Meridian City

Session 20

Epiloge

In the vast expanse. Chuck was everywhere.

And nowhere.

His person reached far and wide. Sensation rippled his… form.

He could see it, the abandoned kebab shack in meridian, still resting in the harbor. Far away, bodies littered a battlefield. Grizzled old men laying next to the young and weary. All victims to the spreading conflict. Smoke billowed from the ruins of taverns, inns, and homes. Blood soaked into the earth, providing nourishment for future plants. The cycle of death and violence lay itself before him, a perspective that had never been seen.

All was still in meridian. Time passed slowly in this form. To Chuck, the world may as well have been frozen, as men, women, and children moved so minutely that hours would have passed before they took a single step. Brothers sat by a fire that looked of glass, nursing themselves with drink. On the mantle, a portrait of a soft eyed old man, holding a beautiful, beaming woman gazed down on them. Next door, a pair of Fennic mashed potatos in a bowl, a child and his mother smiling as they toiled.

His gaze was upon all these places at once. Like viewing a gemstone, his new existence offered him a unique ability, to view not just one facet of the stone, but instead many sides in a single glance.

Below him, the worm rider bellowed and roared. Mounted on his friend and treasure they cut at the vines, as Chuck had before him. Yet, it was a vain effort. Soon, Socks and Chad too joined the absolution.

Chuck could feel him as he entered. Their minds blended. The love for Boots and Socks rippled through him. As did a desire to burrow in sand. The desire to cook rippled through as well. Each of them now mixed into one, where Chads thoughts ended, and Socks began we undefinable. they were one, one with each other, one with Chuck. Sharing the same space. Sharing the same mind and sense. No one spoke, there was no need. Their thoughts, Their feelings were understood, shared in the purest state.

The three became one. And yet were still three. They were together, indistinguishable from one another, yet they held onto their identity. Chad was chad, Chuck was Chuck, and Socks was Socks.

And they existed this way

Eternally…
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“No…” he heard himself. A body less voice rose from the mass of existence.

“NO!”

Chuck found himself.

His will crystallized in this new place, this new state.

He could not accept this.

He WOULD NOT! accept this.

“What was the point then!” He cried out! “So many of my friends died for this, They gave their lives! For what?”

In that peak of anger, he found his skin.

Floating… A sea of nothing. He was its center.

there was no gravity to this place, Chuck simply existed in total freedom. He did not need to breath, or eat, or sleep. He was just there.

And angry.

“If i’d had known this was the result of the spell, I would have killed Toland the second I met him!” He shouted, his voice echoing off into the void.

“What of Jackie! What of the Ven! What of Brona!” He cried and cried “Damn it all! There’s so much left, and we’re supposed to just leave it!?”

He lashed. Swinging wildly. Biting at nothing. Anger became rage, and hate. The venom of perceived vengeance soaked into his soul.

TOLAND!” he roared “This is all your fault! WHERE ARE YOU! I am going to EAT. YOUR. HEART!”

He struggled about, twisting himself in the endless expanse, unable to get himself to move anywhere.

and then, his hand found a door.

He opened it.

The Feral kitten sprawled out before him, far larger than he ever remembered it. On the stage, Darius Painhammer strummed out somber tune, a dirge of sorts. At the bar, Rel rushed back and forth with glasses and cutlery, serving a dozen blank faces at the counter. Nyn bellowed and flirted. Tiska kept to her corner, her only company being Andre who swallowed a pint. At the tables, Dwynen and his sister, Spindle, Orgoth, and Thorzeur sat and drank. To their right, Mathias, Aliyah, Ratty Jane, Zelkova and Shade and laughed and shared a tale or two. Beyond them, Alden and Reginald got into a shouting match as Shank sipped on an ale and Brona laughed at them.

At the center of it all. With a bottle to his right and a book in his hands,

Toland sat alone.

YOU!” Chuck yelled over the commotion. And The Fallen looked up at him and smiled. A few others looked in his direction, but most payed the lizard no mind.

“Chuck” he smiled, “we’ve been expecting you”

Chuck felt a calm attempt to over take him, a swelling wholeness at the edge of his form. Yet, it did not rush through him.

Chuck approached the table. As he reached its edge a chair appeared. He made no motion to take it.

Standing, his eyes glared down at the magician.

“What. Did you do.” He asked, keeping his anger held back. “And where the hell are we?”

Toland closed his book, placing it gently on the table. He poured two drinks from the bottle, sliding a glass across the wood.

“we cast the legacy spell.” He said

Chuck bellowed, thrusting the glass from the table, shattering it at the foot of the stage. Liquor soaked into the wood.

YOU FUCKING KNOW WHAT I MEANT

Toland’s smile formed to a line. “Ascension” he spoke calmly “Beyond the scope of life, beyond the grasp of death, without need or want. a Unity to end all conflict. We are becoming something that has never been seen in this world before, a greater sum of all our experience”

WHY!” His temper spilled into every word, the flames of emotion soaking the scene.

“Because it must happen.” Toland looked down “Whether we were prepared for this or not, the next stage was coming. We could not exist here for ever.”

Chuck shook his head “That doesn’t make any sense! Our home is here! Meridian, The circles, the swamps, the oceans!” he slammed his hands on the table “We can’t just leave all of that!”

Looking around, the Lizard man spoke again “Where is this? It can’t be the kitten”

“It is” Toland spoke, looking about the room. “Rather, it is your Kitten”

The two made eye contact

“You summoned this place Chuck. Through pure force of will you created the place you thought you’d find me, and filled it with your memories. All of this is a sum of your experiences played out before you”

Chuck broke the gaze, shaking his head. “Then, you aren’t here? none of this is real?”

“we are. Spindle, Thorzer, Bella, Juji, the crew of the ship, everyone is here just as you are, we all see, and experience this in a myriad of ways, from a hundred perspectives” He spoke calm, yet somewhat somber “Except for you, you do not share yours”

Chuck closed his eyes “I don’t accept this Toland. You and I, we ain’t one”

“But you rob yourself of change! of progress! The chance to truly feel what your friends feel, see what they see! Experience a new reality, a power that this world has never seen!”

I AM ME” Chuck shouted “NO ONE ELSE

Tears welled in the fallen’s eyes. “Chuck… we only want to share this with you”

“THAT’S NOT WHAT I WANT

A silence graced the bar

The room was empty, half finished drinks littered the tables with burnt out candles. The dusk of moonlight graced the floor.

Toland looked up a Chuck

“Chuck, if you do not accept this, you will be left behind”

the lizard squinted “What do you mean?”

“We are leaving Chuck.”

“Where”

he shook his head “A place you can’t understand. If you saw it in your current form it would not make sense to you, you wouldn’t be able to comprehend it. It is a place beyond this one, folded into the fabric of what you understand and what you cant, the space between words”

Chuck thought for a moment.

“What about Spindle’s family”

“they will be coming too, Spindle is already speaking to them. They will join us”

“And the others. They’re willing to leave? No protest?”

“Yes” he spoke “Some feel they must. Others can’t stand this place and wish to go, but all who are we are ready”

He grit his teeth.

“Then go.” He turned his back to the Fallen “GO. LEAVE AND LEAVE THE REST OF US.” Chuck shouted, tears in his eyes. “NEVER RETURN AND NEVER SPEAK OF WHAT YOU LEFT

He reached for the jade blade, perhaps out of reflex, or instinct

And he plucked it from the void. The deep green of the blade shimmered into existence, a monument of beauty crystallized in the moonlight. A honed edge of emotion. Love, anger, pain, joy, sorrow, hope, and struggle. Everything compressed into it.

JUSTLEAVE!”

He spun about, and swung

tearing the bar asunder

Toland too, was halved in the strike.

Light poured through the crack of reality, spilling into the bar like a flood

The world collapsed in on itself,

in its center, Toland sobbed. He looked up at Chuck, and did his best to smile

“You are our brother Chuck” He choked out “we love you, and hope you find what you need, we will not forget you”

and the light took them both.

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Chuck saw them, the floating emerald figures in their bulbous states. They gathered their vines, retracting them from the world. There were fifteen, compressing into one another. The jade became a cream, and the color swirled into a new shape. These luminous vestiges reformed, before suddenly springing upward in a blur of light and color.

In the first circle, the Fennic said good by to their neighbors. The little one waved his yellow gloved hands, the limp pinky flopping in the motion

“My husband found a place for us” the wife spoke to the brothers “We’ll be joining him there soon” The brothers smiled and nodded, wishing them well.

Inside the brothers home, Mathias stared at the picture on the wall. He felt the cool hands of his lover wrap around him in that moment. resting Emily at the foot of the fireplace he smiled too, and vanished.

The brothers returned to find the blade alone.

In the second circle a lone corpse wore a face of laughter. His golden tabard was stained black from blood. Around him, hundreds of corpses lay in shambles, none sporting his colors. His grey beard remained pure in the horror.

In the third circle, the carnival played as a small skeleton stole farming equipment and dragged it into the sewers.

In the fourth, the nobles overthrew their captors and spilled back onto the streets.

and in the fifth, a bald dwarf let out an exasperated sigh, cleaned himself up, and visited his courtesans.
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The last of the emerald things turned to stone in the air, before suddenly splitting in two. The meteors of its change splashed into the ocean, creating great waves. Spindle joined the remaining host, as did the ship, its crew, and Bella.
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Sometime later, Chuck awoke on the sands.

bolting up, he checked his scales. He was whole, and normal. In his hands, his jade hewi, and the adamantium blade rest against the coarse ground. the blade danced at his command, still containing its power.

Above, no trace of the creatures he had seen. He was alone on the beach

and quite hungry.

The dancing blade made fishing a breeze, and before long a dozen fish rest on sticks over a fire. The smell wafted into the air as smoke curled in the seaborne breeze.

Suddenly. a rustle in the bushes.

The lizard man stood, all his swords ready.

A man, cloaking in foliage burst forth from the ruins of the island, sprinting and screaming at the top of his lungs!

SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
h1. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH
h1. DUUUUUUUUUUUU
h1. UUUUUUUUUUUDE

And he tackled the stupefied Chuck.

the two tumbled to the sands

CHAD?!” Chuck let out an incredulous laugh

“Oh Chuck! YO~, Sorry brah, I didn’t see who it was!”

the two stood, dusting themselves. Both looked at each other, smiling a bit. Socks crawled out of Chad’s armor, returned to her smaller size.

“Hungry?” Chuck asked

Chad “I’m Starving Brah!”

little socks let out an “UHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHGH” in agreement. And the three sat to eat.

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“So how did you make it out?” Chuck asked after a time.

He munched a fish as he spoke “Oh, of those blobs? Well its crazy brah. See I was all gung-ho ready-to-go about it all, but then Boots’s memory of the desert popped up and I realized, Socks has never been to the desert! This made me all sad dude, so I thought, man what if theres no sand where this blob goes? I cant do that to socks! And then i woke up in that dry puddle”

He finished his fish. “So now I’m gonna take socks home.”

“Huh” Chuck munched slowly, memories of his friends, and that place he had been danced in his head.

“Say” Chad started “How are we gonna go anywhere? the boat is gonzo!”

Chuck spun around. ‘Shit! he’s right’

“Uhhhh… Maybe we can find another way.” He began “lets search the island tomorrow”

“Sounds gnarly brah!”

and the three slept under the stars.
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the next morning the duo awoke, fed themselves, and went onto the isle.

the ruins sprawled out before them. Words they could not read, art they could barely process, architecture of a time long lost, all this and more dotted their journey around the isle. There were no boats on the coast, nor off in the distance. The ruins offered no materials or ships either. the two searched high and low for any hope, before finally they ended up back at the Well of Souls.

There, a man rest on a rock, looking up to the sky.

“No way,” Chuck started

YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” Chad shouted. Chuck whipped his head to stare at chad, jaw slightly agape

The man looked up “Chad? Chuck?”

“Dol?” The two cried in unison

The three moved quickly to one another, gathering on the edge of the well, its waters slowly beginning to refill.

“Dol, what in the name of the swamp are you doing here? I thought for sure you’d stay with Toland!”

Dol was taken aback, his eyes dropped and he smiled gloomily.

“Yes, I would have” he started. “but I couldn’t”

the two tilted their heads.

“See, in that place, my doubt crept over the world like a fog. Doubt in what we had done, it what we were doing. Everyone felt it, and everyone was looking at me, even myself. Doubt turned to guilt, and in my guilt I found myself unworthy of what was happening” He looked up at them “I don’t deserve such a fate”

Wind blew through the ruins, no one spoke for a time.

Chuck finally rest his hand on Dol’s shoulder “Its okay. They’ll remember a friend as good as you”

Dol smiled at that, and raised his head.

“So like, I dont wanna ruin this but we are super trapped on this island dude. Do you got any of that blasting teleport stuff?” Chad interupted,

Dol looked at him. “Yeah, but for three people its a one way trip.”

Chuck let out a yodle. “Then lets go to me old kebab stand! Ill whip us up a meal to fill the void in our hearts”

the three laughed.

Dol grabbed the pair

and the island was left with a

Bang

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