A/N So this is the end. What a ride it's been. Thank you all for being so patient with my erratic uploading schedule and sticking with the story. Your comments really meant a lot and I hope you enjoyed reading this. I figured the Red Queen characters deserved a happy ending so here goes… I hope you like it.
Our children play by the river, surrounded by snow-dusted mountain tops and the Sun making the water sparkle. They're trying to convince Cal to get in and join them. I laugh, they've got no chance. In an effort to distract them and save himself from going in, he crouches down.
"How about I do this instead?"
He flickers his burner bracelet and grows the fire, changing it's shape for each child.
For our daughter Coriane, a lion. For our son Shade, a raven. And last but in no way least, a bear for our adopted daughter, Malissa. They quickly get entranced by the dancing figures and lose interest in getting him into the water. He hands over the fire to Shade who plays with it while Coriane gets bored and tries to light a light bulb she found earlier. Malissa looks intensely at the both of them, mesmerised by their powers. I catch Cal's eyes and smile as he breathes a sigh of relief.
"You can't keep them distracted forever you know." I tell him.
"I can try." He looks me up and down. "How are the meetings going?"
"Thomas is doing a lot better. He's leaving tomorrow to sail the world. He thinks he'll find a new one."
"You never know. Speaking of, the Nortan States, Piedmont, Tiraxes and the Prairie Lands are all having a meeting with Kilorn to discuss combining into one big country to take the last few miles from the Lakelands. It's a metaphor or something."
"Well I wouldn't be surprised. Kilorn's getting quite good at this whole Premier thing."
Premier Davidson had retired a few months ago and Kilorn had stepped up almost immediately.
"I don't envy him. Politics is tough." Cal shakes his head.
"Well we've definitely had our fill that's for sure." I laugh and breathe in the fresh mountain air.
"I hate to leave but we really should be getting ready. I want to be there when they land."
"Shade and Farley have been living in the Nortan States forever. You don't seriously think I'd make you late for their return, do you?" Cal replies.
"No, I know. I just want to get there before the rest of the family."
Our words contradict our actions as we both sit down together, holding each other, watching our kids' silly antics. It's probably going to make us late but they're splashing and playing and laughing, something I never had. I wonder whether history remembers these moments. Of course they'll know about the battles that were fought and the people that died but the truly happy moments, the ones that matter, aren't written on paper or set in stone. They're passed down in memory. I just hope my children don't forget this memory.