By Stephanie

It had finally come to this. Rakura, the dark queen on the
nether realm, had finally been pushed back and cornered in her own
castle. The last remaining members of her army were grouped
around the castle, defending the evil queen til the end.

Out on the battle field stood Anubis. His army was spread out
in the distance, ready to make the final assualt upon his command.
Glancing around him, he saw the movements of his men. All of them
were anxious to end this 7 year long battle. For seven long years,
he and his army had worked to force Rakura from the mortal realm and
they had so far suceeded.

Next to Anubis stood the slendor form of an auburn haired woman. She
wore a silver breastplate and a short leather skirt with shin guards
that matched her breastplate. In her right hand, she held a long
jeweled sword that shone slightly in the afternoon sun. She had a
look of determination on her face and her hair blew slightly in the

She turned and looked at Anubis, the man with the flaming red hair
and sea green eyes of determination and loyalty. He held a long sword
in his hand. It was perhaps the only weapon that could destroy the evil
queen for good. He turned to the woman and touched her shoulder to be
sure she was not some mirage. He smiled slightly and took her face into
his hands.

"We have her trapped." The soothing voice of the woman calmed him

"Yes, she has nowhere to run." He agreed, but still having a
feeling of anxiety within him.

"It will all be over soon Anubis." She reached up with her long
slendor fingers and touched his cheek.

"None too soon." He responded lowly. He knew the end of this battle
would mean their seperation. Maybe a few years of happiness, but
never a lifetime together.

"You don't regret out decision do you?" The woman asked quietly.

"Everytime I think of what we could have had I regret it. But there
is nothing we can do about that Mia." He turned her face to his and
took in her beauty, strength, and determination. If only they had not
promised to put the world before their own desires.

She nodded, afraid to speak, afraid the words she would saw would
only bring more pain to them both. She looked around them and saw the
tired men who never lost faith that Anubis would lead them to victory
and the end of this long war. She knew this day would bring an end to
the horrible war. Anubis took her hand, holding it in his own, and gave
it a reassuring squeeze. They loved eachother, but the words did not
need to be spoken to be heard.

Anubis leaned forward to her. "It's time." He whispered in her ear.
She nodded silently and he let go of her hand. He turned to his army,
Mia standing beside him. They both mounted seperated horses and Anubis
rose his sword above his head. When he gave the signal, shouts and
yells echoed from his army and they charged forward.

From their position on the hillside, Anubis and his companion watched
the raging battle. The queen, dressed in black and mounted on a black
horse, was urging her men to attack and defend her. They were greatly
outnumbered and she knew the end was near. The battle was raging on,
Anubis' men slashing their way through the wall of soldiers attempting
to protect their queen.

A crack of thunder was heard overhead and a flash of black lightning
lit up the air. The queen's dead soldiers stirred and rose, their eyes
glowing with an eery blackness. Anubis gritted his teeth. She was
using her black magic to help her. His men were being swarmed with
the new soldiers and they were being forced to retreat. With a cry of
anger, Anubis took off on his horse towards the battle. Mia followed,
raising her sword and hacking at soldiers along the way. Now in the
heap of the battle, Anubis leapt to the ground and began to fight with
his men. The woman landed gracefully next to him and held her weapon
before her, a small smile crossing her lips as she waited for the enemy
to attack again.

Anubis felt a sudden urge of love for the woman. She had stood by him
through everything---when the enemy seemed to momentarily win to the
battles where he won easily. She had been there on the cold nights
to hold him when he blamed himself for the death of so many great
soldiers, and she was there in the celebrations when they won and
drove the queen farther from their realm.

He wanted to tell her everything. But he sensed his time was short.
The queen had too much power and he too little. In one horrible
moment, he knew he would never be able to tell her anything again.
The queen's troops came closer and with a surge started attacking.
Anubis pushed his way through them towards the queen, the auburn haired
woman by his side. Anubis looked about him at the fear in his soldier's
eyes. He saw the woman beside him struggling to keep hope as she slashed
at more soldiers. He himself took down a few beore pressing on.

All around them, the battle continued to rage. Men screaming in pain,
others screaming with blood thirsty cries. Slowly, the queen's army
began to shrink. Even with the reinforcements it was not enough. Again,
the sky filled with clouds, the what seemed like hundreds of soldiers
appeared and began fighting again. The queen had called more
reinforcments. Anubis watched as his men were being slayed, but he
could not help them. He and the woman were struggling to keep their
own as it was.

But he could not give up. Too many had died. Too many had died
trusting that he would win the battle and bring the dark queen down.
So many of his men had died trusting him. He backed up, only to
find nowhere to go. The woman still stood beside him, fighting
off the raging soldiers. It was time to make his last stand. He
would end the battle once and for all. They were losing the battle,
but the woman beside him was not giving up. He gasped in pain as
something hit his side hard and pierced into his flesh. Mia, enraged
and angry, jumped at the man who had hit him and slashed him easily.
She helped Anubis so his feet. He held onto his side, which was
covered in blood. He gritted his teeth. He saw his men all around
him. They were either dead or dying. He saw the dimming hope in the
woman's eyes and saw her tired face looking down at him.

Anubis felt the frustration and rage burn through him. He was the
failure. He had lost this battle. He could stand the pain of losing
no longer. The battle was lost. The war was lost. His men had all
died in vain. With one last act of desperatoin, he pushed away from
the woman and rose his sword. With the last of his strength, he
showed his last gesture of defiance. In one quick moment, he flung
his sword with all the strength that remained in him. The motion
dropped him to his knees, but through the pain he managed to look up
to watch his sword fly towards its target. A grin crossed his lips as
her heard the dark queen's cry of agony, his sword had hit its target.
He smiled contently as he saw her figure fall from its horse. The
soldiers that had been attacking dropped, all of them returned to their
dead state.

The ground rubbled and from the queen's body emerged a bright red
light which in turn cascaded over the land, sending a wave of powerful
energy at everything. Anubis was hit hard and he saw the woman
knocked onto her knees. When the rumbling stopped, he was lying on
his back, groaning in pain. The queen was dead, but she had made a
final attempt to kill them all. With Mia's help, Anubis sat up. Slowly,
the surviving men stood, all of them tired and blood soaked.

Anubis found that he could no longer move. Breathing had become much
harder than he thought it should be. The woman cradled his head in
her arms, her eyes heavy with tears.

"We have won." He told her, the joy in his voice unmistakable.

"Yes," she agreed. "In the end was you who saved the day." She
tried to smile, but failed. "You saved the day just as your men knew
you would." He tried to nod, but found the motion made him feel sick.
His eyesight was failing and he was no longer sure of what was going
on around him.

"What happened? The blast..." He murmered, trying to smile.

"The queen made a last attempt to kill us." Mia answered solemnly.

"I didn't know."

"There's no way you could." She knew he blamed himself for the death
of his men. He did not know that by killing her, he would kill some
of them.

"My men? How are my men?" She looked down at him, then around her.
Dead, almost all of them. Only a handful were limping away alive.

"Your men are fine." She lied. "Most have survived." She could not
bare to tell him the truth. It would only cause him more pain. Her words
soothed him.

"That's good." he told her. "Very good. Now that's it's over I can
sleep. I'm so tired."

She wanted to screem at him, wanted to order him to stay awake, but
knew it would do no good. In the fading light, she could see that he
looked peaceful. At ease for the first time she'd known him, he was at
peace now that the war was finally over.

She felt him shudder once and realized that he was gone. Gently, she
laid him down upon the ground. For a long time she kneeled beside him,
remembering their sacrafice.

They could have had a few fleeting years as husband and wife, but the
cost to the world would have been too great. They agreed to forego their
pleasure so that others could find happiness.

As tears filled her eyes again, she realized they had been cheated.
They had expected to have more time together, but that had been cruelly
snatched from them. Without thinking about it, she lay down next to him,
her head on his chest. She closed her eyes and sobbed, the tears flowing
off her cheeks and onto the chestplate of his armor.

When the remainder of Anubis' army finally found him, the aubrun haired
woman they had often seen was laying beside him, both of them in eternal
sleep. She could not live without Anubis and had given up on life for
she could never find hapiness without him. The two were buried on the
battle field side by side. No one knew where either of them came from,
but the few who had seen their happiness together knew that there were
now somewhere together in eternal peace and happiness until the end of