Epilogue

Reader, this is the final post of this story. The previous post has wrapped up the fates of Rent and Everall, Jack, Rebecca, and Scrimm, but Raychel still has a place to be after vanishing in the Barrow Maze. Thank you for reading this far. We just have a little left.

 

The Flux settled on her battle-worn clothes like dust, and Raychel took a step, and then another. The eddies and currents of the air felt distantly familiar, stirring faint memories. She took a look around and gazed at the swirling forms of gray mist, gray sky, and gray stone. Her mind registered no emotion, and even Arin had been struck dumb by the silence. She walked onward through the mist, grim and lonely. Soon the gray mist thinned and then dissipated entirely, leaving Raychel solitary on a vast plain of emptiness. The sky above her was bone white, with pinpricks of black. A dark moon gaped at her from the sky. In the horizon where white met gray, Raychel saw a faint pinprick of brighter white and walked on after it.

No time had passed and the world had come and gone before the pinprick of white resolved itself into a strange structure of otherworldly brilliance. An immense clear pyramid balanced upside-down upon a smaller pyramid of stone, but Raychel knew that even the small pyramid would be twice as large as Rent’s castle. Flying fingers of metal arced across the sky past the horizon. Raychel silently and inevitably drew near the tower, of which the top lunged away from her as far as she could see. As she drew near it, faint etchings on the tower jumped at her in a harmonious welcome, white on white on white. She touched it and her hand slid off the surface. The tower was as smooth as ice worn down for thousands of years.

 

Suddenly the etchings on the tower, white on white, glowed and resolved themselves into letters Raychel could read, letters that mirrored the workings of her own mind. She felt like remorseless eyes scanned her memories like eager treasure hunters flinging through sheaves of valuable maps in search of one single clue, and the faces of Elith, Eovayn, and her recent comrades swam before her face. A distant click in her mind dispelled the feeling of judgment, and then a series of figures formed on the tower and in her mind.

You”, it seemed to say “have proven your heart to us. Listen to our tale and take our lessons to heart before you step through.” The figures morphed into quicksilver red markings on the white tower, and Raychel stared at them and read.

 

A call to run, to hide, to lurk,

from grim predators in the night.

Where the strong and brash work,

to consume those scant in might.

 

The meek shall rise, the silent and humble,

to inherit this earth, to prod its secrets

and corners and shadows, and in night-clad jungle

In this early blossom of the mind grow these flowerets.

 

 

The rulers of the universe have yet one more master.

Despite the secrets they have teased apart,

they succumb to the vagaries of “ever after”,

and work for the end of the broken heart,

from

non existence

 

flesh and bone are cast off as mortal sin,

we learn to live in the bounty of the earth,

in man-made shells we trust, in motors and metal

in gleams and false reflections, not the heart within

 

 

 

Metal breaks and crashes and shatters,

no flight for steel-borne dreams.

Amidst the iron graveyard lies their hearts,

memories with broken wings.

 

With lifetimes of foresight, to leave their shackles,

they learn the medium that some call

the shadow between intention and action,

and others call the spirit.

 

 

Formless and imperishable,

like the ever lunging beams of light from stars long dead,

yet still prone to quarrels, cold in selfish logic,

even the immutable titan of logic crumbles.

 

They desire a solution to their confusion,

a method to decide who shall win what when

cold brutal logic gives proudly an

insensible verdict.

 

 

The heart, they recall, was the impartial judge

of their ancestors, that surely picked out the ethical

and the just decision. But they reach inside

to their hollow core stuffed with diaphanous algorithms,

 

and can not find what they left in their iron graveyards.

Their hearts are as far as the moon beneath rippling water.

Memories rust under the rain of countless ages,

and they must watch again their own struggles.

 

 

A call to run, to hide, to lurk,

from grim predators in the night.

Where the strong and brash work,

to consume those scant in might.

 

The meek shall rise, the silent and humble,

to inherit this earth, to prod its secrets

and corners and shadows, and in night-clad jungle

In this early blossom of the mind grow these flowerets.

 

 

Children of science march over their home world,

and their creators watch silently as they see,

love inspiring self-sacrifice and sharing,

the heart returning and guiding.

 

But the creators watch as their children fall,

as their hearts swell with lust and pride,

and as they make war upon their brothers.

In the chaos of blood and fire the creators retreat.

 

 

The world they make for themselves now is

a forgotten underbelly to the world they left.

It is silent like a tale at its end,

not a newborn before its first gasp of air.

 

They can never forget their home and birthplace,

how the gravel stones underneath and the bone white skies call to mind

the lush forests and dark nights of their land.

They plant a path from their old world to this world,

a labyrinth, a tower, a bridge over an abyss,

hoping for their creations to learn from the sins of the past.

 

And they wait.

 

The voices in her head fell silent and the characters on the wall returned to their harmonious white on white. A mouth yawned open before her, revealing an empty room, and she stepped in it. Covered in darkness, a strange buzzing noise, like a hive of insects, filled her mind, and the world about her twisted, until suddenly she stood upon a snowy cliff, with powder snow lacing her hair and eyelashes. She smiled at the familiarity. It was a warm smile, with the fires of joy rekindled in her eyes, and it softened her cold glare. Gazing over the yawning canyon, she spied a familiar stone bridge in the distance.

 

The Tower, as its makers called it, had stood sentinel in the lonely Half World for ages. If it had been built with emotions, with that strange instinct bypassing thought, then it would have been lonely. But instead, it ruthlessly and continuously observed its surroundings, unaware as to its purpose. When the life-form appeared in its “vision”, a long hidden process of thought began. As the life form entered it, the Tower activated itself, turned the universe inside out and back again, and remained as it was, alone in the Half-world. Its makers had long gone from its world, hoping that they would never have to use it.

Raychel crossed the bridge, careful not to slip into the abyss, and reached the other side, feet sinking into the powdery softness. A brief gust of wind stirred the snow, blinding her. It settled, and she stared at the old crevice in the stone, light spilling out of it like water in an overturned cup. A silhouette stood in front of it. The God of Death. “Scheol!”, Raychel called out. The God of Death looked at her and rose in size, with a countenance of stone and two red rubies for eyes. It was clad in robes of deep black, in its right hand rested an ornate scepter wrought of shadow, and on its head rested an elaborate crown, also jet black.

“Did I not banish you?”, it asked, its thunderous voice echoing off the mountainside. A dark black chill hit her body, and she felt a rare deep fear. “Are you not still shackled to that world?” Raychel looked down, and for the first time beheld the ghostly chains binding her wrists and ankles. She looked behind and saw the chains snaking over the horizon, and realized she could not take another step.

“You killed Eclipsius in battle, and his treachery and hunger is no more.”

Raychel felt a tremor of shock arc through her.

“Yes, Raychel, you realize. I am the Gate Keeper of the Tamrunes. I let only those worthy of my domain enter.”

“Why was I banned?”, Raychel asked furiously. “Why did you keep me away after the war?”

“You destroyed, with that execution tool, numerous souls. Do you understand? You did not free them from their body to come here, but destroyed them, destroyed any memory of their existence. You destroyed so many of them that we have had to create new beings. But Eclipsius has done more to harm the world than you.”

With that, the God of Death, the Gate keeper, Scheol, raised his staff and pointed it at her. With a thunderous crack that split apart worlds, the chains binding her to the living world fell apart and dissolved into nothing.

Raychel stepped through into the crevice and beheld the brilliant gate, built of metal Raychel had never seen before, with a glow of iridescent amber that resembled silver. It split apart, and with a triumphant grin Raychel beheld Elysium.

A vast green field of grass with dwellings lit by an ever golden sun lined along each other and along paths. In the far distance, Raychel saw, were crowds of ‘beings’ milling about, of all sorts, from the distant past to her present.

“Raychel!”, a voice called out. With golden joy she looked down a shining path and beheld a crowd of people milling around, old faces from long ago. A single figure broke from the crowd and ran up to her. His crimson, youthful face beheld her, his flame hair fell down to his shoulders, and his bright blue eyes shone.

“Father.”, Raychel replied quietly. She began to kneel, but her father Arnyt grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her back up.

“Raychel, there are so many people for you to meet, people who were separated from you last time you were here. But it is true, all rivers flow into the ocean, and all lives flow into here. Does anything matter, when you see everybody in their purest state? For if there is even a strand, even a thought of goodness in the tapestry of a person’s soul, that thought is amplified until it becomes that person here!”, Arnyt said, his voice cascading into song.

“Father, who are those people in the distance? I never saw them before.”, Raychel quickly asked.

“Those are the people who have lived so long in here that they have decided to journey back to the mortal world. Their essences will remain the same, but they will find themselves in new bodies and new times”

Missionaries, Raychel thought.

Raychel searched the crowd for Eovayn, but could not see him amongst the familiar elven faces. Knowing he was still miserably alive, Raychel prayed for the day she could see her uncle again.

The next figure that came up to meet her also had fiery red hair, although muted. His eyes were not blue like his brother’s, but emerald green. His face was pure and radiating with intellect, and his grin was infectious until Raychel couldn’t help but laugh. “Is that you, Uncle Celen?”, she asked.

“You don’t recognize me because I don’t have the scar brother gave me, right?”, he said without any hint of reproach. “Like Arnyt said, all of us are at our purest here.” With that he laughed, a merry tinkling, and stepped back into the crowd.

A young brown haired woman stepped up to her. Her mother  Gabriel. “Raychel”, she said, “Welcome home. I trust you will stay this time.” Raychel nodded and embraced her mother with all the youthful enthusiasm of a fifteen-year old girl separated from her parents for hundreds of years. As she stepped inside Elysium, she looked behind her.

The gate closed.

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About Neil Viswanathan

A college student that loves knowledge, music, and writing.
This entry was posted in Bridge over the Abyss and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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