Empress Jurai Ayeka knew she could no longer prevent the inevitable. When she had started her journey with the knights, Azaka had told her war would come in her lifetime, and she had prayed these past 15 years that he would be wrong. As the regal-tressed woman wrote her declaration, she thought of her beloved husband, admiral of her fleets, and the battles he would lead, their people he would have to order to their death. As she scripted the named of their eternal foe, she thought of her twins and the hardships they would face, the peaceful life they could no longer have. As she signed the document, she thought of Tenchi and his family on Earth, how they will no doubt be involved in a galactic conflict once again.
But, Ayeka had no choice now. Jurai had to stand and lead, to be the example Tsunami had wanted the nation to be, lest the Darkness fall over the entire galaxy.
Never before had her tiara key felt so heavy.
Alone, she peered into each of her children's darkened rooms, worrying about what she had wrought for them. Her son was growing so strong under Azaka's instruction. Her daughter was becoming so lovely with Sasami's guidance. The monarch had been so blessed by their birth, watching both at play in the fields around the palace. Daily, she had put her responsibilities aside to spend a few hours with them, hearing of their day's adventures, watching their bright eyes dance with excitement. How she loved listening to them go on.
However, Ayeka had seen the Darkness in the flesh, felt it tear her soul apart. While she had matured and grown far stronger through all her torment, she whispered a prayer to Tsunami, her dear sister Sasami, that these two children would be spared such horrible knowledge.
A chill shot through her as she held her arms close. Then, a firm arm wrapped around her shoulders. She smiled distantly, knowing well the embrace of her mate. For that brief moment, she ignored her worries as a monarch and pulled her man's arms around her, feeling his protective warmth around her, watching their children sleep.
Tomorrow, the empress would declare to the galaxy that Jurai and the Galactic Union were at war with Ryua and its allies. Tomorrow, innumerable lives for years to come would be shattered by her words.
Tonight, she just wanted to be together with her family one last time, to savor this one last moment of peace, to remember why she must wage this horrible war.
See you in the future.