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Nightglory (3rd Edition)
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Writer Mathew Babaoye
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  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
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Nightglory (3rd Edition)
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#12
The Answer
Mathew Babaoye
Apr 16, 2016
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73
8 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!QzEG4dSbRDDKsRAbmdIHposted 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 protection73PENANA9Yw2TeS9w2

Do as I have asked and you will not face it alone.copyright protection73PENANAhnBV3G9VS1

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 protection73PENANAzvL1nmdJAV

A distant scuff.copyright protection73PENANArJUXMNcEWJ

Turning slowly towards the central aisle, she forced her mouth to carefully form syllables into: “my goblet needs filling.”copyright protection73PENANAHd6j990j5S

But the old, hard-bitten gold carpet was empty…copyright protection73PENANAkEo6GLsTv3

No answer.copyright protection73PENANAPXMJVyx7du

“Mmm.”copyright protection73PENANARVHXeR7fbd

You seem alone to me.copyright protection73PENANA7vRvBxh4rN

Goldenslaughter blinked. “I am NOT alone.” Her eyes wandered over to a nearby flagon still waiting. “Wine is ever faithful.”copyright protection73PENANA7gKU0GsxOG

It is not wine.copyright protection73PENANA1FBJDQBK5M

Frowning, she upended the flagon…copyright protection73PENANAYdiPITn0YP

Empty.copyright protection73PENANAN66y06etE3

“Wretch!”copyright protection73PENANA9FILplC16I

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 protection73PENANAN4V6UE0iEY

Goldenslaughter peered down at him. “Yes?”copyright protection73PENANA7s4d04kfyY

The stubborn gnome glared up at her. “You are in no fine state to tend your Queenly duties. Especially with guests…”copyright protection73PENANAiHE1t4m65t

Goldenslaughter arched one of her dark eyebrows, and waggled her empty goblet at him. “A fine time for wine...”copyright protection73PENANAOTxJZsnZK1

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 protection73PENANAXSu26v7qKF

“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 protection73PENANAo3n34Q7rWc

Feasal grumbled, but turned and strode back down the old, hard-bitten gold carpet to head back into a dark passage…copyright protection73PENANAUL5su4UR3F

Gone.copyright protection73PENANAT1xn3DSb4D

She blew out a breath…copyright protection73PENANAQsHdwM4De1

Alone. Again. Always.copyright protection73PENANAP8MVBg0w84

Unless…copyright protection73PENANAb25Jq9njkr

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 protection73PENANAXaUEoqrs3F

copyright protection73PENANAtTOgOpwPWF

She was surrounded by enemies: friends turned foes shouting curses, foes turned murderous screaming violence, strangers, and behind them all burned light…copyright protection73PENANAT8HYR88frt

The Daybringer, rising.copyright protection73PENANAGoEB321uv5

She reached for her Power…copyright protection73PENANA9YYXeNnLCj

Gone! And her Title, with it.copyright protection73PENANAqvs8ujgDyI

“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 protection73PENANA6f6KQ9MSEh

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 protection73PENANAXNgWLvK9hm

Her living Champion: the Barbarian Knight.copyright protection73PENANAtISVQne70N

She screamed defiance as they swarmed over her…copyright protection73PENANAP63WRU6DMK

Awaken.copyright protection73PENANAVJycFjIptZ

Goldenslaughter opened her eyes…copyright protection73PENANAMWHFRy26G3

… 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 protection73PENANAUw9Xt0RzEE

And still possessed of Power?copyright protection73PENANAkAnSN3cvtF

Why not?copyright protection73PENANAvgBdVsMYzs

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 protection73PENANA1tZbqsci2Q

… 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 protection73PENANAWmrkfensKR

I warned you: augury is not the answer.copyright protection73PENANA8f7Jt3cf2L

“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 protection73PENANAI3fHfFarYd

A feeling of utter shock. How?!copyright protection73PENANAiUAJePYCiJ

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 protection73PENANAtqZBasFnHH

The Ring looked different.copyright protection73PENANA9qLo803ir1

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 protection73PENANAwKW6ubWsNe

Stillness.copyright protection73PENANAchEbTODycl

Her eyes began closing–copyright protection73PENANAglL1JU1Mdt

The Faerie Queen was right to caution you.copyright protection73PENANAOJdKPHVLaJ

Her eyes screwed firmly shut. “Enough.”copyright protection73PENANAZm1EyUtbtF

A feeling of resentment.copyright protection73PENANAxJ0jKJdMwq

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 protection73PENANAfl9t6Zb2Km

You are always yourself, even when you refuse to admit it.copyright protection73PENANALJJMohHRta

Wriggling under the covers now, she then peeped out with her sly eyes. “Tell me a story.”copyright protection73PENANAw0TxjEhxqN

A bedtime story?copyright protection73PENANAXG87af6lhR

“An interesting story,” she warned.copyright protection73PENANAI3BrPZJxQc

Mm. But it will be one you know.copyright protection73PENANAHncAVwec3F

Goldenslaughter grumbled, but closed her eyes…copyright protection73PENANA01l99vogRF

Silence.copyright protection73PENANA7AII1yHL5y

Until…copyright protection73PENANAXMWanRGC4K

A long time ago: Little One ran away from home.copyright protection73PENANAh4MDdW9Bc0

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 protection73PENANAhjAZ2CxJnD

The crucible was slipped, and escaped.copyright protection73PENANAilpevN6cpb

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 protection73PENANAWHgJktFt5S

With bloody feet, it was eventually abandoned.copyright protection73PENANAumb4meHUX5

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 protection73PENANAxgqXvVKC89

Although not without cost.copyright protection73PENANAN4Q3ObxuED

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 protection73PENANAm80ydmMVgK

It was left in haste.copyright protection73PENANA0O0qLwmv8u

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 protection73PENANAFWzw0oIxSm

But all voyages come to an end.copyright protection73PENANAafvaNIxAEO

Little one debarked at the Port of Pain, and lashed out…copyright protection73PENANAkECl5oSsT0

There was naught to do but leave.copyright protection73PENANAXzXw6XVOvN

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 protection73PENANAbG3GRQpoq3

Bartered off without good purpose, the true value unknown.copyright protection73PENANAcLIP7NdZg7

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 protection73PENANA0dHXKNUFCp

Years passed. Life went on, and Little became Big...copyright protection73PENANAtN5wuXnUlO

Until one day came a message from afar. Afterwards: Big One closed up shop and embarked on a journey, heading back...copyright protection73PENANAXyAGnHuAGK

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 protection73PENANAIHYpEIczoP

And…copyright protection73PENANAYSC4p61M0n

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 protection73PENANAAYVbFjS9Uz

Understanding. Peace. And finally…copyright protection73PENANAUCgS2UBetZ

Unity.copyright protection73PENANA3sRGxgNz3O

Big became One, and One ruled all. Though someday, another Little One would come…copyright protection73PENANAXENTPscIC7

Goldenslaughter opened her eyes…copyright protection73PENANAhwKxpMs10W

… then sat up in her dark, luxurious canopied bed. “This version is… different.”copyright protection73PENANA04pSLW9ywd

There is more.copyright protection73PENANAmtRanHCzpf

Ignoring this, she hopped out of bed and swiftly headed for the entrance door, firmly pulling it open now to reveal coiling, living darknesscopyright protection73PENANAHGLrebdGce

A *grinding* sound, then a metal glint became the Wraith Knight’s helmet, turning.copyright protection73PENANADdj264ZgDv

“Rouse the Emissaries,” Queen Goldenslaughter commanded firmly. “I have an answer.”copyright protection73PENANAt0Zlam3MWs

54.144.84.155

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