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[Finished]Empty Closure/Secrets of the Dead

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Re: [Finished]Empty Closure/Secrets of the Dead

Post by AJ.Wisteria on Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:35 am

Like I said in my message to you Sea:

SOIO;IAEWH;IUGLAUYWGUH ERMAHGHERD *gives multiple raw fish* I'm really excited to see how this plays out in RP. Seriously.

Oh, forgot to thank you for the little mention of Sid in the story ^.^
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FILLER!

Post by Sealand on Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:08 am

Author's Note: Hey guys! Just wanted to show that this is still up. I'm actually finished with Secret's of the Dead, it's just a matter of time before I post it.

You may wish to read her biography first, in case, here's a [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].

Here is a little filler dealing with one of my new characters, hope you like it!


---

It was just a normal day for Gwenevir, at least, similar to any other since she’d taken up residence in New Midrid city. Absentmindedly, she brushed the floor of her little shop, littered with plants of all kinds, and all in perfect health. Just another boring day in the shop, as it had been since the Second Cataclysm had forced her and the refuges from Mussia to flee. In the wake of almost certain destruction, people didn’t seem to want much help from a magical botanist. Not that the Highlanders were very accepting with magics in any case, something about an old story from the start of the kingdom.

She jumped at the sound of the door opening, catching the broom shaft she let go of in mid-drop. She quickly placed the broom aside and went to go behind the counter, stopping mid stride as she heard the broom crack against the floor. Gwen sighed and walked behind the counter, glaring at the falling broom in contempt, before looking up at the man who just walked in.

An old man wrapped in dark robes lined with a deep blue tapped through the aisles of plants with a sword strapped to his back. Gwen shifted nervously, watching him squinting down at the plants, pulling on their leaves or brushing against their stems, he seemed to be examining them. Gwen never needed to do such things because of her nature magic, but she’d gamble a guess this man was some kind of professional.

The stranger stopped at a group of different cacti, brushing his fingers against them, uncaring of their spines stabbing at him. He rummaged through his robe and pulled out a pitch black pipe and lit it. Gwen bristled, glancing at the sign that clearly said ‘No smoking’. She took a deep breath, gathering her courage.

“Excuse me, sir,” Gwen said, smiling sweetly when the man turned to her. A chill went down her spine at the cold lack of emotion in his face. “B-but smoking is not allowed here. Do you need any help I can-“

“Are you Gwenevir D’elia?” The man interrupted, stepping over to the counter. His pipe flared, giving Gwen the despicable scent of sweet smoke drifting through her shop now. It took a bit not to step back in fear as the man walked up; she noticed that for an old man, he still towered over her.

“I- y-yes…” Gwenevir said, shuffling uncomfortably under his hard stare. “L-like I said though, if you could please extinguish your-“

“Your Queen sent me to train you.” The man said, interrupting her again. He slapped down a note on the counter and continued. “Says you’re looking for someone to teach you advanced alchemy. Going from a botanist, or herbalist, whichever you like to call yourself, to an advanced alchemist may not seem like a large jump. Perhaps it isn’t, but it’ll be a rather tough one.” He pauses for a moment and stared at her, making her squirm more.

“Sir, I need you to-“ Gwen started.

“I however don’t have the time to teach a student, much less one so inexperienced and weak.” Gwen’s eyes widened at the man, but he didn’t stop. “Nobody would, really. You should probably give up; you have a nice dinky little shop here. I’m sure people would enjoy coming here, I guess.” He said, turning to look over the shop disapprovingly.

“You…” Gwen trailed off, shuddering with her hands rolled into tight fists. She had to stop herself from throwing her power out.

“I’m sorry, did you say something?” The man said whimsically, placing his shoulder on the table to prop his head up.

Gwen lunged forward and yanked the pipe out of the old man’s mouth and chucked it over her shoulder angrily. A cold wind blew over her as the old man raised his other hand at her, she winced instinctively.

“Foolish, but at least you have some kind of backbone, that’s good.” The man said. Gwen opened her eyes, looking at him in confusion. The man pointed behind her, and she turned. The pipe was stuck in the middle of a spike of ice stuck to the wall behind her, right over a bunch of very flammable cloth.

“Sorry, I needed to test you. Joseph Usbraum.” The man said, holding out his hand and acting like he hadn’t just been a complete ass to her or saved her shop from going up in flames. Shakily, she shook his hand, surprised by his oddly strong grip for such an old looking man. She glanced back at the pipe in the ice.

“Don’t worry, it’s extinguished.” Mr. Usbraum stated, and pushed the note he had placed on the table to her. “I figured you’d want to read this, it’s from the Queen.”

Gwen looked at the note and up to him warily before reaching over and picking up the note. It was definitely from the Queen, explaining who this man was, that she trusted him, and that she wanted him to teach Gwenevir for all that she’d done for the Queen. It even had the Highland royalties seal stamped on it. She looked up at Joseph, her mouth open.

Joseph gave her a vacant look and straightened up, he turned and looked over her shop once more.

“You do have a very nice shop here. I see Whitetilt, Mageblue, Corrom’s Hand, and even flowers like the Lightning flower. I’m very impressed.” He commented. Gwen beamed, and straightened herself out when he turned and gave her a sullen look. “However, I didn’t lie about not being able to teach you, I’m sorry.”

Gwen slumped visibly before she picked herself up. “Th-that’s fine… sir. Thank you anyway…” She said, looking down at the note in her hands.

The man gave her a thoughtful look and began tapping his fingers on the counter. “However, I have better news. I know someone who can. My own teacher.” He said, Gwen looked up in surprise and hope. At the time, she didn’t even think of the fact that this old man still had a teacher who was alive.

Joseph smiled briefly through his white beard at the woman before he became unemotional once more. “There is one problem with this, however. You know the Dawnlands?” He questioned, looking to her, Gwen nodded. “He lives there, and he can’t come here to teach you. You would have to go to him. Still up to it, Gwenevir?”

Gwen paused, opening her mouth. She had a nice little shop here, which would certainly grow in popularity when the time came. Did she really want to uproot her life here to learn advanced alchemy? It was one of her biggest dreams however, and she had a chance to chase it. A chance that might not come again, or at least for a long time…

“Yes sir.” Gwen said, nodding.

“Usbraum, please.” The man said, giving her a weak smile. He pulled out a large, worn, leather-bound book and placed it on the counter. “Inside is two letters. The open one is yours, and it will tell you how to get to him. The second is his, do not attempt to open it. It’s magically sealed anyway. It contains information about you, nothing bad, and my recommendation.”

Gwen nodded, staring down at the leather-bound book and running her fingers down the spine. Umbraus continued.

“The book itself holds some of my findings that perhaps you may find interesting. It’s something so you know where to go, rather than going in blind. Oh! Also, here,” He said, pulling out a hefty coin pouch and plopping it next to the book. “This should cover travel and then some.”

Gwenevir looked down at the pouch and up at Usbraum.

“What? No I don’t need your money, si- erm, Mr. Usbraum. I have enough so that I could get there on my own. Please…” She trailed off, picking up the coin pouch and holding it up for him to take. Usbraum shook his head and pushed it back.

“Call it an investment, I don’t care. My teacher needs someone like you, Gwenevir. He’s in a bit of a rough patch that may or may not get rougher, and I’d like you to look after him.” Usbraum said sternly, Gwen looked at him with an astonished face, and nodded quietly.

“I- okay… thank you.” She said weakly.

“Don’t mention it,” Usbraum muttered. “That’s… not the reason I asked you to go. You seem like a good girl, Gwen, and I’m interested in furthering your intelligence. I’ve done my research, and I truly believe you deserve it, but anyway…” He trailed off and coughed awkwardly. “I must go. I’ll check in on you, but next time we meet you will not recognize me, to that I apologize. I shall tell the Queen of your decision, if that’s alright with you?”

Gwen nodded woodenly, smiling at the man. Usbraum nodded in return, a smile flashing on his face for a second. He turned and opened the door.

“Thank you again, uhm, Joseph!” Gwen said.

Usbraum paused and looked over his shoulder. For a second, Gwen thought she caught sadness in his eyes, but before she could deduce it, the man walked out and closed the door behind him.

Gwen sat in silence for a few minutes, pawing at the coin purse and staring at the worn book. ‘I need to pack,’ She thought, and bit her lip.

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Re: [Finished]Empty Closure/Secrets of the Dead

Post by Sealand on Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:00 pm

Congratulations to those who fought the Overlich!

I would just like to inform everyone that this story will be finished in a few days. I need to edit some stuff so that they're more... current, and I'll post them as soon as I can. Hopefully tomorrow.

Thanks everyone for reading so far, and I hope it was... decent at least. Thanks for putting up with my bullshit.

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Goodbye, my friends

Post by Sealand on Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:38 am

-A few days after Richardson leaves the Dawnlands-

Wind whipped and whirled around the barren landscape where Midrid City once stood, tall and proud over it’s kingdom called the Highlands. Much like the Dawnland’s many cities, Midrid had fallen to the Overlich’s armies half a year ago. The only things left of the beautiful city were deep underground, covered and caked in dirt. Any valuable objects above ground had already been looted and sold, leaving only stray rubble across the area.

A wisp of a crisp, cold wind drafted through the area, swirling around the city’s rubble as if inspecting it before flying off into the distance. The wind twisted and turned through the branches of the forest still surrounding the bleak landscape. The wind twirled around as it came into a clearing, a frozen over mouth of a cave gaping at it. The wind spun faster and faster, materializing a man in dark robes and hood that flapped furiously in the wind. A blade strapped to his back.

Richardson stepped forward, placing a hand upon the icy wall blocking his path into the cave. The wall trembled, melting slowly as Richardson stepped through. Behind him the ice snapped back into its solid shape. The former dreadknight’s footsteps echoed throughout the cavern in harmony with the sound of water dripping in the distance. It wasn’t long before Richardson came upon a small room lit with torches. He unstrapped the blade’s sheath and placed it upon a stone counter. Richardson twitched as a familiar being crept inside his mind.

‘This where you’ve been going while you put me to sleep?’ Richards's voice rang inside his mind.

“It’s my base of operations here. This is where we’ll take Rebecca after saving her.” Richardson stated, turning his back upon the blade and going to a nearby counter. He pulled out a small black pouch.

‘What’s the crib for?’

“Not important.” Richardson twitched, glancing at the crib next to the bed. He inspected the continents inside the pouch and pinched out a white, gritty dust from inside.

“Are you going to tell me ANYTHING? You’ve told me absolutely nothing about your goddamn plan to save Rebecca and you just expect me to follow you. I’m not Amelia, Richardson.” Richards grumbled into his mind, in tandem with a deep growl echoing with it. Richardson flinched, dropping the dust back into the back. He set it back down and wiped his hand on his robe.

“Calm down, Richards. Just… let me get ready first.” Richardson sighed, pulling out a pitch black clock and placing it next to the pouch. He then grasped at something invisible over his head and tosses it aside. A simple leather cap materialized in his hand as Richardson’s features changed slightly. His skin became paler, almost white as snow, and his eyes began glowing ominously, back to their vibrant color as they were when he was a dreadknight, and dead. In a matter of seconds, Richardson had turned into an undead. He tossed the Hat of Disguise upon the counter as well.

He stepped away and began pacing. “Sorry I couldn’t tell you my plan earlier. To be honest I had to even erase my own memories for a small time, while I was helping Faelar, Kai and Sidhiel with Ruckus.” Richardson’s mouth suddenly curled into a grin as he remembered his brother’s old nickname for the psion. “I wrote it down and memorized it afterwards. Anyway, Rebecca was crushed by… Malfunctus’s rampage on the city of Midrid.” Richardson paused for Richards, but the soul stayed quiet. “I confirmed it again with eye witnesses, and with Queen Amelia’s blessing, I came up with a plan to save her. There was only one way really. We have to go into the past.”

‘Are you mad?’

“Not unless you are.” Richardson smiled softly. “You forget, I am you. We both have the same memories, or had in your case. There’s not much difference besides our personalities… and even those have been waning.” He commented, looking to the ceiling in thought before shaking his head.

“Neither here nor there. Anyway, the point is this.” Richardson picked up the obsidian clock.

‘The clock you got from Teremus. Did you fix it?’

“Of course. Working with it I found I could do a short jump in time. So long as I have a powerful enough source of power. Which is where this moon dust will come in.” Richardson muttered, picking up the pouch and plopping it back to the table. “Pure, clean negative energy in dust form. Easy to compact into the small space of the Onyx Clock’s fuel chamber.”

‘You are mad,’ Richards muttered in disbelief.

“Possibly.... You don’t know how stressed I’ve been over this these past few weeks.” Richardson mused, staring off. “Double checking everything, making sure we have the right spot, making sure my family will be alright when…” He trailed off and shook his head. “No matter, it’s now or never. Are you ready to save Rebecca?”

‘Yes.’

~*~

Robes blowing in the cold, harsh wind, Richardson stood at the broken steps of Midrid’s keep, and just about the only thing left of it. Twirling the clock’s hands with his finger, he took a deep breath, not that he needed it, but after months of pretending to breath, it was reflexive, and clicked down the button. Darkness twisted and turned around Richardson as time slowed, stopped, and reversed.

The sun and the moon danced across the sky, chasing after each other at dizzying speed. Richardson watched as creatures and other beings warped wildly around the landscape as the world spun backwards. The keep, and Midrid City, slowly rebuilt itself around. Undead trampling past mindlessly, a two-headed dragon roaring triumphantly, shooting sparks and slag into the air.

Finally, time suddenly jerked to a stop, sending Richardson off balance as if he were actually moving. He straightened himself and brushed himself off. A dragon’s roar echoing into the night air behind him, he turned and saw Midrid being lost. The moans of the damned, forced to walk the land, mingled with the screams of those still living. Fire, brimstone and death wafted through the air together as if they were old friends conversing. Fires and explosions erupted around the city as Malfunctus swooped down, blasting, burning, and crushing all who opposed him, and those who didn’t.

Richardson shook his head solemnly, turned, and began his way up the steps to the keep. Reaching the final steps, Richardson slipped in behind a blonde woman and the ebony skinned warrior tailing her. Richardson smirked at the back of their heads as they disappeared into the crowd. He quickly did the same, pushing and weaving through it behind them.

He stopped in front of the guards that were holding a wall between the common rabble and the nobles. He watched as the future Queen Amelia and the sergeant walked up the steps to talk to the king. His mind whirled, they didn’t have much time… perhaps half an hour to save Rebecca, and he needed to get past these guards.

“Hey guards!” A voice shouted. Everyone turned their heads to a man at the edge of the wall. He had a shaved head with scrappy clothing, and he looked rather peeved. “Let me through! I gotsa message fer the king!” He shouted loudly, obviously drunk and angry out of his mind.

The guard next to him replied. “What is your message and we’ll get someone to send it.”

The man grinned, turned and stuck out his butt. “Tell him to kiss my ass!” He shouted so everyone could hear, and began laughing hysterically at his own joke. Some men behind him chuckled along with him.

The guards, however, looked on emotionlessly. “Sir, please go back into the crowd.”

The man however, did not like this. He spun around heavily, tripping half way, and punched a guard in the face. Suddenly guards all around rushed to help secure the man. A good distraction and Richardson’s only chance. He slipped through an opening in the wall unnoticed.

The best way to not be caught in a place you’re not supposed to be in is simple. Act like you’re supposed to be there. Despite not even looking like a noble or servant, people gave Richardson little but a passing glance. Probably thinking he was some outlandish wizard come to help or give advice to the king. Something that would only help him more, due to the Highlander’s innate skepticism of magic, no one would bother him.

Walking through the noble crowd, Richardson happened upon Amelia and Samuel again as they exited from the king’s area. He followed quietly toward the medical bay, waiting outside until they left. Time was running ever short fast. He ducked inside the medical bay as Amelia and Samuel left, talking about some passage way.

The medical bay was filled with a mix of medical professions, all hoping they could do something. Even some volunteers were allowed in. All the beds were packed with the wounded, diseased, and crippled. All except one, that had a woman with a swollen stomach. Groaning and straining, she looked helplessly as people passed all around her.

‘She’s…’ Richardson nodded quietly before the soul finished it's sentence. He closed his eyes. His face began deforming into another. His shaggy beard receding until it was just but a mustache. Richardson pulled out a pair of glasses and placed them over his face. ‘Gotta love that hat of disguise…’

No one noticed the change; with everyone too busy doing this or that. Trying to save as many lives as possible, little did they know they were all about to be crushed, Richardson thought grimly. He walked up to Rebecca, who looked at him pleadingly. He smiled warmly at her as she gripped his arm, and with his right hand he felt her stomach.

“Rebecca… you don’t know me, nor will you ever.” Richardson said softly, with the crowd around it made it hard to hear him, but Rebecca looked at him in cofusion. “But, I need you to trust me. For both your sake and for… your child.”

Rebecca winced, and looking around wildly for someone to call out to. Richardson peeled off her hand on his left arm and curled it up, placing it on her. She looked at him, scared.

“Please.” Richardson said, kneeling down to be on her level and staring her in the eye. Her wild looked calmed. He nodded and smiled. Sliding his hands under her back and legs and lifting her up.

“Hey what’re you doing-“ A doctor said, running up before falling to the ground as the entire keep trembled.

Rebecca screamed, causing Richardson to look up. Malfunctus’s head emerged from the ceiling, roaring ferociously at the crowd below. Everyone screamed in terror as rubble began descending upon the noble’s area.

And then suddenly, time ran out and the world spun.

~*~

An icy blast erupted as Richardson, still carrying Rebecca, ripped his way into the present. He quickly checked Rebecca for signs of life. She was alive, albeit unconscious for the moment, and about to give birth any minute. He kicked off the ground, flying back quickly towards the cave he had come from. There was quite a bit to do and not a lot of time to do it.

~*~

-About a day after Rebecca's rescue-[/i]

‘I still can’t believe we did that.’

“Well we did.” Richardson muttered, staring down the crib to the baby girl curled up in blankets. He tore off the hat of disguise and threw it on the counter along with the obsidian clock. “I’m just glad it’s finally done, and nothing went wrong.”

His mind raced as he watched the little girl sleep, well, like a baby. His mind turned toward the Overlich and he sighed.

‘You’re going to die.’

Richardson nodded solemnly. “Yes.”

‘Why did you do this?’

“Why? Because I am you, Richards. I love Rebecca as much as you.” He paused. “To be perfectly honest, it pains me to have to leave her with you, but if it means she’s alive and happy…” He trailed off, looking down.

‘You don’t have to do this. We can still get you help. Isn’t there still time?’

“ No, no there’s no time is left. The Dawnlanders should kill off the Overlich any day now. My magic should hold Rebecca and the baby in stasis until I die, but I can’t… I can’t risk going off on the road. I’m sorry it had to end this way, Joseph.” Richardson smirked.

‘Richardson, I-‘

“Goodbye.” Richardson muttered in the dark and shoved the soul into his blade.

Richards shouted, kicked and begged, but Richardson simply tuned him out, listening only to the sounds of the cave echoing back and forth. He stood there, in solace with his demise, staring out into the darkness. He waited, and waited, perhaps for hours, maybe days, in silence. His mind wandered to and fro on different topics: His brothers both those dead and alive, Teremus, Garmus, New Cerberus, Sangrienta Fe, his friends he was now leaving behind.

Finally, Richardson felt it. The undead closed his eyes and smiled, ready to pull death in a warm embrace. The Overlich was dead, and now he too would go. He laughed at himself in the darkness as his body trembled uncontrollably through the waves of power and fell to his knees. His eyes dimmed to a pale blue and death overtook his body as it fell upon the wet, cold stone.

Alone.


Author's notes: This is only the beginning! I will fix up the next part tonight, so expect it later. Sorry if there are any odd things about it, I had to comb through them both quickly in order to make them more current. Thanks for reading, see ya next time.

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One Life for Another

Post by Sealand on Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:53 am

Richardson found himself in a vast white plane, grinning up like a madman at his death. An image of the Overlich’s head floated high above, staring down at the former Dread Knight in distaste. Black appendages floated down from the being slowly and calmly. Death need not rush. Richardson knew why too; there would be absolutely no escape. With the heroes finally finished off their mortal foe, first physically and now destroying his soul forever, he was next.

Now, as a product of the Overlich’s army, and still under his soulbinding, he would die with the bastard. Going down with the ship, as they say, Richardson thought, pulling out old memories from Richards’s days aboard the Dawn of Bloodletting. He smirked, but all this was a part of his plan to save Rebecca. Undeath, to him, was just a means to this end. If he must die to save her, and ultimately hand her to his ‘father’, so be it. Richardson wouldn’t struggle. He feared death, but a man could do anything for love… Right?

Then why was he getting some kind of feeling… A twinge of some emotion passed through his core. Was it his fear of death? Guilt of something unknown? …Regret? Regret of what? He couldn’t place it, at least, not yet, but now it didn’t matter. He would never get the opportunity now. Still, it troubled him endlessly as death slowly approached. Why? What IS this? The feeling had come from nowhere after his last trip to New Midrid City, after he had sent Gwenever to Teremus.

It annoyed him. Bit late to get cold feet on Rebecca now, Richardson thought, mentally reprimanding himself. An absurd thought crossed his mind, making him smile, but it was too late.

The black hands wrapped around him, swarming on all sides. He simply stood, holding his arms up and to the side, as to give the hands more secure points to wrap around him. The area was soon filled with the hands, wrapping around him. The Overlich’s face stared down at him as if daring him to try to flee. He didn’t, and instead, he relaxed, smiling up at the image. He knew it wasn’t real, but thinking that the Overlich was watching amused him.

The hands lifted him up slowly to his ‘master’.

“You are not me!” Someone shouted behind him.

A feral roar sounded throughout the white plane, echoing into infinity. Something large, something as black as the hands of death, crashed into them. Long, razor sharp claws tore through the hands holding Richardson, and without their connection, they dissolved, and Richardson fell. An explosion of pain erupted as he slammed into the ground, cracking his head against the floor with an audible sound.

“Woops, sorry. Probably should’ve caught ya…” A voice said next to him. The cheerful sound made an odd contrast after Richardson had just faced his death. He groaned.

He looked up at the hand in front of his face and grabbed it. The voice pulled him up and patted him heavily on the back, almost knocking him over again before Richardson righted himself. Richardson looked over at his savior, blinking his eyes clear. If it wasn’t for the deep brown hair, eyes, and the stupid goofy grin the soul wore nowadays, he would’ve thought he was looking into a mirror.

A small twinkle of mischief glinted in Richards’s eyes before the man turned his head to the hands. Richardson followed his gaze, his bitterness turning into astonishment at what he was seeing. The black beast, Wolfhound no doubt, was ripping through the horde of hands that had crept over the area around them. His fearsome claws shredding through the dark matter viciously, dissolving anything that had been cut off. More and more hands took their place.

“What in the goddamn Nether do you think you two are doing?” Richardson asked, his voice full of venom. He turned to Richards, glaring daggers into the soul. The man blanched.

“You’re the genius,” Richards stated. “What does it look like?” He said, motioning towards Wolfhound. The beast was surrounded by hands now, all attempting to wrap around him, but to no avail. The beast simply cut his way out like a hot knife through butter. The Overlich’s image stared down, impassive, but Richardson could tell more hands are appearing than before.

“It looks like,” Richardson started, anger welling around him like a typhoon. “You’re being a fucking idiot who is going to get us all killed!” He spat. Frost crawled up his arms. Why did everyone seem intent on destroying his vision of happiness after the Overlich’s death? First with Ruckus running head first into any danger he could put himself in and dying. Not to mention his damned father attempting to murder him as well. The bloody Afflicted warring across the Dawnlands, and even having the audacity to capture Gwen. Now, his own goddamned flesh and blood was stopping him. Well, if he had blood running through his veins.

“Close.” Richards muttered, smirking at his clone and twisting his side to side. Richardson almost didn’t catch the word. He opened his mouth to launch into a stream of obscenities at his ‘father’ but the man interrupted him.

“What I’m doing is trying to save my… ‘son.’” Richards said, pausing for a moment to taste the word and nodding approvingly to himself. The words that Richardson was going to say dried up in his mouth. He stared back at the soul astonished.

“What…? Have you grown daft? You’ve never called me son!” Richardson shouted, louder than he intended. He actually took himself aback, why was he offended by that? “We’re not father and son, we’re-“

“The same person. Yeah, yeah. So you’ve told me about a thousand other times, Richardson.” Richards grumbled, eyes on Wolfhound. Richardson didn’t know how the artificial soul was doing it, but he was actually beating the hands back. He could tell it was tiring though.

“You’re wrong though.” Richards commented, snapping back Richardson’s attention. The brown haired man glanced over, attempting to gauge his clone’s reactions.

“What?” Richardson asked, disgruntled.

“You. Are. Wrong.” Richards said slowly. “We are not the same person. Well, perhaps in body size, and blood in our veins, or… not currently in our veins. You get the idea.” Richards paused as Wolfhound completely obliterated one of the black hands. “We aren’t the same person. Nether…” He sighed. “I don’t even count myself as ‘Richards.’”

Richardson blinked, dumbfounded by the soul’s words. Richards glanced over at him and sighed again.

“How to explain? Hmm…” the soul said, pondering it’s next few words. “When you ‘woke me up’ and I was inside the black blade, I had no memories, if you recall.”

Richardson nodded, feeling like he was being ripped apart.

“There was absolutely nothing that could be retrieved. My memories were just… gone. You tried to teach me about well… who I am, who I was. My only insight into myself, my past, was you. I had to relive my life as if it were from a book. A long, hard, brutal book.” Richards said, cracking a smile that withered at the sight of Richardson’s glare.

“I… I wish I could say I fell in love with Rebecca all over again. That I felt the pain of being tortured on that damned pirate airship for years. That I felt the familiar companionship with Chris, Faelar, Luke, and… even Squiiji.” He paused looking down and shaking his head.

“I never did though.” He muttered, scuffing his boot against the floor. “I’m not this Richards Jenkins everyone thinks I am. Or his real name, Joseph Richardson. I may be his soul, but that man died the night Amulet was defeated and I was… woken up.”

Silence stole over the two like a vice grip. Even the sound of Wolfhound’s fight sounded miles away. Richards broke it, starting again.

“I think…” The lost soul turned to Richardson. “I think you feel it too, but you’re fighting it. Maybe for the better, but…” He looked back down, hiding his eyes. He shook his head. “I can’t do this, it’s not right.”

“But you, Richardson.” He looked up. “You have a life to live. I do not, and don’t think I’m just going to let you throw yours away for poor little me. This soul has had it’s chance at one, but failed. You gave it a chance again, and so it shall set in motion an ending it is content with. Because it knows…” The soul trailed off, turning to Wolfhound as the beast was struck viciously by a hand. Silence fell again as the being didn’t seem to move for a moment too long, but it leapt back up, tearing through the black hands of death.

Richardson stood, at a complete loss for words. Richards’s words, or rather his soul’s words, rang through his core like a bell. Was it… all true? All his work… Richardson couldn’t deny it from himself anymore. The soul had torn down the tower of lies he had built for himself, leaving him bruised and broken, but free. The soul of Richards noticed it, and smirked.

“Y’know Wolfhound held true to what you asked him when he was Amulet.” The soul commented, his voice suddenly cheerful after delivering depression on a silver platter. “Do you remember? ‘Do you think you’d ever be able to be saved?’” He repeated what Richardson had said… what felt like ages ago. He looked over, seeing the former Amulet getting wrapped up in black hands, struggling.

“Wh-“ Richardson croaked out.

“He created a counter question. He’s actually rather clever for being this… beast with hardly any control over himself…” The soul smiled knowingly. “He said: ‘The real question is, can a soul be forgiven for what he did in life, by what he did in death?’”

The soul glanced at Richardson, who opened his mouth, stupefied by the question. The soul twisted, and something cracked against the side of Richardson’s head. He fell, seeing the soul sprinting towards Wolfhound at full speed. Did the bastard just…?

‘Richards’ raised his hand to Wolfhound and the beast turned. It morphed and slipped out of the hand’s grasp. The soul leapt forward, catching the item that fell from the hands and rolled. He popped back up onto his feet, holding the black blade high above his head. Something struck Richardson like a sack of bricks. The black blade had formed a longsword, not a bastard sword like Richards would have preferred. Richardson felt like the 4 foot long sword had stabbed all the way through him.

For the first time, Richardson felt crushed. He couldn’t move, his body wouldn’t respond to anything he tried. Why hadn’t he seen it all coming before? It was as if someone had rammed into his stomach and he was trying to regain his breath.

Richards’s soul parried, dodged, and slashed around as the Overlich’s hands of death grew impatient. More had come flooding out, attempting to grasp or tear through their annoyance. Very few got solid hits, and left only glances on the soul, but where they did hit dissolved into nothingness. Richardson looked up, watching the soul fight tooth and nail against the onslaught. It was no less than a miracle that he hadn’t been destroyed.

Richardson noticed something; the hands weren’t going for him. They were mistaking Richards’s soul FOR him. Their souls, like their bodies, were complete copies, and the soul of Richards was using that to his advantage. Richardson struggled to move, but his body remained unresponsive. If maybe he could join, fight and…

Do what? He had no weapon, no real way of fighting in here. One of them would have to die anyway… but that was no excuse.

He demanded his body to move, to do something, but it wouldn’t. He sneered and looked down… he realized he was trapped. The bastard had bound him to the floor. He cursed loudly and looked up at the soul fighting. Richards’s soul heard him, and turned, giving Richardson a cocky smirk.

Then, a black hand tore through his chest. His eyes widened in shock.

Both men looked into each other’s eyes, and a moment of understanding passed through them. The black blade clattered to the floor noisily. Black hands wrapped up around the soul securely, tightening around him like a cocoon, and Richardson could do nothing but watch. It was over.

“Hey… Umbraus…” The soul called out weakly as it was slowly lifted off the ground. Richardson looked up at him, face impassive. “Do me one favor… Alright? Look after her, and the kid… For the man I- we, used to be…” He said, a weak grin passing over his face.

Richardson blinked at the use of his ‘true’ name. The one his Dreadfather, Teremus, had given him. He had requested to be called Richardson though… Why? It was all to spite Richards, to make him remember his past. To show that just changing your name doesn’t make you a different person, or change your past. Now, what was the use? Richards had died long ago. Umbraus nodded to the soul, his face cold and unemotional.

Richards’s soul smiled warmly, and looked up at the face of death. The black hands drew him up to the image of the Overlich, likely the last vestige of the cruel lich. Together they faded away, along with Umbraus’s bindings. The man climbed to his feet, hanging his head in mourning.

He raised his hands, trying to reach out to his body and attempt to lift himself up. To wake up from the death he was supposed to have in this dark cave… but his body was unresponsive. No movement, no breathing, everything was just still… and dead. He was trapped… or was he? Perhaps there was another way.

~*~

Outside of the cave, snow fell off the giant figure. It had been standing there for… months now? It did not know, it did not care. That was not it’s function. Mindlessly, it watched as the ice wall melted away, revealing the mouth of a cave. It rumbled, feeling the long dormant gears and circuitry come to life.

It stepped forward, shattering the ice that had caked around it’s hull. Slowly, it lumbered forward, and with each step more chunks of ice fell off. It’s steps became more frequent as it awoke from it’s slumber. It entered the cave. It had waited a long time for this… for it was programmed to, and wait and wait it did. Obediently, it waited.

It lumbered through the cave in… relative silence. Besides the thumping of it’s metal foot against the stone flooring, at least. Icy stalactites cracked and scrapped across it’s hull as well, but he paid it no heed as the ice cracked and pelted him. No damage was done. It lumbered on through the darkness as if on a track. It passed a room with light pouring out into the cavern but ignored it, passing by and into the darkness.

It wasn’t long before it came to a body, wrapped in dark colored robes. Master’s body, and there were no signs of life. It paused, running processes in attempt to feel some sort of emotion like sorrow, adding up the equations… but it felt nothing. Not it’s objective. It leaned and reached out, pulling on the blade in his master’s sheath.
The body attempted to follow with the blade, but eventually the scabbard gave way and the black blade ripped out. The body fell to the ground with a wet flop. It held up the blade in it’s iron hands, analyzing it… something wasn’t right. Something didn’t add up. The blade was buzzing, a small buzz, and silent to only it. Suddenly, it felt something invade it’s systems. Internal alarms went on, and back down. Only one person could- Master?

~*~

Rebecca awoke in a cold sweat. Where in the Nether was she? She grabbed the covers and bolted upright, wincing as pain laced through her body. Looking around, it looked like she was in some kind of dungeon judging by the walls, but the room was well furnished. Far too well furnished for a dungeon of any kind, with a dresser, cabinets, sink, chamber pot, and a counter on the far side with all sorts of different objects, like an alchemy table. Carved runes glowed all over the counter ominously. This was definitely not where she remembered falling asleep.

When did she even fall asleep? Last thing she remembered was a man in a hood and- she placed her hands on her stomach and cursed. Nothing, she wasn’t pregnant… Where- She looked to the foot of the bed, seeing a crib’s wall just in view.

She jumped out of bed, stumbling as nausea overtook her. She grabbed onto the dresser next to the bed and steadied her self, breathing in and out slowly. She stumbled over to the crib, ignoring the cold stone floor freezing her feet. Her eyes welled up in tears as she came up to the crib.

She was a mother. A beautiful baby girl was curled up, wrapped in blankets, sleeping without a care in the world. Rebecca sniffed and waved a hand in front of her face as she blinked back tears. They were alive! How were they alive? She remembered a dragon bursting into the courtroom, bashing the ceiling down. Rubble was going to crush them all… and then there was the hooded man, clad in his black robe.

She reached out for the child, stopping as she felt the odd sense of being watched crawled across her back like a spider. She swung around, gripping the crib for stabilization and looked over the room suspiciously. Nothing seemed… odd, besides perhaps the glowing runes, leather cap, maps, and alchemy on the counter.

She looked back to her daughter, Rosa, and emotion washed over her like a tidal wave once more. She had always dreamt of having a child with Joseph, and now she did. She wondered where he was now, probably worried sick about her. She’d have to head to the Dawnlands soon as she knew where she was. Hopefully the roads were clear of undead by now.

A sound caused her to jump, spinning around again. A giant, about nine foot behemoth of iron stood just outside the doorway, staring directly at her. Fear washed away as she crouched into a fighting position Joseph had taught her, ready to fight for her and her daughter’s life if it came to it. The golem looked at her impassively, and raised something it was holding in his arms to her.

A beautiful, sheen black blade, the fire light from the torches played across it.

She looked to the blade and golem, raising her eyebrow. She opened her mouth to speak, but realized the golem probably wouldn’t be able to talk. Her fighting instincts Joseph had drilled into her were screaming at her, telling her this was a trap. She sensed something coming from the black blade, something that probably should’ve made her more suspicious, but she couldn’t help the feeling of being… drawn in. She stepped forward to the golem, cautiously moving and placing a hand upon the blade.

She winced as she felt something invade her mind and quickly withdrew her hand like she’d just burnt herself. She stepped back, staring at the iron golem terrified that she’d just sealed the life of her and her child to a close. Then a voice sounded inside her mind… it sounded oddly familiar, but different as well.

‘Hello, Rebecca… My name is Umbraus. I’m… sorry to have awakened you so rudely, but… we have much to talk about.’

Author's notes: And with that, Secrets of the Dead and Richards's story is finished. I want to thank everyone for dealing with my mediocre writing, but I hope you all liked it well enough. Special thanks to Faelar for helping me and reading over the stories. Special thanks also to Squii for giving me a change of heart.

In the first version of this, Richards and Richardson would have both died and lived. Their souls merging into one, with no memories left except that of Rebecca. I had let a couple people read it before hand, and got the most reception from Squii. His constant reprimanding of me got me to revise this story, for the better I think, and I seem to be getting that reception from others who've read both as well.

Well, this is a huge load off my back though. I AM planning on making more stories, based in the Highlands. So they'll likely star Amelia, Samuel, Rebecca, and several other characters you'll get a look at soon.

Last time, thank you everyone for reading and have a happy Fall of the Overlich Day! <3

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Sealand
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