Darkday, Warmstill 22, 3828
Raaja walked into an empty camp. The fire burned, unattended. Kahn hopped down from her shoulder and wandered around, looking for signs of life. Raaja closed her eyes and tried to sense him like she sensed the fragments. Suddenly, his arms wrapped around her from behind and she resisted a smile. He held her for a long time, nose nuzzling her neck. She was filled up with warmth.
"Welcome back," he whispered. She turned in his arms and lifted her fist.
"I've brought your final shard."
She opened her fingers to show him the final fragment in her palm. He cupped his hand around hers, staring it as though it were both a snake ready to strike and the key to his salvation, as if this tiny jewel was the end of everything they had ever had together. When he met her eyes, the love he saw in them gave him confidence. He bent to kiss her as he drew her hand to his chest and let the fragment dissolve into his skin. For the first time, Raaja was a part of that bright flash of light and it felt warm.
"You're whole now," she whispered.
"I am." A new light shone in his eyes, vivid with intense clarity. "You have done a tremendous service, Raaja. Not just to me, but, quite possibly, to all of Norrath as well."
She frowned. "I don't understand."
"Now that I have all of the shards of my lost self, I can finally break free of this world and return to the world I once called home." A smile played at his lips. "All of those poor souls you intended to save will be released. They will remember nothing."
Raaja had completely forgotten about them. They were no longer important. Freeing him had been all that mattered to her.
"When can I see you?" she wanted to know. "Where can I meet you? I will go anywhere on Norrath you ask."
He gently touched her cheek to calm her. His ocean eyes were smiling, free of apprehension and uncertainty. "I mean to return to the memories and dreams of all across Norrath, return to my place I gave up so long ago." She frowned again as the possibilities of what he was saying triggered warning alarms in her heart. "The memories and dreams of Norrath have helped to hold my shattered self... until you came to help me gather those shards once again," he explained. "You're right. I am finally whole."
"What do you mean the memories and dreams of Norrath?" she asked, suspicious. "Those were not your dreams?"
"No," he confirmed. "Not exactly."
She searched his eyes for an answer but he gave nothing away. "Who are you?"
He kissed her forehead. "You will know me once again. I promise. We will meet each other again someday." He chuckled. "And what a day that will be."
"I don't know." His thumb stroked her cheek as she looked away in distress. "Don't wear such a face. I see much now that you cannot." He closed his eyes and she sensed something happening, felt a release in the void. "Those souls are free," he told her. "It's your turn now."
Raaja shook her head. "No, I'm not ready to go."
"I am sorry I kept you here so long, Raaja…"
"Please don't be sorry."
"I could've taken everything from you in my selfishness."
"It was my choice."
"I won't make that mistake again," he said firmly and hugged her tightly. "I will come to hear you play some day," he whispered in her ear. "So keep playing for me until that time, and I will hear your music and think of you, know you are thinking of me." She opened her mouth to speak but he silenced her with a final kiss. "Wake up, Raaja Frozenstar," he said softly, and the world went dark.
Steelday, Busheldown 36, 3828
Thumore D'armer's face was smiling—his eyes, his lips, his entire countenance—and he was moving in and out of darkness as if bobbing up and down in water. As she moved closer, he was enraptured in light. They stood together on a cold cliff, wrapped in fur, wrapped in snow, eyes fixed on something that caused their hearts to swell with joy. The wanted warmth came with wooden walls and a homey hearth, lying on a rug, laughing. There was wine on their lips, his lips on her stomach, her stomach pressed to his, rolling. She heard the cries, saw tiny eyes mirror his and ears that looked like hers.
"Carry the moon," he whispered. His hand folded across hers held against her tummy and his nose nuzzled her neck. "Carry the night, and all that it brings."
Thunder clapped and Raaja's eyes opened. A dream. It had all been a dream—a real one. It was the middle of the night and rain was pouring in a torrent outside. She glanced at the pillow beside her where Kahn was curled up, chest rising and falling with the slow breaths of sleep.
She quietly slipped out of bed, pulled a blanket around her shoulders, and crept down to the kitchen where she quickly fixed a cup of hot tea. She had not dreamt of Thumore since their parting, but she thought of him often. The song she had composed for him crossed the piano keys so often that the piano could practically play the song itself.
Raaja stopped in the music room on her way up from the kitchen. She punched a few keys, playing a couple of slow notes. Then the house was silent, except for the rain thunder outside. She moved on. Remnants of her guild mates remained in every room. She couldn't clean them up—not yet. The remnants were evidence of their great love. She cherished them.
After everything that had happened, she did not regret the ending nor did she regret the choice to start the tale at all. Parts of her had questioned whether it had been real or not but the doubts were quickly stomped out. She was the proof.
Raaja went to a window to watch the rain, casually sipping her tea. Moonlight filtered through the latticework and cast a diamond-shape pattern on her body from head to stomach. She replayed the dream over and over again in her mind but did not come up with any answers about its meaning. But she would remember everything. Maybe, one day, she would live it, too.
"I miss you," she whispered. But she was not lonely. She had her sister. She had Kahn. She had the guild, and she would never let them down again.
Bloodsworn was her family that would never disappear.