The Final Battle


5 years later

Breathe in through the nose, and exhale through the mouth. Concentrate. Aim.

Focus on the object, calm your breathing, and center your mind. Take a deep breath in, releasing it slowly as your focus remains on the target. Aim, hold your breath, steady your stance, and sight the target. Hold it for just a moment...

Aiming for the center, she released her fingers and the arrow swiftly flew through the air, its flight path aimed directly at the center of the target. Upon impact, the arrow struck the center of it, sending a vibration throughout the body of the board as it remained firmly planted in the center. The target stood still for a moment, showing no signs of movement or damage. The young teenager lowered her bow, impressing the onlookers with her skill, seeing a prodigy in the making. The clapping continued for a few more moments, some of the onlookers even going so far as to cheer and shout out to her.

The young lady, possessing long, wavy brown hair and matching brown eyes, smiled as all her strikes hit their marks, giving her the top scores in the testing. She stood alongside nine other adolescents in the training yard in Alexandria as Marx gave his instructions for them to hit their marks. The atmosphere was casual and laid-back, with the adolescents enjoying their time spent in the art of archery.

"Excellent, Sierra." Marx praised her, his tone filled with praise and satisfaction. "Top of the class, without a doubt."

Sierra grinned proudly, her eyes sparkling with joy and pride at the satisfaction as she received the commendation. It was evident that her dedication to archery training had paid off, showcasing her impressive performance. "Thank you, Sir Marx. your kind words are deeply appreciated and I am truly grateful for your guidance."

"Certainly. It is evident that you have a highly skilled instructor guiding you." Marx's smile widened as he shifted his gaze towards Qualen, who was approaching them.

"Sierra, I witnessed the entire performance and must say, you did an outstanding job!" Qualen proudly exclaimed, embracing her briefly. "Have you successfully cleared the preliminary round?" The question came through, an element of curiosity present within it as they both looked over at Marx.

"Did she pass?" Marx asked, his words filled with irony, but a hint of excitement also evident. "Let it be known that Sierra Grem is now en route to becoming a top member of the archery cadets for the Alexandrian army." His choice of wording showcases his approval of her admission into the unit of expert marksman.

Qualen couldn't be more thrilled to hear the news, a wide, radiant smile lighting up her face as she celebrated the wonderful update. Sierra, likewise, had become quite overjoyed, her smile now expanding as she was unable to contain her excitement. Her sense of accomplishment was evident on her face as she expressed her gratitude and happiness. Her attention was then diverted back to Sierra. "Go gather your belongings, and we will walk back into town together." The words were directed towards her simply and straightforwardly and Without wasting even a moment, she then ran off to the stables, leaving her and Marx alone together.

Marx then spoke, shifting the tone of the conversation. "You should be proud of how far she has come in the last five years." He spoke respectfully, his words acknowledging the progress she had made during this time. "Her brother, Pixo, would be very proud of her," The reference to her sibling as his final remark filled with a mixture of fondness and sadness, as he imagined the pride Pixo would have felt had he been able to witness his younger sister's achievements.

"I am very proud of her. She is certainly a kind-hearted, compassionate, diligent kid." Qualen responded with a soft smile. "There isn't a day when I look at her that I don't see Pixo in her," she continued with a heartfelt sentiment that paid tribute to him. "He would have loved seeing her grow up."

"Yes, he would, without a doubt." Marx's movement came to a halt, his gaze turning towards the town situated beyond the courtyard. "A lot has changed, hasn't it? Alexandria has grown beautifully over the years," A hint of nostalgia was present within his words as he considered the transformation the city had undergone.

Alexandria, the central city of the kingdom, had undergone a period of impressive development over the last five years, a progression that was certainly remarkable and praiseworthy. Smaller villages and towns such as Ries, Laguna, and Wealdstone had been able to expand and grow, receiving substantial funds to expand their buildings and construct newer homes and buildings made of stone and bricks, adding a hint of luxury and elegance to the surrounding landscapes. These changes had allowed for a finer living across the lands, and the people were surely grateful for it.

"Yes, and for the better." Qualen expressed her satisfaction with a contented look on her face."Lockridge has grown thanks to the peace we were able to obtain over this time, and the people have been fortunate to reap the benefits of this period of tranquility."

"Truly." Marx then redirected his focus to the stable, where Sierra was standing and waiting for them. "Well, looks like your entourage awaits you, my Lady," He had seen the skills the teenager possessed and she was certainly a potential candidate to become a prominent archer in the Alexandria military. Beginning to walk away, Marx waved farewell as he began to depart once again, returning to the training ground. "Tell Sierra I expect her back here for training at dawn tomorrow."

Qualen nodded in response to his approval and praise towards Sierra, a hint of satisfaction visible on her features. With a smile, she made her way toward the stables to meet with the teenager and then returned to town with her, back home. She had rescued Sierra during the liberation of Mortamus, a moment that had become etched into her memory. Following the event, Qualen had taken the young girl under her wing, fulfilling her promise to Pixo by raising her. Qualen would always remember how many young and innocent lives were imprisoned within those castle walls that she had freed, and it gave her the utmost satisfaction seeing smiles return to those faces after years of solitude. A year after the war had ended and all conflict had truly ceased, Qualen had stepped down from her duties as Cassia's guard and into a quaint yet comfortable house within the city of Alexandria to begin living her life truly. Raising Sierra had been a privilege for her, and she felt it to be an honor, one that she knew she needed to perform. With love and care, she had been able to nurture the young woman, helping her to develop and mature.

Qualen had reached a point of contentment in her life, and she wouldn't alter anything about it, feeling that it was just as she wished. As she and Sierra arrived home, they were met by two more wonderful family members. Geoffrey stood there, cradling a young newborn infant in his arms, and Qualen approached both, displaying her affection by placing soft kisses on their foreheads. After countless moments of prolonged flirting and courting, Qualen and Geoffrey's romance was finally brought to fruition as she took Geoffrey's hand in marriage, becoming his wife, and attained the union they had desired for quite some time. Within the short time of marriage, they had welcomed a new member to their family three months ago, the arrival of their son representing a profound change of life in their world.

A newfound sense of contentment had now permeated everything throughout her life. With raising Sierra, having a loving husband and a child that she had just birthed, her heart was now complete, free from the troubles that may have once plagued it with hardships and heartache. Life had now become something that she felt tremendous adoration and thankfulness for, and she was grateful for every aspect of it.

Inside the castle, many things changed as well. It reflected the progress and development that had taken place over the last five years since the war had come to its conclusion. The castle itself had also undergone alterations, as a clear sign of the kingdom's growth and advancement within recent years. The people were content knowing that they were under the rule of a monarch who truly cared about their well-being. The ruling monarchs of the succeeding generation had indeed been keeping themselves occupied with the expansion of the city and the improvement of the quality of life for all its inhabitants. The absence of conflict and the lack of any impending threat of war was a welcome respite and relief to all those who called Alexandria their home.

Upon the conclusion of the jousting tournament that had reunited the young Queen and her beloved, they were swiftly wed, feeling the intense pressure and weight of waiting. The couple then embarked on a luxurious honeymoon of two months that took them to the various neighboring lands of Korvan, the Toran Republic, and the Mountains of Leif. Throughout that time, they savored one another's company, indulging in romance and intimate experiences, and simply enjoying their time together. They had taken the opportunity to explore and experience the wonders of the world before settling down into their royal duties.

In each and every one of the neighboring nations, a sense of peace and harmony prevailed, with smiles present upon the faces of its inhabitants. The people had been able to indulge in happiness, safe from the risks of war and conflict. Each day, they awoke to a new dawn, free from the threats of violence and warfare, and they carried out their daily activities.

On this particular day, the council members had convened once again, their meeting taking place within the grand hall. Royston, acting as the speaker, brought forth a discussion topic to begin with, asking, "So what can we expect with the trade negotiations with Tordam?" The topic of trade negotiations with this neighboring nation would most likely involve the terms and conditions related to its exchange of goods and services with Alexandria. The discussion would no doubt include topics ranging from economy, foreign policy, and the development of sustainable relations between the two parties.

As the discussion continued, Kenric, the newly appointed Chamberlain, added to the discourse, contributing information regarding the trade negotiations. "While they have approved of the new contract to supply wine and fruits, we have also secured a large supply of sugar and fish," he said, indicating that the agreement had indeed included more than just the previously mentioned terms.

"Excellent." Royston continued to lead the discussion, shifting focus to another topic of importance, one that would involve the upcoming meeting with Larcos. This meeting would evidently occur once the royal presence of Lady Cassia was present, as her husband Ty was also present in the room. He glanced in the direction of Ty, who now wore his royal long cloak and leather tunic, a change of attire that was now a regular occurrence during his time of leisure. "Will Her Highness be joining us in the next meeting, my Lord?"

Ty then looked upwards from his paperwork, responding to Royston's mention of Cassia's involvement in the upcoming meeting. "She shall, indeed," he affirmed while also giving a bit more information regarding the princess's activities. "She has been spending most of her time out in the gardens when the weather permits for her."

"Of course. We all know how occupied she has been the past several weeks." Royston agreed with a hint of understanding in his expression, acknowledging Cassia's recent preoccupation. Ty also nodded in response, displaying an understanding of the situation.

"Speaking of Her Highness," Ty spoke up once again, standing from his seat and prompting the other council members to do the same. As a display of courtesy and respect, Royston and Kenric rose from their respective seats as well. "Royston, I trust you can finish this up while I go see my Lady."

"Certainly, Your Highness." Royston continued to show his respect towards Ty as the latter departed from the hall, bowing to the member of the royal family. Ty had turned away from the gathering, exiting the grand hall and proceeding to the rear portion of the castle, where the gardens were located.

The expansive garden at the rear portion of the castle was exquisite, filled with a vast variety of lush flora. The wide area was filled with scores of various varieties of flowers that were planted in many distinct rectangular plots with narrow pathways between them, allowing for the simple gathering of products. There were also orchards, cloister garths, and vineyards, along with numerous fruit and vegetable gardens. The monastery had both kitchen gardens and herb gardens to provide the practicalities of food and medicine. Being filled with both the beauty and productivity of nature, the gardens offered a calming backdrop to its surroundings.

On this particular day, Cassia took a seat on one of the numerous benches present in the sprawling garden, seated under the shade of a large tree that offered sufficient protection from the sunshine. The weather was perfectly beautiful, with the springtime day being bright and warm yet not overly overbearing. In a moment of relaxation, she observed two young boys who were playing with a small leather ball on the grass, watching over the two with a gentle, warm gaze.

Cassia couldn't help but express a subtle smile as she watched the two carefree, mischievous young lads, aged two and three, run and laugh together, pursuing each other until they tackled and tumbled onto the soft grass. They displayed an obvious love and joy as they enjoyed each other's company, observing the adorable scene unfold, and couldn't help but smile at the sight of the adorable toddlers' playfulness and affection.

The children's giggles continued as Ty approached the area, the latter immediately catching their attention as they both scrambled to their feet, sprinting over to him with their arms extended excitedly. "Papa!" they exclaimed happily.

The two little lads ran forward and embraced Ty, their small arms squeezing around his waist as he knelt to receive their affection. Ty smiled as he lovingly embraced his young sons, placing a kiss upon the head of each of them, before lovingly exclaiming, "My two young lads. Are you behaving well for your mother?"

The boys responded with joyous laughter and giggles at their father's words, nodding their heads in affirmation before scampering off back toward their area of play once more, their activity now resuming as they continued to run after each other and the small leather ball.

Ty rose to his feet, having given the two little lads affection and a warm welcome, then made his way over to Cassia, his beautiful and beloved wife. Upon catching sight of her gazing back at him, a warm smile graced her face. With a gentle disposition, he leisurely approached and joined her on the bench beneath the tree's sheltering shade. Ty moved in ever so gently, his lips meeting hers as they shared an intimate kiss, soft and sweet as he moved his hand to gently caress her cheek. His attention then shifted towards another; their third born child, a daughter just weeks old, cradled and sleeping soundly in her arms. Another addition to their growing family and one that would undoubtedly bring more joy and laughter into their lives. "My darling wife."

"Yes, my dearest husband," Cassia responded softly and lovingly, her tone gentle and affectionate as she took in his affection.

"Royston is keen to start the next meeting with you, but I managed to distract him with paperwork to allow you more time out here.." Ty smiled as he gently lifted his hand and brushed it through the strands of her hair, feeling the smoothness of the golden strands as he let his fingers delicately trace through. He knew of the importance of Cassia's time away from the council and her duties given her recent role as a mother, understanding how valuable her time with their newest child was during this period and how much it could benefit her to maintain a reprieve from her obligations. Hence, his decision to provide her with extra time to relax while he handled the responsibilities of the kingdom and took care of most of the affairs in her absence, understanding that he was in a position to manage such matters while she rested and took the time she needed to nurture and tend to their children.

"So sweet of you." Cassia appreciated his gesture before turning away from him and towards the bassinet that was stationed beside her where she carefully placed their daughter in, making sure that the little one was comfortable in her temporary resting place before returning her focus to Ty with a gentle look. "Speaking of news... I received word from your brother, Vash." Cassia then proceeded to raise a new topic of conversation. "It appears that Mortimus is in search of fresh leadership. With the Miclotov bloodline ceased, they are now reaching out to nobles to assume control of the country. Vash has stepped forward as a candidate."

"Truly? That is remarkable that Vash would contemplate such a proposition. The prospect of assuming the role of a leader, the King of Mortimus. This would signify a significant stride towards achieving everlasting peace across our realms." Ty responded, impressed at the thought of his brother ruling the neighboring kingdom, a huge step forward that could potentially usher in a new era.

"He is already married to his lovely Lady Laila. If Vash were to assume and is accepted for this position, he would surely soon welcome children into his life and begin raising heirs of his own. I know how much you spoke about wanting big families." Cassia spoke further on the topic.

"Then we will wish them well on this decision and support him all the way." Ty smiled back at his wife, his hand lovingly returning to her cheek and providing her with physical affection as his next words expressed his gratitude for everything that he had in life. "I have you. I have our three beautiful children. I have everything I will ever need." He spoke a profound yet simple message to her, acknowledging that he was blessed to have her as his soulmate, partner, and mother to his children. "In this life, Cassia, you are the only person I will ever need. You, Brenin, James, and Eleanor. I have no other desires than my family. I love you with everything that I am."

She could feel her heart fluttering at the words spoken by him, the deep affection and love that he showered upon her and their family reaching the depths of her heart. Cassia gently stretched her arm forward and lightly caressed Ty's cheek with her hand, her touch soft and comforting as she allowed her fingertips to brush his smooth skin. "I love you as well, wholeheartedly, with everything that I am, and with every part of my being. Both now and in all the days to come as we share this life together." They then leaned in together and shared a beautiful, loving, and tender kiss, their lips blending beautifully and sensually as they wrapped their arms around each other.

There was never a shortage of affection and desire between them. Their passion was not confined to a single instance or moment but rather was a constant presence in their relationship, one that brought them closer with each passing minute, hour, day, week, month, and year.

They were two components of a whole, with every aspect of their dynamic being a perfect reflection of the other and perfectly balanced. Two people, perfectly in love. Their presence together was a harmonious melody, their union and love bringing a beautiful harmony to the world.

The End