by Sally-Jane Cameron
The solitary figure stands silhouetted on the grey hilltop, the other mourners are long gone. A dark bird circles overhead, it's cry piercing. She draws her cloak tighter around her, but feels the icy wind leech the last remaining warmth from her. The fire in her soul had been extinguished the night she held his head in her lap. Her guardian, protector and guide had raged against the dying to remain with her, but the dark ominous presence in the room had won, claimed it's prize and taken her champion.
She feels her legs begin to crumple, her eyes closing, she welcomes the thud of the cold earth, the never getting up again, but arms catch her, strong arms she knows and trusts. Warmth slowly spreads through her body, calm washes over her, the kind she felt when he was by her side. Her heart pounds, "He has returned!" But opening her eyes, she's alone...The pain is is still there, but she feels his final gift reach into her soul, and gently start to fan the embers of her spirit.
She feels his unwavering love and devotion to her, and grieves the one gift she had never been able to give to him; she the princess, and him, her guardian. Rank had fated him to love her completely but watch while she loved others. She will not fail him! Her strength gathers through the pain. She stands, determined to make him proud; the battle for her kingdom will be won!