Hehehe, I actually forgot I hadn't finished this. My bad. Anyway, voila! Final chapter!
War was a funny thing he thought as he stood in front of the window, looking out at the land below. How many times had he been forced, tricked, asked, and allowed to go into battle? There were too many to count. Suddenly though, it was so much different. The maelstrom of war was never quite as frightening as it was then when he was faced with the prospect of not having her by his side. The war with Scanra had been inevitable, everyone could see it coming. He knew it would come to blows but he had assumed, stupidly, that he would have her by his side and in that it was not nearly as frightening. The only thing more terrifying than the thought of being without her in the coming weeks, months, years – lifetime – was when he had witnessed her orders being issued. Stake out the Scanran border, survive in the wilderness and do it all alone. The images that flashed before his eyes were horrifying. Her alone in the unforgiving Scanran mountains, nights passing without human contact; her death, alone and unheard with no one to help her; it was true that she was capable, a demigoddess, but she was not indestructible.
The truth was he had always assumed that he would be there for her death, unconsciously at least. That was because he had always believed that they would die together. Live together, fight together, die together; and love together a voice whispered in the back of his mind, though that option was one he knew was much to far from his grasp. He had to chastise himself for those thoughts; they hadn't been doing much of anything together for months. There was a chasm between them and it just kept filling up with everything they didn't, wouldn't, say to each other. At times he feared that she was little more than a memory to him now, all abstract and untouchable. Not the swiftly fading kind though, the taunting kind. The kind of memory that was always just around the corner, always waiting to spring on you and keep you form your sleep. There was nothing he could do, what kind of time was there left? He left a week before her, easily, and that could be any day.
He had looked across to the room to her during the last meeting, where she had received her orders, no, her death sentence. She looked to the floor, resigned, her jaw set tightly and her eyes hard. Those around her had the faces of mourners; it might as well have been her funeral. The people began filing out and he had tried to catch up with her but he had been blocked by others and she had left the room in strides that rivalled his own. He had tried many other times to find her, to see her, talk to her, love her but she was either always just out of grasp or he lost his nerve at the last moment and turned heel. He knew he needed to see her though, say goodbye; it could be his last chance. As the days wore on he became stronger in his resolve to tell her everything, if this was truly his last chance he could not, would not, let it pass him by. How could he? He would be a traitor to his own self. How would he be able to leave without her knowing, even if she rejected him. She could die, it was very likely she would, in some snowy mountain, miles from anywhere and he wouldn't be there, he would never know what had happened to her. He would never know the misery she had suffered, the black god take him before he suffer that ignorance.
He finally caught her the day before his departure. His heart was beating so fast he feared it may not be strong enough as he walked towards her. She looked pale and drawn, hints of dark circles forming around her eyes. She looked up at him and instead of the old smile, the one just for him, there was panic in her eyes; fear. She had made it perfectly clear that she wanted none of what he offered, she wanted nothing of him. She had smiled at him, trying to pass it off, but it had been a cruel mockery of her former smile. She stumbled over something about having things to do and moved away from him, forever. He had stood there and watched her retreat down the corridor; unwilling to move until she was out of site because he knew that it may be the last image of her he would ever have. Despite the agony of the moment, it would be all he would have left in the coming, well, maybe eternity and it was better than nothing.
When she had gone he had turned and swiftly strode back to his room, his mind swiftly forming new plans. He was single minded, enraged, terrified, and devastated. His magic crackled around him, lashing out at figments of better times as he grabbed clothes and items from his room and stuffed them into riding bags. He had nothing left here; he might as well leave that night. The last thing he placed in the bags was the wring, the cursed blessed ring. It would always belong to her whether she accepted it or not. He blew out the candles and left, making fast time to the stabled. Running into Onua he had put on a smile, suppressed his magic, and said his farewells, insisting that it was best for him to leave early. Onua had seemed convinced enough, though she had far too much on her own mind to be considering his. He had mounted Spots, praying that the gelding would not give away his departure to Daine though he wasn't sure she would do anything, and galloped out of the stables.
Half an hour into the ride Numair had realized his mistake. The clouds above him were dark and swirling, a mass of rage and turbulence. He was not sure if it was his own overflowing power or just natures empathy but either way it was not where anyone would want to be at that moment. Thunder rumbled threateningly and he brought his gelding to a halt and looked behind him. After merely a moments thought he shook his head violently, there was no turning back now. He pushed through the storm for what must have been another half hour or so before finally coming to rest at the top of a hill, underneath the cover of a tree. The storm was beginning to vent its fury now and he stood there, wondering how to proceed. He began shivering and the rain lashed at him and in that moment all he could think was that he needed Daine; if she had been there with him he would be alright, he wouldn't be afraid.
Suddenly he heard a voice and turned, violently, to see Daine standing almost right behind him, her clothes clinging to her body and her hair latching on to her face; a face that looked so desperate in the darkness.
"Numair, I-" She started to speak but he had strode forward, any care of repercussion fleeing his mind, and captured her lips with his own. His mouth mirrored the rage of the storm and the desperation of her face as he brought her to him and suddenly all the rage, all the fury and all the desperation vanished. He could no longer hear the storm, only her. Her heartbeat, her breath, the feel of her hands in his hair and her lips against his own as she kissed him back. He softened his kiss then and placed a shield around them and their mounts, protecting her; perhaps for the last time. He had laid her on the ground, atop a blanket he pulled from Spots bag in a fleeting moment of coherency. There, beneath the fury of the earth he had made love to her like he had to no woman before, and he had had plenty of those. Perfection did not come close to describing their union; there was nothing on the earth nor in the realms of the gods themselves that held such beauty, such purity or such rebirth as that single night. He had left in the morning, few words had been exchanged but they were unneeded.
The months that followed were hell. Each day he wondered if she was alive, if she was alright, where she was; with each day he saw more fighting, more death, more horror and each day he prayed that she should be spared. They saw each other fleetingly, like ships passing in the night. Those nights were spent in dark corners and hushed bedrooms as they got to know each other like never before, as they told each other silently of their love and as they apologized to each other for their sins with actions. They spoke of their situation only once, in depth anyway, the first time they were reunited but to be honest there was little that really needed to be said. When he was alone in her absence he would replay that moment where they had first exchanged vows of love, hoping that if everything should break that knowing that would be enough.
The last time he had seen her they had met by chance when they crossed paths at his tower. There, in the chilled seaside sanctuary he had held her in his arms and wished for the entire world that that was all there was to life; just that moment, he needed nothing else. He had taken the ring, her ring, from the bedside table and spoken to her.
"Daine" He held his breath and felt her do the same as she ran her fingers over the smooth surface of the promise. He felt his heart tremble when she pushed it away but suddenly she had looked up into his eyes and he knew that she wasn't rejecting him. She simply would not make a promise that she couldn't keep and his heart broke a little more when he realized that she believed that it was a promise that she may not be able to keep, though not for reasons of her own. Nevertheless there was promise in her eyes, a promise of wars end and a new life's beginning.
She rode away that night as he watched her from his window, his palm pressed flush against the chilly glass. She looked back at him, just for a moment, and suddenly he knew he didn't have to worry, this was not the last time they would meet. They would fight for now, witness death and cause it, but soon, when the smoke cleared, they would meet again and the promise of a new life would begin.
C'est fini! Tell me what you think, I'd love some feedback :)