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10K Illustration, Nick and Lacroix

As We Forgive
a Nicholean representation of "Last Knight"

Easter 1997
last modified April 18, 1999

by Amy R.

PG.   I neither like nor condone Nick's final choice in Forever Knight's finale "Last Knight."  This piece is one attempt to understand it.  Disclaimers, citations and credits are in the endnote of this fanfiction.


          The moon was perfectly full.  But, then, when hasn't it been?

          At that moment, the moon was perfectly full, and the fire higher than high.  But perhaps the need burned too high, too hot, as it blazed through me, the coals of my soul igniting in the flame of her blood.  So long denied, I'd hoped the desire would rot, moulder, waste away under the waters of repression until no spark could light it, for her sake and mine alike.

          But she was the warm breeze forever drying that kindling.  Her companionship embraced my sodden soul like a dry blanket, and I basked in it, deliberately forgetting that my desires, my demons, had long been a desert full of fuel vulnerable to the smallest spark.  She was the light in the window of mortality as I staggered through what we thought were the final steps of this endless night.

          I can't condemn her to this darkness.

          I was stronger when she asked for that directly.  When we thought the world was about to be wrapped in a winter whose spring only immortals could hope to see, still I knew that eternity wasn't long enough to repay the mortgage on a leveraged soul, and I would not sell her into that slavery, not even to myself.  When the night seemed endless, she asked me to bring her into it, and I was strong enough to refuse.

          Why not this night?

          Tonight, she asked not to join me, but for me to join her.  She extended her hand across a bridge I always before thought an illusion, willed into sight by my own desperation, imaginary water more and more clear as the sun is more and more cruel over barren sands.  But she held out her hand, and because I'd seen that bridge crossed, I clasped her hand forever, believing she would draw me back across the chasm by the strength of her love alone.  Because I'd seen that bridge crossed.

          I had seen that bridge crossed.

          The magic that saved my sister, my daughter, my lover, my friend, before I drew her back into this pit: that magic never came to us, who had gambled all that we were on its capricious hand.  Janette condemned me for condemning her, for violating her will, for forcing a choice onto a soul that couldn't resist, and then she left me alone with that lesson.

          I learned it.  I won't repeat my mistake.

          Natalie believed it was science, not magic, that its outcome could be measured, predicted, controlled, and I believed that the science which has often failed me would never fail her.  Her world and mine coming together in this seemed a sign, a sturdy support should the bridge be weak, for beyond science, she believed in the power of our love, which I know she had never betrayed.

          I placed my faith in her faith, mine stronger, hers surer, entwined and indomitable.

          She had faith in me.  In what's beyond.  That we could have a life together.  That this would be a beginning, not an end.

          I have that faith, too.

          "Don't be foolish, Nicholas."

          Is that fear I hear in your voice, Lacroix?  It is: the tremor that invades your being so rarely, reminding you that you do have a soul after all.  I placed my faith in hers, and she gave it back to me in myself.  Now, it leads me after her, to the reckoning that is the price for having a soul.  It's a fair price, and more than fair.  It always was, but I couldn't see.

          "Life is a gift, as sweet as the freshest peach, as precious as a gilded jewel."

          More precious, more sweet.  You've lacked it so long, Lacroix, that your similes are stale, as cold and dead as yourself.  She knew.  Life cannot be measured by the things of this world, things trapped within the cycle of death.

          "I've never been able to understand the logic in willfully surrendering such a treasure."

          Neither have I.

          But while we've been clasping our treasure to us, we've immobilized it, crippled it, shackled, enslaved and stunted it.  I began to understand that on the long road of my quest, as death spurred on her horse to ride beside me, rather than behind.  You have danced many more dances with her than I, Lacroix, but I've come to know her better in this last, strange century.  She does not take from us, and she demands neither tithe nor homage: only freedom and time.

          Death asks of us all only what I have asked of you.

          It's not surrender, not like this.

          When the final strains of the final measure of an opus fade back into the wood of the instrument, the musician has surrendered all he has.  When have either you or I ever stopped in the middle, Lacroix?  Denying the music its perfect completion?  Perfection is in the whole, not the part, and the whole must exist in a moment, for eternity is never complete.

          Now I see that this need not be a loss, but a gain.  I've been learning this so long.

          "What is there to gain?  How dark can your existence be when compared with an eternal void?  Or do you have . . . faith . . . that there is something beyond?"

          I know that there is.

          There's something weak in the knowing, where faith is belief beyond knowing, but you, Lacroix, were the one who first sent me to that knowledge.  I didn't cross the threshold, then, and I didn't cross when I returned there by grace of a machine.  I misunderstood, as you would have me misunderstand.  But yes: oh yes.  Her faith gave me back my own, and I can almost see.

          "What do you see from where you are?  A bright light at the end of the tunnel?  Is it a ray of hope, a glimmer of something better?  Or will it burn you like the morning sun?"

          I see a way home, Lacroix, illuminated beyond ray or glimmer.  I see the path of salvation, and its sun is brighter than you've ever dreamed.  It burns, the sun over the earth only a metaphor for its searing light; it burns, white fire, bringing forward every deed, every thought, every emotion that has ever shamed me, and still more for which I lacked the sense to feel shame.  And in the midst of that hideous, glorious light, Lacroix, I'm loved; I'm forgiven. I listened to her voice, and then, as if I never before had ears, I heard the voice which first spoke love and forgiveness.  In the Word there is the world, and it's been calling to me, gently unceasing, for a long, long time.

          "Are the sounds you hear the trumpeting of Saint Peter's angels, or the screams of Memnoch's tortured souls?"

          You're not listening, Lacroix.  For eight centuries, you've been inside my head; don't pretend you're not now.

          "You can't answer that, can you?  Because you will never know the answer until after the deed is done."

          But I do.

          Natalie had the answer, and gave her life to give it to me.  How can I do less?  It's frightening, and you know it is, because you turned away from the answer at least once yourself, Lacroix; all of our kind must.  Frightened, we turn away, turn back, and come across.  We're offered everything except one thing: the choice.

          Natalie knew.  We must be more than this, or nothing would make any sense.  What more we are is the choice.

          I know where to find it, now; I know which one to make.

          "And is your faith really that strong?"


          Surprised?  So am I, a little.  It always was strong, though; it just hid behind the fear, like a dusty painting behind a thick tapestry, and magnified the fear, like an endless row of mirrors.  Natalie banished the fear . . . .

          No, I'm not drunk on her blood.

          I can't trace back the chain of events that lowered us to this place; I can't erect a detour sign in the road and save us all for another path in this world.  Regret, I'm still carrying; the load is no lighter.  I would give her the full measure of her days under this sun, if I could.  I would trade the life I dreamed of for the life she should have taken for granted.  I can't.  I can't bring the dead back to life.  No mortal can; no vampire can.

          Only God.

          But I can see the next road, and I want to begin it.  Death is the consequence of life, and if it came in grafted to the root of sin, it goes out with the blooming of salvation.

          "And so . . . in your eyes, I'm the devil."

          No.  Not the devil, Lacroix.

          "What then?"

          You . . . are my closest friend.

          I know that you have loved me as well as you are capable of loving.

          And I forgive you for it.

          I forgive you it all, in all times, in all places.  I forgive you the torture, the torment, the abuse.  Lies, murders, humiliations.  Taunting, stealing, interfering, imprisoning, destroying.  I forgive you the scars that have long since healed, and those which will never heal.  I forgive you, mind and body, heart and soul.  I forgive you, as I hope to be forgiven.

          "Damn you, Nicholas!"

          Bless you, Lacroix.





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