COMRADES IN ARMS, VOLUME THREE:
TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON
AUTHOR’S NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Well, this is it. The final volume of “Comrades In Arms.” I apologize for the atrocious delay in getting this story out, but it couldn’t be helped. This story hasn’t been easy to write, what with trying to connect game continuity with my original ideas. I guess I was wrong when I said that Volume Two would be the most difficult to write. Still, I’ve enjoyed writing this trilogy, and being able to share my own insights about the characters of Lunar and their history. The support and the feedback I have received have meant a lot to me and kept me going. I’m going to miss working with these characters, but I look forward to reading other people’s fanfics about them, as well as being able to create new adventures within the world of Lunar.
So once more, I’d like to thank you all for providing me with the info I needed, putting up with my nagging about the slightest details, and forgiving me for daring to tamper with Lunar history the way I did. Also, thanks for your shows of support and your constant nagging to get this story published. I’d like to give a special “thank you” to K’arthur for her guidance and proofreading, and to IceMistress Mia for providing me with the dialogue from the Goddess’s Rebirth scene.
One little bit of trivia for you readers: The title of Volume Three, as well as the chapter titles, comes from The Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, which was later turned into a song popularized by The Byrds.
And now, the final volume of “Comrades In Arms.” Enjoy!
CHAPTER ONE: A TIME TO DANCE...
Despite a crowd of over three hundred people, there was complete silence in the main hall of The Magic Guild of Vane. All eyes were on High Priestess Iseult, Guildmistress Lemia Ausa, and her husband-to-be, Aurelius Aiasha, as they stood beneath the wedding canopy.
Iseult gestured with her hands, creating a small orb of light resembling a star. Lemia and Aurelius both placed their hands on the orb, and its light intensified. Iseult raised her hands and began to chant; “Goddess Althena, mother and protector of our people, look upon this union and grant your blessing to Lemia Ausa and Aurelius Aiasha of Vane, as they unite in body and soul in blessed marriage.”
Lemia remained standing as Aurelius knelt. He looked into her eyes and smiled as he spoke: “I take thee, Lemia Ausa, as my wife, under the eyes of The Goddess Althena, to love, honor and cherish all the days of my life.”
Aurelius rose and Lemia now knelt. “I take thee, Aurelius Aiasha, as my husband, under the eyes of The Goddess Althena, to love, honor, and cherish all the days of my life.”
Together, Lemia and Aurelius said “Goddess on high, we bless you for your gift of life, sustaining us, and allowing us to reach this special day.”
They removed their hands from the orb. It glowed even more intensely, hovered in the air, and morphed into the shape of a dragon, the symbol of The Goddess.
Iseult raised her hands to the dragon and chanted “May The Goddess Althena bless and keep you. May her countenance shine and smile upon you. May she lift your countenances and fill your days with peace, now and forever more.”
With a flash, the image vanished. A priest brought a silver platter with two silver cups of wine. Lemia and Aurelius each took one, and drank from each other’s cup. Then they kissed, and stepped out from the canopy. The crowd erupted in the cheers and applause they had been holding back for the past half hour. Music began to play, and the dancing began instantly.
Among the musicians were Dragonmaster Dyne on the ocarina, and Ghaleon, solemnly playing a lyre. Lemia and Aurelius themselves were in the middle of the dancers, the two moving as one.
As Dyne played his ocarina and watched the newlyweds dance, he thought about how things had definitely changed a lot over the past two years. Just five months ago, Storme, the warrior Dyne had met in Pao, had written to him saying that his wife Marion had given birth to a son, and they were naming him Tempest. Noah was getting married in Burg next week, and Dyne was looking forward to attending. Mel D’Alkirk, who was also among the celebrating throngs today, had married an aristocratic lady soon after being appointed the governor of Meribia. Their daughter, Jessica, had been born eight months ago. Mel’s wife passed away soon after, but Jessica seemed to console his grief.
Marriage and family wasn’t all that changed the lives of his friends. Remilia Ausa had died six months ago, and Lemia had inherited her position as Guildmistress of The Magic Guild. Her first act was to appoint Ghaleon as Premier of the Guild. Ghaleon had adapted to his new role with ease. Although his classes were swarmed with students who wanted to learn from this extraordinary hero, it never seemed to wear him down. And Dyne had likewise adapted to his role as Dragonmaster, as well as living in Vane. Several times during the past two years, he and the other Heroes had dealt with various threats to Lunar, such as powerful monsters, a demonic invasion, and preventing a civil war. Everything Quark had told him all those years ago had finally come to pass. Yet, he still felt like his true destiny still lay ahead.
He briefly considered what it would be like to marry, settle down, and raise a family. But he had to admit to himself that he would never be able to stand it. He was too much of a wanderer, a free spirit. For all the refinement bred into him by Ghaleon and Lemia, he was still a gruff wanderer by nature. As nice as it was to have a home in Vane, he still needed to get out and wander every once in a while.
And yet...there was somebody...her face and voice had haunted him for many years. The revelation of her true identity had only inflamed his desire...but also rendered it futile. Despite his rank of Dragonmaster, he was still a mortal. And a mortal man was not meant for a Goddess.
Shaking himself out of it, he returned his attention to the festive scene before him. His eves looked over the assembled people, and happened to wander to Ghaleon. He had noticed the Premier watching the happy couple together with what could be a wistful expression. Dyne had suspected for years that Ghaleon had been carrying a secret torch for Lemia, but had never acted upon it. While Ghaleon was nowhere near devoid of emotions or romantic notions, he knew when such things were appropriate, and they were not appropriate with a lady who was betrothed to another. Ghaleon had said many times that a person’s responsibilities came before anything else.
The music and dancing ended and the toasting began. Dyne and Ghaleon put away their instruments and joined the crowd as the goblets of wine were passed around. One of the officials of the Magic Guild raised his. “Aurelius and Lemia, your marriage on this day is the start of a glorious new future for both Vane and Lunar. May The Goddess watch over you, protect you, and keep the bonds of your love alive.”
Goblets clinked together and they drank. Dyne winced at the taste of the wine. It was about as strong as apple juice, and had pretty much the same taste. Ghaleon chuckled as he noticed Dyne’s reaction, as well as Mel’s much stronger one.
“Sheesh, after all this time, you think I’d remember that wine and wizards don’t mix,” Dyne grumbled.
“Or our trip to Tamur?”
Dyne laughed. “Hey, we promised Lemia we wouldn’t talk about that!”
“Yeah, I suppose it wouldn’t be appropriate on the wedding day of the Guildmistress of Vane to start blabbering about how she got plastered the first time she went to a bar, right?”
“Oh c’mon, you didn’t hold up any better than she did!”
Ghaleon grimaced. “The beer in Tamur was a lot stronger than what I expected, okay? And it took more than one mug to take me down for the count.”
Mel came over to them and slapped them both heartily on the back. “What are you two doin’ just standin’ around? There’s celebratin’ to be done!”
Dyne grinned at the mighty former pirate. He hadn’t seen him much lately. It was obvious settling down hadn’t changed him much, and that he was handling himself well since his wife’s death. “Glad you could make it, Mel. How’s Jessica?”
Mel smiled warmly. “She’s a real treasure, Dyne. The best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I ain’t got much to be proud of, but she – I’d give up all the glory and treasure in the world for her. I only wish her mother was still around to see...”
Mel paused, with a heavy sigh. But he pulled himself out of it as he nudged Dyne in the shoulder. “Speakin’ a’ which, Dyne, any lasses ye’ve got yer eye on? Surely a strapping young lad like yerself doesn’t have any problems in that department, eh?”
Dyne gave Mel a crafty smile. “A gentleman never tells.”
“So what’s stopping you, then? Bwa ha ha!”
“I just haven’t met the right girl yet,” Dyne said with a shrug.
The former pirate nodded. “I understand. But don’t be waitin’ too long! Time has a way of catchin’ up to ya before ya know it.”
“Are we interrupting anything?” Aurelius asked, Lemia following behind her.
“Ah, the lovebirds themselves!” Mel said with a laugh. “Have a seat!”
Aurelius pulled out a chair for Lemia, then sat himself down beside her. He was of average height, with jet-black curly hair, a somewhat pale complexion, and intense gray eyes. His red-and-gold robes gave him a regal appearance. Lemia, in her white and azure bridal gown, looked positively radiant.
“So where’s the honeymoon gonna be?” Mel asked.
“We haven’t really decided yet,” Aurelius replied.
“We’re still thinking it over,” Lemia added.
“You enjoyed our visit to the D’vash Islands,” Dyne said. “Why not go back there?”
“Maybe...except I’d rather go somewhere I haven’t already been. Once our children are born, I’m not going to be able to travel much – what with the duty of being Guildmistress and a mother. So I’d like to take one last voyage, go somewhere I haven’t been yet.”
“If ye’d like, the two o’ ye can borrow the Darkfire for a bit,” Mel offered.
“Thank you. We just might take you up on that.”
Dyne frowned. “Does this mean your adventuring days are over?”
Lemia sighed. “It had to happen someday, Dyne. I’ve seen much of Lunar, and many of its hardships. There’s only so much of that I can take. Besides, Vane is my home and my future. My place is here. I have a responsibility to this city. I can no longer leave it behind to go wandering the world.”
“Indeed,” Ghaleon said. “We all have responsibilities we must live up to. Surely you of all people, as the Dragonmaster, are aware of the burden you bear. Our responsibilities always come first.”
Mel smiled at Dyne encouragingly. “Don’t worry too much about it, lad. Just because the rest of us ain’t adventurers anymore doesn’t mean we won’t still be friends. So we’ve settled down now. So what? We can still see each other from time ta time. Besides, you’re still the Dragonmaster. Ye’ve got lots more adventures ahead a’ ya!”
At Mel’s words, Dyne chided himself for acting so gloomy on such a joyous occasion. Now was a time for happiness and togetherness, not sulking. He stood up and raised his goblet. “I’d like to propose a toast to the newlyweds, and to our friendship. May this day’s happiness be a sign of all the good things to come in our future.”
Aurelius and the rest of The Four Heroes raised their goblets and clinked them together.
“To the future.”