End of Days: XXIII

For Whom The Bell Tolls

General Thannix was a great host once we made it to his office. Fresh tea, small scones, and a fresh change of clothing which was very welcomed. I was still unnerved by his presence. What was he hiding? What was General Thannix hiding?

“I’m sorry child, but I did not catch your name in that scuffle.” He said.

“Finnus, Finnus Lumen.” I blurted. Catching myself before saying my true name.

“Finnus you say? Your parents must have had high ambitions for you. The final light is a bold name for an unborn child. I guess that is a fitting name as any for one who is about to become a Paladin for the Queen.” He stated in a judging tone. He stood up from his desk and turned his back to me as he looked out of his window into one of the courtyards. “During your training, you will find that the other Paladins are not the same as you. Your powers draw from a different source than those currently serving the Queen. I do believe you might be the only one. I would imagine it gives you a much bigger well to draw from.” He continued.

“How can you tell where I draw my powers from?” I questioned.

“Heh, it is quite easy” he chuckled. “You draw your power from the God-Dragon of Light, Uther himself.” I was completely caught off guard. Was it that easy for him to sense my power? “So Cinredi, I will forgive the slight of your lie with your name. Lie one more time and I am afraid I will become your end.”

I froze. “How do you know who I am?” I queried.

“The aura of your light stinks quite awful. It is an affront to my senses. I knew as soon as I stopped Sargeant Barren from attacking you. Now, do you mean to tell me that you truly are here to give yourself to the Order of the Paladins?” He questioned. I was at a loss of words. What should I do? Do I use my ring and don my armor and lunge at him with Krinix? What if I couldn’t take him alone? How bad would it be if I attacked and won? I couldn’t imagine the immense difficulty of escaping from one of the largest military bases in the country while it was under full alert. “Well, boy? Do you plan on answering or is your one-man invasion over?

“This task is too important for me to give up now!” I yelled as I jumped to my feet, knocking over my chair in the process. “I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to reach the capital!” Thannix turned from the window so that he was facing me again. An unimpressed look hanging on his face.

“Cinredi, the last light of Uther. I can not believe that you have what it takes. I can tell that there is not much left for me to say except that I am rooting for you. If the Queen and Akor bring Negan back to the material plane, It will make for a lot of work for me before they come to end my existence as well. You see that is my role in all of this.” As he spoke his armor changed its color and shape and his green skin melted off and as it landed on the ground it became a black mist. A sterile scent of dry decay filled the air. Following the black mist that swirled at his feet upwards, dark robes obscured his body. Two large black feather wings emerged from his back and a large avian skull sat atop of negative energy plumage. I knew now who I was dealing with.

“You are a member of The Murder, you are Death” I announced calmly.

“You are correct, I am Death. I am the most powerful of The Murder for I am the truest essence of the meaning of the word death. I hold the knowledge of how every being could die or has already died.” Spoke Death.

“How every being could die?” I questioned.

“Yes, life is finite, but Death is infinite. The millions of possible choices you make lead to millions of possible ends. There is a chance you die today. There is a chance you die in the next few minutes. Just as likely there is a way that you live and die an old man. But there is one death for you that I deem the best death you can die. That is the death I hope you chose.”

“The definition of best that you are using is rather foreboding, who else would agree that it is my best way to die?” I asked

“That is not for me to say. Many of your possible deaths bring resolution to this “End of Days” some are favorable to the people of Sovereign, some are favorable to the people of the world, but one thing is for certain. Only one of your deaths is favorable to you. You have in your hands the answers to the fate of the very material plane.” Lectured Death.

“So if you won’t give me the answer to how I should die, can you tell me how I did die? As in my first death.” I queried.

“Certainly, you died protecting the Queen when she was a young girl. The night Alessisa came for her father’s life. You were visiting with the young Princess. You see I had given Alessisa a mission to purge the land of Sovereign of the Royal line. For her group of assassins coveted me in the highest regard. You persuaded her to leave the Princess and take your life instead. To which she did without hesitation. After killing the King she set fire to the castle anyway. This killed most of the others and left the Queen heavily scarred.”

“Was I of noble birth?” I implored.

Death chuckled “Hardly, you were a stable boy. Through your care of the horses, you gained the eye of the Princess. You worked so hard to train and practice proper speech so that you could one day elevate your status.” His tone changed to one of something much more somber. “The day the King found you both in the stables though. The day you stole the heart of royalty. It was an innocent kiss nothing more, but for endangering the purity of his daughter you were sentenced to die.”

“I thought you said I died protecting the Princess from Alessisa?” I asked in a state of confusion.

“Yes that is true, you see your first death was not complete. I came to you that night. You were hanging in the courtyard when I came to collect you. Before we departed from the material plane you heard the scream of the Princess. You begged and pleaded and even offered your very soul up for eternal damnation, but for a chance at saving your precious princess from her precarious predicament. So this life you seem to call your third life is your fourth. The Princess you fought so hard to save, the one you willingly died to save, is now the most hated monarch in the history of this world.”

His face may have been a floating skull but I could hear the smirk in his voice. I finally knew what I wanted. I have failed the country of Sovereign. I was the cause of all this pain. How could Uther pick me to be his guiding light? Was it nothing more than cosmic justice? Is my goal nothing more than redemption for my first life?

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