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Epilogue – Ash and Memory “Time burns away behind us, leaving only ash and memory.” --Hoid A maniacal laugh echoed across the valley. The heads of the members of the court looked from one face to another. Above them, the stars glistened in the sky; there was no courtroom in the Nightwatcher’s Vale, of course, so it convened outside on the ground. The laughing voice spoke: “Servants of Odium, you can flee no longer. I can see everything, and the fires of judgment will shortly rain down upon you.” Nobody knew who moved first, but suddenly, there was chaos. And amid it all, the image of one man holding aloft a sword, the full moon’s light reflecting off the black blade. “DESTROY EVIL!” - Skai’s Remnant stood before the Nightwatcher, standing on the pool’s water. “Tanavast—he who holds Honor—is dead,” she said. “But there is a way to bring him back.” “How?” Remnant said. “You already possess this power, as does another in your group of ‘adventurers.’ The power to travel through time. As my gift to you, I grant you the knowledge of the time he was destroyed and of the path to his salvation.” “Knowledge?” “Knowledge is the greatest weapon.” The image of the Nightwatcher smiled. “Now, I should also give you a burden. However…I want him back as much as you do. I need him back.” Skai’s Remnant looked into her tearful eyes. “I understand,” he said quietly. And the Nightwatcher realized that he did understand. He possessed the memories of a doomed god who had watched his wife been murdered. He was the only being in the entire Cosmere who could understand. Two gods, standing atop the water, embraced. - Locke Tekiel, wielder of Nightblood, watched the court around him fall into disarray. Amid the chaos, he moved slowly and deliberately. He raised the Lenses to his eyes. The Eyes of Aman, they were called. Discerners of hearts. He wore the Eyes, and he understood. “DESTROY EVIL,” Nightblood commanded. And Locke followed. Though tumult raged around him, he cut through like smoke to Lucky Duke, whose body collapsed in ash at a touch from the blade. He pierced through to Innocent Joe, whose ash joined Duke’s. Whether he was guided by the Eyes or by Nightblood itself, he didn’t know. Everthing slowed to a crawl around him. The chaos stopped as everyone turned to survey the carnage. Their eyes traced the darkness creeping up Locke’s arm. Their eyes surveyed the peace of two gods above the pool. And their eyes noticed the final flakes of Joe’s ashen body flutter noiselessly to the ground. Locke stumbled to his knees on the ground, propped up by Nightblood. “NO,” the sword said. “THE EVIL REMAINS. DESTROY IT! THE EVIL LINGERS!” “A wise observation!” said a familiar voice—familiar, yet different. It was a voice they had all heard inside their heads, yet now heard with their ears. The adventurers watched in horror as the ashes of Duke and Joe began to rise into the air and form into something increasingly human-shaped. It took a step forward, then another. “It feels so nice, having a body at last. Now, I’m suing you for the murder of these two fellow servants of Odium. And the penalty is…” The ash body—Phil—picked up Duke’s sword. “DEATH.” Locke Tekiel smiled. It was the sanest smile that had ever crossed his lips. “I am Locke Tekiel, High Prosecutor of Silverlight. And it is my job to bring justice to criminals.” He raised Nightblood. Phil laughed humorlessly and prepared his own attack. “How about we make things a little more interesting,” he added. “Changelings, rise.” They appeared from nowhere, and would have been cute had they not been so terrifying and ready to kill. The adventurers were surrounded and outnumbered ten to one. “Let’s keep things personal, Tekiel. Your friends will be too busy fighting off my minions to interfere with our little chat.” “I’ll keep this short, then.” The two of them launched into battle. - Phil fought with careless ease, fending off Locke’s blows as if they he were wielding no more than a toothpick. Locke gritted his teeth. The sword’s power was already consuming him; he didn’t have much time left. What he didn’t have in finesse, he made up for in strength. He charged. Phil blocked every one of his strikes, but doing so forced him backwards. The sheer power of Nightblood kept Phil on the defensive. That was the only thing Locke could rely on. Phil’s body grinned. “It’s futile, Tekiel. You can’t hit me.” He took a step back and parried. “Nothing you do can stop the inevitable.” - The Changelings pressed in from every direction. Laust drew his sword and fell into Windstance, bladetip pointed back over the head. Then, he noticed Silver Feather. The bird started to change, rising and twisting in unnatural ways until it was the shape of a human. Not just any human—King Elhokar himself. He spoke to the wind, and the wind carried his message. “I submitted the order last night to my men. The crusade against Phil, the Defiler, ends today.” Suddenly, Laust could see shapes on the horizon, growing larger and larger. They had wings but were otherwise humanoid. “Equipped with Remnant’s wing fabrials, every Shardbearer in Alethkar is coming to destroy you and your army, Phil,” Elhokar declared. The first Shardbearer touched the ground beside Laust. He wore massive blue Plate, and a Blade appeared in his hand as soon as his boots touched ground. Now we have a chance, Laust thought. - I only have one chance, Locke realized. He still hadn’t landed a single blow on Phil’s strange body, but bit by bit, he forced the thing back. They were now only a few feet away from the Nightwatcher’s pool. The darkness from Nightblood was also beginning to crawl up onto his torso. His arm was completely black. He couldn’t feel it, but the sword seemed to have a mind of its own. Phil blocked a slash. “It’s pitiful, isn’t it. To come so close, and yet at the last moment, to fail.” Locke swung again, but he was getting weaker and Phil easily deflected it. “That’s not how the law works, demon. The law will always prevail.” “But when there is no one left to uphold the law? What then?” He took another step backwards, another step towards the pool. “There will always be someone, as long as honor prevails in the hearts of men.” Another slash. Another block. Another step back. Locke was running out of time. “Honor is dead, fool. Honor was Splintered long ago.” “You know nothing of honor. Honor is not a force, but a feeling. Honor transcends time, transcends life and death, Forming and Splintering.” “You’re wrong, Tekiel!” Another step. “Honor. Is. DEAD!” “Honor lives on through me.” Locke was weak, so weak. With the last of his strength, he swung Nightblood at Phil repeatedly, battering at him over and over and over. Phil didn’t need to move his sword to block. He just stood and laughed. And then, the laugh stopped. Phil stood stunned for two seconds, ashen mouth still contorted in laughter. Behind him, Heather the worldhopper smiled, holding up a screwdriver. And Locke Tekiel, High Prosecutor of Silverlight, swung Nightblood one final time. Phil came to his senses at the last moment, eyes widening in shock. Locke ran the sword straight through Phil’s chest. “NGAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!” Phil’s body crumbled into ash and fell backward—right into the lake of the Nightwatcher. It dissolved with the hiss of smoke, and then all was quiet. Beside the lake, Locke Tekiel held Nightblood up to the moon once again. “So,” he said quietly, “this is where my story ends.” His own body, consumed with the darkness, crumbled to dust. Nightblood spun in the air and fell to the ground amid the dust, sinking blade-down into the stone. And there it remains, among the ashes, a memory of the one who dared to remember. ----- Phil is not here to conduct business as usual. We would like to erect monuments to those who have passed on. Cloudjumper has died! He was killed by the divine hand of Tekiel and the dark tool of the Scholars. A Joe in the Bush has died! He joined his fellow in the ash of the earth and died two unholy deaths. Orlok Tsubodai has died! He fought valiantly and suffered the consequence of justice, learning as Ister Undyne did, of the dual nature of salvation and destruction. And finally, Araris Valerian has died! He fought valiantly in the conflict with Phil’s Changelings. Ultimately, it is the lives of the least of footmen that bring peace to generations. This concludes LG36, State of Being. I hope you enjoyed this experience, and I look forward to sharing more with you for lives to come! - Skai’s Remnant, Ecthelion III
Hello All, I am a new poster, so I hope I am not breaking any rules, but I was wondering if anyone had any ideas to break down editing for a dyslexic writer. I am dyslexic, and though I am much better than I used to be, I still have issues. But I am trying to do the best I can, as I really would love to get to be a published author one day. However, whenever I get to the point of my editing I get overwhelmed because of how many different things I'm supposed to look for and look at with my writing. And as works get longer I get more and more overwhelmed. If anyone has any ideas, I would be grateful for them, though the option of getting a professional editor is out of the question as I have no money and though I have tried to use friends and family, I usually give up asking after months of constant reminder to get nothing out of them.