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Go away. Don't you know he's dead? Not even his spirit remains; not even something as ephemeral as a soul can survive in the icy cold grasp of this abyss. I want peace, and silence. I've earned that much.
Why waste your time? Even if your commander was alive, he's not worth finding.
The wind is bitterly cold, chill finger stroking my flesh, but even that warms me, comforting as it freezes the blood in my veins. I am dying from a wound that does not bleed.
Forget him. He's nothing; he always was. Let him be dust.
The red light in the sky, a falling star that does not fall, mocks me. That one...the last indignity, immortalized by that fire in the sky. Him.
Does he live? How absolute his victory? How absolute this last humiliation? It's enough, regardless of any arbitrary degree mortals might assign to it. It's come this far, and here, at the last, I can admit my defeat. Victory enough.
Enough that limbs lock, equipment seizes, wings freeze in flight for one last shining instant, and then come crashing down to earth. Anima death, and Animus too, almost as an afterthought.
Shut up! Can't you feel his suffering, his loss? The bitterness of betrayal, defeat, loss, threatening to engulf and devour the world.
I loved her, in my way, and when I close my eyes I see her eyes in the dark, laughing at me.
Darkness flutters at the corners of my eyes. Why could I not have completed my last journey, my exodus? Why does the universe desert me, even at the last?
Why must I suffer, and suffer at his hands? Why?
Are you with God now, Krelian? Is he there with you? Do you remember me?
It all ended too soon. At the last, just as at the first, I am left behind. Forgotten. Discarded.
But you, you will never betray me. We have cried out our sorrows together to the heavens, you and I. We were one. When the rest of the world forgot, you were mine. You shared my pain, and gave it form. Gave it strength. Made it into a sword for me to wield.
He failed you.
Ah? The fire in the sky...it is gone. Dead? I can always hope, and how sweet that would be, how vindicating that, at the last, I was allowed to bear witness to his death.
At the last.
At the last, it is simply you and I.
* * *
The cold wind was trying to freeze her even through her heavy clothing as she knelt down in the snow. Tears froze painfully on her cheeks as Dominia gazed at the body of Kahran Ramsus, frozen in the snow.
His limbs were frostbitten, his clothes frozen to his body, his eyes turned to ice in their sockets and frost laced through his hair like a crown. Behind him, where the drifting snow had almost buried it, Vendetta sprawled, cold and dead, where it had fallen. He lay beneath its head, as if it was watching over him at the end.
Dominia rose and crested the nearby drift, looking back along the path she had come from, already mostly lost in the blowing snow that twisted and danced across the empty wastes. Below her, as she looked down from that height upon the snowfields, the crater where Zohar once stood lay, smoking.
"Is that it, Commander?" she whispered to the uncaring wind. "Is that where you were going?" She turned once more, back to where Vendetta lay. "What answers did you want to find?"
The wind gave her no answers.
At her belt, the communicator beeped. She raised it to her ear.
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