In game time: February 2, 3071
Players: Kenoshi, Heirofiend, Cleod Hunter
Location: Cehria, and beyond
Summary: After Heirofiend dies in the confrontation with the Confed fleet, exactly 717 years earlier, he arrives upon the planet of Cehria, finding Kenoshi there. The fox looks much older at this point, and Cehria looks much more like a literal hell than it ever has. He explains to Heirofiend that he has been acting as a guardian for the world, working to close up a terrible Wound that scars it on the metaphysical level. So long as the Wound is there, they cycle of violence on Cehria is repeated endlessly. And in order to close it, Kenoshi has to wait for the souls of every person who ever contributed to that cycle to pass through the cursed world and into the afterlife. Heirofiend is the last one to come through, and he has a choice of whether to stay on Cehria and celebrate his life of violence, or if he will pass beyond the world and leave behind all his regrets, all of his desire for vengeance. Heirofiend states that he has no regrets and no desire for vengeance, so he passes on through a door in a shack where Kenoshi has been living.
From there he comes upon a campfire out in the desert in the dead of night, where Cleod Hunter is looking over a much younger Kenoshi, who is still hanging in those heartbeats between life and death. As Heirofiend departs the campfire he sees Kenoshi and Cleod again, in the last instance of both their lives, wielding blades and impaling each other. The campfire goes out, and Heirofiend continues on a lonely road under a brilliant starry sky that leads him into the infinite.
Spiraling through the blackness of waning awareness, Heirofiend feels weightless, detached of body and devoid of any cares, riding high on the exhilaration of his final act of revenge against the Cha'Sha'Tar pirates and his final confrontation with the Confederation. After a while he feels as if he's resting on the ground. Hard and dirty, smelling of dust and ash. Opening his eyes he can see the muted light of the sun through the cover of clouds. Flakes of ash gently rain to the ground around him, and the ground itself feels strangely cold. The light is obscured by a tall figure wearing a worn duster, a pair of pointed ears perk up above his head, his features dark in contrast to the cold light. "Welcome home." a familiar voice speaks, and a hand stretches out.
Heirofiend floats through space, slowly rotating, or at least accepting it as such. Never so sure if it's the worls spinning, or him. His eyes slowly open, the left pale green, and the right a soft blue, feeling a cool breeze, and he lands, looking around himself, he holds his arms out, palms facing upwards as he catches falling as on his palms. His hands close, rubbing them into the pads of his fingers. He looks up, hearing a voice speak, and hand being held out towards him. He smiles, looking down at the ground, fishing a cigarette out of his pocket, he purses it between his lips, lighting it up and then looking up at the outstretched hand. He then shakes his head and laughs, loud and light, hard enough that tears come to his eyes and he doubles over, slapping his knee. It takes him several moments to compose himself, he spins on his heel, looking around himself, then back to the familiar man in front of him. He says "Yew know, oi nevah was one tew believe in this mystical crap."
Kenoshi smiles as he looks at you, his features coming into focus. He's old....much more so than when you last saw him, orange fur nearly silver now, and streaked in places with white. Withered and wiry, but his eyes shine as brightly as they always did. He steps up and pats you on the back, "You did it to yourself, you know. You said you were human, and you meant it. That sort of thing doesn't go unnoticed. I only wish I had realized that earlier on...could have saved me a lot of grief. But you're here now....why don't you come over to my place for a drink?" and he gestures off towards a hill in the distance. The planet looks familiar enough....Cehria. Dry dusty ground broken in places with bits of debris from failed civilizations over the centuries. The hill looks white and dirty from here, and on top of it is a little shack made of scrap metal, complete with a porch and lawn chairs. A little pipe chimney in the top issues a silver thread of smoke.
Heirofiend looks around, digging his toe into the ground, and then chuckles "Fucking croist. Theah really is an aftahloif, and heah oi am, stuck with an old fruit, and no pussy around for lightyears. Oi need a drink." He says, clapping you hard on the shoulder "Let's go."
Kenoshi staggers a little as that heavy hand hits his shoulder, and he leads you along, "It's more of a waiting room. A place outside of time, in the moments between life and death and life and death and....well....you get the point, I'm sure. In that particular vector of space/time that you last remember you are certainly dead. I died along that particular vector some decades later. If only you knew the fuss you caused there, the way that you went out." He guides you along the dead ground, glass crunching beneath boots. The debris breaking through the ground making for jagged obstacles to be stepped around. Coming upon the hill you can see bodies, a vast quantity of bodies, naked and stacked like cord wood. Mummified flesh is dry and stale-smelling, bits of bone jutting through in places. A stairway constructed out of the bodies allows a way to climb the hill, towards the shed. Some of those bodies look familiar....faces that flash through your memory, of people you've killed here. Deep black pits where their eyes
should be seem to stare back at you nonetheless. Coming to the hilltop you can see a great valley below, gouged into the crust, where a bizarre procession marches. A hellish parade, of withered bodies walking through the valley, flanking great floats made of collected debris of buildings and spacecraft, almost seeming animated and walking, crawling, dragging themselves along. Massive worms pull some of the displays, tributes to tyrants who had set themselves up in this dead world as kings, now ruling over ashes. A great cacophony rises up from the procession, a tortured and bizarre music that seems to celebrate some momentous occasion.
Heirofiend blinks, and can't help but stare at this spectacle panning out before him...and he chuckles "I see, I see. Oi'm no saint, certainly." He says, fishing out his pack of cigarettes and checking how many he has left "Oi only brought so much with me..." He chuckles as he steps up over the bodies, ascending the stairs and staring at the crowd "Can't say Oi'm surprised, being not one to believe in much of anything...oi hope some folks gained something tew believe in..."
Kenoshi leads you into the shack, a simple metal plate bearing the faded logo of BST serving as a door, creaking on its hinges as he opens it. "You did a lot of good, Heiro." the old fox says as he steps into the little room. Sparse furniture decorates the place, more debris gathered from around the blasted planet, with a fair number of bones standing in to help support tables and chairs. A simple red velvet curtain is strung up in front of the only other doorway of the room, hanging heavily from a rod made from femurs. He calls out "Heinz, we have company. He's here!" and a moment later a figure wriggles out from underneath the bed, hobbling into views. An opossum with stumps for legs and arms, only half of his tail remaining. His body is mostly charred, only one glittering black eye remaining. Yet he looks up at you in recognition, an excited voice speaking, "Mister blue sky, please tell us why you had to hide away for so long.....where did we go wrong?" and he grins with needle sharp teeth. Kenoshi glares at him and he suddenly remembers his manners and hobbles over to a cabinet low to the floor and opens it with his nose, using teeth and tail to pull out a bottle of dark whisky and a pair of glasses. "Cigarettes are hard to find here....and there is pussy if you don't mind it being very very dry." He points to a chair by a table, "Have a seat."
Heirofiend Watches the house, and momentarily makes a face that's unreadable, and then he bursts out laughing "Fockin' pirates..." He snorts, nudging Heinz with his boot "Ugly little fecker..." Before looking to the chair and sits down, leaning back and peering at the curtain, smoking his cigarette quietly and blows out a fat ring "Whea'd yew find this lil' fecker?"
Kenoshi sits down in his chair after you do, not even looking at Heinz as he manages to pour drinks, still very giddy. "He came back here when his time came, as does everyone. I thought I was rid of him the last time we had met in Shangri-La....he provoked me and I burned him. But here he was waiting for me when I came back here." he takes his glass and takes a drink, grimacing at its potency. "Everybody who has ever participated in the violence on Cehria is bound to it and has to come back eventually. The scars here run very deep, into the invisible...and it opened up a Wound. That power is what keeps drawing people here, keeps repeating the cycles of violence and tragedy." he gestures towards a window facing the valley, "It's a trap of sorts. They are here to greet you.....the man who killed so many of them and brought their operations here to an end."
Heirofiend tchs and clucks his tongue, grinning faintly, he takes his own glass and takes a sip "Oi nevah was one for speeches." He says, looking at the drink, and then taking a long draw of his cigarette "And bugger em if they want one!" He laughs hoarsely, and then, still smiling, he nods his head to the curtain "Whot's behoind theah?"
Kenoshi looks over to the curtain, and says, "Closure." he turns back and takes another drink, "An old friend is there, holding the door. I greet people as they come in, and he sees them off. If they are brave enough to go that way. Those who aren't stay outside and join the parade....marching around in circles forever." he gives Heinz a nudge with his boot and the possum stumps back over to the bed and drops to his belly, scurrying under it and out of sight. He looks at you in the eyes and says, "I'm the last one to go, after everyone else has. Then the Wound will be closed forever, healed. Everything that remains here will recede back into the Abyss. This will be a truly dead world again, and it will stop drawing violence here."
Heirofiend's pupils dialate momentarily at the fox's words, and he nods, looking at the curtain. Hesitation? "Alroit. Let me finish me cigarette first." He grins, taking a long puff "It'll be just a moment. Oi want tew just finish me drink and me smoke. Then Oi'm ready fer whatevah's next..."
Kenoshi nods and leans back in his chair, the sound of the procession outside growing louder as they celebrate their savior. The old fox finishes off his drink and looks at the bottle, sighing deeply. "It takes a lot of courage to leave all your baggage behind. Forgive those who sinned against you, and forgive yourself for the sins you did to yourself. Those of us who lived their lives for revenge find that to be especially hard. Sympathy for the devil brought me here in the first place, and my sins have kept me here ever since."
Heirofiend tips his glass in acknowledgement "All oi evah wanted was tew be a toymakah, did yew know that? The closest person oi could evah come tew call 'fathah' was a blind Toymakah in Devon, named Heironymous Michael Grlszl. Oi've been fightin for no otha reason than some peace in me loif." He turns and glances out the window "Yew know? Oi don't hate anyone. Oi react as oi see fit. Oi want, oi take. Someone tries tew stop me, and, well, things get nasty. Can oi forgive meself?" He stands up, grinning a little and swilling the liquid in his glass and looking over it before he brings it to his lips and downs it swiftly. He breathes quietly, and says "Oi love that song." He says, setting the glass down and butting out his cigarette in it, turning and walking towards the curtain.
Kenoshi nods as you pass by, your boots creaking on the dry planks of the floor. He smiles at you, whiskers bristling, "No regrets in your life to hold you back. No chains to keep you down. Only looking ahead to meet whatever comes. May you know peace, then, Heironymous Grlszl. There are no goodbyes.....only, "thank you."" And as you approach that red velvet curtain and pull it aside, flames rise up about you and you feel as if you are stepping across a gulf, and you find yourself outside, in the night. Still the surface of Cehria, from the glassy dead surface, but the skies are clear and the stars are bright, and that song runs brightly through your head, leading you out towards a campfire. Standing there is a tall figure in a black duster....dressed much like Kenoshi....or, as you easily recall, Kenoshi is dressed much like him. Blue eyes greet you as you approach the fire, drawn there by the strains of music, and you can see Kenoshi there as well, looking younger, sitting back and staring up at the stars in a trance, tears running from his eyes.
Heirofiend hesitates before the gulf, turning and snatching up the bottle of whiskey before he gives the fox a halfassed salute "Seeya on the otha soid..." He says, then turns and strides through. He hesitates once his feet find soil once more, but steps forward, towards the pair. He stays outside of the light of the fire for the moment, watching the fox before him and smiling a little, looking to the tall bastard next to him, holding up his bottle of Whiskey "Sorry oi took so long..."
Cleod, stands up, towering over you as he always does, and nods to you in greeting. "It's been no trouble. I knew you would come when you damn well felt like it."
Heirofiend smirks, lighting a cigarette that he fishes out of his pocket and inhaling slowly before he speaks "Well, Oi'm done. It's all finished. Oi'm ready fer whatevah's next."
Cleod steps to your side and gestures to the fire, "I'm glad that you decided to come this way. I knew that it was in you the whole time." He slaps you on the shoulder, "It's been great knowing you, man, for all the headaches you've might have caused, I wouldn't have had it any other way. Now give 'em hell, wherever you go."
Heirofiend Smirks, and stops a moment, looking up at the towering figure of Cleod Hunter looming over him, and he smiles "I'll see yew again. Take care..." He says, turning and beginning to stoll out into the desert's darkness. Under his breath, he begins to sing... "Last noit as Oi slumbered Oi 'ad a strange dream, One that seemed to bring distant friends near. Oi dreamt of the places of people Oi loved, and Oi woke with a heart full of cheer..."
As you walk out into the desert's darkness you can hear strains of music swelling faintly behind you. If you were to glance over your shoulder you'd see Kenoshi stand up and stretch out, looking in your direction, then to Cleod Hunter, and the two would stare at each other for a long moment, then they both draw their blades with a ring of sharpened metal and plunge them into each other in a bloody embrace. The fire burning next to them gutters out and the desert goes dark behind you, with a finality that almost thuds like a closing door. Only the stars' light is there now, glowing above you in eternal bliss, and you feel lighter than air as you walk, your feet no longer seeming to touch the ground. Higher you go, and brighter the stars become, until you are surrounded by their light, one star in particular seeming to draw you towards it. In Shangri-La Nexus the people there spoke of Singularity. The hope that someday the combined consciousnesses of all humanity, of all forms of life, would merge togeth
together and join into one great mind.....what would be rather cheap and tacky to call God. It seems that they were right, at least to an extent. If only they had any idea what it was really like. It's like remembering something long forgotten, and realizing that wherever you might end up, you are home. All the vectors of your life and other lives stretch out around you like threads in a spiderweb, that you can finally view from this sublime perspective. You are home. In all the places you have ever traveled, they eventually led you here. One with everything, everyone that you ever knew. It doesn't end there, of course, one thing or another drew you into one of the other threads...some new idea, some new sense of direction that you wanted to try out. But even as you sit there in front of your laptop, chatting with friends far away as the snowy landscape is covered in nightfall, you realize that you have an entire lifetime, before you, and all of eternity within you. And somewhere, from the other side of that electronic tapestry, an old fox winks at you, happy to see how far you have come.