|A pause to peer over the ledge into the abyss|
In a short while, we will begin the very last stage of our journey. In a short while, we will come face to face with Aram, in his world, in his mind, and on his terms. And here we are, waiting. In the Palace Of The Sun. Here, where we await out destiny, I sit, and pen perhaps the last lines I will ever write.|
Events preceding our arrival in the Palace Of The Sun hardly bear thinking about. Having retrieved the third orb of Tel-Tari, we returned to Magmar's cave, to play out the scene from my nightmare. It seemed Elana's only chance to survive, yet I didn't see how spilling her blood, even with the orbs all reclaimed and in their respective places, would revive her. Still, having tried everything else, I steeled myself to do what needed to be done.
With the orbs in their places, an appropriate hush, and frayed nerves, I arranged myself by the altar on which was laid the seemingly slumbering form of Elana. I raised up my blade, and...was deflected in my purpose by an arrow. I know that it is more than my life is worth to cross someone like Horus, particularly when he almost certainly has the backing of someone like Anwar, yet it is not more than the lives of the entire world. I tried to explain this to him, and I'm sure I failed miserably, since he still looked ready to kill me in defense of Elana, his friend, our queen.
When I then plunged the blade into her heart, saw her open her eyes, and watched the life go out of them, I think something shattered inside all of us. I thought sure that Horus would murder me on the spot. Truth to tell, at that moment, realizing what I'd actually done, I felt I deserved it. Instead, he stormed silently out of the cave, while Dolartu disappeared with the body.
He soon returned, certain that she was now beyond all aid. It was, I think, our moment of most abject despair since Jacques fell at the hands of Mortedamos. Which is when we heard a voice behind us, at once familiar and unknown. We had unwittingly killed Elana to restore Aesia, the queen, the goddess.
We returned to the grove of Maia, where we were seen off by all of the companions in adversity we'd made on our journeys. They wished us well, said their goodbyes, and then we were in the Palace Of The Sun, making our way through its bright halls, down to the root cellar, where who should be waiting for us but Aram's most willing servant, Lanathar. His prisoner came as a bit more of a surpise, however: Threnody was suspended from the ceiling, writhing in silent agony.
After some of the challenges we've faced, putting paid to Lanathar once and forever was no great feat. He did, however, have one final surprise in store for us. His staff was some item of powerful magics, because as his final act, with the very last of his life, he unleashed all of its power in one explosive blast. I, as my luck always has it, happened to be staring the blast in the face when it went off. I'm sure I was lucky to have lived through it, considering I ended up facedown on the opposite side of the chamber.
So, here we now sit, using the last few minutes before Threnody takes us to face Aram himself. For now, I cannot worry about her. I must trust that she finds a reason to abandon her hatreds and her self-loathing. I must focus now on the nexus of our fate.
For good or for ill, the end of our quest lies before us. On the scales are lives of every being on Geas. It glaringly obvious that we must not under any circumstances fail in this last endeavor, yet now that we come to it, the weight of our burden seems very heavy. I hope that we will succeed, even if all of must render up our lives to do so. I hope, too, that we will all live to see a day without Aram and his foul idea of mercy. I hope that my friends will be careful, and take only the risks that are necessary.
It is for my friends, and my family, that I leave this last page. If I should not return from where we venture now, and some return to bear witness, I would have you, my friends, carry this page with you when you leave. Tell my family that I love them, and that I wish them the best, always. Say goodbye to our mutual friends by the tree. Visit the Temple and give them, if you've room to carry them, my blade and my spellbooks.
Finally, know, my friends, that no Elf could hope to have finer companions anywhere in all of Geas. You have shown me more than frienship, more than the love we bear each other. You have shown me truth behind the facade, you have shown me sacrifice, you have shown me the meaning of real mercy. For this, I can never repay you. I hope you, Arilyn, take back your birthright as a Lady of House Dorthonion. Anwar, I know you will help make your lands and your people thrive again. Dolartu, I've no doubt you will find vengeance for your sire and a place you belong. Jacques, I hope, though I very much doubt, that you will take a little time for yourself. I go into our last fight, knowing that I could have no one better at my side.
|Associated Regions: Palace Of The Sun, Tel-Tenauril|
|From the journal of Islan Diemyn|
Contributor: Chris Schuettpelz