“Lord Andrew! Come quick! We’re being attacked! There is a regiment of Bishopites on Blakeley soil. Up on the hill! They’re burning our crops. They’re chopping down our fruit trees,” Jacob cried out.
“Aleese, listen to me very carefully. Go to the wine cellar and lock yourself in. You’ll be safe there. I’ll be back as soon as possible. Stay in there and do not come out until I come down and get you. This is very important. Do you understand me?”
Aleese nodded and Andrew ran out and mounted, riding out in front of his army to find and do battle with the Bishopites.
“Carmine!” called Andrew, “Are you SURE they are the Bishopites? How the hell did they get here? We dismantled and buried the transport dock. They have no way to get back here! They cannot possibly be the Bishopites.”
“One in uniform came down and announced to us that he was a Bishopite and they were here to steal our food, chop down our trees, and burn the rest of our farmlands. That’s all we know.”
“Men, fall back. Something’s not right here.” The men stopped and Andrew rode ahead to the hilltop facing the Bishopite army alone, behind them the fruit trees and the farmlands of Blakeley safe and unharmed.
“Bishopites,” he shouted, “we are not your enemy. We will not take part in this war of brother against brother. Take your fight elsewhere and leave the peaceful province of Blakeley at once!”
Just then a man jumped on Andrew out of nowhere and they both were blown up in a cloud of dust and flame with a thunderous crash. Bodily debris flew in the air. Immediately all of the Bishopite army at the top of the hill disappeared.
The stunned Blakeley army was in shock over the loss of their beloved leader. They searched the area for any sign of Lord Andrew, but found nothing. Sad and dejected, they returned to the village in silence.
“He blew them all up! Our Andrew, our Lord of Blakeley, managed to somehow blow up all the Bishopites. To save our land. To save our food, our crops, our trees. To save us. He is a hero. The bravest man in all of Blakeley, the bravest man I have ever known,” said Carmine crying. “And who among us had more to lose than Andrew? No one.”
“Jared, somebody has to tell her. I don’t want to do it.”
“Carmine, you have to do it. She likes you. You’re closer to her than any of the rest of us.”
“Yes, I am! And that’s why I don’t want to be the one to tell her! She’ll hate me for the rest of my life if I bring her the news of his death.”
“No! She won’t. She’ll be broken-hearted because she truly loves him. She’ll sob and cry. And then, she’ll probably go back to Havenhill. She only stayed here with us because of Andrew, to be with him.”
Carmine dismounted and walked into the Manor House.
“Lord Andrew has been killed in battle. He died saving the rest of us. He… He was the bravest man we have ever seen in all our lives. Where is Lady Aleese?”
“She has locked herself in the wine cellar, as Lord Andrew instructed her to do.”
Carmine turned and went down to the cellar. He knocked on the door.
“Lady Aleese, it’s Carmine. Come out.”
“Where is Drew?”
“Lady Aleese? Please, come out,” he begged. “I need to talk to you. It’s about Andrew. He… he’s been…”
She unlocked the door and looked at him. She saw the look on his sad tear-stained face. He didn’t have to say another word. She knew.
“NO! NO!” she cried, falling on the floor. “NO! Do not tell me he is dead! NO!”
“I’m so sorry, Lady Aleese. He died saving all of us, our land, our crops, and our food. Oh, he was so incredibly brave, My Lady! He was majestic, even! He managed to blow them all up. Unfortunately he was in the middle of that explosion.”
“NO!” She pulled herself up. “I feel in my heart that my beloved Drew is not dead!”
“I saw it with my own eyes. I saw him… get blown up.”
“No. It cannot be. Go away, Carmine. I wish to be alone.”
“I understand you want to be alone. But, please, let me help you up to your room. Your ladies can take care of you upstairs. You don’t want to stay down here in this cold, dark cellar by yourself.”
“Drew told me to stay here and wait for him to come and get me. And I’m staying right here. I’m waiting for him to come and get me. Go away.”
“But Lady Aleese…”
“GO THE HELL AWAY!!!” She threw a wine bottle at him. It crashed to the floor and broke into pieces.
Carmine nodded and backed away from her. She slumped back against the wall, slowly sinking to the floor, screaming and sobbing.
“Come for me, Drew! Please, My Love, come for me. I don’t want to go on without you. You told me to stay here and wait until you came for me. I’ll wait for you, Drew. I’ll wait right here. Come for me, My Love. Please, come for me.” She cried some more and soon cried herself to asleep on the cold, damp cellar floor.
She heard something, someone walking on the broken glass from the wine bottle on the floor. A shadowy figure approached her.
“Drew? Drew, My Darling! I knew you would come for me! I knew you wouldn’t desert me. Drew!” She reached for him. The shadowy figure reached out and grabbed her tightly. The light caught a silvery glint from his wristband. They both disappeared.