The Rone Resurgence - 5118-11-8 - Epilogue

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Paragraphs (but not the section titles) taken from the following official forum post:

GS4-KENSTROM
Subject: Rone Resurgence - Epilogue on 11/08/2018 01:37 AM EST
Category: Cities, Towns, and Outposts
Topic: Wehnimer's Landing
Post: 13704


Kragnack's Revenge

She kissed her husband’s lips.

She tasted the salt of the sea on them. She smelled the aroma of the week’s work on his shirt. To many, both would be seem undesirable. But she had known her youth with him. She had known first love with him. She had experience the joy of life with him. She had known no other man’s touch, and she wouldn’t have had it any other way.

She smiled as she always did, her thin lips never able to contain the brightness of her teeth and the wrinkles of her cheeks when she did. He marched out the door, his pack and belt frayed and overstuffed, prepared for the day. Their son ran around him, eagerly excited as he was every day to join his father at work.

The sun was cresting on the horizon of the endless western sea, its pale yellow glow mirrored out across the waves. She could hear the distant call of the gulls, she could see others depart from their homes as they headed off towards the coast. Another day beginning as every other had.

Except, it would not end as every other day had.

She had turned to re-enter her home when the first scream echoed from the beach line. She spun around, as any mother and wife would, and her eyes widened in horror. A grotesque spire, dark and layered in bones and sinew had slowly begun to rise up from the sands. Larger and larger it grew in size as it burrowed up from the ground. Within seconds, pale green mist seeped from fissures among the spire, quickly spreading out across the beach and billowing outward into a sallow viridian miasma.

It was her turn to scream now, as she witnessed her husband and son running back up towards their homestead. The emerald fog rolled up quickly, almost unnaturally, blanketing the ground as it poured out.

Her husband fell, his leg twisting and his eyes instantly filled with the truth of his situation.

His knee, she knew instantly. The old wound that forced him out of his duty with the port guard of Ubl and into their new life. She watched him scream out, urging their son to keep running. She then sprang into action, broken from the invisible chains that had paralyzed her, and ran to her son. Her husband nodded, their eyes connecting for the briefest of moments, sharing a silent but powerful acknowledgement, of a life of love and no regret.

She carried, almost dragged her son away, scooping him up as she raced for their home, forcing herself to tear her gaze from her husband as the wall of verdant mist overtook him. She burst into their house, and immediately ran for their cellar. It was small, and unused for years. Once it had been more of a protective bunker from krolvin raids than anything else.

Her son screamed as the mist began to pour in through the open door, but seemed to have stopped at the windows facing the shore. Despite that, the fog continued to roll in through the open doorway and she hurried her son along, fighting back a cough as pale tendrils of the mist began to creep past her.

Feeling her strength fading, she moved quickly, grabbing the latch of the trapdoor, peeling it back and pushing her son into the depths of the cellar. He cried out after his mother, and she saw him land not far down. Her lungs began to burn, her breathing labored and her vision began to blur and lose color. She knew of nothing left to do but slam the cellar door shut.

She could hear her son’s cries coming from beneath the trapdoor, screaming for his mother, screaming for her to be at his side. The pain of his troubled voice was a thousand times worse than the miasma seeping into her flesh and throat. The last of her strength fled her, and she fell on top of the trapdoor. The last of her life left her, as the thud, thud, thud of her son beating on the door beneath her matched the echo of her own heartbeat until, in time, hers stopped.


Thadston

He felt her chest rise and fall slowly at his side.

He felt her warm breath brush across the hair of his chest as he laid there, his arm wrapped around her shoulder, holding her to him. He inhaled slowly, momentarily enraptured in the faint lavender aroma of her blonde hair. His eyes followed each golden lock as it stretched out across her bare shoulders and down her back. Beneath each strand he detected the light markings of old scars.

Scars?

She never had scars.

Her eyes snapped open suddenly, and she turned, looking up at him. Her lips stretched into a wicked, wicked grin.

“I got these scars when they tortured me, my love. When you abandoned me in Talador. When you let the others invade, and the witch and crusader took me. You gave me these scars, my love.”

Her face twisted. Gone was the smooth luster of her skin. Lost were the fine features of her angelic face. In its wake, was her. The crone. The one he had hated and hunted for so long. Her eyes were emeralds, but dull and dark. Her flesh was like leather, gnarled and wrinkled with time and depravity. Her hair was like coils of shadows, fluid like serpents.

He leapt from his bed, rolled to the ground and in an instant his sword was in hand. The woman was gone. Both of them, one of them. He wasn’t sure which it had been. He stumbled towards the bed, suddenly aware again of the pain in his side. He fell more than laid back down in bed. His eyes fought sleep, but they quickly lost as the last thing he heard was the dim echo of his militiamen practicing late into the night in the courtyard below.

He felt her chest rise and fall slowly at his side.

He felt her warm breath brush across the hair of his chest as he laid there, his arm wrapped around her shoulder, holding her to him. He inhaled slowly, momentarily enraptured in the faint orange blossom aroma of her bluish-black hair. His fingers traced the edges of a carved ivory bead that still hung clamped to a lock of her hair. He brought his other hand up to itch his brow, when he spied wet blood clinging to his fingertips.

Blood?

From her side and back, it pooled about the bed, staining the linens.

Her eyes snapped open suddenly, and she turned, looking up at him. Her lips stretched into a wicked, wicked grin.

Your son did this to me, my love. You abandoned him, you let him be taken. You stole the last hope he had in life, in me. You gave me this wound, as much as he, me love.”

He reached for his sword and leapt on top of the woman, pinning her arms to the bed with his legs. Strike after strike, he drove his blade to hit home into the crone’s chest. Oily black maggots spilled out from the grievous wounds he tore into her. Soon the insects spread out like a blanket of roiling, sifting shadows and he awoke.

He knelt there, glistening with sweat, the winds of winter from the window doing nothing to chill him. No blood stained his sword. No body was laid before him. He stared silently at the dozens of holes in his bed where his weapon had struck nothing but linens. He dropped his sword to the side, rolled off the bed and fell into a chair in the corner. He watched the corners of his room, waiting and willing her to come.

But she never did.

She won’t come for me, he knew it.

He had returned, swearing to leave once more, but he had once again become entwined with the chaos of the town he now served. He couldn’t just leave again. Not alone, not this time. He’d need all of them this time.

He marched to his door and called for a page. A young man arrived hurriedly, and bowed nervously. Thadston handed the man a rolled up scroll. “Send for Pylasar. Tell him the council is calling him home.”



Rone III

She balanced the tip of the dagger on her fingertip, almost slouching in her favorite rocking chair as the glistening flakes of snow descended from the sky.

Wehnimer’s Landing was quiet. At least, more than it had been lately.

The endless echo of hammers and construction had dwindled at the docks. Oh, there was still work going on she knew, but the ships that had been needed were done and sailed. The assault had, for all she assumed, been a victory. If they could ever count one as such. But much of it still felt empty. Would it be lasting? Did they lose too much to gain so much? Was this the eerie silence before the next storm?

She heard the approach of another, and instinctively turned, dagger in hand and ready to let fly. She nodded as one of her acquaintances made their way to her. “More debris washed up.”

“Has anyone seen it?” She asked, her interested perked, her posture repaired.

The man shook his head.

She reached behind her chair, grabbed a small pouch and tossed it to the messenger. “Take me.”

They both left quickly and quietly into the night. Snow clung to the trees as they made their way from the town and west to the cliffs and safely navigated down to the black sands, where the sounds of Wehnimer’s had all but been swallowed up by the heavy crashing of the waves of Darkstone Bay. She was led along some jagged fissures in the cliff side, along some black rocks, and came up to a small outcropping where she had to duck to enter beneath.

The waters swirled about inside the small cavern, white foam dancing atop the murky black waters of the bay. Some wooden debris and driftwood had found its place inside the cavern, along with some seaweed that seemed to have twisted around a small latched trunk.

The messenger nodded, tucked away the pouch he had been given, then disappeared into the night.

She smiled, and silently counted, giving him enough time to safely escape. He may have thought it was to protect him from any traps within the chest. Truthfully, she did not care for others to witness anything she found. Not if she was truly going to accomplish what she wanted.

Setting about the trunk, she began to examine it for traps or runes. It seemed clear of both, though perhaps it had been trapped once, it may have been damaged in the powerful attack that destroy one of the ships. The last three chests had held nothing of true value to her. She had hoped for an end to that streak.

After a few attempts, the lock snapped open and she tucked the lockpick back into her hair. She pried the lid open, closing her eyes and holding her breath.

She did not die.

She peeled one eye open, then the next. Her grin was huge. A bigger smile than she had known she was capable of, before the war. Nestled inside the trunk amidst some lengths of velvet, were a pair of rune-covered white steel gauntlets. She looked behind her shoulder, then looked again. She removed her cloak, wrapped the gauntlets inside of it, and then slipped off towards town.


Octaven

She entered her chambers, her deep blue robe brushing across the stone floor as she passed through the doorway. With a gesture, the door closed behind her. She moved to her window and her eyes were drawn to the sleek white falcon soaring through the night sky.

She smiled at the bird, admiring her, for she never grew tired of watching it take to the air and embrace such freedom of flight. A chill hung to the air, and her eyes now turned to the mountains to the west. The giant earthen range kept much of the winter’s severity far from her home, but it did not prevent the occasional cold front to pass through. Some of her colleagues held distaste for such weather. But the cold did not bother her.

The falcon swooped in low and landed on the perch of the window, a glimmer in its violet-hued eyes that matched the shade of her own. She nodded to her bird and gently ran her slender fingers through its feathers, before she turned and stepped towards a circular wooden stand in her room. She gestured, and a glaes orb inset into a wall began to glow and illuminated the surface of the stand. She opened up a narrow scroll tube and pulled out a rolled up piece of parchment. She gently peeled it open, flattening it out and smoothing its edges.

She recognized the author’s name and at first glance she appreciated the details of his notes. She silently judged the sloppiness of some of his handwriting. For a long moment she stood in silence, taking in every sketch and notation from the parchment that contained a variety of schematics for airships, pylons, and methods for alternative uses for plinite in relation to both.

She leaned over and placed a few small crystal paper weights on the edges of the scroll to hold it in place and then walked back to her window. The falcon remained perched, quietly watching her, as if admiring its master as much as she had it. The violet-eyed woman reached into her blue robe and produced a small opaque orb and then placed it in the falcon’s talon.

As the falcon took to the sky, the silver-blue haired woman stepped back from her window and moved over to her bed, easing herself down upon the soft linens before rolling to her side. Her eyes, still not heavy with sleep, stared at the wooden stand in the center of the room. She could not resist a smile, as the countless possibilities the scroll had provided.

As sleep did finally come, her smile faded and her eyes slowly closed. The cold of winter still hung in the air, and the dark of the night provided a nearly impenetrable shroud of cover for the dark figure standing upon a hill not far from the open window. The figure did not move, but just stood and watched on, as the faint breeze that escaped through the mountains rustled his greyish-green veil.


Raznel and Pylasar

“Follow me!” his voice squeaked and he blushed awkwardly. He’d already come of age, but he couldn’t quite shake that pesky hiccup of his voice from time to time. Especially around her.

“Where now Peter?” She looked up, her eyes narrowed, clearly not interested.

“You wanted to see it. I’ve arranged it to happen, but we have to go quickly.” He grabbed her slender hand and pulled.

For a moment, he was frozen with pain. His palm felt like it was on fire, and two blisters burned into place on his fingers and popped. He almost squealed from the pain and then pulled his hand away.

The young woman leapt to her feet, “Peter, I am sorry! I did not mean too. You know that.”

Peter sucked on his finger, as if it would truly ease the burning pain. He nodded, his eyes watered, but he fought back anything else. He had to be strong in front of her.

The woman pondered for a moment, then closed the book she had been reading, which was titled “Enchiridion Valentia.” She quickly turned the tome over as Peter tried to pry with his watery eyes.

“What are you reading?” He asked, his voice not squeaking this time.

“Did you wish to take me somewhere, or not?”

Peter nodded and reached for her hand, but then stopped himself. He walked, almost ran to the door and the woman followed. He led her down some streets, a few alleyways, and not once, but twice ducking out of sight as town guards wandered by.

Minutes later, they arrived at their destination.

“We are h…” Peter tried to say, but Naimorai placed a finger to his lips to silence him.

“I see it.” She smiled, a fiery glow reflected in the polish of her slate blue eyes.

The tower stretched high into the sky, with narrow windows large enough to view the surroundings, but barely sizeable enough to fit through. A red-orange glow emanated from within the highest reach of the tower, as if a giant forge burned eternally within, a light against the dark of night.

“The Talon.” She stood, her eyes to the sky.

“Talon?” Peter looked at her, confused. “The Crescent?”

Naimorai nodded, “Yes. That.”

They stood for a few more moments, then Peter cleared his throat, “We need to go. We’re out of time.”

Naimorai nodded, “Yes. Yes we are.”