The Great War of Gaea had been a time of great hopes, aspirations, and dreams. Some were miraculously attained, and others, destined to crumble and die. The events set into motion first at the time of the creation of the Atlantis machine, seemed to have finally reached a conclusion around the Girl from The Mystic Moon. After her departure, when Gaea was at peace. Well, mostly.
Anarchy and revolution erupted in Zaibach, though swiftly remedied by the overthrowing of the Sorcerers' Rule, and establishment of a rudimentary democratic system. The Alliance helped to contain the violence, and reach a peaceful agreement with the new government, headed by General Adelphos. There continued to be brief but fierce skirmishes between opposing groups, but they remained isolated within the capital city.
Basram was tried for war offences for the energist bomb, but was let off with only few sanctions, after a lot of wheedling on its and Cesario's part.
Asturia, not surprisingly, being the dominant and the wealthiest member of the alliance neatly sidestepped the issue of its aid to Zaibach, even as it faced the ire of Fanelia and Freid. King Aston remained as petulant as ever, despite the not-so-private apologies to the Gaean community at large by the Princesses and the Prince Regent-in-waiting, Dryden Fassa.
In the personal lives of the heroes of the Great War, there had been much change.
Knight Caeli Allen Schezar was a happier man.
His sister had been restored to him, and he was thankful for her mere presence, even though she would never be the same again. For the first couple of years, she had violent, screaming 'fits', or she would suddenly forget who she was or start behaving strangely. She once put her fingers in boiling water to 'burst the pretty bubbles'. But Allen adamantly refused to send her to an institution, or even keep her locked up. He let her roam the house, eat, dress, and do as she pleased – he knew his sister was not "mad", only lost. She didn't behave like that all the time…mostly she was a timid, frightened little girl who clung to her brother's shoulder, pleading with him to not leave her alone, and giggling madly if he amused her.
She remembered things. She remembered songs, and paintings, and half-forgotten stories, like the story of the hummingbird's tea party, which their old maid told to make Celena eat when she was cranky. She remembered games, and old hiding places. Sometimes, she made him cry at her innocent questions. He remembered how much he used to miss his shy little Celena when she was gone, and he would hug her tightly. He stopped staying at the tavern till late, and he came home to the Schezar estate first thing after palace duty. (The king had restored him there as a sign of forgiveness and goodwill. He also appointed him Chief of Caeli as a nod of thanks. Allen declined the post, saying there were many Caeli superior to him in skill and seniority, and he was happy enough already.) The lads from Fort Castello and the Crusade threw him a stupendous farewell party and shook his hand, saluting 'Boss' for one last time. They themselves were being promoted. Gaddes was very emotional at being parted from the only man he'd ever respected, and promised to make sure 'those dogs' never forgot their commander.
With time, Celena Schezar healed, and Allen would make up for the missing years by teaching her everything he thought she should know, since all her skills disappeared with Dilandau, including riding, swordplay, swimming and melef-piloting.
All ladylike arts were learnt under Princess Eries' supervision at the palace. And quite predictably, she grew up into an uncommonly good-looking woman, but Allen's reputation was such that young men refrained from impinging on her too much.
He forgave his father; even began to understand him, one could say, and spent months copying out the notes on Atlantis from the old diary (bloodstained at the top right-hand edge), onto a parchment he planned on giving to Dryden.
Dryden returned after six years, and won Millerna's heart as he had sworn. The people were relieved to see that their Prince Regent was not dead, as rumour had it. The first thing Millerna had done when she saw him in the palace - same as ever- long hair, roguish stubble, round glasses, dust-covered travelling clothes, changed eyes, she had run to her rooms, and bolted the doors. Ten days later, Princess Eries walked in on them kissing passionately in the Water Garden. They hadn't even noticed.
Dryden was a good Prince Regent, but in his heart of hearts, he did not particularly wish to be King; he knew it would erode his sense of self. His problem was miraculously solved. Before he died, King Aston asked to see his most troublesome daughter, Eries Aston. He cried as he asked her to forgive him for prizing his own prestige over his love for her. He begged her to take back her decision to abdicate the throne – it was his last request.
And for the first time in the history of Asturia, a High Queen sat on the throne, lord of everything she purveyed. In the course of time, the Queen took a husband. People smiled and shook their heads and decided to overlook her predictable, but improper choice.
The country went appropriately mad with joy at the wedding of Eries Aria Aston and Allen Schezar.
But not all endings were happy endings.
King Van Slanzar de Fanel of Fanelia never married. No one raised a question; it was understandable. The more superstitious would say that he changed into a wolf at night and howled and howled at the Mystic Moon.
He was a wonderful King, too hardworking, too involved, and too close to the common people for his own good, they said. But the truth was that the rivers in Fanelia ran to gold, thanks to his prudence in appointing excellent ministers, the most celebrated of whom was a Neko woman named Merle. It was she who had hard-bargained the struggling country to prosperity, and word was that she was slated as the heir. But when Merle died at the advanced age of ninety-four, following three months after her beloved Lord Van, she left behind a son, who was crowned King, on the explicit orders of Lord Van himself. No one really knew who his father had been, rumours abounded, but the he was a full human; except that his beard grew in a strange, beastlike pattern, he had a feline bearing and eyes that were tawny, almost yellow. He had black hair. Some said he was Lord Van's himself – he was the dead King's only token to leave the woman who loved him more than life itself, yet whom he never had the heart to marry.
Prince Chid grew up into a tall, lanky priest-king with gold hair that fell into his sad, sad eyes. Allen Schezar never visited, his father was slain, mother long-lost to legend, and only the monks for company. He shook off his tendency to melancholia by immersing himself in ruling his country. He left off trusting his advisors – especially after the Doppelganger almost killed Hitomi, the only person who ever read him. The monks retreated deeper into the mountains, healing from the shock of the war, when Prince Chid had unwittingly opened the portal to Atlantis. Distance grew between the monarchy and the monasteries.
Fortunately, Chid developed an avid interest in science. With good advice from King Van, he had managed to turn his interest to good use; hospitals, observatories, schools, libraries bloomed in the Kingdom Of Freid. The monks ran these, thawing the ice between them and the King.
Van always said Chid was a confused man, eagerly learning, searching, travelling; neither rooted in the past, which bewildered and scared him, nor living in the present. Only the future animated him. It was as though he felt like a boy still, who had not yet begun his life, Merle would muse.
He met and fell in love with someone he met on his travels: Celena Schezar, many years his senior and his aunt by blood. He wouldn't have believed it, even if anyone told him, which they didn't. He tried to commit suicide when he found out, from an old diary inside a music box. With his aunt constantly by his side, he finally recovered, though irreparably ravaged by fate. He never forgave his father, until he was called to Eries' deathbed, and sobbed his grief out in his aged father's lap. Ignorance is bliss. Or was it?
Celena took it upon herself to make him a husband. Being more hardheaded (surprisingly) than anyone in the Asturian household, she resolved not to let the Aston-Freid-Schezar line go to waste. So, a year after Celena's resolution, Chid was married to a priestess who was blinded in the Great War as a child.
But that is another story.