Chapter 1 - Bellator Dea

"It is the will of God and Nature that these mortal bodies be laid aside, when the soul is to enter into real life; 'tis rather an embryo state, a preparation for living; a man is not completely born until he be dead: Why then should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals?"

- Benjamin Franklin

"Stay right here, honey, and Mama will be right back," A warm and soothing voice coaxed the boy as she started to walk away, heading into the street ahead as tears started to well in his eyes. It was the first day they had been out in a while, the first time he had spent time with his mother since she got a dismissal from the office for vacation—and she was already leaving him for another store. Small digits wrapped around his father's palm, the young raven-haired boy watched his mother cross the street. "I have to buy one thing, my little prince."

He gently tugged on his father's hand as inaudible words left the boy's mouth, his lips forming the words, Mama! Don't leave me! He tugged a bit harder on the man's sleeve as he pursued the beautiful ravenette ahead, his father looking into the boy's eyes with the same amount of understanding. He too would miss the woman, but she had things to buy on their day out as well. Daddy! We have to go after Mama!

A frown came across the man's face, as he understood both the love a son had for his mother and the love both of them shared for the queen. It was a love that would never depart for them, no matter what fate decided to bring their way on the dreariest of darkened mornings and fated nights. He would love the woman until death, as he promised so long ago when they were both so young and both royally betrothed. That would all change today…

Through the sapphire hues of the boy, he could predict the next actions. A light forming a green man to signal the right-of-way for people to cross, they entered the scrambling crowd to traverse across the widened street. Someone, however, took advantage of the time they had to look down. A ringing becoming distinct in the crowd, the boy of around five could pick out his mother's ringtone from anywhere. As she put the headset to her head, people leaped out of the way as she positioned her head back upward, completely missing the Honda travelling 45 miles per hour in her direction. Fright entered the boy's mind as he screamed, seeing his mother's body taken from her footing as a bright light blinded all in his view.

"Mama!" A broken sweat raged over the young man as he corrected himself upward in bed, looking straight forward as his crimson irises took shape within his features. Shattered atmosphere accompanied him as the unseen blades traveled overhead, serving the weapon master as he summoned the swords and lances midsleep. His black wife beater was soaked through with the drenching sweat as his chest heaved desperately, the air stolen from him by the deadliest nightmare.

Many nights were plagued with the same reenacting fate of the young prince: his mother left, his father forced him to stay, the light blinded him as the goddess took his mother to eternal rest. The same nightmare day in and day out seemed to take place for nearly a decade and a half now as the prince lowered his head, ruffling through nearly cobalt spikes as digits tangled the sprawled hair. An exhale later, the crimson rubies were back to their usual sapphire hue.

A hand grazed his bicep as all was soothed just in the simple gesture. The delicate and dainty fingers found their way towards the inside of his arm as the figure pulled itself closer to him. The prince looked over to see his goddess wrapping herself closer to him, her own sapphires shooting up to his orbs in her usual comforting gaze. The warrior, usually stoic to all but him, showed her true colors when alone with him, showing the same simple love that she showed with her own sister. Her strawberry curls falling gracefully over her left shoulder as the rest of her hair stayed straightened, the young woman made eye contact with the prince for a brief moment before nuzzling her cheek against the firm arm of the heir. "The same nightmare, my Prince?"

A simple nod was given to answer as he slowly wrapped his arm around her frail body, leaving his head to rest on top of her own. Chin resting in the pink strands gave the prince a perfect vision of the beauty that was his. Sweet vanilla filling his nostrils from her shampoo, he tried his best not to melt within her hold. "You know me best, my beautiful champion," He answered after a few moments, giving the protector of Etro's legacy a small peck upon her delicate head.

A small sigh escaped her rose-tinted lips as she closed her eyes, nuzzling more against the crystal heir's rather muscular arm. She always did admire his rather built tone, something that made her features flush flawlessly upon sight. "I thought I told you not to call me that, Noctis," She playfully jeered in a cold manner, knowing the prince would see right through it.

As if cued, a confident chuckle left the man's diaphragm as he bent down, kissing his love on the forehead from an upside down vantage point. "But how can I not address you by your rightful title if you so choose to address me formally first, Claire?" Noctis retorted the young warrior, landing his lips again upon the pale skin that he loved with his entire being.

A small smirk to show her soft nature under pride, Lightning cast aside his comeback as she returned his kisses with her own peck to his lips, dwelling within the moment as rosemary hues started to etch upon her cheeks. The prince mirrored the smirk as he caught sight of the hued cheeks, his palm resting upon her cheek as he was drawn into her crystalline hues. How he would have been at this time without her in his life would forever be a mystery…

It had been what seemed like weeks before this moment, truthfully months in scale; the warrior had appeared within the throne room of the heir as he dozed within his chair. Hearing of stories told by his kinsmen during the nights that their family held reunion across their country, Noctis knew immediately that she was the Warrior Goddess of Etro, Lightning. It didn't take long for the two to fancy each other, Noctis falling for her before the goddess even decided to reside within his home after a proper proposal of such.

Before long, Lighting would make her way to the heir's room in the middle of the night after hearing Noctis' painful shouts, soon taking consideration of his nightmare's effects. While there, the warrior would reluctantly keep him company as sweat started to bead from his masculine form, something that enticed her humanity even more. It wasn't until a month later that Noctis confessed his love for Lightning, and she confessed her own for him. The two from then on shared the rest of their days and nights within each other's loving embrace.

Noctis watched lovingly as his goddess curled back over to her sleeping position, taking small bits of blanket into her palms as her back exposed the white tank-top she wore to bed as pajamas, enticing the prince even this late at night. Wrapping his arms immediately around her, he smoothly ran his nose along the back of her shoulderblade, finding comfort in the position for what seemed like minutes. It was only moments, however, before a soft but course voice whispered, "Sleep, my prince. We have a meeting in the morning—one that even the heir's bodyguard must attend."

Sighing as he accepted defeat, he scooted upward to rest his head upon pillows as his arms kept her close to his own body. His eyes tried their best to stay shut, but nothing could abstract his view from the beauty that was his champion, the Lightning that sparked his will to live. He would do anything to keep her within his life. Whether it was the next day, or the day after, Noctis would lay his life down for the goddess he so ever longed to call his own for eternity…

… Even suffer death at the will of gods.