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Summary: A message is received from Exile

Warnings: None.

Disclaimer: I do not own Last Exile. If I did, certain people would have gotten much happier endings than they did.


Alex laid the flowers at the foot of the small memorial stone in the midst of the palace gardens. He slowly traced the engraved words with his fingers.
Euris Bassianus
Eternally Beloved,
Too early taken from the world,
in her efforts for the peace of Prester.

The trees were blossoming again, and he had to pause to brush several petals out of his hair.

The most difficult thing, he had decided was to live. To breathe, without the crushing guilt. To realize that perhaps, he was finally doing what they would have wanted him to do. What she would have wanted him to do.

The quiet rustle of fabric behind let him know Sophia was there before she sat on the stone bench beside his chair. When she placed a comforting hand on his shoulder he reached up and gently squeezed it. "We were waiting for you... I wish I could talk to her, the way Dio talks to Lucciola."

Sophia smiled. "You never had to say anything before. I don't think you need to now, I'm sure she knows everything... I'm sorry, I was late today. Duke Aster." She rolled her eyes, making Alex laugh. "It's amazing how that man can make your name sound like something that shouldn't be spoken around children."

"Already? But, I haven't done anything...Not today anyway."

Sophia smiled and laid her own small bouquet at the foot of the stone. They had been busy lately, especially now with Vincent off patrolling Disith territory in the Horatius, his new Urbanis Class ship, one that had not yet been completed before the war had ended. They both envied him, and the crew of the Silvana still flying free in the skies.

Other than meetings, and meals, which were really just more meetings with food involved, they rarely had time to just relax and talk together. Mornings in the garden were really the only time they had to sit and remember, to be themselves. If only for a few moments.

"Your Majesty! Counselor Row!"

The two of them turned to see a young maid rushing toward them. When she got to them, she handed Sophia a message tube only managing to get out "Transmission ...from... Guild city..Said it was important." Before she had to sit and catch her breath.

Sophia quicky opened the tube and read the message inside as Alex waited apprehensively. His apprehension faded as Sophia's face lit up she handed him the message, it was short, and to the point.
To Her Majesty, Empress Sophia,
We have arrived safely on Earth, and are settling well.
Exile is being prepared for return to Prester. We will send you
another transmission with more information as soon as we are
able.
Duke, David Mad-Thane
C. Nestor Messina

Sophia smiled brightly, when Alex looked up at her after reading the message. He found he couldn't keep himself from grinning. They had made it, and they were safe! There was so much to do.

Sophia turned to the servant girl, who was standing up again but still looked winded. "Please take this message, and have it copied, I want copies sent to the Silvana, and the Horatius."

The girl bowed "Yes, Your Majesty."

"And don't run." Alex added when the girl looked ready to take off again.

"Y...Yes, sir" the girl stammered as she left, far more slowly than she had planed to.

They both turned back to Euris' memorial sharing a few moments of sad silence that the time there had been cut short, even by such wonderful news. Sophia sighed and turned to Alex. "Are you ready?" Alex nodded, and she grabbed the back of his chair. It was going to be a long day, but they planed to make it a good one.

As once was written in another story, lost long ago to the people of Prester: "They went away together, out of this story and into another."

The end.
______________________________________________________________________________


Author's notes: The quote is from The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle. I highly recommend the book to everyone.

Horatius is a Latin name that means hour, or time. According to the site I found it on, in Greek it means guardian.

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