The End

-by Archin

Together, the aged couple sat quietly on a small bench which sat high off the ground. The bench, in actuality, was on a balcony, which entered into a large estate and the view which was granted from over the banister was one of Hillsbrad.

Calm. Peaceful. Serene. These are the words which could be used to describe the view.

The man was old. He looked to be, perhaps, in his middle eighties. His hair took on the color of angelic white, like a bright, virgin snow which blanketed the landscape of his skull. A beard christened his face, but no mustache, and the hairs upon his chin also took on the pristine beauty of their uppermost counterpart.

His black suit jacket was opened, revealing a white shirt with a black tie, slightly twisted, resting on his somewhat bulging belly. His eyes possessed a soft glow, a reddened, arcane glow which denoted a greater power which existed beneath the bent frame. His forehead had long grown accustomed to lines, and the monocle, which had for all intents and purposes become an extension of his body, still rested in the nook now created in front of his right eye.

One arm rested on his leg, while the right wrapped around a beautiful older woman. A dark skinned woman, her hair still had the raven black starkness that was always present, though a few white hairs skittered throughout the mass. Wrinkles too, adorned her face, particularly around the corners of her mouth, which seemed to denote that throughout most of her life, she was not smiling, but was not exactly frowning either.

She rested quietly against the mans chest, her head pressed against his chest as his heart beat slow and laborious. She wore a black, elegant dress. Her age would be hard to pinpoint, though she appeared perhaps a decade younger than the man.

The man gave her a squeeze and looked down at her, smiling. His voice still had the boom that had always been apparent, though it wavered.

Weve lived a long life. Havent we, Yumeko?

Mmmm Yumeko responded as she stared out at the rolling hills. It was dusk and the fog was beginning to roll in.

Throughout their lives, the Breys had seen and done many things. Together they found one another; a blustery middle aged man and a stubborn young girl. But together, they grew into a unit, a couple, and a force.

The Breys, as it were, would always be remembered for this. Yes, Archin was a blowhard. Indeed, he ranted and raved and his arrogance was forever etched in the minds of those that met him. Yumeko, on a far subtler note, was remembered for her ability to take information without saying a word, digesting it, and acting on it.

A fortress of peculiarities, that was something the Breys certainly were. To combat one was to combat both, and a daunting task this was indeed. Between the hotheaded Archin and the cool, calculating Yumeko, they served as a force to be reckoned with.

However, as they gazed out over the landscape, that was the farthest thing from their minds.

Yes, Archin and Yumeko had harmed people. They had taken, selfishly, from those weaker than them. They had done things simply terrible. They werent heroes. They shouldnt even be admired. Their acts against others were abominable. Their selfishness clouded their judgment and drove them to acts that were, for lack of a better word, depraved.

And yet, it could not be denied that they loved one another. If there was one thing to be said, one thing that was sacred, it was their love for one another. Together, they attained what power they could, and they were able to live life longer than naturally possible. Archin had achieved his goal and rolled back the clock on his life in order to stay with his family longer. Yumeko, in turn, had done the same. They watched their children grow up, have children of their own, grow old, and disappear.

The selfishness still comes into play. The parents outliving the children, and grandchildren. But they had a love that, at least in their minds, could not be cut short. Should not be cut short.

Archin smiles gently and looked down at his wife. She was beautiful, as always. She had aged, but he always saw the beautiful, dynamic woman that chilled mens bones and warmed his heart, Have I ever told you that I love you?

She smiled, a rarity that only Archin was able to conjure at any moment, and looked away, Oh once or twice.

Oh ho! the elder Brey chuckled and slapped his knee, This sounds like a challenge, my dear! Far be it for Archin Brey to turn down a challenge!

Her shoulders shook in silent laughter, as Mr. Brey reached forward and tilted her chin to look at her. He smiled, his eyes warm, and whispered, I love you.

A soft, I love you too, my Archin, slipped from Yumekos lips, and the two kissed gently as the sun dipped deeper behind the hills.

Archin shivered and leaned against the back of the bench, Weve lived a long life, havent we my sweet? Weve seen so much

Yumeko nodded quietly in response and rested her head back on his chest. She was warm.

Archins hand slowly moved up her back, to her hair, and ran his fingers through the silky mass of black, streaked with strands of white, I think its time.

Yumeko looked up at Archin suddenly, a shock and fear in her eyes, T time? But.. what about

Shhhh Archin whispered as he smiled and pressed a finger to her lips, Well be all right.

Yumeko and Archin had long wondered when the time would come, when theyd relinquish their longevity and let nature take its course. Dispelling the magic would almost instantly take them from this world, and as their bodies slowly succumbed to age at an unnaturally slow pace, it became apparent that not even their will could conquer time. Nozdormu has a way of winning.

But Yumeko had grown fearful. That the two of them would follow into the great beyond, be that what it is, and arrive in different places. She never gave up her allegiance to the Legion, just as Archin had never fully embraced them. She had discovered a way, in which she could encase the two, at the moment of death, in a shard together. Their souls, forever linked, yet never allowed to move to whatever end they truly should meet.

What about the shard? Yumeko asked in a fearful tone.

But Archin, now calmer in his old age, simply smiled, I love you, Yumeko. I know that, wherever we go after this life, well be together. Our love it will do that for us. In its last act our love will save us forever.

The romantic.

Yumeko hugged him tightly, as if he were to disappear forever, and tears streaked her face, I dont want to lose you

Archin swallowed, he was unsure, but he didnt want to show uncertainty. His tired heart beat slightly faster as he tried to compose himself, and hugged her back, I dont want to lose you either Im sure well be all right, my dear.

One bit of moisture hit the monocle, trailed along the edge, and drained along a crease in his cheek.

Archin inhaled deeply and looked down at her, Ready?

She nodded and squeezed him as he wrapped his arms around her body, embracing her like a man holding a rock in the middle of a tempestuous ocean. Together, Archin and Yumeko muttered the words which would dispel their longevity. Their eyes closed, they spoke the incantation, and then fell silent.

Archin leaned down and Yumeko looked up, and together the Breys kissed one another for the last time. Slowly, they slumped and fell inert. Their arms wrapped around their bodies, and their heads propping one another up, the long legacy of Archin and Yumeko Brey had come to a close.

Simply bodies. Thats all they were now. The souls so full of energy, life, and passion had flitted away and gone wherever they go.

Did they go together? No one really knows. One would hope that for all Archins bluster, hed be correct about their love holding them together.

I suppose in the end, the legacy of Archin and Yumeko Brey is their love. Those evenings in the Jester, when all would turn their heads to see the normally cantankerous Archin Brey bounding across the way to embrace his young wife, or when Archin would whistle and joke at the table, those were the memories that stuck.

It showed a love that changed people. A love that took a crotchety, grumbling old man and turned him into a playful lover. A love that took a sinister and coldhearted woman, and turned her into a loving mother and companion.

Its a lesson for us all. Be whatever it is they had done; the pain, the evil, the damage. At least it cannot be denied they loved one another and, no matter what, they were true to themselves.

And if the love they shared was as stubborn as themselves then no doubt wherever they have gone, the Breys are together.


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