Disclaimer: All Escaflowne characters in this fic belong to their creator(s).  No profit is being made out of this. This is a last minute crappy piece of work written in desperation for a school assignment. Please do not distribute it in any form.

Final Night

By Geraldine Cheong
10th September 1999

Allen Schezar sauntered along the dark hallways of the palace.  Dying light from the setting sun streamed in through the huge windows that lined the right side of the hallway.  He paused for a moment to watch what might be his last sunset.  The battle against Zaibach will commence at dawn. At dawn, the green fields that stretched out before him would be painted a bloody red.  Bodies would litter the countryside, wails and screams would rend the skies.  He shut his azure blue eyes to rid himself of the horrific scene before him.  He still had so many things left undone, so many things left unsaid.  Minute details in life that he had taken for granted once before. Mistakes he had made in life that he now had no chance to correct. All this weighed heavily on his mind as the last rays of the sun glinted off his long golden hair.  He absentmindedly stroked the white scabbard that sheathed his sword.  A cool eddy of air swept through the hallway like an unseen phantom, lifting a few strands of his silky hair in the process.

Soft footsteps approached.  They were the small light steps of a child. Allen turned towards the newcomer.  The young prince of Furido walked towards Allen with a confidence that many his age lacked.  Allen bowed as he neared.  His heart warmed to see the young prince Shido.

"Allen?" Shido sounded unsure.

"Yes, my liege?" came Allen's smooth reply.

"Do you think we will win tomorrow's battle?" Shido's voice trembled a little though he made no outward show of his anxiety.

"I will not lie to you.  It will be hard but we will do our best.  We are evenly matched in the strength of our armies but Zaibach has a distinctive advantage in technology."  Allen said a cool even voice. There was no need to lie to the young prince.  Shido knew.

"Allen, my mother told me a lot about you being the youngest person to ever be appointed the title 'Heavenly Knight' and all your valiant endeavours.  I know you are a faithful follower and true friend to have in times of crisis.  I wish I could get to know you better."  Shido looked wistfully out at the darkened sky.

Allen got down on one knee before Shido.  Allen wished he could take the young child before him into his arm and comfort him, tell him that everything would be alright and that no one would be able to hurt him for he would protect him with his very life.  He wanted to tell Shido that they had the whole of this night to find out all they could about each other.  However, he simply said, "As do I."

Shido looked sad.  He reached out to touch a lock of Allen's golden hair and looked at Allen with eyes that mirrored his own.  "Goodnight, Allen.  Rest well for tomorrow's battle.  Heavenly Knight, Allen Schezar, good luck."

"Thank you." Allen kept his head bowed as Shido walked away.

Shido was the one mistake that Allen could never hope to rectify.  It was a bittersweet memory.  They had been lovers, Princess Marianne and him.  The pair of happy young lovers was blissfully unaware of the tumultuous days ahead of them.  They were the perfect couple, a beautiful gentle princess with a young handsome knight by her side.  Allen stopped seeing the Princess once her arranged marriage to the King of Furido had been announced.  However, the damage had been done, Shido was the son he had with Marianne.  The King of Furido was deeply in love with Marianne.  The King insisted that Shido was his son.  All these he did out of his love for Marianne in order to spare them the embarrassment of having their shameful affair made known to the public.  Rather than let Shido suffer for the sins of his parents, Allen decided to go along with the King's kindness and mercy.  Allen relinquished all his rights over Shido as his father to the King and he remained a Knight in silent service.  Marianne had since fallen prey to Death's greedy rampage.  All Allen had left was his little group of compatriots and Shido.

Come dawn and he might never get a chance to see Shido again.  The cold hand of fear sneaked up upon him and gripped his heart so tightly that Allen felt as if he could no longer breathe easy.  He hugged himself as he strolled out into the gardens.  He did not think he would be able to sleep that night.  He wanted to enjoy everything about it, the cool night breeze, the serenity and peace, the calm before the storm; the fresh scent of life on the planet and the leaves whispering amongst themselves in the treetops.  He wanted to experience the quiet beauty of Mother Nature before everything was destroyed by the machinations of man.  It was his final night on the great earth.

Dawn approached.

The End.