…a light in the distance that only she could see, whose name was perhaps death, perhaps happiness…

A simple Shapierian thief finds herself become something she never wanted to be, and must embark on her own quest across Glorianna to redeem herself and reunite with the Hero she loves.

Unique to this story: spectacular Mary-Sue

Chapter 1 - A Mistake
Chapter 2 - Shapierian No More!
Chapter 3 - Itsumo Kawai
Chapter 4 - Nightfall
Chapter 5 - Demons and Darkness
Chapter 6 - Mirror, Mirror
Chapter 7 - Sechburg
Chapter 8 - Magic and Mayhem
Chapter 9 - On the Road
Chapter 10 - Trouble in South Spielburg
Chapter 11 - New Quests
Chapter 12 - Silmaria
Chapter 13 - Looking Forward
Chapter 14 - Various Ends
Chapter 15 - Forms of Hell
Chapter 16 - Horror and Heartache
Chapter 17 - Dance of Destinies
Chapter 18
Chapter 19 - Blood of Love, Death of Death
About the sequels

Chapter 17 – Dance of Destinies

This chapter was to begin with En Shevil accompanying Achim around Silmaria as he looked for balloon components. As you’ll see in the scene below, this plan doesn’t quite fit with what I’d already written, wherein En Shevil seems completely ignorant of and surprised by the completed balloon.

That evening, En Shevil fights Elsa in the arena. Who wins? I really have no idea.

The next day, Achim tests his balloon by visiting Katrina on Zante. In the scene below, there’s some implication that En Shevil is aware of this, but I don’t know how she knows. Meanwhile, En Shevil visits another world through the transporter. This was intended to be a moment of crossover with another QfG fic world I had going way back in the day, but of course that never happened.

Though the scene below claims to be taking place on the same day as Achim’s test run, my timeline had it set for the following day.

“Dazah!” cried Achim cheerfully. Cheerfully, no doubt, because he’s been to see his lady-friend, thought En Shevil grimly, not stopping to remind herself that Achim was almost always cheerful. “Come with me!” He beckoned her over to him, much to the smiles of those around him in the marketplace. Gloomily she trudged down the stairs and walked across the plaza, past the bank and to where Achim stood on the bridge. He spoke quietly to her as he took her arm and walked towards the docks area. “I’m going to Delos,” he said. “I’ve put together a flying machine!”

She shook her head in disbelief.

“No, truly I have! It works, too! I tried it out this morning, but I thought I’d see if you wanted to come with me and hear your future.”

She shook her head emphatically no.

He looked a little crestfallen. “Well, I don’t care if you want to hear your future or not. I’m not too hot on hearing mine, either. But do you at least want to come with me?”

She shrugged, then nodded.

“Great! Come on!” He started to run, so apparently excited was he, and she had no choice but to follow, shaking her head the entire way.

He slowed once he reached the foot of the stairs beside the Dead Parrot Inn, and kept on at a more or less reasonable walk. “The Famous Adventurer also told me there’s a grove full of dryads on Delos. He said something weird about dancing with them and bringing them presents or something, so I picked up some stuff I thought dryads might like and I figure I’ll visit them too.”

En Shevil rolled her eyes under her mask, but kept her head politely still. These Rites of Rulership were getting silly. She noticed they were heading out the north gate, and assumed they must be making for Science Island.

The lengthy process of attaining the latter done with, En Shevil was able to see where Achim’s ‘flying machine’ was standing, on a platform just above them. To avoid being criticized as she had been on a similar Science Island, she levitated them up to their destination. Achim thanked her quickly and pulled her aboard. It was shaped like a small boat, with a strange hexagonal bag of limp cloth attached to it and oar-like contrivances that must be for steering. Still skeptical, she sat down and leaned back against the wall, waiting for this miracle to work. Achim pulled a tinder box from his pack and lit the small brazier that sat in the center of the boat, then sat back himself, apparently waiting as much as she. The brazier, she noticed, sat directly under the opening of the prostrate bag, and as she watched the hot air from the little cooking device began to fill the cloth form and cause it to billow into the air.

At that moment she was frightened — what if this cursed thing should work, and she be carried up into the air with nothing but a piece of wood between her and the deep, terrible ocean? Shuddering, she clenched her hands on the sides and waited, ready to teleport herself anywhere else should the thing actually begin to rise. After a few moments more, she had calmed somewhat, when suddenly the flying machine jerked and jumped into the air. Its ascent after that first lift was surprisingly gentle, and she found herself no longer afraid. In fact, the smooth movement of the gondola as Achim propelled it forward with the wing-like oars was rather soothing, and she even ventured once or twice to look over the side.

“You see?” said the Hero. “Isn’t it great?”

She managed a half-hearted nod, still amazed that the thing worked at all.

“I’m going to win this Rite too.” He sighed suddenly, but did not continue.

She tilted her head in curiosity, but he was not looking her way. Does he think of me or Katrina? she wondered. Is there any hope left for us? She suddenly sat up straight. There’s one way to find out, she thought, and that’s at Delos. She willed the wind to a higher speed.

They floated over Marete without a word, she looking down in amazement at the mouth of Mount Draconis below them. That was a sight she’d never thought to see. “That’s Delos there,” said Achim at last, and began poking at the coals in the brazier, trying to cool them. En Shevil helped with magic, not realizing how she was going to terrify herself when they descended much more rapidly than she could have desired. However, they landed in one piece and secured the gondola, then began tramping through the wild toward a spot Achim had marked on his map but they had not seen from the air.

With every step they took the forest became denser, darkening with thickening foliage and approaching dusk. The temple they reached after a half hour’s walk was shadowed and eerie; the building itself was in ruins, shattered, overgrown, and unreachable, but what was left of the courtyard was relatively free of plant life. Toppled and broken lay most of the pillars, however, save those that had framed a path up a flight of steps to the temple doors. Between the highest two stood the statue of a woman, without detail and with the appearance of great age. Beyond the stairs was a beast-mouthed fountain pouring into a square pool of little depth, silvery and calm.

Together they approached the stairs and the statue, both assuming that this must be the key somehow to gaining an audience with the oracle. But when after several moments nothing had changed, En Shevil began wandering around the small paved area looking at things. She knelt and took a drink from the fountain; its waters were sharp and clean. In the pool floated a large black-purple flower with massive petals and a compelling scent, but she left it alone as it had the feeling of death about it. On the timelessly-preserved floor that lay under the water a few feet down, a number of coins lay shining. She knelt and pulled up her flared sleeve, reaching down into the water; but she was strangely unable to reach the glittering metal.

Achim’s eyes were locked on her, his thoughts singular: that her arm looked like En Shevil’s arm, with the same subtle musculature and slender length, but without the dark tan or the long, thick scar. He sighed, and she looked up at him. He turned away casually.

Retreating from the water’s edge, she continued to look around. On an ornate yet decrepit pillar, standing before the fountain and leaning far to the right, she could make out inscribed words somewhat dulled with age. As she read them, she shivered, for even had they been pleasant words in themselves, they were not associated, in her mind, with pleasant memories.

Paean unto Hades. All waters that flow on the earth flow to Hades. Alas, all life soon flows there too. Where those waters flow, a gate will open. Alas, too soon it opens for you.

Sing unto Hades this sad sorrow’s song. Alas, all life is quickly passed, and the gates of Hades shall open before you. Alas, this song shall be your last.

She slapped her thigh to get Achim’s attention, and when he turned she beckoned. As he read the words he nodded. “F.A. told me he found this here. You should feel lucky you didn’t have to come into Hades with me.”

Lucky… she thought with a sarcastic tone, but stopped, unsure of what exactly she was thinking. A small splash made her turn, and she noticed Achim standing beside the pool. Had he added another coin to the unreachable depth?

Suddenly a voice echoed through the clearing, majestic and elegant: “Any who seeks their destiny must seek alone.”

Achim turned his head to look at En Shevil, who shrugged and headed for the forest. When she was gone, Achim looked around for something to change. Maybe he needed more money. But before his hand was halfway into his belt-purse a soft light began to shine down from the statue between the pillars. He raised his eyes, and saw that the statue had transformed, gaining life and becoming who he guessed must be the Sibyl herself. Once more she spoke, and Achim listened in silence.

“Welcome, rescuer, mourner, Prince, master of the night. I am the Sibyl, who sees what is to come. Hear now the future that fate brings you:

“Your way is darkened with blood and death. The first death that you have confronted yet lives. The second death, Death itself, has already dragged you to its depths, and there is yet more to come. The next death you face is one whose fate crosses yours. That which he cannot own he would destroy. He will seek victory even in his defeat.

“Seven deaths, and the Dragon grows restless in dreamless sleep. Four posts that pinned it to darkness have been broken in blood. Three more shall be shattered in death. The last death shall awaken the Dragon fully. New-awakened, the Dragon is weak, but each feel of fear and pain feeds it. Fix first the pillar or it shall fly free. Death brought the Dragon to life. Only death will defeat it. Through the blood of love and the death of death will the Dragon die. Without sacrifice the Dragon is deathless. The last death you face will be the death of Death.

“Your way is marked with death. Face it gladly and your way is marked with glory. That is the fate that awaits you.” The statue’s green, hooded gown faded once more to the brown-grey of stone.

Achim shook his head. None of that made any sense. The only part he understood was that about Death dragging him to its depths: that must mean the Rite of Courage. And now he had to face more death? Too confusing. And, most disappointing, nothing to clarify his confusion on the matter of women. En Shevil, Katrina, Dazah… too many women in his life, and all the Sibyl could say was something weird about the ‘blood of love.’ Again he shook his head, and turned his steps for the entrance of the clearing.

Dazah was gazing up into a tree, watching a pair of birds singing together. Achim smiled and tried to sneak up on her, but she turned sharply and shook her head at him. Snapping his fingers in disappointment, he said, “Well, I’m done. It didn’t make any sense, what she said. Do you want to try?” Dazah nodded. “I’ll wait here.”

En Shevil made her way back to the Sibyl’s courtyard, fervently hoping that she would understand whatever the oracle had to say. Once there, she pulled a drachma from her pocket and tossed it into the water, watching it sink very slowly to the bottom. When it settled, the light shone on her and the statue moved.

“Welcome, killer, divided, warper of prophecy, mistress of the darker night. I am the Sibyl, who sees what is to come. Hear now the future that fate brings you:

“Your way is torn, and by your choice will you be broken. The choice lies in action or fear, and you will be torn by it. The path of action is dark, filled with death and evil, the evil of the Dragon that you must battle. The path of fear is darker, filled with endless death and boundless evil, the evil of the dragon that you will become.

“Choose the path of action and you will conquer, by your sacrifice and your courage to overcome the three things which you most fear. Glory and honor are yours by this path. You will be broken, but that part which is good shall be the remainder. You shall be torn, but that which you fear shall vanish.

“Choose the path of fear and the dragon will consume you, destroying with your hands all that you love. Destruction and lonely madness are yours by this path. You will be broken, and that part which is good shall be commended to nothingness. You shall be torn, and that which you fear you shall become. Lastly must you be torn by death from that which you love.

“Only by the blood of love shall you find the death of your death, and only by the action of goodness. That is the fate that awaits you.”

En Shevil shook her head. None of that made any sense! The only thing she understood was that she was to have a choice between destroying a dragon and becoming a dragon, which was almost logical when she thought about what she was. But what was this about being broken and torn? She sighed: no mention of Achim at all. What did the Sibyl mean, ‘blood of love?’ Still shaking her head, she retraced her path back to the forest.

They walked in silence through the forest, each thinking of the Sibyl’s words. En Shevil did not even know where they were going. At last they came to a spot where the trees opened into what looked like a hallway with floor of roots and roof of boughs. Stepping carefully through after Achim, En Shevil looked around her in shock at the dryads as she entered the clearing. Seven of them stood in a semicircle around a grassy plot onto which the passageway opened. Tall and stately, they were shaped somewhat like slim, beautiful women with mossy hair of various colors and closed eyes on their delicate faces. A deep aura of nature surrounded them, and a feeling of magic that was familiar (she could not remember whence). Here was wisdom, age, and power along with beauty.

“Julanar gave me these seeds,” Achim said, pulling a small bag from his pack. “I thought the dryads might like them. They’re magical, fast-growing seeds.” He went to the first dryad and bent, scraping a little hole in the ground at her roots. Pressing one seed into it, he covered the hole again. How sweet! thought En Shevil, enraptured. After a moment’s thought, Achin pulled an amphora from his pack and gave the newly-planted seed a small drink. Whether it was the seed, the water, or both, the dryad awoke. She raised her head, hair swinging back, and opened her eyes. They were a watery blue and very bright. The dryad began to sing.

It was an eerie, haunting sound — beautiful and riveting, like the unexpected flowing of river water to an invalid who has been indoors for many months. Achim and En Shevil stood totally transfixed for long moments, listening to the wordless song of the dryad. Then Achim moved on to the next, repeating his planting ceremony.

The second dryad’s voice joined the first in a clear, soft harmony, still in a minor key and frighteningly lovely. Achim continued to the rest of the dryads in the circle, giving each a seed and a drink. As he finished with the last, he returned to En Shevil’s side, in the middle of the clearing, and faced the dyrads to see if anything interesting would happen.

The song was complex, seven voices rising and falling in wonderful patterns, but now more sounds joined them: a beat of the hooves of young bucks, lords of the forest; an undertone of water, the uneasy-peaceful rushing of the sea against the shore; the chirps of nighttime crickets; the calls of many unfamiliar birds: all the marks of nature, over which the dryads ruled, filled the humans’ ears and consumed them. Orbs of sparkling, pastel light flew before their eyes, swirling around them and illuminating the clearing with strange, wild colors. The wind whistled softly as the dryads swayed with their music, and the flowers began to grow.

The seeds Achim had planted sprouted with the magic of the song, and great purple blossoms, magnificently huge, crept their way up and around the trunks of the dryads, giving them robes of brilliant violet and green. With this magic En Shevil could feel some power rising around them, rising within herself, that promised to burst forth any moment and sweep them both away.

Suddenly they were dancing, dancing together in an exotic waltz to the tune of the dryads’ song. But there were no dryads. There was only she and he in each other’s arms, whirling in a mist of light and color, sound and feeling, a oneness with the universe and with nature. They spun from cloud to cloud, the world changing hue as they went. Clasped hands up, they turned out from each other and came back, pirouetting together once again, dizzyingly and so wonderfully. They careened dangerously close to the savage lightning, thunder their drumbeat. Green spheres surrounded and illumed his face as he smiled for the pure joy of living. They flew through a sky of birds and dove, weaving in and out in a dance so complex it could not be. Rays of royal purple colored her hair as it whipped around her face, and she laughed silently. They floated lazily above the mirror-calm lily-water, then raced down with the river to the sea. They swam, both fearlessly, through a silverwhite rush of coruscating fish, twisting around each other to form patterns in the water before they broke the surface and danced back into the sky once more. He sent her out under his arm, crimson lights attaching themselves to her as she spun, and pulled her back to him…

And the music stopped.

Once again in the forest glade, dark now and silent but for the dim, distant sounds of Delos’ animalia, they found themselves standing in the blue-brown shadows of early evening, tightly clasping each other and looking into each other’s faces — one masked, the other with a look of serious joy that was almost frightening.

They each sprang back, mortified, and looked away from the other. The dance had ended; the Rite was done. Still, all through the nearly silent trip back to Silmaria, En Shevil could not help but dwell on those few endless moments where she had felt once more at last his embrace, felt one with him as they danced through the unity of nature. Whatever his new attachments might be, she could never forget that she was in love with him.

Chapter 18

This chapter, which never got a title, was the one that needed the most work; as you’ll see, it consists only of a very brief scene and a lot of timeline entries. If this chapter were as close to complete as the others I worked on back in the day, I might have forced myself to finish it all up properly. But, then again, I might not have.

So here we open with the announcement of the Rite of Peace. Of course En Shevil runs off to find her little boyfriend, or perhaps just runs off to Mary-Sue about for a while and then he finds her. In any case…

“Hey, Dazah!” Achim cried from behind her. She turned from the board, smiling invisibly. “You saw what the new Rite is, right?” She nodded, eyebrows down. The thought of her Achim going all the way to Atlantis–an underwater city–was not at all appealing to her. “Are you coming with me?” She shook her head violently. “Aw, why not?”

She shook her head again, raising her hands in a no-way-in-Tartarus sort of gesture, and he shrugged. “Well, I’ll see you when I get back then.” He started to walk off, then stopped. “Well, will you come with me to Zante?” She started at the name, wondering what Zante could have to do with the Rite of Peace. Making a questioning gesture with her hands and shoulders, she asked him why. “I figure my friend Katrina can help me solve the water problem.”

En Shevil dismissed that with a wave of her hand, hoping her magic was powerful enough to do what she intended. She approached him and put her hands on either side of his head, then envisioned his various breathing organs. With a surge of magical power she did some quick editing, and he was ready for business.

“Whoa!” he cried, jumping back. Apparently he’d felt that. She made what she hoped was an I’m-sorry gesture, and then some swimming motions with her arms as she took a deep breath. “You mean–” began Achim with a grin. “You’re sure…”

She nodded almost hesitantly. She was, of course, not sure. But she did not want him running off to Katrina for help. “Hey, that’s great!” Achim gave her that teeth-flashing smile of his. “Thank you so much!

She nodded her acknowledgement, and waved him away. As long as he doesn’t go to Zante, she thought.

Achim goes off to swim and such, while En Shevil heads into the transporter. It was going to be another crossover, this time with the world of a different QfG fic author — what we’d arranged to happen was basically ‘En Shevil gets killed’ — but obviously that didn’t happen either.

It takes Achim until the next day to get the Rite of Peace done. While he’s working on that, after her crossover adventure, En Shevil returns to Delos seeking the Sybil’s insight on the drug. The statue does not speak to her, but something (I forget what; probably the feeling of death mentioned in chapter 17) causes her to pluck the black lotus and take it back to Silmaria. (Though nothing ever actually comes of this.)

The next day, Achim presents the Peace Statue and wins the Rite. Then my timeline says, Achim drags En Shevil around with him all day; acquires deed to Gnome Ann’s Land; dances at Gnome Ann’s Land. I assume this means that he’s dragging her around in the pursuit of the deed and such, but who really knows at this point?

What reaction I had envisioned from En Shevil seeing her erstwhile boyfriend in ladies’ clothing I don’t recall, nor in what light I was going to have that scene play. Fifteen years ago I was much more stupid about gender boundaries and stereotypes than I am now, so I don’t really like to imagine what I might have had in mind back then.

This day is also the first of En Shevil’s week as the arena champion. I don’t have anything noted for whom she’s fighting or what the outcome is, however. As I said, this is the most incomplete chapter of the final four.

Chapter 19 – Blood of Love, Death of Death

We open this chapter with the announcement of the Rite of Justice. Achim goes to Zante to ask Katrina’s advice on the matter, though I’m not sure why or what she could possibly know. Maybe he just wants to see her? I’m sure that makes En Shevil happy. En Shevil, by the way, recognizes Katrina on sight in the scene below, but I don’t think I ever wrote or even planned a scene in which they meet face-to-face.

En Shevil, meanwhile, is trying to dig up information on the assassin, and visits the Thieves’ Guild looking for clues. No indication in my notes about what she finds. This, by the way, is her second day as arena champion, but again I didn’t designate an opponent for her.

The next day, En Shevil goes through the transporter again. This was to be yet another crossover, with another author’s world, but I don’t remember anything about it. She would probably have been killed by someone else’s main character again. Too bad.

In the evening, Achim encounters Bruno and heads off to Minos Island. Then, in the middle of the night, the following scene takes place…

“En Shevil,” came a great voice that she could not help but recognize, shattering her sleep and making her jump.

“Orono!” she cried.

“The time of thy proving draweth nigh, little one. Arm thyself.” As Orono continued speaking, En Shevil arose without question, dressed, and prepared for battle. “Even now thy champion and Elsa fight for the freedom of this land, but they shall fail, for Minos is their doom. The Prophecy Stone shall be broken and the Dragon of Marete shall awaken. If the heroes fight, they shall conquer, but not without heavy and grievous loss: the dragon shall claim many lives before the battle endeth. Thou art the only hope for them.”

“Why me?” asked En Shevil, speaking magically.

“Thou hast the blood of the greater dragons in thee, child. Now thou mayest live up to thine heritage, thrust on thee though it was: conquer this dragon and destroy it; save thy friends and prove thyself a true Heroine worthy of the man thou lovest.”

“How in the name of Iblis am I supposed to kill a dragon in some way that they can’t do just as easily?”

“Listen, thou arrogant child! The Dragon of Marete was created by the binding of dark powers. Thus, he is of the lesser blood, with no consciousness beyond the desire for death. Such creatures can, in the course of centuries, be tamed by those of greater blood, but for him there is now no such chance. Thou, of the higher breed, hast the power to control him for a time, to drive him away from Marete and weaken him unto his destruction. Thou must throw aside thy petty fear of the power within thee, for thou wilt need it to the last.”

“Why can’t you just kill him?”

“I give thee but a chance to regain thy standing in the eyes of dragons the world over. If thou deniest this opportunity, Marete shall not be destroyed.” En Shevil understood. She didn’t even have to take this chance; the dragon would still be killed if she went back to bed. Orono added, “Perhaps after this deed thou wilt feel at peace with thyself — saving the lives of all of Marete must surely be recompense for taking the lives that thou hast.” There the dragon was wrong, of course, wasn’t she? No matter — having heard what she had, En Shevil could no more remain here than she could swim. She secured her silence charm around her neck, and at that moment the air filled with magic, rippling, and she disappeared.

Startled, she found herself in a very different place: great rocky walls reared up on all sides, dark yet lit with a pulsating crimson light. A river of lava lay before her, the painful heat causing her to step back. Through its steam she saw the warped image of a brilliantly-colored temple, before whose shattered doors stood the dragon, restrained only by three thin lines of purple lightning. Nearby stood Achim, Elsa, and Toro, and, above the ground in an oval of red light, Katrina. She could not be sure, but it seemed that a small crowd of humans was massed in the hazy darkness to her left.

“Dazah!” cried Achim. “I’m sorry to drag you into this, but help me stand this pillar up!” He was pushing against a dragon pillar, the last one unbroken on Marete. She looked around, wondering whether to obey him or face the dragon. “The dragon can’t be harmed if this isn’t standing!” he cried. So she ran to his side.

Even with their combined strength it would not move. Elsa, Katrina, and Toro were all heading for the dragon when another shape appeared through the steam, green-skinned and huge. “Gort fight dragon,” he said, surprising them all. “Gort be hero too.”

With a shocked smile Achim cried, “Gort! Come help us with this thing!” The false man approached and applied all his effort to the pillar, which, with three sets of arms and backs working on it, slowly righted. “Everyone! You can attack now!”

The group that En Shevil thought she had imagined in the darkness poured forward, and her breath was caught in her throat as she saw the familiar shape in the lead: Reeshaka was pitting her small band of EOF warriors against an opponent that was doubtless beyond the mental scope of any of them. Nevertheless, she admired their bravery. But for all the attacks, magic and otherwise, now being placed on the monster, the dragon did not seem to be taking any hurt.

“Sacrifice,” she heard Achim say as he stood upright, slapping his palms on his thighs. “Katrina!” he cried, turning. “The Sybil said there must be a sacrifice for the dragon to die! ‘The blood of love!'”

“Blood to attract the forces from the dragon? That would work! Who though is willing to face this death?”

“‘Face this death’–‘blood of love…'” She did not hear him whisper, En Shevil… “I’ll do it!” said Achim. Her heart leaped with fear, and she grasped at him as he ran from her side, though she missed him entirely. Achim stood before the dragon, just across the river, raising his arms. “Hey, dragon!” he shouted, throwing his magical spear at the monster’s head. The latter rose into the air, letting out an earsplitting roar that spoke to En Shevil’s ears the love of death and a lust for blood. That horrible kinship had again awakened in her with the sound, strong and fierce as it had not been on Hydra Island. It stirred her anger, and, caught up in a sudden rage, she took a deep breath and returned the cry, roaring the dragon’s roar from weak human lungs fueled by magic and despair. Something sharp lodged itself in her chest, and she realized she had shattered her silence charm.

But she had prevented the sacrifice. The dragon’s head remained motionless in the air, startled in the unexpected recognition of one of its own kin in a strange body. Its attackers were staring at her as well, and for a moment all was silent. She ran forward, jumping with a double flip over the stream and racing to the dragon’s side. Laying her hands flat on the burning hot flank of the creature, she opened herself to him. The great rolling desert of her magic was laid bare to the searing pool of magma that was his consciousness; the two combined, lava spilling onto the sand and melting it until all was a rolling whirlpool of glassy molten rock. She entered into his mind, somehow letting her body unform; she was the dragon.

Images of his life bombarded her: a primitive, devilish awareness pairing with dark powers called forth by the Atlantean wizards to create him; destroying most of Atlantis, then flying wildly over the sea, twisting and spinning through the swiftly-moving air that heated at his passing; burning for the sheer joy of ruin, destroying forests and towns, evaporating lakes, devouring every creature in his path. She felt once more the adrenaline of killing, and the evil passion of Avigilante power. Deathscar had returned. She saw him sleep, glutted on the lives of thousands, for many years; she felt the hunger of his awakening, his realization that a new island had formed where he had destroyed the old; she felt him arise and destroy once more, bringing new death to Silmaria. Deathscar rejoiced at his triumph, feeling the glorious fullness that came from the dragon’s feast.

Then she felt his pain as he weakened, suddenly and without preamble, at the raising of a simple pillar by the hands of tiny men. A second pillar stood, and she felt his power being bound. With every new pillar she cringed, feeling it in him like a knife wound. Finally she watched him retreat to the palace in Dragon Blood Cavern, bound and powerless. The wrath of Deathscar joined with her brother dragon at the humans who had caused him such pain. All was the desire to make them suffer.

She watched him in the darkness of long years, brooding and bitter, until a sudden snapping crack, accompanied by the dying cry of a Silmarian guard, gave him a sudden hope of new life. The second death and broken pillar woke him fully, and soon five more deaths were to set him free. Free. He was free to bring vengeance on those who had imprisoned him. His strength regained, he was no longer a prisoner of pathetic man. He was Doom, and Deathscar was with him in readiness, joining him in the pleasure of his sudden freedom. Their quest was now for the destruction of Silmaria.

They reared up, breaking the lightning bolts like ropes and sending them snapping, whip-like, into the ground with crackling surges of dying power. They beat their wings, rising up above the heads of the frightened attackers, and rose out of the rocks. Two small shapes followed them into the sky. High above Marete they soared, ready to sweep down and bring destruction on Silmaria and anything else they could find. The dragon Deathscar laughed, roaring with its newfound strength.

But En Shevil was not dead yet. Slowly, even as the dragon she had become prepared to bring doom to the little island, she regained control of herself. The Sechburg months of concentrating on pushing Deathscar aside had been of worth, for without them she would never have had the strength to do so now. More than ever she could see the split in herself: En Shevil the human, the thief, the warrior, and Deathscar the dragon, the murderer, the madwoman. She could not be dragon and human at once–and therefore the Dragon must die. She drove him away from Marete.

Briefly over the sea they flew, wild and consumed with fire and rage. Over the mainland where their shadow brought fear to all who stood below; past barren lands where little grew and no man lived, and finally out to where the great ocean was cold and empty and huge islands of ice floated. They twisted and dove in the sky, he attempting to shake her from his mind. But as his fire died in the cold of the north his mind and her magic were cooling, hardening together irrevocably. She knew that once she left his mind, her magic (what she had not already exhausted) would be lost to her forever, trapped in the dying consciousness of a creature she had renounced, relinquished with the dark power from the depths of Marete. So also would be lost her own draconic half. But how to kill him?

They fell towards the sea, feeling her strength draining out of her as he fought even harder for control. Into the icy water they plunged, a great steam rising and waves spreading out in every direction. There was no more fear in her for this water, this dragon’s grave–it was life after death as Deathscar met her final end. They struggled, he still trying to break free and she ever weakening, but she pushed him deeper, until light was gone and his body drew its last breath. And there the dragon died. As his mind spun into blackness, pulling her with it, she grasped at the last thread of magic, her last chance to live–willing herself out, willing herself free. She felt a terrible pain as if she were being ripped apart, as if someone were tearing her heart from her chest, wrenching some inner part of her like a bee’s stinger. At once came the sensations of something strongly grasping her arms and existence fading away into nothingness. But even as the sable curtain fell across her vision, she smiled with a spirit mouth, knowing that what she had lost was a killer. Whether En Shevil lived or died, Deathscar had come to her story’s conclusion.

When she awoke she was on the uncomfortable bed in the octagonal room of Erasmus’ castle. Through what stricture of magic she did not know, she was clothed as she had been before the battle, save only that her charm was gone and her hair once again blonde. She sat up, chest fluttering, then fell back again, completely exhausted. “Achim,” she murmured.

“Last thing I heard, he was headed for Minos to beat someone up, or rescue Elsa, or something.” This was Fenris, who now hopped onto the bed beside her. He said something else she could not hear, for she fell then into an intense and dreamless sleep until at least ten hours later when she again opened her eyes and sat up. Her energy was totally restored, but something was missing inside her. She felt lighter somehow, less weighed down, and yet somehow complete and full as she had not been since her transportation to Itsumo Kawai. Rawn sat at the table looking out the window into a night sky. She sighed once, then turned her head towards En Shevil. Seeing her awake, she jumped up and rushed over to her, every semblance of Faery calm momentarily gone. She swore some oath of her homeland and clasped the other in her arms. “You’re alive!”

“I’ve been alive for the last while, it seems” she said.

“But you could not hear me say it while you slept,” said Rawn, her eyes filled with tears. “And you have saved Silmaria from Doom.”

“How did I get here?”

“I thought you were gonna die, so I lev’d you into the transporter. And now you’re back, safe and whole.”

“Levitated me? From where? I was miles away, out in the ocean!”

“Your friends rescued you. The demons.”


“They followed the dragon, and found your body.”

“Askgaella doesn’t have wings.”

“It would appear she does now.”

“How? Where are they?”

“They said they are going east, but that they will see you again.”

“What? Why did they leave?”

“They seemed rather shy of humans.”

“Where is Achim?”

“I have been watching him for you. When he reached the city he collapsed; he is also only just awakened. The city now wishes to know your fate. They asked me if I knew aught of you, and I told them I would look for you. What do you wish?”

“My magic is gone,” said En Shevil softly, picking up the mask that lay on the table. “Send me to Achim, please. I must speak with him before I decide.”

“You will tell him? You know he loves you.”

“I… haven’t decided yet.” And I don’t know that. Rawn nodded, and magic filled the air. She found herself standing beside the gate near Gnome Ann’s Land. Achim was walking slowly up the slope, doubtless heading for the Hall of Kings. “Achim,” she said. He stopped, remaining motionless for a moment, then turned and looked at her. His hand went to his face, then he ran to meet her and throw his arms around her. He was weeping, and did not say anything for several moments.

Finally he released her, taking a step back but never removing his eyes from her. “Dazah,” he said. “You’re alive.” She nodded slowly. He reached one hand into his pocket, and his cheeks went red. “I keep making the mistake of not acting soon enough, and run the risk of losing someone else I love.” He pulled his fist from his pocket and opened his hand to display a golden ring with a small white gem. “Will you… please… marry me?”

Her emotion at that moment, to hear those words, was indescribable. Almost without thought guiding them her hands reached up, slower than slow, to the mask on her face. Close to tears herself, she removed it and dropped her arms again, looking him openly eye to eye for the first time since she could not remember when. “If you still want me, I will,” she said.

Evidently I had intended another scene, or at least a transitional paragraph, here, since I have a line of nonsense words in the file breaking up these two parts. Maybe I was just so happy to have finally hooked up my boring leads that I typed nonsense words in my excitement. In any case, on with the ending!

After a tearful meeting with Logos, Rakeesh, Erasmus, Rawnmé, and Elsa, during which plans were made and goodbyes were said, En Shevil, Achim, and Elsa were called to stand on the platform as the entire population of the island was summoned to the Hall of Kings. Needless to say, only the very lucky citizens actually got a place in the Hall, the rest spilling out into the courtyards and beyond. As the battle-weary group stood on the platform in the Hall, all they could see was a mass of happy movement, and the overwhelming sounds of joy swept over them. En Shevil’s heart fluttered in a way she had never before felt as she realized that she was one of the primary causes of their happiness. She glanced up at Erasmus and Rawn as they lounged on a hovering purple sofa nearby. They smiled.

Logos stood forward, raising his staff for silence. This spread like a wave out of the wide-flung doors to the standing crowd without. Eager anticipation was in the air as the centaur began to speak. “The Rites of Rulership are over. Here are the heroes who have freed Silmaria. They have freed our fishing villages, and driven the invaders off Marete. They have defeated the general of the mercenaries, and made certain they will never return to Silmaria’s shores. They have dared the depths of Hades, and proved their courage and valor. They have brought us peace with Atlantis, and made the seas safe for boats and travel. They have brought the unjust to justice, and made the murderers pay for their crimes. These are the ones who averted this dire fate. These are the Heroes of Silmaria!”

The aforementioned were deafened by the roar of loving gratitude welling from the wildly applauding crowd. Cries of loyalty were in every throat, tears in every eye. Minutes passed as the Silmarians continued to cheer, until Logos raised his staff once more. When they were quieted, he continued.

“Many of our citizens, although uninvolved in the Rites of Rulership, have stood beside the Prince of Shapier and the Heroine of Spielburg, and gallantly risked their lives in facing the Dragon of Doom so that the prophecy of Silmaria’s destruction should not come to pass. To name them, Toro the minotaur; Gort the scientist; Reeshaka dar Kreesha and her noble warriors of the Eternal Order of Fighters; and the mage Katrina.

“But another has also faced the dragon, shining above the rest in her courage and self-sacrifice. Though seemingly resigning herself to death in the action, she single-handedly defeated the Dragon of Doom; she has saved Silmaria and the rest of the world. Here is Dazah, En Shevil of Shapier!”

The cheers that followed must have been heard in the far corners of the earth, and the great hall shook to its foundations. En Shevil was so filled with happiness that she covered her face with her hands and wept.

Truly she had redeemed herself.

“One person has proven himself beyond all others in the Rites of Rulership,” continued Logos at last. “He has shown again and again the true meaning of heroism. He has earned the title of Hero in four lands, and again in ours. Silmaria has never had someone more fitting to sit upon her throne. Achim, Prince of Shapier, will you bear the burden of our crown? Will you become the next king of Silmaria?”

Achim grinned, looking around the Hall of Kings gleefully. “I will not be your King,” he said at last. There was a noise of general surprise and limited displeasure from the crowd.

“Why? Why have you gone through so much for us, risked your life for Silmaria? Why do you not want the reward of the rulership of this kingdom?” Logos knew, of course, but wanted Achim to tell the assembly.

“I do not intend to leave my adopted father without an heir, and it will be a big enough task to rule Shapier someday.” He turned to En Shevil and took her hand. “Also, this Heroine here has finally agreed to become my wife, and I intend to go home and marry her before she runs off again!” He pulled her to him and put his arms around her. For a moment there was silence as there had not been for any previous pause, a sort of collective gasp at the perfect, fitting sweetness of this announcement. Then arms waved and a tremendous cheer burst forth, a cheer more full of encouraging words and hopeful phrases than any other had been.

Logos was smiling at her and the tears running down her cheeks. “The blessings and good wishes of Silmaria will go with you both; may your union be one of happiness and peace. And do you both take this as token of our gratitude.” He gestured, and a guard stepped forward with something in his hands shrouded in black cloth. “The Prophecy Stone is gone, but it will always be a symbol of this dark time in Silmaria, and the light you have restored. Wolfie the canine has prepared this replica, and now we hope you will accept it as a badge of honor.” The guard presented the small statue to En Shevil, who pulled free the cloth and gazed at the Stone in wonder. This, then, was the symbol of their victory. It was truly beautiful. “There is but one other apart from the Prince who has proven that she deserves the throne of Silmaria. Elsa von Spielburg, will you be the next king of Silmaria?”

Elsa, looking righteously proud, responded, “Yes, I will serve this kingdom gladly, for the honor of Silmaria and these my friends. I will be King of Marete!”

Logos nodded, and raised the gilt-edged box of dark carven wood which he held. Dead silence fell as he lifted its lid and drew out a thin silver circlet set with a single blue stone, holding it up before the people. He turned to Elsa, who knelt, and set it slowly upon her head. “Behold Elsa, King of Silmaria!”

The following elated clamor from the people was thunderous, Elsa’s smile more genuine than most En Shevil had ever seen on her face. The new King of Silmaria went over to her friend and squeezed her hand. “Thank you,” she said, though En Shevil could only read her lips.

“Congratulations,” the Shapierian replied. “I know you’ll be wonderful.”

Achim shook Elsa’s hand heartily with a wide grin, and put his mouth to En Shevil’s ear. “Are you ready to go home?” he asked.

Longing suddenly with a weary homesickness for the sands of Shapier, she nodded, and he signaled Erasmus. “Yes, please,” she said as magic filled the air and the sounds of cheering Silmarians dimmed. “I want to see my parents.”

So that’s the official end of Pride of her Parents, and I think it raises a lot of questions. Can En Shevil really get over her interminable angst guilt about what she did as Deathscar? Why did Orono imply that En Shevil was still terrified of magic when she’s clearly been using magic indiscriminately (and at Mary-Sue levels of power) for quite some time? Did Achim really think he was in love with ‘Dazah,’ or was he just so happy to see her alive that he inadvertently proposed? If the game hadn’t been patched, might he not have engaged both her hand and Katrina’s? And what the crap actually happened to Askgaella and Gorllex?

Well, some of those questions might have been answered, more or less, in one or both of the sequels I had planned. Sequels to a story that was destined never to be finished? Yes, this is the way I work.

About the Sequels

The first sequel to Pride of her Parents was to be called Second Chances, a fairly blatant encapsulation of the story’s theme. Harun Al-Rashid tells En Shevil that, though he’s allowing her to marry his adopted son and heir, he doesn’t entirely trust her. He believes in second chances, however, and is allowing her the opportunity to prove herself trustworthy. So there’s a huge wedding ceremony, and En Shevil is made Princess of Shapier. Can you guess which Gloriannan kingdom I’ve always liked to inflict cultural appropriation on best?

Anyway, I wrote a scene:

A cloaked man, pressed into a corner at the back of the hall by the excited crowd, scowled and clenched his fists. “Princess. Hah! That’s just a common harem girl.”

“That may be,” said his companion, gazing intently at the newlyweds. “But we are not here to discuss them, for I must return to W.I.T. as soon as may be — I’m not supposed to leave during my 200-year basic training.”

The other smirked. “If it weren’t for me, you’d never have lived long enough to get to W.I.T., let alone known enough magic to pass the entrance exam.”

“I know perfectly well enough how you saved my life and set me up as the apprentice of Ad Avis,” was the reply. “Its results might well have been disastrous but for that young man yonder.” Al Scurva pointed to the prince of Shapier. “And so I am hesitant to give you what you asked for — I don’t want you to harm him.”

“How I use it is my own business. Besides, you said yourself that you don’t know how to unlock its powers. I’ll sell it and get out of his country — and hers, now.”

Al Scurva nodded. “Here it is,” he said, and dropped into the other’s hand a wildly ornate ring of immense size and apparent value. “And I’d advise getting out of the country soon. The Dark Master is at W.I.T. right now, and Shapier is her next stop. Sparks may fly when she meets up with the prince and princess. Not that she calls herself the Dark Master anymore, but I don’t trust her.”

“I can take care of myself,” the cloaked man said with a thin smile. “Your debt to me is repaid; now get back to W.I.T. before I squeal on you.”

That was Khaveen, by the way. Under that cloak? Yeah, Khaveen.

So. Dinarzaad wants to start a proper Thieves’ Guild in Shapier, and asks En Shevil and Achim for their blessing on the endeavor. This they readily grant, since apparently any moral development of these characters during PohP did not affect their thiefly ways.

Katrina comes to visit Achim, who may still be slightly in love with her. En Shevil doesn’t trust the former Dark Master (and is undoubtedly ridiculously jealous), and tells Achim so, perhaps in not so many words. Achim, who also believes in second chances, invites Katrina to stay at the royal palace.

Khaveen comes to Katrina in secret, and they discuss how to get En Shevil out of the way. En Shevil, you may recall, is still part djinn, and can therefore be bound to a magical item and commanded just like any djinn. Perhaps Katrina has recognized this (I have no notes on how they know this will work), because she agrees to create a binding ritual to bind En Shevil to the ring Khaveen obtained in the scene above from Al Scurva.

En Shevil receives a message supposedly from Dinarzaad requesting that the Princess come inspect the premises of the new Thieves’ Guild. When En Shevil goes, she instead meets Khaveen, who really sent the message (how he knew about Dinarzaad and the Thieves’ Guild I also don’t know), and he performs the ritual that binds En Shevil to the ring. Then he takes her to Rasier.

In Rasier, Khaveen has En Shevil enchant Zayishah so she thinks she’s in love with him. Then he gives this public sob-story about having been under Ad Avis’ power all along, and this allows him to marry Zayishah and become co-ruler of Rasier alongside her. The Sultan gives him basically the same speech he gave En Shevil about second chances.

Katrina volunteers to help Achim search for his suddenly missing wife, and leads him off on a wild goose chase to various random places hoping that he will realize that he loves her more than he ever loved En Shevil.

A note in question marks, indicating I wasn’t sure about this plot point, mentions Khaveen having En Shevil murder former Emir Arus Al-Din, probably just to get him out of the way in case he tried to assume power again. This would have been awful for Miss Angsty Former Deathscar, and who knows whether it would actually have happened or not?

Meanwhile, Achim and Katrina discover some old friends.

It was one of those semi-cool nights where the wind has a full, fat feeling to it and whips so wildly about that one almost believes inadvertent flight is possible. The partially-forested land through which they traveled gave them an ample, if fluctuating, taste of these disorderly gusts as they passed from one copse to the next. Katrina had placed a peace spell over them to make walking a bit easier, but that didn’t keep stray wisps of moving air from reaching in and wreaking havoc: tearing the band from Katrina’s hair so it snapped out behind her like a flag, throwing Achim off balance by its unexpected force so that he leaned heavily on his creaking staff or sometimes fell. It would have been a pleasant night for, perhaps, hide-and-seek or capture the banner; it was not a pleasant night for travel.

“I think there is a valley ahead,” Katrina relayed back to him. She always led in such weather, since the spell was easier to maintain, she said, from the front. Her voice sounded soft, but he knew she was nearly shouting. Even within their shifting sphere of semi-calm, the storm-promising weather was roaring.

“We should stop there!” Achim replied, equally loudly.

“I am overtaxed,” Katrina said wearily. “We must stop there.”

The valley opened abruptly beneath them; it was really more of a large ravine. In the darkness they could see no way down, but one thing was quite visible: the lights at the bottom. They blinked as trees swayed and hid them, but invariably came back: friendly town-like lights in reds and greens. Achim smiled faintly: civilization was always a good thing, because there they might find news of En Shevil and her kidnapper.

A burst of light from his left startled him, and he watched the four glowing orbs spin from Katrina’s hands into the valley, illuminating the land all about in search of a navigable downward path. It was some time before they found one, and that was some distance away. As they picked their way along the valley’s lip to the spot where the grade was somewhat more accessible, Achim could see Katrina drooping. She’d been sustaining the calm bubble for miles now, and must be exhausted. He hurried to offer her an arm, and she leaned on him gratefully. And only a few steps downward the wind stopped.

They continued to hear it whistling, however, above them as they moved carefully down the pseudo-path, but somehow the ravine seemed eerily quiet after the tumult of the gale. Katrina let the spell go and held onto Achim’s arm tightly, now letting him guide. So it was that they were attacked — she weakening with every cautious step; he blindly attentive to her needs.

They must have come from the trees, Achim confusedly reflected, for they dove down feet-first from either side and each knocked one of the travelers to the ground. Achim seized hold of the shrub into which he was flung and thus held himself, but Katrina tumbled several yards down the uncertain slope until she came to rest with a moan against an upthrust rock.

The prince jumped to his feet at once, though his shoulder ached where he’d been struck. His enemy came at him again, a dark shape swooping down towards him just as the first lightning-flash of the storm shot through the clouds high above them and poured light into the valley for the splinter of a second. As he hit the earth a second time, Achim cried out in surprise, for that momentary view had told him much: wide, bat-like wings, a long, dart-ended tail, and an inhuman visage had marked his attacker for what she was. But what were demons doing here?

She was on top of him now, yanking his dagger from his sheath and tossing it away. She tucked her wings as they rolled painfully over rock and bush, working methodically to secure his hands. When she had done this her wings burst open again, and caught her to her feet. He was brought to stand, and could feel the sharp, warm point of her tail against his neck.

Her companion appeared in front of them, coming to look closely at their captive. At the same time, though his newly-acquired scrapes and bruises were beginning to smart and his head was reeling from a blow, Achim attempted to return the favor.

The other demon was clad in black, an intricate outfit of strange and overlapping design that left the right shoulder bare. This caught the human’s attention because of the glowing tattoo that adorned it, a bizarre and vaguely disturbing symbol. A symbol that he recognized. It was at this moment, looking at the exposed shoulder, that he noticed Katrina on her feet behind it, preparing to cast a deadly spell — a spell he recognized far better than he did the bright coiling lines on the demon’s shoulder.

“Stop!” he shouted. “These are allies!”

With the first word the demon had snapped around to face Katrina, but at the latter phrase had turned again to regard Achim with confusion and surprise. The mage held her spell, ready to unleash the furious dragon fire at any time. “What are you talking about?” she demanded, hoarse and suspicious.

“Just trust me,” Achim said, then directed his words at the other man. “Will you take us to your queen?” I’d better be remembering this right, or we’re likely to end up possessed.

“You know of our queen?” the demon demanded. “What is your name?”

“I am Achim, Prince of Shapier, husband of En Shevil.”

His addressee started, eyebrows rising in shock. Achim’s arms were instantly released and he felt the demoness step away. “That name is indeed a password,” she said. “Your pardon, lord.”

Achim felt himself gingerly and looked around for his pack and walking stick. Katrina had lowered her arms, but her stance was yet stiff and skeptical. “What are these creatures?” she said. Her voice trembled with exhaustion, and her hands trembled. Achim went to her in consternation.

“I think they’re friends,” he said. “Let me find your pack.”

“We will carry you and your lady to the stronghold,” offered the demon.

“Oh,” Achim said, a bit embarrassed, “this isn’t En Shevil — this is Katrina, my friend. En Shevil was kidnapped, and we’re looking for her.”

“The savior kidnapped?!” gasped the demoness. “How? By whom?”

At that moment Katrina fainted, and Achim barely caught her. “Let me take your companion down,” the demon said, coming quickly to the prince’s side. “I will have a room made up for her. But the queen will want to see you; will you come at once?” It was beginning to rain, and as he relinquished the woman’s limp form he looked about him for their fallen things. “I will send someone up to find your pack,” the demon added, sounding somewhat ashamed.

“Very well,” the prince allowed. The demoness jumped into the air, caught his arms as she wheeled, then plunged sickeningly into the darkness below. They barely, but quite expertly, missed a slough of obstacles, and soon the lights of the little town were more that points in the blackness, but windows clearly visible. They landed within a walled yard before a large but plain building of wood. The rain was by this time pouring, but was thinner here at the valley’s floor. The demon and Katrina were not readily visible, and the demoness hustled the dizzied Achim inside before he could cast even a glance about for them.

A long hallway with doors on either side — the entire place was wood, smoky candles illuming the way — and a large room, opening up at the end, filled out the entire expanse of the building. This expansive chamber was empty and dim, and seemed a council room of sorts, as a lengthy table surrounded by ladder-back chairs

So Askgaella and Gorllex have started a haven for, basically, demons that don’t want to be evil. What sucks about this is that it seems to have been mostly a cameo, because they don’t show up in the rest of the summary for this story. Askgaella was kinda the best PohP character, and her continuing adventures seem way more interesting than all this nonsense with Katrina, but whatevs.

Eventually Achim and Katrina get back around to Shapier — possibly because they’ve heard news of weird stuff going on in Rasier and Achim insists on going back despite Katrina’s deceptive protests trying to keep him away. And then the hyper-drama really starts.

“Aw, I hate it when Ishah’s doing her Emir stuff,” Khaveen grumbled, slamming the door and stalking into the room. En Shevil, kneeling by the bed as he had commanded her this morning, looked away in distaste. “And don’t you give me that look,” he cried, adding an unfriendly moniker. He strode over to her with a grin, anger disappearing in an instant as it always did with her — she couldn’t disobey him, after all. “En Shevil, I command you to kiss me,” he said.

“To hear is to obey, master,” she replied with a sigh, starting to rise in disgust as she turned her face towards him.

A strange, sudden noise filled the room, and the door burst open, its hinges blown away by destructive magic. Khaveen pulled away from his slave, and she fell back down onto her knees. “Khaveen!” Achim roared. “Get away from my wife!”

“Your wife, huh?” Khaveen mocked, though she could see how surprised he was at Achim’s presence. “If she’s yours, why’s she here next to my bed?”

With an obscenity towards his rival Achim advanced.

Khaveen continued to speak, unperturbed. “Let’s see… how can I hurt you the most? Kill her?”

“No!” the prince shouted, sprinting forward.

A cruel, bestial light kindled in Khaveen’s eyes; he quickly put the bed between him and Achim as he spoke. “You’re right! That wouldn’t be bad enough!” Lips pulling wide into a maniacal grin, he screamed, “En Shevil, I command you to kill him!

The room fell silent for a split second as everyone froze in horror except the enslaved. She climbed slowly to her feet, biting her lip, her heart tearing with every move she made. Slowly, very slowly, she spoke against her will. “To hear… is to obey… master.” Tears pouring from her eyes and jaw set against a welling agonized scream, she began moving very slowly towards her husband.

At that moment fire filled her vision and she was hurled backwards in great pain against the far wall. Katrina stood crouching, hand aglow with crimson light, face twisted with rage, before Achim. “I won’t let him die,” she growled.

En Shevil pushed herself to her feet and again started her advance. “Thank you,” she said between clenched teeth. “But if you stand in my way, I will have to kill you.”

Katrina cast another spell, sending a ball of lightning towards her enemy. En Shevil blocked it with a magical wall. “Don’t thank me, fool!” the Dark Master cried as she began another offensive. “I’ll kill you, and Achim will be mine!”

The truth of the entire business dawned on En Shevil just then. “So it was you that gave Khaveen his power over me!” she cried. “How dare you?”

So of course they fight while the men watch. I don’t know if you remember all the details of this nonsense, but the reason En Shevil is half djinn is because she absorbed the powers of the dying daughter of Iblis and Orono the dragon. So basically En Shevil is half Iblis. I know, right. Anyway, even the former Dark Master can’t stand up against angry half Iblis, so Katrina is defeated.

At this point, as Katrina dies, she activates a sort of failsafe she built into the enslavement ritual, which frees En Shevil from the ring and Khaveen’s control so En Shevil won’t be forced to follow the command to kill Achim. This is the kind of dramatic bullshit I absolutely adore. Even now, years and years later, I’m kinda like, Oh, that’s some good stuff. She really loved him all along! For some reason.

So then of course En Shevil kills Khaveen. The notes don’t indicate what method I had in mind for her to use, so I’m not sure whether or not I remembered my own magical rules here: En Shevil’s dragon magic left her at the end of PohP, and she can only use her djinn magic when she’s enslaved and commanded to do so. So if I thought she was going to use magic against her enemy here, wrong!!

However she does it, she does it, and everyone can go home and live happily ever after. Except that Zayishah is going to be seriously traumatized after having been married to (and presumably sexually active with) a man she loathed, and, hell, she might even be pregnant with his rape-baby. And En Shevil has done more awful things to angst about, and may also have been sexually abused by Khaveen. And Achim undoubtedly has some residual feelings for Katrina, who has now sacrificed herself for him twice, yo.

Anyway, that was just the first planned sequel. Can you handle more? If so, read on!

The second sequel was to be called, very creatively, Victim’s Revenge. That may have been a working title — I don’t really remember — but it is at least the name of the file in which the few details I have on this and the one scene I wrote are kept. And this shit is priceless, you guys. I am crying with laughter as I read through it. The best way to share the glory with you is just to quote the entire document:

Some victim of Deathscar’s murder rampage (family was killed)
He was also working for Telmiquor.
So En Shevil ruined his life twice.
Steals away En Shevil’s child to raise.
Makes child evil.
This is for revenge.

The well-made door swung noiselessly to behind her, and she eased the latch shut in silence. The pure darkness beyond was chilly and static, dead. She crept forward, trying to find a scrap of light to reflect off of her eyes at the invisible surroundings. This she failed to do before a voice spoke — his voice.

“I am not surprised you made it so far,” he said easily. His chill tones echoed across the open space of what must be a rather large chamber. “But you have arrived too late.”

Light flashed in her eyes as the room was suddenly illuminated, and she crouched, blinded. Something heavy, flung before ever the darkness was pierced, struck her just at that moment, knocking her backwards. Her head struck the floor and she struggled to sit up under the weight as the world spun. It kept her down as if of its own will. But she already knew. Her body was sluggish and unresponsive, and she already knew. That cooling limpness could be nothing else.

“Harun…” she choked, wrapping her arms around the stiff shoulders and cradling the corpse as she knelt. His pale face, frozen in a desperate expression of horror, was already beginning to take on a grey tinge, and under the tight noose around the bloated throat the skin was puckered and blue. His elbows were twisted at odd angles, and his ankles had been tied. His clothing was shredded, and bruises and other abrasions dotted his disfigured body, already stiffening in her miserable embrace. He had not been dead long.

Doodle was speaking lightly. “You should have seen that look on his face when I had Deedle break his arms and put him on the box,” he said. “He had no idea why I’d betray him. Called me father, asked me why.” Doodle laughed heartily. “And then his eyes when I told him — when I told him — that you were his mother! — and kicked the box away. It was beautiful.”

En Shevil had been so intent on Harun’s tortured face that she had not bothered until now to gaze at the room around her, or up at the man who had hurt her so much. Now she raised her eyes to his seeing nothing but their horrible malice: inexpressible anguish meeting vengeful madness. Such a grief and pain as she had never before known welled up in her, and she bent over Harun’s body, weak but tense with massive sobs. She gasped as tears poured from her eyes.

Doodle laughed again. “Doesn’t it hurt?” he asked. “It’s too bad you couldn’t see me twist that theoretical and quite unexpected knife in your son’s belly, isn’t it?” She heard him stand. “But… here I have a more literal knife…” Here was the ring of steel. “…and since your son is dead…” He took a few steps. “…perhaps you’d prefer to see it — ha ha — in the body of — your — granddaughter?”

The sudden wail of a baby ripped across the silence and into En Shevil’s broken heart like a mirror of the weapon Doodle held in his hand. Dropping Harun’s body violently and springing to her feet, En Shevil started forward with a shriek of abandoned horror as Doodle raised a gleaming knife high above a bassinet not far from the throne-like seat he had just vacated.

A string of words such as she had never before used in her eventful life issued from her mouth as she sprinted with all her power towards the dais — but never could she reach it in time. The air seemed to swirl and pull around Doodle as the dagger fell in a deadly sweep, time slowing in agonizing detail. She was still a good ten feet away.

Oh, man, can you believe that? Remember how PohP had a happy ending? And then Second Chances had a Well, we’re all going to need therapy, but still relatively happy ending? Obviously we were plunging into depths of dramatic despair here in order to round off the trilogy with the saddest weirdness I could come up with.

Especially when, if I recall my own intentions correctly, En Shevil’s best friend Elsa the King of Silmaria, having been assisting in the search for Harun and led there by another, magical method, materializes suddenly in the path of the knife and gets stabbed to death in place of En Shevil’s little granddaughter!

I mean, what. Seriously. And the working names Doodle and Deedle make the incredible drama and angst all the more hilarious.

Like, I really cannot stop laughing at this.

So there you have it, folks — the final, miserable end for our Mary-Sue En Shevil, the pride of her parents! Almost twenty years after her heroic debut, the story finally draws to its wretched conclusion!

All of this nonsense gets a , because, although it’s incredibly bad, it also makes me laugh really hard and I have such a nostalgic connection with it.


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