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Friv
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Red Sky At Night, Part 35: The Past And The Future

18 Jul 2007, 15:01

Citrios shook his head, looking out over the ruins of the harbour of Juriss. “How bad is it?”

“We were lucky.” Nia shook her head. “The zombies were all killed, to the last. But they bought the time they were supposed to, and some of them were still holding back Lintha when Kimbery rose. The town’s militia wasn’t directly on the docks, because of that.” She paused. “But almost half of them were killed, between the fighting and the end.”

Citrios nodded solemnly. “Their death saved their families and friends from the horrors the Lintha would have inflicted, at least.” He sighed heavily, finding an overturned wall to sit down on, and turned his attention towards the horizon. “I’ve been sweeping the island, but it looks like there aren’t any Lintha survivors except for those few ships that were far enough away from Kimbery to escape. Maybe twenty or twenty-five ships, no more. At most, two thousand survivors, probably far fewer.” He looked down. “Compared to our losses… over thirty-eight thousand people died out there because of the ambition of the Yozi. It’s a frightening thought.”

Nia nodded, sliding gracefully down next to him, and laid a hand on his shoulder. “I can’t help but feel glad for it, though. The Lintha have been monsters of the West for centuries. Now… now they’re gone. Every last warrior they could muster was brought here and destroyed.” She looked out at the fragments of wood still floating in the harbour, and felt tears trying to form – roughly, she forced them back. “A fine reward for their service to the Primordials. Nothing but pain and lies. And it’s our fault.”

“What?” Citrios looked up abruptly, turning to face Nia. “We had to fight Dukantha. Otherwise…”

“Not us, personally. I mean…” Nia sighed again. “We, the Exalted. We trapped the Primordials, and we turned something terrible into something a thousand times worse. And it keeps coming back for vengeance.” She broke off abruptly. “I just wonder, sometimes, about what might have been. Could we have found another path? Or was it always doomed to be like this?”

“I don’t know.” Citrios sighed heavily, looking around. “I’d never thought of it that way. Demons were just demons, evil. It was our place to oppose them. Even when I found out… when I found out about you, it just meant redefining who I thought demons were. Not what they were.” He turned back to Nia, with a sad smile. “Is that going to be your new goal? Find another path?”

“A girl can dream.” Nia sighed again, and then returned to her survey. “Anyway, there aren’t many injured. Anyone Kimbery touched just died, and most of the people who were in close combat with the Lintha were caught by her touch. The Essence cannon is gone – there isn’t even any scrap left of it, just the wires Jasmine rigged up.” She paused. “And Jasmine’s gone, too. Her corpse was probably destroyed along with her cannon, but I don’t think Kimbery had enough power to damage her soul along with her body. I think she just left.”

“Doesn’t surprise me. What’s left to hold her here?” Citrios gestured, and then paused. “Hm. I wonder if Steel became a ghost? Jasmine mentioned having been a deathknight once…”

“It could be.” Nia smiled faintly, looking out towards the horizon. “It’s a nice image. If so, we may see him again. If not…” She paused. “Well, I can keep hoping.” She looked back up the hill. “Master Lodaris is working on organizing the townsfolk to rebuild the harbour; Juriss depends on it, after all. He thinks he can convince the gods to lend a hand, now that the Lintha are gone.”

“That would be nice.” Citrios rose, holding out a hand, and Nia took it and let him pull her up. “This has been a terrible ordeal, but we did it. It’s finally over.”

Nia started to smile, and opened her mouth. As she did, her attention was drawn by the setting sun; the sky was streaked red as it set, as though the blood of the Lintha was being drawn out of the water. And then she Saw.

The island fell away, and she saw, far above, a yawning blackness. A great drop of blood fell, threatening to wash over the island, and she reached to stop it. Around her, she could feel friends and companions holding hands, supporting each other, and they all reached up and caught the drop of blood, and pushed it back, and it fell upwards into the sky.

And as it rose, she rose behind it, and she looked out over the broad expanse of Creation. And she saw the skies weeping blood, as droplets fell across the length and breadth of the world. And where each landed, the lands were stained red, ever-expanding…

“Nia?” She came back to herself suddenly. The sun had dipped slightly lower, and Citrios was holding her tightly. It took her a moment to realize that she was lying on her back, in the cold grass.

“A vision.” It was a statement, not a question, but she nodded anyway.

“It isn’t over.” Nia thought back, and shook her head. “The Competition. When we met him the first time, Dukantha spoke of a competition, of Kimbery’s victory. He didn’t mean victory over us. He didn’t recognize us as a threat. It was the others…”

“What others?”

“The other Yozi.” Nia’s eyes focused. “It isn’t over, Citrios. It’s only just beginning…”

Nia, Citrios, and Lodaris will return in Age Of Blood And Bone.

-----

Whew! Just about done this storyline. Just have to finish the Epilogue. :twisted:
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BrilliantRain
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Re: Red Sky At Night, Part 35: The Past And The Future

18 Jul 2007, 19:16

Well that doesn't sound good...
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Re: Red Sky At Night, Part 35: The Past And The Future

18 Jul 2007, 21:30

Friv, you animal. Just when I thought you'd hit your big finale, here you give us setup for the next book. Or whatever you call it.

You are the man.
BrilliantRain: There are those who would note that sometimes, sometimes, you get the things you really need instead of the things you deserve.
Kailan: If people only ever got what they deserved, the world would be a more miserable place.

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