Note from Nikki
Note from Nikki
Here it is! The final chapter! I can't believe this story is at an end! I have been writing it for over a year now and for it to be done. . it's just. . .weird. This is the first story I have ever completely written in the history of my life! I remember that when I first started writing this, my goal was to reach 50 reviews by the time it was over. You guys have stunned and amazed me with over 800! Thank you SO much to everyone who took the time to read!
Keep in mind that I don't see this story as done. I still have a long way to go with revising, updating, changing stuff, etc. Someday I hope to come back to it and accomplish that. I was very young when I wrote this and I think that immaturity is littered throughout the story. I'd like to revisit it when I am older and wiser and see what I could do with it =)
I would like to add that I have posted another story already. It's called The Assassin of Kevari. . .if you are bored and would like to read something, I would be very honored!
Thank you all again!!
Damien led Katrina into the depths of the forest and they spent their days there. They rarely spoke to each other and slept on opposite sides of the fire. They gathered their own food and didn't voice a single thought unless it was to argue or mutter sarcastic comments.
Not a single day went by without Katrina thinking about Koryn and what she could be doing now. She had to keep reminding herself that there was nothing she could have possibly done to stay with him. She could have announced that they never consummated the marriage but that wouldn't have been enough. The consummation served the purpose of being united under the Gods eyes. . .not the law of the land. They had been united by the laws when they had taken their vows.
On the morning of the ninth day Katrina was found losing her breakfast of apples behind a dying bush. She had been sick everyday and she assumed she ate something that she shouldn't have eaten. But something didn't fit with that picture. Wouldn't bad food have left her system already?
"Are you sick again?" Damien called irritably.
"Oh no!" Katrina yelled. "No, I'm just heaving behind a bush because I find it entertaining!"
"Do it quieter," Damien bellowed. "I have a headache."
"Burn in the Hells of the Underworld," Katrina moaned back, clutching her stomach and heaving again.
"I'll have to agree with that," a deep voice said.
Katrina started and turned around to face Koryn, Hendrix, Hestion, and Bryn riding on horses. Her heart leaped as she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and stood straighter. Koryn's eyes filled with longing as he watched her.
"What are you doing here?" Damien hissed, rising to his feet.
Koryn leaped off his horse, followed by everyone else. Katrina noticed, for the first time, that Koryn was wearing a crown. He was King. He looked noble and his broad shoulders and good looks only seemed to enhance his position.
"You see brother," Koryn said carefully. "I'm King now and I'm afraid I don't have a Queen. I've been in love with Katrina for a very long time and I've decided I'd like her to fill the position, if she's willing."
"She's willing," Katrina whispered, smiling. "But a little confused about if this can happen."
"I'm King," Koryn said simply, as if this answered all questions.
"There you are wrong," Damien growled. "She's my wife."
"Ah, but you forget our laws brother," Koryn said, a hint of amusement in his voice. "I can do whatever I'd like now that I'm King."
"You don't have that power."
"When it concerns matters of my heart, I do," Koryn said coldly.
Damien laughed. "You don't really love her! You just want her because she's mine."
"Oh," Koryn said, shaking his head, "but there you are wrong. I don't want to stand here, however, and explain such deep feelings to you."
"She's my wife. You can't steal everything from me."
"You're right," Koryn agreed. He turned around and grabbed Katrina by the hand, pulling her near. He released a breath that he hadn't even known he was holding. "I won't take everything. You can still have your life."
Koryn helped Katrina onto his horse and then leaped on behind her. He pulled her close, his heart suddenly seeming to relax. "I'm sorry it took so long," he whispered, kissing her neck lightly. "We couldn't find you."
"I forgive you," she joked, leaning her head against his shoulder. Her heart was thudding rapidly in her chest with excitement and relief. Was she finally going to have her peace at last?
"Also as King, I would like to inform you that you are no longer welcome at Castle Cintyras. Don't try to step foot within the grounds unless you can prove to me that you are a changed man."
"Some punishment," Damien snorted angrily.
"Apart from the fact that you are money-less, powerless, and alone in the world?"
"I'd just kill him," Bryn said lightly.
"That would be far too easy. The simple way out. He would suffer more trying to be a commoner. How long do you think the pampered Prince will survive outside of the Castle?"
"Mm," Bryn said wickedly. "Good point."
Koryn urged his horse forward and began trotting away.
"I will get my crown back brother!" Damien yelled. "I'll get everything back!"
Koryn smiled. "Your story has spread to the farthest reaches of the land. I'd like to see you find an army willing to support a coward."
Katrina snuck one final glance at Damien and noted how he looked in that moment. She had a feeling that it was the last time she would ever seen the spoiled, pampered, murdering, and weak Prince. She wasn't surprised to find that she didn't feel sorry for him at all. Damien got what he deserved, even if it took years to get there.
Katrina woke the next morning feeling content in Koryn's warm embrace. She watched as he slept, enjoying the feel of the even rhythm of his chest as it rose up and down. He had taken her back to the Castle where she had been greeted by applause and love. Then they had come straight to the Royal rooms.
His eyes flickered open and he groaned, pulling her close to him. "How long have you been up?" he asked groggily, kissing her lightly on her forehead.
"Not very long," Katrina replied, snuggling closer to him.
Koryn smiled and wrapped his arms around her. "When do you want to get married?"
Koryn laughed. "How about next week? We need to send out invitations and. . ."
"I was kidding."
Koryn laughed again and was about to kiss her when she suddenly put her hand to her mouth. With a groan she left the bed and dashed to the washroom where sounds of retching could be heard.
"I'm taking you to the midwife," Koryn called sounding very concerned. "No food could make you this sick for so long!"
After a few more minutes Katrina came back into the room, looking pale. "I don't need to go to the midwife to tell me what's wrong."
"Food poisoning is serious! You'll need to get an antidote and a lot of bed rest and. . ."
"I'm pregnant Koryn."
Koryn slipped off the side of the bed and landed on the floor with a loud crash. Katrina was about to run over to help him up when his head re-emerged over the side. He looked incredibly pale and his eyes were wide.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes," Katrina replied, smiling. "I'm sure."
"I had hoped that Damien wouldn't get you pregnant. . ."
"I never slept with Damien," Katrina answered, smiling at the look of confusion on Koryn's face.
"But then. . ."
"We never consummated the marriage. I had help with a few. . .well chosen herbs given to me by a friend."
Koryn's face was slowing starting to show realization. "So. . .so it's. . .it's. . ."
"Yours," Katrina said gently, smiling as her heart fluttered in her chest.
Koryn's jaw dropped, he yelled, and then leaped across the bed to pull Katrina down. "We're having a baby!"
Katrina laughed and kissed him deeply, wrapping her arms around his neck. "We are."
Koryn kissed her a few times and was slowly starting to slide off her dress when he stopped. "No more of this until the baby is born," he said firmly.
Katrina groaned. "Koryn!"
"No," Koryn said, sliding off of her reluctantly. "It might be dangerous."
"It's fine now!" Katrina said, trying to pull him down again. "I'm not even a month into it yet!"
"Don't tempt me," Koryn muttered slyly. "I'm not about to harm my baby boy. Or girl. No, I want a boy. No. . .definitely a girl. . ."
Katrina laughed and slid from the bed as well, changing into a dress. "I'm afraid we have no say in the matter."
"It'll be a boy. . ." Koryn said, then frowned. "No, maybe a girl."
"Oh, sorry," he said sheepishly.
Together they dressed and left the room hand in hand. On their way to the dining hall Katrina found Rowena. Rowena's eyes were puffy and red and she was pale and appeared unkempt. Katrina squeezed Koryn's hand and let go, walking tentatively toward her friend.
"Rowena," she whispered.
Rowena attempted a half smile. "I heard you were back. I was going to see you before I left."
"Before you. . .what?" Katrina asked, suddenly feeling a wave of sadness envelope her.
"I can't. . ." Rowena sighed and started again. "I can't be here Katrina. I just need to get away for awhile. I've never seen anything beyond Castle Cintyras. It's time I get away."
"No! Rowena, you can't leave. . ."
"Isabella heard about. . .about Kenneth. . ." Rowena replied. "She understood the need to get away. She released me from the Castle as a free woman. I'm not entirely sure if she was allowed to do it or not but I know you'll let me go."
"Of course I will," Katrina whispered sadly. "If that's what you really want."
"Too many memories," Rowena replied, indicating around her with an impatient wave of her hand.
"He. . .he wanted you to know that he loved you. Those were his last words. . ." Katrina said, tears sliding down her face.
Rowena swallowed, looked down at her shaking hands, and nodded. "I know."
"He didn't die alone or afraid. . ." Katrina whispered. "He was ready to be with my mother and father."
"A part of him still stays with me," Rowena whispered. "Here, in my heart."
Katrina brushed her tears impatiently away and gave her friend a hug. "Won't you stay for the wedding?"
Rowena smiled here though it was thin and appeared rather forced. "You and Koryn. I always thought there was something there."
"The wedding is next week," Katrina said hopefully. "And. . .and won't you be here when. . .when the baby is born?"
"Baby?" Rowena gasped. "Damien's?"
"The night before I married Damien. . ." Katrina said, a trace of a smile on her lips, indicating her head toward Koryn slightly.
Rowena shook her head. "I don't know what's gotten into you."
"Will you stay?"
Rowena sighed. "Well. . .I suppose I can stay for the wedding. I promise I'll come back in nine months to be here for the baby."
Koryn stepped forward tentatively. Rowena bowed accordingly and Katrina saw the confusion flicker across Koryn's face. He still didn't really understand that he was King yet. His eyes were sad as he looked upon Rowena.
"Kenneth was more than a friend to me," he said. Katrina knew that Koryn had taken the death hard. He had tried to be brave when he had said goodbye to him as Kenneth was wrapped carefully and placed on a stretcher to be taken back to the Castle. But even Koryn had cried. "He was a good man who helped me through my Father's death. I respected, admired, and looked up to him. He was an example that we all should follow."
"Thank you," Rowena said, something lighting in her eyes. "I'm going to go for a walk."
Katrina wrapped her arms around her friend and said, "Everything will work out Rowena."
"I know," she whispered before turning on her heal and heading down the Castle steps.
Katrina had just taken Koryn's hand sadly, fighting off more waves of grief, when Hestion and Bryn came laughing down the winding staircase.
"Good morning!" Bryn said cheerfully.
"You look well rested," Koryn commented.
"This Castle is so beautiful," Bryn said. "It's so. . .bright. And everyone is so friendly, even though they know who I am."
Hestion nodded. "We just received news from Hadar. The entire land has been emptied. Bryn was right. No one really held any loyalty to Morlex. All of the guards are here and they are enjoying it far better. All the people dashed across the Border in search of food."
"Katrina and I are going down there as soon as we are married. And. . ." Koryn said, puffing out his chest, "Before she has the baby. My baby."
Bryn squealed and flung her arms around Katrina tightly while Hestion shook Koryn's hand, his eyebrows raised. "I thought she was being sarcastic about the whole five times in one night thing. . ."
"True," Koryn said wickedly. "All of it true."
"You? Nah, I don't believe it."
Koryn punched him lightly on the arm. "You don't truly know me my friend."
Hestion raised his eyebrows. "I don't want to either."
Bryn whispered in Katrina's ear. "It's funny how things work out. Neither of us could have seen this coming when we first met in Castle Thrak."
Katrina shuddered and whispered back. "Definitely not."
Katrina exchanged hugs with Hestion while Bryn leaped into Koryn's arms, nearly knocking him over.
"What's going on?" Hendrix asked gruffly, coming out of the dining hall.
"Katrina's pregnant!" Bryn sang, grabbing onto Katrina's hand.
Hendrix rose his eyes and shot a filthy look at Koryn who shrugged apologetically. "Well I feel left out," he muttered.
"Why?" Katrina asked, patting her friend on the back.
"Everyone is married and having babies and here I am, all alone."
"Oh Hendrix," Bryn said shaking her head. "The right one will come around for you."
As if on cue, a black haired woman exited the dining hall. She smiled at Hendrix before walking down the Castle steps. She nearly fell over but Poffel and Brent caught her.
"Now, no good to show off an' then tumble down the stairs!"
Hendrix grinned roguishly. "Hmmmm. . ." he muttered. Without saying goodbye he retreated down the steps, raking his hair back with his fingers.
Koryn rolled his eyes. "I don't even think he wants to get married."
Katrina laughed, linked arms with Bryn, winked at Koryn, and began leading the way into the Dining hall. The two women giggled their way to the table as they discussed ideas for the wedding. They were determined to make it more beautiful and more grand than the last one Katrina was involved in.
Koryn and Hestion followed having an animated conversation about insane women and their need for everything to be perfect. Koryn couldn't help but smile every once in awhile and glance at Katrina lovingly, knowing that she already was perfect in his eyes.
Everyone stood and bowed as Koryn passed, admiration and respect on all their faces. They had their King. One who would be just as good, if not better, than his father had been.
Katrina and Koryn sat in each other's arms that night. They had just returned from placing flowers on the gravestones of their loved ones. From Katrina's parents, to Owen, to Kenneth's newly covered burial site. They had let flowers fly elegantly through the air in memory of Chelveth and her baby.
"It's funny, isn't it?" Katrina said, suddenly thinking about what Bryn had said earlier.
"What is?" Koryn asked, kissing her neck lightly.
"The way things all work out. The way life creates its own path with all its twists and turns and unexpected surprises."
"Mmmm," Koryn answered. "Do you remember when we were little?"
Katrina laughed and snuggled closer to him. "How could I forget? I thought I hated you."
Koryn nodded in agreement. "We never agreed on anything. You were so stubborn!"
"You were the stubborn one!"
"No I wasn't!"
"Yes you were!"
Koryn laughed and kissed her again. "We were both stubborn."
"And then I realized you weren't so bad. . ." Katrina murmured.
"And we became friends," Koryn added.
"And somewhere I fell in love with you," Katrina said, running her finger gently across his chin. "and fell out of love with Damien."
Koryn grunted and wrapped his arms firmly around her waist. "Let's not forget a betrothal. . .and. . .and Aberforth. . ."
"Hard times," Katrina agreed, shivering. "I lost my parents, became betrothed to a man I didn't love, was raped by a man I feared, taken from my home, married to a man I hated, and left with nightmares that will live with me forever."
"I didn't have it half as bad as you did," Koryn muttered, a slight twinge of anger entering his calm voice. "But I was forced to walk in my brother's footsteps, I was the Prince no one noticed, I was given a life where I would do nothing but be the 'other brother', I had to watch as the one woman I loved married another man. . ."
"And now here we are," Katrina whispered. "We've been through pain, suffering, hard times. But now I'm with you. And I'm happier than I've ever been. I miss my Uncle and will miss him more in the days to come. But I learned at a young age to be strong. People die and though it hurts, I know I can't change the fact that it happened. All I can do is remember him."
Koryn sighed and pulled her into him. "I love you," he whispered.
"I love you too," Katrina replied.
Together they watched as the sun sank behind the horizon. Katrina had been through a lot but for the first time since her parents were killed eleven years go, she was completely and undeniably filled with love and happiness.
The time of war in Adarian had ended and a new era of peace had begun. As Katrina gazed at the stars in Koryn's loving arms, she knew that her adventure wasn't over. The story of her life still had many more pages to go. And instead of fearing what tomorrow would bring, she was ready to face it with a smile, confidence, and love.
Her story wouldn't end like it did in fairytales. Just because one tragedy and one heartache was over, didn't mean they all were. She knew that she would face more challenges, more pain. Her life would never be perfect because it didn't happen that way in reality. But she also knew one thing. As long as she was with Koryn, she would always live happily ever after.