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The Book of Fate's End

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Dranus VIII, sorcerer king of Varz has won his war but at great cost. Vega of the Six Regrets stopped a Conqueror...and lost a brother. The Books of Fate's Desire and Fate's Remorse allowed these things to pass. And they went just as The Ultimate planned. Now Dranus must come out of 20 years in hiding and Vega must lift himself from his infinite pit of sorrow to stop the ancient king of Varz from completing his final goal: reverse the flow of Time back to the moment of his biggest failure and start anew. Even if it erases the existence of everyone born since then, what's a thousand years in the life of a planet? In the life of an immortal? The Ultimate is the greatest sorcerer to have ever lived and his influence is vast; he has had a millennium to prepare. It will take the last dying breath of the Gods and the effort of those strong enough to stand against The Ultimate and even that may not be enough. Even with the legendary Morningspear, mysterious and powerful as it is, they might not be enough. Eventually they will need to rely once more on the Books of Fate but finding the Book of Fate's End will be like finding a needle in every haystack that has or ever will exist across all time. It must be enough. It can be, The Writer of Fate assured us of that. But will it? It must.

Fantasy / Adventure
Ryan S. Hampton
Age Rating:


“...pay for this!” Baklar shouted as he sat up straight from his back, rage frothing at his teeth. His Circle had betrayed him and now he would....

He would....

King Baklar looked around him, taking in the silence. Had he not just a moment before been in his throne room, pressed down by the force of his Circle of Nine who had betrayed him? He felt at the wound in his chest, but it was gone, though the fabric of his robe was torn.

In the distance Baklar could hear the soft moans of the wind. It is night, though a soft luminance brightens the room of unfurnished, rotting wood. The King of Varz’s head swims from the shock of seemingly moving from one reality to another, though it should not affect one of his kind so. It is then, as his hand brushes cloth caught by splinters on the floor, that he smells the faint scent of lavender. He calms; it is her favorite scent.

He sighs as his eyes begin to adjust to darkness. Strange, that he should need to do so when his eyes had been closed. It was as if a bright burst of light had illuminated the room moments before but now all that remained was a silhouette.

Baklar’s fingers tightened around the cloth fabric. His senses all heightened in an instant. There was the faint press of touch on his stomach and his chest, the lingering feeling of something pressed against his waist and his lower half. It was familiar and comforting, warm. The light that dimly lit the cabin, too, seemed to take shape into the form of a woman. A woman who’s dress Baklar pulled into him desperately, crying out a single name.


The thick silence seemed to swallow the name. The howling winds had stopped.

“Chara! Where are you?!” Baklar tried to rise but fell back on one hand.

The panic had awoken his sorcerer’s mind and quickly he was assembling the terrible, unthinkable truth.

His wife’s essence lit the room like a fading stars in a clouded night sky. Her constellation waned as it faded from view. The scent of lavender on the air remained from her clothes and from her skin, so recently pressed against his own.

Baklar could stop this. He had to stop this.

In a moment he had composed himself. His mind had become a highway of logic and reason, the roads winding to and fro, ever-changing their direction. Thunder crackled over these paths of reality. Baklar heard it in his waking mind, though the rain pattering on the dilapidated roof did not reach him. Nor did he feel the steady drip of rain falling upon his skin.

He sought the manner to rearrange her soul, to bring form back to her being. Chara had done what a sorcerer knew never to attempt. She had made a bargain with Death, himself. Such a twisting of the natural order of things was now without consequence. Sorcery as they knew it was a balance of change and stasis. A sorcerer channeled change and stasis returned things to their natural state when the sorcerer was finished. But the world was not infinitely forgiving.

Thunder cracked again and the King’s right arm twitched. A swirl of the glowing dust in the air arranged itself into the shape of a hand.

Imposing change beyond one’s means to influence the natural state of things brought immediate, relentless stasis. It was a sort of balance itself, but balance like the pain on one’s knuckles as they assail a mountain: the mountain does not change, but the hand has paid a price nonetheless.

Death was inevitably the price one paid.

The King brought to his mind Chara’s face. Her high cheekbones and thin face were elegant like a dancer, but adorned with a scar from her left eye to her cheek. Though he knew her eyes to be those of a sorcerer, white irises on jet black orbs, he had always fancied them a shade of silver and midnight purple. Her thin lips formed a soft, but confident smile. Chara’s hair was long and the color of the Dusk Season trees. He tried to picture every strand of hair.

The image was forming before him, but the face that gazed the shapeless stuff of her life force screamed in the sound of roaring thunder. Baklar heard the shriek in his mind and his focus shattered. The light scattered like startled fireflies.

“No. This will not be.” He choked the words from his dry lips, as if forcing them into the world so they would become more real still than his own flesh and blood.

His mindset changed. His body stiffened. He closed his eyes once and opened them upon a different world. The fluid tension of The Devil’s Eyes filled Baklar’s body as he shaped his memories of every moment in his life that included Chara, into a whole. He struggled, in his singular focus, to maintain the solidness of the floor beneath him, the falling of the rain which now bounced like gemstones off the wood, to recreate in every detail the nature of his body and the blood, air, and water that balanced his life. The burden of The Eyes had never weighed so hard on him.

Then, as if replacing the storm overhead, something shook deep within Baklar. It was not a physical shake; it would not have moved his skin or altered his presence. This was something at the fabric of his existence; something woven into the backdrop of nature where the power of The Devil’s Eyes originated.

It erupted next.

All at once it filled his body and emptied simultaneously. He was bursting out and collapsing in, all at the same moment. It was a moment which lasted through all the time he had experienced before and across all the times he could have endured. It resonated in the air around him, as if freezing the movement of time and taking back the concept of stillness from the human mind which would not, in its fault, perceive it in its purest form. The feeling tore at him and he felt as though they clawed at his own insides, not out of pain, but out of an indescribable need to rid himself of a foreign body. It was as if a boulder had fallen into the ocean and the ocean pressed on every side to destroy the boulder, not because the boulder was a threat, but because it did not belong.

Then it stopped.

Baklar felt strange. He saw the room for the first time through eyes unclouded by his sorcery. It was darker than he had thought and colder; wetter surely. The cloth in his hands felt less firm, less soft, and the colors were less vibrant. The silence had not changed.

His mind went to memories of his wife, Chara, but without the urgency he had before. Some part of him knew what had happened, even if it could not guess at how. The embers of Chara’s life faded now. From blood red eyes haloed with purest white came tears to mix with the rain. He did not have to will the rain to fall, nor for his body to catch its weight. He knew what effort he exerted and yet nothing responded. For what reason he could not discern, he had been cut off from his sorcery.

Thus it was with grim acceptance that he scooped the intangible stuff of his lover into his hands and tried to imagine the feel of her skin on his again. He begged his mind to bring the most lively image of her it could muster and to capture it for eternity. But what he felt on his palms were the warm tears that splashed among the cold rain. His chest felt hollow, his stomach fled, and his muscles gave up. He slumped forward as the last lingering scent of lavender wafted through the rafters.

Chara was gone.

Baklar had seen his followers spend themselves so thoroughly that they died, but their bodies were left for burial. What could she have done to earn such ire from the world?

For what must have been hours Baklar sat, slumped in his sorrow. He could not bring her back.

Could not bring her back.

He had known deep down that to reverse that which had taken his wife would result in a similar demise for himself. Perhaps that would have been preferable? Then again, it would waste the selfless sacrifice his love had made for him and for their nation. They had, for all their years, worked together to bring Varz to glory. On the morning of his final battle with The Guardian, she had been every ounce of his strength. It seemed now, too, she was that and more.

The thought came upon him quietly, sheepishly from within his sorrow. He could not bring Chara back from that nameless abyss she had gone to, but there were still those he could punish. He could make them beg for death a thousand times over. Perhaps the souls of nine powerful sorcerers would be enough to tip Death’s scales for trade.

Baklar rose, reflexively whipping his hand out, expecting the moisture to flee from him and reach him no more, but nothing happened. The Devil’s Eyes drained him, though they had no effect, but still he felt no hunger or lethargy. For the first time in his adult life, he was careful as he descended stairs of rotted wood, catching braces where they still stood to take his weight until he reached the bottom.

The King’s understanding began to broaden as he laid his eyes on the scene before him: unmoving gardens lit by the half moon overhead and shrines of sun, moon, fire, water, and more. How could he forget the place of his most important battle? Chara had brought him to Holy, blasphemous Pyrán. What had she done to need the very wellspring of their power?

In leaps and bounds he reached the entrance to the place and the path that lead down the mountain. He would bide his time and regain his strength and his sorcery, and then as his Circle had done to him, he would surprise them in their most triumphant moment and he would bring such exquisite and creative suffering to them. As he descended the mountain the ideas flowed through him and as if remembering too late it had been cast, his previous spell to ward the rain began to function. His sorcery was returning!

But his head felt light suddenly and he began to topple. Like water through a broken dam he felt his strength leak from him the further he moved from Pyrán. Without thinking, he tapped his recent memory and switched the location of the patch of dirt where he now stood with the last big plot of soil at the edge of Pyrán the Holy. The rapid shift in space caused him to collapse, but he managed to fall backward into the ward of the place where once Gods lived. Slowly, but as true as his sorcery vanished, his strength returned.

He stared hauntedly down from the peak of the mountain. Whatever Chara had done, it had bound his existence to that of his enemy, to Pyrán itself. His short black hair bristled in a breeze that stopped as soon as it entered Pyrán’s domain and his short beard itched against his chin. His handsome features were drawn down in a frown and his eyes sagged from emotional exhaustion.

Defeated, King Baklar, returned to the tower at the center of Pyrán where once the Guardian had made her residence, for he felt strongest there. On the second floor where he had awoken he found again the soaked dress of his wife. Beneath it was a peculiarly gnarled section of wood. He recognized there the face of the one he loved as he had tried to conjure it before, though now her eyes were closed as if she rested. He lay there, covering himself in her clothes, his face close to hers and he wept.

Inside of him, where once his heart had been and now burned the magic of his lover’s life, a strong and unbreakable will formed. It bound itself to a single idea.

“I will make this right again. If I must turn back time itself, this will be undone. I swear it on all things.”

King Baklar, The Ultimate, awoke from the memory without start as the sun peaked over the tall horizon of Pyrán.

“Good morning, Chara.” He spoke silently to a framed piece of wood near his bed. She slept there still, after a thousand years of rest. The old king sat up and caressed the soft, polished wooden cheek of his love with tender care.

“It’s almost time.” He smiled. “After all this time, I will be with you again soon.”

When his feet touched the floor he was naked as the day he was born. Before his back could fully straighten he was fully clothed and didn’t miss a single stride as he walked down the stairs from his third floor room. He stopped for a moment on the second floor, thinking of the ordained time over twenty years prior that Dranus had arrived. He blinked once and the room changed from the large, open floor plan, adorned with purple silk on the walls and endless black fur covering the floor, to the way it had looked when Dranus arrived. There were three rooms, established like some small apartments for a minor lord, with a dining room, a study, and a personal room where a myriad of imagined treasures had been spread. Baklar had worked hard on this facade for the young King of Varz, for he had a particular image he must instill in the child’s mind.

Dranus was the final piece to his thousand year plan and he had played his part to perfection. When the king who was now known as “Reclaimer” had first come here, he had not been untoward with the lad, but then again, the art of lying was less about one said and more about one withheld.

Before Baklar’s foot hit the top step, the room had returned to its former configuration.

It had taken him many many years to fully fuse his sorcery with that of Pyrán, but Chara had lain the proper groundwork. He had been the most powerful sorcerer of his time, but she was by far the most clever. Yes, it had taken many years for him to recover his sorcery in this place, but it had taken far longer for him to understand the depth and complexity of exactly what Chara had done for him. Here on Pyrán, though it was his prison, his normal sorcery was immense and far reaching. With The Devil’s Eyes, he could even project himself out upon the world, though without the solid form he wished. He could be anywhere, anyone, and at any time he pleased.

His basement was his favored place to languish through the days, lined with all the books the Guardian had once protected. These tomes had been his dearest friends throughout the centuries and like reliable friends, they had taught him much.

When he reached the far wall, barren though it looked to be polished like marble, his fingers pressed against the earthy stone and spun revealing a webbing of ink in the High Speech of Varz. He studied the words, the figures, and the flow of the logic as he did every day and he remembered every step he had taken to get him here.

He had whispered secrets of the stones that channeled the South Star to Queen Luna, having discovered them in the wake of the Star’s previous visit. He had been careless in his first attempt to manipulate others from the safety of his blasphemous perch. He had not wished madness upon Queen Luna, but it was his fault nonetheless. Still, capturing and maintaining one who could call upon The Devil’s Eyes was not an opportunity he could afford to miss, as unformed as his plan had been at the time. The fact that she was sister to the Queen, rather than the Queen herself, had been a shock even to him.

In the days of Queen Tempest, the Undying, he had carefully guided the Queen to the works of King Faust and his plans to meet Death. Tempest was a strong-willed sorceress and she had bargained with Death with greater leverage than any had before. The Shield of Second Life was his reward then.

Even in the days of King Vulcan had he posed as spy, feeding information to the Urhyllians and forcing The Rock to seal himself away to protect the Sword of Righted Guard. And when each of these monarchs passed, he had placed the enchantment upon their corpses so that they could serve the purpose he truly held for them. For one day, descendants of the Guardian would rise to stop him, so the Book had foretold, and he would need one of his sons to banish them.

It was of course Baklar, himself, playing the part of the hooded prophet who brought the young Warriors of Pyrán together long before their anointed time and released the powers of the Stone of Pyrán’s Plight to them. They trusted him so fully in his disguise that they didn’t hesitate for a moment to think of his motivation. The unexpected death of the Moon God during his long tenure had eased this burden, ridding him of one extra Warrior.

Finally, all there was left to do was to guide poor Deleron Kaxus to the Book of Fate’s Desire and the Shield and set events in motion. He had guided things as he felt necessary, planting information before Dranus’s eyes to arrange his movements and ensure his victory over the Warriors. And though Dranus was wise and strong and had foiled the final part of his plan, though he suspected moreso that the Book had intervened there, the fact that Dranus still lived was, in a word: inconsequential.

Baklar always frowned when he reached the last few chapters of his plan as it had unfolded throughout the millennium. The last bit had gone too smoothly, too easily. The discovery of the Morningspear, the progressive death of the Gods, the destruction of the Moonblade. These were all prerequisites for his plan and he had expected them to take a few decades or even centuries more; he had already foiled the prophecy of the Warriors, what was another few hundred years?

Baklar had never expected another Book of Fate to appear. He had never considered that there might be more than one.

Things began to twist in his favor after that. Entna, too, played almost too well into his hand for being a God that saw through time like so many fractured window panes. He had given him a powerful pawn in Vega of the Six Regrets. That man’s brother, had he tapped into the God’s dormant power, could have ruined everything. That, he suspected, was the Sun Gods point. A pawn for; a pawn against.

For all that Dranus tried to interrupt events in the West from afar, he had been too far a coward to intervene directly and too far an imbecile to reach the Moonblade before even his own daughter! He was, after all, inconsequential.

Could The Writer have come to agree with Baklar’s plan? As enigmatic and ancient a being as The Writer was, he could not hope to compare the scale of his plans to that of countless millennia...perhaps his path forward was correct. But the way the Book had sacrificed its physical form to spare Vega’s life...that was the pivotal moment. The Writer created that boy in Free Hand; could it have acted against his will?

Baklar reached the end of his notes inscribed upon the stone. There were only a few steps left now. And time, just a little more time. From there he glanced back to the start of his plan so many centuries in the making and then up, through layers of flooring made ghostly translucent at the sleeping face of his love.

Or rather, perhaps this was his path backward. The future as the world would have it could bare no fruit for him. As he had said to Dranus, he had no stock left in this world. That was why Baklar, The Ultimate, fought for the past.

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