Forever & Always

Metal bit into his flesh but he didn't acknowledge the pain. His blade clashed with another's with a piercing metallic clang, his muscles aching from battle and the lack of sleep.

The entire castle was in a panic.

They all wanted to catch the sweet girl, with magic in her soul. She had the power to manipulate the elements, specifically the surging power of water were hers to control.

So much so that Salamandrius had wanted her as a trophy, and when she was older as his queen.

But naught mattered to Rafe, except Loryanna.

All he knew was that if he could stand his ground for a little longer, Loryanna could escape with her life and his heart. His life would be worth something, if he could save but her sweet existence.

"Rafe, look out!" Loryanna shouted, as a new opponent moved into her sight. Rafe immediately swung his sword around, slicing cleanly into the man's belly.

He felt the lick of steel in his arm again. They were trying to weaken his sword arm.

Rafe bit his lip, not allowing them the satisfaction of his screams of pain. He determinedly advanced on his next opponent, slaying him as quickly as he had the others.

Three men advanced at once, and Rafe cursed under his breath. He had relied on them underestimating his abilities and coming at him one at a time.

He looked into the eyes of his lover across the courtyard. Loryanna motioned for him to run.

Her hand beckoned him to her.

Rafe dashed to her side, grabbing her small hand in his. The electricity that passed through their joined hands was intense.

Their eyes met momentarily, before they sprinted through the citadel, searching for a way out.

In that moment he could see the life they could've had together, the moments they had missed and the days they could never share. He wished he could've had more time to be hers.

Rafe signalled his accomplice at the turrets. The drawbridge already drawn, he untied the horse just outside the walled fortress that had been her home.

Rafe pulled her into his arms, taking in her scent of wild heather. He held her delicate body, feeling the pull of her power. Sometimes he feared that such a power was too much for her, that he had to protect her from herself.

"I love you, Loryanna. Never forget and we will be together, no matter the distance, no matter the time. For forever and always." Rafe breathed into her cascading, dark hair. He lifted Loryanna's chin with his finger, memorising her every feature slowly.

He loved how her clear alabaster skin seemed to sparkle from within.

Rafe glanced at her plump strawberry red lips, always lifted slightly at the edges in amusement. His heart raced as he saw how delicate her features were even when she was angry.

He felt himself smile crookedly as he thought of her when she was angry at him, with Loryanna's short stature and hands on hips.

Finally he reached Loryanna's big forest green eyes, so filled with the love they both shared that he took all his will power to stay strong for the both of them. Rafe placed her on the horse, as a tear slid down her carefully emotionless face.

Unable to bear it, he opened his arms to her. She slid from the horse and into his arms, Loryanna's lips meeting his.

It felt like home.

Rafe kissed her as deeply as he dared, knowing that he had to let go, for her sake. But as soon as their lips parted Rafe wanted to pull her back to him. A chuckle from behind them, made them both freeze.

"Well isn't this amusing." A voice purred from the shadows. Even at high noon the fortress was a dark place in all senses of the word.

Rafe cursed.

"Loryanna get on the horse." He was already pushing her towards where the horse stood, waiting for its mistress.

"Now, now don't be too hasty, my sweet one. You wouldn't want the blood of your lover on your hands, would you?" Salamandrius tutted, as he stepped out of the darkness.

His pasty white skin was like fragile parchment and milky yellow eyes disturbing to look upon. He seemed to look everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

Loryanna shuddered at the thought of the few times those eyes had focused purely on her.

She stayed exactly where she was, not moving to get upon the horse. Rafe despaired as he watched Loryanna, take a step forward. She blocked Rafe from Salamandrius with her body.

"Good girl, now come forward and we shall act like nothing had happened. We will go back to the way things once were. This one will need to be disposed of, of course but you know how things work." Salamandrius cheered gleefully, as if getting rid of Rafe was as much a celebration as Beltane.

"No, we must keep Rafe. He is the only guard I will need and want. And if you dare to touch a hair on his head, I will kill myself as a consequence." Loryanna threatened, her eyes never leaving Salamandrius'. She could be strong with Rafe behind her and his future in her hands.

"No!" Rafe roared. He would not have Loryanna stuck in prison for the rest of her life. She deserved more than this life, and he would have her freed. No matter the price.

He raised his sword towards Salamandrius, charging.

Loryanna watched in horror as Rafe, ran towards her captor. She was frozen to the spot, her tongue tied in dismay.

Salamandrius smirked.

He raised his arms in a 'come hither' motion, displaying his chest. Salamandrius' yellow eyes swirled with mischief and malice, a terrifying mix. Rafe lanced his sword through Salamandrius.

Rafe grabbed his second sword from between his shoulder blades, piercing Salamandrius through the heart a second time.

"Done?" Salamandrius asked politely.

Rafe backed away, as Salamandrius pulled both swords out of his chest. Rafe knew evil was just as eternal as good but Salamandrius defied even death. How could that be?

Rafe watched in horror as Salamandrius gave his twin swords a flourish, before sending them hurling towards the fortress. He turned his disturbing eyes to Rafe, naught but sand pouring from the wounds in his chest.

"My turn." Salamandrius raised his hand and Rafe's entire body burst into flames.

Rafe howled in pain, as his body scorched in the unbelievable heat. But it didn't begin to compare to the pain in his chest. What would happen to Loryanna once he was gone? He dared not think upon it.

It was not a quick death, he died to smell of his own flesh burning and the screams of the one he loved.

Loryanna threw flood upon flood of water onto Rafe's body but the flames would not go out. She could tell he was dead. But she wanted something left of him to bury, so that someone would know he had lived, to know he was worth something.

She heard the evil cackle of Salamandrius from behind her, as the fire finally extinguished. Loryanna fell upon Rafe's body and wept.

"Loryanna, don't take too long." Salamandrius pulled the horse by the reigns, practically dragging the creature away from Loryanna and Rafe.

Loryanna cried. She never remembered a time when she had cried so much in her life.

When all the tears were used up, she recalled Rafe kept a dagger in his boots. Despair had fully taken over, and the shock of his death freshly in her mind. She held the dagger to her chest.

"If we cannot be together in this life, perhaps we can be together in the next." Loryanna whispered as she plunged it into the heart that had beaten for one and one alone.

She fell beside Rafe's body, her final thoughts of forever...

And always...