I officially skipped class today to write an essay, honest. But the essay didn't happen, and this did. ^_^;; Call it my first entry in Tyr's angst contest.
Author: Lys ap Adin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Title: In the Fourteenth Year of the Lady's Reign
Warnings/Labels: Angst. It's really mild, but... oh well. AU, fantasy, shounen ai, a little death, blah blah blah...
Please send feedback off list!
In the Fourteenth Year of the Lady's Reign
1-1, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
It seemed to me that I had an odd sort of dream last night. I dreamed that fire raced down from the eastern mountains, and that it consumed everything in its path. It scattered all of us far and wide across time and space, tossing us upon a distant shore in new lives where we did not know each other, and were stripped of our powers and nobility to live as ordinary mortals. We were soldiers, fighting with the aid of some sort of mechanical demon, and we were hardly out of childhood. Very strange.
It left me unsettled this morning. I tried to explain it to Heero, but he brushed it aside and told me I'd stayed up too late with my spellbooks and this was my reward for not coming to bed with him as he'd suggested I do. Perhaps it was, at that. It would be best for me to put it out of my mind so that I can concentrate on more important issues
1-15, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
Things have been strange lately. Our Seers are disturbed by visions that they do not understand. Even the foremost of them, Winner, cannot make sense of the chaos in his inner Eye. They See and speak of a diaspora of our race, of a fire that will ravage our land and destroy us. They are unable to clarify their visions, no matter how long they meditate or what divinations they perform.
The Lady says little about their visions, but she appears worried and somewhat distracted these days after her sessions with the Seers. I do not blame her.
Heero, ever practical, has suggested that if she is so worried, she ought to see to it that our defenses are strengthened and preparations made for invasion.
If the Seers don't figure out soon what they are Seeing, I will second his proposal.
1-26, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
I dreamed again, last night, of the Otherworld place where we as children fought for some ideal that made little or no sense. I dreamed that I watched Heero, with his face all remote and cold, explode his mechanical demon in the pursuit of fulfilling some sort of insane mission.
I woke up screaming.
Heero thinks I'm crazy now. Well, crazier than normal. But he said he didn't mind too much, since he's gotten used to it.
That's his backhanded way of telling me he loves me, and that everything's going to be okay.
I have an odd sort of man for a lover.
2-1, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
An envoy from the Eastern Empire arrived today in court, sent
straight from the Emperor of the Rose Throne. I am torn between
terror and laughter.
The man himself was terrified. He spoke with rolling eyes and dramatic shivers of demon hordes that came from beyond the eastern sea, bringing destruction and death with them. He begged for our aid, that we might save his empire from them.
I want to laugh. Demons are impossible, nothing but a myth that my nurse used to frighten me into obedience when I was a child.
I can't laugh. The envoy was nearly gibbering from his fright: he claimed to have seen the actual demons. I suppose the Emperor felt that the most convincing messenger was one able to fully articulate his message.
I have a very bad feeling about this.
2-6, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
Lord Barton left today with the Empire's man and a detachment of our troops. Ties between the Emperor and the Lady are not so binding that she felt compelled to send as much aid as he requested, but she would not ignore the request as Heero advised. Heero is suspicious that this is a ploy and that the Emperor plots some invasion or another.
I do not agree with him. I am no Seer as Winner is, but my dreams grow darker and darker.
Heero says nothing when I turn to him at night, clutching at him until he can barely breathe, but I think he understands anyway.
War is a terrible prospect.
2-15, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
I dreamed again, that I stood in a place that smell of burning oil and the sea air, and that I was protecting the Lady from Heero. I had the oddest notion that he was trying to kill her, and that I was willing to kill him to prevent that from happening.
I laugh and tell him if these peculiar dreams continue much longer, I will bind my eyes like a Seer and spend my time inhaling incense instead of studying my spells.
2-24, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
We have heard news of the detachment sent to the Emperor. They fight in the plains of the Empire, and they are indeed fighting demons.
Winner is distraught. I do not blame him. Lord Barton is his lover, and I would go insane if Heero left my side for the battlefield. If his responsibilities as the Lady's Seer did not hold him here, I have no doubts that Winner would be on the way to the Empire with his next breath.
For his sake, I hope that Barton does not get himself killed.
2-28, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
The Lady sent her brother to the Empire's aid today. Other than Heero, he is the foremost soldier of our armies, and I have no doubt that he will do well there in pushing back the enemy.
It bothers Heero that he was not sent, but he is the Lady's Champion. It is his duty to protect her before he protects her lands.
I know it is selfish of me, but I am glad that he remains here.
Our thoughts have turned to war. Messengers fly throughout the land, warning the people of potential danger. We hope, of course, that all the battle will occur on the soil of the Empire, but hopes are not sureties, and it is better to be overly prepared than caught unawares.
3-5, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
A dispatch from the Empire brings grim tidings. The combined army does not do well, and continuously falls back, under heavy losses. The Lady looks worn with worry for her brother, and Winner is equally distressed. I do not like this.
I have thrown myself into studies of these mythological demons come to life. Perhaps there is another way of preserving ourselves in the face of this danger.
3-13, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
I have dreamed again of the Otherworld that disturbs me so much. This dream was gentler, almost hopeful. In it, Heero and his mechanical demon somehow managed to stop a falling star, and stopped the war. I feel that this may be the last time I dream of this Otherworld.
The fighting has reached the Empire's capital city. The dispatches say fighting surges from house to house and street to street. Lords Peacecraft and Barton still live, however, although their commands have taken heavy losses. Many families here wear mourning.
My research so far is fruitless. Legends say that somehow our ancestors drove the demons out of our lands, and sealed them from returning. My only conjecture is that the seal has broken.
I fear that we may not be able to reconstruct it.
3-29, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
Lord Barton died in battle with the demons. Winner knew, somehow, before the dispatch ever arrived. He may have Seen it. I wouldn't be surprised.
He is dead now, too. He waited until he had found a suitable successor for his position, and took his life.
He may have robbed us all of the only advantage we held over the enemy.
4-8, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
The Empire's capital has fallen. The Emperor and his court are refugees now, falling back slowly from city to city to town.
I can find no information on the seal that held the demons at bay. Either the ancients had more faith in their powers than they ought to have, or the information has been lost to us. I am turning my attention now to finding weaknesses in the enemy that we can exploit.
Heero busies himself with preparing himself in his own way for battle. I think we both feel time slipping away from us. We hold each other tightly at night, and I think we both pray that the morning will not come.
4-28, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
The Lady's brother has fallen. She carries the grief well, although I think she does not sleep at night.
The Emperor has fallen back to the mountain strongholds. I expect that the siege there will last at least part of the summer. It gives us time to prepare our defenses as well.
We do not expect him to hold them off forever. Soon it will be our turn to face the enemy. I hope to God that we do a better job than the imperial legions.
5-10, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
The levies of the people have begun in earnest. Every able-bodied man is in training to fight, leaving the women and children to tend to fields and businesses. My fellow mages and I work to summon all possible magical aid. I do not believe that I have ever seen so many dragons sunning themselves or soaring through the air in my life. It is strangely inspiring. Sometimes things do not seem as bleak as they might otherwise be.
5-21, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
Heero surprised me today, abducting me from my dusty spellbooks and dragging me out into the countryside around the Lady's palace. We picnicked and then made love beneath the shadows of an ancient oak tree and told each other that we loved each other. It was as if we had just discovered each other all over again.
I will treasure this memory into my next life.
6-2, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
News from the mountains is grim. The siege is not going well for the Emperor. Our efforts here are redoubled.
The Lady contemplates withdrawing into the citadel and taking the people with her while we wait.
Heero is in favor of this.
6-13, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
The armies are massing on the eastern border, waiting. I do not pity the men and women stationed there, nerves strung to the breaking point.
We are moving the women and children from the eastern lands here to the palace and capital city. Everywhere I look now I see taut, worried faces.
And we wait.
6-25, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
The Seers say that the Emperor has lost his siege. The Eastern Empire is no more. Soon the demons will be through the mountains and upon our army.
God have mercy on us all.
7-8, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
The dispatches reported today that the first contact has been made. Our lines held firm, and the demons did not advance.
The Lady sees this as hope.
Heero says that it is simply a result of fresh troops who have been standing ready for too long.
I hope that the Lady is correct, and not he.
7-20, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
Our lines still hold firm in the east. We take heavy losses, but the demons take even worse. However, they have apparently limitless hordes.
I begin to grow worried.
Heero seems restless. I have found him once or twice on the eastern parapet, looking longingly across the fields. I suspect that he does not see ripening fields of wheat.
7-28, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
The armies had to give ground. They fell back to the first of a series of keeps, well prepared for the siege.
The Lady seems worried for her people. Heero and I expect her to announce a withdrawal of the people into the citadel. She calls her council together often now, and we ransack our brains for any new idea of defense.
8-6, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
The citadel has been opened, and people and supplies flood inward. Heero busies himself supervising the transfer and the preparations for siege and battle. It is a distraction, nothing more.
I can think of no new way to turn back the demons. My thoughts turn to Winner's thoughts of diaspora.
The first keep has fallen. Our armies have moved to the next.
8-22, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
The second and third keeps have fallen to the demons.
Heero spends too much time with his dragon. I worry.
9-1, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
The fourth keep has fallen. Heero spends most of his time staring eastward.
I have had the kernel of an idea. I must research it further.
9-13, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
The war to the east is getting desperate. Daily the demon forces encroach upon our lands, and daily our armies fall back, whittle away bit by bit to shreds of our former glory.
I fear that they will be at our door by Midwinter.
Heero and I were closeted today with the Lady, discussing what means we have to protect ourselves and defend the remnants of our people. He grows restless. He does not fight well through strategy and words and magic, but through swords and battle cries and dragons. I am afraid that if this lasts much longer, he will disobey the Lady's orders and fly to the front, where he feels he belongs. This waiting does not suit his temper.
We are planning nonetheless: the Lady and I have hit upon a plan that will possibly save our people. Our country's time is at an end, but at least we will live on, in a way.
Time is short. I will continue later.
9-26, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
The war has taken a turn for the worse. The enemy took Dyan Keep without a battle. We suspect the lord turned traitor in hopes that he would be able to preserve his life. It is some small comfort to know that his head adorns the standard of some demon lord anyway.
That loss comes hard to us now. We had counted on Dyan to hold them back for the time necessary to construct our salvation. I have been working closely with the Lady these past few days, and will spend still more time with her in the coming weeks.
The strain wears at Heero, but it wears at me more that we have so precious little time together. The world is coming to an end, but duty does not even allow us to find comfort with each other as it does. Will there ever be time for us?
10-4, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
He has gone. The Lady has sent him to the east so that she and I may have a little extra time to prepare, and he has gone.
It hurts too much to speak of.
I will probably never see him again.
10-12, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
We have nearly finished the final touches of our last hope. I work as one possessed. It is the only way I cannot think of him.
Damn him for leaving.
Damn me for staying.
Damn this war for keeping us apart.
I hold to the only promise of his I have, that he swore to me as he prepared to mount his dragon and fly to battle. "I will come back to you. I swear on my soul that I will come back to you."
It, and the battle dispatches he sends every other day, are all that keep me sane.
10-15, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
It is finished. The final flight of our people begins.
I have already sent my sister away, as was my privilege. She protested strongly, but I insisted that at least one of our clan should continue. May the gods bless Hirde in whatever new life she finds.
I will miss her.
Word does not come from the east.
10-18, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
Still no word. I am afraid.
10-22, in the fourteenth year of the Lady's reign
The evacuation continues. The citadel is nearly three-quarters empty. We are a refugee race now.
And handful of lords and ladies linger here at the last, prepared to defend our last seat of power while we save the remnants of our army.
If we still have an army.
Heero, where are you? You promised me.
There has been word.
He is dead.
I am dying.
11-1, in the final year of the Lady's reign
The scouts report that the enemy approaches. Our army flies before them like frightened sheep from the howling wolves.
11-3, in the final year of the Lady's reign
The army is here. We are evacuating them at all possible speed.
The enemy will be here soon.
A man from his command refused to go without speaking to me. The Lady gave me time with him so that he could pass along his tale.
It was in battle, as I expected. Heero led a charge forward, into the heart of the enemy, in an attempt to bring aid to Chang, who was in desperate straits. A detachment of fiends cut Heero and his men off. The last anyone saw of him, his dragon had been slain and he was fighting on foot. Chang survived that battle. He died later at Chaldon, fighting back-to-back with his wife.
I should have been there with Heero.
11-6, in the final year of the Lady's reign
We can see the glow of the enemy fires on the horizon.
Tomorrow they will be upon us.
I chose to remain. Most of the others have gone. Only I, and the Lady, and two of her attendants remain.
The Lady begged us to go, but Dorothy and Noin refuse. Their loyalty to her borders on love and true veneration. They will not leave her side before death claims them. The Lady urged me to go, saying that Heero would not want me to throw my life away on his account.
I told her that I do not have a life without him.
Now we wait.
God, if You regard my loyal service to You with any favor at all, grant me this last request: let us meet again. I do not care how, or when, or in what way, as long as I can see him again and stay by his side. I have loved him throughout my life, and I will love him after death.
My mind turns back to the dreams I had of that Otherworld. Perhaps it is our future. If so, it is one in which I am with him again. For all the horror that world seems to encompass, there seems to also be hope there. Heero, I hope you are waiting for me there.
I will not write again.
~Duo Maxwell, Archmagus in the service of the Lady
Um... I'd *really* love to hear some C&C on this sucker.
Lys, hoping skipping class was worth it...