Peace

Fiction By Kyleigh // 5/10/2011

{for lack of a better title. If you think of one, tell me}

This is three story ideas combined into one, because they were all very similar and kept getting more and more similar as time wore on. I haven't really edited it at all, and it doesn't really have a purpose. Some of it spews from my thoughts about the chaos in the Middle East.

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I let the strong wind whip across my face. It dried the tears I didn’t want to cry, and embodied the violent storm I felt inside.

            “The ships won’t come back full, Enna,” Kyler had said.

            But I never thought they might return without him. And to get word of his death now, when all around me was already in chaos. To what purpose was it all? The war, the sending off of our brothers, fathers, and sons to battle, the hostages and truces and disputes.

            I knew my family, the royal family, was at the head of it. 

            Aye, my family. And I, a nineteen year old lass, who wanted nothing more than peace.

            I heard footsteps behind me. I turned, expecting my cousin Lewis. Instead, it was Jarlath.

            “The council is ready for you.” He said.

            I cast a lingering glance at the sea. I wanted to stay.

            “And they’re very impatient.”

            “Fine,” I said. “I’ll come.”

            “They’ll want to hear the whole story, you know.”
            “I know.”

            “You must give it. It’s the only way peace will come.”

            “At the cost of much pain.”

            “To you, yes. But it will save much pain in others. You have the strength,” he said. “Nobility runs not only in your blood, but also in your spirit.” We were back at the castle, under the drawbridge and into the keep. Jarlath pushed a door open and held it for me. “The Creator will give you the courage you need.”

            The eyes of the council were on me as I entered the great hall. I swallowed hard and hoped there were no tearstains on my cheeks.

            My cousin, the king, looked at me. “We are ready for your rendition of recent happenings. You must tell all, and tell all truthfully.”

            “I would not tell a lie,” I said, then began my story.

           

            I was born on a clear winter’s night. My mother, a Minarean, and my father died while I was young, and I was raised by my uncle. My brother, Kyler, was also raised by uncle and our aunt. My cousins, Raymond, Ian, and Lewis, were like our siblings. But as I grew older, I found more and more of Panatean history. I heard of my uncle’s decisions that eventually led to war, decisions my father opposed. Papa had wanted to keep peace. He had wanted to follow the laws of the Creator, and he saw my uncle’s desires as contrary to the Creator’s law.

            Even so, I was not personally involved until Kyler left for war.

            My brother Kyler joined the ranks of soldiers marching and sailing to our sister kingdom. Mama wept and did not come to the docks with us. The war was hard for all of us, but even harder for her, for it was her native land against the kingdom where her allegiance lay.

            I said farewell to Kyler on the docks. I watched as rank after rank of men boarded the ships.

            “The ships are so full!” I said.

            “Aye. We have many who love their kingdom.” Kyler said proudly.

            “If the ships are full now, how will you all fit when you have prisoners and spoil?” I had wondered. I was sixteen at the time, and so naïve about the ways of war.

            “The ships won’t come back full, Enna,” Kyler said.

            It took me a moment to understand his meaning, but then I wanted to weep. How many would be killed? How empty would the ships be on their return? Fear filled my heart. What if one of the empty places on the ships was Kyler’s? Or my uncle, the king’s? Or one of my cousins, heirs to the throne? What state would our kingdom be in then?

            “I love you,” he said, hugging me.

            I hugged him back. Part of me wanted to cling to him. The other part of me was too weak to hold on.

            “Stay close to Raymond, especially as you go north to the fortress. He will protect you.”
            I nodded.

            Thus began my life without Kyler. He had spoken of going north, farther from Minarea – the Minareans were our enemies, we were told. But we never went North. There was too much going on at the castle for anyone to be spared to take me. I spent my days down by the sea, or helping in the castle. I was down by the sea one day when a storm rose. I ran to the woods for shelter, eventually stumbling upon and abandoned cabin. I did not know at the time that it was a storehouse for the Minarean army.  I brushed water from my eyes. Once I could see clearly, I went to a small window, from where I watched the storm. Soon it subsided. I was about to leave when a voice from the doorway addressed me.

            “Who are you and what are you doing here?”

            I turned from the window. I had not heard anyone enter. “I – I was forced to find a shelter in the storm,” I stammered, stepping backwards.

            “And what were you doing before that?”

             “Walking by the sea.”

            “Well,” the young man scoffed, “we’ll see about that.” He took me by the arm. “No one in this part of the kingdom passes without inspection. Come.”

            I resisted his efforts to lead me away. “Why must I go with you?”

            “The laws of Minarea in wartime.”

            Minarea? “Let me go; I’ll go straight home. What could you want with me?” I can’t let him know who I am! But he seemed to know already.

            “Ransom.” 

             “For what price?”
            “Unconditional surrender.”

            “And if there is no unconditional surrender?”
            “You will remain our prisoner forever.”
            “Not death?”

            “No.”

            “That’s very noble of you.” I said, with a hint of sarcasm. Death seemed slightly more inviting.

            “We want peace, and we honor women.”  He said disdainfully. I knew he was talking about my uncle’s treatment of some of the captives he had taken.

            “I didn’t choose my side like you, I was born into it.” I said, defensively.  I trust my uncle. Though now I’m not so sure I’m on the right side, after what I’ve learned about my uncle.

            “Shush,” he said with a look that made me wish I had been silent to begin with.

            We walked through the woods, too quickly for my legs. The wind was still strong, but rain no longer fell. Soon we came to what looked like an army camp. The young man pushed open the door to a small makeshift building. Letting go of my arm, he pointed to a bench. I sat, without a word, as he knocked on the door. I glanced toward the door that led outside, but knew he was watching me from the corner of his eye. Where am I?

            Soon a man opened another door. He looked just like the young man, only older. “What is it?” He spoke in the common tongue, but with an accent heavy enough that I could tell it was not his native language. Was it that obvious that I was from Panatea, I wondered?

            The young man looked at me and jerked his head toward the room. I stood and followed him in. The older man sat behind a desk. Two other men – perhaps around twenty - stood near him. The young man closed the door behind him, locking it.

            “Erich,” he said, tossing the key to one of the men.

            Erich caught it and tucked it away in a pocket, with a glance toward me.

            “So, what have we here?” Asked the older man. I presumed that he was my captor’s father.

            “She says that she was walking and sought shelter in the storm – in our storehouse.”  

            The man looked at me. “Well, were you?”

            “Aye.” I said quietly, after a pause.

            The man looked at his son. “What makes you doubt her word?”

            “It would have to have been quite a long walk, for there are no people other than ourselves for miles, and she’s not one of us.”

            I looked down. I wondered what had given me away.  I could tell that they all spoke the ancient dialect; though for my sake they were speaking the common tongue now. “I was by the sea,” I said.

            “It’s your word against hers, Jarlath. We have no way of knowing.”

            Erich spoke. “She looks familiar.”

            The man beside him nodded. “Aye, she does.”

            Suddenly all eyes in the room were on me. I bit my lip self-consciously.

            The other man – his name was Ionlys, I would later find out, stepped toward me. “So who are you really?”

             I shook my head. “I got lost in the woods.” My words were barely audible.

            “You’re avoiding my question.” His accent grew stronger.

            I didn’t reply.

            “She’s hiding something,” Erich said.

            Ionlys stepped still closer. “It’s always the quiet ones,” he said.

            I drew back.

            “Alright,” said the older man. “Take her into the back room. Bind her securely.”

            Erich unlocked the door, and as he opened it, I bolted. I can’t remember ever running so fast before. They were not far behind me as I entered the forest. I don’t quite know why I ran – some passion must have come over me, for under other circumstances I would not have had that boldness. Perhaps it was the fear that enters a wild animal when you try to catch it.

            Then I tripped. Everything went black as pain shot up my left leg. As I was coming back to consciousness, I felt a gentle nudge on my foot.

            “She’s breathing,” a voice said.

            “Ja.” Someone said in the ancient tongue.

            Someone lifted me up, but I was so weak that I couldn’t stand. I cried out as weight fell onto my leg.

            “She won’t make it back to the camp walking on her own.”

            “Make a stretcher… Keep holding her, Jarlath.”

            A few minutes later, they gently laid me on a makeshift stretcher.

            “Take her to my father,” said Jarlath. He pushed open the door to the hut we had been in earlier. They set the stretcher on a long table. The older man now stood over me.

            “What happened now?”

            “She fell.”

            The man nodded. “But why did you bring her back here?”  He hissed, reverting to the ancient tongue. I could just make out what they were saying with my faint knowledge of the language.

            “She’s the enemy, you know that!”

            “Aye, but I wish to have nothing to do with her.”

            “She needs help!”
            “All she’ll get here is imprisonment; even if she doesn’t agree with her Kingdom’s cause, she’s one of them.”

            Jarlath shook his head. “Not yet. She has to get better first, that’s the rule.”

            “Fine, she can stay for now.” He waved the young men out, then lifted my arm and felt my pulse. He laid his hand on my forehead. After that, I drifted off to sleep, so tired that even this strange place and the pain in my ankle couldn’t keep me awake.

 

            “She looks exactly like her mother,” Jarlath’s father – the doctor – was saying as I woke. “Which would explain why she looks so familiar.”

            “She’s awake,” Jarlath said.

            Their conversation ended abruptly, and the doctor came close to me.

            “You broke your ankle,” he said. “But you’re safe for now. We have a rule that injured prisoners must heal before they are sent to the gaol.” He paused. “We can’t put you in the infirmary because that’s only for men. So you’ll stay here with us.”

            I managed a small nod. My leg throbbed. “Did you already set my ankle?”
            “Aye, we did it while you were asleep.”

            I breathed a sigh of relief. “I must have been very asleep. How long will it take to heal?”

            “Over a month.”

            So I have that long to formulate a plan to get out of here. Then I thought of something else. Unless the Creator has a purpose for me here.

            “But headquarters has already heard that we have a new prisoner, and so it may be sooner than a month before they call you in. A broken leg isn’t deadly once it’s been treated.” He put a hand on Jarlath’s shoulder. “This is my son, Jarlath. My name is Keith.        “I must go now. Jarlath, you’re in charge. Watch over her.”
            I pointed to my leg. “I’m not going anywhere.”

            “I’m not worried about you but those who would try to rescue you.”

            Rescue me? “Then hadn’t we better move farther from Panatea?”
            “You have free reign of your tongue for now – I suggest you don’t squander that freedom.”

            Soon Erich came to speak to Jarlath. They asked me a few questions, then Erich said, “Come, let us leave her alone.”

            They left.

            I was still lying on the table, the stretcher under me. I sat up and looked around me. I was in the same room they had brought me to before. There was the door to the outer room and across from it the door to the back room. It wouldn’t be hard to run away, but I had no idea where they all were, and without a crutch, my leg wouldn’t take me far. I lay back down.

            A while later the three young men entered the room. They carried a large stick and tools. Jarlath entered last, carrying a steaming mug. He handed it to me. I inhaled deeply, drinking in its sweet aroma.

            “Try it,” he said. “It’s not too hot.”

            I stooped to sip.

            “Like it?”

            I nodded. “It’s very good.” 

            “You may think Minareans, but surely you mustn’t think we’re all bad. This is a traditional drink.”

            “My mother was Minarean,” I said quietly. I took another sip. “I like it.” I said.

            “We’re going to make you a crutch,” Erich said when I had finished drinking.

            Ionlys helped me off the table and Jarlath measured the length. Then they began to cut the wood. Out of the leftover wood, they formed a crossbeam and put it across the top, wrapping it with cloth to make it more comfortable. It wasn’t the most beautiful crutch, but it would be useful nonetheless. I thanked them quietly. This act of kindness completely surprised me. I was their prisoner, yet they treated me so well? Was my uncle right in telling me that these men were evil?

            “Let’s go for a walk,” Jarlath said.

            “A walk?” I asked. “I just broke my leg.”

            “To get away from the camp.”

            We left the house and started toward the woods. Soon Erich and Ionlys left to attend other duties. There’s only one of them now, I thought. I began to trail behind, hoping that I could get far enough behind him that I could hide and make my way along later. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to journey very far before my leg gave way if I tried to go ahead of Jarlath. Still, something told me I must get away.

            Jarlath didn’t seem to notice, so I slipped behind a tree. Instantly he was there, holding me tightly. His fingers dug into my wrist as I struggled to get free.

            “Hold still,” he said.

            I jerked my hand free, but he quickly grabbed it again.

            “Stop,” he said firmly. I stopped struggling, but my muscles remained tense. “We’re trying to help you,” he said. “You’re only making things worse.”

            I relaxed, and he released me.

            “How is keeping me prisoner helping me?” I asked, leaning heavily on my crutch. I glared up at him. “I want to get home.”

            “I was going to explain once we got far enough away from the camp. We’re giving you some freedom and helping you heal. We want you to see both sides of this war. We want peace.”

            “You’ll just turn me over once I’m better.” I said bitterly, looking down at the ground.

            “Not if we can help it.”

            “But you’re on their side, you’re my enemies!”

            Jarlath lowered his voice. “I said it before, and I’ll say it again. We want peace.”

            I stared at him.

            “This is the only way we know how to do it.” Then he laughed. “You can’t even run a quarter of a mile without being caught.”

            “I’m already caught, nothing worse can happen,” I said, still serious.

            He ignored my comment. “If you run away again, we have every right to kill you. Come, let’s go back.”

           

            A week passed in safety and happiness. I enjoyed the company of Jarlath, his father, and Ionlys and Erich – Jarlath’s cousins. They were clean and spoke often of the Creator and living in His ways, not disdainfully, as my uncle had, but reverently like my father. I would also say they are noble. That is not a word I use frivolously. Nobility of spirit can only come from wholeheartedly following the Creator. They told me more of what had happened with the ships, that it was a fleet of Panatean royal ships that had sunk their fleet, and other grievances Panatea had committed against them. They also told me their side, and things they might have done to provoke it. They did not ask me to choose a side, only told me the facts as they saw them. We sang around the campfire, praising the Creator, and often talked of Him. I wished Arthur and Kyler could be with me. Jarlath became my appointed guardian on during our walks in the woods. He did not guard me from running; I had given my word I would not escape. Rather, he protected me from the less noble in the group – for not all on either side followed the Creator – and from Panateans who might try to rescue me.

             

            “Soldiers,” I said one day, as I sat looking out the window.

            “Whose?”

            “Yours.”

            “What?” Jarlath came to the window.

            “There, see?”

            “You’re not better!”

            My mind spun. What’s going on? Why are their soldiers coming for me? Have they tricked me?
            “Ready or not, they’re coming to take her, and we’d best be ready,” Ionlys said. Jarlath handed me the crutch. I hobbled to the door, where Erich and Ionlys waited.

            “Give him your hands,” Ionlys said, taking the crutch.

            I held them out to Erich. He took them and bound them together.

            “Not too tight, not too tight!”

            “If I don’t do it a little tight, they’ll not trust us!” They said, forgetting I was there and slipping into the ancient dialect.

            Ionlys sighed. “He said he has to do it a little bit tight, just to look right.”

            “But I don’t want to do it tight,” Erich reassured me.

            I nodded.

            “We don’t want to do any of this,” Jarlath said.

            “Then why are you?” I asked.

            “Orders. Just this once. We will talk to the King about peace now.”  

            “Hurry up,” Keith called.

            “Come on, then,” Jarlath said. “I’m only doing this because I have to – you know that, right?”

            I nodded again.

            “Good.”   

                We entered the headquarters, the soldiers walking in front and behind us. Keith stayed by my side. The young men were made to wait outside. I didn’t understand what happened next; it was all in the ancient tongue. I did recognize my name, my uncle’s, and the word ‘peace.’ Then the King nodded, and we left.

                “What happened?” I asked Keith when we were back in their residence.

            “They will try for peace,” was all he said to me, but I heard him talking with the young men later. That evening, they told me more.

            Word had reached my uncle that I had been taken prisoner. We knew he was sending out a rescue party, but didn’t know how much time we had.

            “They agree that you could be our chance for peace. We don’t know exactly what that will require yet, but you will need to be bold, Enna. You’re feisty when you want to be; you may need to be eventually. We will journey toward the border to meet your uncle’s rescue party; that is the plan of action we have been commanded to take.”

 

            One night our camp was rudely disturbed from our rest. Just after midnight, Keith’s fingertips brushed mine. I glanced up. The fingers of his other hand were on his lips. I listened. Through the grogginess of waking so early in the morning, I heard faint conversation. And there, maybe a horse's whinny.           

            Horsemen rode in. Instantly we were all awake, and Jarlath was at my side. I groaned as the horsemen dismounted. It was my cousins and a squad of soldiers. Ian, my middle cousin, whipped his sword out and pointed it at Jarlath’s throat.

            “I won’t kill you,” he said, but still refused to remove his sword from Jarlath’s throat.

            “Ian, no!” I said, but Lewis came toward me and took hold of me. “What do you want here?” I asked.

            “We’ve come to rescue you,” said Lewis, my youngest cousin.

            “Then let me go!” I said, jerking away.

            “I will, once you assure me that you have not joined the enemy, once we know you have not committed treason.”
            “Treason? I never swore any loyalty to my uncle. I will choose which side I am on, which side is honorable and truthful.”

            “Well, maybe that will be an easier decision,” Ian said, sheathing his sword, “Now that my father is dead. At the hand of these Minareans you seem to think so honorable.”

            My uncle, dead? I looked at Keith. He was shocked at Ian’s news.

            “It was not by any order of our king,” he said.

            “Come, Enna, It is time for you to leave these folk.”

            “On whose command?”  

            “My brother, the king.”

            I felt myself being pulled up behind Lewis, onto a horse.

            Then we were off, riding fast.

            Riding home. Another cold shiver ran down my spine.

            “How’s your ankle?” Lewis asked.

            “Fine.”

            “When we get to the headquarters we’ll get it looked at. And we’ll get you something clean to wear, and put you back into the presence of women. Think you can manage?”

             When we arrived back at the castle, they took me to my room and left me there. I heard the door lock behind them. My own family must keep me under lock and key, while the enemy lets me go free.

            I heard the door open a few minutes later, and my aunt slipped inside the room.

            “Hello, aunt,” I said. “What does your son mean by this?”

            “He does not mean harm. Since his father’s death, he is only trying to rule justly. There is much on his shoulders.” My aunt said. “I have come to get you, for he wishes to speak with you. Be gentle with him, Enna. I know your fiery spirit.”

            “They just want peace,” I said.

            “Then help him see that.”

            “Why must there be this trouble between the kingdoms? The Minareans aren’t evil; they’re good and kind. I know my history, but why must it continue so long? Enough have been killed.”

            “Not all would agree with you, Enna. Be careful that your mother’s ancestry does not cloud your discretion.”

            My aunt left as quickly as she had come, but her words remained in my mind as I was taken to my cousin. “Be gentle with him.”

            His greeting was stiff and formal. Mine continued the ceremony.  

            “Miss Enna.”

            “Your highness.”

            “Welcome home.”

            I nodded stiffly.

            “Come closer.”

            I walked closer to him.

            “That’s enough,” he said. I stopped five feet from where he stood. “No closer until I know you’re not a traitor.”

            Anger burned within me. “A storm drove me into Minarea, and I was found by Minareans,” I said. “That’s the truth.”

            “I’m told you didn’t want to leave them.”

            “They were kind to me. And were bringing me home when Lewis and Ian so rudely took me from them.”

            “Bringing you home?”
            “They want peace, Raymond.”

            “Tell me how they plan to make it.”

            “You won’t listen to me; you think I’m a traitor.”

            “I’m too much a gen’leman to ignore the counsel of a lady,” said my cousin. I knew he meant it well, but it sounded to me like he was mocking me. That, or he was masking fear of making decisions for himself.

            “They were going to return me here and seek to make truce. Their king had sent them. We’re all tired of war. Let it end.”

            “Your pride isn’t involved, and it honors your father to make peace, while it degrades mine.”

            “It’s not honoring to applaud a wrong decision,” I said.

            “You’re holding yourself back,” Raymond said. “Say all you want. Truthfully.”

            “It’s going to be humbling for both sides to make peace. Neither they nor we are fully in the right. Your father did things that were wrong. That angered them, and they lashed back. That was wrong. Yes, it’s easier to keep fighting and ignore the root cause. Yes, peace will be painful and humbling. Yes, too many men have died for this to keep going. It has to end before it’s too late. Here’s a chance to end it all and bring back the peace that was there in the time my parents were wed. Your father ignored the wisdom and laws of the Creator. That was folly. Don’t follow the same path.

            “The Minareans deserve a chance. They treated me with respect, even though they were slightly harsh at first. They knew who I was, and one night Keith told me he had known my mother, and that it was my resemblance to her that made them realize who I was. But their respect was because I’m a woman, not because I’m royalty.

            “Our kingdoms should learn from each other, not squabble. We have strength and wisdom in different areas. We have a chance now to end the war. Don’t miss it.”

            Raymond said nothing for a few minutes. I wondered if I had said too much, but he had given me free reign to say what I wanted. I was thankful I hadn’t become angry, that was only from the Creator.

            “Thank you, Enna. All of my advisors have been egging on pride and telling me to keep fighting, but only because they think that’s what I want. They’re afraid of me. You’re not. Thank you.” He lowered his eyes. “I needed to hear that.” He came closer. “They said you look like your mother, you do – but you have your father’s character.”  

            “Thank you.”

            “I will call a council with the Minarean leaders.”

 

            The council was scheduled for the end of the next week, and the castle was a flurry of activity preparing for our guests. Yet while we prepared to make peace, the fighting still continued. The day of the council dawned with sunshine. My soul was bright, too, bright with hope. The Minarean king wants peace, Raymond wants peace. Perhaps we will have it. My excitement grew when I heard that Keith would be coming as well. I wondered if his son and nephews would join him. We could use their wise words! A knock sounded on my door just as I finished dressing.

            I opened it. A messenger stood there, a letter in his hand.

            “Thank you,” I said.

            The letter was addressed in Kyler’s handwriting. I tore open the seal feverishly. I had not heard from my brother in three months!

            My dear sister,

            It began.

            But I didn’t read the rest of the first paragraph, for I noticed that partway through the letter the handwriting changed. It was unfamiliar, and the name signed at the bottom was one I did not know.

            Your brother instructed me to write you. The last battle we fought, we won. Rejoice in that. But it was a hard fight; many of our men were lost. Kyler led his men bravely, and led another division when their leader was killed. He was leading a charge to take the hill, the final charge, spurring the men on for a last effort. It seemed it would be a feeble one, but he had such a way of inspiring the men. It brings tears to my eyes to remember it, and my heart aches that I am the one who must tell you such terrible news. Kyler no longer lives. He died hoping that this battle would bring peace. He cared not for victory, only reconciliation between the two kingdoms. With his last breath, he declared his love for you and his hope and assurance through Adan that he was going to the Creator.

            I would read Kyler’s last words to me later, when my vision was not blurred through tears. I threw on my cloak and ran down to the pier where I had last seen Kyler.

            I let the strong wind whip across my face. It dried the tears I didn’t want to cry, and embodied the violent storm I felt inside.

            “The ships won’t come back full, Enna,” Kyler had said.

            But I never thought they might return without him. To not have seen him for three years, and to know that I’d never again see him on this earth. Hours went by, hours spent in tears, heartache, and prayer to the Creator. Kyler and the council became connected in my mind. Peace was what Kyler had fought for. I knew the peace he longed for was more than not fighting. He longed for Minarea and Panatea to return to the ways of the Creator. Let it be so, Creator.

            I heard footsteps behind me. I turned, expecting Lewis or Ian. Instead, it was Jarlath. Under other circumstances I would have rejoiced that he was there. But any happiness I might have felt was far outweighed by my sorrow.

            We had had judgment, if that was what this war was. The people and rulers were repenting. We needed peace to rebuild and reform.

            “The council is ready for you.” He said.

            I cast a lingering glance at the sea. I wanted to stay.

            “And they’re very impatient.”

            “Fine,” I said. “I’ll come.”

            “They’ll want to hear the whole story, you know.”
            “I know.”

            “You must give it. It’s the only way peace will come.”

            “At the cost of much pain.”

            “To you, yes. But it will save much pain in others. You have the strength,” he said. “Nobility runs not only in your blood, but also in your spirit.” We were back at the castle, under the drawbridge and into the keep.

            He stopped. “I was told about your brother. I’m sorry.”

            I nodded.

            Jarlath pushed a door open and held it for me. “The Creator will give you the courage you need.”

            The eyes of the council were on me as I entered. I swallowed hard and hoped there were no tearstains on my cheeks.

            My cousin, the king, looked at me. “We are ready for your rendition of recent happenings. You must tell all, and tell all truthfully.”

           

            And so there we were. I finished my history. Everyone’s eyes were still on me. I looked at Keith, who nodded, and Raymond, who smiled. Then I was told to go. I read the rest of Kyler’s letter, his last words to me. They were beautiful, full of hope in the Creator and hope for peace. It was almost as if he knew that that last battle would be his last fight, physically and spiritually. He knew somehow that his letter the words he wrote would be his last to me. They were full of encouragement and prayers. It was that very aspect of his character that made me love him so much, and miss him so much.

           

            I don’t remember the rest of that day. I paced the floor outside the great hall, where the council was meeting. What were they deciding? Keith had been right, I was key in the struggle for peace. I prayed that it would come. I felt the desire for it even more strongly since I had heard of Kyler’s death, for two reasons. I wanted what he wanted, and peace was more than just a desire of mine, it was what my brother had died for. And I didn’t want anyone else to die, didn’t want other sisters to weep over their dead brothers.

            Would peace come with a covenant? Or would there be exchanges of hostages, and rules about weapons? How much would we trust each other?

            Darkness fell; I became bored. How long would negotiations take?

           

            I fell asleep. Dawn poured through a window as I was woken to the sounds of men talking. The doors to the great hall were open. I sat up. Raymond exited first. I stood, and he ran to me. He took me in his arms.         

            “I’m sure your emotions have been on a great journey the past few days, let’s take them even farther. You were right, it was painful and humbling. But it was worth it. There is peace.”

            All worry within me escaped in a sigh of relief.

            Soon Keith, Jarlath, Erich, and Ionlys surrounded Raymond and I.

            “It worked!” I said joyfully. The Creator did have a great plan in my capture!

            “The covenant of peace is signed,” Keith said. “If either kingdom breaks it, the other kingdom has the right to attack with the help of all of the other kingdoms.”

            “But what will keep them from breaking it?”

            “That is yet to be decided. We had one idea, again, from you.”

            “From me?”

            “Our first thought was hostages, but many thought that seemed too much like war and forced peace. Then someone thought of your mother. If Raymond chooses a Minarean for his bride, the two kingdoms will become inseparable, as they were near the time of Creation. Many called us ‘twin kingdoms.’ We will have separate governments, but be very nearly the same people.”

            I nodded. “We all are the same people,” I said. “The Creator’s, and sons of Man.”

            “How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity,” Jarlath said, quoting the Law.

            The others nodded in agreement.

 

            A year later, I found that my cousin’s marriage was not the only one they had in mind, for Jarlath asked me to be his bride. I joyfully accepted and returned to the land of my mother. We named our first son Kyler Jeffrey – Kyler after my brother, and Jeffrey, meaning ‘peaceful.’

            Minarea and Panatea became the twin kingdoms once more, and all was peaceful, partly because of the covenant of peace, but mostly because the people repented and turned back to the Creator. Jarlath and I devoted our lives to spreading the knowledge of Him and raising our children to follow Him – for this is true peace.

           

Comments

This was good, Kyleigh

Your stories are full of rich Biblical themes.  I enjoy reading them, and especially this one.

I think if you expanded the length of the story, you could title it "Peace Victorious."  I know peace isn't one of the three things listed in I Corinthians 13, but it would still work well (considering it takes place in the same world).

James | Tue, 05/10/2011

<><~~~~~~~~~~~~><>
"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

 Love it, Kyleigh :D The

 Love it, Kyleigh :D The first bit was slightly confusing, but then it was explained near the end. Cheers! And I like James' suggestion about expanding it and calling it 'Peace Victorious'.

Laura Elizabeth | Fri, 05/13/2011

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The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

http://lauraeandrews.blogspot.com/2014/05/dont-tell-me-hes-smart.html

Thank you

Thank you, James and Laura!
 

... that never even entered my head. Once I get all of the ideas I'm clearing out into short stories cleared, I'll start getting started. But I have a billion other things to write at the moment. At least I have the plot basically completed in this one!

Kyleigh | Sat, 05/14/2011

I LOVED this, Kyleigh. You

I LOVED this, Kyleigh. You really could expand it... It's just wonderful.

Anna | Mon, 05/16/2011

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

This is such a beautiful

This is such a beautiful story. I wish there was more of it.
God bless you!

Damaris Ann | Tue, 10/14/2014

"It is the small temptations which undermine integrity unless we watch and pray and never think them too trivial to be resisted."
-Luisa May Alcott

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