And so it Ends

Duke Voragate stood on High Hill and surveyed the area. The Schism had been bleeding again but at least Shyrrik was around to help stop it. With Shyrrik heading back to Cheolia, Duke Voragate knew he would be left to handle most of it himself. Kethand’s soldiers were getting fewer, but their knowledge was improving. Soon they would be expert demon fighters. ‘I just hope we get enough replacements.’

But the land was changing, the desert was increasing in size daily. ‘Soon we will all be covered in sand.’ Luckily, the halflings were coming along nicely. Their obvious skill in combat and knowledge of harsh environments would come in handy.

He turned to his companion and looked upon her face. It was a face that wouldn’t need to be hidden for much longer, even if she would still be forced to use her new name. Not that it made any sense for her to use that face at all.

‘I hope you know I will always call you Jostin. No need for the wrong people to know that your aenema is still around.’

‘This is why I kept her hidden away so she didn’t share with too many. That much knowledge and experience in one form would either be deadly to her or cause her to become a conquerer.’

‘But she did share with several others. You still have them in there as well?’

‘Yes, there are many. Did I ever tell you about Jostin’s unexpected moment with Ejnar and Kraytol in the mines? I have them in here as well.’

’Don’t try to use them. You will need to stick with your new identity. You are one of the good guys now. We can’t have you confusing people and the mythology that could create.’

‘Too much power in one person?’

‘Jostin, remember that we will kill you if even the slightest indication of…’

‘Relax my lord. Though Mirabella is the dominant, she is still just one of the multitude. We know that way lies total destruction.’ Jostin turned to the Duke, and likely future King, Voragate and said, ‘Repentance is a pain in the ass.’

A large rock quickly moved out of the way to show a gnome seated in the grass, ‘When you’ve lived as long as I have you’ll know just how true that statement is.’

The visibly shaken Duke exclaimed, ‘Dammit Glim, you should have told us you were there.’

‘I haven’t been here long. I just got back from the front and they told me you were here. It is official, we have sealed ourselves off from greater Mindosia and Cheolia. We are now on our own.’

Jostin smiled, ‘So they destroy the path to the east?’

‘Yes but the cost was great. Many casualties and Voragate,’ Glim lowered his gaze for a moment and sighed, ‘you no longer have any rivals for the throne.’

Voragate shook his head sadly, ‘That is not good news for us. I would rather lose an election to a worthy opponent than to be the defacto King.’

Jostin chimed in, ‘My lord, the people will follow you.’

‘We shall see. Glim any other news that we need?’

‘My King, when we strengthened Kraytol’s Gift on the East Wall, it may have weakened the West wall. I fear we will feel Amrit’s gift for quite some time.’

Even more death. Hasn’t there been enough. King Voragate turned to look at Glim. ‘We knew this was possible.’

Glim considered Voragate’s reaction. He was handling it better than I thought. ‘We will need to start relocating people further into the desert.’

’I’ve had the Halflings working on sizing up some of their living quarters. We’ll make space and then rebuild where we can.’

‘There will be many injuries.’

‘We have healers.’ Voragate put up a hand to stop Glim. ‘What are you trying to get at Glim. Talk openly.’

Glim looked over at the face that had been an enemy for so long before he returned his gaze back to Voragate, ‘Some of the changelings want to go into the Schism. They think it will get them home.’

’Isn’t traveling to the Chaos plane now an impossibility?’

‘In the strickest sense, yes. But try telling them that. Many will die figuring that out.’

‘Let them go.’

Jostin jumped in front of him, ‘But my lord.’

‘Jostin, we can’t stop them. Would you have our soldiers die trying to stop them? Would you have us fighting each other? We don’t have the resources. You witnessed firsthand the destruction that was wrought.’

Jostin’s voice softened, ‘I did not my lord. That was the original. I gained very little after she was killed.’

‘I was talking about the many eyes you have shared. We lost half our army when that crack happened. The only thing that saved us was that our enemies lost more than we did. With the loss of our champions, we have fewer people that are capable of fighting the largest devils. We our people to get further from the wall. If the changelings, or anyone else, wants to stay than I will not stop them.’

Glim chimed in, ‘Voragate, there is going to be a lot of changes in the near future.’

‘Compared to the changes occurring now?’ Voragate pointed over to Jostin. ‘Already the changes she was referencing as a possibility are happening.’

Jostin said, ‘The children?’

‘Yes, there are more and more children being born…different.’

Glim responded, ‘Yes my lord. The Chaos plane no longer exists as a separate world. Any remnants have merged with our world. It will never be the same here. The wall should keep it from spreading too much onto this planet. But here where the wall is weakest and as close as we are, we will try to slow it down enough that people can adapt mentally. But we can’t stop it.’

Jostin looked out to the Schim and sighed. ‘I certainly hope that Shyrrik and Aedra are happy on their islands and that they never know what we did to keep their people safe.’

Glim laughed, ‘Repentance is a pain in the ass.’

Jostin smiled, ‘I just wished I would have listened to you when I first got here.’

The far away look in Glim’s eyes turned steely, ‘Me too. But then again, I had to learn the hard way as well.’

Voragate asked, ‘Glim, will you stay in this shape? It is what I’m used to.’

‘Yes, we still need heros. I have to accept the mantle. I can’t leave you to take it all on yourself. You don’t have our powers of anynmoty. But we can still be your eyes and ears among the people as needed.’



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