OOC- Well, we've finally made it. I'm feeling all foolish and sentimental now. A little relieved too, actually. Being a GM is harder than one may think.
I couldn't decide for the longest time how I wanted to end this. At first, I was going to jump a couple weeks, tell the tale of how Jadis' attempt to escape on the day of his coronation failed and everyone except him lived happily ever after, but it just didn't seem to work. I finally realized that it was because one does not recover from soul implosion in a few measly weeks. But then, how long should it take? And what factors did Arren's running off have to do with it? I spent days agonizing over it, and this is the result of my mental pain. Though if anyone is interested in seeing how Jadis's agony took place, I could post a bonus ending. If anyone's interested. I may do it anyway, just for the heck of it.
So I must thank you all for taking so long, so I could solve my big problem.lol how unusual is that?
Wow this was a long OOC. You must be bored to tears. Here's the final draft. Hope you like it!2 Years Later...
The kingdom is prosperous. The reluctant king had come to fill his role beautifully, and the country flourishes. Villages have been rebuilt and repopulated. Places like Gol'lath have been torn down, and fresh new places built in their stead. All is at peace.
Well, for the most part.
Occasionally, there are robbers in the forests, and a few of the Dark creatures may show themselves. Instantly the Band will go out, but always they are too late. The Angel had already destroyed them.
The Angel. The people speak of him in whispers of awe. Dressed in white, with brilliant aura and resplendent wings, a sword arm like no other and a face that sends even Darkspawn running howling. Where the shadows appear, so does he, sending them back to the black abyss, and disappearing as suddenly as he came.
Nigal would say nothing, nor try to trace this Angel, but just return home to tell Emagene of the news. The White Priestess, visibly aged from her worries and cares, takes comfort that her son is at least well. Life continues as it has, till one day, on the eve of the second anniversary of the Darkness' defeat...
Jadis stared at himself in the mirror expressionlessly. His face had lost its youthfulness, but he still had the energy that boiled under the calm smooth surface. Now he wore the finery he had despised, was expected to wear constantly. He had eventually accustomed to it, but he never learned to like it, as so many claimed. He smiled, just a little. "So hard to believe its been two years..."
"You mean almost two years." Jadis turned as Shaddoc stepped in. "It'll be tomorrow that its two."
Jadis smiled warmly. Shaddoc looked a little older, but that was the extent of the toll time collected. The two of them had remained close, though it irked Jadis sometimes that Shaddoc could come to the castle and somehow escape being dressed up like a peacock. Then again, it was a relief too. "So you ready for tomorrow?" he asked.
"Ready for tomorrow, no. Ready to collapse where I stand, yes." He walked into the room and fell back onto the bed, looking completely at ease. "I don't know why Nigal sends the Band out anymore. Arren does all the work anyway..." He paused, felt at the bed, then said, "You know, this thing is way too darn soft..."
"Tell me about it. I have to sleep in it, Dolt. The one time I finally couldn't take it anymore and tried sleeping on the floor...well, next morning, when the maid came in and saw me on the floor, she had hysterics because she thought I was hurt."
Shaddoc chuckled. "I think I remember that." He rolled over slightly, the groaned tragically. "You and I, we're not made for this sort of life."
"I seem to recall you were one of the ones who forced me into it." Jadis walked over and rapped Shaddoc's forehead. "Too late to have seconds thoughts."
"That was fun," Shaddoc said unrepentantly. Jadis instantly fell on him, and in short notice the two were wrestling on the floor.
"Your majesty?" a voice called from outside in the corridor. Jadis, focused on getting Shaddoc pinned, dismissed it. "Jadis?" the voice repeated, outside the door now. "Are you in here?" Someone opened the door. "Jadis, I...oh!"
Jadis paused, then looked up guiltily. Then he saw who it was and leapt up eagerly. "Ethinine!" he said, pumping the Grand Sage's apprentice's hand. "You're here! Where's everyone else?"
"Getting settled," he replied. "So I came ahead." He glanced at Shaddoc, who was getting up. "I'm sorry if I interrupted anything."
"Oh, nothing we can't continue later," Jadis said, smiling back at Shaddoc. "So how is everyone?"
"Doing well. Emagene seems to be recovering, but she still won't smile. Neoman is well, as are the rest of the Guardians of Light. Callysta is...wonderful." His face flushed just a little.
Jadis grinned. "And how are you and Callysta?" he asked.
Ethinine shuffled his feet slightly, then reluctantly mumbled, "I was going to ask her tomorrow."
Jadis smiled. "Congrats and good luck. I see tomorrow will hold more entertainment than I thought."
"Jadis!" Ethinine protested, his face burning.
It was a dark night. But he had grown accustomed to them long ago. The aching loneliness remained, though. His legs had stopped hurting, though that was most likely because they had gone numb. It didn't matter anymore. Nothing matter. Except the embrace of death, he might find peace there. But for now, he had to sleep.
Sleep was painful. Sleep always came with the same dream.Then a light appeared in front of him, small at first, but quickly growing, shining through the flames, diminishing them. As the light grew, the flames receded, and eventually died, and Arren was left alone with the light. Slowly, it began to shift, take form, and soon it took the appearance of a girl. She smiled at Arren, then began to fade away.
No, no, don't go! He cried out in his mind, but he couldn't speak past the smoke. He reached his hand out to her decreasing light, Stop, don't leave me!! But it wasn't enough. Perhaps she couldn't hear his thoughts, and even if she could, perhaps she herself didn't have the power to stop it. No, no, NO!
A voice calls out, the voice he knew so well.
"The North Tower Arren. Look for me in the North Tower!"
The Next Day...
Jadis suffered through the proceedings, though at least only his close friends could tell. The ceremony of welcoming the Heroes of Light, as the people had lovingly dubbed them. That made things interesting, since Jadis was one of them and the king, and Jadis would often snicker as he remembered the officials trying to get around that
one. Eventually, they had decided to just do his separately, specially because he was the king after all, despite his protests. So he got even with them by disappearing and then coming riding in with everyone else...in his old clothes, adding insult to injury. The other heroes appeared to be struggling to keep straight faces, Jadis just beamed so innocently, and Shaddoc had the here-we-go-again look on his face again. Despite their annoyance, the officials rallied and went through the ceremonies as was the custom of the day, though Jadis received a lot of dirty looks. As a peace offering, he opened up the banquet as king, and things settled after that.
Seating had been interesting too, for a while. It had taken all of his efforts to get a table just for himself and his companions without the fawning nobles or crafty officials. One of his arguments had been that the heroes, separated so long, needed some time to be with each other. What many people didn't know was that most of them actually still lived together, in Neoman's mountain home. Neoman and Ethinine traveled a lot, as did Erasmus on his own quests, but the others not so much, so the lie held. Jadis hoped it would hold till it was trapped in tradition.
All through the meal,a s they caught up with each other, Jadis noticed Ethinine glancing at Callysta and fingering something hidden in the folds of his robe. He smiled knowingly, wondering when Ethinine would make his move. He expected it would be during the Ceremony of Lights, since it was easy to slip off in the night-cast shadows...even if Neoman and Erasmus' show chased most of them away. He was looking forward to it.
Demetrius still had the look-don't-touch aura, but the talk-to-me-you-die one had died down a little. Heck, he was smiling just a little at a comment Nigal had made. Yeah, obviously, the grim swordsman had mellowed out a but. Jadis' private opinion was that Callysta had something to do with it. That girl could work a smile out of a stone.
Erasmus and Neoman were engaged in another discussion, something to do with history. Emagene joined in every now and then. Callysta and Ethinine were together, discussing ordinary things, and it was obvious to anyone looking that Ethinine was nervous. Nigal, Shaddoc and Jadis joined in with whatever part of the discussion suited them, and Jadis felt happy to see them all again.
Something blinked overhead, and he glanced up. A little light hung suspended from the ceiling, held by no string or material means. It winked like a little star, then faded.
Jadis stared a moment, trying to decide what it was, when something in the conversation drew his attention."They all look well."
"Except for Emagene, but then, one could understand. The poor mother."
"I note Arren is absent again."
"Are we ever going to get out of here?"
"Why did I help you get your body back?"
"Because you kept getting confused by who was who."
"Well, when you stop talking you all look the same..."
"Do you think he's killed himself yet?"
"No, we would have felt it by now. Besides, he should be on his way now."
"Huh? What makes you so sure?"
"I just am."
"You know, he really is dense. If he'd just come around earlier, his pain and ours would have ended a long time ago."
"I know, but...I love him for it. He wouldn't be Arren otherwise."
"Ready for this?" Erasmus asked, smiling at the crowd. He and Neoman stood facing each other, both smiling. Erasmus held up his hands, and flames filled them. Light filled Neoman's palms, then they took the other's hand. The magics blurred a moment, then they flung it into the air. It shot straight up, then exploded in a series of beautiful sparks.
Jadis joined the exclamations of awe from the crowd, for the lights were even better than last year. Neoman and Erasmus had even figured out how to make shapes with the light sparks.
Something told him to turn. A shadow on the wall moved, then disappeared. Jadis waited a moment, then slipped off.
Arren was distracted momentarily by the glorious lights, but quickly refocused on his path. The corridors of this place were completely unfamiliar to him, but everyone was distracted by the lights, so he was able to move without discovery. He kept glancing out the windows, but there were several towers, so it was difficult to discern which was the North.
Then one window revealed a tower directly in the back, a little taller than all the others. He figured he'd start there, soon as anywhere. He climbed out the window, jumping into the courtyard, and ran for the tower. The door was unlocked; he flung it open and bolted up the stairs. However, at the top, there was nothing. Just an empty room and a shattered wall. Arren sighed glumly.
"Yeah, we never did get this place fixed," Jadis said, entering behind him. Arren spun around as Jadis walked up behind him. "Ddi you really think I'd miss you? We're connected, remember?" He shrugged. "Anyway, been a while, Mr. Angel."
"Is this the North Tower?" Arren asked.
Jadis studied him, then turned serious and nodded. "Yes, but...this isn't the only room. Come, if you don't mind heights, I'll show you the other." and he started toward the window. However, as he tried to step out, the fancy cuff of the sleeve caught on the stone. he sighed, then tore off whole strips till it resembled his older clothes. "And off we go," he said, climbing out the window.
"All dressed up now, aren't we?" Arren remarked with his old sarcasm.
"Yeah, I am the king. I'm supposed to dress the part." and he began the laborious climb up. With much of the masonry collapsed, it was rather precarious, and Jadis make a mental note to have it repaired. Arren's wings gave him an edge, especially in the safety factor, but Jadis was a natural. He found the safest spots with ease, soon arriving at the little hole leading into the North Tower's hidden chamber. He glanced down to check on Arren, then peered through the hole. His eyes widened quite considerably.
"Oh. My. Gosh," he said.
"What? What is it?" Arren shouted, sounding almost frantic.
Jadis shook his head incredulously. "You're not gonna believe this, but...this room is just filled with Light." He reached down, offering Arren his hand, and pulled him up the last few inches. Arren quickly took stock of what he saw. The room was, indeed, swamped in light, and in that was visible a figure, one he knew well. Hardly daring to hope, he slid in headfirst and got knocked on the chin. Jadis wisely went feet first, staring in amazement. "What in the world?" he breathed.
Arren went straight to the figure of the girl, unable to tear his eyes away. "Is it really you?" he breathed."Arren...
He started slightly.
"Set me free, Hand of Light. Bring me to life again...
Without hesitation he reached out his hand. Light began pouring from him, brighter than the glow around them. A ripple seemed to move through the girl, and she seemed closer. And yet, though he could now see the barrier between them, he couldn't push through. He wasn't strong enough!
He looked almost like he could cry again. Then suddenly, a hand rested on his. Jadis nodded at him. "We're both Hands of Light," he said, all serious. "If we work together..."
Arren nodded his thanks and focused. Theirs powers focused and blended together, moving through the both of them into the strange barrier between them and the soul beyond. They struck against it time and again, together tearing it down. Till suddenly it exploded in a flash of color and light, and there was suddenly someone in Arren's arms, clinging and weeping. He was in rather the same state himself. "Reveka," he cried, holding her tight, as though afraid she'd disappear again if he let go.
"Arren," she said. She was her normal height again, the comfortable held-under-your-arm height, and her voice was the same as the one he heard always in his head. The familiarity was comforting as well, and he felt he could never let her go.
Jadis smiled warmly, then paused when he realized there were others in the room. Three figures hung back in the glow, watching. "You all....are still here?"
"We are the Hearts," Eae said softly. "Though we both pump only Light now."
"The influence of the Dark is gone," Adon continued. "We now form the protection of Light, to forever hold the Dark at bay."
"At least, until someone finds way to let it in again. People never do change really, do they?"
Jadis closed his eyes, rubbing his forehead. "Maybe so," he replied to Azarael's sardonic remark. "But I'll see to it that never happens any time soon." He glanced at Reveka and Arren, smiling. "We'll make sure."
"The peace of the Light keep you," Eae whispered. Their figures dissolved once more to Light, which flowed into Reveka till the room was emptied of it. Jadis smiled faintly, watching the two cling to each other. "Come on," he said finally. "Everyone's celebrating outside. I'm sure your mother's waiting for you."
"Mom...?" Reveka pulled back just a little. "Arren, can I see Mother now?"
"Reveka, if you wanted the moon, I'd get it for you," he replied. "Of course. Lets go see Mom." and, that said, he leapt out the hole and glided to earth.
Jadis went a little more leasurely, climbing out the hole, then scaling the rest of the tower. From here, he could see the whole of the courtyard clearly, as Arren ran toward the group, dragging Reveka behind him. He watched as surprise at Arren's appearance changed to shock and ecstacy over Reveka's. Emagene ran to them and embraced them weeping, as the stress of the years finally ebbed away.
"Room for one more?"
"You missed quite the show," Jadis said as Shaddoc sat next to him.
"Yes, but I didn't know them that well. This is their family's time anyway."
Jadis nodded softly. He noticed the others seemed to realize that too. Neoman and Erasmus began to move away while Demetrius and Nigal hustled the crowd away. Ethinine took a deep breath, then took Callysta's hand and led her away to a different part of the garden. Jadis smiled cockily, mentally hoping the best for them. "You know what Shaddoc?" he remarked, leaning back till he lay flat on the roof with his hands tucked behind his head. "This has been one of the best days ever."
Shaddoc smiled faintly. "Its a good one, isn't it?"
Jadis smiled, totally and completely relaxed. "Its good to just be alive."
I dedicate this story, crazy and hastily written as it is, to you, my friends. I couldn't have done it without you.
Ally, Syphon, I missed you guys. I wish you could have finished with us.
Koneko, to this day, Callysta remains one of the sweetest characters I know. Thank you for hiving me the chance to meet her.
Odd, Arren both frustrated and made me laugh till I fell off the chair, especially the encounter with the sheep! Thank you so much for having the patience to finish another rpg with me.
Claec, I love Shaddoc. He made the perfet partner for Jadis. Thank you ever so much.
This was fun guys. I look forward to rping with you again!