Eternal Return: An Eternal Cycle of Love

A short story by Stephanie Young(jessismith/ConspiringDarkness)

Once upon a time, in a once powerful reach called Gran Soren, there lived a beautiful princess who was known by her people to be of a fair and sincere nature. Her name was Mirianne Amendus(or more commonly known by the title, Mirianne The Graceful.) Her father was a maniacal tyrant known as Duke Galdor Wyrm Slayer by all of the Gransys region. No one knew why the girl was so different from her father. Her mother had died not long after she was born, and her father had been stricken mad with grief ever since.

Luckily, she had been taken into the care of a generous and charismatic noble family, where she had little contact with her father. And she was happy with this, since she had no desire to have any sort of contact with him.

But nevertheless, because of her bloodline, she was sought out by the men of the reach; not to mention, for her ravishing beauty and charming demeanor.

One man in particular; a peasant by the name of Marcus, had a rare opportunity to save the princess' life, when a band of thieves overtook the castle, killing the Duke and wiping out many of his best guards. They made for the princess' quarters, when Marcus(disguised as one of them) single-handedly took them out, one by one.

This man was honored for his bravery and heroism, and in turn, won over the heart of the fair princess.
But an unseen event unfolded shortly thereafter.

On a peaceful summer morning, Marcus was wandering the garden with his beloved, when the sun was blocked out by an ominous sight. These were cruel, baleful wings...dark as the the night itself, beating against the ground like the fiercest of winds.

Honed talons struck the ground atop of Mirianne, and she was killed instantly.

In total disbelief over what had just happened, Marcus did not have time to grieve, but took out all of the anger and rage contained within on the wyrm that stood before him.

Lashing at the beast's foreleg, he sliced into it's fibrous, sinewy flesh. The dragon laughed at him, and leaned down to say something which Marcus could not understand. Before Marcus had time to reach out toward the dragon, it had already sunk it's knife-like talon into the center of his chest.

Marcus watched as his still-beating heart was drawn further and further away from him. He weakly reached out, but to no avail. At the same time, his men were making their way towards the foul beast. The wyrm turned toward them for a brief second, and then quickly shot it's head upward. It had what it had come for, and there was no reason to stay. It wasn't long before Marcus knew what he truly was...an Arisen. He possessed the power to create a single follower of his choosing, and in honor of the one he had loved, he crafted a pawn in her perfect form. This pawn served him faithfully, until the very end.

Together, they brought down the dragon, and together they made it through the brutal forces of the Everfall. And then they fought their way through the chamber of the Seneschal, whom was slain by Marcus' very hand, wielding the Godsbane blade, and in turn, he was crowned as the new Seneschal, and keeper of the world.

But this was too much for him. There was no life without being able to enjoy it with the one he loved, and so he sunk the Godsbane blade deep into hischest, as his pawn stood there beside him in utter disbelief.

"Master!" she cried out in agony. "Please, Master. Please...don't die. I-I remember."

Her dying master gazed deep into her eyes as she began to gain human emotions.

"Please, Master. I remember, the night that you saved me. I remember the look in your eye. Your will and determination, were unlike any I had ever known. And then, I remember the joy that I felt, on our wedding day. I remember how every day with you was always better than the day before.

..I remember."
Tears welled up in Marcus' eyes, as he looked upon Mirianne's desperate, sorrowful gaze. In his final breath he muttered the words, "Mirianne. I-I had no idea." And with that, he passed on into the next world.

Many decades later, a young woman in the small fishing village of Cassardis, awoke to the sounds of chaos and frantic screams throughout. Racing into action, she leapt quickly out of her bed, and hastily grabbed onto her precious longsword. She saw the great dragon before her, and lunged at it with all of her might.

The dragon stopped in its tracks. It knew her face. It was a face that he had seen in many years past; that of a beautiful young princess that he had so readily ended the life of. As an act of mercy, the dragon transformed her into that which she had longed to be, an Arisen.

When it came time for her to make her pawn, she recalled a man from her dreams. His face had haunted her for so long, and now he stood beside her, ready to fight with her to the very end.

Unfortunately, after defeating the dragon and regaining her heart, she was forced to end the life of the Seneschal. As the new keeper of the world, she was at a loss. None of her family was there to comfort her. No one could see her. She was merely an observer...invisible to the world. She was the picture of true loneliness.

Her pawn, Otis, tried to convince her that he would always be there with her, but she was too heartbroken to see the truth. Pawns had no emotions. Even if he were to try and love her, it would only be an act. A pawn can never truly love their master.

She drove the Godsbane into her heart, and her pawn cried out in sheer agony.

"Master! Master! No!"

AS soon as the blade had pierced her chest, memories flooded into her head, and both she and Otis remembered for the first time in this life, of another life before. Otis held her tightly, as she whispered, "Marcus...it's okay. Remember me. And hold on...til the next life." And she died quietly in his arms, as they both fell into the sea.

Otis woke up on the beach, feeling around for his love. "Mirianne!" he cried out. But she was no longer there, and he had become the very one he had loved.

It was no more than a century later that a young man had become an arisen. He crafted a pawn in the very essence of true beauty itself.
They made it to the bitter end together once more. At that moment when the man sunk the Godsbane into the Seneschal's chest, he felt a tingle of memories being etched into his very soul. The seneschal gazed up at him.

"Mourn me not, but pray, take my gift, and use it wisely."

What gift was the Seneschal talking about? The Arisen turned back to look at his pawn, and she stared back for the longest time, as tears began to well in her eyes. "Marcus...i-it is you."

Marcus looked up at his pawn, whom he had known by another name for the longest time.
"Mirianne."

They shared in love's deepest, most intimate kiss, all while tears streamed down their faces. Mirianne picked up the Godsbane, which had taken the form of her old longsword.

"You know, there is a way for us to be together."

Marcus nodded. He took the Godsbane from her hands, and made a swift back and forth strike that cut through her before cutting into his own flesh. They both fell to the floor, as it opened up into a bright light.
***

In an instant, they found themselves in each others' arms, lying on a beach, with a soft breeze caressing their faces, while the calming sound of gentle ocean waves whispered all around them.

They had naught but to simply gaze at each other in utter disbelief. Was this Heaven? Or perhaps they had simply been given a second chance.
In the distance, a dragon's shrill cry could be heard, followed by deafening screams, but Marcus and Mirianne were not even listening.

"It is no longer your fight, my love."

Mirianne ran her hand through Marcus' golden hair. He grabbed her shoulder and pulled her up close to him.

"No. Never again." He placed his lips firmly against hers, and the whole world seemed to fit back into place. Their lives were finally made whole again, and for once, they were free to live life as they saw fit. They were married in Gran Soren the very next day, and shortly thereafter, they started a family with many children and grandchildren to follow. And while after death, they no longer remembered their previous lives together, they were always able to find each other again in the next cycle...always in a different form, but each cycle was better than the last.

And on the day that the world finally crumbled, they remembered it all, and they watched on as a new world was created before them.

Finally death was made nonexistent, and they would finally rest in each others' arms for the whole of an eternity.