This is a Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge story.

The challenge was to write the last 1000 words of a non-existent novel.

Coming off just finishing NaNoWriMo, I tossed down something light and a bit silly for it.

Enjoy.

Starol’s flashing silver arrow struck true. The dragon spiraled and fell. The fire it had once breathed now leaked from a dozen wounds and its entire crimson body was soon engulfed in that eerie green fire. With a tremendous crash it plunged into the side of the mountain. Rocks the size of wagons were hurled from the site. Half a forest of trees tore loose and plummeted down the mountainside. Pillars of smoke roared up into the twilight sky.

His last arrow loosed, Starol let his hand holding the blackwood bow fall. In the end it had been enough, the hag had spoken true. The locket from the enchantress had been the key all along.

The city lay safe behind him. The fires lit by the dragon were already being doused by a frantic populace. Sodell, the city of knowledge, would not be wiped from the map despite the hag’s prediction. She’d thankfully gotten that part wrong.

It was finally over. Rage faded from his heart leaving a stain of hollow sorrow. He’d not been able to save her, but he’d avenged her death as he promised. At least he had that small comfort to cling to. Even as he felt the first tinges of vengeance satisfied, he knew it wasn’t enough. Nothing ever would be.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered into the wind. There was no one there to hear him, or see the tear roll down his cheek.

He turned from the burning mountain. A shadow moved along the dock. The shape familiar somehow. He paused and watched the dark figure move closer through gathering evening mists. Billendi stepped from the shadows. His breath failed him. The bow clattered to the paving stones from unfelt fingers.

She was alive!

Her eyes were dazed but as they fell on him they sprung to life. He flew to her, ignoring his wounds.

They crashed into each others arms, spinning and twirling as one.

Starol finally managed to step back to arms length. She was really alive. He peered into her eyes with wonder. “How?”

She clasped his hands. Her skin was soft and smooth against his calluses. “It wasn’t my time,” she said simply. “Dart’eld sent me back.”

His heart soared to exploding, but then paused. She was alive, but he knew what this meant.

“We’ll have to leave here,” he said solemnly. He knew there was no other way.

“As long as we’re together,” she replied fiercely and squeezed his hands..

At her sure expression, the look in her eyes, his words left him. He wanted to say something, to proclaim his love, but there was no need. She saw it in his eyes and he saw it in hers.

Billendi touched his cheek, stroked her thumb across his scarred eyebrow. She smiled and he smiled back. Without any nerves or hesitation she leaned up and kissed Starol on the lips. He pulled her close and kissed her back. Every moment of pain and suffering and fear washed away. They were together and they were whole.

The kiss stretched on long, and passionate. Fires raged around them. A mountain continued to collapse with an earth shaking roar. Steam and smoke whipped around them like living things. They didn’t notice any of it.

When they finally broke they were both slightly breathless and grinned shyly at each other. Without another word, he swept her up in his arms and carried her onto the small Telwood skiff. The ship pulled into the current at his command. Within moments it slipped into the mists of the canals, and was lost to sight by all.

And that is the end of their story.

The End

Or is it?

The princess Tippenrose is still missing and her brother’s castle is still on fire with the blaze of a thousand nights. Chigangraf is still at war with Renente in the south and neither looks anywhere close to giving up.

Come to think of it, not much really got concluded. Sure the two lovers found each after much trial, and sacrifice, and a tremendous journey over and through the land, but so what? Their country is still corrupted and in debt. The people are starving and oppressed. They get to slip away and play kissy face and where does that leave the rest of us? I mean really, this place could use some help getting sorted out. You think the King in Vanhan is going help? Fat chance.

In fact the country is probably more screwed now than it was to begin with. Most of their best knights rebelled then died on the quest with Starol to rescue her. And now he has gone and run off as well. Sure the King wants his head after he killed his son and all, but running away isn’t going to solve anything. Not for us anyway.

And Billendi, sure she gets her one true love with his flowing locks, but if she just would have married Utlee at least one country would have been at peace with us. Oh life would have been hellish for her for sure, but think of the good of the people here. Instead, her lover boy kills crown prince Utlee and the entire country blows up with General Chigangraf marching to war. You know most of those people who weren’t dying from starvation got conscripted into that mess.

No one can argue that those two deserved true love after all that they’d been through, after all the horrors she’d endured. But it would have been nice if the rest of the land could have had even a fraction of what they found. Reunited, in love, free. It sure sounds nice. Most of us aren’t so lucky.

So I guess it is the end of their story. But life, miserable and terrifying, goes on for the rest of us. We can only hope they come back and save us later once they’re done playing lovers for a while.

Hopefully not the end for us all.