Wednesday, February 15

Old Friends

 The tower of Tyrin stands above Wynter, like a rotten sliver of stone and iron. From atop this perch of the gods, stands two figures. One is short and bent and looking out over his city. He is completely unaware of the second, much taller figure looming behind him. Until he says," Greetings, old friend."

 "So," the stooped figure tensely asks," you've finally come to kill me then?" 

 With a small sigh the tall man says," No. Unlike you, I do not kill those whom I call friend."

  With plenty anger, and some fear, the short man responds," I did what I had to."

 For several long moments, the tall man stares in appraisal at the smaller figure. Finally, he bows his head mournfully and says," Mongoose, I'm not here to take your life. I'm here to give you a final chance for salvation and peace."

 "Lies," Mongoose says with a sneer," You only come to tease me. You spout your lies about peace and salvation. But I know the truth. With this blade, I am free from your touch, Harvester. You come to trick me into releasing it so you can finally have your revenge, friend." He spits the word friend out with disgust. Continuing, he says," No, my old friend, I will not give up that which keeps me safe. In fact..."

 Mongoose reaches up to his left ear and fondles a shining gem. With a smile on his face, he says," You do not wish to kill me. You want to give me the.."

 "STOP!" Jaccob roars. "You think that bauble's little magic will work on ME?! You were always foolish, but I never thought you were a fool. That earring will never be able to affect my kind. As one of the three facets of Life, I am beyond the simple magic tricks your feeble kind could possibly dream of."

 Mongoose, slightly cowed, responds," Yeah, I know. If it were only that simple. But with this blade, you cannot touch me. It is I who could destroy you." He raises his right arm towards Jaccob. In place of a hand, lays a metallic claw made of  a black, ethereal material. 

 "I do not doubt," Jaccob sighs with sadness in his eyes," You could destroy this body. But you could not destroy me. I do not come to tease or torment you. I call you friend, because you truly were my friend, once. I have returned to you after these long centuries to repeat my last warning to you, and to plead with you one final time."

 With distaste on his face, Mongoose turns away and says," Say what you have come to say and leave me be."

 "I have seen where this path you walk leads to. I watched, helplessly, as our old friend Straahd was slowly lead to his doom. The path he chose took him from my grasp as well. But in the end, he was more of a fiend of Chaos, than a person. This path you choose is the same as his and will truly destroy you, as well."

 "Do not compare me to that insane fool," Mongoose shouts. "I am not some crazy gnome, who's half mad, half suicidal. His fate is not mine. His lunacy ran rampant through the realms for over four hundred years! My sins are nothing compared to his!"

 Mongoose,  with a cocky smile creeping upon his face, continues," Or yours for that matter, if I remember correctly. With this blade, I am removed from your touch. And as such, you can not see what happens to me. You have no power over me."

 "Oh, you would be surprised, by what I can see," Jaccob, with a dread filled voice, says," I see many things and know these truths to be fact. Curiosity can cause more pain than any other emotion. The Coin of Life, placed in all mortal souls, has three sides. Ebon broke my heart. And I destroyed the world. I am more than aware of my sins. And next to mine, yours are nothing. I will wear my sins and suffer my punishment for the rest of my existence. 

 "And I can see more about you than you think. Your true weakness is fear. Your greatest fear is death. So, I am here to give you one last assurance, your fear has caused you more suffering than any hell you could imagine. I bear you no ill will and harbor no hatred or vengeance against you."

 "Just get on with it. I tire of this game." Mongoose said in exasperation.

 "Very well then," Jaccob sighs," I'll repeat my first warning to you, deliver unto you an additional warning, and as a parting gift, I give you the truth to one question. Use it well. 

 "Firstly, my initial warning from all those long years ago. Seven times you will witness the rise and seven times witness the fall of Wynter. If you do not relinquish that blade before the eighth fall of Wynter, you will have a choice to make. Keep your soul and die as a child of Life or lose your soul and live as a child of Chaos."

 "You've said this all before." Mongoose says," And you will not trick me, Jaccob. I freely make my choices and you cannot stand it. Now what is this new warning you have for me?"

 "Do you recognize this?" Jaccob asks holding up up a large, golden coin in his hand.

 "Yes. It looks to be a Heidracht coin."

 "This coin caused the death of a good man this evening. I met with the man personally and before he left this world he was on the trail that would have led to your doorstep. Lord Thistledown had two coins minted special for the birth of his two children. This one has the face of his daughter on it. The other, his son. Of course you already know what befell the lord and his daughter. What you do not know is this. The twin of this coin is coming to Wynter and will cause the eighth fall. And that blade you wear will belong to him."

 With a chill running down his spine Mongoose asks," How do you know this will come to pass? Do we not all have free will? If my choices are truly mine, the how does anyone know my fate?"

 "I can say no more of these things my old friend. Unless one of those is the question you wish to be answered."

 "I have no use for your answers. You will not help me with my wishes. And I doubt you would be honest in the answer. So for the final time begone." Mongoose turns his back to Jaccob and starts walking to the door.

 Jaccob says in a mournful voice," I have always been honest with you. And we will see each other one last time. But sadly, I know what your answer will be. And unfortunately, you will ask me the wrong question."

 Mongoose opens the door and asks, with a small laugh," Since you know what the punishment for my sins is. What is the punishment for yours?"

 "So be it. When everything is gone and nothing remains. In that void I shall remain for ever alone with him. My punishment is the same as his. In the end, I cannot be destroyed. But it isn't farewell yet. I will be there when your choice is made. And that was the wrong question."

 Mongoose could see his shadow sharply etched into the wall in front of him. As a brilliant light flashed from behind. When the light vanished, he heard a metallic clink. He turned towards Jaccob and saw that only ash and the Heidracht coin remained.

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