Last part... Hope it's worth the wait!
When Princess DG returned to the Central City of the O.Z., she did it in a way that would be remembered for hundreds of annuals if not thousands. The young princess, who most had last seen with a noose around her neck, strode through the city streets with the confidence and grace of one much older.
At her side, Wyatt Cain, former Tin Man, walked with his hand in hers, his fedora tipped low over his face to hide his expression from the crowds that quickly gathered to watch the procession. There was no doubt, though, that the man was watching everyone carefully despite the hat seemingly obscuring his vision.
On her other side, a man many thought looked familiar but no one could place walked with his head held high – and his wings jutting proudly from his back. There were whispers and murmurs but he didn't once falter as the people began to realise just what his appearance meant: that the fairy people had returned to the realm of the O.Z.
Slightly behind them walked Glitch, formerly known as Ambrose, and the Viewer, Raw. Two of the Heroes of the Eclipse and known to be close friends of the Royal Princess, neither seemed to notice the people clamouring around to watch.
The big surprise was the lack of Queen's Guard around the Princess – and the fact that the platoon of bodyguards everyone expected her to have had been replaced, it seemed, by animals. Wolves and cats, the latter of which had been seen leaving the palace and gathering on the outskirts of the city earlier that day, padded behind the princess.
And they spoke.
Their voices could be heard, loud and clear, in the minds of those gathered in the streets. The people of the O.Z. wouldn't understand it until much later, until Princess DG took to the balcony of the palace to address the people and explain that the O.Z. kin had re-awoken, but they were willing to welcome the sight if it meant their princess was back.
The group travelled towards the palace, and the people of the O.Z. fell into line behind them without instruction. Once they reached the palace gates, the guardsman on duty gave a shout and opened them immediately.
Princess DG continued forward, not once looking back. Accompanied by her friends and the man from the fairy realm, the people of the O.Z. watched her disappear into the palace. The O.Z. kin followed and then the doors were closed.
What happened next, the people of the O.Z. would never truly know.
Amara stood staring at the throne of the Central City palace, her gaze hungry as the studied it.
Finally. Finally. The throne was within her grasp, control of the O.Z. would shift to her and her blood and the Gales... They would be finished. She thought she might let them live, at least for a while. It might look suspicious, otherwise, if Princess Azkadellia had her family killed so soon after ascending to the throne.
No, she would let them live. For a while. And then if an accident or two should befall them, well then surely that would make the people love her all the more.
And once they were all gone and the people looked to her for guidance and leadership... Then she could reveal her true self, take back the head that had been taken by the Queen's Guards and secured in the royal crypt in the basement until they could figure out what to do with it.
The people would have no choice but to follow her; she would have their earned their loyalty by then.
She heard a commotion from behind her and bit back a growl. Captain Cain had reluctantly granted her freedom after she'd proven herself by ridding the Queen of the evil Witch but had insisted two of his men would be shadowing her at any given time.
"I thought I asked to be left alone," she said, her hands clenching into fists as her anger rose. She spin around to see who had disturbed her solitude and found herself facing a dark haired woman she'd never lain eyes on before but knew instinctively who she was. Forcing her features to relax into a smile, she took a step forward and threw open her arms. "DG! My little sister! How good it is to have you home!"
DG lifted a hand and Amara stopped suddenly. She frowned as she encountered an invisible wall, the frown deepening when she tried to move around it and found her feet were seemingly frozen to the polished marble floor.
"You are not my sister, Amara. Don't even pretend that you are." Around the Gale princess's neck, a blue coloured stone began to glow, releasing strands of light magic. DG took a step forward, the strands of light wrapping around her almost protectively. "Your mother failed against us, your aunt failed. Your grandmother was killed by a Gale woman with no magic to speak of. What made you think you would succeed where they did not?"
"You don't know who you're talking to, DG." Dropping the act, Amara snarled and summoned her power. She unleashed a wave of dark magic that broke through the spell holding her in place and smirked in triumph. "You are nothing but a child compared to me. Your magic is young, pitiful. I could crush you in a heartbeat."
"Oh, really?" DG crossed her arms over her chest and arched an eyebrow. "Why don't you try it then? Show me what you're made of?"
"With pleasure." Amara's eyes darkened as she commanded the magic inside her to do her bidding. She sent it barrelling towards DG, dark green serpents of magic slithering through the air, hissing and bearing their teeth to the young princess.
DG stood still and let them come, tilting her head to the side when the serpents reached her... and then disappeared, seemingly absorbed by the bluish-white light surrounding her.
"Is that the best you've got?" DG asked mockingly. "Really, I was expecting more. Surely you must have learned a thing or two from your family?"
Amara scowled and ground her teeth. Beads of sweat broke out across her hairline as she dug deep and poured every ounce of magic she had into getting through the shield around the Gale princess. Her efforts were rewarded when the dark magic that burst from her managed to make DG stumble a step backwards but it didn't have the desired effect of making the princess turn to stone.
Behind DG, Amara could see a blond man, an older version of Captain Cain, standing beside three others. She did a double-take when she recognised Glitch, Azkadellia's travelling companion, and realised his being there meant DG had managed to break the spell she'd cast on him.
With a wave of her hand, DG dismissed the cloud of dark magic hovering around her. She took another step forward and waved her hand again. Immediately, Amara found herself imprisoned by an invisible cage.
"I'll make this quick," DG said, her voice soft. "I have no wish to see you suffer, Amara. I don't wish for anyone to suffer anymore than they have done already." Glancing over her shoulder, DG looked towards the doorway. "You can come in, Mother. It's time to bring Az back."
The men at the threshold of the room moved aside and Queen Lavender strode into the room, her husband behind her. Amara stared at her and gaped. The Queen's pale hair was dark and vibrant, her cream-coloured skin glowing with unmistakeable magic.
As Amara watched, Queen Lavender approached her daughter and took DG's hand. A brilliant white light flared between their joint palms and both mother and daughter smiled in satisfaction. Together, they advanced towards Amara, their clasped hands filling the dark witch with more fear than anything else she'd seen and lived through.
They passed through the invisible barrier Amara herself couldn't break and each reached out to take one of her hands. She tried to stop them, to pull away, but her magic was spent and her body refused to obey.
Soon, the three women were joined in a circle, their hands clasped. Amara could only stare as she felt her body – her physical form – dissolve and another take its place. Somehow, Princess DG and Queen Lavender were able to summon Azkadellia's rightful body, reuniting it with her head.
White light filled the circle of Gale women as Amara's spirit was trapped inside it. As DG's eyes slid shut, light pouring from both of her hands where they were clasped with her mother and sister, she let her head fall back and the sapphire around her neck began to pulse.
Blue-white magic joined that of the Gales, ancient and pure, power unlike any of them had ever known. It wrapped around Amara's spirit, squeezed as she screamed wordlessly, somehow both soothing and suffocating at the same time.
When DG opened her eyes again, they, too, glowed with ancient power, her dark hair whipping around her face by a breeze only she could feel.
"Be at peace, Amara, daughter of Mombi." The lilting voice of the youngest Gale princess was both hers and that of someone else. "The Lady of Light commands it."
It was the last thing Amara heard as she vanished from existence, the dark magic she possessed fading as the land of the O.Z. both claimed and neutralised it once more.
The three Gale women stood for a moment longer until the light between them faded. DG blinked to clear her vision, a bright smile spreading across her face as soon as she could see again. She squeezed her mother's hand, and her sisters, and felt the smile slip when they both continued to stare at her and the pendant around her neck in stunned awe.
"You're glowing, Deege," Azkadellia murmured, her voice barely a whisper. "You're... The magic coming from you is incredible. It's both old and new but yours. It feels like you."
"It is me. It's who – what – I am now. What I had to become." DG felt a moment of sadness for all that had been lost or changed so that it was possible for her to be standing with her loved ones.
"You are the Lady of Light," her mother whispered, her lavender eyes shimmering with tears – tears of pride, DG was relieved to see. "Oh, my Angel. My Azkadellia. My girls." She let go of their hands only to wrap her arms around them both, weeping silently as she clung to her children.
It was only then that DG and Azkadellia remembered that their mother – their true mother – had already been under the Witch's possession on the day of the double eclipse. Both sisters felt tears sting their eyes as they returned their mother's embrace, three daughters of the House of Gale finally – truly – reunited.
The ceremony was to take place at Finaqua, the only place in the O.Z. that was both home to the mortal and fairy realms. It was the final step to sealing DG's fate as the Lady of Light, the final stage in showing the inhabitants of the O.Z. that a stronger, united realm was rapidly coming to be.
DG stood in her room at the palace, staring at her reflection in the full-length mirror. The gown she wore was a combination of both the O.Z. and fairy coronation gown and it was beautiful... but still somehow didn't feel right.
Someone cleared their voice and she turned away from the mirror to find her father watching her, a beaming grin on his face as he held out his hand.
"They're ready for you, DG. Your people are waiting."
With a smile she hoped would keep the nerves she felt from showing, DG reached out and took his arm. Her father would be escorting her down to the gardens by the lake, where the ceremonial circle had already been prepared for her by both her mother and sister under the guidance of the O.Z. itself.
Twin moons hung in the night sky, full and bright, reminding her all too keenly of the first drawing down ceremony she'd performed with Jeb and a few of his men as witnesses. The ceremony she was about to perform would be witnessed by dozens more – friends and family, people and kin, fairies and mortals.
The ceremony would double as both her official beginning of the Lady of Light and the official bonding of said Lady with her Chosen. The second part of the ceremony had been suggested by Alvis, who had undergone a similar thing with Ozma. DG had half-expected Cain to balk at the idea but was pleasantly surprised when he'd agreed without hesitation.
It was, he'd told her later when the two of them had a moment alone to catch their breaths, a fair alternative to the full state wedding he was sure her mother would have insisted on arranging for them otherwise.
On her father's arm, in the shimmering dress of pale blue, DG felt like she was floating more than walking. The butterflies dancing anxiously in her stomach began to fade when she was finally outside and felt the soft grass of the O.Z. beneath her feet and disappeared entirely when she caught a glimpse of the man waiting for her within the circle.
Cain watched her approach, his usually unreadable eyes reassuring her, telling her everything she needed to know.
On the edge of the circle, Jeb stood with Glitch and Raw on one side of the space in which she would enter. Her mother, Azkadellia, Alvis and Queen Selene stood on the other. Various members of the O.Z kin, including the wolf alpha and feline matriarch, lined the circle and behind them were dozens of people she wouldn't have been able to name.
Being honest with herself, DG had to admit she'd almost forgotten her own name, too.
The moment she stepped into the circle, she felt the raw power of the O.Z. flood the carefully drawn marks. The lines of the circle glowed like molten silver, sealing her inside with Cain.
'We are gathered on this night at this place of high magic to witness the bond between Lady and Land, Woman and Man.' It was a familiar voice that spoke, though wasn't that of the old tree as DG had been expecting. She moved to stand in front of Cain and exhaled slowly. 'Once sealed, neither bond can be broken or severed. It is eternal, it is absolute. Do you wish to proceed, Lady's Chosen?'
"I do." Having being briefed by Alvis, Cain took DG's hand and slid the simple band of entwined gold and silver over her finger. "I accept the role of Chosen, of Guardian, and enter into the bond with my Lady wholly and completely."
'Then from this moment on, the O.Z. and its ilk recognise you as Lord Wyatt Cain, Chosen and Guardian, Mate and Husband of Lady DG of the Light.'
There was a moment of silence as the couple, newly wedded for all intents and purposes, exchanged giddy smiles.
'DG, Princess of Light, Daughter of the House of Gale. You have already accepted the role of Lady of Light of the O.Z. You stand before your Chosen and your people to seal your union with the land. Speak now, and be heard by all.'
DG took a deep breath and began to make her vow to the O.Z, its kin and its people. "I accept the role of Lady of Light with a pure and true heart. I hereby swear that from this day, I will faithfully serve the O.Z. and its kin until my dying day with every breath I take. I vow that I will be fair and just and that all those within the realms of my ruling will be treated as equals, with respect and love. I stand before the O.Z., its kin and its people, and ask them to bear witness to this vow. I ask them to witness my union with both the realms and with the man who stands before me, my Chosen and my Guardian. I give myself with perfect love and perfect trust and accept that which is given to me. I swear not to take that with which I have been gifted for granted and promise to uphold the vows I have undertaken eternally."
As soon as the last word was spoken, the circle became flooded with light. DG felt Cain's hand tighten on her own and closed her eyes momentarily against the glare, opening them again when she heard a gasp from somewhere behind her.
She wasn't sure which was the cause of the surprised murmurs of those gathered to witness the ceremony; the fact that she was suddenly dressed in a different gown – a shimmering cream dress that conveyed both innocence and power, the silver slippers that somehow adorned her feet or the woman who had materialised in the circle alongside her and Cain.
"Ozma." The reverent whisper came from beyond the circle, from Alvis.
Ozma smiled at him, her eyes luminous in the light of the moons, but her gaze never faltered from the young woman before her. "My Lady," she said softly, curtseying to DG.
"How are you here?" DG wondered. "I knew it was you, I recognised your voice, but you're here. How?"
"You summoned me, DG." Ozma's smile grew, her expression soft. "You have the power now. You and you alone can bridge the gap between this and the unreachable realm. By the power of the O.Z., I pronounce you Lady of Light, leader of the O.Z. and its associated realms. Be true to yourself, my child, and you will accomplish all your heart desires."
The circle of silver light faded and Alvis stepped into it. Everyone else stayed outside, almost afraid of intruding.
"My Ozma," the High Lord murmured, his hand shaking as he reached out to her. "Is it truly you, my Beloved?"
"It is, my Heart." Ozma accepted his hand, and then his kiss, a tear slipping down her cheek. "It is time for me to depart, Alvis. To leave this world and cross over to the life beyond."
"Then it is time for me also, my Ozma." Alvis pressed her hand against his cheek. "I have waited a lifetime for you, and would wait a hundred lifetimes more."
The newly reunited couple turned to DG and Cain, their features arranged in identical expressions of pride and hope.
"It is time for us to go," Ozma murmured, reaching out to DG with one hand. Without releasing her, Alvis reached out for Cain with the other. "We have been too long in this world, denied the chance at moving on to the next. We leave the O.Z., its kin, its people and its realms in your capable hands and request that you release us from our burdens so that we may at last be free."
"Once I agree to it, I'll never see you again, will I?" DG asked quietly, her heart both full and aching at the same time. "You're asking me to let you die."
"Dying in this life does not necessarily mean the end of all things," Ozma responded just as quietly. "We are no longer needed here, daughter of my heart. Have faith in yourself, as you do in those around you."
"If you're sure it's what you both want?" DG looked between them, biting back a sorrowful sigh when they both agreed it was without hesitation. Cain gave her hand a supportive squeeze and took a step closer to her side, all without breaking the circle that the four of them made with their joint hands. "Then so be it." Squaring her shoulders, raising her voice, DG spoke. "My first act as Lady of Light is to release you both from that which binds you to this life. Be free, and be at peace. Take with you the love and gratitude of all who live in these lands, for the sacrifice you made centuries ago and the dedication to which you have carried out your duties as First Lady of Light and her Chosen."
Once the decree was spoken aloud, the circle filled with magic again. When it cleared, both Ozma and Alvis were gone and a sense of serenity was left in their wake. The witnesses gathered around the circle, unsure of what they'd seen, were startled when Queen Selene of the fairies began to clap, silent tears slipping down her cheeks but were quick to join in.
Cain wrapped his arms around DG as those gathered began to celebrate, the atmosphere turning joyous despite the sadness lingering in the air. He pressed his lips to her forehead and her nose before finally kissing her lips, sealing their union in the traditional way of men.
"You are my heart, my life," he murmured, making a quiet, private vow of his own.
DG smiled at him through tears of her own, knowing that somewhere Ozma and Alvis were together instead of facing an eternity apart. Just as she and her Tin Man were together, and would be throughout whatever trials and tribulations awaited them on the next stage of their journey. "And you are mine, always."
A cheer went up from around the circle as the couple kissed again, embracing each other and their future together.
I hope that wasn't anti-climatic or disappointing for anyone and you've all enjoyed the ride. I've loved writing this story and want to say a huge thank you to everyone who's taken the time to read it/leave reviews. :) If you're a Primeval fan (specifically of the Jess/Becker pairing!), stay tuned as that's the direction my muse is taking me in next :)