Be a light for all to see, for every act of love will set you free.
Live the Life, on Live the Life by Michael W. Smith


Evy wrapped her arms around herself and watched Ardeth wince, propped against the wall, shivering as Imhotep tended his wounded side. So many emotions were running through her mind right now she barely knew what to say when spoken to or what to think from one moment to the next. There was a well of panic inside as if butterflies the size of bats were fluttering around her stomach. And she kept rubbing at her arms as if it would make breathing any easier. Evy was scared.

The anticipation of doom was a sickly feeling, helpless and hopeless and utterly tiring. Her muscles were tense and her throat constricted. A few times tears even made it past her eyelids, tears that Imhotep wiped away when he saw them. She felt completely sick and wanted this day to both end and never come at all.

Ardeth said very little of how he felt or about the experience of being ordained. He said very little about anything. She would have guessed the fear was smothering them all, but for the grim determination set in both sets of dark eyes, one man determined to die that this madness end and the other determined to obey a master that abused him. This felt all wrong. Rick would come, or the Med-Jai or Jonathan or anyone to get them out of this.

"Nefertiri," Imhotep said in a quiet, thick voice and she turned to face them at the interruption. He saw her wide eyes and his reflected regret and a solemn duty. "Please sit, princess. You're putting too much stress on yourself."

"I can't." It came out a little more panicked than she had wanted and both men watched her with sad eyes. It made her angry. How dare they not feel as anguished as she felt? How dare they be strong enough to handle this while she felt like hiding in the dark. Evy stalked to the other side of the room, then turned back. "I can't sit. I just…I can't."

Imhotep exhaled and looked down. Ardeth watched her intently. Neither spoke. The silence was like being in a car driving too fast towards a brick wall.

Imhotep was going to die. She thought it over again and almost whimpered at the reality. His chance to have a normal life was slipping further away each second that passed. Yet what was the alternative? Ardeth fighting Set and dying? Then Ancksunamun would really let her vengeance show. Or worse yet, what if by some chance Ardeth won this impossible battle? Then Ancksunamun would be more terrible than even now.

The tense atmosphere grew still and Evy brushed her hair away from her face, watching both men interact. Sworn enemies bound together now by the same woman who had damaged them both. Leaning against a wall across from them, she relived the events of the past few months. Everything was still so fresh. Everything. Every wound and every moment of love.

"Evy," a voice called softly and she looked nervously into Ardeth's pale face. There were still traces of that melancholy there, but she could see the evidence of healing…or acceptance. One or both. "Please, sit down. Don't let your child suffer." His gentle voice asked for her to let go.

At his soft command she slid down the wall, sniffling and wiping frantically at her cheeks. "I know. I'm not being a good mother right now, am I? But Imhotep… And everything." She closed her mouth before the inevitable babbling began.

Ardeth shook his head and inhaled deeply. Calmly. Even that frightened her in a way. She would rather be anywhere right now, anywhere on earth but here. "You will be a wonderful mother, Evelyn Carnahan. And Imhotep will make a," he winced in pain, "a good father. He won't stop me. Neither of you will."

With an angry face Imhotep turned on Ardeth, hitting his shoulder none too gently and snapping, "Shut up, Med-Jai! Do not fill her with false hopes!"

"I'm not," Ardeth replied just as strongly, then sighed as his weakness drained him. He adjusted his seating and repeated softly, "I'm not. I will not let you stop me, Imhotep. No matter what you believe."

The priest got to his feet and began pacing in front of Ardeth, using angry tones that betrayed fear if one knew how to listen to him for it. Imhotep shook his head and glared at everything his eyes met and Evy frowned in hurt for him. "I will stop you. I hold the dagger. I hold the responsibility. Lie there in your weakness and enjoy your rest while you can, for when I am gone Nefertiri will have a battle with Ancksunamun as a mortal. I trust you will help her if you can."

Ardeth leaned his head against the wall and closed his eyes, exhaling a deep, soul-weary breath. "There will be no need." Imhotep did not reply to the argument and stopped pacing.

Instead the priest focused his attention on his love. He came to where she worried and got to his knees beside her, knowing his time grew short. Evy found herself being wrapped into warm arms with soft lips pressing against her own, demanding she calm down and submit. After a few more moments of trembling, she did, allowing him to explore her mouth as she so rarely did. Evy whimpered into his kiss, her heart lamenting at these grievous events. Why did anyone have to die?

Imhotep kissed like he would never taste her again, racing from her lips to her jaw line and throat, then back to her mouth once more. It made Evy blush at his open display of affection for she knew Ardeth was here, able to watch these things she kept so private—things he had shared in even, when possessed of Akhenre.

He felt her concentration fail and sat back to stroke her cheek softly. "I love you, princess," her priest whispered and Evy closed her eyes, pulling him back to her mouth again. Her open arms begged him for a place to hide, but he could not award her with what she needed. Imhotep pulled away and again looked her face over with shining eyes. "Do you remember how to fight? Do you remember the contests between you and Ancksunamun?"

With a whimpered swallow, Evy nodded, tracing his cheeks with warm hands and memorizing every detail. "I remember. I'll make her suffer for this." Her voice took on a hard edge.

"Shh. No. Stop her for the world, not revenge. Is that not what you told me last time?" Imhotep kissed her forehead and smiled softly. "Don't let your light go out," he added, then sat back and shot a glance towards Ardeth, who had his eyes averted to offer them some sort of privacy. "Help him find his."

She could do nothing but nod at his requests, finding everything in this state saturating and too much for her to bear. He stood up and went to check on his patient, his newly made priest and Evelyn took a shuddering breath, trying to calm herself, but the dread was nagging and heavy. It clawed at her energy, weighing her down before the fight even began.

And begin, it soon did. A chill spread through Evy when Ancksunamun's form blocked the waning light at the entrance and for a few precious seconds she took the time to glare, allowing her fury at this woman to shine through her dark eyes. It did little to effect the proud concubine, who merely smiled at the gesture.

Ancksunamun entered warily and looked around for assurance that all was as she would have it be. Apparently some things were not as they should. A gasp escaped her lips when she saw Ardeth's fallen state and Imhotep hovering near, and amused eyes became angered. "What have you done to my servant?" she demanded of the priest and Imhotep stood up with a cold expression.

"I have ordained him," he said darkly, cutting the air and Evy shivered at that repressed anger. Imhotep advanced without fear, drawing Ardeth's dagger with purpose. "And now I will stop you."

She let an evil smirk curl her crimson lips as she faced down the advancing priest. Evy felt her lips tremble when Ancksunamun backhanded him, sending him to the floor in her immortal strength. No, not this way. He couldn't suffer this way. Wiping a few stray tears, Evy pushed herself from the wall and began for them, but Imhotep held up a hand to warn her back. "Stay back!" he snapped and reluctantly she gave in to that command, more tears threatening her vision.

Ancksunamun looked very puzzled by the seriousness in the room. Her eyes flitted to Ardeth, then back to Imhotep and she laughed in realization. "So you seek to kill yourself to stop me, Imhotep?" she surmised, striking out with her foot and kicking the dagger from Imhotep, who now hovered on his knees. It flew across the room and he leapt for it, but the priestess stopped him. Evy covered her mouth and blinked when Ancksunamun slammed her foot into Imhotep's cheek, knocking him to the floor and possibly unconscious.

The High Priest of Osiris groaned and brought himself up, however, staggering towards the dagger and when Ancksunamun kicked him again, Evy ran to attack as she had intended. "The knife," Imhotep wheezed, sending himself forward into Ancksunamun to ward off any interference. "Nefertiri, you must get me the knife!"

He asked her to help him do this thing, help him commit suicide for their sakes? Every muscle in her body ached from being tense as she forced herself to take that first step. The dagger lay near the exit to Hamunaptra, across the way from Ardeth and Ancksunamun stood between she and her task with divided attention. She was as strong as Imhotep had been the first time Evy had seen him beneath this dead city, knocking him back as he had O'Connell once upon a time.

Her gaze turned to Nefertiri while Imhotep struggled to keep himself from giving in to the tide of pain wracking his body from the concubine's beating. Evy backed away, knowing she could not get the dagger yet. Ancksunamun closed in and slapped her viciously and Evy found herself suddenly on her hands and knees beneath her.

The cruelty would extend further, if allowed, but the princess planned for it. Evy dropped completely down and turned her back to the priestess just in time to protect her stomach from Ancksunamun's kick. She cried out when the foot hit her back bruisingly hard.

Ancksunamun would not let her be, though. She dropped to her knees and flipped the princess over with firm and grim intent. "I'm going to kill your child," she asserted and Evy struggled beneath her grasp.

Instantly Imhotep had the priestess away, pouncing on her and dragging her off to protect his child. "The dagger!" he reminded her and Evy pulled herself together enough to get up and begin for the knife now that her way was clear.

A voice stopped her though, holding her back as if by physical manifestation. It was weak and pained and had all the force of a train crash. "Evelyn," Ardeth groaned and the room seemed to silence under so lowly a sound. "Evelyn, come to me." Fear crept towards her inner walls.

She stopped walking and whipped around to see what he needed and her eyes went wide in shock. Ardeth tried to double over, but couldn't. The hilt of another dagger and the pain such a movement caused barred his way. His lashes fluttered, but his gaze was intense—a gaze she would never forget for as long as she lived. Even Imhotep and Ancksunamun froze at his call. So she and Imhotep had not been able to stop him after all. She now understood what he had accepted. Not servitude, but martyrdom.

Ardeth weakly stretched forth his hand, beckoning her to his side with a gentle firmness she could not disobey. Evy forgot the dagger beneath that penetrating stare and pulled herself out of her startlement long enough to get her legs working. She fell beside him and felt a new wave of panic storm over her body as she moaned, "Oh, Ardeth," feeling tears race down her cheeks again. Her hand hovered over the dagger in indecision and need.

"Ardeth? My slave?" Ancksunamun cried out, but Imhotep kept her busy, no longer asking for the dagger. Evy found it easy to ignore the sounds of fighting from behind. He would last this time as he had before. This man would not.

"Eve," Ardeth breathed, wrapping weak fingers around her wrist. The touch caused a rush of nausea to flood over her. Her heart trembled at the shaking she felt through that hand. "Do you…know…the chant?"

Evy felt herself nod without even considering the question being asked. Somewhere from behind there came a crash and an enraged howl from Ancksunamun, but she couldn't turn away to look for her own safety. Ardeth's eyes held hers in unbreakable contact and she knew without question that he would die. She blinked as tears came without hesitance, heedless of the desire somewhere inside for them to stop so she could hide the hurt to comfort him. Evy could only stare in helpless shock, unable to do a thing but watch this happen. She couldn't even get herself to think enough to feel and wondered how her eyes knew to cry.

Ardeth blinked and groaned, but never took his eyes from hers. The pain gripped him and that hand so tightly wound around her wrist eased its hold after a moment. His breathing started to come hard and he was having trouble staying up. All these little things happened in mere seconds, but seemed to take a lifetime to pass before her eyes. "I would never…have…" He stopped his quiet talk with unshed tears in his eyes, fearing he might not be able to tell her what he needed to. "Never hurt you."

"I know," she replied in a thick voice as she leaned forward, placing a kiss first on his forehead, then his lips. He closed his eyes against such tender, private emotions and she finally started to feel her walls crumbling. Evy pulled away as a shudder passed over his body. Ardeth tensed and groaned out as she helplessly observed, knowing she could do nothing to ease his pain. She held his hand as they waited for the storm to pass.

When it subsided Ardeth fought to point to the paper he had dropped last night, murmuring, "My father," as his time neared. Evy took notice and catalogued where the letter was, then glanced up as Imhotep dodged Ancksunamun and ran, drawing her away from the death happening nearby. Her breath seemed to echo loudly in her ears.

Turning back brought a very frightening image to her eyes. He lay motionless and icy cold fear seared her heart as she worried that she had let him die alone. Gripping his shirt and unable to stop her walls from falling down, Evy cried, "Ardeth? Ardeth?" She could have sobbed when he swallowed and drew a shuddering breath.

Evy curled against him, but watched his face, knowing how important it was that she see his death that she could complete her task in this terrible event. He now kept his eyes closed and she entertained the possibility that he did so that she wouldn't see the light in him leave. "I…I forgive her," he whispered, pressing his lips against her forehead and knitting his brows. He was fighting to stay. "I love…you." Evy wiped at her eyes, unable to see clearly with that statement.

Ardeth allowed his to open once more with intense emotion reflected there, so penetrating she might have looked away under normal circumstances. "I love you," he repeated, searching her for the same feeling and understanding.

All she could do was raise a shaking hand to his brow, which drew a smile as he again closed his eyes. For the last time.

Ardeth's head bowed against her hand and all the hurt inside her came free, bringing voice to her grief. He didn't deserve this. What had he done to deserve Ancksunamun's brutal treatment, then this? "Dear Lord," she breathed, scarcely able to pull air back into her body. Tears clouded her vision and her chest began aching.

Another emotion began singing to her being, filling her veins and pulling the wool over her wisdom as she forced herself to remember what else was going on. Anger. Evelyn pulled the dagger carefully from his body as if he would feel it and laid him down, then turned on the staring priestess, who had stopped her fighting to watch her victim die. Strangely enough, she looked pained. "Ardeth forgives you, but I don't!" Evy hissed quickly, holding the blade hard as she began the chant.

Ancksunamun backed away now, knowing the final step in this ritual would be cutting her and mingling the blood of a priest of Osiris with hers. The blood was already on the dagger and the loss of her powers would be instantaneous. From behind Imhotep grabbed her, holding her into him so Evy could do what she had to.

She knit her brows and Imhotep's expression grew alarmed as she held the knife poised with all her hatred as the driving force. Evy let her hand fall and Ancksunamun yelled out, but the dagger met no flesh. Imhotep twisted the weapon from Evy's hand and stole it, then knocked her to the floor. She fell and glared up, watching the priest take matters into his own dirty hands.

The deadly priestess who had abused Ardeth and corrupted Imhotep screamed when the dagger pressed into her chest, finding rest between her fourth and fifth ribs in an upward thrust, ultimately damaging the heart her spirit had little to no communication with. Evy cherished that scream despite the sickness it brought on her. She wanted Ancksunamun to suffer for stealing Ardeth from her. She wanted it badly, so it would cover the pain. Imhotep twisted the knife, cracking her ribs and drawing out her hurt, then tossed her shaking body aside roughly to let her die on the floor, alone with no warm contact.

"Why did you stop me?" Evy cried through grit teeth, pulling herself up with a livid expression. She threw herself at him, but found little strength to expend her anger. He grabbed her wrists and kept her from the blows that would have rained down on him until finally she gave in.

Pulling away, Evy forced herself to peer around Imhotep as if the reality hadn't sunk in yet. The coldness of it hit her again when she saw that Ardeth's unmoving form still lay in the same position she had left him in. Her stomach fluttered painfully at the sight and in a panicked voice she said, "Oh God, what am I going to tell Rick and Jonathan? What are they going to say? I can't…I can't do this!" Imhotep pulled her close again, turning her away from Ardeth and she rested her head on his chest, cries shaking her. "Why?"

Evelyn pillowed her head against his shoulder and fought the grief that resurfaced. She didn't even care for the victory they had just won. She could only see the eyes. Evy felt hands on her, but the silence was too deafening for her to take comfort. Tears devoured her whole as she let the last of her walls be destroyed and sobs overtook her.

Imhotep gave no answer, said nothing and did nothing but sooth her back and brush her hair with his fingers. Evy buried her face against him and said nothing else, unable to believe after all their struggles it had ended this way. But at least Ardeth had found peace from the dark in doing what was of his nature. She would celebrate that, even if she grieved everything else.


Omar rubbed his arms and stood at the threshold of his tent, searching the dusky skies for answers. Searching his heart. Each day the temptation to leave and go looking for him assailed the old Med-Jai, but he knew he shouldn't. Ardeth had to find himself and the unwanted aid of a father that had not been there in the way he should have would be more a hindrance than a help. Still, it curbed the desire no less.

A presence made itself apparent behind him; a small hand rested upon his back. "He'll come home, my husband." Selimah pressed her lips against his shoulder and he sighed, feeling heavy of heart. The night began to fall with breezy gusts of sand and all felt quiet and strange. "He needs time to find out who he truly is."

"He is my son," Omar whispered, taking her hand and kissing it with a wry smile as he turned to face her. "That may take him a long while."

The Med-Jai woman that stood below shook her head, looking up through loving eyes that made him tremble inside even after all these years. "That may be, but when he does he'll understand what kind of heart beats within him. Then nothing will stand in his way."

Her soft words struck him and disarmed his fears with their truth. Tracing her cheek gently, he let some of the worry abate. Ardeth was no ordinary man and Omar liked to think that was because he belonged to Insitara. He could see her eyes in his son's and it would remind him of just how consuming love could be. "I love you for understanding me, Selimah," he whispered, drawing her closer for a kiss.

But a commotion broke his advance. His hand still tilting her chin, Omar turned his head towards the fuss that was going on at the entrance to camp. "Come," he said gently, and his wife nodded.

Together they made their way to the front and saw what the uproar was about. He came towards them with no fear in his dark eyes and purpose in his bearing as he urged his horse, and another with a cloth-wrapped burden on. Behind him rode a woman draped in a black cloak—a Med-Jai cloak, with a hood pulled over her head to cover her from the sun, her arms around her companion's waist.

This was the man they had feared for 3,000 years, the evil they had fought so hard to prevent from emerging into the world and who arrived within sight at great risk. He rode freely, almost defiantly towards them as if their hatred of him were no more than a mere annoyance. Omar caught sight of several warriors with guns aimed, but they wouldn't shoot yet. Not with the Carnahan woman there and not before they found out why he dared approach their land.

From behind Omar heard the sounds of shuffling and complaints made in English. O'Connell and Carnahan made their way from the tent of his son to see what was happening. They stopped short beside him and remained silent.

High Priest Imhotep saw their distrustful glances, their hate-filled sneers, but did not back down. At the entrance to the camp he stopped the horses and dismounted, then helped the black-clad Evelyn down. Omar saw her wipe her cheeks and keep her face downcast as Imhotep turned back to the growing crowd of Med-Jai and called out in a rich voice, speaking the ancient tongue that very few of them understood. Omar understood it, but before he could answer the summons the woman translated. "I seek the father of Ardeth Bay."

"Ardan Bay is dead," answered a gruff voice that rattled Omar thoroughly.

He was proud to be Ardeth's father, but would he return that pride in his father when his secrets were known? Whether or not he would ever accept him, Omar could not let it rest any longer. He inhaled and looked to his wife for guidance and Selimah nodded, confirming what he knew he must do. There was a reason someone was looking for him directly. Only Ardeth could have sent that message. He stepped out of the crowd and called, "I am the father of Ardeth Bay."

There were whispers as he and Selimah—O'Connell and Carnahan close behind, pressed through into the open and a few people even addressed him, but Omar did not answer. Questions would be answered later. Right now he needed to know what concerned his son. When they came before the High Priest, Imhotep bowed his head in respect, startling Omar to the core, but that was forgotten when an envelope was produced. He gave it to the older Med-Jai with grave eyes and said, "Ardeth bid my lady give this to you."

Omar looked over to Evelyn as her friends rejoined her and watched as she wrapped herself into O'Connell's arms, whispering so softly the old Med-Jai could not hear her words. The young man's embrace tightened considerably as his head fell to her shoulder. Carnahan turned away and gazed into the desert. These movements seemed somehow quiet and alone. A heaviness of another kind settled into the pit of his stomach as he took the envelope and opened it slowly, remembering what the other horse bore. He removed a paper, but found it hard to continue, so he handed it to his wife to read first, fearing what would be written there. Omar rested his eyes on the second horse.

Selimah took the letter and opened it, the sound of the paper rustling echoing through his ears and burning into his memory. She remained silent a moment, then slowly the sound caught his attention. Her breath caught a few times as when one began to weep, but her voice remained rock solid for his benefit. When her hand rested upon his shoulder, Omar swallowed and waited for what would be said, feeling sick suddenly. "Your son has become who he was created to be, my love. Be proud of him."

The paper hit his hand and he accepted it, knowing he needed to see his son's words for himself. He brought it up to his eyes, at first not able to comprehend the letters through the fear and sorrow welling up inside, but Omar forced himself to calm down. This was important. Tears found his eyes as he began to read.

My Father,

Sometimes when I think about that title belonging to you it seems unreal. I still cannot believe it half the time, but then a memory of you will find my thoughts and it becomes all too clear. Maybe a part of me has always known, or suspected I think. You were always there for me when my father, when Ardan could not be. And when he could, you were there in the background, watching over me still. I understand your reasons for hiding these secrets and I forgive you. I love you and yes, I was proud to be of the Bay family and proud to be Ardan's son, but that makes me no less proud to be yours. You followed your heart with my mother and she with you, when her hope was lost.

I suppose I should have taken long weeks to work through to these conclusions, but I don't have that long. I go to my death for all of you, for everyone I love. Ancksunamun is again a threat, but I mean to stop her this time—for good. I will unbind her from her unholy demon and hopefully that will end her terrible power. To unbind her will require the sacrifice of my life, so I regret that I can't come home to see you again before this is done. Just know that I love you and Selimah and my sisters. I'm doing what my life calls for me to do. I'm saving you.

Please write a letter to the Carnahans' address. You'll find a book in my tent with it written down inside. Tell them I love them. Tell Rick I already miss fighting by his side. With his honor and courage he should have been a Med-Jai. To Jonathan say that I am deeply sorry for when I killed his sister, but that I thank him for forgiving me that grievance. It means a lot to me that he could. To Imhotep, my enemy who is not, say that I am glad he found redemption. And to Evelyn, whom I love the most, say simply that, for she was always there for me when I needed her.

I love you, Father.


Omar folded the paper with shaking fingers, blinking away the salty sting of his tears. He covered his mouth and fought for a few minutes, trying to force the breath back into his body. His eyes hit the other horse again, the one carrying the wrapped form. Then he looked up to Imhotep for confirmation. "Did he do what he set out to do?"

Imhotep nodded with compassionate eyes. "I tried to go in his place, but he had concealed another weapon, you see. I did not know he had it and before I could end my own life, he ended his. His sacrifice unbound her and erased her power. It was that which allowed me to finish her and burn her body so she could not return. He did not die alone. Nef—Evelyn was by his side until the end."

"She was always there when he needed her," Omar echoed the letter, looking to the shivering woman nearby. She sniffled when she drew back her hood and he saw her crying as O'Connell pulled away, keeping his back turned to hide his grief. "He said…"

Evy nodded, taking his hand when he reached towards her. "I read it. I'm so sorry. I wish…"

Closing his eyes and drawing this kind woman into his embrace, Omar nodded. "I wish, too, child. Oh God, do I wish, too." He felt her shudder against him in her grief, which in turn drew more emotion out of him. He blinked rapidly, trying to see the desert over her shoulder, but failed.

When he pulled back, he touched her cheek and looked up to Imhotep. "Thank you, as well, for bringing me this letter at the danger of your own life."

The priest nodded his head and looked around him at the puzzled Med-Jai. "Your son was an honorable man, far more so than I could have attained. I owed him this and more for many reasons, the chief being his love for Evelyn." He took a breath and returned his eyes to Ardeth's father. "I would have gone in his place had there been time."

Omar wiped his wet cheeks and looked down at the letter in his hands, then offered a smile of gratitude. His son had found himself. He had found peace and done what would have made his mother and Ardan proud. What now made Omar prouder than he'd ever been in his life. Ardeth had given himself up for the sake of others, showing himself to be of only the greatest character.

The old Med-Jai turned back on the crowd and held the letter high, wanting them to share in his pride. "Know this, my people," he began, again wiping his cheeks. He didn't know if he would ever keep them dry now. "A little over thirty years ago I and a women I loved nearly as deeply as my own wife did something that was wrong, something that dishonored a man we both loved dearly when we thought he was ripped away from our lives. That wrong, however, resulted in one of the greatest things I could have given this world. Ardeth Bay is my son and he…comes home a hero. He gave his life and saved us and I've never been more grieved than this moment, but never so gratified to have my sin forgiven and such grace come of it." His voice faltered as the reality of never hearing his son speak, never seeing those brown eyes smile, never hearing that laugh hit him like a sword. All was silent when he hid his eyes against his wife's shoulder as another storm of tears hit, but soon he heard the sounds of them taking Ardeth down from his horse.

"Rick, no," Evelyn was saying as he did his best—with the help of Jonathan—to help the Med-Jai that were bearing Ardeth's body.

O'Connell wiped his face and shook his head, trying to maintain his calm as he replied shakily, "No, Evy. Don't…don't stop me this time." He smiled and touched her face. "You can push me around after all you want, but let me do this. Okay?" The woman nodded and wiped her face.

Jonathan braced O'Connell with the weight he carried and gave his sister a reassuring nod. "Don't you worry, baby sister. I'll be right here."

"Stop," Omar commanded, bringing himself up from her and carried. He drew the cloth back and forced his eyes upon the face of his child, who looked peaceful as if sleeping. His heart cried out in mourning at the sight of those eyes so like hers, closed forever now. "My son, you do me honor," he whispered, unable to speak any louder than that.

They began towards the healer's tent where he would be prepared, but something kept Evelyn and the priest behind. A few Med-Jai were threatening him with their scimitars and Omar shook his head. "Give him leave, men. He tried to save my son and for that I ask you give him leave until after we have mourned." They would not refuse a grieving father this.

As he turned back to face the tent Omar found it difficult to continue. He watched the priest pass, sent on ahead by his woman and turned into her tear-streaked face when she came to his side. "Thank you, child," he whispered, touching her face gently, looking at the cloak that she wore and deciding to let her keep it if that was her wish. "Thank you for being with him. For loving him."

Evelyn took his hand and gathered it to her cheek with a soft smile and tears as she nodded. "He walked in the dark for us all," she told him in a soft voice. "He loved us that much. I just wish I knew if he understood how much that love was returned." Two tears slid down her pale cheeks.

Omar gathered this young girl into his arms and drew her on towards the tent, now not so afraid. When these outlanders had come into Ardeth's life Omar had been wary, then angry when they took him away to England, but now he knew how wrong he had been. He let himself love them as freely as his son had and it gave him strength.

"I think he knew."


~Anyone reading, before you kill me, just remember: Death is only the beginning. I tried to leave as many clues as I could that he was gonna go, but I'm not the type that blatantly warns of character deaths, nor pairings anymore really. Just ah, be nice, mmkay? Pleaaaase? I…I…even have ideas for a sequel—actually, some of the stuff in this story sets up the next installment, assuming anyone's interested after this…hehehe.

Anyway, I did it to show just how NOT of the darkside he truly was. Tragic poetic bittersweet beauty. I know this story was a bit different and probably didn't appeal to all the viewers as Fury did and I'm sorry for that, but I am glad for the people who did read and review…and hope they won't be angry at this ending. At any rate, people don't tend to stay dead in these universes, ya know? Thank god. :-D

All for the art to make him beautiful. He gave his life to save them, had intended that from the first—was walking the darkside so he could survive to do what he had to, and in the end did the most loving thing he could to save everyone.

So thank you to anyone who read, who hopefully will review and who hopefully will keep in mind that he doesn't have to stay this way. Please be kind. I might not have done this had I not had an idea up my sleeve for another installment. :-)