A/N: Forever With You is back after a two year hiatus. The hiatus started after the original ending, along with any motivation, was lost. The story has probably one or two chapters left. I'm disappointed because the original ending was much better, but at least the story will be finished. Enjoy!
"Maaaan!" Janaff groaned, returning to his dormant form in the middle of the sky. Ulki, still in hawk form, slowed beside him and transformed as well.
"What is it? Do you see something?"
"Of course not! We've been scouring over Begnion for two days, bitched out via messenger by Ike at least three times, and still we can't find these idiot humans. I'm starting to get tired, and I'm starting to get annoyed!"
Ulki blinked, his expression unchanging. "Perhaps one good round of complaining from you was the cue we needed. Listen. I hear something."
"Don't tell me to listen, tell me where to look!" Janaff beat his wings once, rising in the air in anticipation. Ulki concentrated for a moment, tuning his ears in precisely the right direction. They were idle over a thick forest, several miles from Sienne. The hawk listened closely, hearing the soft whispers of two people, a girl and a boy. He listened to the scritch scritch as whoever they were attempted to ignite a fire with sticks.
Waste unless they find shelter. It will rain soon. Ulki thought. He pointed eastward. "Two miles."
Just north of the Begnion border, Ike was pacing about his tent. The world wasn't moving fast enough for him, and he hated every idle moment of his prolonged existence. Why? he wondered, his fingers working themselves into the slight chain around his neck, the crimson vial sliding down to meet his finger. I thought Ulki and Janaff were better than this... His hand opened and gripped the vial, pulling down on it and pressing the chain into the back of his neck. He pulled harder and harder, until the chain was about to give, when a light noise from outside caught his attention.
The walls of his tent were whistling with a light breeze, and somewhere in the camp, a small iron wind chime sounded in it's own song, unique to every breeze. Ike released the vial containing his lover's ashes, and raised his hand to his open mouth to stifle a sudden choking that tore through him. That song is for me, he thought, running his other hand through his hair as he resumed his pacing. It's you, isn't it? You always controlled the wind. "Soren?" he called softly to the empty tent.
After surviving the Mad King's war, Ike hadn't ever given much thought to what happens to people when they die. To think about it would bring back the guilt of all the lives he had to end to save his country, but after Soren's death, he found himself wondering what happened to someone after the body was gone. "Will I ever get to see you again?" The king swallowed, realizing he was still talking into his hand. After clearing his throat, he dried his eyes and tried to reign in his thoughts.
"I beg your pardon," Tibarn greeted, stepping into the tent. He looked around, expecting to find someone else, since he heard Ike talking, but he quickly realized that the bluenette was alone.
Ike was defensive, seeing the worry in the Hawk's eyes. "What? Do you have news? It better be good, for you to barge in like that."
"I'm actually glad to report that yes, I finally have news. Janaff and Ulki have tracked down Sothe and the girl. They-"
"Where are they?" Ike lunged forward, staring desperately into Tibarn's eyes.
"Calm down, Ike. They were spotted about a half mile outside of Sienne. This camp is about a two hour flight from there. A full day of riding for you beorc. Ulki stayed behind to monitor their movement, but Janaff has returned to lead the way."
Ike licked his lips, his eyes trailing down to the ground as he turned from the Hawk King. "Excellent. The day has come. Finally..." He clenched his fists slowly. "Finally, she will pay for this." He turned on his heel, shoving passed Tibarn and bursting out of the tent. "LET'S MOVE!"
"So, why did you bring me out here, Micaiah?" Sothe asked as he unsuccessfully tried to ignite a fire using only sticks. For so long he had travelled with at least one mage capable of fire magic that he wasn't used to starting a fire the other way. Micaiah knelt on the ground beside him and took the sticks from his hand, bringing forth sparks oddly quickly.
"I just wanted some time alone with you. I've been stuck in Sienne for so long now, all by myself." She shrugged. "It's so good to be out here with you again."
"How'd you end up there?" The emeralde asked, ignoring her comments and discreetly inching away from her. He took his seat on the stump next to their firepit.
"Oh, that's... a long story. For another time." She smiled at him, and he inwardly cringed. She moved closer to him. "Sothe, I'm so glad you came to find me. I know we grew apart, what with Begnion hunting me down and then travelling with the mercenaries... But I just knew we would always end up together. We're stronger than that," She covered his hand with her own smaller one. "Aren't we?"
Sothe fought to get Kieran's disapproving frown out of his mind. He squeezed her hand. "I guess we are." She smiled softly. Sothe cleared his throat. "You know, Micaiah... I don't know if you heard about Daein's situation, but..."
"Oh, I've heard." She retorted, her tone suddenly spiteful. "Our poor country. At this point, I don't know if it will ever reach peace again."
"It was at peace, Micaiah." Sothe murmured. He looked sideways at her. Because he already knew of her involvement, the guilt and shame was apparent on her soft features. He took a deep breath, then moved to the ground and pulled her into a one armed embrace ."Micaiah. If you... know anything, you can tell me."
Her head whipped to the side and there were tears in her eyes. "Why would you ask that?" She studied his face, but did not move away from him. "Sothe?" When he didn't answer, his features said it all. Her face finally crumpled, and she threw herself against him. He fell back, arms instinctively wrapping around her. "Oh, Sothe...!"
"Micaiah? What? Ssh..." He sat up, lifting her easily, and moved her hair from her face in a moment of nostalgia. "What is it?"
She whimpered, trying to wipe her eyes. "I don't know what to say, Sothe! I asked Yune for help. I just... I hate Ike, Sothe!" She cried. "Ever since we began travelling with him, I started to lose you. It just wasn't fair. He's an awful leader! He destroyed our country, he organized it's downfall!"
Sothe listened with wide eyes, fighting every urge to shove the girl away and spit in her face. He reminded himself that he was on a mission and that Ike would likely have his head in more ways than one if he messed it up. He gulped soundlessly.
"I... I understand, Micaiah."
She looked at him, mouth agape, then slowly raised her hands to gently grasp his face. "You do?" Their conversation cut short the ground rumbled beneath them slightly. Micaiah clung to Sothe in fear. "What was that?"
Ike, let that be you! Sothe screamed in his head. He jerked as Micaiah was suddenly removed from his embrace. He stood to see the girl standing beside an enormous, black-clad looming figure.
"My Lady, danger approaches. You should not have left the Tower." It spoke in a low and deadly voice. The head of the stranger turned and seemed to stare at Sothe. "Be wary of what you have said; he is your enemy." It spoke viciously.
"What? No! Sothe?" Micaiah stuttered, but no one answered as the ground began to rumble even more with the approach of what seemed to be a small herd of horses. Micaiah's eyes were desperate, and she turned to the black knight. Her gaze was frightened. "Get me out of here!"
Sothe covered his eyes as light enveloped the small clearing. After the flash, he remained the only one standing there. He let out a breath. Idly, he wondered if this were a bad or a good thing.
"I see the smoke!" Shouts and hoofbeats were now clear in his ears. He stepped out of the way as several horses bombarded through. A certain bluenette led their way.
Ike pulled his horse to a rough stop, glaring first at the empty clearing and then at Sothe. "Where did she go?" He demanded in an angry yell. Sothe scanned the group of soldiers and relief flooded him at the sight of Kieran at the back. The red-haired knight approached, reaching his hand out to offer Sothe room in his saddle. Ike seethed. "Where, Sothe?"
Sothe swallowed, thankful to be near Kieran again. He fixed his gaze on Ike's face. "She just escaped. With a large man, a black knight. They just vanished, suddenly..."
"Teleportation magic, sir." A mage informed Ike before he could ask.
"So you don't know where they went?" Ike asked, trying to calm his tone.
"The knight asked Micaiah why she left the "Tower". Maybe they went to Sienne, to the-" Sothe couldn't finished as Ike cut him off.
"Tower of Guidance." He breathed. He looked up in the evening sky. "Tibarn! To Sienne!" He shouted, then kicked his horse into a gallop to leave the clearing. It's not over, Soren. I'm going to do this for you.
Kieran did not bid his horse follow as the rest of the group fled the clearing. Sothe let out a sigh. After a couple of minutes, the red head spoke. "You didn't kiss her, did you?"
Ike pushed his horse to run as fast as it would go. His legs burned and his back and stomach stung. Sienne loomed in the distance. Even from this far away, the Tower of Guidance could be seen clearly. He reached for the vial around his neck again. Soren...-
Suddenly, his team erupted into shouts and yells and the frightened calls of their mounts. Ike looked up in time, searching for Tibarn and Janaff, but saw instead a large black cloud coming down on them. It hit the ground in front of them, causing a small tremor. Ike abandoned his horse gratefully and it galloped away. He looked up at the black dragon.
"Ike!" The Goldoan prince answered. "I've come to help. My father refuses to get involved, but I don't feel that's right! Soren was our family. This needs to be brought to justice."
Ike nodded, and the first breeze of the night tickled his face. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he wondered if Tibarn had something to do with the prince's sudden appearance. "Will you take me to the Tower?" He asked, not commenting on the prince's motives, though he was thankful for them. Kurthnaga's large body turned slowly, and the enormous dragon head gave a nod. Ike took a deep breath, then waved the rest of his team away. "Go home! The wench is mine." The bluenette climbed onto Kurthnaga's back, searching for a secure way to hold on.
"Let's move!" Tibarn called from the air, swooping down around them, urging them to go. Kurthnaga took off and Ike's grip tightened.
"Take me right outside the entrance!" Ike yelled over the wind rushing over them as Kurthnaga flew through the darkening sky. Looking on either side, Ike could see Janaff and Tibarn flying gracefully along with them. Kurthnaga's large head bobbed in a nod and he began to dive for speed. The Tower grew ever closer.
Kurthnaga was several feet above the ground as Ike launched himself from his back. He hit the ground and rolled, but jumped to his feet and took off running toward the Tower's entrance. The large black dragon flapped his wings, seeing no further reason to land. He ascended once again as the bluenette reached the large entryway at the base of the Tower.
Ike was amazed at first just how big the Tower actually was. It was as big as a battlefield, although he could see his reflection in the marble floor. He looked up, seeing the spiral staircase that lined the walls and led to the top. Several windows etched into the structure's side let in the moonlight. It was quiet, save for Ike's heavy breathing.
He drew Ragnell. "I know you're in here!" He yelled to the open space of the Tower. He cared not that he was disrespecting Sienne, the Apostle, or the Goddess. His voice echoed off of the walls and bounced back at him to ring in his ears. The bluenette wandered into the middle of the large circular room. He fought back tears and practically growled, "Answer me!"
He did not have to wait long. On the other end of the room stood a small figure. Even in the dull moonlight reverberating off of the walls and floor, he could still make it out to be Micaiah. "How did you find me here?" She called, her voice quivering. She readied her tome.
Ike sneered, showing his teeth. He took an offensive stance and brought the tip of Ragnell to face her. "Where's your bodyguard? Sothe reported that you snuck away with one."
"Not here. So, Sothe really was your spy." Micaiah shook, although Ike did not see it. "I... I don't care about that anymore. I don't care about anything! You do whatever you want, Ike! You always do!"
"Go ahead, kill me! It won't change a thing! Deain is better off without you and Soren is still DEAD!"
The word hit the walls and rang around the room like a sad song as Ike lurched forward. Micaiah screwed her eyes closed, chanting softly. She raised her hand, but instead of her tome's natural white, blinding light, it was blue. In shock, the silver haired mage dropped her weapon and Ike had to skid to a halt, as the sky colored beams prevented him from seeing.
The light swirled in wisps, seeming to emanate from Micaiah who had pushed herself against the nearest wall. Ike looked on, his eyes a curious shade of angry. The beams acted quickly, shifting into the form of a young girl that stood between the adversaries. She faced Micaiah, who looked at her with remorse.
Micaiah. I am filled with regret at allowing your actions. The voice was quiet and Ike stared through the blue wisps at Micaiah's face. I waited for you to make this right on your own. But I see now that you never intended to.
"Yune, please help me!" Micaiah begged, tears pouring down her face as she fell to her knees in respect and fear. The Goddess shook her head.
You were wrong, Micaiah, and I was wrong to not have seen it sooner. Yune turned slowly, her transparent eyes landing on Ike's face. The one called Ike. I know that asking for your forgiveness would be a vain attempt at reconciliation.
Ike stared at her, dumbfounded. His heart raced. He could hear Micaiah somewhere in the background, muttering apologies. He dropped his sword, and Yune approached him.
Although not everyone believes so, I am a troubled being. Yune said, reaching up to the commander's neck. Her hand engulfed the vial and she gently pulled, freeing it from the chain. Ike didn't stop her. She turned back to Micaiah, having retrieved what she needed. Micaiah. I am willing to help you make this right.
Micaiah was crying. She nodded desperately. "I'm so sorry, Yune. I'm so sorry!" She uncovered her face and looked up to see the Goddess holding her hand out to her. Her face was gentle, but not happy. The silver-haired maiden stood shakily.
There is only one way to redeem yourself, Micaiah. The Goddess held up the vial that housed Soren's ashes. An exchange. Micaiah's throat caught, as did Ike's. "What?" Both of them blurted in unison. Yune ignored the bluenette.
Your life, Micaiah, in exchange for the life that you took. It is what is right. Do you doubt me? Micaiah swallowed, and more tears fell. She shook her head.
"I don't doubt you." She whispered. She stepped toward the smaller ghost of a Goddess and took the wispy hand, the red vial caught between their grasps. At the touch, Yune's eyes closed and Micaiah's eyed widened. The blue light that had engulfed the room just before Yune's arrival returned, although it hovered around Micaiah.
Ike stepped back from the two, his hands shaking. He didn't take his eyes away. Their forms slowly began to rise, and Micaiah's body soon became transparent, like Yune's. At the last second, Micaiah looked down and met Ike's gaze.
And then they burst into shallow beams of airy blue light, swirling around the Tower faster than Ike's eyes could follow. Eventually they slowed, moving in a downward motion toward the ground several feet in front of Ike. The world slowed around him; he raised his arm to cover his face as the lights sparked and became brighter and brighter. The light surged and surged, and then one final time before disappearing. The bluenette coughed and groaned as he lowered his arm.
His blue eyes fell on a pale, nude form lying on its side. It was motionless as shimmering blue dust dissipated from the air around it. The ebony hair splayed on the marble floor was unmistakable.