This story was originally started as a different one altogether where the first chapter was about Pent and Louise but as I thought about the requests I received and the ideas of my own I had, I thought this would be more fitting. So now, I'm doing a series of one shots about the final moments of the characters. (The first chapter of my original idea is now a one shot) So if any one has any requests about the characters they'd like to read about, let me know. I'll do happy deaths or sad. What ever people ask for.
This first chapter is dedicated to Arbella Scott for suggesting the characters. Since I know you like Lucia and Renning being paired up, I'll keep them a couple and include other Crimean characters that I think you like. Now that this long author's note can come to a close…. The first chapter! From Lucia's point of view…
I had never seen flames stretch so high. I had never seen the palace seem so small. No matter where we ran, we couldn't escape them and try as we might the conflagration always managed to block us. It was those mages. It wasn't the entire palace they had set fire to. Somehow they snuck in past the castle patrol with it in mind that they were going to assassinate the queen and now they pursued us, setting fire to everything ahead of us. To stop and fight them meant to leave the queen vulnerable. That was a risk that I couldn't take. I had to find the others. Geoffrey, Bastian, and my lord Renning….we would have to keep running through the empty, enflamed halls until we crossed paths. There was no other option. Given the situation, I had no doubt that they were looking for us as well.
There were only two of them yet we were defenseless. They followed us everywhere as if they knew the palace as well as we did. Every turn, every straight was consumed with flames that we had to fight to get through. The roar echoed viciously throughout our paths and the reddish-orange glow reverberated off of the stone walls. We didn't need any such hints to know that it would be there.
We were starting to run out of options as to where we could go. There wouldn't be anywhere else when we reached the end of the castle. My mind raced. At all costs, I had to keep the queen safe. No matter how hard I thought I couldn't come up with a way to do that efficiently. Everything I could do would risk her safety. She had no mail, no weapon…. I couldn't leave her open for attack. The possibilities flooded through my head. None of them were favorable… Then one of the sweetest sounds I had ever heard….
"Queen Elincia! Lucia!" My lord Renning…. They had found us at last.
"Lord Uncle…" The queen seemed more at ease now that we had be reunited with our companions.
The mages turned around in time only to be taken down by my brother and lord Renning. A swift stroke from each of their swords and the lightly armored units fell dead onto the stone floors. They made their blows in unison, each one performing as an uniform soldier. Bastian examined us as the other two took care of the enemies. I saw his usual jovial look of contentment as he saw that neither of us were injured.
"Joy! A blessing from the heavens themselves that both of you are alive and well! Our hearts were stilled with fear when we heard such calamities echoing through the walls!"
"Count Bastian…. My lord uncle and Geoffrey….I'm glad that you are all safe as well." She looked like she was about to cry with relief. It made me grin slightly myself. It was sort of reminiscent of the old days. And just like then we would persevere and defeat the foe before us. I felt foolish for getting so flustered. This was a simple rebellion. We had seen them before and many much worse things. What was there to worry about this time?
"Come." Lord Renning commanded us in a strong and assertive voice. "The enemy was starting to enter the castle. Our troops couldn't hold them back. The first priority we must tend to is the Queen's safety." He took the lead and we followed almost instinctively. He had that air about him that commanded the obedience and respect of those who surrounded him. He was brave and honorable, valiant in every sense of the word. I admired him greatly. Maybe even more than admired….
He led us into the ballroom where dances and performances were normally held. He planned to lead us out through the gardens. It was a sensible plan. The garden was surrounded by forest with passage through the castle being the only way to access it. It would be difficult for them to pursue us and the trees would make a good cover while we escaped.
Geoffrey closed the large door behind us and looked to Bastian who struggled to open our second passage. The three of them pulling together couldn't open the door to the garden. With their attempt ending in failure, they stopped. I saw a certain look come across Bastian's face and knew that something was amiss.
"What is it?" I asked them. "Is the door sealed?"
"To the inquiring eye; Behold! The foe has predicted our course before we ourselves had thought of it and I do not know if it is within my reach to release the spell that has been cast upon it. No amount of physical effort will make it consider budging."
"A spell?" My brother reiterated. He seemed at a loss when it came to the situation. "How could someone lock us inside with a spell?"
"How doesn't matter. We need to get through. There's not enough time to turn back. Please, try to break the seal." Lord Renning encouraged, uncertainty and unease staining his typically calm countenance. Bastian nodded, a new found determination revived within him. He chanted and we waited. It was all we could do.
Lord Renning paced back in forth in front of the door we had come from. The sounds of enemy soldier running down the halls were becoming more audible. Bastian was paling as he tried to reverse the spell, until the door finally clicked and swayed open. He sighed, pressing a hand against the wall to keep his balance.
"That is a task that I would surely fail at were it that I had to attempt it again." Bastian tilted his head, expecting my lord Renning to respond. But he didn't. He walked up to the three of us, kissed the queen on her cheek and even laid a single gloved hand on the side of my face. He graced me with a smile unlike anything I had ever seen before. It froze me, inside and out I shivered though the core of my heart was as warm as it had ever been.
"Lucia, take care of the queen. I'm relying on you to do that for me, dear. You have a rare skill. Please use it to protect my niece. You and Geoffrey both."
"My lord, what do you plan on doing?" My brother asked. I didn't need an answer to know. It was so much in character of him yet he still amazed me. To be so…so noble.
"The enemy is too close. They'll catch you. I will stay here and hold them off as long as I can. Use that time to run far into the forest.'
It was like my body went numb. I was both captivated and horrified. My mouth fell agape. His dedication was a thing of such beauty but the idea of him dying to prove it left an uneasy churning in my stomach. It was like a dream. Some bizarre nightmare…
Bastian noticed how I adored lord Renning, how I was mesmerized by his willingness to sacrifice himself. A jealous glint came to his eye. "Then I shall stay behind as well. One man is not enough to satisfy a beast not alone tame it."
"My lord uncle…Bastian….No! I won't allow this! Such sacrifices… it would be so pointless… it is only me they want." Queen Elincia began to whimper in a childish voice as she did when she starts to cry. The atmosphere was tense. It was getting to all of us.
"Elincia. Listen to me." Her uncle tried to calm her. "You are the ruler of a country. You have to survive to lead your people. As knights it is our duty to do whatever it takes to ensure your safety."
"This is a rebellion…they don't want me…"
"Yes, this is a rebellion. It has happened before and it will happen again. Do not allow them to make you waver. It is only a group, not the entire country. Stay strong. Prove to them that you deserve this throne as you have so many times in the past. And then prove it to them again and again. Prove it to them as many times as it takes for them to finally understand."
"I…I will." Her head bowed as she accepted what he had said as truth. She had grown much since her inauguration. Had it been in the beginning she never would have been strong enough to listen.
"Wait! Then I will stay, too. If the three of us stand in the doorway and block it off completely, then they will have to face us one by one and our chances…" Geoffrey was cut off before he could even finish his sentence.
"No." He continued. "This is not a battle that can be one by survival. Whoever stays behind will die. The only victory that can be achieved is the queen's well being. You and your sister need to continue with her. If we fail to hold them off for any amount of time, it will become your turn."
"Funny that this will take place in a ball room, is it not? A bit of slight irony." Bastian interjected. "One last dance, a one night stand with the rider in dark robes, and a performance for the ages. To be able to take our final bow in such a manner is something that every gentleman dreams of but it must be done with a careful grace that you have not yet come of age enough to present. Should our audience applaud loudly, then our paths have shown us great fortune that we were ever able to meet at all and I hope that we will be able to perform together again one day in the after life but this dance, my friend, is not yours."
"Geoffrey…you will come with me…That is an order…" The queen addressed him. "I won't let anyone else die for me… especially not you…"
My brother nodded.
We made it as far as the fountain before we heard the door to enter the ballroom come crashing down. Metal hitting against metal? It sounded enough like clapping to me.
That's the first one shot! Please review and tell me what you think. Also, I'd like to get requests, so if anyone has a particular character they'd like to see, they get a chapter dedicated to them. Anonymous requests/reviews are welcome. That's it for now. Please continue to R&R! (Just to mention this, I take reviews from Fe 7,8,9, and 10.