epilogue

The rest of the story is already known, but only those parts of the story that remain. The testing ground was wiped away, and Will and Allie ceased to exist even in memory. Their lives had been vivid, if abbreviated, but now were banished to the realm of never-had-been. Even so, three consequences of their brief span lingered, after that span had been consigned to the vast unknown.

First and most obviously, the dark warrior received the reward promised him, and found the price to be, indeed, steep beyond his expectation. He returned to the Valley of the Sun, and found his lost love and lost her all over again, and fought his last battle — only to discover it wasn't the last after all — and went on to severely annoy many people for quite some time to come.

Second, the white knight who had so long condemned himself for his abandonment of the woman who loved him, found that he had reached an unexpected peace with himself. In some way he couldn't quite understand, it was as if he had paid a penance, set the scales level, and shown that he could, in fact, commit his heart without reservation. This made no sense to him, but he accepted it and put it to beneficial use.

(He also found himself with a new, intuitive understanding of the mysteries of the female orgasm, an awareness that would subsequently move more than one grateful woman to rapturous astonishment; but of this, more need not be said.)

Third, least significant but much noted: months after the forgotten trial, a puzzled young woman would exclaim in exasperation, "Is there anyone here that hasn't slept together?"; and two men with long memory of (and ample reason for) hating one another, would find their eyes meeting in a furtive, quizzical glance, and then jerking quickly away.

They might — if they allowed themselves to think of it at all — wonder why they had done that.

But they would never know.

end