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The Road To Resurrection
by Christine Carpenter


"Sister, it is time you knew the truth. Though Orakio and I have fought for many years, we finally realize that we have been deceived. An evil force from times beyond legend is using us to satisfy its desire for pain and suffering. We are joining forces to fight this ancient evil. In case we never return, I leave you the pendant. You will hear this when you are ready. Goodbye."

Laya sighed and placed her sister's pendant around her neck, then went back over her belongings in her sack. 7 trimates and three moon dews. "Hope that's enough….but I don't know what good Moon Dew will do me if I'm critically injured and can't use it on myself." She thought for a brief moment of sneaking into one of the other's rooms and replacing it out…but she didn't want to run the risk of waking them. She hoped to be in Terminus long before they realized she was gone. Laya stood and picked up her sister's empowered Nei Bow, and strapped it to her back before putting on a thick cape. "Fiblira's may protect from monsters, but they don't do much to keep out the cold. " She muttered. She then quietly slipped out of her room at the Mystoke Inn and walked out into the night.

Laya walked up to the gates of Mystoke Castle. It looked even more dark and dreary at night. But once it was a beautiful palace, as grand as the EsperMansion itself, and she ran through it's sparkling halls without a care in the world. But then the war came, and the palace became a labyrinth, meant to keep the Espers safe and the enemy confused if they made it past the castle walls. It was supposed to be the Jewel of the Alisia III. The testament to all the glory Palm once was. But it's glory was never realized, it now only served as a shelter for the souls of those she once knew and loved. She kneeled before it's rusted gates, and grasped the pendant around her neck.

"I swear to you, Laya," she cried out. "that I promise to finish what you started long ago. I will fulfill that duty on my own, and see to it that your legacy and name will live forever in the hearts of all, and I will tell stories of how it was, and show the people of Alisia III their true heritage, so that the glory of our beloved homeworld will be reborn."

"That's quite a tall order to fill, princess. One I don't think you can do on your own."

Laya looked behind her too see that Wren was standing there.

"You followed me!" She stood up in a huff. "Don't bother stopping me, Wren. This isn't your fight. It's my duty to stop the Dark Force and Rulakir." Wren smiled.

"it's not your duty alone, Laya. It's Our Duty. Your sister didn't mean for you to fight alone. She and Orakio couldn't even destroy it, only contain it. They knew it was too strong at that time. It's been weakened from 1,000 years of peace, but still to strong for you to go alone. You'll be dead before you can get through the gates of Lashute, providing you find a way to get up there."

Laya was silent for a few minutes, staring at the ground. She then looked up at him. "How old are you, Wren?"

"I'm…umm…" he question caught him off-guard. "I'm about 1,068 years old, approximately, I guess….I'm not too sure…."

"1,042 years. I was born on a planet that hasn't existed in over a millennium. Countless generations have come and gone. I look at the sky, and the star patterns are totally different from what I remember. Everyone I knew, I loved, is dead. 1,042 years…yet I've really only lived 21 of them. I look like a young girl, but my soul is as old as yours. I envy you, Wren. While I slept, you got to live your life. You got to see the world change, to see friends, to raise children and enjoy your life to it's fullest. You can go to battle tomorrow, and if you don't survive, at least you will have left something behind. From the moment I stepped into the cryo-chamber, I've walked the road to dead." She didn't cry, but her eyes betrayed a anguish and pain that Wren had never seen before. "All I know now is how to be is the martyr. My life exists only for Laya now. I gave up my name, my chance for a normal life so that I may finish her cause. I…..I gave up Nial for her." Only after saying his name did the tears come. "If I could rewind the clock, and go back to when Laya asked me to do this for her….I would have refused, and never thought twice about my decision. Saying yes is only the first if many, many regrets in my so-called life."

"Laya…." Wren felt as if he'd been punched in the gut. He and Mieu had been asked to make sacrifices by Orakio, but their price was small in comparison to the price Laya had to pay in order to save them all. It sickened him that someone would put such a burden on their own kin. "I…didn't know."

"No one did. Lune was put in suspended animation too…but his sole purpose was not to finish the war, but to come awake me when the time was right, so that we could fight Dark Force. But his and Alair's systems malfunctioned, and they woke up 23 years too soon…And when Alair went to find me, she was captured, and that sparked the war all over again. I didn't know until you, Mieu and Nial arrived that Orakio had sent you on the same mission."

"But….I'm confused. Why do you say you gave up Nial? I thought you didn't love him? You didn't seem to care when I brought you back to Aridia after he announced his engagement."

"You're so wrong…I did love him. More than I've loved anyone in my entire life. He was so kind and gentle…and had such a peaceful soul. He hated fighting as much as I did, but he helped me readjust to the new world, and showed me that I still had a chance to live, to not allow myself to be a slave to my mission. But during our stay on Dahlia…I could see that he would have a better chance, a better life with Alair than me. They were becoming closer, and I knew if I did marry him, I wouldn't be able to complete my promise to my sister when it was time. So I returned to the temple so that I could sleep to forget my brief taste of freedom and life…and to forget him. And I did….but Aron awakened those feelings in me again. I…I don't care if I die….but I can't accept Aron putting himself into danger like that. He's done so much already. This isn't his mission…" Laya faltered in her words, trying to choke back tears. "This isn't…"

Wren went over to Laya and placed a hand on her shoulder. "It is his mission, Laya. It became his mission the moment he laid eyes on you. I'm sorry that you felt that you had to give up so much, and that you've been denied many things. All of us have had to make sacrifices to get here today. But we had too, for the sake of everyone on the Alisia III. Tomorrow, we will go and fight Rulakir and Dark Force, and we will win! You will have the chance to finally start your life over and live it the way you want, the way you should have all along."

Laya wiped away a tear. "I don't know…after so long of living for others…"

"Then stop it!"

"What?" Laya was in total shock.

"Don't fight tomorrow because you feel you have to. Fight because you want to. Fight for your life, for your future! You want the chance to live, so do so! Stop playing the martyr! Otherwise, Dark Force has won already, and the destruction of you family is complete, and you really did waste your life. What will it be? The road to resurrection, or the road to dead?"

Laya stared at Wren in utter shock and disbelief. Never had anyone said anything of the like to her! Give up her mission? Don't fight for her sister, but for herself? Throw away over a thousand years of disappointment and anguish. "I….I can't do that! I have my duty!" her voice quivered.

Wren sighed and looked sad. "Then that is all you will ever have." He then turned and walked back to the inn. Laya stood in silence for a long time, then turned and looked back at Mystoke Castle. She played the pendant's message once more.

"Sister, it is time you knew the truth. Though Orakio and I have fought for many years, we finally realize that we have been deceived. An evil force from times beyond legend is using us to satisfy its desire for pain and suffering. We are joining forces to fight this ancient evil. In case we never return, I leave you the pendant. You will hear this when you are ready. Goodbye."

"A chance to live…a chance for a life with Aron. A chance to see my own children grow and live, and carry on." She grasped the pendant to her chest. "Is this what you really wanted for me sister? Not to give myself over to the dead of long ago, but to preserve the life of those to come, including my own? To find a new future instead of trying to return to the past?" Silence….but then she then heard a voice. It was so faint she believed it at first to be the wind.

"Yes."

Laya's eye's were wide for a moment, then she closed them, breathing a sigh of relief. She kissed the pendant. "Thank you sister. You were right, I just never understood until now." She whispered, then spun around and ran back to the inn as the first rays of daylight lit the dome, signaling a new day.

Author's note: This story is an update of one I wrote 7 years ago. I improved the dialog, and added reference to the Paula Cole song "Road to Dead." That song really does fit the character I envisioned Laya to be.

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