General disclaimer: I own nothing, even Maiyn generally decides her own path.

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Epilogue

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Maiyn had come around in the safety of the Duchal Palace, in a comfortable bed with the sun streaming in through her window. She'd immediately clambered out, rushing to the corridor where she'd bumped into one of the healers, refusing to return to her bed until she'd been told what had happened.

They'd gathered around her bed. Xan and Dynaheir had been the least injured, but even their wounds had been challenging for the clerics to tackle. Kivan, Imoen and Minsc had been so seriously injured that it had taken several days worth of praying for healing to get them back onto the right track. Khalid and Maiyn had both been seriously enough injured to pass into unconsciousness, but their wounds had healed easily with time.

Alora and Yeslick had died, and no amount of prayers for resurrection could reverse either's fate. Imoen had wept uncontrollably, her bond with both of them being the strongest in the group. Maiyn had been numb with shock of more people dying in her companionship. Jaheira and Coran had also died, but both had been brought back to life - Jaheira had healed quickly, and in turn offered her healing powers in addition to the aid being given by the palace clerics. Coran however had never regained consciousness, and everyone was baffled as to why. Maiyn asked if he would ever waken up, and she received only shrugs in return.

Duke Eltan had recovered enough to come and pay them a special visit. Along with Duke Belt and Duchess Liia, they expressed the gratitude the whole city had for their actions and their deepest sympathies for their fallen comrades. Maiyn was assured that Coran would be allowed to stay under the care of the palace healers for as long as it took, but the ranger was so numb with grief and shock that she was unable to answer, instead retreating to her room where she cried for an entire evening.

Alora and Yeslick were buried as heroes of the city, and officials from all over the region attended their funerals. Maiyn met Alora's parents briefly, and they expressed their pride in their daughter. Maiyn nodded, telling them quietly that they had every right to be proud of the brave young girl before she choked with tears, and was led away by Kivan. She became steadily withdrawn and distant, spending most of her days sitting by Coran's side, talking to the elf about anything she could think of. The Harpers worried about her, and Dynaheir joined Jaheira in administering healing to the fighter whenever she was able to. Nothing helped.

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The Dukes of Baldur's Gate held a ball in their honour. Maiyn allowed herself to be dressed by one of the castle's ladies maids, and she followed Kivan as he gently guided her down the corridor into the great hall. She looked around, seeing Imoen dancing with Minsc while Dynaheir watched with amusement. Jaheira and Khalid were dancing too, caught up in each other's company, staring adoringly into each others eyes. Her stomach lurched with heartsickness. Even Xan was seen chatting amiably with some noblewomen, enjoying his last evening in the city before he returned to Evereska.

Maiyn pulled lightly on Kivan's sleeve, and he nodded to her. She turned and left the room, heading down the familiar route to Coran's chamber. There she sat and gazed at him in silence for almost an hour as the moonlight caressed his peaceful face, before returning to Kivan's side as he waited in the corridor.

"Wait here," she said, and he nodded. She returned to her room, changing into her well used travelling clothes, putting on her armour carefully and dragging her hair back into its usual braids. She opened the drawer on the dresser by her bed and took out two parchments. One was simply addressed to Coran, and the other was marked 'My Friends'.

Quickly, she packed up what she would need on the road; taking only enough coin to survive on, and putting the rest of her share in with Coran's, marking it for Namara. She picked up her pack, and silently returned to Kivan, wordlessly handing him the letters. She didn't say anything - she didn't have to. He understood what she meant by it, and he nodded, sadness in his eyes.

"Make sure Coran is moved to Brielbara," she said hoarsely. "She will care for him. If he survives, they will be a happy family."

Kivan promised to carry out her wishes, but he silently disagreed with her opinion as she left. He knew Coran's heart belonged to Maiyn; he only hoped that if he survived, he'd be strong enough to realise it and to try and find her once again. He sighed and pocketed the letters. Xan was leaving the following afternoon, so he would have to ensure he could gather them all in the morning. He already knew how they would react.

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Maiyn slunk out of the servant's door, sneaking over to the stables where she saddled up one of the horses, and mounted quickly, a brief relief of the horsemanship lessons that the Candlekeep monks had insisted she take. Without a backwards glance, she rode furiously out of the palace grounds, only just capable enough on horseback to cope with a galloping steed.

She head towards a fairly large house set against the inner wall. When she reached it she dismounted, and knocked harshly on the door. The door was answered by a gruff old woman who chided her on the lateness of her visit. Something about Maiyn's demeanour, though, softened her heart, and she went to fetch her mistress at the ranger's request.

Minutes later, Brielbara stood at the door, accepting the bag of coin that Maiyn pushed into her hands. She nodded; she'd heard the stories of what had happened, and the whole town was aware of Maiyn's heritage. The elf swallowed hard, and told the human about Coran. Brielbara's hands went to her mouth in horror, and Maiyn asked if she would look after him. Receiving a nod in response, Maiyn informed her that another elf, known as Kivan, would be in touch. Then she turned and got back on her horse, preparing to ride off.

"Thank you," said Brielbara, quietly.

"There is nothing to thank me for," replied Maiyn.

"There is - several things in fact. The way you treated Namara when she was in Coran's care, and the fact that you thought about us before you left. I don't care what they say you are; I think you know what I think of you, and you will always be welcome here to visit us."

Maiyn thanked her, and rode off without another word. Brielbara watched her leave and sighed. She returned to the warmth of her home, and called out for her maid. They had to prepare for Coran's arrival.

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The following morning saw Kivan herding the companions together at the breakfast table. None were worried by Maiyn's absence - since the battle, she had avoided leaving her room whenever possible except to visit Coran. Kivan silently passed the parchment to Jaheira, and the druid read it, leaping from her seat in surprise. Within minutes, the letter had been read by all, and pandemonium had broken out. The note found its way back to Kivan, and he paused to read it, ignoring the fuss going on around him.

My dear friends,

It breaks my heart that I have to do this, but do it I must. When you read this, I shall have left the city to be on my own, and you must leave me to go.

Too many people have now fallen because of what I am, through no fault of their own. I cannot risk anyone else to be affected by it, and so I must go on with my life without anyone being close to me. You are all far too dear for me to think about losing.

Branwen, Yeslick and Alora died because of circumstances surrounding my heritage, and the guilt of their deaths rests solely on my shoulders. Every day that passes brings the pain of their passing. Even Coran, the man who loved me despite everything, is dangerously close to death; and there is nothing I, or anyone else, can do for him.

Jaheira and Khalid: You have both loyally stuck by me, despite my childish outbursts and my naivety. You have passed on words of wisdom, made me take into account all sides of a situation, and you've helped me to grow into what I hope is a kind and well-meaning woman. I will miss you both, but your paths lead elsewhere; you have other, more important duties to see to.

Minsc and Dynaheir: Little did I know that when we met that night in Nashkel, you would both become so dear and important to me. Although you had your own reasons for accompanying me, I will be forever grateful to you both; I hope now that you can return to your lands, satisfied with what you have learned thus far. I will miss you both too, and will someone please ask Minsc to say goodbye to Boo for me.

Kivan: You joined with us to seek vengeance, and you accomplished it. Through our journey, you were a quiet but loyal friend and companion, teaching me the ways of the forest, and encouraging me in everything good that I did. I will miss your guidance and your company, but I know you will find your happiness now you are free to move onto what you see as your destiny.

Xan: Words cannot convey what you mean to me, but I think you know, in your heart. Sharing reverie with you, and listening to your gloomy outlook - both made you such a unique companion, and a true friend. I am glad I proved you wrong in the end however - you did not die, and neither did I; although sometimes I wish I had if it would have saved the others.

Imoen: Blood bound we may not be, but you will always be my sister. I never imagined I'd ever be apart from you, and it's going to be the most difficult thing in the world. I can't imagine not having your company for any length of time, and my heart is breaking to think that I won't see you again. But this way you will be safe - I'm sure Jaheira and Khalid will look out for you, and I am sure you'll have a good and happy life. I love you, little sister.

Please don't think badly of me for doing this. If there was any other way, I'd do it.

I will always think of you all,

Maiyn

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An hour later and the companions were leaving the gate. Kivan stayed behind, adamant he should carry out Maiyn's wishes regarding Coran, but promising he'd catch up with them when the fighter had been safely moved. Xan bid them goodbye, bound by duty to report to his homelands on the outcome of the crisis. His parting words assured them that he would seek another mission that would take him to the region again, and he hoped their paths would cross again soon. The mention of him in the letter had left him trembling and pale, and it was only with great effort that he managed to draw himself away from the others to head home.

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Jaheira regarded Minsc, and the berserker studied the ground intently.

"Boo thinks she was on horseback," he said.

Imoen groaned, and Jaheira tutted impatiently.

"Then we move quickly, and we do not rest until we have to. We go."

Together they followed the trail as they head towards Cloakwood, Dynaheir expressing her surprise at the direction.

"She'll be headin' to Candlekeep to see Ulraunt," said Imoen quietly. "She said she would, when it was all over."

"Why through C-cloakwood?" wondered Khalid aloud as the trees appeared in the distance.

Imoen stared at him and stopped. The others paused to look at the young thief, and her words came slowly and quietly. "It was where she met Coran."