Epilogue: Light and Darkness
"Four seasons come, four seasons go, all things ebb, all things flow"
The oppressive heat of the summer morning seemed to make her feel ten times heavier than what she was used to. She was already sweating from the dark coat she wore that hung down past her knees, her formal suit within already feeling like it was trying to choke the life out of her. She idly ran a gloved hand across her forehead to wipe away the gathered sweat, brushing a few strands of blond hair out from in front of her eyes. And to think, there were times when I was almost freezing to death and wishing for heat like this.
She rotated her neck once, feeling somewhat satisfied as she heard several audible cracks before turning her focus back to the grounds in front of her. She looked out over the valley of grave markers and couldn't help but feel conflicting emotions. Pride in what the fallen warriors before her had accomplished, yet sadness that it had taken so many sacrifices to fulfill the wishes that they had fought for. Her hand slowly rose to grasp the cross she still bore around her neck, a gift she had been given when she was but a child, yet to this day still wore with an air of gratitude towards its creator.
She tilted her head slightly as she felt one of her companions shift his weight, as if uncomfortable being in this place of death. She only closed her eyes before turning her head forwards again before speaking softly, "Control yourself Agent Griphten. You stand before the graves of heroes. Don't disrespect them."
"Yes ma'am. My apologies." His voice was quiet, as if afraid of speaking loudly in this graveyard. His tone was blank, as if restraining his emotions. Perhaps he is. Don't we all when we stand in this place of the past? She idly wondered before she opened her eyes to stare at the field before her.
"Has it really been two and a half years since we won back the night?" She asked with a hint of wonder in her voice, sounding almost nostalgic as she raised her hand from where it rested on her sheathed rapier to her head, holding her hair steady as a strong breeze blew through the English air.
The aftermath of the London assault had given the resistance everything they had needed. With the massive influx of foreign aid, consisting of military, medical, and financial help, the people of England had risen up as one to fight off their undead oppressors. With the bloody countess dead, as well as her main lieutenant, it had been surprising simple to reclaim what was once their proud empire. It was rather uplifting, even to a teenager who had all but given up hope on her countrymen, as reports came in of towns and cities being retaken from their undead enemies. Within the year, all the last bastions of the undead horde had been taken, sending the creatures of darkness into hiding, much like they had been prior to the fall of humanity. Or rather the fall of England... The girl idly thought.
The death toll from that long decade had never been keep track of, the stranglehold on information that Lysandra's forces kept prevented their peasants from ever truly knowing how many of their own had been sacrificed. Even within the resistance, the death count was only known by people lamenting friends and loved ones who they had to put down, or were torn apart before their very eyes by freaks. Their foreign allies had kept track of their own, but many of those bodies had either already been destroyed completely to prevent them from becoming ghouls, or the corpses had been sent back to their respective countries.
Even the resistance had its share of death during the final months of Lysandra's reign. The man known as Coyote had been killed in a raid on a former military installation the night of Lysandra's demise. His forces, without their leader, had taken heavy casualties before flocking to the banner of the last English leader of their band of freedom fighters. The Iscariots had only stayed for a week or two after Lysandra's fall before returning to England. The Protestant lands were not their concern. Such were the thoughts of many of those who had been consigned to live and fight in the hell that was England for that long dark decade.
The Fallen Priest himself only stayed a month before informing the young Lady Hellsing that he would be leaving. Despite a deep antipathy with many of the girl's men, he held her in the highest respects for the years that he had seen her grow up in, as well as her capabilities as a leader. He only knelled before her, giving her hand a kiss like an old knight would do, before rising to his feet and leaving, yelling over his shoulder that he would try and get the Vatican to send relief aid. That aid came in less than a week, consisting of numerous priests and volunteers from around the world. The English freedom fighters never saw Father Perigrin ever again, but to this day they still thanked him for doing whatever he had to do to get the Catholic Church to aid their Protestant nation, a feat many thought unworldly.
The resistance had not been idly during the rebuilding process. They became the center of the disaster management that was England. Alice Hellsing and her soldiers went to work in so many different ways that it actually astounded those who had come from the United Nations to help. Ranging from manual labor, resowing crops, hunting down the vampiric insurgency; they were constantly busy. This did not go unnoticed by the people of England, who in turn worked with their heroes to try and rebuild their shattered nations, all the while giving their fellow English praise worthy of heroes.
Much of that praise had gone to the resistance's only remaining leader, the young woman who had moved the hearts of a nation to a war that fateful night. Although she ignored the efforts the people of England took to try and make her into a hero, she kept to the sidelines and did all she could from there. It did not prevent her from doing as she ordered her men to though, as it was a common sight during the rebuilding process to see the blond-haired youth tending the injured or assisting people tear down destroyed buildings. She had collapsed more than once from overexertion from the work she forced on herself, still claiming to this day that the original fall of England was due to her family, and as such she owes a debt to the nation she could never repay, despite what the people around her told her.
Finally after two years, accurate counts of men lost during that final night from around the nation started to form. At that time, the country was more or less still being run by the United Nations relief teams, but once the final counts were tallied, they foreigners were startled when a demand from the people for a national cemetery to honor these heroes. Alice Hellsing and the members of the resistance were at the forefront of this declaration. "Our people, our loved ones, have fought for something that no one except the people of England can truly understand. We will honor them, as they deserve the highest recognition, and god help you if you try to stop this." The words of the girl had shaken the people of the United Nations but they reluctantly redirected money from their normal operations to the rebuilding for the cemetery. The English people bore the hardships that this caused with dignity; the fallen deserved it after all. It had taken five months to complete the task, and a rather lengthy dedication ceremony had taken place a month later. It was as if the entire nation of England had showed up, and for some reason it brought tears to the eyes of everyone there.
It was in this national cemetery that the blond-haired woman was currently standing in, her eyes traveling over the hillside of gravestones, knowing full well that many held no bodies, and that the lines of grave markers extended over the hill to the other side. She stood at the front of the massive graveyard with her two companions, one hand still holding her hair as the wind bellowed, the other resting within one of the large pockets of her trench coat. As the wind died down, she lowered her hand back to the hilt of her weapon, gripping it tighter as if confirming something to herself.
A voice broke into her musings, sounding far more light-hearted than one would expect in a place of broken dreams of the past. "I don't know how you can stand that coat in this heat."
She only let her lips twist into a small smile and responded without looking at her friend and adviser. "Yet, you still wear your Division S uniform in this place." She closed her eyes before adding, "Quite strange considering you always complained about it Xavier."
Xavier Flynn merely smirked, one hand resting in his pocket while he twirled an American quarter in his other hand. "I may be a nutcase, but I know when respect needs to be given, little princess."
She frowned before looking over her left shoulder at him to glare. "You really need to stop calling me that. You are giving too many people too many ideas with that little pet title of yours."
Thomas Griphten spoke up, "The United Nations is looking for someone to govern so they can start pulling out. The people have spoken, even if no true election has been conducted, Lady Hellsing."
Flynn only nodded, "Besides, I doubt anyone else is left who would be truly capable. The Hellsing line continues, and as far as we know, none of the other noble families from the round table survived. You very well may be the last Englishwoman with the title of knight."
Alice only scoffed before turning her attention back to the graveyard in front of her, or rather the special marker in front of her. "England can shift to a democracy for all I care. We have no need for a new royal family."
Flynn only smirked as he pulled out a cigarette and lit it. "Keep thinking that kid." He then took a drag before adding, "Well, whatever. Do what you think you should do. It's your life after all."
She only smirked before asking, "Should you really be smoking in this place Wildcard? It's disrespectful."
He only shrugged before walking forward until he was at her side, staring down at the marker before them. "It's for her anyway." He bent down and ran his fingers down the glass embedded in the ground, wiping away the dust before rising back to his full height. He took one more drag before removing the cigarette and placing on the stone marker behind the glass in the ground. He then took a step back before putting both hands back in his pockets and asking, "Now what?"
The girl didn't hesitate in her answer. "We do as the Hellsing Institution has always done. Search and Destroy." Her cerulean blue eyes seem to shine as she spoke this declaration, as if making a promise to the marker before her.
"Yes, Lady Hellsing." The two men responded in unison. It seemed as if that was all she was waiting for. She looked over the whole cemetery once more before snapping to attention and giving a salute. She didn't notice that her two companions had joined her in this motion but didn't care. With one last glance at the glass in the ground before her, she turned and began walking back to their car, her two companions following in silence.
The cigarette remained on the grave marker, some ash falling from its edge as the wind once again picked up slightly, sending the slight smoke it was giving off twirling into the air. As the ash fell, it passed the marker's inscription, something that was unique to this marker alone, along with the glass in the ground in front of it.
The ash landed on the glass and rested there for a few moments before the wind blew it away, giving an unmistakable view of what rested in the ground beneath that clear glass. Two large hand guns, one black, one chrome, their barrels pointing towards each other as if challenging each other. Sitting beneath their barrels was a pair of purple-lensed sunglasses.
The whole special grave marker had been a topic of heavy debate when it had been proposed. It was only due to the insistence of the Hellsing Institution and its members that it came to be, bearing an inscription that was fitting for the one it was for.
space is dedicated to Seras Victoria, daughter of England.
Retainer of the Hellsing family.
The last true knight of England.
Victorious in her battle against the Bloody Countess,
May her soul eternally rest in peace.
So this story has finally been finished..
I'm at a loss for words.
I started this story during my softmore year of college, around two or so years ago. It was something I wrote because I was bored and wanted to do something to distract myself from doing my actual work. I have worked on this story, both in notebooks and on my computer, as well as in my head, on and off for about that long. This has been a large endeavor for me as a writer, which to those who have actually spoken to me can tell, I'm not. But now, its finally completed, clocking in at 315 pages. I never imagined it would last that long, and its quite humbling now that I actually look at it.
The story in my mind has evolved from the original idea I came up with, and in some respects, changed drastically, shedding off its original constraints like dead skin. Since starting this story back in that cold winter in north country, I've become quite a fan of this site, and many of its authors. Some people who write on this site could become good authors, and I see it as a pleasure to read the stories within. I don't see myself as one of those people, as I detest certain aspects of my own writing style, including inconsistancy which I'm sure some of you have noticed. So it goes.
This is a final thank you to all of you who have stuck around this story from its beginning and for some reason, still enjoy it. If people like this story, then I can feel as if I've given something back to this site which has sucked so much of my reading time away. So once again, you have my thanks for reading this, and it I look forward to finally marking this story as completed.