Sorry if anyone finds this a bit sad, but to me, it is both sad and hopeful.

This takes place just after Raven Rise, in the building Uncle Press disappears into.

So, I hope you like it, and some reviews would be nice too.

I sat on one of the chairs surrounding a table that was farther off from the others.

My mind was buzzing, I can honestly say that I didn't know what to think. I closed my eyes and pushed my hands through my hair.

Part of it were the words Saint Daine said after I had pushed Alexander Naymeer out of the helicopter and into the living hell he had created below. They resonated in my head like an itch you can't scratch- though this was more than just an itch.

I am still not sure whether what I did was wrong or not. I've made mistakes, all of us, the travelers, have. But most of them were unintentional. I'd never killed anyone before, though. Mostly just thwacked people upside the head as Loor taught me so well to do.

Heck- I'm not even sure if Naymeer is dead. I can't be sure. I don't think anyone can be sure of anything for a while. But that's our job, to right all the wrongs Saint Daine has wrecked on the territories of Halla. We have to make things the way they were meant to be.

They were wrong because of Saint Daine.

It all came down to this. This was the final test, Pendragon. As I predicted, you have failed.

I was not about to deny that I hated him, I really did. The problem was that when he did tell me something totally earth shattering- or Halla-shattering- he usually was telling the truth.

Though normally he just didn't tell me anything at all.

For example, on the last of my days on Quillian, I had been on top of the world. Nevva and I had saved the her territory. Or so I had thought. The true to-be-savior of Quillian had been Mr. Pop, a treasure trove of art and history; all the things that the people of Quillian had been deprived of for a long time. All of it had been destroyed in an onslaught of dados, and they had been led there by Nevva Winter, the traveler of Quillian.

Trapped in the Trustee's building, was were Saint Daine had broken the news to me and told me I was an illusion. That all travelers were illusions.

Again, honestly, I had and have nothing to go off on with proving that he was wrong. I mean, here I am now, sitting in a room with some of my fellow travelers that are supposed to be dead. Gunny and Spader, who had been stranded in Eelong, were here. Uncle Press had kept his promise too, because much to my previous amazement, he was here with me. With us.

There were also many times where I would and should have died. Or not. But I had either healed inhumanly quickly, as I had on Zadda with my beating, or another traveler had healed me.

Creepy, I know. Tell me about it.

You have failed.

Saint Daine' s words snuck into my head again.

But have I? Failed?

After all we have done?

I don't know. Back in the helicopter, I had had a perfect moment of self clarity. I looked upon the gaping flume in the middle of Yankees Stadium, and saw the innocent people being dragged into it, screaming. These people were revolting because their world had fallen under a dictatorship in which they were being convicted of the crime of illness, of weakness, of poverty, and of not being good enough.

I had looked in front of me, and saw the man who had convicted these people.

Alexander Naymeer. Perhaps Saint Daine had tricked this man, as he had so many others, and not told the whole story.

But Naymeer had known most of the story, more than those before him. Maybe like Nevva had known. But this man had gone along with Saint Daine's great scheme and destroyed his own planet, his own world, and his own territory.

I have no clue if he had suffered through some horrible accident or at the hands of other humans as an innocent child, or if he just believed this genocidal path was the right one, as Saint Daine does. Maybe.

I let out a gust of breath, closing my eyes again, and resting my check against the cool surface of the steel table in front of me.

The other thing that had been bothering me was Mark and Courtney. I missed them and worried about them. The last time I had seen them was when they were being sucked into a smaller flume, as an example to the protesters. I had to believe that they would be okay, though.

I heard the scrape of a chair next to me being pulled back. Looking up, I saw that it was Loor.

"How are you?" she asked. I straitened in my chair, and faced her, saying,

"Just about as good as I can be right now." This meant; thank God that I'm alive and have a chance to sit back and rest. And that the travelers are together again. Thank God for that. Or whatever ruling power it is out there.

"Yes, I can understand."

I smiled wearily at her, and she smiled back. I could almost see the mix of silent relief, for being together, and sadness, for being here at all, clash in the air in stark contrast. Everyone was having some emotional issues right now, I think.

We sat in silence for a while, feeling no need to fill the quiet with words. Then she spoke.

"It is horrible, and I am sorry. I remember the feeling of losing my home. Nearly," she said, but then whispered, "though this might have been all of Halla. It is truly horrible."

"Yeah."

This time, when she spoke, she looked at me fiercely, with only a hint of sadness breaking through her emotional barrier.

"But Pendragon, you must know we are with you. I am with you. We will not leave your side in greed or treachery or even fear. We are all fearful. But we are all here. With you."

Her words sent new lift through me; I could not help but feel better when with Loor. All these years that I have known her, her confidence and hidden compassion never failed to amaze me.

"Yes. Thank you. But you know," I said, "I told Uncle Press that I would forget the past's mistakes. I think it makes sense, but we should also learn from them too, and use them to plan for the future. Saint Daine tricked us all, many times, but if we want to beat him, we must look to the future, but while still learning from the past, too."

Loor nodded at this. "Yes, I hope we all can. Then we might have a chance after all. To make things right."

To make things the way they were meant to be , I silently added.

But I grinned, saying, "I got your guys' backs too, though. Just as always."

--------------------------------
Later, I reflected more. Though this time on more obvious and recent mistakes.

I had been wallowing in my own fear and doubt. I was afraid. Just as Loor said we all were. But I too, had to stick with it and look ahead, as I had promised Uncle Press.

I would also keep the promise I had made to my fellow travelers. I had never doubted that.

I would be there at the end, Saint Daine would be there too. I would just hope that I would have somebody that would walk through the gates of hell with me, by my side.


Things weren't the way they were meant to be.

It was our job to make things right.

We were the soldiers of Halla.

It was time for us to take it back.

-The last lines of the last page from Raven Rise