Author: mysticaleopard PM
COMPLETED! Alliquen wants nothing more than to have an adventure and to do what she wants. When she gets her wish, however, it's more than she had planned for. Please R & R!Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 24 - Words: 75,992 - Reviews: 37 - Favs: 4 - Updated: 12-23-05 - Published: 07-27-03 - id: 1367020
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Alliquen's breath caught in her throat as the realization of what had happened caught up to her. Bariswen was dead. It was all over. Tripp dropped his sword and fell to the ground beside her.
"Alliquen!" He said desperately, helping her to sit up. "Are you all right?" Alliquen looked at his face and found herself smiling. Tripp pulled her closer and hugged her tightly. Alliquen wrapped her arms around him and laid her head on his shoulder. "I was so worried!" He whispered in her ear. Despite herself Alliquen smiled at his words.
"I'm sorry Tripp. I had to go." Tripp released her and put one hand on her face.
"Why?" He questioned, searching her eyes.
"Wouldn't you have done the same if it was your brother?" Alliquen asked simply. "Amberley is like my sister." Tipp smiled, she knew he understood. Alliquen looked up and found that everyone had now surrounded her.
"Alliquen." Lord Tertalis said with a big smile. He helped her to her feet before engulfing her in a giant hug. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. None of this would have happened if-" Alliquen pulled away and smiled at her father.
"It's okay papi. Really, it's okay." He smiled back at her and hugged her once more.
"Well," He said after releasing her again. "You made a right mess of this room." Alliquen laughed as she surveyed the room and she couldn't help but agree. Bodies and gold were jumbled together, covering most of the ground.
"Sorry about that."
"People don't usually take in their surroundings when their in a fight for life or death." Teryl said with a shrug. Alliquen laughed and walked over to hug him.
"I suppose we should head back up to the surface." Apontas spoke, from where he stood beside a grimy but very happy looking Amberley. "The others will wonder where we are." Everyone seemed to be in unspoken agreement as they began to head back to the door, Alliquen being helped along by Tripp and her father. Just as they reached the entrance back to the labrinth dungeon, Teryl stopped and looked back to Alliquen and Amberley.
"What is it?" Tripp asked, looking curiously at his brother.
"The necklace." Teryl said looking around at the room. "Don't you think we should do something about it? I mean, isn't it likely that this very thing could happen again if it isn't destroyed?" Alliquen looked to her father for an answer.
"Grandfather could tell you." He said simply with a shrug. "I wish now that I had paid more attention to the tales."
"If Bariswen was the last descendant of Ekal," Amberley spoke suddenly. "I think we'll be okay."
"How can we be sure that he was the last descendant?" Alliquen questioned. "For all we know he can have a son out there somewhere."
"No." Tripp spoke suddenly, looking back in the direction where Bariswen's body lay. "If there is one thing I knew about Bariswen, it was that he had no desendants. He is the last."
"Are you sure?" Apontas pushed. "We can't afford this kind of thing to happen again."
"I'm sure." Tripp said looking at Apontas.
"So are we just going to leave then?" Teryl asked. "Do nothing to clean up the mess or anything."
"At least give us time to heal and bind wounds Teryl." Tripp said with a half-smile. "Patience." With that the group traveled through the labyrinth easily finding their way back to the entrance from the markers they had left. As the group emerged into sunlight, Alliquen was surprised at what she saw. The scene was completely different from this morning. She cringed to see bodies being piled high as survivors from an obviously gruesome battle, tried their best to clean up the mess they had left.
"What exactly happened when we were down there?" Alliquen asked in surprise, looking to her father for an explanation.
"Battle." He replied simply helping her down the palace steps to a nearby pavilion. This had been designated as the makeshift infirmary, or so Alliquen supposed from the injured bodies that were lying on beds which had been dragged out of abandoned old houses.
"I can tell that." Alliquen said shaking her head as she was helped to sit down on a nearby empty bed. "But what happened? How did you find us?" Tripp kneeled beside her, a bowl of water and a rag in his hand.
"After we discovered that you were gone," He started, wiping her face clean from dirt and blood before continuing on to her arm. "We set off immediately, hoping that we would find you before it was too late. We arrived at the summit midday and were met with large resistance. We gained, rather, forced entry into the city and fought our way to the palace."
"I remembered bits of my father's story and knew that the necklace was said to be hidden in an underground treasure vault." Lord Tertalis interjected, watching Tripp as he cleaned Alliquen's wounds.
"Once we were in the palace there was a frantic search for the dungeon. After much battle we found the entrance, thanks to a small group of men who seemed to be in a hurry to get out. As it turns out, this group of men had been called upon by two guards who had been knocked unconscious by a young woman." Tripp then smiled at Alliquen. "And it seemed they were needed for backup. After overhearing this we know we were heading in the right direction. We pursued these men until they came to the treasure vault."
"We feared the worse when we saw the dead bodies near the entrance." Lord Tertalis spoke softly, looking at Alliquen. "We thought perhaps we were too late."
"It was then that we heard you scream." Tripp continued.
"Scream?" Alliquen asked, looking to her father.
"We heard you scream 'no.'" He said. Alliquen thought back in her memory and was able to pinpoint that exact moment. It rushed back to her – Amberley's sword had just been knocked out of her hands and she had fallen to the ground. She had screamed for fear she had lost her best friend. Alliquen looked down at her lap before looking back up to Tripp, waiting for him to continue on.
"It was your brother who first took action." He continued, after a minute. "We rushed after him but he was far in front of us. By the time we caught sight of him again, he was standing over a woman's body, defending her. I didn't recognize her so I knew immediately it was Amberley." He stopped cleaning her wounds and slowly looked up to meet her eyes. "I feared the worst when I couldn't see you. Thoughts rushed through my mind as I wondered what would happen if you hadn't made it..." Tripp looked away from Alliquen then at his surroundings. He glance up at Lord Tertalis before standing up and walking away from Alliquen and her father, back towards where his men had gathered. Alliquen watched him for a few minutes, he talked to Teryl and then walked further away until he was out of sight. Alliquen turned her head around and looked down at her hands. Suddenly she remembered she wasn't alone and looked back up to face her father. He was staring at her curiously; in a way he never had before.
"Tripp told me to finish dressing your wounds." Teryl said appearing beside Alliquen. She turned to him and smiled softly.
"Thank you." Teryl picked up right where Tripp had left off. A little while later Alliquen found herself alone, laying flat on a bed, staring up at the ceiling. Darkness had fallen completely now and fires had been built to provide heat and light. Alliquen soon realized, however, that they had also been built for another purpose; to burn dead bodies. Alliquen turned her gaze to her bandaged arm and touched it gently.
"You always wanted a battle scar." A soft voice spoke. Alliquen looked up to find herself staring at Amberley. Amberley pulled up an abandoned dining chair and sat down beside Alliquen.
"Shouldn't you be resting?" Alliquen inquired, slowly sitting up.
"All I've been doing for the past few weeks is resting." Amberley said with a smirk. "If I have to stay in one spot for much longer, I'll go made." Alliquen smiled back before turning her gaze to the men who were gathering around the bonfires and talking.
"Do you think you'll get married?" Alliquen asked suddenly, turning back to Amberley. "You and Apontas?"
"I suppose that depends." Amberley said, her cheeks flushing. "Apontas will have to ask my parents."
"Your parents." Alliquen repeated softly. "How do you feel about that? Knowing that all along, you've had parents, but that they haven't said anything to you or tried to see you?"
"Their intentions were good I suppose." Alliquen said quietly. "I can't really blame them. They did have me in mind all along." A smile suddenly broke out on her face. "At least Prince Letoras has warmed up to me."
"Has he now?" Alliquen said smiling at Amberley. "You know it's strange. He hasn't come and seen me yet – I would have thought he would have been trying to break down the doors to do so."
"I don't know." Amberley said, her smile still lingering. "I think he's trying to give you some room."
"Or perhaps he's just realized that the situation is hopeless." A voice said from the front of the pavilion. Alliquen turned her gaze and saw Prince Letoras leaning against one of the pillars.
"Hopeless?" Alliquen asked. The prince walked forward until he stood over Alliquen. He placed his hand on Amberley's shoulder before he spoke.
"All that I thought I knew wasn't what it seemed." He said shaking his head and looking down at Amberley. "I understand now. Someone helped convince me of that."
"What are you talking about your highness?" Alliquen asked confused.
"Teryl." He said simply. "Teryl's been trying to convince me for the past week and now I understand." He crouched down and took Alliquen's hand. "Lady Alliquen, you are a wonderful person and will make someone very happy. I wish I could say that that person was me, but I know it's not. I hope you'll be okay with me breaking out engagement." Alliquen looked at the prince in wonder.
"Who are you?" She asked suddenly, her face breaking out in a smile. "You're not the same prince I've known and found annoying for the past weeks."
"No." Prince Letoras said with a smile. "I'm not. Though, I must say," He said standing up and looking around. "I've got to talk to someone about all this dirt and blood. Honestly! Don't they know how filthy this place is?!" He looked around and spotted a man who was taking care of some of the injured. "Hey you!" He looked down at Amberley and Alliquen and winked. "Pardon me if you will. Yes you!" He said looking back at the man. "Do you know who I am? I must say I am appalled…" By then his voice had trailed off as he walked after the surprised yet annoyed looking man. Alliquen laughed but stopped when her side reminded her that all was not well.
"He's definitely the same man." Alliquen said, letting a smile convey her feelings.
"I suppose so." Amberley said, smiling back at her. Her smile suddenly changed as she pursed her lips. "Alli."
"About what he said." Alliquen shook her head, not wanting her to continue.
"Let me take care of it." Alliquen said squeezing her friend's hand.
"When the time is right."
"I think the time is right now." Amberley said her head turning to look outside. Alliquen caught a glimpse of Tripp as he walked off, away from the crowds of people. Alliquen looked back to Amberley who smiled at her. She cocked her head to the side and urged Alliquen to follow him. Alliquen sung her legs off the bed and with the help of Amberley, stood up. With one more encouraging look from Amberley, Alliquen walked by herself off in the direction in which Tripp had gone.
"Tripp?" Alliquen questioned softly as she came closer to him. He turned around sharply, looking surprised to see her standing there.
"Alliquen, what are you doing up? You should be resting." He made a move to guide her back to the pavilion but she stopped him.
"Tipp, what you said back there…"
"I meant every word." Tripp said sincerely taking Alliquen's hands. "I was fine before. You know that? I had accepted the fact that I might never find a companion. I was perfectly happy the way I was. And now… and now I'm not. I can't go back Alliquen. I can't go back to before. Not now, knowing that you're out there, without me." Alliquen smiled softly.
"I could say the same. I was happy being alone, doing what I wanted. I was fine without a man telling me what to do. I thought all men were the same. That they didn't care what a woman thought and that women were only prizes meant to be shown off. I learned different when I met you. Never once have you treated me as someone who is not equal to you. Well, unless you count when you first met me and told me I wasn't capable of battle." Tripp laughed.
"Yes, I remember that day well. I had never me anyone, especially a woman, who would talk back to me like that, unless of course it was my sister or my aunt. I think I knew that day…" He said smiling at the memory.
"Hem." A voice sounded behind Alliquen. She turned to find herself facing her father, who was looking quite stern with his hands behind his back.
"Lord Tertalis." Tripp said, stepping up beside Alliquen, his hand grasping hers. "I know that I an no prince or no lord. I am no one of any rank – other than among my small band of men. I didn't expect this to happen sir, but I love your daughter. And… I would ask your permission for her hand in marriage." Alliquen looked at Tripp in surprise. Slowly, she turned her head back to look at her father. Her breath caught in her throat, waiting for his reaction.
"I never thought this would happen either, Captain Tripp." He said sternly. Slowly, his sternness melted away to reveal a joyful smile. "Never in my wildest dreams would I think that Alliquen would find a man whom she would want to marry. As long as she is willing, you have my permission and my blessing." Alliquen broke out in a smile and laughing rushed forward to hug her father. He laughed in return and hugged her tightly, being wary of her wounds. Lord Tertalis stepped forward and took Tripp's hand. "You'll have your hands full my boy." With that he walked away, disappearing into the crowd. Alliquen looked at Tripp and smiled. He laughed and picked her up, swinging her around. He set her down and looked at her happily.
"This is a perfect ending you know," Alliquen said. "To all this."
"No." Tripp said, his face stretching into an even wider grin. "I think it's a perfect beginning." With that he leaned down and kissed her.
A/N: FINALLY!!!! It's done! It only took me….rolls eyes sorry guys!… if there's anyone left reading this… I've seriously had this done for about 9 months I've just been busy, and put off revising and such. Now it's done and I can stop having this nagging in the back of my mind. Lol – I hope it was at least somewhat enjoyed!