DISCLAIMER:Thou art disclaimed, oh characters belonging to others.
INSPIRATION: I think it must have been the D&D ficcies I've been reading – "The End of it all" by Gabi Web; "Zeitgeist" by ChanceSaver and "Journey to Darkness" By Zuul.
He had given this world all he could. Now it was time to leave.
Eric Montgomery had told his driver to leave him in by the entrance in the car park. He'd done this every once a year since buying the Amusement Park, over fifty years ago; the place had closed after a spate of "accidents". But it was a prime piece of real estate, and everyone had assumed he would knock it down and build something bigger and better. Well, almost everyone.
He walked up to the gates and let himself in. Close by, there was the sound of dogs barking, and Eric knew who was behind him, even before he spoke.
'Evening, Mister Montgomery.'
'Evening, Sam. How's the old place today?'
'Same as usual,' the night watchman replied.
Same as usual, thought Eric. Not today. After today it's never going to be the same. 'Mind if I take look around?'
The night watchman shook his head. He'd never objected before.
Slowly, Eric walked off, towards the empty lake and broken-down rides. He could afford to take his time, and he picked his way carefully over the rubble and rubbish. He stopped at the entrance, and stared at the huge gaping maw of the Dragon. It had hardly changed, of all the places in the Park, this had kept its colour and structure, and was free of graffiti.
Look! A Dungeons and Dragons ride!
Eric smiled at the memory of the excitement they'd felt, so long ago. Memories were all that were left. Bobby had been dead for over 5 years now, but Teri still lived in their little house over on the other side of town. Hank and Diana, Sheila too; they had all gone over the years.
It had been a shock that Sheila died first, and so young. At barely thirty she'd been killed, leaving her four young children to be brought up by their father.
Diana had died almost twenty years later, a climbing accident. Hank hadn't lasted long after that. Another year, and he was gone too.
Then there was Presto; his close friend Presto, who had died just a week ago. The funeral was done, and the eulogy read.
Now he was the only one left. Funny, how things turned out. But some part of him had known just how the game would end. Their old Guide had been no fool; the plans for this moment had been made a very long time ago.
He looked at the ride before him.
Inside it was their portal to the Realm. And it had one more use.
He was sure that Robert would have it pulled down as soon as he inherited. That boy didn't understand his father's irrational (and highly unbusiness-like) attachment to this place.
It would hurt them, no doubt, the way they would never know what happened. But they were strong, and had lives and children of their own. And, ultimately, they would get on with their lives. They were his legacy in this world. His four children would continue what he'd started and continue it well, an honour to their father and mother.
So there was nothing left for him to do here and it was time to leave.
He walked closer to the entrance, and clambered over the barriers as best he could. Sixty years ago, he'd have hopped over it in a second, but now it took him over a minute to get across. Fortunately, he didn't hurt himself; how embarrassing would it have been to turn up to his new post injured. That would not have inspired confidence and trust!
The tunnel smelt of dust and oil, and was pitch black. He lifted his hand, waiting, and as he stumbled forward, a light began to grow.
He walked on, his pace increasing as he left the life he had behind. Before him was the vortex and, without hesitation, he stepped through it to that strangely familiar place that had always haunted his dreams.
So, I've come back after all.
He glanced down. The red robes he now wore fluttered in the light breeze, but the clothes fitted perfectly. Even the white crystal that hung on a chain about his neck did not seem out of place.
In front of him, beneath the cliff face, six people stood huddled together, defenceless and afraid.
Were we so young? he wondered. They're just children.
There was a roar from somewhere behind him. Not the same roar; as the Dragon Queen he had known was long since gone. But it was a Dragon, nonetheless.
Some of the children moved, some did not. Boys and girls; the same, yet different, and he looked at them, seeing into their pure hearts and seeing which weapon called to which child. A small smile touched his lips: There was to be no Cavalier amongst this group.
Eric took a long, slow breath in, pulling himself up to his full height. At least there wouldn't be any "midget" comments this time round.
He raised his hand, bringing Dungeonmaster's magic up with ease, seeing the weapon in his Mind's Eye; and said those words; the words many had said before.