[fun stuff!]

Linna

[ part 1 ]
[ part 2 ]
[ part 3 ]
[ part 4
+ epilogue]

 

Linna
By: Sforzie

Part Four

The chamber was dark, lit only by a few candles. The priest stood at the head of the table were Linna's near-lifeless form lay. The only other demon present was Kisle, who had refused to leave the chamber until the ceremony was completed.

Sierro looked at the prince, who was staring intently at his sister. "Are you sure you wish to do this, Lord Kisle? We're not sure what exactly will happen when you give the princess up to the Dragon Goddess."

Kisle nodded. "It's what she wants."

"As you wish, milord."

The priest opened the book to the page Kisle had marked. He bowed his long white head for a moment, offering a final prayer for his own safety. Then the dragon raised his head and began to read.

"'We come to the end of the world,
Where the moon does not shine
and demons fear to tread.'"

There was a pause, and Kisle swallowed as the air seemed to shift. A low female voice sounded in the darkness around them.

"Stand at the bridge
and declare your reason for journeying.
"

"'We seek audience with she,
The great dragon goddess,
Whose wings offer shelter
Whose blood brings life
and whose mercy will be gifted
to the faithful.'"

"Are ye faithful?"

"'Aye, in the utmost.'"

A shadow curled down in front of the priest's snout.

"Then state your need, faithful one."

"The prince of the grandest dragons, of the faith-minding synths, wishes to ask for your mercy."

The shadow turned, seeming to eye Kisle. "Be you the prince, young synth?"

"Y-yes."

"Do not be fearful, young prince. You will not be harmed as long as your reason for summoning me is true."

Kisle strained to remember what was written in the book. "'I wish for your mercy.'"

"My mercy?"

"'Below you lays one slain most wretchedly
By the darkness spawned from your own heart.'"

The shadow curled again, looking at Linna.

"This was Mugendie's doing?"

Kisle nodded.

"My son is the darkness, yes. But it is this action that he was created for."

"She was only trying to protect her people."

"I know." A pair of dark clawed hands emerged from the shadow. A hand rested on each of Linna's cheeks. "Her heart is as pure as your own, and her faith as true. The princess wishes to be freed from her suffering."

"She--"

"I know. She has already told me everything that happened."

Kisle bit his lip. "Will you help her?"

"As best I can, young prince. But I am afraid that her soul cannot be released from her body without taking fatal damage."

The priest cocked his head. "What does this mean?"

"Her soul is greatly weakened. Its seals have been broken. The devil Mugendie has tasted her blood, and rendered her soul impure."

"But--"

"Fear not. I have said that I will help, and I will keep my word."

"Thank you."

"Her body has become a trap for her soul, as happens with many demons... but I will give her soul time to heal." The shadow moved its hands over Linna's forehead. "The body is a vessel for the soul, and it shall remain so." Linna's body began to glow faintly. "The body shall take the form of its greatest pain, and heal from within."

There was a flash, and the albureque sword appeared, embedded in Linna's stomach as it had been when they had found her. The princess' left eye twitched, but didn't open.

"Perhaps, next time she will not be so deeply hurt by her heart's desires."

"What?"

There was no answer. The albureque shimmered and glowed bright green, then faded. The light covering Linna's body brightened, filling the room. Kisle and the priest closed their eyes as the light grew in intensity.

"Will you claim responsibility for your sister, and swear to her protect her, young prince?"

"I swear to it."

"Then so be it."

The light faded suddenly, disappearing completely. The chamber was pitch black for a moment, and then the candles relit. The dragons blinked, their eyes readjusting. Kisle frowned as he looked at the table. Linna's body was gone.

In its place was a long bladed dagger. A large green gem glinted in the handle of the dagger.

"Linna?"

"She is safe now."

"Linna?" Kisle stepped toward the table. "She's the dagger? You turned her into a dagger?!"

"Yes. Do not worry, her soul resides in this dagger."

Kisle gingerly touched the blade, and was surprised to find that it was warm. "When can I see her?"

"She must rest for a million years before she can rise again."

"A million? But I--"

"Fear not, young prince. Do not let your heart suffer any further, for she is safe now. Your souls are forever connected, and you shall undoubtedly see your princess again."

"I will...?"

"Yes. As long as you keep your vow, and protect this blade... my words will remain true. The dark lord declares it so."

"The dark lord?" The priest murmured. "Praise be."

"Protect the dagger, and she will protect you. I bid you farewell..."

The heavy shadow receded, and Kisle stared at the table.

"Thank you."

Kisle reached to pick up the dagger, and as he did he noticed something glimmering from the head of the table. It was small and green, and the prince recognized the form immediately.

"Linna's crown..."

 

Outside, in the main temple, Hunter and Aveva sat on a long bench. They were half-heartedly pretending to be watching the crowne and crowness praying at an altar on the far end of the temple. After a few minutes Aveva turned his gaze away from the floor and looked over at Hunter. His pale green skin was flushed, and his violet eyes were unfocused.

"I never thought you to be the type to drink at a time like this," Aveva said softly. It took a moment for Hunter to respond.

"I don't, usually. I didn't when my Glorea died, or...or when anyone else I've known has died."

"Then why now?"

He turned his eyes on him very slowly, and Aveva cringed. "I...I don't want anyone to know I've been crying."

He bit his lip. "There's nothing wrong with crying."

Hunter snorted very lightly. "Have you?"

Aveva blushed. "Some." He cleared his throat. "There are things other than drinking that you can do to hide your feelings."

"Such as?"

"Umm.... you could... you could smile?"

"Smile." Hunter snorted again, looking away. "Maybe. But not right now."

"Linna wouldn't want you to be like this."

He frowned for a moment. "Sometimes, now, I wonder how true that is. If she really ever cared about anybody."

"She cared."

"Says the man she refused to marry. Says the demon she probably gave more scars to than to herself."

"Hunter..."

"Lord Aveva, you are a good-hearted blockhead, and Linna is a...was a...was..." Hunter's face screwed up like he was in pain.

Aveva shifted uncomfortably, unsure what to do or say. He waited silently as the elder demon regained his composure.

"What will you do now, Lord Aveva?" Hunter asked, his voice uncertain and nearly a whisper.

"I..don't know," he admitted, surprised at how empty his voice sounded. "The crowne and crowness said that... if their next child is a girl, they would still want me to be...um.. part of the family. But..."

"There is no replacing Linna."

"No, there isn't."

"What would she want?"

"I don't know."

"Me neither."

They both fell silent again.

Several more minutes passed, and then the door to the Requiem chamber opened. There was a pause, and then a white snout poked out of the darkness. There was again some hesitation, but then the rest of the priest followed out into the main temple. The door to the chamber closed again. All attention turned to the priest as he made his way to the crown and crowness, his wings curled tight against his back and his head bent.

As the priest stopped in front of the royal parents, a priestess (still in her humanish form) darted up, quickly removing the black pieces of cloth that had been wrapped around the dragon's horns. She moved away silently. Hunter and Aveva strained to listen as the dragons spoke.

"Why have you emerged from the chamber alone?"

"Prince Kisle wished to be alone for a few minutes."

"Is Linna--"

"She is in good hands now, I believe, however fragile."

"What?"

The priest bowed his head further. "You will have to ask Prince Kisle."

 

Epilogue

Kisle kept his word. To ensure that Linna was able to rest and heal, he traveled to the Southern Temple and had Linna's crown sealed away. He left the special stipulation that only he, or someone with his soul, would be able to open the seal later.

Their parents had another daughter, named Ery. She was married to Aveva, as promised. When Ery later became crowness, she changed the her family name from Omega to Isobel, in order to honor the sister she never got to meet. (Linna's middle name had been Isobella.)

And Hunter took Aveva's advice. He chose to hide his pain behind a smile, and continued working for the royal family.

Kisle's health never improved as he grew older, and he spent the remainder of his days tending to the Linna dagger. On many afternoons he could be found sitting out in the gardens, dagger resting on his knee, fingers caught in the end of his too-short hair as he stared out at nothing. He died shortly after maturing to his adult form.

However, this is not the end of the story. Kisle's soul, in order to keep his promise, was reborn into the royal family several times. Each time he tended to the Linna dagger and learned how to partially summon her. He never married, and usually ended up dying a short time into his adult life. It was a cycle. Seven and a half million years passed, with several incarnations.

And again, Kisle's soul was reborn. This time his incarnation was surprisingly healthy, but still seemingly hell-bent on not marrying.

That is, until he met a certain red haired boy...

End


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