Five years later:

So much has happened since that fateful day... but looking back it all seemed to go by so fast. Sven and I destroyed the Darkness, but the fight wasn't over. It had just begun, and the road of recovery will last longer still. The first thing we did together was travel back to Altamar. We spent a few days in that beautiful place, resting and taking care of our injuries. We never saw those bandits again, thankfully. Of course I had to explain why I had acted the way I did in the castle, but I could never tell him about what had happened in that hallway. I will never forget the Black Prince of Darkness... and even today, he still haunts my steps. But especially in those first few weeks, I couldn't sleep. I would wake up in the middle of the night scared beyond belief- I dreamed of the Prince coming back for me to take me away, taking revenge on those I loved. But he was more horrible then my memories, because he whispered to me, blaming me for his death, calling me a killer... It was horrible. The guilt I felt was excruciating- taking a life was something I never thought I was capable of doing. But Sven- he was always there, taking care of me, protecting me from the Darkness that had crept into my heart, rocking me to sleep when I needed to be comforted. He is my Light now.

We thought about going back to Earth one day when we were older just to see our old lives one more time. Even though Earth had never been my true home, I was still fond of it, and a part of my heart still lives there still. We thought about traveling to the different worlds I had read in the books in my mother's library, but each day we spent in Altamar was another day the Altamarians toiled in the gold mines once controlled by the Darkness. It wasn't so easy to find them. We went back to the World of Darkness- or what was left of it. We returned to that dark town to gather information on what had happened in our absence. Even though the Darkness was dwindling and uncontrollable, the Prince's head advisor had taken charge of all his assets and enterprises, including his gold mines. Even though the sun finally shined on the world of darkness, it would take time before any green plants would begin to grow back again. The world was still twisted and dangerous. Sven and I had expected a radical change from before, but truthfully nothing had changed. The Darkness was now not a tangible force, but it still hid in the hearts of others.

It took us a few days, but we were able to find the whereabouts of the gold mines: in a world called Modcotee. It was a world rich with gold, which was mined and transported to other worlds and sold in the Black Prince's name. We went to that world- another place affected by darkness. We saw the fields upon fields of slaves harvesting food in the brutal heat- the sun not a warm pressure but an oppressive one. We were at a loss again- we had no idea how we could help these people. We kept moving forward, asking them about where the Altamarians worked. Luckily I found people who could speak some of the languages I had been taught and we were directed north. As we traveled, I told anyone I could about my story- how the darkness had destroyed my country and how I had tricked the Black Prince and ended his life. They were dubious at first, but when I showed them the holy sword of Uzul, the Izutalia, and the last inheritance from my family, the Lazur Alia, they believed me. I hoped that this would some day urge them to escape from slavery back to their own countries and worlds. It was all I could do at the time.

Our story followed us wherever we went as we traveled by night and hid in the camps by day. We inspired hope- the slaves knew they couldn't have fought against the Darkness itself, and now that it was uncontrolled, there was hope again for freedom. Sven and I rarely rested, because we knew that it was only a matter of time before trouble found us. We supported one another, and without our new love for each other the road would have been much harder to travel. He was shy and wonderful, he was happy, and I relieved. Somewhere along the way I realized that I had loved him for a long time. We had to make the most of our time alone together, because when we were not traveling we were sleeping, or too tired for any romantic thoughts. Somehow we knew that when we found our people our lives would change yet again.

We finally reached the gold mines- but the Altamarians were in a sorry state. Starved, hollow-eyed, and hopeless, they went to the mines in the morning and back to their camp by nightfall every day. The officers in charge slept at the top of a hill away from the camp, coming down only to force them to the mines and to urge them back to the camp at the end of the day. After watching this procession for several days, Sven and I crept down to the camp one night. The largest tent was still lit and we could hear voices whispering under the crackling of the fire. We walked in, and there he was- a man who seemed so familiar and dear to me that it made my heart feel heavy and my knees weak. My father. He recognized me the moment I walked in, and hugged me tightly. He smelled like wonderful memories at the corners of my mind, like a home that I could faintly remember, and a mother who I knew to be gone forever. I cried, out of joy or sadness I am still not sure, but his presence comforted me immensely. He too had tears in his eyes.

I had asked him what death was like, and he told me that he had never died. The Darkness had swallowed him up, and he had fought against its hold but he could not break free. It was maddening and frightening, an empty place of never-ending darkness. The next thing he knew, he was chained to a group of ex-soldiers and civilians in that new world, forced to work everyday by the "officers", hurt by their whips, and threatened by the Darkness. He had finally come to believe that my mother and I were dead. Life moved on, and all the prisoners learned to adapt to this new harsh lifestyle.

As we talked together, Sven told our story to the other men and women present. We decided to act tonight. A group of men and women, Sven and my father at the front, crept up the hill of the officers. Without telling anyone, I followed them up the hill with my magical dagger in hand. Sven and I had decided that we would never be apart- that we would face any dangers together, but he still insisted that I stayed behind. He never realizes that I don't listen well to others. The soldiers were ambushed and tied up- I got to avenge a few of these torturers. These fowl men had made my people miserable, and my father old beyond his years. I had to do my part. Of course Sven and my father were angry, but I had expected as much. By then the sun was already rising. People had already gathered at the center of the camp after hearing the events from the previous night. Hand-in-hand, Sven and I told our people about our journey and how we planned to take they away from Modcotee back to Altamar. After many trips with the Lazur Alia I was finally able to transport everyone back to Altamar. I was so tired, Sven had to carry me back up to my old room. He sat with me until I fell asleep.

The next few months were just as busy. Sven and others were in the city rebuilding Altamar while I got to know my people- I learned how to capture nets of fish, plant seeds, make pottery, and rebind books. I began to repair my mother's library, which my father and I were fond of using. It was painful to be away from Sven every day after having been with him for so long. I missed his strong presence. We had become so attached that it was hard to be away from him. I remember sometimes when he wasn't too tired he would come to my room to see me, and I would use the Lazur Alia to visit him. It made our relationship feel like a secret, even though we had never tried to hide it before. My father already knew about us. He had not trusted Sven at first, but soon he realized how important he had become to me. On my next birthday, my father told me that it would be good if I married Sven so that our people would have a King and Queen to look up to. Of course, I wasn't okay with getting married then- I was still only eighteen! In Altamar people got married at a young age and stayed together until death. I didn't feel like I was ready for that just yet.

A few years passed. Altamar was rebuilt upon the rubble and destruction into something even more beautiful than before. Sven took my father's job as the commander of our small army. I was their princess. I decided that all the class systems from before would be abolished and we would have an elected council of citizens with me at its head. Each day was a new lesson, another challenge in ruling a small city. Being a ruler was harder than I had ever imagined- but I had my father, Sven, and sometimes in my dreams my mother, who came to me and guided me when I most needed it.

One sunny day, Sven and I were married. I was not like a marriage on Earth- but it was perhaps even more wonderful. It had to be a beautiful day, because it was an omen of Light and happiness in the marriage. The sun reflected on the shimmering waves, and a cool breeze hinted at the coming of cooler weather in the future. I turned back to the city- such a bright white that it took my breath away, so refreshing and wonderful. It had been early morning, just before the small city awoke and you could hear the cries of small babies just born, the homes waking up, and the fisherman taking their tools out to the further reaches of the lake. I smiled, because I knew that today was no ordinary day.

One of my new friends, a smart and resourceful woman slightly older than I, called for me to come back inside. I walked with her back to my old home and already noticed the city coming alive. Some fisherman I knew greeted me as they walked out of the gates, a young mother waved to me from her doorway. My dress was already set out on my bed- a simple blue gown that floated and danced around my feet. We walked outside to the fountain square where women were already starting to weave the crown of flowers I was to wear for the ceremony. We sat down and helped set out the flowers white, bright indigo, and peach pink as the oldest women in the city, a skilled weaver, worked her magic to connect them into a blooming circlet. She continued the pattern in a long glowing train that went down my back and to the floor. The flowers intertwined into my golden hair and trailed behind me more beautiful than any crown.

I walked barefoot through the streets- my feet hidden under the folds and ruffles of my dress, as all the civilians threw flowers up into the air. Some caught on to my dress and others to my train of flowers, while the rest adorned the stone streets like a soft carpet. I laughed in the beauty and wonder of it, and continued forward. Sven stood under an archway, his back stiff with nervousness and his hands together. When he saw me a smile broke out on his face and I rushed to meet him. His green eyes sparkled. My father stood behind him. He took Sven's hand and then mine. The crowd went silent. He slowly brought our hands together, and I smiled at the familiarity of Sven's hand in mine. My father took his hand away and we laced our fingers together. He then presented us with two small necklaces of the same bead- an azure stone that blinked in the light. Sven carefully attached it to my neck, and I followed his example. They symbolized our union together. A part of me would always be with him, as a part of him would always be with me, resting above each of our hearts.

I know my life will be difficult and I know there are many challenges in store for me and my city, but in that moment with Sven by my side and the sun shining down on us, I knew we would be all right. The future is bright. We will continue to fight against the darkness in our hearts for the happiness we deserve. In this fight, Light has prevailed.

~Queen Kalandra of Altamar

A lot of time has passed since I finished this story. I wrote an entire new story called Blinding Beauty, and now that I've finished it I wanted to revisit this one. I had been thinking for a while about what happened after the last chapter, and wanted to start writing it to find out. Maybe you like the first ending better, maybe you wanted to find out more like me. I first thought of this story last summer, and here at the end of this summer I finally finish it completely. I'd love to hear what you thought of Light X Dark as a whole, so please review and check out my other fictionpress stories!