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Nightglory (3rd Edition)
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Writer Mathew Babaoye
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
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Nightglory (3rd Edition)
A - A - A
The Answer
Mathew Babaoye
Apr 16, 2016
8 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!aNbURnVKYIHY4DPAULFsposted on PENANA

Illuminated eerie-green by the wavering light from witchfyre torches still burning along its dark, subtly crystalline walls, Caer Nocht's Feasting Hall was empty save for a Queen, a cage, and a cup.copyright protection48PENANA4SQLjt9WVs

Do as I have asked and you will not face it alone.copyright protection48PENANAt5fF073WS2

Queen Goldenslaughter was sloshing wine by circular motion of her goblet while staring away from the faintly glowing silver cage nearby, upon the tabletop. “I am not alone,” she finally declared, then drained the goblet in one long swallow…copyright protection48PENANAEz0JdQj7CZ

A distant scuff.copyright protection48PENANAAGSqscUB8P

Turning slowly towards the central aisle, she forced her mouth to carefully form syllables into: “my goblet needs filling.”copyright protection48PENANA3CVjiWqmSi

But the old, hard-bitten gold carpet was empty…copyright protection48PENANAoxSpg5fzdS

No answer.copyright protection48PENANAzNzre1D8DM

“Mmm.”copyright protection48PENANAYGpT0HQr3I

You seem alone to me.copyright protection48PENANAKrgCRwH66V

Goldenslaughter blinked. “I am NOT alone.” Her eyes wandered over to a nearby flagon still waiting. “Wine is ever faithful.”copyright protection48PENANAZFJy7XzL6c

It is not wine.copyright protection48PENANAx4TWYTEOlH

Frowning, she upended the flagon…copyright protection48PENANAx59NH0jp7q

Empty.copyright protection48PENANAl654Fd2eY8

“Wretch!”copyright protection48PENANArwcksbe7ZA

Feasal chose this moment to enter the Feasting Hall. Wearing his normal purple and black livery of service, her ancient head servant nimbly dodged the flying flagon, which shattered on the subtly crystalline dark floor behind him, then strode down the old, hard-bitten gold carpet before finally stopping at the base of the Dais to kneel, with his head bowed. “Queen of Night.”copyright protection48PENANAOxFYknYEM6

Goldenslaughter peered down at him. “Yes?”copyright protection48PENANA47dacSne6l

The stubborn gnome glared up at her. “You are in no fine state to tend your Queenly duties. Especially with guests…”copyright protection48PENANAmyRzTkK8rK

Goldenslaughter arched one of her dark eyebrows, and waggled her empty goblet at him. “A fine time for wine...”copyright protection48PENANAIghneCKdgx

Ignoring this, Feasal stood up. “I have done the best I could in your previous… absence. But have you forgotten so soon? It is time for our new weekly accounts meeting.”copyright protection48PENANAklFxvRpT5w

“It is not…” A brief hesitation. “Opportune,” she finished firmly, then shooed him away. “Write me up a list. Elsewhere. For I am occupied.”copyright protection48PENANAfr471XrL5T

Feasal grumbled, but turned and strode back down the old, hard-bitten gold carpet to head back into a dark passage…copyright protection48PENANAwNaObpqVDH

Gone.copyright protection48PENANAsX37uyZUs4

She blew out a breath…copyright protection48PENANArHwvOxtgjz

Alone. Again. Always.copyright protection48PENANAaPmkDyK4un

Unless…copyright protection48PENANAMWkP4Po4KQ

Queen Goldenslaughter turned slowly back again, her attention drifting across the empty Feasting Hall tables until she was staring across the high table upon the faintly glowing cage. She absently twisted the Ring upon her finger, around and around…copyright protection48PENANA8byEHnbaEu

copyright protection48PENANAJOk69YET38

She was surrounded by enemies: friends turned foes shouting curses, foes turned murderous screaming violence, strangers, and behind them all burned light…copyright protection48PENANAhP5CFas3ec

The Daybringer, rising.copyright protection48PENANAUnot15Qdfu

She reached for her Power…copyright protection48PENANAIZj25s1Km4

Gone! And her Title, with it.copyright protection48PENANATDTZfzaICp

“I will show you!” she raged. “I will cast you all down and grind you to dust! To nothing! Until you are only a memory of the dead!copyright protection48PENANAUxMi0NnR1D

The hateful circle closed around her, leering as they came into further focus: her own forces, the Lady, the Slythy, and others long dead but achingly familiar even after all this time, including…copyright protection48PENANAlJCEMI7Ntt

Her living Champion: the Barbarian Knight.copyright protection48PENANARn6Lmmkw4X

She screamed defiance as they swarmed over her…copyright protection48PENANAWZvIivwGmx

Awaken.copyright protection48PENANAjIgWm2EuQ8

Goldenslaughter opened her eyes…copyright protection48PENANAXIv4tSrOpw

… then sat bolt upright, her chest heaving, in her dark, canopied bed within her dark, palatial bedroom atop the Great Keep of Caer Nocht. She was safe, secure…copyright protection48PENANAMlvh3NNzua

And still possessed of Power?copyright protection48PENANA6NSnJfqoJg

Why not?copyright protection48PENANAxHY2LsUchj

The dark immortal one reached out her insubstantial hand, her monolithic Will bidding ensorcelled shadows beneath her black nightgown to twine from the sleeve out across her bonewhite skin, before imbuing them with enough Power to shade into corporeal, living darkness spiraling through the air (like a black tentacle) to grasp the cup upon her bedside table and return it to her. I have a thirst. She took a long gulp, then dropped the empty cup among the tangled sheets while squirming over to the side of the bed. Now I must see it again with my eyes. Swinging her legs over the side, she stood and then walked across rich throw rugs, passing by silken screens shielding curios, including the faintly glowing silver cage upon a stool, until finally throwing back open her shuttered double-doors…copyright protection48PENANAJ3FelI28iw

… to emerge back out onto her sumptuous balcony, beneath the crescent moon hanging high up in starry sky. The dark forest vale was spread beyond, all surrounded by distant encircling mountains whose upper slopes were luminous with low aurora. Well. All seems well. She inhaled the cool night air deeply, and exhaled.copyright protection48PENANAjpkcN4sdtb

I warned you: augury is not the answer.copyright protection48PENANAu0Tt2EWXRd

“You are right this time. I am done with sleep, and Dreaming,” she whispered, then raised her clenched fist high before using her monolithic Will to funnel massive Power into the living darkness surging up her bonewhite arm towards the suddenly glowing Ring which flared briefly bright before the surging darkness enveloped it, shading pure dark, and gradually even deeper, and truer, to pure black now BURNING with the perfect chill of the Void.copyright protection48PENANAhBhWQCFSLX

A feeling of utter shock. How?!copyright protection48PENANAp5nKhaOJnh

The dark immortal one responded only with a low moan of pain between her clenched teeth. It is devilish-difficult to maintain this new application of my dark Power long enough to fully cleanse the forged Ring their stolen Essences. Ohhh. Such pain to cleanse the source of my nightmare. Once satisfied all was well, she then let go her hold upon the Void, which allowed her arm to shade back to pure dark, darkness, and finally shadow dying away, under the shining moonlight, until her arm returned back to bonewhite skin. Always effort, but at least it was new. She exhaled raggedly, brought her bonewhite hand to her bonewhite face and sniffed the cleansed Tool before finally just holding it up against the shining crescent moon…copyright protection48PENANAVShOmktiil

The Ring looked different.copyright protection48PENANAwAWNwMqcFc

Well, the deed is done. Goldenslaughteer sighed, turned, and returned into her palatial bedroom gently softened by moonlight now shining in through the still open balcony doors. Whatever. Eventually ploping back down onto the bed, she left her tired slender body splayed across the tangled folds of luxurious covers…copyright protection48PENANAa5hxPyHEi5

Stillness.copyright protection48PENANAWdYe1kyvCR

Her eyes began closing–copyright protection48PENANAQ9rNXYznaf

The Faerie Queen was right to caution you.copyright protection48PENANAAlkSSaqAPI

Her eyes screwed firmly shut. “Enough.”copyright protection48PENANAGLWEZXYysB

A feeling of resentment.copyright protection48PENANApjKR6HPG50

Tch. You must be better with it. Goldenslaughter groaned, then turned her head and gazed towards a set of silken screens edged by the faintest glow from the hidden cage. “I… sorry. I am sorry. And not myself.”copyright protection48PENANAVGlgyeqZPf

You are always yourself, even when you refuse to admit it.copyright protection48PENANAIv1E90C8z5

Wriggling under the covers now, she then peeped out with her sly eyes. “Tell me a story.”copyright protection48PENANAJZouQvcGbi

A bedtime story?copyright protection48PENANAH6Y3nxiNw7

“An interesting story,” she warned.copyright protection48PENANA3eC4SM5uUE

Mm. But it will be one you know.copyright protection48PENANAAEDY9utlbF

Goldenslaughter grumbled, but closed her eyes…copyright protection48PENANAESMDV9aeXG

Silence.copyright protection48PENANAl0VY4OK9jE

Until…copyright protection48PENANAOTjrSsWlO7

A long time ago: Little One ran away from home.copyright protection48PENANA1tZN6VXg9U

The Realms are many. Little One came first to the Plane of Fear. Aimless for a time, the pressing weight there grew and grew until it eventually became completely unbearable. Nightmares had become friends, monsters heroes, and light dark…copyright protection48PENANAXvUTtZHd90

The crucible was slipped, and escaped.copyright protection48PENANASXUbpMEl8t

Little One travelled the Trail of Sorrow for a longer time. People came and went. Fellow travelers, some. Friendship blossomed like a weed, but love was reserved for flowers, and the Trail was rocky…copyright protection48PENANAt9WsX2oUjy

With bloody feet, it was eventually abandoned.copyright protection48PENANAOh3JaxIRKS

The Mountain of Rage came next. Little One climbed it instead of going wide around. Lost for a time in the rocky heights, the peak was eventually found, and crossed...copyright protection48PENANASDPMPfytBG

Although not without cost.copyright protection48PENANAX4QTxNWWHg

In the Land of Peace, Little One found no respite. The people were kind, but careful. There was no want, and a restlessness grew...copyright protection48PENANAuwxyfI5YzQ

It was left in haste.copyright protection48PENANAQsuFejVNNw

Little One crossed the Sea of Joy, marveling at the strangeness of it all. Creatures of the depths were discovered, normally hidden from sight. A voyage of discovery…copyright protection48PENANAuKAkE78B3Q

But all voyages come to an end.copyright protection48PENANARymp7C7dAH

Little one debarked at the Port of Pain, and lashed out…copyright protection48PENANA3q9y6oR1cF

There was naught to do but leave.copyright protection48PENANAxGq814f9Gj

Crossing the River of Regret after, Little One found trackless wilderness. No map could show the way now, so far from all that was commonly known. Little One trekked, and discovered, and came across a treasure: Hope….copyright protection48PENANAZySmYZY6cy

Bartered off without good purpose, the true value unknown.copyright protection48PENANANgYXO5mG6y

Quit of the wild, Little One finally settled among the old Town of Tribulation. Learning, and growing. Building a place to call One’s own…copyright protection48PENANAlEeLMfQ2px

Years passed. Life went on, and Little became Big...copyright protection48PENANAlo5eK4dJap

Until one day came a message from afar. Afterwards: Big One closed up shop and embarked on a journey, heading back...copyright protection48PENANAhXFgVumhas

Big One crossed the River of Regret and returned to the Port of Pain, enduring now without complaint to set sail. The Sea of Joy was again a delight, and all was savored until arriving at the other side, satisfied. In the Land of Peace, Big One took more care. There was value to be found, and it was sought… yet even still, eluded. Peace was left again, though with a vow to return. Going wide about the Mountain of Rage, Big One found the Trail of Sorrow. All was seen anew, and it was bittersweet. Halfway along, another way beckoned. The Trail was left…copyright protection48PENANAPw74iTk8WJ

And…copyright protection48PENANAGi8MwTQJC0

Big One took the Path of Truth, short and narrow, back to the Plane of Fear. Standing between here and home, she crossed it, though it seemed to hold power no longer. Heroes, nightmares and dreams all changed to memory. Big One finally returned home, and found it small. Changed… but so was Big One, who had forgotten the reason for running away in the first place.copyright protection48PENANA8UYObTixbs

Understanding. Peace. And finally…copyright protection48PENANA01Z75h1qpX

Unity.copyright protection48PENANAa6fjSLdIuP

Big became One, and One ruled all. Though someday, another Little One would come…copyright protection48PENANAJDKIsVCKsN

Goldenslaughter opened her eyes…copyright protection48PENANAdtOcAUtBlT

… then sat up in her dark, luxurious canopied bed. “This version is… different.”copyright protection48PENANAyvZNPSz2B4

There is more.copyright protection48PENANASkIC2ayEU1

Ignoring this, she hopped out of bed and swiftly headed for the entrance door, firmly pulling it open now to reveal coiling, living darknesscopyright protection48PENANAs8uhk4bOFx

A *grinding* sound, then a metal glint became the Wraith Knight’s helmet, turning.copyright protection48PENANAHe2H2SzBUa

“Rouse the Emissaries,” Queen Goldenslaughter commanded firmly. “I have an answer.”copyright protection48PENANAFMvooyyWds

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