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Chapter XLIII

What word could describe it? Euphoria? Ecstasy? Paradise? Tamas experienced all this and more when he finally made it back to Aius and into the castle to see Aryn. After everything he'd suffered through, all the times he thought he'd never see her again, there was a true joy in watching her greet him in the throne room. What words can describe the joy a man feels when he sees the eyes of the woman he loves returning that same longing, that same passion that he felt for her? That he had always felt for her, and that he would feel until the day he died.

Aryn did not stand on ceremony, not for a moment, even with advisers of the court, servants, and castle guards standing nearby. As soon as he'd stepped into the room she ran to him, leaped, and threw her arms around his neck. He caught her in his strong arms and, realizing that she had no intention of hiding their love affair any longer, covered her face in kisses. There was some laughter from those gathered in the throne room, but that was stifled by the sound of applause.

Once Aryn's feet were safely back on the floor she looked up into Tamas' eyes, that same loving smile still lingering on her face, and said, “We need to talk privately about some things.”

“I couldn't agree more,” said Tamas.

The two of them left the throne room, arm in arm. Aryn needed to give no last word to those they were leaving behind. Aryn led Tamas to her office and shut the door. “So...I've heard a lot of rumors. How many of them are true?” Aryn asked.

“That I was dead for a few minutes but was brought back?” Tamas asked. “Yes, that one's true.”

“And it was another Aeon who saved you?”

“Yes, Lady Farrah,” said Tamas. “She's currently running Nihilus in my absence.”

“And the Nihilite people actually want peace with Arx now?” asked Aryn.

“Yes. Did you ever imagine you'd see the day?” Tamas chuckled.

“I did not, but it's here. And just in time, too.”

“Pardon?”

Aryn gave a sort of smile that said “I know something you don't,” and walked over to Tamas. She took his right hand, kissed his finger-tips, and placed the hand on her stomach. “Not much there now, but this is yours.”

Tamas gave her a puzzled look for a moment, and when he finally caught on his eyes opened wide, as did his grin. “A child? Aryn you're...on the nest?”

Aryn laughed. “Yes, Tamas. This baby is yours. I've not been with any other man. You know what this means?”

“It means we have a love-child! And...I'm going to be a father...” Tamas pondered all of the implications of that. Aryn was going to bring a new life into the world, his child. He would teach that child how to ride a horse, how to read and write, and how to play a lyre. He'd teach this child right and wrong. He'd watch that child take first steps, learn to speak, and play with food until actually figuring out how to get it into the mouth.

Aryn nodded. “That's not all. From what I hear Nihilus has declared you its king? That means that this child will be heir to both the throne of Arx and the throne of Nihilus.”

“The two kingdoms will become one?”

“And the West,” said Aryn. “My mother's idea. Arx conquered the Digan Empire and Arxian knights are working to abolish the slave trade out there.”

“Then our child will be-”

“The first heir born to the Arxian Empire, yes,” said Aryn. “Which leaves one more interesting question. Do you want a hand in raising that emperor?”

“How could I possibly refuse that? Especially if it's with you?” said Tamas. “Aryn, truth be told, when I was out in Nihilus fighting Sahar so that I could 'save the world' it was always your face I kept picturing. I wanted to save you, because to me you are my home, you are my world. Love, now that you're no longer worried what your people will think about it there's something I need to ask you.” Tamas lowered himself to one knee and took Aryn's hand. Aryn's eyes had slowly been getting misty throughout their conversation. Now the tears finally began to spill from her eyes. “Your Majesty, would you do me the honor of becoming my wife.”

“Yes! Yes! A thousand times, yes!” Aryn and Tamas kissed, both of them releasing tears of joy from their eyes. And they were content knowing that, for the first time in many years, things were going to go right for a change.

 

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A note from Nicholas S. Casale

This ends Tales of Erets Book Three. There is a Tales of Erets Book Four, and so far that is the last one in the series. If you would like me to post that one here as well, please let me know.


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About the author

Nicholas S. Casale

Bio: Nicholas S. Casale, or "Nico" as his friends call him, was born on Vandenberg Airforce Base in California. When he was eleven years old, he moved to Colorado with his family for his father's new job.

He went to Lewis-Palmer Middle School, where teacher Mrs. Susan Doyle got him interested in history by expressing to him that it was not about facts to memorize, but about stories to be told. During this time, English teacher Mr. Todd Mucci also taught him how to write, and he began work on his first piece of historical fiction.

Though his family was fairly secular, he attended a youth group at the Little Log Church in Palmer Lake, Colorado.

In college, he majored in history, and studied various mythologies and religions throughout the world. After college, he became certified as a paralegal and worked at Wal-Mart for the next three years while he tried to find a job with a law firm.

After landing his first paralegal job, he still felt something was missing in his life, and struggled with bouts of depression and loneliness. That was, until he started attending a Messianic Jewish Synagogue in Colorado Springs, where he met the Hebrew class teacher who would one day become his wife.

He is now happily married to Jenifer E. Casale, who wrote "The Whispered War" with him and is currently working on a feminine counterpart to the famous "Hero's Journey" theory devised by Joseph Campbell.

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