Standing on a cliff looking out across the ocean, Arthouras and Malisha watched as the fleet sailed away into the sunset. With sadness covering his face, he looked down at Malisha who’s spirit was crushed. The two had not found any other survivors around the Forsaken Mountain.
Placing his hand on her shoulder, Arthouras spoke in a low tone. “They’re not much different from us. We’ve seen the best and the worst in them these last few days, and while they’re to blame for a lot, Gathon’s actions are on us.”
“How can you even say that after what they just did? They killed everyone!”
“I know … there are no words that can justify their actions, but without the assistance of the admiral and the captain, we would also be dead. They sacrificed a lot to fight for us.”
With a thundering scream of rage, the Vanquished Cleaver was struck into the back of Arthouras by Nekada who came out from behind them. Gasping for air as he fell down to his knees, Lord Vordrath looked up at Nekada who came around him covered in blood and dirt.
Grabbing around his throat with both his hands, Nekada lifted the old one above ground and moved him over to the edge while removing his axe. Malisha screamed out and tried to stop him to no avail. Bloodfist shouted into his face as he tightened his grip. “You’ve killed your family, your entire race! Tell me, was it worth betraying your own kind?! You … you’ve disgraced everything about your own existence.”
The reflection of pain and sadness was seen in the old one’s eyes. He knew he was responsible for this, and he made the decision not to fight back. With regret, Arthouras closed his eyes as Nekada dropped him off the edge of the cliff. Watching the old Lord fall to his death, Malisha fell onto her knees with a blank expression upon her face.
Looking down at her, Nekada said, “you know it had to be done. He went against his own race and brought us to the edge of extinction.”
“You’re a monster…”
“You’re right, I am, but someone needs to avenge our fallen. I won’t rest until I see them all burn. Malisha, they destroyed our home, everything we had. You don’t have anyone left, and I could easily end your life alongside his for what you’ve done.”
Looking up at him with rage in her eyes, she replied angrily, “why don’t you?”
“Because you’ve earned your second chance, I know what you did. I need you alive for what is to come next. My brother was partially involved in this, I won’t deny that, but at least he fought for our survival in the end. Arthouras, on the other hand, was weak. He thought he could reason with the humans, but what he failed to see is that they’re in league with the elves. When I figured out the elves were here as well, it became clear. We were the ones who had been set up, not the other way around. The reason I’m not dead alongside the rest is that I took precautions and sent several units to the other side of the island.”
“What? There are survivors?”
“Yes, you and I will lead them into a new world. We’ll travel north and go into hiding for a while. Everyone needs to believe we’re gone for good.”
Reaching out his hand for her, Nekada kept eye contact and waited for a response. She didn’t say or do anything for a while, but eventually nodded and grabbed around his wrist in agreement. With a sly smile creeping across his face, Nekada turned his eyes onto the cobalt blue sails that were about to disappear on the horizon. With his right-hand squeezing the metal handle of the Vanquished Cleaver, he began walking back into the forest with Malisha, eventually disappearing into the shadows as the sun set.
Espen Gravdahl Johansen
Jaan-Paul Van Eeden
In Loving Memory of
Travis C. Maxwell
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