A/N: I'm a nerd, so I love turn-based strategy games, and Heroes of Might and Magic 4 has to be my all-time favorite. Therefore, I decided to, in my free-time, write a one-shot for each of the six campaigns. This just happens to be the first one I finished, but the others will show up eventually. Because I'm a hopeless romantic, I was hoping there would be something between Gauldoth and Alana, but alas, that got crushed fairly quickly. I wrote this to show that there could've been something there, but that the only reason there wasn't was because of her untimely death. I hope you enjoy reading this and leave a review if you feel like it.
Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me.
There were many times when I sat on the throne of Nekross facing difficult decisions that I wished Alana was still by my side. I knew that had I not orchestrated her demise, I wouldn't be alive myself, but at times I still regretted my choice.
The night of the day she'd died, I slipped away from camp to visit her grave. In a place so filled with death, I found it telling that the flowers given to her were still very much alive. It was as if they knew how pure and good the woman resting beneath them had been.
I felt a pang of loneliness as I looked at the small cross stuck in the earth, and for a moment, I considered bringing her back as one of my undead. As a ghost perhaps; then she could retain her original beauty, and she would be sworn to do as I asked. The living half of me, good as she said it had been, had harbored desire for her as more than just an intellectual conversation partner. As a spirit, or a vampire, she could serve as a release for my lust until the end of time. I had to admit, it sounded like a good idea, but that sliver of good she had seen in me reminded me that to a priest like her, becoming undead was a fate worse than death, so I turned and left, and didn't return until today.
Now here I was, sitting cross-legged in front of the now worn and rotting marker of her grave, holding a new bouquet of flowers in my living hand and picking absentmindedly at the petals with my skeletal fingers.
"I'm sorry Alana. I knew what was going to happen to you, at least, I thought I knew, but I still let you do it. Can you ever forgive me?"
Asking forgiveness from a dead woman; it was a good thing I came here alone. No need for my people to think their King was losing his mind.
I sighed and placed the flowers across her grave, rubbing my dead hand over my living arm in a failed attempt to ward off the chill of the surrounding air.
"Things have been pretty uneventful in Nekross lately."
Like she'd care.
"We have a shaky alliance with Great Arcan. Because we're so close to each others' borders, we figured it would be a good idea to know the other wouldn't be starting a war. I haven't met the Queen yet, but her advisor and I have talked on a few occasions. I think you'd like him. He's kind and humble and honorable and all those things people like you admire. He absolutely hates me, but I think that's because he doesn't trust me to honor our truce. With the way he talks about his Queen, I have a feeling he does a little advising in her bedroom as well as the throne room so he's probably just protective. I suppose I'd be able to understand that if I was in love."
The wind blew gently through the trees and I got the feeling that Alana was sighing in disappointment.
"No, of course I haven't fallen in love since you died. How could any woman love a man like me?"
I stared forlornly at the dead skin on my right arm then looked down at the mound of dirt before me.
"Any woman besides you anyway. You were beginning to love me weren't you? You could've. If you'd lived long enough."
Trailing my living fingers through the earth covering her body, I lowered my voice to a pitch barely above a whisper.
"I think I could've loved you too. I could now if you were still alive. I do now, but you're dead."
Half of me felt weird confessing my love for a dead woman, but the other sarcastically thought it was a nice sentiment considering you couldn't love when you were dead.
"I've changed a lot since you died. You know, Nekross isn't just home to the undead anymore. There are living, breathing humans there too. Ironically, they've managed to unconsciously set themselves up on opposite sides of the kingdom; living on the left, dead on the right. In case you forgot, that mirrors my own body."
Expectedly, there was no reply, but I could imagine her telling me that it wasn't just irony; that the good powers of life and creation had sensed the good of my living half and sought their safety with it. Her theories about creation and destruction were almost laughable when I'd first heard them, but now I could understand the marginal amount of truth in them.
"So…how have you been? The same? That's understandable."
I sighed and put my palms flat on the earth, bending down so my forehead touched the ground between them. "I don't think I've ever needed you more than I do now. I never expected ruling a kingdom would be so difficult, although, I always thought Kalibarr would be the one doing the ruling. If only I had known what he was planning; you would still be alive today. Nekross could use a Queen; feminine intuition never hurt in decision making."
The setting sun cast dark shadows across her grave and I looked up toward the blood red sky, a single tear escaping from my one blue eye and falling down my pale cheek. It had been a long time since I had cried and it felt strangely freeing.
"Why did you have to leave me?"
It couldn't be avoided, half of me soothed; it was your own fault, you damn fool, the other sneered.
As my tears fell unhindered to the ground beneath me, I considered for the last time returning with Alana at my side. It seemed that was the only thing I could agree with myself on: It wouldn't be right; that's the worst idea you've had all week. So I left. I moved the flowers to lie beside the cross and lifted my fingers to my lips, kissing them lightly before pressing them into the ground and whispering my last confession of love.
When I stood up, I looked down at her grave one last time and sighed. "Goodbye Alana." With the realization that this was exactly ten years since the day she'd died, my darker side smiled morosely and as I turned to go I added, "Happy anniversary."