For Love Of A Queen, Part 4

As my mind drifts back, darkness falls on my soul, and I remember........

It all began on a day like any other days.  I was out on patrol when I was summoned back to Ephiny.  I found her in our hut.  It seemed that there were some major border skirmishes with the Northern Amazons, and Eph wanted me to go and try to get things back to normal.  I would have to leave the next morning and would be gone for 7 moons. 

As she finished telling me, she walked over to me and pulled me close, almost clinging.  "I know you must, but I don't want you to go, Poni." 

I held her gently and felt the warmth of her tears on my shoulder.  "I know it seems like a long time, love, but I will be back as soon as I am able."  Yet as I said this, I felt a sinking feeling within me. 

Trembling, she held onto me tightly gently sobbing, almost like a person drowning.  "But Baby, I have such a bad feeling about this.  I am afraid for you.  I have this feeling that I will lose you."

"My love, you know I will always come back to you.  You are my light, my whole world.  Please don't worry."  Even in saying this, I felt as though something was desperately wrong.  I took my Ephiny in my arms and carried her to the bed, tenderly pouring all my love and reassurance into my touch.  The rest of that day and evening was spent in reaffirming our love and deep bond.

I awoke before sunrise and gathered my things for my journey.  It would take me a moon to reach the Northern Amazons.  I dreaded the trip, but looked forward to returning to my Queen.

As I was finishing saddling my horse, Ephiny approached me from behind.  Wrapping her arms tight around me, I could feel the warmth of her against my back.  "I love you, Poni.  Come back to me, please."

Turning and kissing her lips with all the passion I had for this beautiful lover of mine, I again tried to reassure her.  Taking her face in my hands, I looked deep into her eyes.  "I will always come back to you, my love.  There is nothing will ever keep us apart.  Know this, and remember how much I love you, always."

She returned my gaze and smiled.  "And nothing will ever keep me from you."  Little did we know, it was not for me we needed to worry.

My trip went well, and I found myself embroiled in the dispute between the Northern Amazons and their neighbors.  It was not an easy process, but by midweek and with a lot of perseverance, it appeared that things were starting to get back on track. 

Then on my fourth day there, a rider approached the village as fast as her horse could carry her.  It was one of our young Amazons here with a message from Ephiny.  My stomach dropped as I opened and read:

My Love,

Your tribe, and especially me, are in great need of your return.  The Romans have attacked.  I am doing my best to defend our home, but I am in need of you, my Weapons Master.  Please come quickly, for it isn't going well.  We must protect our way of life before we are scattered to the winds.

Always I Love You,

Ephiny

 

As I scurried around to gather my things, I thought of her words.  A tight pain suddenly gripped my heart and soul and I fell to my knees in agony.  It was as if a part of it was being ripped away.  And in that moment, I knew she was gone. 

As soon as I was able, I ran to my horse, mounting and riding like a madwoman.  I had to get to her.  It couldn't be, please Artemis, she was one of your chosen, it just couldn't be!!!!  I stopped in a village, only to exchange horses when mine was too exhausted to continue.  Finally, I entered Amazon territory.  There were only 2 guards to meet me.  I looked in their eyes, and continued on my mad ride.  As I entered the village, I could see the destruction.  Shaloppa approached as I dismounted, and bellowed, "Where is Ephiny???"   I will never forget the grief on everyone's faces. 

"Our Queen is dead, Poni.  It was the Romans.  They came on us like a flood.  We did the best we could.  And Ephiny insisted on standing with us.  It was Brutus.  He was fighting with Amarice, and almost had her when Ephiny stepped in out of nowhere.  She fought bravely....."  And with that, I pushed Shaloppa out of the way, running for our hut, tears streaming down my face. 

I entered our home, and there she was.  My beautiful Ephiny lying on our bed, the paleness of death holding her.  I walked over and sat down, taking her hand.  As sobs wracked my body, I cried out.  "No....  No....   No!!!!!!  It can't be.  Oh Artemis, this cannot be.  Please let it just be a bad dream.  Please let me wake up!!!!  Please Eph, please!  I can't do this alone again.  I need you.  I love you."  I held her in my arms knowing she would never return.

And in our hut, our home made of love, sitting there holding her, I knew I would never be the same............   

Taiko's Scrolls of the Xenaverse