enough Liam! Garrett, take him away at once!” Garrett approaches Liam.

“Wait.” Amelia, who’d been silent until now, finally makes a protest. “I know that it’s our standard procedure Papa, but I think there’s a better course of action here.” She stands and walks over to them. “I think Liam is the perfect person to send them a message.”

James frowns. “Amelia, with respect, you’re not officially Queen yet and so I think I’m going to pull rank here. I know you wish to be lenient on him, but doing so is a conflict of interest. The kingdom needs to understand that treason of any kind will not be tolerated, no matter who you are. It’s the only way we can maintain order and credibility. No one will respect us if we don’t demand it of them. So, I’m sorry Amelia, but I won’t let you spare him just for Elli’s sake.”

“Papa, you don’t understand. I never intended to leave him unpunished, and I will send message to the kingdom about our laws. But, I also need to send a message to Elli. It seems she is still holding on to the feelings we shared and in some way, thinks we may reconcile. I thought I’d made myself clear when I banished her, but it seems she didn’t get the message. With Liam’s help, I can get her that message and make her understand I mean it, while maintaining our status of respect in the kingdom. So please, will you trust me Papa?” She looks at him seriously.

James isn’t certain, but he thinks he may be catching on to her thoughts and says, “very well.”

He sits back down and decides to see what Amelia has planned. Amelia approaches Liam and faces him directly. “Liam, I’m so grateful to you for your kindness over the time I’ve had the pleasure of knowing you. You always welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like I had another home. I’ll always cherish those times and remember them fondly as I will you. I also appreciate your concern for our kingdom and risking your life to inform us of these claims. However, I’m certain that if something that big was coming, we’d have been informed by now. It’s regrettable, but I’m afraid you’ve been misguided and you will have to atone for that. So, you’re hereby relieved of your duties here at the compound and you must vacate your house.”

“Ha, I figured that’d be the least of my punishment. If that’s really all, I’m pleasantly surprised.”

Amelia suddenly hugs him and although caught off guard, he hugs her back. She leans by his ear and whispers, “I’m sorry Liam, but this will be a one-way message. Please forgive me.”

He continues smiling and whispers in response, “she’ll never forgive you for this, but I understand your reasons. Elli is stubborn and only things extreme as this will get it in her head. I’m sure she’ll let you go after this. Just please, make sure Delia and my child are cared for.”

“I will see to it that they receive the very best of care and will live quite well. Thank you for you service.” Amelia does her best to hold back her tears, fighting to break free. She knows Elli will never forgive her for this, but it’s the only way she can ensure she will stay away and will never hope that Amelia might be swayed into siding with her or turning against the kingdom. They both have a duty to protect their people, but Elli will never be able to make that commitment as long as she’s stuck on Amelia and harbors her love for her. Only this will break the spell and break the final thread that ties their hearts together. There can be no going back from here.

“Amelia, we really cannot linger. What are your intentions? If you can’t do this, then let me-.” Before James can finish, Liam jerks and slowly falls to his knees. Amelia descends with him, her right hand seeming to be against his chest. He soon realizes that she’s ejected her blade, and it’s not impaled deep into Liam’s chest. James is genuinely surprised for once. “Amelia, you….”

Garrett, Lars and even Tobias and Spencer, who’d entered the room just a minute earlier are flabbergasted. Amelia retracts her blade and stands upright. Stepping away just before blood begins to ooze out of Liam’s chest. Seconds later, he slumps to the side and closes his eyes.

Amelia turns to her father and everyone and calmly says, “I felt the trial wasn’t needed, as we all know he’d have been found guilty. With this, Elli, who is certain to become the new empress of the Kree nation, will have a clear understanding of where my loyalty lies. She will refrain from any more passive attempts at getting us to surrender or join forces. We are at war with the Kree and therefore any relationship that was once between us, is terminated forevermore. This is my message to her, to the Kree and to all of you. I’m committed to this kingdom and our people. Nothing will come before it and we will face the Kree. We will avenge my mother’s murder and we will rid the earth of those fiends once and for all. Let there be no doubt about it again.” She returns to her throne and sits back down, as guards come in to retrieve Liam’s body and maids come to clean the blood. Everyone is speechless, not quite able to believe that this was really Amelia before them. Tobias most of all looks on in distress as it appears that what he’d feared has come to pass. She not only embraced the throne, but it’s tainted her and made her into someone she never wanted to be and he’d hoped she’d never be; their father.

James looks at his daughter in awe. He’d never have imagined she’d do such a thing without any suggestion from him. He smiles, almost gleefully, thinking that perhaps things will still go just fine without him having to work hard at all to manipulate Amelia. It seems even she isn’t immune to the pull of power. “Well, then. With that taken care of, we should get on with your mother’s funeral and your coronation. Amelia nods, Tobias hesitantly agrees and follows along with Spencer and they all take their leave, except for Garrett, who looks at the spot Liam had taken his last breath and shakes. Everything has changed and the shots of war have been fired.

*** “The Resistance HQ”, Outer Districts-The West Province, Spring Year 2529 ***

          Elli enters the briefing room at the time agreed upon, still smiling, happy from her visit with Liam the evening before. She even wears the locket he gave her, holding it as she hums his lullaby to herself. However, when she enters the room, everyone is very somber, and Clara is distraught. Almyra is beside her, but her face is filled with guilt and shame and she can’t look Clara in the eye. She also notices someone new, though he looks familiar. She soon places his face. “Garrett? What are you doing here? Were you a spy all along for the commander?”

“Yes, that’s right Elli, I was. I was supposed to continue my undercover work for a while longer, but with recent events, I could no longer stay there. I felt I had to come report at once.”

“What’s happened? Why’s everyone so gloomy?”

“Well…it’s…it’s hard for me to say this again, but…I’m sorry but…Liam is…he’s-.”

“Liam is dead. He was killed by Amelia in the court. Apparently, it was a message to us.” Clara speaks in Garrett’s place, her voice bitter and distraught at once. “Negotiations are off the table.”

“For her to do such a thing…my Amelia would’ve never done such a cruel thing. Her father-.”

“No, that was Amelia.” Elli speaks direct and concise; her eyes suddenly hallow. “That wasn’t a message for us, that was specifically a message for me from Amelia. She needed to be sure I’d get it loud and clear.” Elli grits her teeth. “I got it. I got it quite clearly and so now I know what I have to do.” She starts to tremble and her hand grips her locket, as she slowly comes unhinged.

“Elli….” Evani embraces Elli, thinking she’s prepared to cry, but when she looks in her eyes, all she sees is rage. She recalls her own eyes, more than 30 years earlier, looking the same as when James killed her parents before her own eyes. History it seems, really is repeating itself in new ways. “Elli, I know this is painful and you’re against it, but now more than ever, you must-.”

“I know Mama, I must become Empress and I will. I’m ready to accept that title and to fully commit to our people. I will not run away anymore and I will no longer hold on to false hope. I know what I have to do now. The kingdom has taken far too many things from me, from us and it will not stand. I will avenge them and all the innocent Kree they’ve killed. I will lead us to revolution and I’ll do it my way. But above all, I will not rest until Amelia’s blood is dripping from my hands.” There’s a gasp in the room. With eyes of fire, she says, “yes, I will kill her.”

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