Originally posted on Crossroads of Dereth Tales Forum, Summer 2000
This is another of my AC Darktide stories, one that I had forgotten about until a chance link from the TAO website lead me to find this and the “Promise Fulfilled” story.
My character – Lady Rhyssa Fireheart – was devoted to her lord and patron, Steele. When the player of Steele decided to quit AC in the summer of 2000, he wrote a story about his demise and return to the lands of his birth. This story is about how my character knew of what happened without being told.
Rhyssa lit the candles, curled into the large chair, and began to read. She was behind on the stories in the library, and tonight she finally had the chance to catch up. The hours of the night ran by quickly, and the candles had burned low when she felt it. Suddenly, pain hit her and she thought she would pass out, before realizing that this wasn’t physical, nor even mental pain. This was a tearing apart of her soul.
She felt an emptiness in her heart, and tried to find the source of this feeling. It was then that she realized that her ties to her lord were missing, gone completely, shattered. She could no longer feel him in her soul, but the feeling was different than when she had been pulled back to Ispar. Then, she knew he still lived and they would be reunited, but now…
Tears began to run from her eyes and she rubbed them away almost angrily. Then she felt it, a gentle, soft touch against her cheek. The touch came again, this time against her lips, and she knew. It was her lord saying good-bye to her, one last time. He was no longer in Dereth. He was free. She began to sob more openly now.
She remembered all the times they had sat on the mountains overlooking Stonehold and simply talked, about themselves, their lives, their dreams and hopes for this land they now lived in. He had told her of his past, and the charge given to him by the One. She’d vowed to help in his quest, to fight by his side forever. Now it seemed that forever had come. He had completed his journey, and now was granted peace, finally. She had known that she was to lose him one day, but hadn’t wanted it to come so soon…
She continued to cry, but the sobs softened, becoming more of a benediction now. They became tears of joy, for her lord had won his dream, and been rewarded. They became tears of sadness, for now she was required to walk this land alone, without him by her side, until she too was released from her duties and could go to join him.
Rhyssa finally fell asleep in the chair, exhausted from the emotions that she felt. Tears still stained her cheeks, but her face was peaceful now. She didn’t stir when Viztor walked into the library looking for her, to tell her the sad news. He saw her asleep and gently picked her up from the chair to take her to her own room.