The Longer Conversation Between Vax and Bea at the End of the World

Vax’s mind was reeling, whiplashed back and forth between feelings of both joy and abject terror.  He felt joy at having his wife Beatriz magically appear before him, finally reunited after weeks of separation.  But the abject terror came with the realization that his wife Beatriz magically appeared before him at the site of the largest battle the world of Kempin had seen in almost two centuries.


The feelings of joy and terror were quickly subsumed by a swelling tide of anger.  He wanted to scream at her, to tell her to leave.  Vax had travelled the world, fought unimaginable horrors and treated with gods to save her when she was struck down by Savior.  And here she was, mere yards away from that same mad sword, surrounded by thousands of soldiers awaiting a slaughter.


He barely heard her explanation - that she had stolen Mishkin’s Boon, the Blood of Life, and wanted to be here by his side to save him, if necessary.  It was selfish of her, he thought.  If they both fell here, what would become of their children?  And she was with child even now.  She had placed his unborn child in deadly danger.


Damn it! he thought.  This is my job.  I’m the one who’s supposed to put himself in harm’s way to protect her, to protect the children, to protect our nation. 


He shook himself mentally to clear his head and tried to quell the anger and fear in his voice.  He walked up to her as she clutched a large stone bottle, its top sealed with thick red wax dripping down the neck. He forced a smile on his face as he reached his hand out to stroke her fire-red hair.


“Bea, my love,” he started.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to have this happen.  If I’d known the Card was going to bring you here, I would have destroyed the damned things before I put you in jeopardy.”


A look of defiance crossed her face as she looked up at him.  “I intended to be here regardless.  The Card just saved me some time.  Vax – I – I – when I lay dying, you fought and fought and fought for me, and never once faltered.  You moved heaven and earth to save me.  Now, when the stakes are this high, can I do any less for you?”


She turned slightly away from him.  She stared at the horizon.  “Do you remember that night, years ago, when the Quiet Men attacked the Keep?  They burst into our room, and you shoved Leesle and I out in the hall and locked us out, to protect us.”  She smiled.  “I was furious with you for that.  I knew then as I know now that my place is at your side, regardless of the dangers.”


She turned back to face him and squared her shoulders.  “I am not a wilting flower.  I am a queen, and I can handle myself in any situation. But, if my presence here would be a distraction for you – if you ask it – I will leave.”


Vax took a deep breath and tried to calm his thoughts.  He glanced around the battlefield.  They were surrounded by thousands of soldiers, most of whom counted Eldermont as an enemy nation not too long ago.  Many more thousands of Targ warriors were coming ashore soon.  Swalduni dragons already flew overhead, ready to attack anyone and everyone on this side of the palisade wall.  No, there was no guarantee that leaving would make Beatriz any safer.  At least if she were near, he could do more to protect her.


And deep down, he didn’t want her to go.  He remembered the warnings about Fata Deum, and the Carrion King, and the epic nature of this battle to come.  It might be selfish on his part, but if the world were about to end, he wanted his queen by his side when it did.


“I wish for you to stay,” he said.  “But on one condition.  If, at the end of all things, there is a choice to use that life-giving potion on either you or me – you must use it on yourself.”  He raised a hand to forestall her objection.  “You are with child, and I will not lose you both.”


Beatriz bit off a quick response, and tears welled up her in eyes.  “You don’t fight fair, husband,” she said finally.  “Very well.  I agree.”  She placed the stone bottle on the ground and embraced Vax.  “Just don’t go off and do something stupid like getting yourself killed.”


Vax released her and gave her a courtly bow.  “As my Queen commands, it shall be done.”  He grinned at her as a thought struck him.


“Wait a moment.  Did you say that you stole a Godly Boon?  You?” he chuckled.


Her face flushed crimson as she looked askance.  “It was for a good cause,” she said meekly.


Vax threw his head back and laughed.  “We’ll make a pirate of you yet, my love!”


    • Mark Stinson

      I think what most likely is ahead for Eldermont will really allow some of these characters (which are already amazingly developed characters) to take a leap forward.  I'm really looking forward to it.  Pirate Queen, indeed!


      • Marcus Auerilius

        Pirate Queen Beatriz