Epilogue: Blue Heaven

The light from the moon glazed the world in stark, rippling blue. It ran like honey down the beaches until it dissolved into the darker sea. It illuminated the mountains in the distance, glinting off their craggy peaks, and became entangled in the thick foliage of the valley floor. Curious, wide eyes looked out into the night and saw for the first time their new home. New to their senses, old to their blood. They were aware of their deep roots here even though they didn't recognize the land itself. Here they were sheltered by the night and by sacrifice. If blood made any sort of talisman against evil, they'd be guarded well.

Aurelia had done them one final favor. She'd thrown herself to the SeeDs, giving them time to get away, and their existence was a secret she kept even now.

Ancestral phantoms rose from the earth and creaked in the trees in welcome. Many long years had passed since this land had last seen the people it loved.

Abra turned around to face his charges. They were his people's pride and joy, their one hope for building a future. The children's small, upturned faces looked to him for guidance. They were almost elfin, brimming with innocence but destined to build the strong foundation of a new Centran nation. They'd be so much stronger than before.

One little girl stood at the front of the group, her dark hair falling about her head in wild waves. Her mouth pursed as she took in her homeland. It was the same look Aurelia had when she'd first landed on this coast years before. So familiar.

These children were all of the people Abra had ever known and loved, but made better. These children would grow to fly him up to laugh in the face of the moon. No monster could touch them. No magic could harm them. One day, they would own this world.

He gathered them close and directed them away from the boat, inland toward their future.

A thrill raced through him. After all these years, this was it — their blue heaven.