A Moody Piece

By Dalmar Dragon aka Z.P. Florian

(I wrote this a long time ago, immensely frustrated by not being able to keep Mortegro alive after he joined.)

Don't you know that there is no past, no present, no future, nothing ever really happened and nothing that had happened was permanent. Somewhere in eternity, the necklace still sparkles on the Necromage's flesh, and the stars are all named Maybe.

And when all else fails, all Mages and Heroes have an entirely safe and private haven, the last port of all ships, where one can go without much sailing - Insanity. 

The forest had long invaded the abandoned houses. Harpies and bears wandered on the seaside. Crocodiles lived in the pond. Nature was rich and beautiful there. In the hillside, bushes and vines hid the entrance to the only home still inhabited by a human.

This was a clean, well-kept house, black marble and gold. The velvet tapestry hung in threads, and the red blanket on the bed was thin as cobweb, but everything inside was polished and orderly. Magical objects of great value shimmered on the tables. At nights, the sounds of a harpshichord could be heard from inside.

Once or twice a week, the bears and harpies saw the man come out. He hunted as much as he needed to eat, or caught fish at the seaside. Nothing attacked him, the beasts were used to his presence.

He was a young man, or he looked young. His dark blond hair reached his shoulders, neatly trimmed. He wore a pair of much-mended leather leggings, and a worn orange shirt. If the weather was friendly, he walked barefoot. A leather pouch hung on his belt, smelling of reagents, the kind a Mage would use, but he didn't cast spells.

Most of the time, he talked to an unseen companion. He had a beautiful, warm voice, gentle and loving. He talked about the weather, the hunt, everyday matters, mending and housework.

Sometimes, travelers happened on the house and asked for shelter. The man would welcome them freely. He was generous with food and directions. He always introduced his nonexistent companion, but seldom offered his own name. If an odd thief would try to steal something from his treasure-laden house, the man defended his property immediately - not with spells, but with a black sword. After a while, no one dared to cross him.

Time to time, someone would try to tell him, that he was alone, that no one walked with him, that he talked to thin air.

"It's your word against mine, " he said then, unperturbed. "How do you know that what you don't see is not here? Would you see it, you'd at least have a starting point to form a judgement. But you say you see nothing, where I see someone. Surely you realize that I know better, since I see. "

"You are mad."

"Many great mages were called mad, when they've found the path no mortal can even see. I've been like you once, living in a very limited world. But I had other planes opened to me."

Sooner or later, everybody left him alone, and the word spread about the mad Mage of the Mountains. Sometimes young Mages came, asking him to teach them, or sell them spells. His face would change then, stern and angry.

"Magic is dangerous. Don't touch it. Go, toil the fields and tend the cows, build houses, make garments. That is the real power of life. I won't teach you anything. "

No persuasion was good enough to change his mind.

He was, apparently, immortal. The secret of eternal life attracted fortune hunters. He was, probably invincible, because none of them ever managed to harm him.

When winter came, and fruits and game became scarce, he lived on his stores that he had gathered. He always set the table for two. That the other plate remained untouched, never seemed to bother him.

One day, a messenger came from a far land, a messenger came for him.

"Are you the one they call the Avatar?" he asked.

"I have been called such, " the man said, frowning.

"Lord British sent you a letter." The messenger presented a scroll.

The man broke open the seal and studied the writing.

"Interesting, " he said. "Tell Lord British that the end of the world is not a reason to panic. Relax, Britannian. Nothing can last forever. I'm ready to die. We all lived here long enough. "

"You are hundreds of years old, Milord, but there are children in Britannia. "

"I'm hundreds of years dead, Envoy, and not much good anymore. I don't feel like saving anyone. I have my life here, peaceful and simple."

The messenger was a well-informed man. "Milord, if not for Britannia, for the sake of your companion, save the world once again. You wouldn't want him harmed."

"You don't understand, Envoy. Nothing ever dies. Somewhere, we all continue."

"Milord, you've spent years trying to find your friend, when he had been lost to you. Another such change could tear you away from him again."

The Avatar leaned against the wall of his house, his eyebrows drawn. He was thinking. "They call me mad."

"You are beyond our understanding, Milord. You are what you are, and Britannia needs you."

"I cannot leave. He would not want to stay alone."

"Bring him, then. He is welcome in the castle. Lord British extends his hospitality to him. He can live in your chambers while you are away. "

"What about Sir Dupre, Iolo and lord Shamino?"

"The bard died long ago, Milord. Sir Dupre is a very old man, very sick. He drinks too much and cares not about anything. Lord Shamino was still alive, but grieveously ill, when I left. "

"And the king?"

"Hale and sound. "


"Beautiful, as she can be. "

"The Gargoyles?"

"The few who are left, live peacefully on their island. "

"What is the word on me?"

"That you retired to a magical place, with all your powers and artifacts, waiting to be called once again."

"Damn if I do. "

"Milord, save us."

"Do you think I'm mad? The truth now."

"All people in Britannia know you to be immortal. Immortals have their own ways. If you say you have a companion, who are we to say no?"

He closed his eyes. "Very good then. Do you have a ship?"

"Yes, Milord."

"How many beds in my cabin?"

"Two, Milord."

He smiled. "I' m going to pack. There are many things I'll need. "


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