Love Conquers All
Shared by Dannielle Wicks.
Iradia is my home, I love it here. I was born into a wealthy family, so I’m insanely rich and happy. I’m also in love with Lucas, the escort that follows me around for my protection. Lucas has no title and his family is poor. In Iradia, the ranking members (Me and my family), and people like Lucas do not marry, nor even date. It is unheard of and totally not permitted.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, I climb out of my too comfy bed and creep through the dark corridors, down the stairs and out the back door into the shadowed garden. Lucas is already there waiting, his face covered by a dark hooded cloak, his sword slung loosely across his back.
“Bianca,” he sighs as I reach him, pulling me into a tight hug. His embrace is too forced and he feels tense and anxious. Something’s wrong.
I take a large step back, out of his arms. “Are you okay?” the worry leaches into my voice, giving me away. He stiffens and pulls pack his hood. His green eyes glitter in the beginnings of the morning light.
He glances down, unsure or maybe afraid, before answering. “The Marikians have declared war on us… I’m needed to fight in the army,” he sputters out quickly, avoiding my eyes.
I’m in shock. “What?” This can’t be true, he can’t leave for war! What if I never see him again? I start panicking, pacing back and forth in front of him.
Lucas grabs me by the arm and swings me around to face him. “Shhh, it’s alright. They won’t attack us yet. They’ll wait for a better opportunity,” he whispers soothingly, pulling me closer so he can nuzzle my neck. The tears come, and I can’t stop them spilling down my face. Lucas’s soft touch runs over my hair, comforting.
“Do you want to go into the village and visit the markets today?” he asks, trying to change the subject and cheer me up. I nod slowly, wiping at my wet eyes and straightening my skirts. I turn and leave Lucas in the gardens, promising to meet him again after the sun has come up.
Just after breakfast, I throw a fresh dress over my head and swing a cloak over my shoulders. Lucas is standing at the front door, waiting for me, just like he always does. He gives me a quick smile as I walk past him and out of the house. We walk in silence until we reach Iradia’s port. Iradia, being a large island, has an enormous port. The boardwalk looks like it could stretch on forever, both sides lined with market stalls.
Lucas grasps my hand and leads me to a new stall set up close to us. On the tables are small glass jars, each holding a small glowing, delicate flower inside.
“What are these?” I ask the stall owner, curious of the beautiful little things.
“They are Soul Flowers madam,” she anwers sweetly. “They can be attached to a life force and when that life force dies, so does the flower. You can give it to your loved one if you are travelling so they will know you are safe.”
I turn to Lucas. “I always want to know you’re safe.”
“As do I,” he says softly back to me. Both of us purchase a flower to give to each other. As Lucas hands his to me, he keeps a hold of my hand. “I will love you always. No matter where I am, no matter how far apart we are.”
“Love will conquer all,” is all I can muster up in return. Quickly glancing around to make sure no one sees, I jump up on my toes and press my lips lightly to Lucas’s cheek. After all, our two classes do not mix.
The very next evening, Lucas calls on me to say good-bye; he has already been enlisted in the army to fight the war against the Marikians. The Iradian’s have organized ships to carry the women and children to safety before the war reaches our shores.
Lucas escorts me to the docks. As I’m about to board the ship, I turn to him, tears spilling down my face. “Lucas, you can’t go.” It comes out almost too quiet for him to hear. He smiles softly and encircles me within his arms, holding me close.
“I must go,” his breath tickles my ear. “I’ll be okay, you will know.” He pulls back and taps the glowing glass jar clutched tightly in my hand, a single tear sliding down his cheek. “And remember, I will always love you.”
“I love you too.” I board the ship and watch as Lucas walks away.
Lucas heads back into town where the army is preparing for battle. As soon as the sun goes down, it has started. The screams of agony loud and horrifying. Lucas runs, throwing himself at the nearest enemy, his sword glinting in the moonlight. They are outnumbered and losing.
Hours pass and the armies can finally see the sunrise in the east. Most of the Iradian army has perished, and Lucas is fast losing his strength. Suddenly, a bolt of fire shoots through the air. Lucas’s eyes fly wide and he tilts his head to glance down at the arrow protruding grotesquely out of his chest. Falling to his knees in the bloody dirt, Lucas’s sword slips from his grasp.
I hold onto Lucas’s flower, watching the glowing petals. I can’t sleep. The boat rocking doesn’t help either. The glow from the flower casts a beautiful pattern around the room. As I watch, the Soul Flower’s light begins to fade, the room becoming darker. Slowly the flowers petals shrivel up and die, the stem itself wilting and going black.
The shock has me speechless until I realize what this means. I scream, loud and long. No, not Lucas. If the Soul flower is dead, then Lucas? No! I sprint out of my room, stopping at the edge of the ship, screaming for someone to turn it around, to go back for him. The sobs overcome me and I collapse against the rail, clinging to the jar holding the blackened flower.
The war slowly dissolves and I wait, hopelessly, for the ships to return to Iradia. Once I reach my home, I sit in my room and stare out the open window. One day goes by, then another. The days drift by full of sadness. I will not let go of the jar, it is mine. My salty tears have stained the beautiful glass, but I don’t care.
When I have finally completely lost hope, I take one last look at the flower. Sparks start forming in the jar, igniting the flower and coaxing it back to life. I watch in wonder as the once darkened flower, blossoms, brighter then before, right in front of me. Is this a trick?
Snatching my cloak, I dash down the stairs and out the front gate, clutching the newly blossomed flower to my chest. I stop, just outside the gate and wait. Just on the crest of the next hill, a dark figure walks toward me. Taking a deep breath, I hitch up my skirts and run to him tears splashing across my cheeks and into my hair. As I reach him, I jump.
He catches me, spinning us both around. All of the love I feel for him pouring into our tight embrace. Still holding the flower, I stretch up and kiss him. It doesn’t matter who sees, I don’t care. All that matters is he’s alive and he is here…. my Lucas.
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