This is how Visemar’s story will end. I still plan on running more sessions with him, but it’s like Titanic: I kind of know how it’s going to end. If you’d rather the story unfold organically, quit reading.
For some reason, Visemar’s great-granddaughter’s story wants to be told, so I needed to bridge the two by including this short story. I also don’t know why the Greys’s story wants to be told in first person, but, there it is.
Aboard Laneira’s ship, the Light and Dark, I watch the battle unfold. The two of us stand in the nerve center, a sphere with walls turned black broken by points of starlight. A waist high sceptre topped with an orb shining a brilliant white lies at the center. Laneira stands beside it, tracing sigils over the globe.
A line of sleek elven fighters bank and descend on their target. Rachis. Her skeletal form is enveloped by folds of roiling black skin so immense, she was larger than Laneira’s battle ship. The elves called it The Eater From the Dark. A blighted thing that consumes anything it touches, sending it to Nothing. Ghosts, spirits, whatever you call your animating force is extinguished. A soul eater.
A black tentacle sweeps across the flight path, small bursts of fire erupt as the elves roll and try to dodge. Each avenue of escape cut as more tendrils join the first. More souls lost to the Nothing.
I take stock of what remains of the elven fleet. Grimly, I turn and address Laneira. “Looks like it's my turn,” I try to sound more confident than I feel.
Resigned, tired after hours of coordination, she can barely nod. She hugs against my plate armor, a gift from the Raven Queen. Dark grey metal with a black cloak like raven's wings. Laneira meets my eyes and takes my hand, then we head toward the air lock.
“How long will I have?” I ask.
“Two minutes. Maybe.”
Two minutes to kill a thing from another reality. A thing that is larger than the ship I'm standing in. A thing that consumes souls. And the thing was the first Grey. I would have been the last, if Laneira hadn't given us a daughter. Our daughter. She will survive this.
Laneira leans up, and we share a last kiss. Her hand rests against my cheek as she mutters, “Nitaaru.”
Broken. It brings a sad smile to my face knowing this will be the last word I hear her say. I’m not one for words and can't think of anything to say, but she knows this. My visor slides down over my face. Sharp and angled like a stylized beak. The first door cycles open then shuts behind me when I step into the airlock. The hiss of air as it bleeds from the room. I take my last breath and kick into the Void.
It feels like stepping into bitter cold. My warmth seeps into the darkness. I move toward the monstrosity that is Rachis at an agonizingly slow pace, a tiny dark speck against the vast open vacuum.
Numerous eyes open along a tendril, and they fix their sight on Laneira’s vessel. Green orbs flare into existence and erupt with needles of fire. The Light and Dark is pelted by a rain of emerald spears. Her shields spring to life in shimmering sapphire. Beneath the steady onslaught, they glow orange, then gold, then shatter beneath the weight of fire. In just two heartbeats, the most powerful vessel we have is silently destroyed.
Still falling, I clench both fists and bring them together. The Edge of Eternity bursts into reality in the guise of a lance. I would have taken a breath, but there's no air in the Void. Instead, a sheet of azure fire runs down the lance and launches toward Rachis. The tiny beam like a needle compared to her gigantic shell. I would need more power.
The Edge pulses, sensing my desires, and launches a shaft of energy back home. I am powerless to stop it. I don't know if I would if I could. Runes of burnished gold trace along my weapon, and, for the first time, I can read them:
Strength from sacrifice,
Sacrifice brings victory,
An uncertain fate.
I sense the spirits of my ancestors before they arrive. Channeled by the conduit created by the Edge, a well of souls opens: Thomas. Wendy. Willem. Kirdalia. Generations of Greys focused on the First's destruction. Each spirit touches me, lending its strength and warmth. The sheet of flame intensifies from the soft azure to a searing white.
I pause as her spirit passes through me and turns. Our eyes meet, and I feel doubt. Who was I to condemn my ancestors, my wife, to Nothing? Nothing. Thoughts turn and tumblers click. Something unlocks within. The Raven Queen. The Ravenswood.
Who was I?
The Hexblade of Winter and Ash and the Paladin of Spring.
Understanding dawns. The Raven Queen had chosen me. That realization opens the door, and I briefly touch the limitless power she holds. My dark wings erupt with fire. Embers float away, my skin and muscle burning to ash, but I feel none of it. I have become, for just this moment, a thing of brilliant light and energy.
The lance of fire expands into a pillar, and I can see Rachis snarling from behind her cocoon of flesh. The eldritch bolt pierces her shell and drives into her skeletal body. We share a fleeting connection through our lineage. I can stop her. I can not save Abigail, but I can stop her. Through the bond, her anchors, the phylacteries, glow beneath the folds of roiling tendrils.
I split the beam, willing spears of my own to strike into each of the phylacteries. The energy digs furrows into the skin Rachis wears and dark blood sprays behind her. Each of them shatter beneath the weight of the combined will of myself and my goddess. The last thing I see is Rachis’s scream. I wish I had the satisfaction of hearing it.
A small elven girl stands at the edge of Ravenswood. The battle taking place beyond the skies brought all of the elves to watch. Her father was deep in trance, his spirit elsewhere as he recorded the events while they transpired. When the blue bolt emerged from the sky, it dug into the tombs, then it scorched the earth on its way to the cemetary in the middle of Ravenswood.
As an elf, she was accustomed to magic, but she had never seen anything of this magnitude. Spirits of the dead had risen to merge with the blue light. Each one shot skyward and left patches of ash in its wake. Trees wilted, grass curled away and turned brown. Ravenswood was withering.
The night sky lit with an explosion of starlight. A falling star passed over head then struck the ground where Castlerook stood with a rumbling thunder. Concussive waves knocked the closest of the elves to the ground and the castle crumbled to ruin. The girl was pushed to her knees.
She was the first brave enough to venture close to the ruins of Castlerook. Where the throne room had been, an immense sword was stuck half way through the stone. Even then, the pommel would reach up to her father’s shoulder. The sword had a silver hilt, wrapped in black leather, but the blade was like a window. Glass except for the darkness trapped inside.
As she peered closer, she saw the night sky within the sword. She could step around it and see the stars and the moon. Near where the blade entered the stone, she saw a small white star flicker then fade into nothing.
The Edge of Eternity was home.