Disclaimer: The following story contains elements not belonging to the author. These elements belong to their respective owners. Any similarities with other stories from other authors, either living or dead, are purely coincidental.
And now, the tapsilog...I...I...mean, epilogue.
Hellfire surrounded the two combatants. With every stroke of the fiery demon the flames grew, burning the man it was fighting. The two had been fighting for God knows how long. They fought for one thing: the control of the man's body and soul.
Fatigue soon fell upon the man. He had been fighting an unnatural battle with an unnatural foe under unnatural conditions. He soon fell to his knees, no longer having the strength to continue. His sword fell before him, its familiar weight now too much to bear.
Seeing its enemy down, the demon leapt into the air. It then began to spin rapidly as it flew its way erratically towards the man.
The man knew this was the end. He could no longer fight the beast. He had lost.
He closed his eyes, waiting for the blow. At that moment, the man heard a faint sound. It seemed distant at first, but soon became louder. It was a woman's voice and she was humming. He opened his eyes and saw he was no longer in a hellfire saturated plateau, but in a clearing in a forest. He was lying on the lap of a woman with long blonde hair. He couldn't see her face completely but somehow he knew she was beautiful. She was smiling, stroking his head and humming to him a lullaby. The same one a mother would sing to her child.
Then he saw another face. This time, of a younger woman. She was also smiling, and had blonde hair that was shorter than the first woman's. The details of her face too were hidden, yet he could still see her beauty. This younger woman bent down and gave him a soft kiss.
"Come back to us."
His eyes suddenly shot open. The man slowly stood up again, sword in hand. His strength has retuned to him and determination once again shined in his eyes. His newfound conviction has even affected his blade, which has now burst into flames. He brought the sword over his head until it pointed straight down behind him.
He was not yet finished. He was going to overcome this. He was going to defeat his foe and return to his home where he belonged.
There was an explosion of light as the demon and the man exchanged their final blows.
The rain poured heavily upon the small German town near the edge of the black forests. Its inhabitance were running about, trying to get away from the barrage of water; or were already in their homes, waiting for the storm to end.
Walking along the streets of this town where a group of eleven people. They wore long dark cloaks to protect them from the rain. These also served to hide their appearances and as a sign of mourning.
Only a few weeks earlier, the Seekers of Soul Edge accomplished their goal and erased the demon blade from the face of the world. This victory did not come without a price, however.
Siegfried Schtauffen, the man once known as the Azure Nightmare and one of the seekers, perished during the final battle. In an effort to save his comrades from the demon sword's earthly form, he threw himself and the demon into a portal that led strait into the gaping maw of hell.
Of all the seekers, none was more affected by the loss than the young Cassandra Alexandra. She and the young knight had just confessed their love to each other during the battle's climax. Siegfried was her first, true love, and the loss of him shortly thereafter pained her beyond words and beyond no end.
Against the advice of her comrades, she accompanied them in this last journey into Siegfried's hometown, so that another special woman in his life may at last be released from a great and heavy burdened.
Soon after the battle with Cervantes, the seekers returned to Greece. Cassandra was in a very bad state after what she had been through. She wouldn't eat; she wouldn't sleep; she wouldn't even talk. All she did was curl up in a corner and weep her eyes dry.
"How long has she been like this?" Cassandra's older sister Sophitia asked.
"Ever since the battle." Taki answered.
The older Alexandra turned from her sister's door and sat with the other seekers. The news of Siegfried's death also pained her, as she and the knight, who was also her first love, was once a couple. Though her heart now belonged to her beloved husband, she still had a great admiration for the young German.
"What do you plan to do now?" she asked the group.
"We don't know." Responded Raphael, his hand gently stroking the red hair of his sleeping daughter. He had left Amy with the Greek family when they left for Spain. He had sorely missed her.
"We could always go back to our old lives," Ivy said with an almost longing tone, "at least what is left of it."
Raphael took her hand in his, as if to say: 'I know how you feel.'
The group should have been celebrating their victory. Now they mourn with bowed heads and weary features. They mourn not only for the lost of their ally and friend, but for a soul that has found redemption only to be denied a second chance, a life that was saved from eternal darkness only to be struck down by that same darkness.
Oblivious of the sad atmosphere of the room, Pyrrha and Patroklos came running in and hopped on to Sophitia's lap. They did not wish to see their mother so pained, so they decided to cheer her up with hugs. In her part, the young mother smiled and returned the embraces. Her children had returned to their old selves when Soul Edge stopped existing in this world. She knew she owed this to Siegfried.
Then Sophitia recalled a memory from long ago.
The seekers turned their attention to her.
"Siegfried still has his mother. She may still be alive, waiting for her son to come home."
She looked at her two children.
"I know the feeling when your children are lost, and you can't do anything to bring them back. It is a feeling of helplessness deeper than any valley or pit. It eats not only at the heart and mind but also at the soul"
She then looked at the group.
"You should tell her what has happened. At least, she would know that her son has found peace. At least she would no longer have to bear the pain of waiting for the uncertain."
To this the group of warriors agreed.
While this is happening another figure entered the room.
"I will come with you." Cassandra spoke sadly.
So now here Cassandra stood. She and her other companions were in front of a fairly large house. It seemed very old and poorly kept; probably reflecting what was inside its owner.
Raphael and Ivy stood in front of the door. Fortunately, the two nobility-raised seekers could speak some German. The Frenchman knocked as the English woman began to think of the proper things to say.
Footfalls were heard and soon the door was opened. It revealed a tired looking woman. The seekers tried not to gasp at what they saw. In front of them was woman who looked like an older, female version of Siegfried. She was slightly older than the two senior seekers. Her face still held the beauty of one younger than her, though marred by a tired, empty look in her eyes.
Margaret Schtauffen looked at the group of strangers that has appeared on her door. They were an odd group consisting of people with different features, though all had a very tired look.
"May I help you?" she asked in fluent English.
Ivy blinked once then responded "We are looking for Margaret Schtauffen. We have been told that she lives here."
"I am Margaret Schtauffen."
This time Raphael spoke. "May we come in? We bring news of your son, Siegfried."
Margaret's eyes went wide. She quickly let the strangers in. She sat them down and went to get them something to drink. She came back with eleven steaming cups of tea, one for each of them.
"You know of my son?" she asked.
"We are his allies and friends." Mitsurugi answered. "We met your son during our travels. He saved our lives during several occasions."
Margaret smiled slightly.
"He had always wanted to be a knight."
"And a knight he was." Raphael said.
During this conversation Cassandra noticed a flicker coming from the slightly open cupboard under the stairs. As if her body moved by itself, she silently stood up, slowly went to the cupboard, and opened it.
The mother spoke again, this time more urgently.
"Please, you must tell me. What has happened to my son?"
"Frau (Madam) Schtauffen," Raphael began, "this may come as a shock, but..."
"...Where did you get this sword?" Cassandra suddenly spoke.
The seekers turned to her and gasped when they saw the contents of the cupboard.
Siegfried's Zweihander. The very weapon Rothion crafted for him. The sword which they thought was with him in hell.
"It's the sword of my son, Siegfried. I found him leaning on it when I opened the door a few nights ago." Margaret answered, confused at her guest's reactions, "Please, I beg of you, what has happened to my son that he has so many wounds and burns."
'Wounds and burns,' Cassandra said in her mind, 'from his fight with the demon.'
"He is here? Siegfried is really here?" Cassandra asked the older woman again.
Margaret turned to the young lady and saw tears coming down her cheek. Cassandra's eyes pleaded for the older woman to say where her son is now. For a moment she hesitated in divulging her son's location, but then the older woman saw her eyes. The young woman's eyes were plagued with the same emptiness and longing that once showed in hers. They were sisters in the same pain.
'He must be special to her.'
"He is upstairs, in the bedroom at the end of the hall to the left. But please, be quiet. He is sleeping."
With a nod Cassandra went up the flight of stairs and turned to the left hallway. Slowly she opened the door to the room and peered into it.
Her heart skipped a beat at what she saw.
There, lying on the bed, was the man she loved. His arms and torso were covered in bandages, and there was also one around his forehead. A blanket went up to his chest to keep him warm.
Cassandra walked slowly towards the bed and sat beside his sleeping form. She ran her hand along his face tucking away stray locks. When she could fully see his face again, she bent down and gave him a small kiss. Drawing back, she closed her eyes, laid her head on his chest, and began to pray for his recovery.
Siegfried was floating in nothingness. His eyes were shut, his body too numb to move except to breath. He felt so tired, so spent. He didn't remember what happened to him after the battle. All he could remember was bringing his sword down just as Inferno was mere inches from his chest. Next thing he knew he found himself in the middle of a dark yet familiar forest. He then began to walk aimlessly until finally fainting from exhaustion in front of a house. Before the darkness took him, he remembered hearing someone calling out his name.
It was then he realized the weight on top of him. It wasn't heavy; on the contrary it was soft, warm and light. Slowly he began to open his eyes.
Siegfried first saw something yellow. It was moving slightly on his chest. He touched it and it felt like hair. He could also hear a woman's voice. It sounded soft and sweet, but it spoke with a sorrowful, beseeching tone.
The owner of the voice and hair felt him stir, and lifted their body up.
At first Siegfried thought he had died, for in front of him was an angel. It had the form of a girl, with short, blonde hair and green eyes. Soon his vision focused, and he finally saw that the creature before him was far more beautiful.
He lifted his hand to touch her face. Feeling his warm fingers, Cassandra covered it with hers snuggled to his hand. Tears of joy finally fell from her eyes.
For the first time in weeks she smiled.
"You're awake." A voice came from the room's door.
The couple looked and saw Margaret standing by the door frame. Tears were threatening to flow from her eyes at the sight of her son finally awake.
Siegfried tried to sit up but the soreness of his body prevented him. Instead, his mother came to his side. She put her hand on his face and said,
"Welcome home, my son."
Feeling his mother's soft, warm hand, Siegfried began to feel sleep come over him again. Before falling into sweet slumber, he took one last look at Cassandra and his mother and whispered,
"I am finally home."
It still took a few more weeks before Siegfried was fully recovered, but as soon as he was able to walk around again, the seekers threw a grand, albeit overdue, victory party. The Schtauffen residence was instantly filled noise and laughter. The dinning table was filled with food and drink comparable to a large banquet. Margaret, herself, eagerly made the feast for her son and his friends. As the night went on, they ate and drank until their bellies to their hearts content.
Siegfried's eyes opened to the sound of birds singing outside his window. His mind was clouded as he tried to search it for memories of the past night. He felt as if he had been on the business end of Kilik's rod.
As he tried to recollect, a soft moan came to his ears. His eyes quickly shot open. He looked down and his nostrils were greeted by the scent of Cassandra's hair. Her head rested on his chest with her right hand firmly clasped in his left one. His right arm was wrapped around her waist, while her left arm lay blissfully forgotten between them. Both were covered in Siegfried's blanket and both were...
'...clothed. Thank God.'
The night's events then returned to Siegfried. Under the command of his mother (), he and the seekers were sent to their rooms before they got too drunk. Before sleep could come to him, Siegfried heard a knock on his door. It was Cassandra, seeking his companionship. It seemed she was still under the influence of the one mug of ale she had. She made her way towards his bed before collapsing onto it. Not wanting to wake her up, he decided to let her sleep there beside him.
Deciding it would be wise to get up before the other seekers, or worse, his mother caught him with her, he slowly let go of Cassandra and slid out of the bed. He still felt groggy as he descended the stairs to the kitchen to wash his face. It had been something his mother had constantly reminded him to do every morning.
"Its funny how things you hate to do become sorely missed after not doing them for a long time."
"I should have known you would stop following me the moment you step out of the house."
Siegfried turned and saw his mother standing by the doorway. She had a smirk on her lips, as if already knowing what her son's statement meant.
"Good morning, mother."
"Good morning, my son. How was your night with the young Cassandra?"
Siegfried, upon hearing his mother's question, promptly spat out the water he was drinking.
"We didn't do anything last night."
"Are you sure?"
His mother's smile got bigger. "I know, my son. I was only fooling with you."
The two then went silent for some time. Margaret began to prepare a meal for them and the others while Siegfried helped her by setting the table.
"Your friends tell me you have traveled all over Europe." The mother said, trying to start a conversation.
"Yes, I have."
"You have probably eaten meals far better than mine then?"
"Actually mother, I began missing your cooking an hour after I left."
His mother smiled.
"You better call your companions down. Your father use to always say that everyone in the house should eat together."
A clatter was then heard. Margaret turned and saw the reaction in her son's eyes and features.
"You miss him, don't you?"
"Yes." Came the sad reply.
"Are you still mad at him?"
Siegfried remembered how angry at his father he was when Fredrick left when he did. It was the day Nightmare was conceived.
"Before I was. But now, I feel that I should be the one asking him for forgiveness."
Margaret turned back to what she was doing.
"I'm sure he forgives you for the things you have done."
Siegfried's eyes still looked down as silence fell once again.
"Mother, about father's death..."
Before he could utter another word his mother turned and held his hand. Siegfried looked and saw the tear coming down from her cheek.
"Say no more of it, my son. Things in the past can not be change, no matter how much we want it to. Don't let the guilt stay inside you, lest it corrupt you and turn you into a monster."
Her words made Siegfried realize something.
At this, he broke down.
"I am so sorry, mother. I never wanted those things to happen. All I wished was to bring father back, so we could be a happy family again."
Margaret took her sobbing son into her arms.
"Hush, my child. You are here now, and that is all that matters. We are still a family as long as we are together. Your father may no longer here physically, but his love will always remain with us."
The wind sang as it passed through the valley below. The village could be seen clearly from where he stood. This was his favorite spot. As a child he would stand there all day, content in the feeling of greatness it gave him. The flowing wind would always give the feeling of flight, a feeling he had long missed.
Footsteps behind him brought him out of his reverie. He turned and saw a young woman smiling lovingly at him.
"There you are."
He smiled back and offered his hand.
"Would you like to join me?"
Answering the question with actions, the young woman giggled and took his hand. He drew her to him in a warm embrace.
He looked at her lovingly as he stroked her hair. She laid her head on his chest and listened to his heartbeat. Each one of them enjoyed every second of this. They knew this would be one of many moments they would have with each other.
"I love you, Cassandra."
"I love you too, Siegfried."
No more words were said, as the world was slowly forgotten in the blissfulness of a kiss.
A few years ago Siegfried Schtauffen would never have thought this moment would be possible. The curse of Soul Edge weighed so heavily upon him that to even dream of salvation was unthinkable...unimaginable.
All this was changed when he met an angel named Cassandra Alexandra. She healed the wounds in his heart and mended his tattered soul. Beyond that, she gave him her love, and along with it, hope and the will to live.
Now here Siegfried stood, back in the place he called home with his beloved Cassandra in his arms.
Soul Edge was no more...
...the nightmare was over.
And that ends this story.
Personally, I couldn't believe I actually finished this piece, let alone have so many reviews.
I would like to thank the following people who read and reviewed (or just read) my story:
Justin T. Melanson – for leaving all the great comments and for offering assistance during my down times. Thanks for the offer, man, but I think I can handle it. I really appreciate you offering to help me by listening.
Phoenix – for sounding like his/her English teacher and reminding me about my grammar. I may still have some grammar errors, but, hey, I'm just human. Thanks for driving me to improve my work.
Dark Shadow – for being a true friend and being there for me. For lending your ears (and eyes) to my problems and comforting me when I feel like I'm six feet under. For sharing with me your own thoughts and feelings. For reminding me to pick up my ass and finish what I've started. You have been a great inspiration to me. I will always hope and pray for your happiness. Thank you, my best friend. Maraming salamat, aking ibon ng pag-asa.
To all the other people who I wasn't able to include here, as well as those who read my story but didn't have enough time to review, thanks for taking the time to read this humble work of mine.
To you and all the others, I offer this story. May you succeed in all of your endeavors.
Of course, I also want to thank God, for giving me the mind to think this story up, the imagination to give it life, and the heart to make it a worthy gift to those who read it. To him I offer all that I do.
If you want to read more of my works, check this site or the site , and always remember, please read and review. ()
(Now, what does a Teen Titans romance story sound like?)