Descent of Darkness

Lunara Once More

...in which Lunara finally finds herself

Nyx…Nyx…I am Nyx… All I can see is the loss of everything I’ve been striving for. My heart is numb and each thought that runs through my head is more chaotic and violent than the last…And for once, I’m not afraid of it. I relish it – want to hold it in my soul and feel its darkness bleed into me. Let the blackness overtake me – I’m through fighting with its relentless embrace. I listen with newfound black purpose as Gareth and Waryk try and update us on the last three years of our absence. The planes are collapsing in on each other as they are squished together. Let them – I don’t care anymore. Let the worlds come tumbling down. I am eager for their velvet destruction. The inevitable death and pain. Let the world writhe in pain as I have; as I still do every day. I am not Lunara…I am Nyx. And the first chance I get I will burn my mask and pendant both – for they are a part of my past I want forgotten!

Eventually the two dragon-elves finish their endless talking and we walk back to camp, where Gareth and Waryk have gathered a veritable host of followers. I watch as Kaine and Alog are reunited, than Rabble and his bear. Even Swizzle meets her brother and sister there. My arms cross in front of me as a pang of jealousy shoots through my heart, swiftly turning to anger. I have no one to meet me here and I want no one. Life is better without entanglements. Let them have their reunions. It will not last; not at the rate the world is crumbling.

But when I look over to the fire, my heart stops in mid-beat in my chest. The fist of ice encircling my soul cracks as I see what I thought never to see again. Lorne! Lorne alive and well and sharpening a weapon next to the fire! I blink slowly a couple of times in disbelief. It can’t be real. Lorne is dead. I know he’s dead! This is some trick or figment of my imagination – a cruel torture. For a few minutes I can only stand and stare to try and figure out what’s going on. It can’t be this. Not what I see before my eyes. Things don’t work out for the better – not for me. It is a mistake. It has to be a mistake!

Slowly, as if time itself has ground to a sudden halt and all that exists in the world is Lorne and I, I take step by careful step forward. With each step closer, it is apparent that it is, in fact, Lorne. It is his hands that hold the sharpening stone; the fiery orange-red hair I thought never again to see. The kind eyes behind a gruff façade… My throat closes up with a will of its own and it is all I can do to speak the words “I thought you were dead” past the sudden lump in it. He responds with a snarky “I thought you were too – guess that makes us even” and I smirk inwardly – that is such a Lorne response that it finally starts to hit me that he is actually here – alive and breathing and here with me again! I walk away for a minute to gather my thoughts and try to quell the whirl of conflicting emotions I feel. My heart feels—well it’s indescribable. I am beyond happy – beyond joy. The emotions I feel I can’t even put into words yet. But I can’t face him. I feel so ashamed too- I lost hope. Wanted to destroy a city to assuage the anger in my heart at his loss. What was I thinking? I wonder bleakly. How can I even look at him?? I raggedly draw several more breaths, still facing away from him.

It is Lorne’s gentle touch on my shoulder, his quiet understanding as he asks if I’ve had enough time to process that finally breaks the impenetrable wall I have built in his absence. The anger and hurt I felt as I left Aldritch finally fall away. Unable to contain my feelings or my shame, I blurt the foremost thought in my mind “I was going to burn Aldritch! Burn them all for hurting you!” as I turn swiftly around to face him. No more secrets. He has to know. I wait for the recrimination – for him to turn on me in anger or hurt disappointment as so many have done before him. But how swiftly I forget Lorne’s sharp insight into my heart. He doesn’t judge…only laughs a little. My worries flee and when he hugs me I feel the deep love in his heart. He truly cares. Cares for me as I am; meets me exactly where I need him to. I am safe. I start to sob and he pats my back. I don’t care anymore. The dam is broken; the wall crumbles and is washed away with the tears that fall as I stand there in Lorne’s arms. Let them see me cry – let the whole world see! I would do it a thousand times more if it means that Lorne is here with me again; whole and real and here! Once again he is there when I need him the most. It is enough.

I smile through the tears as I take a step back and breathe fully again. He asks me about the pendant and I am grateful I never got the chance to carry out the black thoughts in my head before finding him again. I never had the chance to destroy it. I tell him I know it’s elven and then I remember the other sneaking suspicion I had been having since finding that out. I ask about my name and he hesitates a moment, as if he knew how I’d respond, and I learn that it is indeed elven as well. I should have been angry enough to punch someone but to my surprise, I don’t feel that way. Not with Lorne. I just shake my head in rueful exasperation. Of course it would be elven! But it doesn’t matter. It is Lorne that picked out the name – it is enough. Let it be elven. Let it be anything! I was foolish to cast it off. I AM Lunara. And I am not a child; not anymore. It’s time I stopped acting like one! I need time to think and process and Lorne knows me like the back of his hand. He leaves me to my thoughts for awhile and it is good.

When I am ready I head back to talk to Gareth and Waryk and learn that there are two factions of elves fighting. Of course they are! It always comes down to elves! There is a group of elves trying to find a place to escape instead of remaining on this plane and fighting for it! This is the group of elves we need to somehow get on good terms with, as they hold a large library that could help us as we try and close the portals as fast and losing as little time as possible. But no one is allowed in. Lorne was there for a little while, doing something else, but no one else has been able to get in again!

There are also two armies, a drow army in the south and an army of warforged in the north; both led by different evil gods. That’s right…there are gods! Actual, real gods! I have never worshipped one in my life but through Swizzle’s expertise we learn that the good gods are fighting back and trying to help but are stuck somewhere else because so few mortals believe in them anymore. Gareth casts some crazy magic spell that makes him look more draconic than I’ve ever seen him and we find and speak with the faerie that was in the fire weeks back – Sorcha was her name. We learn that we need to get the dragons to leave their pocket portal; as many as we can as quickly as we can – for the more dragons stay, the more time is lost as we close the portals. And if too much time is lost, we will end up closing a portal and being put back into a world of death; one where all the planes have collapsed in on each other and destroyed everything. This is some serious business. I can’t believe I had my head and heart so lost to anger and despair that I didn’t realize the gravity of what we are facing. And I won’t let the world burn – not with Lorne still here. Not with Swizzle and Kaine and Rabble and Gareth and Waryk and Gattican here… I will fight with every fiber of my being to preserve it. For Lorne; for the rest of my party trying so hard to reach out to me that I kept pushing away. I will do better. I will be better. I know I can, if I try. And the first step is to flip the fear I have felt all these years into courage. True courage – not the bravado I have worn to try and fool others. We will do this! We will save the world and we will become the heroes we were meant to be! I am not lost to darkness and I am not afraid anymore; I take the mask from Aldritch that I have been hiding behind for so long and I watch as it crumbles to ash and dust in the fire. I don’t need it anymore! I have friends and I have family. How can we not succeed?

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