Chapter Thirty-Four: Dawn of a New Age

...

Six-and-a-half months later...

Amiti stood in front of his mirror, allowing his maid to fit his ceremonial armor on. As the final touches were completed – his belt buckled around his waist and his cape fastened to his shoulders – he couldn't help but smile at the man that stared back at him. He was older, more regal-looking – no longer bearing the demeanor of a prince newly ascended to the throne. No, he was far more sure of himself, as a King should be.

"You look fine, milord," Tika smiled, brushing down his cape and stepping back to admire him. He gave a curt nod and looked at her.

"Thank you," he smiled. "I just hope I can sound as regal as I look..."

"You've hardly stammered at all of late," Tika reassured him. "You'll do fine."

Just as he was about to continue, Tika's brother Tobi came in, giving the King a bow before standing straight again with a grin. "Your friends await you downstairs, your highness. The last of them just arrived."

"Ah, good," Amiti smiled, nodding to them before leaving his chambers and heading to the room where his friends were waiting –

Matthew, Tyrell, Rief... Takeru and Seth. They all stood there, smiling as they listened to the newly arrived Eoleo brag on about the latest news from Champa...

"...he's got my hair, so I'm hoping he'll take after me a bit. Or better yet, my old man. He was a good man, and a good pirate."

"I'm sure little Briggs will fill those shoes just fine," Matt smiled. "Sounds like his dad loves him an awful lot. And how's Obaba doing?"
Eoleo laughed. "Now that she's lived to see her grandson's grandson, she's sayin' she's not keelin' over till he pops out a little one, too..." He shook his head. "I dunno that great-gran will live that long, but... Hey, who knows?"

Amiti came up behind Eoleo and clapped him on the shoulder. "Hey, congrats. I got the letter a month ago – you still sound so proud."

"Oh, I am," he laughed, bringing an arm around Amiti's shoulders. "Congrats yourself – and good luck tonight. Hope Karis knows how to make heirs or you two might be in a bit of trouble..."

Amiti's face reddened from the teasing, and he pulled away with a huff. "My uncle did have that talk with me years ago, Eoleo. Thank you very much."

"Aw come on. I was just joking..." He laughed again. Amiti chose to ignore him, instead asking the others how his friends were – of course, the girls were speaking with Karis in another room. But Matt assured Amiti that Sveta had made a full recovery from her injuries – as had Himi and Eos. It had taken time, but things were finally returning to normal...

"I'm actually going to be moving to Belinsk," Matt finally said, somewhat quieter than Eoleo. "Sveta wants me to be part of her council, and her people seem to like me alright."

Amiti smiled a little – it was no secret among their group that Matt and Sveta were together now. But with relations still strained between the beastmen and man... He did feel a little worried for them.

"Milord, the ceremony is soon to start." Tika announced, coming into the room. "Your friends should probably get to their seats."

"Yes," Amiti nodded, face paling slightly again – and Matt chuckled and nudged him in the side.

"Take it easy, your highness. Don't trip over that cape of yours."

"Matt!" He laughed – face reddening more as each of his friends gave him a parting jest and reassurance before leaving him alone in the chamber, save for his servants.

"...You need to get to your place, too, milord."

"G-Give me another m-moment, please..." Amiti stammered, looking at his feet. "All of you – go on. I just need to get my wits about me...""

Tika and Tobi shared a glance before nodding to the other servants and ushering them out, each giving a bow of respect before taking leave. Only when he was all alone in the room did he allow his nerves to show, and he shook slightly as he wandered over to a mirror again.

"...G-Get a g-grip, Amiti. It's j-just a wedding, no n-need to be so nervous... L-Look at yourself, you're a K-King... So act like one, damn it..." He sighed and closed his eyes for a minute, steeling himself and straightening his back before opening his eyes again to take a look at himself.

And saw Alex staring back at him. He blinked once before realizing that face was not his own – indeed, his own reflection was there too –

"You really need to work on those nerves of yours. Even in private, a King should be regal."

Amiti turned around, looking the other man over curiously. "...So you are alive. Again."

Alex smiled and gave a little laugh. "You think it's so easy to be rid of me? You're sadly mistaken then. The Empyror is gone, though. The Tuaparang will not bother you or your friends anymore."
"And Alchemy is tamed now? No more vortexes?"

"Yes," Alex nodded, closing his eyes. "The world should be stable now. The power of a lost age is in your hands, and the hands of your children. Use it wisely."

"Says you," Amiti huffed, crossing his arms. "You know how many died because of this."

"Then don't let their sacrifice be in vain," Alex countered. "You are one of the leaders of this world now, don't let the nations break out in war again as they did at the end of the Golden Age."

"Is that why you came here? To give me even more to worry about?"

"No," Alex admitted, taking a step forward and resting a hand on the young King's shoulder. "I came here to congratulate my son. I heard he was getting married today, and, well... I wanted to wish him luck."

Amiti tried to hold his stoic expression, but failed – a small smile coming to his lips a moment before he hugged the other. Alex tensed up in surprise for a moment, but soon sighed and clapped Amiti on the back. "Alright, alright... get out there now. She loves you, just remember that. Even if you mess up royally, she will still love you. And no one else matters, not really."

Amiti smiled and gave a nod, pulling back and standing up at his full height. "Alright. Thank you. And..." He glanced to one side, with a small sigh. "...You are my father, so... if you would like a seat..."

"No," Alex shook his head, cutting Amiti off. "I think it would be best if I take my leave now. I wasn't present for all of your life until now – and it would only look bad for your people to see me, when you've gone your entire life telling them your mother had you by herself."

"I know, but..."

Alex chuckled and clapped Amiti's shoulder twice. "No buts. I wouldn't want to take away from your glory anyways – today's your day to shine, Amiti. This is your kingdom, your age. So get out there, and be their Golden Sun."

"Alright," Amiti sighed, giving Alex one more little smile before walking away, toward the door. When he was almost there, he gave a sigh. "Thank you, again – for at least seeing me off." There was no answer, and when Amiti turned...

...Alex was already gone.

The wedding followed without a hitch, and the people of Ayuthay cheered loudly for their King and his new Queen. From his vantage point on the city's walls, Alex smiled proudly as he watched the newlyweds enter the palace to escape the crowd – and, presumably, head to more private quarters.

Alex found himself giving a small sigh – wondering, not for the last time, if he could've had such a ceremony if only he had stayed. If they would've accepted him as eagerly as they accepted Karis – whether he'd already gotten their princess with child or not. If Veriti could've been saved if he'd been there to heal her...

But as he turned away, he knew it was no longer time to dwell on the past. Amiti would do well, as would Sveta and Takeru and all the rest. It was their time, now – not his. "Good luck," he sighed, smiling as he finally took his leave. "You're all going to need it."

It was the dawn of a new age – their age, the time that had been promised long ago.

...

Author: Well, guys. This is it. (Finally.) I know I took forever on this chapter - life came up. I got distracted. Every time I came to sit and work on it I would type a few words or just stare at the page. I lost the muse for this story for a ridiculously long time. In fact, there's another half chapter written that was supposed to be the thirty-fourth chapter (this would've been the thrity-fifth) but I finally realized that chapter wasn't needed, and if I kept typing away at that filler, this story would never be finished.

But here we are, at long last. A story nearly three years in the making. And... I know there are lots of errors and mistakes, but I don't feel like fixing them. I've been having more and more trouble sticking with writing my fanfictions for a while now - but there is supposed to be a sequel to this. I'm working on it. But I probably won't publish any more of it until I finish typing it so there won't be anymore months-long waits as I work on chapters.

To anyone who stuck with it this far - thank you. Thank you all so much for reading this. If it weren't for you, this story wouldn't have become what it has. Your reviews always gave me the will to keep writing it - and make it bigger and better than it would have been.

This is my longest story ever. 171 pages long in my typing program - somewhere around 98,000 words long. I'm proud of it, for sure. And happy to finally see it finished. I'm actually tearing up writing this final piece now - knowing that, once I publish this chapter, I'll be done with this work that's taken up a big part of my life.

So, once again, everyone who read and/or reviewed, this one's for you. Thank you for reading this. I hope you like the ending, and I hope that when I do finally write the sequel and occasional one-shots that go with this, you'll read those too.

Best wishes to you all -

~Knight-Dawn