Conclusion Part 3 of 3Edit
In the darkness Kopfjagger, the Forsaken rogue was no longer alone. He was unaware that he had company as a troll shaman approached the kneeling figure. He laid a hand on the shoulder of the rogue and let him finish what he felt he had too.
The longer he stared at the whiteness of the tombstone the more Kopfjaggers rage built and blocked out the sorrow. He wallowed in it, savored the feeling of it as it coursed through his body. Rage was what he was built for, to release it in the best way possible, by killing. By destroying all that dared to live while his love was in the ground.
He switched from love and sorrow to hate and rage as he relived the events following his capture; the soothing sweet voice of the Banshee Queen as she conveyed her disappointment in him. That horribly sweet voice that had pierced his brain like stabbing needles. He knelt on the stone floor at her feet as she invaded his mind, pulling out the moments shared with Lucia. All of his thoughts and feelings laid bare before her. She laughed at his pathetic attempt to touch on his lost humanity. She taunted him with the reality of what he was, a corpse, a dead thing that had killed unnumbered people, children and innocents. She showed him his own memories of the blood on his hands, of him consuming the flesh of his victims. It had been horrifying and yet familiar. Did he dare say, at times, pleasant?
Then she revealed her revenge: A choice that she would leave up to his one love; his death or hers. When the apothecary revealed Lucias intentions he screamed out in horror. He begged the Queen to reconsider, to end his existence, anything but to make Lucia into what he was. To destroy her goodness and replace it with endless suffering and self loathing was more than his feeble soul could even fathom.
The Queen reminded him that he was the cause of whatever happened to the woman. He chose to betray his Queen and Lucia had chosen her own fate. Silently she instructed the guards to bring him to the viewing room. For hours he watched Lucia fight against the pain until she breathed her last. Then he waited.
Three days later, her hand twitched. Then her head turned to the side. It rose off the floor and she pulled herself up. She fumbled at the door, pushing it open as it was unlocked three days ago and stumbled out. She was still beautiful, her flesh would take time to rot and fall away. She still looked exactly like his Lucia; except she stared blankly at the walls. She stumbled around, bumping into the objects in the room until she found a half constructed abomination and began tearing at the dead flesh and shoving handfuls of the flab into her mouth. Kopfjagger stared in horror and suddenly the shrill cold laugh of the Queen filled his mind mocking his plight.
She is mindless, Head Hunter. She is nothing but one of the scourge now. It happens sometimes when the mind is weak, servant. Go take care of your love Head Hunter. She is still the shell of what you loved, is that enough for you? Then silence as he watched his Lucia consume almost all the raw flesh from the dead creature on the table.
When he could take it no longer he had slowly walked to the apothecarium. His twin swords swayed at his sides. He entered, walked down the steps and approached the creature that looked like his love. She was still so beautiful if he looked past the thin strip of flesh that, even as he watched, was slowly sucked into her mouth and chewed.
She spotted him and reached out towards him. Kopfjagger moved to her and wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tightly and enjoying the feel of her arms as they wound around his waist. He held her like that until he felt the sharp sting of her teeth sink into his shoulder and rip at his rotted flesh.
With one hand he drew a sword and plunged it into her soft yielding body. She collapsed on the blade and then slid to the floor. She was still for only a second or two and then began writhing to get up again. He lifted his sword again, now red from the leftover blood that was still in her veins and brought it down sharply at her neck. It cleanly removed her head. It bounced and rolled a few feet and then was still as was her body. It was over. His Lucia was gone.
He picked up her body, placed her severed head in a sack and carried her from the Undercity. No one tried to stop him but gazed open mouthed at the picture he depicted as he carried his love out of the den of the undead.
It had taken him weeks of grueling searching to find her daughter Loria and tell her that her mother was dead. She had fainted and when she came too, he was gone.
Now he knelt at her grave of the love that he himself had killed, and let the rage overtake his mind. He let it fill his soul and shoved the remaining feelings of sorrow deep, so deep he hoped never to find them again.
He finally stood, glanced once without speaking at Slather as the shaman placed a small pot of ivy on the grave, and turned his back on the mound of earth and gleaming white tombstone carved with the name LUCIA. From his pocket he drew forth a golden lock of hair and released it. The wind picked it up and carried it into the night. He carried no weapons but he wore a bright golden ring that graced his bony finger. Behind him the moonlight broke through the clouds and lit upon the white slab, illuminating the written words etched on the stone:
LUCIA ADELLE GUSTIPE
Loving Mother of Two
Mage of the Third Order
May she forever rest in Peace.
Delicately dancing, flowing and ebbing, swaying and slowly spinning, rapid whirling in the dark does time take its course... From the pages of Lucia Adelle Gustipie, submitted to this fine institution by her great, great granddaughter, handed down by the generations before her. May their presence on this earth not be forgotten.
Living, breathing, following the thin trail of life, the sun and stars entwined does time take its course.
In sight, and sound and in the inhale and exhale, in the frailty and stoic hardness of the deepest part of the fathoms does time take its course.
Beauty and despair, in the crumbling decay of the mountain stone and the feather light brush of powdery snow upon the frozen lips of the rose, does time take its course.
In memory and loss, sorrow and tears. In written recounts and layers of earth. In images and speech and the gentle guidance of a familiar hand, in youth and in age and the honour of the idea does time take its course.
In the smallest speck of dust and the largest unending ocean. In the hickory tree and the acorn upon the moss does time take its course.
In the endless circle and the unending rain, in the cold winter sun and the gentle spring breeze and in the tapestry of thinly woven thread does time take its course.
In the flow of lifes blood and the beat of the heart, in the rising of the chest of the being in the cradle. In the heat of the dying sun and the dew of the mourning does time take its course.
In love.... Time is lost.
((Thank you Kopf for the beautiful re-telling of a work of art created by two complete stangers. I bow before your talent and can only hope others are as lucky as I was to stumble across your genius and be able to put myself to the test.))