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The End of All Things.


It was surrealistic - unreal - impossible as the daemons came charging forth, cutting a sway in the hapless people who stood in their way. Bodies flew to sides, were smashed to the ground, crushed under uncaring hooves, cut into pieces, and Death sang its lonely and dark song, but it would in the end be denied its prize.

Elizabetha looked around in horror. Dark figures stood in the distance, commanding the unholy host as it made its bloody charge, caring not whether their targets were of a fighting stock or not. They were being slaughtered, like cattle. And she stood amidst the turmoil, blood and fearful screaming of men, women and children, who frantically tried to escape their doom. Yet the air reeked with a sense of hopelessness.

There was no escape.

Bolts of Shadow magic flew across the place, fire rained from the sky, and people fell to the ground, squirming as their bodies were denied life.

A step. A loud one. Someone was by her. Elizabetha turned her face, beholding a great winged daemon that grinned mockingly at her, and she wondered for a second how it was that she could see. She had no eyes - not anymore.

A dream. A nightmare!

With its mighty sword it lunged at Elizabetha, but she dodged, yet found herself without a weapon. In reaction she called upon the Light, and noticed, to her surprise, that she didn't recognise her hands. They weren't hers. They were female, but they were not hers - and before she could react a great pain took hold of her. She turned her gaze as she shrieked in pain, seeing a great hand having taken hold of her, and was squeezing out the life in her body. The daemon's cold and pittiless stare gazed at her briefly, before she was tossed aside like a doll that was no longer interesting to the child holding it.

She landed onto the ground. It hurt all over. Blood, pain and anguish. That was what she felt, and the fear was unbearable.

Elizabetha tried to move, but couldn't. The body wouldn't react to the commands sent from her brain, and she gasped for air.

Anguish. Blood. Agony.

She moved her eyes, seeing that the slaughter still raged on. And she wanted to stand up, help, fight, but she couldn't. The body wouldn't react. She felt numb. Paralized by the injuries she had suffered.

A nightmare!

The sounds seemed to die down, and darkness was slowly creeping up on her. Death was nigh. She knew it. She could feel it. Everything was turning silent. She was dying.

A muffled voice echoed. It almost seemed to come from the sky, or perhaps all around her. She didn't know. She couldn't hear it properly. Yet it had a female touch about it. It was dark, illfated...evil. It mocked.

And just as she felt that she was leaving this world, something pulled her, but not her body. It felt like a cold hand, colder than anything she'd ever felt. Whatever it was, it seemed to shine, but there was no peace in that light. And she wanted to protest, to refrain from going to that strange light, but she was being forced. She couldn't resist. Briefly she turned her face and beheld the body that she was leaving, but couldn't recognise the face. It wasn't hers. It was of someone else - and deep within her mind, she knew she had seen that face before, just as lifeless as it was now, lying broken on the reddened ground on which it had landed.

Oh, Light, no...

Everything turned black. So dark. She could sense others nearby, likewise in fear. The others' presence seemed to be in form of some other strange light, but it hadn't the same fearful aura about it.

Souls...

Then they seemed to scream. Some of them screamed. But there was nothing. No life around them. No nature. No town. No daemons. Only something much darker, almost like some strange void that seemed to draw them nearer to it. Elizabetha felt that she too was being drawn by it, and she couldn't resist. She immediately knew that it was something much darker than the daemons that killed them.

And it was hungry...yearning...craving...

She saw existances being drawn into what seemed like a caping maw, and they were swallowed one by one, shrieking in some strange way, with a voice that came from no mouth, but from within their very being.

They were being devoured...

Terror gripped her, and she in turn raised her soul's scream, trying as much as she could to resist, to flee from the hungry maw that she was being sucked into unwillingly. And as she entered it, she felt how she was disolving, being absorbed, devoured by some strangely cold, dark and frightfully malign entity, whose identity seemed to exist solely to be fed to gain power.

Everything was fading away, but briefly a line from a conversation she had had with a certain Gnome echoed within her soul.

"Not die...ceased to exist..."

Her soul's scream screamed louder, as everything turned into nothing.

The nothingness was unlike anything she could ever hope to describe, to even fathom.

All feelings were as nothing.

She was nothing.

She had not died.

She had ceased to exist, as though she had never been born.




She shrieked in fear, rising up in her bed. "NO!!!"

Elizabetha turned her face from side to side, panting, gasping for breath. She was breathing. She was alive! All was darkness, but she could hear her breathing. She could hear.

Her face was buried into her hands as she sobbed loudly, recalling the nightmare and what she had been told earlier that night, and the grief she had felt then had only become more vivid and terrible from what she had just seen in that nightmare. And by that, the images of the dead flashed before her mind's eye, lifeless - soulless. As though they had never been born...

"No..." she whispered, and saddened by the lack of tears that once did caress her cheeks, before her eyes had been so maliciously removed. And in that moment, she dreaded the thought of how much more suffering, pain, death and anguish she were to suffer yet - and briefly, ever so briefly, did she once more wonder if it wouldn't have been better that she had died up there, near the ruins of Andorhal.

A hand touched her shoulder gently, and she shook all over in surprise, yet the voice that then was heard calmed her.

"Elizabetha?"

She took hold of the hand, pulling herself into an embrace, clinging fiercely to the body that had come and sat down on her bed. And she felt arms wrap around her, stroking gently in an effort to comfort her.

"You were shouting... What is the matter?" the voice of a man asked.

She didn't reply, but took comfort in hearing the worried voice, the very sound of it reassuring her that it had merely been a nightmare.

"Elizabetha?" the man asked again.

She sighed deeply, grieved, resting her head against the chest of the one who had come into her room. "Nightmare... Of the victims... Their souls..."

The image of the dead faces flashed before her again, and she briefly noticed the familiar face. The face of the woman that she had beheld.

She sobbed again, clutching to the one holding her. She was afraid - so very afraid.

"Oh..." the man replied.

Silence.

He started to caress her cheek, stroking her hair in an attempt to comfort her. "Yes, I know... It's a tragedy, Elizabetha..."

She sniffed. "It's more than a tragedy...it's not fair... They didn't deserve it... No one does... No one..."

She felt a kiss planted on her head, as the man spoke again. "We will prevent it, my love. We will fight them."

Elizabetha quivered. Did she desire such an end? If she were to die at their hands, would she escape such a undeserving fate?

She tightened the embrace.

No, she didn't desire it. No one would. But deep within she knew that she'd gladly give her life to save anyone from such a fate.

"For life... For my people..." she whispered, sobbing still.

"For the Light, Elizabetha..." he added, his voice caring.

"Yes... For the Light..."

They sat a moment in silence as the man gently rocked back and forth, holding her tenderly in his arms - but silence has its end, as all things do.

"We might die..." she whispered. "I may die before the end of this..."

She felt the arms pull her body closer to his. "I know..."

Elizabetha sighed, and lifted her face from the chest of the man. "We have to try... We have to..."

A hand caressed her cheek. "Yes..."

She felt her lips quiver - the fear and terror of the nightmare hadn't left her yet, but she could sense the Light shining brightly by the kindness shown towards her.

"I'm glad you told me... I'm so glad you told me what you felt for me, Richeron..."

She sensed that his breathing drew closer, as he replied, "So am I, Elizabetha."

And the Light illuminated the mind's eye as its peace and tranquility flowed into her, as lips met in the darkness.

And the darkness became as nothing.

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