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Child Of Darkness

Chapter Forty-Three

The quakes ended and winds died down after several days of activity, leaving scar marks all across Motavia's surface. A great, raging storm unlike any in history developed in the atmosphere and unloaded itself. People from all across the land, Palmans and Motavians alike, emerged from what was left of their homes and rejoiced. It was the first rain any of them had seen in almost a year's time.

The rain lasted for an entire day, dropping torrential amounts all across the planet. The once drying ocean refilled a little, but much more moisture was required for it to make a full recovery. Freshwater lakes did recover, however, and it was a sight which brought tears to the eyes of all those who would benefit from it.

The Protectors came down from orbit once it was safe and exited the Landale near Kadary. A cool, moist breeze, one not felt following the days of Climatrol and Mother Brain, blew in from the west. It was unlike anything they had ever witnessed before. Motavia was about to become an extremely habitable planet for all its citizens. Already new vegetation sprouted, seeds hidden under layers of soil brought back from dormancy. Life was beginning anew and there was nothing artificial about it.

Chaz and Rika held their daughter together and looked across the newly-formed landscape. She would now be able to grow up in a world where the future did not look so bleak. Her new future promised hope and survival. She only needed love and encouragement enough to get her there. Her parents would provide all that and then some.

When the Protectors were ready, they made one final trip which took them to the town of Termi. There, the citizens were already rebuilding and were also looked to the future with hope. A marble statue still stood at the center of town, escaped destruction from wind, rain, and quakes. With them, Chaz and company brought two slabs of marble and placed them on either side of her.

They worked for hours on end, all nine of them. They chiseled and formed the slabs, gently breaking away excess, watching eagerly as they took shape. Some of Termi's residents took a respite from their labors and watched, marveled at how quickly their work progressed. When they finally finished, Algo was setting in the west. Clouds built up in the western sky, creating a spectacular setting.

Chaz took about five steps backward and inspected his friends' work. To the left of Alis was a statue of an individual with grim determination imprinted on his face, but with the kind eyes of an understanding man and friend. He adorned a cape and his hair was drawn back into a pony tail. At his base was the chiseled word, "Friend."

At Alis's right, was a statue of a peculiar woman with pointed ears. From her left side, one could interpret torment, anguish, and scorn. From her right, she displayed courage, self-sacrifice, peace. It was Kyra's idea to construct this monument to Nei. Never again would history forget her name or her sacrifices. It would record that she died twice for the ones she loved, for the good of all. At her feet, "Savior," was inscribed.

Chaz found Rune near Termi's western edge staring out at the last moments of daylight. He stood next to the Reverent Fifth, saw the forlorn look on his face. His friend looked very tired, but he was at peace. Rika brought the rest of his friends near and they stood apart.

Rune never looked back at them, merely started walking. No matter where or how far his feet took him, it did not matter. The Reverent Fifth had been everywhere, gone farther than anyone in history. He was satisfied with his accomplishments, happy to leave his closest friends when they were all alive and well. A cool breeze caressed the land, but it in no way blow away their despair.

"We won't see you again," Chaz called after him, "ever, will we?" The last time he asked his friend that question, Rune replied "probably not." Even after he said that, they spent three years apart, then the last several months together. Like he stated before, anything was possible. This time, however, there was an absoluteness in his voice when he answered.

"No," he said, and the Hunter knew it to be true. He did not regret it, though. There was not a single point in the time that he knew Rune that he regretted. The Reverent Fifth enriched his life so much. So he did the same for anyone who ever knew or loved him. There was one last thing that he needed to tell him though, and time was running out.

"Rune!" he called out again. Rune slowed his steps, waited for what Chaz had to say. I -- I love you, my friend!"

The Reverent Fifth turned and faced all of his life's companions who were looking after him. His face was drawn, haggard. "I love you, too, Son. Be strong. Love life. Live well."

With those final words, Rune resumed his trek to who-knows-where. Chaz and the others stood in silence, watched their friend until he could no longer be seen. Darkness fell across the land and for once it was not evil.

Chaz and Rika invited Kyra, Raja, and Gryz to Aiedo for rest which they accepted. In a few day's time, Wren would return them to Dezoris. The androids wanted to take up residence there and would do so shortly. Hahn declined their invitation, saying that he would certainly be needed in Krup.

"Oh, by the way," the Scholar said before leaving, "I was just wondering. Have you decided what to name your daughter?"

Husband and wife smiled, then kissed the child on the head. Chaz sighed, then spoke.


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