From Sin, the Author: At last, the final piece of Part One. What? Didn't I tell you? Oops. This story will be told in three parts. Hehe. Thought it was over did you? Not by a long shot. I just figured short parts would be easier than a really long story that would probably make you want to stop reading it. Just call it reader-friendly and we'll leave it at that.

Disclaimer: I definitely do not own SM/DBZ because they belong to Naoko Takeuchi and Akira Toriyama, respectively. Therefore, because none of my multiple personalities goes by either of those names, I cannot, in any way shape or form, claim rights to the characters of those two shows. However the originals, which come straight from the disordered chaos of my brain (shudders) are mine. Not that you'd want them anyway, they smell funny and have serious mood swings that can make them very hard to handle. ^_^

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Epilogue

A Final Whisper

The Council convened. Whispers filled the still air with their soft hissing and across the room eyes met with hostility and friendship alike. The deities were seated along one side of the chamber, Satan and Arcadia in the very center as the highest-ranking members. Opposite them sat the Defenders, Prince Vegeta among them as their commander and representative. Never had such a council taken place, and it was very likely that it never would again.

"We've called this council for one reason and one reason only," Satan began, his voice soft steel as it slashed through the air. "The Guardian has declared war on all members of the Otherworld and even now he marches on the Gates of the Dead with an army equal to our own. We have sent all who are not warriors to the domains of Elysian and Arcadia and now it is time for us to take action."

"What we are proposing," Arcadia said, standing beside him. "Is an all out war against the members of Worlds Five through Nine and those of the Otherworld who have chosen to stand against us." She looked to Vegeta. "Prince Vegeta has been appointed Commander of the Army that will fight for Otherworld. All that remains is that a vote be taken among both sides to ensure that all members of this force will support our cause."

"All of those in favor of a declaration of war?" Satan inquired, his eyes on his fellow Council members. One by one the deities raised their hands, pale fingers arcing into the air to be counted. On the other side of the room the Defender's hands drifted upward as well, until all arms were up. The tally was made.

"Twenty-nine." Arcadia frowned and looked around. "Where is Lady Void?" There was a long silence, filled with questioning glances and shrugging shoulders. "I'm afraid if she is not here there can be no decision on the vote." Arcadia said at last. "It must be unanimous."

Just then a messenger slipped into the room, keeping his gaze down as he scurried to stand before Satan. The boy handed the Lord of Hel a delicate roll of parchment tied with a thin black ribbon. Bowing, the messenger hurried away once more and all eyes settled on Satan's shaking fingers as he untied the ribbon.

"What is it Satan?" Hel asked, concern filling her voice as her brother's face turned a ghostly shade of white. The parchment fell from his hand and he turned wide eyes on his fellows, opening and closing his mouth soundlessly.

"Out with it!" Limbo growled.

"The vote has been taken and is considered unanimous." Satan said in a hoarse whisper.

"Damnit Satan, you know very well we have to have all members of the Council approve a motion such as this in order for it to succeed. We'll have to wait until the Lady Void can join us before we."

"That won't be necessary," Satan said, his voice steadier. "The Lady Void has declared war on the other domains of the Otherworld and, in doing so, removed herself from the Council."

***

Kismet fought to keep the tears from flowing down her cheeks as she watched the devastated members of the Council stand and file out of the room. She knew that the expression on Satan's face would never leave her, would instead remain imprinted on her mind for all time to come. Pain shot through her and she bit her lip, fighting it down even as the words flooded her mind.

Your doing, she thought sadly. If it hadn't been for you none of them would be feeling this way now, but that is the price you pay when you meddle in the future.

As she herself stood to leave the deity of Fate wondered if her meddling had been in vain, or if somehow, she had managed to change the future. If she had, then she knew the pain would be worth it, for all of them. However, if she had not...if her work had done nothing more than alter a few minor details she knew she would never bring herself to look into the future again, for fear of what she might see.

It's up to you now Void, her mind murmured softly. Heaven help you if you succeed, heaven help the rest of us if you fail.

***

In her dark castle in the middle of the domain called Hiatus, the Lady Void sat curled up in a large chair, a haunted look in her eyes. Long hair fell around her shoulders and slid along her pale skin, cloaking her in its mass. Silence reigned around her, a deep, profound lack of noise that filled the air like a plague. A pen was still clutched in her slender fingers, the end dripping black ink on the skirt of her gown.

"You did the right thing," a kindly voice said from beside her chair. "I will get what I want, and you will get what you want. In the end, everyone will be satisfied with what they have."

"Will they?" Void asked softly, and as she spoke a tear made its way down her pale cheek. It froze halfway down her face and remained there, a salty drop of icy sorrow. Frost rimmed the windows and formed icicles on the edges of furniture throughout the room. Seeing it the Guardian laughed and, with a wave of his hand, was gone. Behind him the deity remained sitting in her chair, surrounded by ice and staring unwaveringly at the frozen light of a candle halfway across the room.

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Note from Sin, The Author: Finally, this is the last of Part One and I can take a lengthy break before starting in on Part Two. If you've enjoyed this in any way shape or form, keep an eye out for the next part, which should be coming out.sometime in the next century or so. Basically, look for stuff posted by Phèdre but written by me, with the words 'sequel' or 'Part two' in the summary, and you should be good.

From Phèdre, The Editor: The second stage of the story will be named (tentatively) The Shadow of War. The prologue and chapter one have been written, but need a lot of editing. I'm not sure when I'll get them finished. School has been pretty nasty lately. (I had three papers due on the same day)

As always, if you're going to review, be helpful.