Epilogue: Arocle the Seer
Somewhere on Summalt, a lone, female Kenku darted through the lengthening shadows. On the surface, the city seemed just as lively as before, but Arocle knew better. From the way the city sat lower in the sky to the clipped way the council members talked to the slight tremors that made their way through the island every once and again, things were wrong. No matter how much everyone pretended, tensions were high under the calm, cheerful mask.
Still, it seemed as though people were trying to forget what had happened but a few months ago. Approaching a loud and rowdy bar, she covered her beak against the stink of alcohol. How people found pleasure in the drink, Arocle had no idea.
Out of a desire to maintain her sanity tonight, she tried to make her way past the establishment without interacting with the patrons. But quite unluckily, the door was rather rudely thrown open in her face just as she crossed, nearly hitting her in the beak.
“If you can’t pay, kitty cat, then get out!” The words are tossed out into the crisp evening air, along with an extremely disgruntled Tabaxi rogue. The latter scrambled to his feet indignantly, all ruffled fur and raised hackles. Arocle backed away as he shouted back, “I swear those dice are weighted! ____ never loses, you hear that?!”
“Oh sure, sure, talk all you want.” She heard someone inside the bar scoff as she sidestepped around the man. Faulty dice, huh. Any other day, she would have simply brushed off the comment as the ramblings of a sore loser, but given that the Goblin’s god, Yl, had perished recently…
It certainly doesn’t bode well. And with that, she quickened her steps, hoping to reach her destination sooner rather than later.
It seemed like hours had passed when Arocle finally made it to her archives, located behind the room where she had posed as the Seer of Summalt. On a different day, she would have found the familiar, papery smell of the room calming. But not today. Closing the heavy oaken door behind her, she hurried toward the room’s little secret alcove. Reaching into the dim, dusty space, she seized the papers inside and brought them into the flickering candlelight.
Arocle skimmed the pages briefly, reading her hurried notes. These were from the last visions she had had before she left Summalt to see what was really going on. Her ominous scribbles about gigantic bugs, a dark emperor, living dead, and more, were all barely readable, even to her.
However, it’s not her terrible handwriting that concerned her. These visions…never came true. Arocle mused, running her finger under one of the sentences. Which really should be impossible. Her visions were always right – they always came to be, one way or another. So why-
Enough. Arocle shook her head, firmly, as if she could banish her misgivings with that simple action. The enemies were dead. She had seen their defeat herself, played a part in that final battle. Ritenus had entered an era of peace. It would do no good to tell anyone about these old things.
Nevertheless, she couldn’t quite bring herself to get rid of the papers. Perhaps, one day, they’d have a use. Instead, she settled for locking them away in a heavy metal safe, never to see the light of day again. As the lock clicked into place, Arocle finally breathed a sigh of relief. At last, the last bits of these horrible few months were taken care of. She turned away, ready to tidy up the front room to look presentable again. The Seer was back in business.
A fire mysteriously broke out in Summalt that night. No matter how thoroughly the matter was investigated, no source was ever found. Thankfully, it was contained easily and the damage was light. Yet Arocle couldn’t shake off a feeling of unease when she heard the news the next morning. As soon as she could, she made her way through the winding tunnels underneath the floating island until she reached her archive room. Throwing open the door, she felt crushing relief when she spotted the familiar racks of papers, safe and sound. There was no hint of smoke in the air, no singed pages. It seemed the fire hadn’t made its way here.
Yet still, Arocle couldn’t relax fully. Making her way to the back, she picked up the safe she had sealed just yesterday. It is better to be safe than sorry, she muses, looking it over. At first glance, nothing seems to be amiss, the box still as secure as before.
But when she unlocked the box, she caught a sudden whiff of smoke.
Impossible, she thought. The rest of the room, filled with dry and brittle paper, is untouched.
Even so, Arocle found her hands shaking as she opened the door of the safe.
The papers inside were burnt to ashes.
Somewhere, deep and dark and old, there was a snap, no, a clatter, like dice being rolled on a stone table. The sound rang out into the nothingness all around. With nothing to reflect off of, it simply continued, growing fainter, and fainter, till it all but disappeared.
Then slowly, achingly slowly, rivulets of iridescent liquid appeared, weaving their way through the darkness. As they carved new trails, the streams grew wider and faster, ripping through the space until each was a river in its own right. They trailed off into the distance, as if chasing the sound that had disappeared.
Yet there was one strange thing about the rivers, that you might have noticed if you were, somehow, there.
They never touched.