By Aa-chan/Magess-hime/Uaito Mejisu Polom

FF4 characters/references = Square
Lullaby lyrics (from the anime, Noir), by Kajiura Yuki

* * *

It would forever haunt him.

The blonde-haired bard released a quiet sigh - one that soaked those sorrowful azure eyes with more tears.

More tears.

He had been sobbing heavily since midevening yesterday, and all through the rest of the damnable night, yet he hadn't given up staring down at the once-vibrant figure that had been his fiancee.

"Anna," he mumbled, reaching out a bloodstained hand to caress her cold cheek, such as he had done all through the night. "I'm so sorry this happened, Anna. I was supposed to take care of you, and this is what happens.."

The snow in the air
To sing me a lullaby
My winter, come hither to me

He quickly sat up, bending a wrist so that he could wipe away the last bit of the morning's tears, then stood in order to walk over to a window -- the only thing that wasn't singed from the fires of the latter evening. Far below, he could see the quaint figure of the little Mistian girl, idly taking down the tent in which she and her companion had slept in the prior night. The bard, of course, couldn't blame them; the castle, Damcyan, was still fresh with the scent of death, even with the few life forms that hung around.

It had all begun yesterday, close to the evening's vespers. The grounds of Damcyan Castle were bathed in the petals of several different kinds of blossoms, each one more colourful and vibrant than their latter sister. The chorus of the castle's choir could be heard from tower, to courtyard, accompanied by the settling melodies of harp and lute. The prince and his bride-to-be had finally come home countless nights before, ready for the festivities that would soon take place.

Edward was standing before a mirror when she walked in, idly gazing over the attire he wore. He had never liked the richly-intoxicated fabrics of the von Muir dynasty, easily preffering to spend his time swathed in the clothes of a wandering minstrel. But for this day, he would give his life himself. Little did he know it'd turn the exact opposite.

"By Gaia, Anna, you look beautiful," the bard had exhaled, a hand raising to cover his gaping mouth. "Especially without the royalty dresses the chancellor has set out for you."

The cherry-tressed beauty had quietly walked over to him, the crinoline layer of her buttercup-yellow dress crinkling everso softly against the brown boots hidden underneath the simple skirts. "I wanted to talk to you, Edward, despite the tradition of both Damcyan and Mysidia," she began, only to have her words trail off when her eyes met that of her fiancee's. The light within those azures was perfect; absolutely captivating. How her father could blatantly put criticizing words upon him was beyond her.

"What is it then, my love?" the bard responded, reaching out a ivory-gloved hand to stroke her fair-almond cheek

Anna's bare hand rose to set against his own, her lips curling into a mark between smile, and frown. "Edward, I know that I told you that I didn't care about my father not being here for the wedding, but now I'm beginning to wonder if those were the right words," she sighed, tightening her hand's grip upon the bard's in order to lower the latter from her cheek, to set upon the side of her waist.

Edward simply smiled, as he pulled his lover close to him. He had known his fiancee wouldn't of wanted to go on with the wedding without her father afterall. "Lovely one, I understand. Be it your wish, I'll tell my parents to hold off the wedding until your father consents."

Anna entwined her arms around the form of the bard in order to return the close embrace, her head nodding against the soft fabrics that covered his chest. She halted after a moment, however, and quickly lifted her head up to glance at her lover. "Edward, it's still light out. We could reach Kaipo now if we made haste, could we not?"

The bard's head had tilted when he gazed down into the eyes of his fiancee. The light in her dark-blue eyes was rather vibrant, amazing; nothing at all like sonorous fire that had graced them a fortnight ago, when she declared to him that she wanted to run away to Damcyan for the wedding, after her father had rejected Edward's question for Anna's hand in marriage.

"I.. suppose we could, Anna," he said, after a moment. It was impossible to say no to her anyway. "Maybe now we can tell him of my true identity?"

"Perhaps," the woman muttered, turning from him to glance at the door. She hadn't been too-terribly worried to let her father know that Edward was the seventh heir to the throne of Damcyan, the kingdom which watched over the neighboring town of Kaipo, where she and her father had been visiting for the past few months. Anna had known the prince since the day he and his parents came to Mysidia, looking for trade relations, nearly five years ago, but never let her father know that the same bard he saw that day at the House of Prayers (Mysidia's Cathedral) was indeed royalty. Of course, Edward had always questioned her akward ways, and the response of "I want him to see you for who you are" she gave him, but paid no entire heed elsewise.

It was as the two began to exit the bard's bedchamber when it happened. Earsplitting shrieks had preceeded before a loud KA-BOOM! resounded, shaking what the two were sure was right down to the castle's foundation.

Bard and Magess had fled into the castle's throne chamber, where several archers bearing the symbol of Baron had begun opening fire upon the guards. It seemed less than Eternity's path when the whole row, defending the royalty, and the Flame Crystal, was down, only to be followed by the lords and ladies theirselves, and eventually, Anna had gone down in the fight as well, arrowed in her stomach.

It should've been me, damn it. It should've been me! the bard thought, pounding the sil of the window with his fist. All through the night, he, of course, had hoped it was a dream, and nothing more. Anna would be lying by his side, sleeping in the same resilient shell of vibrance that he had known her in previous nights before. The reality of it struck back to see her clammy skin, and displeased look in the coming light.

Oh, Anna, what the hell am I going to do without you?

"King Edward."

The blonde-haired bard jumped, taking a breath, and swiping a fist over his tear-stained eyes, before he silently turned to face the dusk-sounding voice.

"Please, just Edward, Sir Cecil.. Don't call me a 'king.' I don't deserve the title, just by mishaps."

"Cecil," returned the heavily-clad Baronian knight. "You told Rydia and I to give you the night. I hope you accept our offer. Rosa can't wait any longer, and you needn't stay here. Anna wouldn't want that for you anyway."

The dark nights to come
So kiss me for good-bye
The grace of the godland is near to you

Edward nodded, shifting his gaze past Cecil, towards the portion of the stone ground where Anna laid. Even in death, she looked lovely as ever, as though maybe...

Blonde tresses shook from side to side, caressing his almond-coloured skin just as Anna's own had done all those nights before last. Everything had been administered to the late queen, including the Lifewater that graced the throne room's annex, as well as many healative spells that her father had cast upon her draining body. If they didn't work then, there was likely no way they'd work now.

"Ki.. Edward," began Cecil, midnight-black armor creaking as he took a step towards the bard. "Rydia is waiting outside. She refuses to come into the castle for her own personal reasons. If you don't want to see another person die, even less as tragic as Anna had.."

The Dark Knight sighed when it hit him that the bard wasn't paying attention. He had wanted to leave as soon as the old Sage he and Rydia, the Mistian child Summoner, were traveling with had left in a fit of emotion over his daughter's death, but, Edward imploring that the caves of the antlion took at least half a day to reach - even on Damcyan's royal transport, the Hovercraft - both child and knight had spent a rather chilled night out (comfortable as their tent was) on the calm, starlit plains of the Damcyani Desert.

Maybe my words yesterday were harsh on him, Cecil thought, turning to the side to peer down at the form of the deceased maiden. For the moment, he was rather thankful for the dark helm covering his luminous-tressed head, and visage; his lips banded into a look of intermixed disgust, and sorrow, brows furrowed as though he didn't know whether or not to weep for the Damcyani king's loss, or knock the chocobo stuffings out of him once more as he had done yesterday, when the bard blatantly refused to take Rydia and he to the Antlion Caves.

"Please, Edward, Rosa's counting on us," beseeched the Dark Knight, turning back to the bard. Edward had finally moved away from the window, and had crouched down beside the lifeless form of Anna. "If she dies, I'll.."

The bard stood, hugging Anna to him. "I told you I'd take you and Miss Rydia to the Antlion Caves, Cecil," he animadverted, quietly," and that's what I plan to do. However, I have obligations first. Even though Anna is dead, Damcyan tradition requires a somewhat proper funeral for their royalty."

The Dark Knight's mouth fell open, no words threatening, as Edward silently bestrode past him. His first fear was that the bard's destination was to be outside, where Rydia was likely still waiting impatiently, so it took him by slight surprise when Edward changed directions back towards the throne annex.

"Edward.." Cecil began again, only to have the bard continue walking away.

* * *

The sun was just beginning to rise over the many dunes which were abound in the desertal plains, Gaia yawning as her brother teasingly cast a blanket of sunlight through the matted clouds of the morning.

Edward didn't take bother to note the matching scenery about him; the tears had begun to well up in the corners of his eyes once again, threatening to spill over onto his cheekbones any minute. His footsteps crunched, droned in the sand as he forced himself to stare straight ahead.

I had finally found true happiness, only to have it taken away from me, the bard thought, batting his eyelids to permiss his tears to freely flow down his visage. Golbez, I'll have my revenge. So help me Gaia, Luna, I will have my revenge against you.

Oh, Anna, how will I live without you? Edward sighed, forcing himself to look down at the late maiden's face. You were everything to me: the moon, the stars, the very melody that kept me going everyday. But don't worry; don't worry.. He took a breath, only to blanket the beginnings of a sob.

Show me the flowers invisible
Sing me the hymns inaudible

The back building where the treasures of Damcyan were kept also had an entrance to the dynasty's burial vault. The late king and queen had already been taken into the putrid sepulcher by the kindness of those who weren't hurt in the raid earlier in the latter night. Thinking of it now put a stinging sensation, similar to the slap the Dark Knight had administered yesterday, in the pit of the king's stomach. The prior royals had always chatised the way Edward chose to live, forever complaining that the seventh heir should've paid more attention to the foundations Damcyan and Kaipo were built on.

The wind is my voice
The moon is my heart

I'm sorry Mother, Father
, Edward coughed, choking yet again on a silent sob, as he slipped past the threshold separating the desert and burial vault from one another. The stench of decay immediantely rose to greet him, tickling his stomach with the threat of upheaval, but still he advanced through the lighted darkness, and down a flight of stairs.

Come find me, I'm on every hills and fields

I'm sorry that you two, and Anna, have to eternally rest together, in this pit of hell, he continued thinking, after a long, silent walk. Despite it's tradition for our family's ancestors to rest here, you should deserve better, such as how the Mysidians bury their deceased in the ground. Hades, even throwing the fallen in the sea, such as the Baronians do, would be more respectable.

I'm here... (sing for your love, gone so far in the past)

Even though the sepulcher was dimly lit, the bard could clearly make out the forms of his late parents resting atop the dual altars that had been arranged for them. Another slab had been cleared off by his request, where he finally set his late fiancee upon.

Ever your near (pray for the world, that you may rest in peace)

"Anna, I was never strong at all. You were the one that gave me my courage," he whispered, reaching out a hand to clutch at her lifeless one. "If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't of found my rightful place in this world, but now that you're gone.."

The snow in the air
To sing me a lullaby
The angel of rebirth is here

The pain finally broke through his chest, like a fist through water. Cold, clammy tears began to run down his cheek, followed by a barade of heavy sobbing, but still, he managed to find his voice.

"I promise you, Anna. The minute I come back, the minute this war is over, you will be honored. I'll see to it, my love."

So let all your pain
Sleep within the husha-by
The grace of the godland

At long last, he composed himself, the backs of his hands scrubbing at his eyes. "It won't be easy to go out there alone, Anna, but I know you'll be out there, somewhere, waiting for me, as I will be for you."

Grace of the godland
Grace of the godland is near...
So close to you

Letting the last teardrop fall onto her body, he stood, and began to walk away, but not before taking a glance back at the beautiful solace she had once been.

"Goodbye, Anna."

- - - -

A/N: Yes, for the record.. this is the -first- piece of in-game fanfiction I've done. O_o; Think it came out rather well.. What do you think? ^^; Leave reviews! I love them. =)