Chapter 31 - Book of Fates



The Fates decided the knight will trigger Dawn to explode. See the results here.


Dear, illustrious Fates — some explosions are just meant to be.







***

In a fateful moment of desperation, following a compulsion stronger than instinct, Ren Londaar shouts: “Dola-boalit-enamin!”


There’s no time to hope for a happy outcome. There’s no time to hope no one gets hurt. No time to hope Dawn — or Ren himself — will survive. Not that hope would be much help while triggering an elf weaponized with dragon magic.


As the words leave the Knight, his demonic arm’s talons enclose the girl’s throat. A sudden blinding white light emanates from Dawn.


“It burns, it hurts!” The demon screeches and wails. Ren is not sure whether it is in his head or outside. The abyssal arm is unable to let go of the glowing elf, its hand stuck to the core of the light. The brightness is consuming the arm inch by excruciating inch. “It hurts, it hurts, it hurts! Father stop it! It’s killing me!”


The white light eats into the abyss-demon, disintegrating its once terrifying blue form.


“What have you done!” howls the Handmaiden, her sword raised. She seems uncertain whether she should strike Dawn or the demon arm.


Then the Handmaiden is by Ren’s side, slashing at his demonic shoulder in order to separate them, but to no avail. She drops her sword and begins pulling the Knight away from Dawn before he too is eaten by the white light.


“Unscrew the helmet!” Ren shouts to the Handmaiden. Without a reply, she stops pulling on his shoulders and her gauntleted fingers switch to work the bolts around his neck. She twists and pulls until the Eternal Knight’s helmet is separated from his torso and she throws it on the ground. A fiendish scream fills the air.


“FATHER, I DIEEE!” The demon’s head is half-engulfed in the white light. It thrashes and fights against its destruction, but to no effect, squashed like a bug by the superior magic.


The most wonderful thing happens to Ren — it is quiet in his head again. The demon’s voice and emotions are no longer part of his consciousness, its presence no longer encroaching on his own thoughts. It’s just him again. Or what’s left of him. From a safe distance from inside his helmet, Ren watches as the left side of his armor is engulfed by light and glows red from the heat. His skirt catches fire. His left leg buckles as the melting metal bends and the knee joint pops and crumbles under his weight and his body falls into the white light and disappears from view.


The Handmaiden is nowhere to be seen. And Dawn… he doesn’t know what’s happening to Dawn. He can’t move, so he watches the light intensify, then burst violently.


The shock wave knocks him backward. Fire, ashes, smoke, dust, debris and the night sky fill his world as he flies high up and falls back down. Ren notices there’s no longer a roof over Compie’s lab or the three blocks surrounding it. Then he hits something hard and falls to the stone floor of Compie’s laboratory, rolling between broken furniture and shards of glass.


“Dawn! Dawn, if you're there, say something. Are you ok?” He shouts as he stops clattering over the ground. There’s no response, but he can see the center of the explosion from his position. A thick cloud of dust and smoke swirls lazily in place. When it thins out he sees a small, slender silhouette at its core.


“Dawn!”


The dust settles around the girl. She stands motionless, eyes wide and glazed.


“Thank the Fates, Dawn,” Ren gasps, “ you’re alive.”


Dawn turns her head, looks at Ren, and crumbles to the ground.


“Dawn! Dawn get up!”


“Quit your yapping, she can’t hear you.” The Handmaiden walks into his vision, her golden armor dusty, but otherwise unharmed.


“Is Dawn alive?”


The Handmaiden walks up to the girl, kneels beside her and positions her gauntlet under Dawn’s nose, checking for fogging. “She’s alive. She’s surprisingly durable for a treacherous elf. But she’s unlikely to survive the night given the state she is in.”


“Help her,” Ren commands. “I can’t move, so you have to treat her. Get her something to drink. Find a healer.”


“No, no, no. You’re getting this all wrong,” the Handmaiden says, walking back toward Ren. “You are done giving me orders. From now on, you are my prisoner.” She picks him up and turns the helmet around in her hands, shaking the dust off him.


“We had a deal,” Ren implores. “We will duel to decide our fates.”


“Well, that’s hardly necessary anymore. You did the hard work of defeating yourself for me. I thank you for that. The queen-mother will be pleased to see her dear son returned to her, even as only a helmet.”


“We can’t leave Dawn!”


“I can and I will. Out of kindness, I will not kill her myself. If she wakes up before the Noxis come, she will survive. If not… it will be a fitting fall from godhood. Let us go. We have a long road to travel and a sea to cross.”


She takes off her cloak and wraps it around Ren Londaar’s helmet like a bag. “Just so you know, it would be best for both of us if you stopped talking. I like to travel in silence.”


She closes the bag, and Ren can see nothing at all.




And so with a heavy heart, my divine Fates, I end the story of the Eternal Knight. The game has run its course. Our hero has been pummeled by the sea, mangled by monsters, violated by your own antics, and finally blown to pieces. He’s not “dead-dead”, but I believe there isn’t much left for us to do.


We’ve uncovered pieces of his identity. We’ve instilled in him an unhealthy liking for oars. We’ve paired him with an unlikely companion and thrown at him enemies, both obvious and deceitful. We’ve played with his mind, pulling him this way and that, all the while making him believe he was in charge of his own decision making.


Unfortunately, none of that will help him now that he is being dragged home by the Handmaiden. Or will it? Maybe one day we’ll find out. Until then, I, your favorite storyteller, bow out while I still have some shred of dignity left.


<<< Go back to the PREVIOUS CHAPTER


Author's note:


First of all, we would like to thank all of the Fates for participating in this story. We could not have done it without you — literally. Because of you, we got to tackle all kinds of weird and freaky writing challenges and wait for your votes every week with equal amounts of excitement and terror.


The chance to work with you on such a freak project warms our hearts and gives us hope for the future. As you might know, we are in the process of relocating from Portugal to Spain — during a pandemic crisis no less, but once the calamity in both our personal lives and the world passes, we're sure to reconnect and look back at these times with smiles on our faces.


We are honored by your dedication and support, especially those of you who have followed our work since Run Freak Run and participated as our Patrons. One of our favorite things about Book of Fates has been the little community we have on our Discord-channel. Hanging out with you guys has made our day more than once and we hope to keep that little place alive with our future projects too.


And trust us, there will be future projects. We are in a bit of a flux at the moment because of the country-hopping, but our focus for the upcoming years will be on two projects that you might already know: Tower 6 and Daughters of the Witch Queen.


Tower 6: This is a project we have been writing for some time now. We are planning to partner up with Hanna Brady to finish Tweebo's storyline. Like with all creative projects, it's a bit hard to say when this will happen, but we'd really like to have a novel in our hands within the next two years. If you're on Patreon, we will keep you updated throughout the whole process!


Daughters of the Witch Queen: This is a project you might've already heard of. We started writing it as baby-writers only to quickly realize that we were in over our heads. Now, with several years of practice under our belts, we're giving it another go because we love witches and want to jump into that world again. For this series, we’ll be focusing on doing a new weekly webcomic and possibly novellas. Our patrons will have early access to our creative process!


Regarding Patreon: we’ll be removing all our current pledge-levels and just having one support level of 2+ usd until our lives stabilize again. For now, we’ll use the platform for sharing sketches and concept art for the webcomic. So if you want to keep in touch with us while we hibernate in our creative cave for a while, then Patreon or Discord are the places to be!


Regarding Discord: we are renaming the Discord channel from ‘Book of Fates’ to the ‘Coven of Freaks’, because — let's face it — we know what we really are. We’re looking for ideas for more community activities we could do together, so if you have a stroke of genius please share it with us!


And last, but not least: we would like to send a million kisses and thank-you-hugs to our best friend and editor Hanna Brady for keeping us sane, smiling, and consistent every week. She is an amazeballs of a person and we couldn't have done Book of Fates without her.


Love,

Silver and Kaya Saaremael





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