Author's Note: This chapter is about Merric (A young mage who knows Marth and Elice from his childhood) and Elice (Cleric Princess of Altea - Marth's sister) as requested by agarfinkel. Remember, this is set about 5 years after the end of Shadow Dragon.

NOTE: In this chapter for the sake of the plot sometime during or after the war both Merric and Elice were promoted with Master Seals.


Shadow Dragon: After The War - Merric and Elice

Elice adored her niece and nephew, Melody was solemn and peaceful as always, clashing brilliantly with her brother Anri who wore a smile on his face 24/7. Both of them were growing healthily after their first 3 months of life and it was amazing to watch them grow and develop.
Except for one thing.
While Melody loved to watch her father fence with castle guards and even broke into fits of laughter when her mother attempted daring manoeuvers on her Pegasus, Zephyr, Anri was fascinated by something else:
Yes, whenever Etzel the sorcerer or Archbishop Boah visited Altea they would entertain the young royals with wondrous illusions and magical lights. It was the only time Anri stopped smiling as his tiny jaw dropped, eyes following every move made by the 'Spellslingers' as Etzel liked to say. This was a major problem for Elice, while she loved seeing her nephew astounded by something why did it have to be the one thing that took her back to those painful years when Gharnef the evil sorcerer was her only company.
Still, she could get past it. If those years with Gharnef had taught her anything it was how to be resilient. She simply averted her eyes and focussed on details of the room around her whenever the mages came to Altea.

Elice strolled back to the royal nursery with her brother's children in her arms. She placed them in their cribs, kissed them both on the forehead and left, leaving a guard to watch over them as they slept.
A young sentry ran up to her as she paced down the hallway. He stopped and saluted when he reached her.
"Visitor for you ma'am. Someone called Merric wants to see you." He said. Elice's heart sank; she had missed seeing Merric since he had returned to Khadien to study magic. But whenever he did visit over the first few years after the war he had always wanted to show off some new spell he had learned. At first she had tolerated it for the sake of politeness, but as his tricks got more and more spectacular she had been forced to feign illness to avoid his displays. It made her feel like a terrible person but what else could she do? Gradually Merric's visits had become less and less frequent.

Elice sighed and started to develop an excuse in her head. Had she already used vice (a rather nasty virus similar to flu that made the muscles seize up) as an excuse? She couldn't remember. Elice scanned her brain for ailments her patients had recently had but none came to mind. She was about to make up a disease herself when Marth strolled into the corridor.
Followed by Merric.

Damn her slowness! Elice was positively glowing and you could tell simply by looking at her that she wasn't ill (she had built up a resistance to most diseases anyway but that didn't stop her from getting the odd bug). Should she try to make an excuse or-

"Elice! How were the twins?" Marth asked, dismissing the sentry. Too late now, Elice thought. There's no way Marth would have let me look after the twins if I was ill and Merric is smart enough to reason that.
"Good, they're asleep right now." Elice answered, smiling.
"Oh, what a shame! I was hoping I could see the little scamps. I hear Anri has a thing for magic too!" Merric said. "It'll be past their bedtime now too." Elice nodded, it was eight o'clock at night after all. That meant that perhaps Merric wouldn't feel the need to show off any magic this visit.
"I know, such a shame - Anri simply adores magic." Elice laughed.
"Merric, why don't you stay the night? We have plenty of rooms and you can show the twins your magic tomorrow." Marth suggested.
"Of course!"
"Okay then, I'm staying the night!" Merric laughed.
"Isn't this great Elice?" Marth asked his sister. She closed her eyes and held back the tears as despair swelled deep inside of her.
"Yes." She whispered. "Wonderful."

Merric's POV

Marth chatted with Merric idly as they walked along the corridor, Elice trailing behind. It was nice to see Marth but Merric's main reason for visiting was to see the King's sister. Ever since the war Elice had avoided Merric whenever he came to stay, always pretending she had caught something. Unfortunately for Elice, she wasn't a very good liar and Merric could clearly spot her feeble attempts at making an excuse. He was determined to get to the bottom of it.

They reached the quarters and walked through the door, Merric dumped his bag on the bed but did not remove his cloak. He turned to Marth.
"I have a few things in an Inn in town. I'll need to go get them but I can't quite remember where it is!" He said, carefully setting his trap.
"Which Inn?" Marth asked.
"The Shining Sword." Merric answered, saying the name of the high-class Inn he knew Elice had stayed in awhile while the castle was being repaired.
"Elice knows the place, she can go with you." Marth said. "Is that alright Elice?" Elice froze, she was trapped. Eventually she nodded. Merric smiled, his plan had worked.
"I'll organise a few men to guard you, it's unlikely there'll be trouble but better safe than sorry." Merric offered his arm to Elice and she took it carefully. Marth smiled and left.
"Shall we go milady?" Merric asked. Elice nodded curtly and they walked towards the castle entrance.


All was silent as Merric and Elice strolled down the lane, three guards surrounding them. Elice cursed her stupidity - she had fallen right into Merric's trap. How could she ever have thought that Merric wouldn't figure out that she was feigning illness? What was he going to say to her? That he despised her for being so shallow? That he couldn't stand her attitude? Elice didn't know and she didn't want to. If only he knew what had happened to her.
"I forgot to say, I was promoted to a sage last month." Merric told her.
"Well done." She said quietly.
"I remember that you were promoted to a bishop during the war. Marth gave you that special forged fire spell didn't he?" He pressed. Elice nodded. "You didn't seem to use it though, trouble casting the spell?" Elice gulped and nodded - of course that wasn't the reason, she could do anything she put her mind to. But nobody could know the real reason.
"Perhaps I could help you? And in return you could train me in using the staff?" Merric said. Elice stopped. She looked at Merric's sweet, innocent face and shook her head slowly.
"I can tutor you but I don't really think I need to use magic anymore - it was more to defend myself in a desperate situation." Elice snapped. Merric frowned but did not protest. They set off walking again and Elice pointed towards a narrow path between two buildings that would take them to the Inn. The guards strolled down the path.
"Do you not like me anymore Elice? I thought we were friends." Merric whispered. Elice felt tears roll down her cheeks as she started to cry.
"No Merric," She protested "I swear I still like you - it's just that-"
"Look out!" Merric shouted, pushing her over. Elice cried out as she landed on her backside. Then something else caught her eye.
Merric threw it left and right, a whirling demon in the centre of an enormous inferno. His eyes seemed to glow a hellish red in the horrific blaze.
Elice screamed and threw her hands in front of her face, shielding herself from the vicious, terrifying monster that was her friend. Tears rolled down her face and her throat felt ragged from her howls of despair.
The demon stepped towards her.
"No Gharnef! Not again!" She sobbed. The flames died. Elice screeched in terror as someone touched her. She heard Merric's gentle voice in the distance. He picked her up and cradled her in his arms.
"It's all okay Elice, I won't ever let you go. No one will harm you while I'm here.
"I love you too much to let them." Merric whispered to her as she cried. He repeated those words for what felt like hours while Elice drenched his cloak with tears. When she felt like she could cry no more she opened her eyes and looked into Merric's sparkling blue eyes. She glanced around and saw at least twenty men lying dead on the floor.
"Assassins." Merric explained.
"Take me back." Elice whispered. Without a word Merric started back towards the castle.


Upon getting back to the castle Elice was rushed to her chambers while Merric explained what had happened to Marth.
"The guards tipped them off. It was an inside job." Merric concluded. Marth sighed. He was about to speak when a priest entered.
"Sir Merric, the princess is asking for you." He said. Marth gestured for him to go and Merric nodded. He followed the small Priest to Elice's room, she was lying in bed; she looked a lot better.
"Merric." She said. Merric rushed over to her and grabbed her hand.
"Are you okay?" He asked. She nodded.
"Guards, can we have some peace please?" Elice said. The guards nodded and walked out, followed by the priest and a cleric. "I suppose you want an explanation." She said. Merric shook his head.
"You don't need to do anything for me."
"No, you need to know." Elice said. She sighed and began.
"In those long years when Marth was in Talys and then fighting against Medeus Gharnef's plans didn't always succeed. And when they didn't...he would take it out on me." Elice whispered. Merric's eyes widened in horror. "He would always use magic on me, burning me and then freezing me until I was nearly dead. And he did... other things."
"He violated you?" Merric whispered. Elice nodded as tears rolled freely down her cheeks. Merric nearly felt like crying himself. This woman had been through so much and he had been so insensitive. How could he?
"That's why I'm afraid of magic. I didn't like missing out on your visits but you always wanted to show off - I'm not blaming you for that; the spells I did see were spectacular. But they were also petrifying." Elice said. Now Merric was crying. He held her hand and they cried together for a few minutes, feeling secure in each other's company. They both said together "I'm so sorry."
"Merric, you saved my life. And I know now that you love me the way I love you." Merric's heart skipped a beat.
"I used magic once in the war: an archer had a bow aimed at you and I forgot everything else but you - even my fear - I killed the archer with magic and you were safe, you didn't even realise that she had been there." Elice explained. Merric sat, stunned. Elice had saved his life? Even though it involved her using the thing she feared the most? She was braver than he had ever thought.
Merric looked into Elice's eyes and spoke softly.
"Elice you are the most fantastic woman I have ever met." He said. "I promise to help you get over this; even if it takes the rest of my days. I mean only if you want me to, I don't want to intrude or-" Elice cut him off with a laugh.
"I love you too Merric." She said, kissing him. "I love you too."

A.N: Please review with your opinions and people you want to see next. Bye!