Unwilling Night

Epilogue

It was so dark. And...cold. As far as they knew, they were alone.

They couldn't remember anything: not their name, not their age, not even what they were supposed to look like. Only one thing was present in their head: they weren't supposed to be here. They didn't belong in this dark place. Why though?

There isn't a 'why', a little voice whispered. You chose this. You do belong here.

The person wondered if they could trust the voice. And then they wondered why they questioned the little voice. Nothing made any sense anymore. There was no context to go off of.

Please trust me, the voice begged. There's rest waiting for if you just let go.

Let...go?

The individual looked up at their outstretched hand and saw several long white threads wrapped tightly around their wrist, shedding a faint light. They moved their fingers slowly, coming in contact with one of the strings. All at once, the image of a face entered their mind: a young brunette man wearing green armor. And it wasn't just the face, but a name entered their mind: Stahl.

Memories. So many memories. The impact of so many images left them gasping and more than a little shaken. But for one second, it seemed as though the darkness had gone, the cold retreating under a loving warmth.

No! the voice hissed, no longer small and quiet. Now it was loud as a dragon's roar. You belong to me!

Startled, the person grasped onto the threads tightly, crying out at the shock of so many memories suddenly flooding their mind. But with the pain came a sudden sense of identity. They...she...had meant something to these people. They had woven these threads together...these bonds...

But something was missing. Something important. Crucial even. She looked at the bonds anchoring her to some unseen edge and saw that there were two threads wrapped tighter around her arm, one winding almost down to her elbow, the other reaching to her shoulder. Curious, she touched the higher one.

Brief memories this time. A smiling boy with red hair and dark eyes. She heard him laughing, saw him concentrating over a board covered in figurines and heard him crowing "Mother!" as if it were the greatest word in the world.

"Morgan," she whispered. Her son. That boy was her son. The realization brought tears to her eyes. Knowing who it had to be beforehand, she raised her hand to see who the farthest thread was.

NO! HE IS FAITHLESS! HE IS A DOUBTER! HE HAS ALREADY ABANDONED YOU!

The cry came too late: she had already made contact.

The memories were slower this time, but they burned with emotion. At first it was hatred, a deep loathing accompanied by images of war and chaos and mourning. But then there was sympathy which slowly changed into something warmer. The heat reached a peak as she saw a red-haired man with a crown on his brow and felt his forehead press against hers.

"Thank you Nisha," he murmured. "My life now belongs to you. Every shattered fragment, every bloodstained inch, all yours."

There was a terrible scream of rage, so loud it could have shaken the Earth.

"Gangrel," Nisha breathed, a tear slipping down her cheek as she remembered the agony that had appeared on his features when he had realized she was dying. And in that moment, she realized exactly what she had to do.

The tactician looked down to where the Fell Dragon roared and saw a black chain looped around its neck, leading to a manacle clasped onto her ankle. That was what was keeping her down here. That was the bond she had to destroy.

"Gods give me strength," she said aloud.


Night had fallen and Gangrel stood alone on deck. Once again, he hadn't moved from his spot, but this time he was not fixated on a single object. No, his eyes were out of focus as he appeared to stare at the waves. What he was really looking at was a sea of agonizing grief that waited for him inside his own heart. Perhaps there was relief from the pain on the other side, but perhaps this ocean had no shore. All the trickster knew was that he was not looking forward to setting foot into that water.

Lifelessly, the Mad King pulled out his pendant, letting it rest in his palm. He could just take it off. If he did, he would surely die. Just as his brother, father, grandfather, and all the other owners of the pendant had. Then he could be with her again.

Gangrel...

The trickster whirled around, certain he had just heard a familiar voice whisper his name into his ear. But there was nobody there.

Sudden pain burned through his chest at the disappointment, making him bite his tongue to resist swearing. His fist closed around the tiny golden Levin sword and every nerve in his body screamed for hit to rip it off and throw it into the foaming sea to be lost forever. But he didn't move. He hardly breathed. At length, he allowed the metal object to slide from his fingers and let his hand drop to his side.

He couldn't do it. But not because he didn't want to. He just...couldn't.

Something wet plunked on the top of his head, but he didn't look up. Soon the whole air around him was full of the spray of raindrops. It were as if the world were crying for him when he couldn't find the strength.

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