Done with the view, Avery stood before the dead King or mostly dead king. The dragon looked at Avery with tender eyes. “Did you have fun sweetie?” A deep voice rumbled from the Dragon
The Dragon’s body looked so miserable with its missing wing and bloodied body, but its eyes gleamed softly down at the little girl below. Her snow white hair was tied back in a high ponytail. She wore a simple breastplate, greaves, and gauntlets. White holy armor etched with magical runes that glowed as softly as her allure eyes. A small glowing cat-paw was etched on the center of her breastplate. The girl stood only 5″5, yet she looked up with a smile at the dragon. In those eyes, two glowing drops of gold with black slits full of amusement.
“Mhm. Did you dad?” She asked as she leaned to the side with a hand on her hip. “Or you want us to thrash you again?” She mused as she looked up at her father playing the end-game villain. The dragon’s head lurched back with a hearty laugh before it morphed into a tall man in his late forties. His salt and pepper hair was short and slicked back in a stereotypical businessman fashion while wearing a modern business suit.
He strode up the long broken throne room floor and gave Avery a large bear hug. “I’m glad I could help make your last raid fun…” Edward’s burning voice whispered. His suit out of place against the fantasy MMO Armor Avery wore.”Mm. Definitely wouldn’t have it any other way. Just as the mood was darkening, a woman materialized in a simple sundress. “Well, well. Maybe they’ll give you an award for acting, hunny!” She laughed, brightening the mood. She walked over to the duo, clapping.
“Definitely! If not, mom and I will just have to kick their butts!” Avery made a fist as she pulled away from her father and did a quick one-two into the empty air like a boxer. The three laughed before Camila, Avery’s mother, gestured for them to leave the castle. “So hunny, what’s going to happen now…?” She asked softly her and Edward walked on either side of their child. Both of them nearly a head taller than Avery.
“Well, our Little Dragon Slayer here will be given free rein to populate the summit as she wishes. We’ll be deleting her dimensional space and have everything moved here.” Edward said matter of fact. The raid itself was more or less done now. His eyes scanning over the hundreds of players that camped on the edge of the deathly grey and black rock mountain edge. “This is…” Not able to finish his sentence he looked up at the shooting stars that marked the completion of the raid.
“My tomb right? Like those pharaohs from Egypt.” Avery said it for him, for her. All of them were aware of the impending end that was coming. To Avery, it was just a fact of life. Something she had come to terms with, but not her parents. Both of them held their breaths seeing how calm their little bundle of joy, their reason for living, and their love-child… so calm in the face of death… It only broke their hearts more, but they didn’t show it.
Reigning in their emotions, something they’ve learned to do quite well, they both walked through the throng of players that sat with their lovers and friends. Some turned and greeted them “Hey dad! Hey mom.” or “Hey Mr. and Mrs. Bailey!”. Others quickly thanked them for the great raid and game, but no one asked about Avery. No, because they were all aware of what this raid was meant to be.
It marked the end of a journey, a painful one and a beautiful one.
EOS would be shutting down in the coming months, sealing the game in its state and freezing this majestic world forever. “EOS without our daughter is not EOS at all.” The public announcement said. It was understandable. It was the world made for her. Thus, it would die with her.
The three took their seats on along the edge and silently enjoyed their final show together. As the stars fell, so did tears. Hopes. Dreams.
. . . . .
The once desolate mountain top that held the Demon King and his castle was drastically changed within the week. The once dreadful black-stoned castle ruins were replaced with a small, but beautiful Elven-style villa. Three large structures hugged the mountain edge. The farthest right was a single story home with a large grey sloped roof. A porch faced the inwards to the mountain that connected to a canopied walkway to a circular viewing platform that held a small island in the middle with a single twisting tree. The tree grew small white leaves with blood red lily-like flowers that fluttered away into the abyss beside it.
The far left building was connected in the same fashion, but this building was made from grey stone and two stories. It was an armory and forge in one. It housed all of Avery’s items and memories.
Lush green vines grew around the three structures, along with flowers and lush grass. The grey rocks that gave off such an empty loathing feeling were replaced with a flattened ground of lush grass and sparse trees that bloomed fully. Beds of herbs and flowers dotted the summit that was nearly a football field large in every direction.
The mountainside was brimming with plant life as the bare mountain was covered in a thriving forest. Birds sang and rabbits hopped. Babbling brooks bubbled and streamed down the mountain as a single Elven village sat at the mountain path’s entrance and a large river streaming by side it where once the war machines of the Demon Army once rested.
In this, the mountain was renamed, Fable’s End…
. . . .
Night settled upon the land and the village burned with bonfires and lanterns in all corners. Players danced and sang. Music played from NPCs and Golems prowled along with plays of digital food. The village was filled with men and women dressed in colorful clothes. Even the river bank was full of boats and people. All of them raveling in the festivities. Even the road to Fable’s End was filled with parties. Each town. Each city. Not a single battle was happening in EOS was they all celebrated.
In Fable’s End Village, Avery sat at a wooden bench with her parents and her close friends. Behind her was a Dark Elf, dressed in glossy black armor and a spear in one hand. Her stoic face was the typical NPC follower guard. But the girl was Ha’vie. Next to her was a silver fur wolf the size of a lion. Fenrir. Finally, to the right was a Human looking girl dressed in armor the same as Ha’vie, but two ram-like horns grew from the sides of her head. She was of the Dragon-kin, Athena.
The table they sat at rested on a circular stone platform where the village held “Performances” or so the flavor text Avery set said. Though the game was almost close to reality-fantasy VRMMO, the game still had its limitations with the sparse buildings and NPCs. Most of the hardware ran to keep all the players synced in the area. But it didn’t bother Avery a whole lot as she got to celebrate her last day alive with everyone.
Soon the moon climbed high into the sky, while opposite, the timer on Avery’s interface counted down. Soon the bell rang from the distance church of Fire and the crowds simmered down. Their eyes placed on the young girl who sat on the platform table of honor.
“Well, the time is coming friends.” She sighed, a bitter smile painting her face. “It had been a long, but painful short time together. From the struggling beginners to the top players of EOS. We journeyed together. Tonight, the journey will end for me. I’m happy that you all came. I’m happy I got to spend my final moments with you all.” With that, she rose her cup in a toast.
“Screw that! Get up and face it like a warrior!” A lone man cried out from the foot of the platform. It was Gerald. He had disappeared earlier in the night, yet now here he was. Suited up in his holy army like a knight of tales. Hammer in hand!
“The journey is ending, but you’re going to face it like the damn badass you are!” he bellowed as with the biggest shit-eating grin she had ever seen on him. For a moment, everyone was stunned but they figured out what was going on. Soon, they dawned their weapons and armor too. A sea of particles erupted as multiple colors of armor and clothes glowed in the moonlight and the clatter of weapons.
Tankers beat their weapons on shields.
Warriors clanked their swords against their chest.
Mages raised their staves with light spells.
All around here, the clamor of warriors rung true for her.
Though it was just a game, it was her world as well. The world sounded with the cadence of a marching army as they bellowed a war-cry to the heavens “Onward!” With tears in her eyes, Avery summoned her sword, Excalibur. It shone with white brilliance in the moonlight. Shoving it to the air as if to defy the heavens, she cried out with them “Onward!”
Three chants, later… The clock struck midnight and soon the life began to drain from her. Edward and Camilla held her on both sides. Seeing that moment, the cries got louder. Reverberating throughout the world. It seemed even the monsters of the worlds joined in as their cries rose from the forests to the valleys. All mourned the final moments of the most beloved child…
For a moment, Avery’s life flashed before her eyes. Her childhood, the real touch of her mother’s hand. Her first kiss in middle school. The shooting… And all the adventures she had been on since then. Even in this virtual world, lives could flash before your death. That was her final thought as her limp body was carried up the mountain top by her parents, with an army of thousands of players and their war-cries.
And Just before darkness engulfed her, a voice whispered out. Calling her. Pulling her… “Come…”
. . . . . . . .
A group of ten odd young men and women, some even teens, broke through the autumn forest line and stopped on the bank of a river. “I know it has to -” A boy said with an old map in hand said before he saw the towering mountain to his right. Surrounding it was a long forgotten Elven city that hugged its base like a half moon. His pale face and rich brown eyes stared excitedly at the mother of mountains.
The boy’s head was hooded with a short blue hooded-cloak that protected his pale skin from the mid-day sun that beat down from above. Underneath, he wore a dark-blue shirt, brown pants, and worn brown leather boots. He only wore a simple leather breastplate and greaves set with a leather belt with pouches attached. The people in the group around his age wore almost identical outfits while the rest wore full suits of shining steel armor, but they moved just as fast.
A man came from the darkness of the thick forest behind them, dressed in polished grey armor. A sword at his side and a polished grey metal shield on his back. “Little Desmond, you’ve done it now!” He laughed as his bear-like human hands clapped the hooded boy’s shoulders in delight.”Big brother stop, please!” The boy whined as his brother jerked him back and forth. The hood came off revealing medium length hair tied back into a short ponytail. His hair was the color of fertile soil, matching his hair. The boy was rather skinny compared to his bear of a brother though.
The man wore no helm and both looked-alike – aside from the obvious bear-like stature his big brother had. Desmond stood nearly five-foot-eight while his brother towered over him at six-feet flat. His brother was the kingdom’s top warrior while Desmond was a simple student still. As his brother walked away, taking the lead towards the ruined side that rested beneath the monolithic mountain, a gaggle of girls followed suit trying to strike up a conversation.
A few male pages followed as well with the same intention, leaving Desmond shaking his head. “Even out on the edge of the world, he still manages to attract girls.” He sighed as a single beast-girl walked up to Desmond, looking at his brother. “Never ceases to amaze me how your brother manages to attract such attention, even on a school expedition.” She laughed as her eyes moved to Desmond tenderly.
As if oblivious to the tender stares, Desmond buried his head into the map with glee. Leaving the girl to shake her head. Her thick curly red hair matched the protruding fox ears that twitched on top of her head with the thick swaying tail behind her. Her delicate features softened as she looked at Desmond’s childlike excitement. ” Navara, could you hand me the broken tablet please.”
The beast-girl rummaged through her pouch before pulling a small clay tablet.” Hey Dessy.” She said before looking at the group that was getting farther away. “It’s just the poem, why do you keep obsessing over it?” Noticing the group was pulling further away with a single guard staying back with the duo, he rolled the map up carefully as he started walking. “Because it’s Ancient Elven history! Even elves today aren’t that powerful as before and they’re small in numbers now. This is big! Fable’s end is supposed to be the tomb of the Hearth Mother!”
Desmond’s eyes gleamed as he began to rattle off old history from the Primordial Era, a history of gods and demons. “You never know! We might even find a way to defeat the Demon King himself!” Navara only rolled her eyes, with a pretty smile as she played with a long lock of deep red curly hair. Beast-kin were almost humans aside from the tails and ears. It also varied between person to person. Some had bodies covered in fur, while some only just had a tail; almost completely human-like.
Navara leaned towards the human blood, with only a pretty set of long fox ears and a long tail. Eventually, they reached the edge of the ancient city. In all its splendor, it still showed that even in its desolate state – it was still far more beautiful than the human cities of today. Ramparts stood nearly twenty feet high, encasing the city and half the mountain.
Where grand doors should have been, was only crumbled wall and rubble that littered the uneven cobblestone road. The whole group stopped at the entrance, staring in shock. “Everyone be careful… The passage of time didn’t down this gate. It was breached. I don’t know how long ago either. There might be unexpected residents here.” Desmond’s big brother hollered, scaring a flock of ravens perched on the city’s edge.