This tale takes place sometime far into the Oriton Misadventures story arc. After Cass, the Arisen, had journeyed across the world with his friends hunting the Great Dragon that marked his chest and took his heart. After tracking the massive beast in the Tainted Mountains in the land of Gransys, They engaged it in a long battle that'd decide Cass' fate. They've successfully slew the dragon, with Cass ending its life with the killing blow. Cass was finally granted back his beating heart and the heroes left the dragon's lair. However, something was wrong...
the sky was dark with ominous and sinister-looking clouds. Stronger and stranger monsters appeared across the land, making roads and shoreline far too dangerous for common-folk to traverse. Even the sky was littered with flying wyverns, wyrms, succubi, gargoyles, evil eyes and all manner of flying creatures. This was not a welcoming sight. They slew the dragon, yet the world suffered for it it was not till the group reached Gran Soren, Gransys' capital, that their fears were realized. The town was in ruins and under attack by hordes of monsters that were coming out from the Everfall, a massive gaping hole in the ground where the residential quarters had stood. Feeling that this madness had to be brought to an end some how, Cass and his friends enter the Everfall.
Upon entering, they were met with a pawn named Quince who use to serve a female Arisen. She hands over a Wakestone, a miraculous stone with the power to awaken those who had died recently. She informs that her master was attempting to collect 20 of them while journeying through the Everfall many years ago but died before completing her task and her pawns had been trapped within the place along with so many others. Quince Asks Cass and his group to see her mistress' will done and use the Wakestones to open a Rift gate of immense power so the Arisen could 'move onward' and the world may be put right by his hand.
After a long search through the Everfall and performing an alternative method with the stones they collected, the heroes managed to open the great rift gate deep at the core of the Everfall which led directly to the Senechal, the watcher of their world. Quince informs the group that Only the Arisen and his Pawn may proceed onward and none else should follow. Cass insures his comrades that he'd return and dives into the Rift...
Chapter 1: The Truth and the Decision
[Cass' Point of View]
I bravely dove into the immensely powerful Rift gate. It felt like I had been falling for an eternity as it no longer felt like I was being pulled by gravity. I was near weightless... almost floating. Then, my feet touched a surface below me, yet I could not see a floor of some kind. Just a thick surface of dark-gray clouds that I seemed to be standing safely on without falling through. I took the time to study my surroundings. As expected, there was nothing. Only the dark gray and blue scenery of clouds and fog could be seen everywhere, even in the distance. I've been through the Rift before to call forth Pawns. The experience had been numb to me. This place, however,... it felt far different. I could feel a strong benevolent force here. T'was naught that I've e'er felt before. I could feel it everywhere... I began to take steps to walk, despite there was no direction as to where. As my eyes continued to observe the lack of scenery, they caught the sight of a man in a brightly-illuminating white hooded-robe sitting on a strangely shaped throne. His hood was worn well-over his head concealing his face. His aura was unbearable, flowing with endless power.
I dread approaching, for It felt as if I was in the presence of the Maker himself. But I proceeded to... I had to. My world, my home, had to be made right again. My Pawn, Emma, who had been with me throughout my journeys... and a long-time close childhood friend who I must restore. I've come here to make it all right. If the Senechal seated before me is the voice that called out to me and lead me here... Then, it is clear that It is for me to move forward to the end of my journey as an Arisen. To take his place as the world's watcher. I came here to save our world from crumbling. I came to save Emma. And I will. I promise, Emma, I'm going to bring you back...
I slowly approached him until I was standing within 8 feet away from him. There was a brief moment of silence. Silence that could kill if it was alive. I dread it, for it was not silence of tension. T'was silence of fear. Fear of destiny. My own fate. Like as not, I was ready to accept it. The Senechal then broke the silence with the benevolent, two-toned voice that spoke to me before.
Senechal: "Well met, Arisen. I'll not waste time on rhetoric: Defeat me, and take my place as keeper of this world." *With his power he open the floor of clouds to reveal Gran Soren in its ruined state, and the massive gaping hole that is the Everfall, which is the way how Cass came to this place. The rest of Gransys was in turmoil as well.* "You saw it awaiting you at the end of your descent. Aye. The same world you've traveled to arrive at this place. A world you may well now inherit."
I was still trying to coup with it all. How my homeland became like this... I slew the dragon. I retrieved my heart and saved the world... did I not? Why is our world suffering? If it was to motivate me forward.... Then, I will move forward. I wanted to ask the Senechal about it all, but he raised his hand in front of me, gesturing me to halt.
Senechal: "It is a simple proposition. No different than any you've faced." *He flicks his hand and a force unseen pushes Cass back and off his feet with great force.*
What power. T'was a casual flick of tthe wrist and I felt as if I've been blown away by a fierce gust of wind. I've managed to roll backwards and caught my balance onto my feet again.
Senechal: "You need only the will to claim what is offered you..." He says as he got up from his celestial throne "The will to survive!"
Without much of a warning, he vanished in an instant. It caught me completely off guard. Suddenly, I turned around sensing danger when I saw a trail of light coming fast towards me. I dove aside to avoid it. There in front of me, the Senechal stood a good distance away as if to engage me in a duel. I drew my weapon and retaliated and charged at him. Before I could strike, he teleported again, but only to miss my attack. I swung again, making contact. However, he merely deflected my blows with his palm.
Senechal: "Yes, fight, Arisen, as you ere have fought in coming here! What is it that impels you? What force spurns you on?" *Pushes Cass away with his power and throws another trail of light at him.* "What sustained your wanderings and led you here? * blocks yet another strike from Cass' weapon. "I ask you: What is it that makes you alive?" *Dodges Cass' next assault and vanishes far behind him.* "'Tis volition. Unbending will. You are here because you willed it, Arisen. That alone has brought you here."
He stopped attacking me for a moment. I didn't advance as I was waiting to see what he would do next. Seeing that he had brushed off my attacks so easily. I needed be wary. The Senechal held some kind of mysterious.... I have no idea what to describe it, besides some clear form of life. It had no base form; it looked like a gelatinous clear blobby substance levitating from the Senechal's hand.
Senechal: "Consider... The infinite potential..." *drops the substance of life and gives it form, transforming it into a complete copy of Cass in all likeness.*
He... just made a clone of me right before my eyes. This wore everything that I was wearing and had all of my features. Nothing was out of place. The clone approached and stood facing me eye-to-eye. I was witnessing divine work! T'is impossible to believe what I was seeing...
Senechal: "Just as you call forth pawns, so I command all life into existence. Call it divine creation if you must. But expect none of the mercy men seek in their gods. This is cold truth. The unbending reality of a world without compassion." *He uses his power to push the clone of Cass down front-first on the floor.* "The world and all its denizens are but empty vessels. In that regard, no different than the pawns..." *Blasts the clone with a large flame of scorching heat that completely incinerates his body, destroying him and turning him into ashes.*
Just like that, He disposed of his creation. It felt as if it was me that was destroyed. A demonstration of his power and the point that he was making... This cannot be real, could it? Could whatever he is saying be truth about us being empty?
Senechal: "Without volition, there is no true life. The world falls stagnant, dead as an ocean with no current to guide it." *Vanishes and reappears behind Cass once more, gaining his attention from the smoking ashes that was Cass' clone* "That volition is tempered by the struggle for survival. The decision, just like yours, to fight.
Just as the pawns need a master's command, so the world thirsts for the will to live."
Before I could ponder more on what he just said, a circle of light illuminate underneath me. I jumped back in the nick of time as that light shot upward like a pillar; a surprise attack. I drew my weapon once more and the duel resumed.
Senechal: "Now, let us continue, Arisen. Show that you are more than an empty vessel, animated by forces unseen..." *calls forth more pillars and trails of light, nearly overwhelming Cass.*
I forced myself to move the moment I saw an opening in the barrage. I dodged all that came my way and advanced toward him swiftly, preparing to attack.
Senechal: "Show that the temper of your soul is strong enough to command far more than mere pawns..." *deflects Cass' strikes, defending with one hand.* "Show that your will is fit to bind the fraying circle of this world and hold it fast..." *Flicks his palm and brushes Cass away with the same unseen force of power that he used before.* "Fight tooth and claw, Struggle now, and cling to life." *Vanishes the very instant Cass' next attack could make contact, reappearing far to the right side of him.* "Show that living holds worth enough to fight for!"
The fight dragged on. I could not find any way pass his defenses. He moved too fast for me to hit him. He'd bombard me with a light show of attacks. I felt cornered at first. I really thought that there was no possibility to get any advantage against him... but I refused to give up. I kept Emma in mind.... I made my choice to come here, to find her soul and restore her. To save her. And to save my world. I fought the Senechal with all of my determination. All of my skill. All of me behind every movement. My advance was near as fast as his teleportation. I was moving far beyond my normal performance. But this was not enough... I needed to strike him. Then I came to the realization; As an Arisen, I too can harness the power of the Rift. Even if it isn't as grand of a scale as the Senechal, I could use it to close the distance and to actually do harm to him. So, that is exactly what I had done. I moved so fast, I vanished and reappeared dangerously close behind the Senechal in an instant. I wasted no time and delivered the killing stroke through his back and out his chest. He fell flat forward. I carefully turned him over on his back to see what he looked like out of curiosity. When his hood had lifted, it revealed yet another dead clone of me. This was not him. He fooled me into believing that I've won. The scenery had changed the moment I blinked and the cloned body had disappeared . The whole area was a horizontal swirling vortex with lightning flashing in the moving environment. At one end behind me, I saw an opening in the Rift clouds. T'was the image of my friends back on the ship. Nall, Maria, Selene, Cosima, Douglas, Emma... everyone. They were all returning to Fayte as the ship sailed through the sky. This must be a gate that would return me to my world if I chose to pass through it. On the other side of the swirling vortex was the Senechal. He stood there waiting for me. Waiting for a decision to be made.
Senechal: "It is time to decide. Will you claim your right as Arisen? Or shrug the burden and seek peace in oblivion?"
I took a slow step forward...
Senechal: "Just so. One foot after the next, come what may. That is what it means to live."
I walked a little more. Then, I stopped to look at the Rift gate again. Seeing all my friends returning home, or off to a brand new adventure. T'was heart warming and nostalgic to see. We've traveled the world together. Been through many trials and hardships as well as many great journeys and shared many moments. I truly wanted to rejoin them and pretend that all of this never happened. But...
Senechal: "Turn back now and I will grant you a merciful death." He says interrupting Cass' thoughts. "The decision is yours, Arisen. Yours alone."
I continued to give it more thought. Should I press onward to the Senechal and defeat him, I'd take his place as sovereign and keeper of this world. With that power, I could make everything right again. I could restore Emma's soul and she'd be back to normal. However, I'd no longer return home, back to my world and to my friends. I'd never see them again...
Should I choose to return back to my world, I'd reunite with my friends and go on with my life in peace. However, I'll never return to this realm and I'd miss my chance at saving Emma's soul from this place. What's more, with the cold knowledge given by the Senechal weighed upon me, I'd be returning to a mere fairy tale story. My life was all a lie? I couldn't accept that... I refuse to believe it. But... deep down, I knew he was not lying to me. If our world and everyone in it are nothing but hollow shells, then why am I doing this? What's the point? No matter the answer, no matter the choice I make, the price is loss. I'd lose something dear to me....
Senechal: "'Tis a simple choice, Arisen: Step forward, or retreat." He says with a bit of impatience in his tone. "Accept the quiet emptiness of a false peace. Of false life."
NO! I cannot allow myself to believe any of it! Regardless of the truth, It all was my whole reason for coming here. I will not be deterred! My path was clear, I must press on. Fulfill my destiny as an Arisen. I walked towards the Senechal, not wavered in my resolve. The distance between him and myself was vast in space. And as I continued to walk, people began to appear in my path. They all resembled my friends, family, and some of my enemies. I knew that this was a test, brought forth by the Senechal to test the strength of my will. He made these copies for that purpose. The first to stand before me was my adoptive father, Mathew, or an image of him. Mathew was the man who rescued me from the ocean long ago when I was 9 years of age. I drifted close to the shores of Cassardis in Gransys when he found me. Ever since then, he took me in as his son. I've learned a lot from him. Knowledge from him became invaluable. He died protecting me from the Dragon when it attacked the town and I left once I came of age...
Mathew: "You've grown far beyond my expectations, Son. And your journeys have matured and shaped you. You have made me proud. Why not put an end to it? Return to Cassardis, to your home."
Cass: "T'is not home without you, Father."
Mathew: "Do not continue to let my death be your purpose to move forward in life. Just remember that I love you , Son."
Cass: "I love you too, Father. I have my own reasons to move on, now..." He says as he proceeds on his way.
The clone of my father faded away as i walked pass him. The next one was a Douglas clone. Nall, Maria, Emma and myself first met him in the city of Oriton in Fayte. He provided a lot for us and helped us all find our paths. He was very kind and very wise. We were very fortunate to have met him.
Douglas: "Why do you strive to move forward? To fulfill your destiny? To right wrongs in your life?
Cass: "You were the one who taught me that the past cannot be undone, and no matter how painful they're part of what made me who I am now. I know I cannot fix the wrongs of before, but I'd take any chance to fix what is happening now. "
I pressed on and the clone of Douglas vanishes. Mary's clone came afterwards. She's Douglas' maiden in Oriton. She had a secret infatuation of me and regretted not showing it due to her timid nature and learning that I was in love with Emma to begin with. She learned to move on from it, accepting it. However, she had yet to find her own happiness. I only wish that someday she would.
Mary: "Isn't this why you've come here... to save 'her'? Isn't she the bulk of your entire journey? So you could finally and truly have her back again?"
Cass: "She's an important part of my life. I'll aver it. But she is only part of my journey. I apologize, Mary, for your heart ache... I knew how you felt about me. I hope for the best for you and that you'd find someone truly worthy of your affection. Sadly, this is farewell..."
The Mary clone disappears, followed by a Nall clone. My brother-in-arms and best friend that I could ever ask for... We've been through a lot together, him and I. The most dynamic of duos. My journey would not have been possible without him.
Nall: "Worry not. I'm not going to question your resolve, Cass. I know your answer, and you'll always know that i'll provide my support to you no matter what. We've taken on so many challenges. This is just one of them. You can do this. I know it."
Cass: "You're right. This is nothing. Thank you, Nall." He says smiling.
Nall: "Now go and show that Senechal what you've got."
The two exchanged what you may call a "Bro Fist" and bid farewell. The Nall clone fades away. Maria clone was up next. Nall's cherished younger sibling. She became quite the valued member of our party. Her innocent nature was served as glue that kept us all together.
Maria: "You're going away?" she says saddened.
Cass: "Unfortunately, yes. I have to go and do this alone."
Maria: "You're not going away forever, are you?"
Cass: ".... I'll return. Don't you worry."
Maria: "Yay! Then, we could all go places together, like we always do!" She said smiling her contagious cheerful smile.
Cass: "Aye... we will. Once I return."
I bid her goodbye with an uncertain promise that I'd return to continue our group's happier times together. It caused such great sadness in my heart as I know I lied, but she's too precious to let down and everyone in our group adores her, I included. Even if it was a clone of her... She was gone the moment I passed her by.
The clone of Selene followed. She had been the strong-willed pirate who helped all of us in every way and she made our wonderful journey across the world possible. She saw all of us as a family, more than just a crew. I truly admired her spirit.
Selene: "You not seriously thinking on taking him on by yourself, are you?"
Cass: "I have to. I have to ensure that our world does not fall apart..."
Selene: "I'm not doubting your abilities. I just thought that you don't have to do this alone."
Cass: "I'm never alone, Selene. I've had all of you. I'm glad that we met."
Selene: "Take care, Cass. You better return to us, understood?"
Cass: "Understood, ma'am."
The Selene clone fades away like the rest before her as I continued forward. Cosima followed after her. She,too, played a major role in our adventures. Thanks to her aid, many witches were seen in a different and much better light than before. She, along with Douglas, Mary and Maria, were the magical driving force to our group.
Cosima: "It's not too late. You could still turn back. You could still return home."
Cass: "My choice has been made. I cannot turn back now."
Cosima: "There will be other Arisen to take up this destiny. This burden shouldn't be yours to bare. Let someone else take this trial and come home."
Cass: "I'm sorry... But it has to be me. I cannot let this befall anyone else."
She also vanished into thin air when I walked away. The clone of Lima Ray came forth. The evil little witch had caused us so much trouble and unleashed chaos upon the world. She nearly threw our world into another Dark Age but was thwarted by us. She's Douglas' greatest regret in his life, and possibly the world's. But in the end, she was just a troubled child...
Lima Ray: "You won't win. I can tell you're gonna fail and become the next great dragon. You don't have enough conviction in you to succeed."
Cass: Your taunts are all you have now, Lima. We defeated you time and time again. As far as you are concerned, I merely pity you. I pray that you'd find redemption someday..."
I proceeded passed her and she disappeared like the others.
More and more clones of people who I had met on my journeys stood in my way of the Senechal. I've confronted all of them and moved on, never allowing my resolve to be swayed by their words. Finally, I was face to face with him once more. This was it, the end of the line. T'was time to finish it and see where my destiny takes me. The Senechal smirked underneath his white hood as he saw how strong-will I've become.
Senechal: "You are close, now... So very close to me!" *Pulls off his brightly illuminating white robe to to reveal his true self.*
He appeared to be.... Savan. No, it was Savan. The Arisen who succeeded in slaying the Dragon centuries ago. No one else had been able to do so for so long as many either failed to defeat it or chose to offer their beloved in sacrifice for the Dragon to make their wishes come true. Savan was the only true Arisen to do what no one else could and ended the Dragon for good and all. However, he and his pawns disappeared from history without a trace. Seeing him before me now was all too much. This explained where he've been the whole time. He moved on to claim the seat of the watcher of our world.
Savan: "Come, Arisen. I shall meet you on your own terms, joined by my own companion of old." *he draws his sword and shield and summons his Main Pawn at his side.*
His Pawn, named Salde, was a bit taller than him. He had the same kind of sword (Crossed Cinqueda) and shield (Scarred Sentinel) as his master. He wore a Clerical Cap, a Plated Coat, a Grand Surcoat, Steel Gauntlets, Laborer's Breeches, and Steel Sabatons. He drew his sword and stood ready by Savan's side. Emma, my Main Pawn, appeared beside me with her weapons drawn preparing to assist me in combat. I drew my weapon and got into my battle stance.
Savan: "You stand now at its end, Arisen. See your journey through!"
And so, we clashed. the songs of our weapons could only be heard by us alone as we fought. Savan, the Senechal, held back his power just to have an even and honorable duel with me to determine once and for all if I had what it took to be newly-crowned guardian of eternity. He matched me blow for blow. His technique was flawless. I couldn't even land a swing on him as he dodged and blocked my every attempt. However, neither could he. No matter what he did, I deflected, dodged, blocked, and countered equally.
Savan: "Yes, stoke the flame of your will to survive. To be victorious! Temper your soul in its heat!" *He counters Cass' sword strike with his, which in turn is blocked by Cass.* "The forge of my heart grows cold, and the world shivers for it. Know this, Arisen: The world is merciless... Cold and empty, for all its beauty." *Continues to clash blades with Cass in an attempt to break his balance.* "It is an ever-turning wheel, perfect beyond compare. I stand at its center, as you may come to stand in turn." *His advance had been halted by Cass' strong defense as he forced Savan back a bit, deflecting his charge* "It is my will that keeps it spinning. My will that urges time onward through eternity."
He swung with an upward swing of his sword. I've managed t block it, but the force from it was so strong I staggered. He followed it with a shield bash as I was open, causing me to fall on my back.
Savan: "Our kind must fight, and through fighting prove the temper of our will. It is a fight that knows no end. It repeats upon itself, that all the world may repeat with it. And so the cycle continues, forever and ever and ever..." *Clashes and bashes at Cass as he blocks while he is down.*
I quickly got up, evading his next assault. I equaled his strength with my own powerful strikes that made him retreat his steps backwards. This fight felt like it could go on forever as neither of us let up. Then, Savan decided that he would take it up a notch by teleporting and attempt to get me in my blind spot. I've evaded and countered as I became too aware of this trick already. I, too, decided to use this, vanishing the moment he could strike me down and reappearing to attack when he's most vulnerable. However, He countered my attempts as well. We moved as quickly as lightning could flash, with each of our clashes sounding exactly like thunder.
Emma was fairing as well as I have against Salde. She had far more speed than him. However She was not able to land an attack as Salde's incredible defensive capabilities kept Emma at bay. She was able to break his defenses a few times, but was not enough to win an advantage and Salde would quickly regain his defense to counter her every time. Emma would even mix her swift and lightning fast dagger attacks with a flurry of arrows to keep Salde pressured and hoping to expose an opening. But Salde had ready Emma's fighting style and counter-measured nearly everything she tried on him.
I was nearly exhausted... While I tried not conceal this, I could tell that Savan knew that I was growing tired and attempted to capitalize on this by putting more pressure in our battle. If my journey ended here, everything that I fought for would be for naught. As I clashed blades with the Senechal, it felt as if time was slowing to a crawl. For that brief second, it felt like minutes. T'was that brief frame of time when my eyes looked at Emma... She was losing her fight. Salde had overpowered her as she laid back-first. One of her daggers was broken in half. Salde stood over her with his sword held high ready to end her. It was that moment when I suddenly gained the strength I needed. I refused to let it all end here! with everything I had, I repelled Savan away from me and, as if within that same motion, I used my Dragon's Maw Attack and unleashed a number of furious sword attacks on Savan. The onslaught was far too overwhelming and too strong for Savan's weapons to deflect as I've managed to knock both his sword and shield from his possession. I held nothing back and gave no quarter. I prepared to finish him off. However...
Savan: "ENOUGH!!" *he repels Cass away and begins charging his power within him, preparing for a devastating blast of light to end the battle once and for all.*
He was storing ample amounts of power within him. This cannot be good... I couldn't get near him as he charged due to an unseen force stopping me. I've had nothing else left to do to stop him. Was this how so many Arisen met their end when they reached this place? All I could do was brace myself for the inevitable. Suddenly, I could hear a voice calling me. I looked to see Emma restraining the Senechal from behind. Over to the far left of them, Salde was lying on his back, defeated. She won, somehow. She held Savan with all her might, urging me to end him quickly and Called me by my name...
Emma: "NOW, CASS!! FINISH IT!! HURRY!!" She says struggling to keep hold of the Senechal.
T'was the first time in years that I've ever heard her call me by my name... She really is somewhere in there. She is my reason for this journey. T'is time to see it through. Without hesitation. I burst forward and delivered the final blow to Savan, ending the battle. Emma released him and he fell to his right side on the floor of clouds. We've won... T'was finally over. I've dropped my sword in exhaust and nearly collapsed when Emma caught me to keep me from falling. I looked at her in thanks, smiling. She, amazingly, returned the smile. She's a Pawn, and she was smiling with me. The Emma who I've known for so long is still in there somewhere... I know it to be true. And she's yearning for me to rescue her.
I stood upright and sheathed my sword. Taking a final look at Savan, I reflected on our battle. He wanted me to win. He was tired and worn from being in this place, being the Senechal. He wanted to be free of that burden. Then, I turned around and saw him, sitting on his throne. He was completely unharmed, as if our duel never happened.
Savan: "Arisen... Forgive me. All I've done was to test your will. It is the fate of all Arisen... You and I are swept up in the current, same as the rest. Each tempers the volition of the next, and the endless cycle continues." *gets up from his seat and paces towards Cass calmly.* "And so, until the coming of a new soul fit to craft the will to live -- Someone like you. Until that day, may you guide the world ever justly."
He kneels down and reaches into his abdomen. As if performing some kind of illusive magic trick, Savan pulls out a dark blue and emerald-colored two-edged sword. He holds it out in front of me, wanting me to wield it.
Savan: "I present you with the Godsbane blade... Those who arise to oversee this world are undying, save by this brand's kiss."
I reached at first before hesitating for a second. He's asking of me to take his life... I'm now the new Senechal of this world. I have the power to fix our world and the power to save Emma's soul and restore her. However, I'll never return to my home world and to my friends again... I've already said my goodbyes. I took the Godsbane blade in hand.
Savan: "I ask that you, as the world's new Seneschal, use it now to vouchsafe freedom to your weary servant."
I grasp the sword in my right hand. He remaind there, kneeling and waiting for me to release him. This had to be done, for there can only be one Senechal in the world.
Savan: "New-crowned sovereign and keeper of eternity, grant me now this single boon. The fire of my life is spent and guttering. Give me freedom with the kiss of the Godsbane blade."
Without any delay, I aimed the sword straight and thrust at his heart. it plunged into him easily like stabbing water. He didn't writhe in pain or agony. He remained there, motionless and his body began to slowly turn to particles of light dispersing away.
Savan: "Mourn me not, for I welcome the release. At long last, I am free of eternity... Of infinity... Free of the cruel, unending ring!" He says his final words as he dies and disappears into particules of light.
And so, I did it. I've fulfilled my destiny and cemented myself as Senechal. I became the keeper and sovereign of this world. The realm was empty now, just Emma and I are the only residence. I walked towards the lonely celestial throne and sat down. It felt... cold. Not physically, but rather... I-I'm at a loss for words of how to describe it. Perhaps, it was the burden of knowledge given to me by Savan. There is no true life in the world without volition and we're all trapped in an endless cycle, doomed to repeat over and over. I've kept it all in mind and pondered it. I could never return to my home again. Even if I could, I know way too much cold truth about our world to truly live in peace...
I've opened the floor of clouds to view our world one more time. I observed my friends once more as they were still sailing across the sky in Selene's flying ship, continuing on their way back to Oriton in Fayte. Words would not describe our much I missed them already. All of the grand adventures, the challenges, the shared moments we've had together... I closed the portal before sadness could take over completely. I turned to look at Emma, who was standing next to me, like a statue. Her beautiful yet empty red and blue eyes looked upon me. I was reminded why I've come this far as I looked into her eyes... and I began using my newly gained power to telepathically search the vast Rift. There were billions of lost souls scattered throughout the endless void. As great as the challenge appeared, I was undeterred. I promised to save her no matter the cost and no matter the journey. So, I continued the search with unprecedented speed. Then... I detected one soul in particular that was very familiar. It felt as if it was calling to me, pegging for rescue and literally saying my name. With my power, I pulled it from the brink of the abyss of the Rift. I held my clinched left hand out in front of Emma, who was puzzled about why I was doing so.
Emma: "Hm? Is anything the matter, Master?"
I opened my hand to reveal a light-violet ball of light of light. I've held in my hand something of dire importance to Emma, something she had lost for so long. I was holding her soul, the very essence of my long lost beloved. I've kept my promise to her.
Cass: "Emma... please, take it. It is yours."
Emma reached out for it slowly. As her hand grasps the soul, it immediately went into her. She looked as if she had experienced a surge of power course through her body as her eye widened and she tilted back a bit from it all. I got up from my seat as she was about to collapse backwards. I pulled her gently into my arms and held her close. A minute later, her eyes slowly open. They were no longer empty-looking. This time, there was "Spark of Life" in them. Emma looked at me with a wondering surprised expression, which then turn into tears of joy. She buried herself into my chest and wrapped her arms around me, weeping heavily.
Emma: "Thank you..." She says silently in tears "Thank you so much... All this time... trapped... and you've heard my voice."
Cass: "I've never given up on you, Emma. I finally have you back at last..." *he continues to hold her close to him*
Emma: "I-I remember... everything. My past and even as a Pawn, I..." *She checks her right hand and realized that her Pawn Print, which identifies a pawn, was no longer there.* "My Pawn Print... T'is gone!"
As we released each other, Emma studied her palm where her Pawn Print use to be. She also realized that she was no longer compelled to serve the Arisen, as all pawns would be. She looked at me puzzled and wanting answers.
Emma: "Am I...no longer a pawn?"
Cass: "That is right. Once your soul was restored to you, your status as pawn and fealty to me had been removed. You're now fully restored to yourself, alive and with a will of your own."
Emma: "I'm... finally myself again. And it is all thanks to you." She smiles holding Cass' hands.
While it was indeed a heart-felt reunion, I feeling of sadness returned as I knew that this would be short lived. Emma was no longer my pawn, which meant that she can no longer stay here in this realm with me. She must return back to our world where I cannot follow. She could tell that something was the matter by looking at me.
Emma: "Is something wrong, Cass?" She asked with concern for her beloved.
Cass: "Emma... I'm afraid that I must return you to your world."
Emma: "W-what? No! I do not want to..."
Cass: "This place is not fit to sustain life. It is a realm of the Senechal... me. And as the keeper of our world, I must ensure that it continues to remain steady and balanced."
Emma: "... So, we're to be separated... again?"
She broke in tears once more. I never wanted to tell her this. I wanted to tell her to stay with me, for all eternity. However, my duties as sovereign and keeper of this world binds me. It was painful... having to come all this way, finally reunited with my love, only to have to say goodbye.... or... perhaps not. I remembered that I have the power to create life. If I cannot leave this realm, I can still exist back home. I shall make another "me" in all likeness. He'd bare all of my memories, my features, and my soul. The only difference would be that He would not remember anything that has happened after venturing through the Rift gate to get here. This way, We would always be together. I hugged her close to me once more.
Cass: "No, I will never leave you, Emma. I've fought too hard and ventured too far to have you back in my arms again. I want a life of peace with you. I love you, Emma. So, I want you to find me, back in our world..."
Emma was clueless. She was unsure as to what I was saying. I merely told her to find me in Oriton once she returns back to our world, promising her that I'd be there waiting for her. She was hesitant at first but then understood as she took my word for it. After opening a Rift gate leading back to our world, I released my arms from Emma and she began walking to it. She turned to look at me one last time. Her eyes were still stained from tears.
Emma: "That is a promise. You have to be there and be there when I arrive." She demands.
Cass: "You have my word, Emma. I promise." He assures.
With a smile on her face, Emma then went through the Rift gate. I closed it as soon as she went in and returned back to my throne. With my power, I would make another me. He would have my conscience, my soul, my memories, my likeness, and my experience. He will be me... He would not be bound to the fate of Arisen. He would be free, just as Emma had become. I may continue to watch over this world and guide it, but he, my creation, would carry on for me. I closed my eyes and began my work to create that other me. I would station him home in Oriton...