She raised the blade ready to make the final blow and for the first time her eyes met his. And she knew.

It had been kept from her. Nobody had ever told her what would happen when she looked into his eyes. But now she understood.

Her arms trembled, her sword still raised, and she could read everything in the depths of those eyes.

He was afraid, but resigned. Fate had caught up with him and with what courage he had he was facing it.

Admiration swelled in her, but her arms still trembled.

Perfect blue eyes told her of his battles, what had brought him this far. His duty, his family and a life of orders he had obeyed.

Pity came in a tidal wave, swamping her, but her grip remained strong.

And there, in the depths of those soul telling sapphires she saw that he too knew. That at that moment, kneeling before her, defeated, he was in love with her.

Her soul was elated, but she didn't feel it, numb. Standing over him, her sword still raised.

Then understanding came to him to his expresion, and her heart broke, because he was the only one who would ever understand.

"Do it quickly." He asked, his head bowed and she swung her sword.

Even through the sharp gasp she released she heard the creature retreat, the red eyed god who had always known. She even heard the men approach, seeing the blood and a lifeless corpse before her.

"Is that him?" One of the men whispered, he was ignored.

"Your Highness?" She was addressed.

She faced the soldier, one who had been in her councils. One of the men who helped bring about this ending. With her attention on him he straightened.

"We have captured the capital, the palace is secure." Pride. Oh yes, they had so much to be proud of today.

"And here is your Emperor." She motioned, the blood smeared sword cluttering to his side. She would use it no more, it was all she could give him.

"Then your husband is avenged my Queen." He swept a bow of respect to her, so did the other soldiers, awe in all their faces.

"And his father and Empire?" Only a moment and she could remember his eyes, perfect, and everything behind them, a life time of struggling. She wasn't even sure if she could remember her husbands eyes, they had never held her captive.

The soldier looked confused but unrepentant. "The empire of Alipa was built on blood. No longer will any serve their tyranny."

"But they will serve ours?" She felt empty, hollow in a place she never knew existed, at least not until she met his eyes. If for one moment his head had remained bowed, she would never have known, he would never have known. She wondered if that would have been better.

"My Queen." He began. "Your Royal Highness Kimra Lelanst, you are no tyrant. This monster deserved much worse then you dealt him."

"Leave me." She interrupted, because her legs where shaking much as her arms had before.

They obeyed, a bow and they where gone and she was alone with the corpse of a man she would have loved with her soul.

She didn't feel the tears until they mingled with his blood. Her legs gave way, the sobs came after, and she cried at the cruelty of fate, and the piece of herself forever broken, destroyed because there had been no other way.

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This story is the beginning and end of one of my oldest and most loved stories. Also it's a portion of the story from whence my alias came. Short but I think it makes a point. Hope someone enjoyed it.

Kimra