The AOF Talinforian headquarters was bustling with action. From the outside, it was just an old mansion, set atop a beautiful hill. One the inside…well on the inside it was just a harmless museum. However, just like in Shalenvale, for those who belonged there, it was the most important building in Talinfor.

The place had looked better than ever. Baru and Mika were glad to be back at Shadow Hill. As head of the AOF Talinforian headquarters, they no longer had much time to do mercenary work. Besides, now that Talinfor had signed a peace treaty agreeing to stay out of Shalenvale forever, Menstine might turn his wrath inward. If that happened, Baru and Mika would be ready to take up their original cause: fighting for the freedom and justice of their people.

Adron looked over his kingdom. The city was thriving. If this kind of growth continued, the small town would be bigger than Nekuna in fifty years. Everything was over and he had accomplished everything that he wanted to accomplish. New Kalim was a beautiful, thriving city and Adron was a fair and celebrated ruler.

Aigo's funeral was an elegant ceremony. An incredible amount of people had shown up, most of them, Kya and Kale didn't recognize.

Many of his friends in the Shalenvale army had shown up. There were some people milling about whom Kale assumed were from Nekuna. Even Talien had come over to Shalenvale for the funeral.

Finally, Taiden and Caisan were in attendance.

A deep, soft organ accompanied the broken cries and soft singing that filled the chamber as the casket rested in the front of the room.

Taiden performed the ceremony, laying Aigo to rest in Halinor's care.

After the burial, Kale walked over to Aigo's lonely stone.

"You are my brother, Aigo. Always will be…"

Kya couldn't bring herself to verbalize any of her thoughts. Thousands of ideas were going through her head, she didn't need to say them allowed for them to be any more true. She was afraid that if she opened her mouth, she would be once again unable to stop crying.

Caisan had a much harder time dragging himself toward that stone.

"Aigo. Son. You are my son. Kiyoko raised a great man. I'm glad that I wasn't able to screw that up. I'm gonna miss ya' son. You are my son, and I'll always love you."

Caisan knelt down and laid something on the plot of dirt. It was a little staff, the staff that Aigo used to train with. Caisan had held onto it all of these years.

Kya and Kale sat alone in a small inn in Eidel.

"So what now? Where do we go? What do we do?" Kale asked.

"I say we go home," stated Kya.

"You mean back to Talinfor? Forget about the Open Lands?"

"Yes. I think its time to go back to our people, Kale."

"Our people?"

"Our people. I'll always be an Halinage, but our home is Talinfor. We don't belong in the Open Lands. Kale, we belong in the free land of Talinfor."

"But that place doesn't exactly exist yet."

"Exactly. Kale, don't you see? That's why we have to go back. We have to go back home."

"Ya know, I've been starting to think that way too over the last few days…but Kya…what about us? What about our life together?"

"We will always have a life together! Menstine can never take that away from us, not ever!"

"I just… don't want to fight anymore, Kya. I don't want to kill, I don't want to win. All I want to do is be with you. Just that be with you. Not fight with you."

"I'm not going to play dumb with you, Kale. We both know that Talinfor will always be there. We'll always have to fight. But we're promised to always be on the winning side. Because, Kale we are the good guys.

The struggle won't ever end and you know that deep down. You know that because when struggle ends so life does with it. That's what life is. But that's why you're here. To help me when I can't go on. That's why we are together. We'll always have to fight, but we'll always be right there, making one more crack in Menstine's wall of oppression.

It's true, I'm not saying that you won't have to fight Kale, I'm saying that I would rather be with you back home, our home…our home the way it is now. I'd rather be at home with you than always be running away with you. I'd rather struggle alongside you, than be anywhere else without you.

Besides, what happens when we get to the Open Lands? When we live in a little secluded shack just me and you? When we ignore the suffering that is going on in our own home? What happens then? How do we ignore that pain? How do we turn our backs on the people we love?

Let's go back, Kale. Let's go make our home the free country that it's supposed to be.

We can still be together, Kale. And we will be. I'll never leave you, Kale. Right now, we need to be in Talinfor. If it were Hell itself, I would rather be there with you, than in Halinor's kingdom without you."

Taiden sat by the old well. Never before had he been filled with such joy and yet such grief at the same time. It was an odd feeling.

Now, it seemed as if it were a past life when he was married to Meliku. So much had changed since then. He wasn't sure if he had gained or lost. Things were just different now.

It was then sitting there, deep in thought, that Taiden had heard a familiar voice.


Taiden sat in silence for a moment.

"What in the world?" He dared not turn around for fear that this wonderful hallucination would end.


"That is no hallucination, nor is it a mirage or any other sort of trickery…"

"Oh my god!" Taiden shouted, making himself look immature and foolish. He whipped around and there she was, more beautiful than sight his mind's eye could imagine. Suddenly, Taiden wanted never to see another girl again, fearing that her presence would take away from Meliku's stunning beauty as she stood, smiling before him.

They ran toward each other and embraced. Taiden was getting dizzy, standing there thinking about being with Meliku. He couldn't process everything that had just happened. In one second the object of his entire being had suddenly rushed back into his life.

Taiden could faintly hear Halinor's laughter. It was a joyous laugh that was at the same time immensely powerful.

"But how? Why?" Taiden shouted.

"Because you have done what you were called to do. The people of Shalenvale are born of my spirit, I can return my spirit to them if I so choose. Taiden, don't kid yourself. You have done a wonderful thing in the eyes of Halinor. You deserve everything you have before you."

"Halinor… I don't even know how to feel. Some of those things I said…"

"Were said rightfully. It has been a horrifyingly painful journey. Regret nothing that you have said to me. You went through a lot. I've even done some things that I thought were best for both of us. Things I realize I shouldn't have. You were hurt badly, I don't ignore that fact. The important thing is that you remained faithful where most would have given up. Because of your extreme faith you will receive a reward no mortal has ever experienced. You will never have to taste the bitter sting of death. Neither of you. Instead, you will go on, to enjoy each other's embrace forever."