I hit the smooth floors of another hallway, and again recognize that I'm in Gulfen. Why do you keep taking me here? This is the last place I want to be!

"It is your home."

It's the worst kind of home.

"Just watch, and notice the difference in your surroundings."

I look around and I do notice something different. It's more . . . alive. Even though everything is still the same color as it was before, the feeling is happier. Sunlight is streaming through the massive frames of windows. The woodwork is new; it's not sharp or unsettling. Flowers appear everywhere in the carvings, and each detail is delicate and flowing. This isn't the Gulfen I remember. There aren't gaurds swarming the halls and shouting at each other. All I hear is birdsong from outside, and wait, footsteps?

My impulse is to find a closet and hide in it, which is exactly my course of action. The room I run into looks like a hospital dorm - there's equipment against the walls and a bed in the center.

Unfortunately, the people walking in my direction choose this room to go into, but they don't see me. A bunch of nurses are running in and out while a few others tell a young woman to lay down. Her red hair gives her identity away. I'm surprised to see that Emily is the patient, and she looks maybe in her early twenties, and another surprise is . . she's . . . pregnant. It dawns on me that she's going into labor and I grow increasingly upset, wishing that I chose a different closet to hide in. I turn away and cover my ears because I have a pretty good idea of what coming.

After a grueling half an hour, I hear crying, laughter, and applause all at once. I peek back into the room and see everbody I've teamed up with, witnessing this birth, and a few faces I don't recognize, perhaps newer members. Everyone is here and in the hallway except me. This is obviously the future, and Emily is still here, but, what happened? Did I die at the climax of the battle?

Then the future me rushes into the room. I'm even more in shock because I'm very well-dressed and I remove a crown from my head as I gaze at the tiny child. And, even more frightening, a lot of the nurses are telling me and Emily, "Congradulations."



WHAT?! That can't be right! IT CAN'T BE! Emily and I are just friends - and I'm pretty sure that's all we'll ever be. There is NO WAY this could actually happen. Maybe, MAYBE, it would come close. But not this far.

"Stop worrying so much, Trellis. This is just best-case cenario. It's quite unlikely that this would occur in the future."

I relax.

"You will also see worst-case, which is coming up shortly. For now, take a look at your son."

I cringe at the word "son". The baby has calmed down and I realize he looks a lot like an elf, except for the tuft of red hair on his head.

Emily's mother wants to know the name of her grandchild. Emily tells her, "Alex."

It's hard for me to believe how nice that name sounds, but also, it's unlike any name I've heard in Alledia. As far as I'm seeing, I won't be such a horrible parent as my father was, and I want it to stay that way.

"Worst-case is coming."

I'm so unfocused that I don't understand what my stone is saying before I dissolve and re-appear on a huge battleground.