What follows is a speculative epilogue for a campaign I am currently playing in, run by my brother. We're playing 5th edition in early January 2078. This takes place many years later. Reaction and feedback would be appreciated.
It was a clear, cold and sunny day. It was the kind of day reserved for wine in front of log fires and bundled-up white-breath strolls. It was New Year's Day, the first day of the twenty-second century.
William Christianson Jr. turned stepped from his bedroom onto the small balcony, relieved to have paid the extra for the hangover inoculations for the previous night's festivities. His house had hosted a charity gala the previous which had ended shortly after midnight, after which the real celebrations had begun. He had crawled into bed around four am, waking when his hand started to ache.
He held his left hand up, seeing how the hard morning sunlight refracted through it slightly. It wasn't something anyone who didn't know about it would ever notice, but he never grew bored of it or used to it. It rarely bothered him anymore, no more than once every few weeks since it had been replaced following the night at the top of St. Paul's. The night of all the fire that had gone down in history as the Second Fire of London.
He walked back into his bedroom where his girlfriend – fiancée – Stephanie was sleeping. She turned under the heavy blankets, her immensely pregnant belly just visible beneath. She was due to deliver in a few weeks, the eleven-month pregnancy just visible. Jaymis stood for a moment, just watching her, amazed at his almost ridiculous fortune.
After everything that happened, everything we've been through and everything I've done, I have no right to be this happy. He thought, smiling.
A nudge in his mind drew his attention away as Kyrie, his gleaming gold and silver ally soared in through the balcony and landed, silent on the floorboards. Kyrie had changed over the years: she had started out looking just like the dog he had grown up with, watch pass away at the age of seventeen. William had travelled deep into the metaplanes ten years after her death and bought her spirit back with him, both of them older and wiser for the journey and merged it with a new body, one cloned from her original cells. The magic, twenty-one years old now had changed over time, making the flesh flexible and ignoring age. Flying had been one of the first – and least strange unexpected abilities she'd displayed. These days, unless she chose to appear so, there was nothing suggesting she was a naturally occurring dog.
"Good morning." Kyrie said, yawning hugely and stretching.
William nodded, mirroring the yawn. "Don't wake Steph and do not scratch the floorboards, they've just been re-oiled."
Kyrie rolled her eyes and rose a few centimetres off the floor. "Better?"
"I want breakfast." Said the Shetland Pony-sized dog, twisting in the air and soaring back out of the window.
William walked over to Stephanie, brushed her thick honey-coloured hair behind one long, pointed ear and kissed her cheek.
"Morning." She mumbled, her voice mussy with sleep.
"Good morning sweetheart, did Kyrie wake you?"
"No, you did, opening the door."
"Sorry. Are you asleep or would you like tea?"
"Both. Go away." She grumbled, forming her lips into a big, demanding pout. He kissed her, and she rolled back over, deeper into the blankets.
He smiled and walked over to their bedroom door, pulling on a thick bath robe before stepping out.
The hallway was deserted as William, with Kyrie padding along ahead of him, walked toward then down the long staircase.
"Where is everyone?" William asked.
"Probably still asleep." Said Kyrie, floating down the last few steps.
They walked on and into the kitchen which was full of the smells of bacon and eggs. Remy, the now elderly troll free-runner was in his regular place at the giant dining table. While O'Reilly manned the grill. The whole countertop was covered with the debris of the in-progress breakfast. The Irishman didn't turn around, but continued half-dancing to whatever music was playing inside his head.
"Morning, sunshine." Remy said, his faint French accent stretching out the vowels. "You won't get much sense out of that idiot for a while. He's in an improbably good mood."
In the company of his old teammates, William felt Jaymis – his long-held alter ego – come to the fore. There wasn't much difference between them, not really. Jaymis had less responsibilities and was much more eager to do drugs and spend a whole weekend partying than William ever had been, but he considered both of his selves somehow vital to his life. Some of the best and worst events of his life had been when he was Jaymis.
He laughed and sat down next to his first friend from the shadows. Remy's Fiftieth birthday was going to be in February and while still healthy, his lean fitness and strength had diminished over the last few years, whittling his size down. Unlike most trolls, who tended to go to seed and get fat in their old age, Remy had stayed active, taking part in competitions until just a few years ago. Age for him had made him thin, his mottled skin taut over wiry tendons and bone.
The old troll slapped Jaymis on the back, knocking the wind out of him for at least the thousandth time. "How're you doing Jay, hangover? Morning Kyrie."
"Good morning Remy." Kyrie said, sitting at the table on the other side of Remy.
Jaymis cleared his throat. "No, I had the shot for it, didn't you?"
Remy shook his head, his long, backswept horns whistling in the air. "I didn't bother, they don't agree with me. I'm too old for that shit."
"You're not that old."
"Did I give you…" Jaymis started.
Remy handed him his tile, a small, glossy black square three centimetres on a side with no buttons or screen. They were the successors to commlinks. "You gave it to me about two am. You were shit-faced."
"Thanks." The elf said, switching the tile on and waiting for it to sync to his permanent contact lenses. He winced as notifications for hundreds of emails and social shares appeared. "Screw that, I'll have a look when I'm awake."
"Don't blame you, the piss you were serving at that gala tasted nice, but it wasn't strong enough to give me a buzz."
"Well, that's what you get for being taller than most rooms."
Remy laughed at the same moment Ratchet O'Reilly – or Colin Farrell as his watertight fake SIN would've have you call him – turned around with two heaping piles of greasy breakfast. He winked, turning the music off and his ears back on.
"Mornin' sunshine!" O'Reilly boomed. "Didn't think we'd be seeing your depressingly lovely face for at least a few hours.
Jaymis smiled. Ratchet had been much better the last few years, since he had the most invasive of his innumerable implants replaced with higher quality, more modern and less invasive versions. The therapies he'd been through to rebalance what the doctors called his essence, and years of therapy to help him come to terms with the things that had happened in his youth in Tir Na Nog had been a great success.
"How're you doing, Ratchet?" Jaymis asked as a plate of full Irish breakfast was put in front of him.
"I'm good, still fucking hammered, though I must say." Ratchet said, returning to the counter and bringing his own plate back to the table. "Sorry Doggo, I didn't expect you to be joining us."
Kyrie rankled at the name which had stuck since 2079 when Jaymis had introduced her disoriented – and distinctly more canine – self to the group. "That's okay, Sparky, I'll share yours."
Ratchet laughed. "I know you will, don't bother me none, my gut's still like a walnut, there's no way I could eat all this."
The aging getaway driver-cum-rigger started sharing his breakfast with the incongruous metallic dog and Jaymis watched idly while dipping toast into surprisingly well-cooked egg. He winked internally, moving his perception to the spirit-side of the real world. Ratchet was much easier to look at than when they'd first met. The holes in his spirit were less pronounced and the knots of guilt and pain spread throughout his body were barely visible. These days, he glowed with a mostly contented greenish shimmer.
Kyrie was a different creature altogether. The strange enchantments that Jaymis had learned to bring his beloved childhood pet back to the world had merged spirit with flesh in a perfect union that made distinguishing her astrally as anything other than a normal dog surprisingly difficult. He knew how to look though and saw through to the almost blinding core of her being; a shining, barely distinguishable shape of every imaginable colour. She was filled with love and strength and dedication to him and his friends and his Stephanie.
He pulled back from the astral as Ratchet was feeding Kyrie a sausage and laughing at something she had said.
"Are you okay?" Remy asked.
Jaymis forced a laugh. Ratchet was almost sixty years old now and while the hundreds of thousands he'd spent on therapies to repair the damage done when the toxic mage Blind had turned up somehow still alive had left him in startlingly good condition for his age, there was no missing the crows-feet at the corner of his bright green eyes and his salt and pepper hair. His team, the rag-tag bunch that had been his family for years were getting older. Fast. He touched his own eyes, fingers finding only smooth, young skin. There were a handful of elves more than a hundred years old now, the original spike babies who still looked to be in their early twenties. They'd buried their human parents and siblings decades ago.
Always prone to being overreflective, he thought back to 2081 when Swims-in-Dark-Waters had passed away. The elderly troll that had lived on Hampstead Heath and had guided him through his first initiation. Jaymis has burned him on the same spot where they'd cremated Amanda, the weird adolescent technomancer murdered by Ripper at the Shiawase building. When the troll's spirit left, Jaymis had travelled with him for what felt like weeks, following his spirit to a faraway metaplane. When he returned to the flesh, only hours had passed, and the Dweller hadn't let him remember where his old friend had gone to rest.
He laughed again. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just getting a bit…"
"A bit too you. I know, it's how you always get after a night out." Remy said, smiling sadly. "Don't worry about us, we're all better off than we had any right to be."
"I wish you'd consider the treatments, Rem. They've made so much progress the last few years in re-."
"I've said no, Jay. I don't want to live forever. I have nine kids. Nine. And fifteen grandkids. I'm an old man now and I've got a long time left yet. The things I, we've done to help trolls and others have had a real, lasting effect. Your school has more troll students than any other in the region and I thank you for that. Don't get me wrong, when I get to be seventy and I'm pissing myself and can't do anything for myself anymore, I might take you up on it and get the clock turned back. But for now I can still run, I can still enjoy myself and I can still be a grandad to those babies of yours who will turn up eventually. That's all golden to me and I don't want to miss their arrival stuck in a pod."
"Well there's not much I can say to that is there?"
"No. Now cheer up and enjoy your breakfast."
Jaymis/William picked up his fork. "Yes boss."
They sat in silence for a few minutes, just eating in peace. And it was good.