Chapter 55:

Returning Home

Reverie's End: Blades of Malice

Day: 10/7/991; Time: 1st hourBookmark here

Miri had a hard time falling asleep. The battle had been won, the Emerald was in her possession, and Esca had been avenged, but she was still not at peace. All she could think about was returning home to her family; she had begun to miss Brywood.Bookmark here

In the morning, she said her farewells to Ordalia and her traveling party. Miri then went inside and gathered her belongings; it was now her turn to leave Castle Isles. At midday, she and Amalia were ready to depart for Gamma. The two girls walked to the docks and were accompanied by Gerdo, Lloyd, Vira, and a few knights.Bookmark here

"It's a shame that you must leave us as well, Miri and Amalia," said Lloyd.Bookmark here

"You have honored our house with your presence. I pray for your safe travel," said Gerdo.Bookmark here

"Thank you, Advisor Gerdo and Sir Lloyd. You have my deepest gratitude for all that you have taught me," said Miri in a humble tone. She then pulled out her turquoise shield and handed it to Lloyd. Miri then said, "It was an honor to serve in the Isles' army, but my loyalty lies elsewhere. I have no right to carry that shield."Bookmark here

Lloyd smiled and responded, "You are overthinking things, Miri. It is a gift; use it well. Perhaps, someday you will return to us when we need you most. Take the shield; you honor us by carrying it." He handed the shield to Miri who reluctantly took it back.Bookmark here

"And I would like to thank all of you as well for all that you have taught me. Especially Vira, who I learned healing magic from," said Amalia with a sincere smile on her face.Bookmark here

"Think nothing of it, Amalia. We are friends; you will always have a home here," said Vira.Bookmark here

Everyone bid each other goodbye one last time and the girls started to walk towards their ship, when Lloyd looked back and said to Miri, "Keep it safe; there are still plenty of people in Ethos that would want what you possess."Bookmark here

Miri and Amalia turned back and had a look of awe on their faces; they looked at Gerdo, Lloyd, and Vira, who were all smiling at them. "So, you all knew? Why are you letting us go?" asked Miri.Bookmark here

"We have all decided that it is not in Isles' best interests to have anything to do with that stone. It is better left in the care of someone such as yourself, who understands the dangers of using it. Get it as far away from here as possible, Miri," said Gerdo.Bookmark here

"I will not fail you, said Miri while bowing. The girls turned around and got on the ship; it was only the beginning of their long journey.Bookmark here

The following day they reached Gamma; they got off at the port and decided to take a look around. Following the fight with Nia, Miri and Amalia escaped the city without incident and later met up with Ordalia's troops; they had not been back since that night. They already knew that the city was decimated, but they only saw what the destruction looked like at night time. This time they were seeing the ruined city during the day; it was an even greater tragedy to behold.Bookmark here

Not everyone that evacuated the city had returned yet, and not everyone that came back still had a home to go back to. Many parts of the city looked like they were ancient ruins that had been abandoned for centuries. There was rubble and shattered glass everywhere; the tornadoes tossed objects all over the city. It was not rare to see a home with a tree sticking out of it. The outer sections of the city fared better; most of the destruction occurred in the center. Gamma Castle was relatively unscathed thanks to King Janus and his mages shielding the castle from harm.Bookmark here

The girls wanted to have one last look at the city before leaving and to get supplies, although the latter proved a challenge given that many merchants had their wares damaged during the battle. The city's condition had a powerful impact on Amalia; it was as if she could feel the suffering of the people that survived the tragedy. They passed by a Sanctum of the Shining Light while walking around and Amalia asked Miri if they could take a look inside.Bookmark here

Inside, they saw many wounded that were being cared for by members of the Order of the Shining Light. Amalia remembered her calling; she had forgotten what she was meant to do during her travels with Miri. She left on her journey to learn more about the world, broaden her skills, and to find her parents. Amalia had some success with the first two and she was grateful to Miri for that. But she would have to forget about her third reason for now; Amalia could not simply ignore people in need.Bookmark here

Amalia turned around and looked at Miri directly in the eyes. Her friend was surprised and asked, "What's wrong, Amalia?"Bookmark here

Amalia tried to smile, and replied hesitantly, "I can't go with you, Miri. My place is here; this is where I belong."Bookmark here

Miri's expression became serious, but after a few seconds, she responded with, "I understand, Amalia; do what you feel is right. But don't forget that we'll always be friends. This is not the last time we'll see each other." She then walked over to Amalia and hugged her.Bookmark here

Amalia responded with, "Thank you, Miri, for taking me with you on your journey. I will never forget the time we spent together." The two girls said goodbye to each other and tried to hold back tears. Miri left Amalia in the Sanctum to fulfill her calling and made her way towards the port of Gamma; it was time to set sail for Brywood.Bookmark here

She got on a ship shortly before nightfall and looked back at the city as they started to sail away. "In just a few short minutes this city suffered such a catastrophe. Everything is so fragile, even the buildings," she thought to herself. Miri slept well that night; she had grown tired of stressing out about everything and passed out from exhaustion. She decided to embrace the future that was in front of her and let go of the past.Bookmark here

The trip was going to be a long one; 15 days if everything went well and that was only because Gamma's ships were the best in all of Ethos. Most vessels would take at least 20 days for such a trip. Miri was going to head north and pass through three of the seven seas that made up the Great Sea of Ethos, which some called the "Ocean". For the final leg of the journey, the ship would sail west, enter the Sea of Traitors and land in Brywood.Bookmark here

Miri enjoyed her trip and spent most of her time training; sometimes she would look out at the coast in hopes of seeing something interesting. The ship first passed through the Sea of Alon; after about one day into the journey, Miri decided that it was time to relinquish the Emerald.Bookmark here

She took it out of her pocket and looked at it one last time. Miri saw the carnage herself, but it was still hard to believe such a small stone could be used for so much evil. When no one was looking, she threw it as hard as she could into the sea. The Emerald was now lost forever; no man could ever claim it again for himself. Nobody knew how deep the Ocean really was; not even the Kali could swim to the very bottom. It was the perfect hiding spot for a dangerous object. Miri's conscience felt free now; her part in the war for Ethos' future was over. "The Blades of Malice are no longer my concern; I'll let the kingdoms of Ethos handle them," thought Miri to herself.Bookmark here

Several days later, the ship entered the Sea of Eon, and began to pass by the Emerald Jungle. She experienced so many emotions in that green maze of death. Miri looked out at the jungle and almost wept; she had not yet fully gotten over Esca's passing. She was not sure if she ever would. It was in that jungle that her long journey began five months ago. Miri had experienced so much during that time; she faced death on numerous occasions and yet she still managed to survive every time. It was as if some great power was keeping her alive for some reason.Bookmark here

A few days later they entered the Sea of Dia; then they turned west and entered the Sea of Traitors. The ship was now entering Brywood territory; Miri was almost home. She finally arrived in Brywood near the end of the tenth month; the season of wind was almost at its end. Miri had been gone for almost 16 months and was excited to see her family and friends. But the Brywood she remembered had changed quite a bit in the short time that she was gone.Bookmark here

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