Thank you for reading! Me and my coauthor Darinost are gradually combining forces and blogs, so the joint comment section for our stories is currently located on discord! Come on in and let us know what you thought, we don’t bite.
With Karn’s fall and the group of Ariadna’s faithful reunited, it wasn’t long before the battle of Danessa started to wane. Some of the soldiers of Karn either continued to fight to their deaths, and others went mad, but most, deprived obviously of the power of their god and his furies and facing the determined group choose to flee instead.
Right now, however, as Ariadna’s closest friends and followers stood together on the battlefield prepared to fend off any more attackers, it was soon apparent there was no one left to fight… Bodies lay strewn about them, but the war was over. Their victory made it apparent to all of them that Ariadna had succeeded… that somehow, she was able to change the destiny of everyone.
Leila and Nira kept watch for threats while Kaya and Jaymes embraced on the battlefield, holding each other close. With the tension of the battle finally fled, they finally had the opportunity to examine the impossibility of what had just happened… that somehow, despite all chances, they had been reunited. Their arms hugged each other with Jaymes’ hands caressing over Kaya’s head as she brought her in close to kiss her. Seeing the shared kiss between them, Leila and Nira held close to each other as well. They shed tears of joy as they were able to finally enjoy peace and share their love for each other.
Ariadna did not so much “appear” in their midst as she sort of faded in. There was no drama to it… one moment, she wasn’t there, and the next it was like she always had been, natural as the breeze. She gathered her followers together, embracing them, kissing their cheeks, her tears soaking their hair in a mix between sorrow and triumphant glee. Kaya, however, was last. When Ariadna approached the siren, tears of joy streamed down her face like rivers. The goddess reached her hand up to touch Kaya’s cheek. “I don’t understand… How?”
Shaking her head a few times, Kaya stated. “I am not sure how it happened either. I was… I was standing in a river. The water only rose to my ankles but it was so cold… I wanted to follow it forward, into the mist… but then I heard your voice, goddess. I turned back, looking for you, but there was nothing but darkness and mist… but when I looked forward again, someone was there…”
Kaya shuddered. “A monster hung in my way… Black and red and grey, it was like a man had combined with a squid. He stood in my way, smiling a cruel smile, as he chased he through the water, running against the current. My heart… It had never beat faster in my life, goddess. He chased me and he chased me and by the time I could no longer see him there was only fog. I couldn’t even hear the river anymore. Every direction was… it was all the same. Just a black space filed with swirling, slightly less black fog. It was an empty void where one direction was the same as any other… and then I heard your voice again. It called to me from the darkness and I ran towards it, kept running until light pierced the dark. I followed that beam of light… and when I emerged, I was here.”
Jaymes’ arms were still wrapped around the woman, hugged her close as if he let her go even a little she might dissolve into vapor. “I don’t understand how this happened,” he said softly. “But thank you goddess… thank you for giving her the power to return. I never once doubted my faith in you was mistaken. Now it is no longer Faith… I know for sure. Thank Taelin for you, Ariadna.” Jaymes kissed Kaya passionately. His hands embraced onto her back, running up and down across her spine. If they were not still surrounded by others, Ariadna had little doubt they would have celebrated more.
Ariadna couldn’t blame them. Seeing the two of them together filled her with happiness and joy and hope, more than she had felt in years… it even eclipsed the strange sense of both loss and fufillment that had accompanied the death of her brother. Kaya had returned as a siren. One of her sirens. A dear friend and protector of her values and beliefs. Somehow.
But who had she met in the River?
All across the world, this scene of the fleeing army was repeating itself. Priestesses rose from bondage, long-thought cowed slaves standing up with magic that they had never had at their disposal before, wielding Ariadna’s power like hammers to shatter their chain and their captors both. In a thousand small battles, in a thousand acts of defiance, the church of Karn shattered not with a bang but with a whimper. It’s soldiers still lived, as did many of its priests, but their hold over the world was clearly broken. The aftermath of the battle left many people shaken in their faith. Karn’s followers in particular could not believe the change in the world. With their powers diminished, they fled their temples. They feared retribution from many of the people they had exacted wrongs from. Jaymes and Kaya took it upon themselves to raid the remaining temples of Karn to free any followers of Ariadna that were still loyal to her. Many of them died in those opening minutes as former slaves took blood vengeance on their masters. Many others ran… and perhaps a surprising number took their own lives. Still others turned themselves in for judgment by the newly empowered priestesses in the coming weeks and month, unable to live with what they had done after Karn’s pushing influence had been discarded.
By the times a few months after the battle at Danessa had passed, the number of Karn followers had diminished greatly. With many of their blessings no longer working, those left that weren’t captured or slain or judged usually changed to worship another deity. There were still a few that clung to their religion, but with time, their numbers would dwindle until there were no more followers… or until those followed eventually found a place for themselves in Ariadna’s faith instead.
Ariadna enjoyed watching her subjects thrive in the coming months. She stared down from her celestial home as she watched them flourish in this brave new world. She liked to check on all of her subjects, but she particularly wanted to check on the ones that helped her when she needed it the most.
With her faith renewed in Ariadna and having new powers that she could grant blessings, Nira took it upon herself to begin the construction of the temple at Danessa. The town had fallen into disrepair and its economy had taken a turn for the worse when the temple on the mountain slopes had fallen, but the renewed influx of people seeking to build a monument to their goddess was making it blossom again like a flower in the sun. Nira welcomed all the previous followers of Ariadna to their new home without reservation… provided them with food and shelter as many priestesses who had been smuggled into the old Capital returned. The towns people were once more blessed with a priestess that could answer their prayers.
The reconstruction efforts of the temple would take years, perhaps even decades, but the first building went up in only months of hard work and magical assistance from Nira and other priestesses. When it was completed, the towns people rejoiced. Everyone gathered there recognized how instrumental Nira had been in helping their town come back from the brink of extinction. People came back to the town, repopulating it’s shops and stores. The gratitude of the people and of the new acolytes of Ariadna shined through when, six months after the battle of Danessa, they recognized Nira as the new High Priestess or Ariadna. She would never have believed a year ago that this moment could come… nor that anyone would ever feel she deserved it. Tears streamed down her face when she was appointed. They were tears of joy at being assigned such a prestigious position, and she could feel her goddess’ love and approval wrapping her like a cloak. She wiped her hands across her face, clearing away the tears. Happiness flooded through her veins. To think that she had gone from being a false priestess to being first among their number and having the power to change people’s lives.
Through it all, Leila was by her side. She helped coordinate the workers when they built the temple. She took it upon herself to give basic combat training to the acolytes. Those that saw promise in the art of the sword, she kept in mind. After Nira was made high priestess, Nira made Leila the head of the Guardians… the order did, after all, have a long tradition of being intermarried with the clergy of Ariadna. Leila took on the new role with pride… Jaymes had largely stepped away from a role as an active Guardian but whenever he was in the temple he was right there with her, training the next protectors of the house of Ariadna. Her training regimen was so stringent and fierce that other temples sent their guardians to her for training, and the order began to grow again.
With all of this happening, it would be easy for a person to lose sight of what was important. Neither of the young lovers did. Nira and Leila stayed together through it all… they supported each other and loved one another. Their wedding turned out to be a beautiful affair with both of them dressed elegantly and standing in front of one of Nira’s most trusted priestesses. Ariadna didn’t step foot down into this world often since rising back to the heavens but the goddess appeared in person to bless their union, and the gathered crowd rejoiced when they said their vows. Some of the people in attendance even swore that the celestial blessing of Ariadna glowed around the two of them when they kissed after the ceremony.
Leila and Nira retired to their bedroom that evening, acknowledging their marriage to each other. They kissed passionately, falling into each other’s arms. Leila stripped her clothes off rapidly, pulling Nira close to her. She pushed Nira onto their bed, shedding her clothes from her body. Crawling onto the bed, she pushed Nira’s legs apart, sinking between them. Her tongue dragged along Nira’s pussy, licking over her trembling nether lips.
Long, slow licks showed Nira how much Leila loved her new bride. Her thumbs spread Nira’s pussy apart so she could gaze at the pink folds. Her tongue dragged inside, licking warmly over her lover’s quivering quim. Pushing her finger into Nira, Leila fucked her with her finger and tongue until Nira was screaming in pleasure. Her body racked with delight as her back arched. She cried out in passion, thrusting her pussy into Leila’s mouth.
Panting for breath, Nira lay on the bed. Her lungs heaved with each inhalation as she tried to recover from their first love making session as a married couple. Leila shifted on the bed to hover over top of Leila. She smiled brightly. “Mm, we are just getting started love. Don’t fall asleep on me yet.”
Nira smiled, putting her hand on the back of Leila’s head to pull her down for a kiss. Their tongues intertwined in a passionate display of love. Leila wrapped her arms around Nira, hugging her body close to her… never intending to let go again.
After Ariadna’s ascension, Amellisan fully expected to die of her curse. She cried as she said her good byes to Kaya, Jaymes, Leila and Nira. She knew that she was not long for this world. She would return to her family home, or what was left of it, where she could die in peace.
But death did not come for her.
Amellisan felt amazing as the months passed. She was able to straighten up her home and continue her family’s business. She had fully expected that her curse would the end of her, but months turned into years. She was excited by this new lease on life. She couldn’t believe her good fortune. She thanked Ariadna everyday that she could live with this burden on her life.
With her life blessed with longevity and with the faith of Ariadna growing, she began to put her attention into more ambitious projects. She could have simply enjoyed the fruits of her city… but merely accepting things the way they were had never been enough for Amellisan. The Empire had fallen apart long ago, and its fracturing had, in its own way, lead to all the destruction during Karn’s reign. She aimed to fix that.
Reuniting the Empire, forging it anew, would be the work of many lifetimes… she would not see it done, but Amellisan was a fierce, passionate envoy and spoke with genuine fire, and people wanted to follow her. Within several years, the first cities in decades had petitioned Raegis to rejoin the Empire… Pantaglin and Danessa itself. Her exuberance and fiery spirit, along with her obvious ambition for improving the world, made her many enemies… but many more friends, especially among the Justicar’s of the Empire… and was there, in Raegis, that she finally met the Emperor.
Omar was a handsome man with black hair and an olive tan complexion. He was several years older than her but as they began working together to peacefully reestablish Imperium the two began to spend more and more time together. His smile was the stuff of legends, a warmth that could met the heart of anyone he turned it on. Before long, Amellisan found that it had melted hers.
After a couple of months of courtship, the Empire welcomed a new Empress. No temples were to be allowed in Raegis now or ever, so instead they wed at the grand temple in Danessa. Kaya, Jaymes, Nira and Leila were all there, of course, as well are courtiers, Justicars, priests of dozens of other religions, and, most hopefully for the future, representatives of dozens of nearby cities and towns. She shared her good fortune with her friends and was thankful for her new life with a loving husband… even if loving such a man was anything but a relaxing future for Amellisan.
Three years later, they had two children already. Amellisan still was among the Empire’s chief envoys and diplomats, the Empress moving through territory and speaking of the power and desirability of unity once more. Now, however, she was free sometimes to just… sit… in the courtyard with her Lord husband. Amellisan held Omar’s hand while they watched their children playing in the courtyard of her home. She leaned over to kiss him on the cheek as she admired the children’s playful banter as they chased each other. Omar gave a knowing smile to Leila. “Would you care to have another?” A blush crossed Amellsan’s cheeks. She nodded her head to him as she took his head and led him back to their bedroom.
Amellisan disrobed her gown, letting it fall to the floor. Standing naked before her husband, she smiled at him. Her hands reached down to tug his trousers down his legs. Her soft hand caressed over his cock until it came to full attention. She sank down onto her knees before him. Her warm tongue glided across his cock, licking from the base to the tip. Her lips circled around his cock tip, suckling on it. Her head bobbing up and down on his shaft. Before too much longer, however, she pulled her head away as she stood back up and grinned at him. She lay down on the bed, spreading her legs for her husband. Omar positioned himself over her, rubbing his cock head across her pussy lips. His cock slowly glided into her. Amellisan moaned with delight, wrapping her legs around her husband.
His hips shifted back and forth, thrusting his cock through her wet folds. Her hands roamed up and down over Omar’s back to feel his strength as he made love to her. His chest rubbed against her nipples, sending an excited twinge of pleasure down her spine. Omar’s cock buried deep within her, letting a stream of his hot cum splatter deep within her. She brushed her fingers lovingly through his thick, black hair. Her lips met his in a passionate embrace. “At least one more child, beloved…”
Jaymes and Kaya helped with the temples rebuilding and in training new acolytes and priestesses. Having more experience with combat, they mostly assisted Leila in training the new guardians of the temples. Even though Kaya had transitioned to a new form, Jaymes never stopped loving her. They spent almost as much time together as when she was alive.
Kaya had achieved a new form with her ascension to siren. She was thankful to Ariadna that she could return to the mortal plane to spend time with her husband Jaymes. They would never have children together but they were thankful to have each other. In the old days, Sirens largely were absent from the world. In this new world, though… no one really knew. Especially in the early days, as they were trying to rebuild what there had once been, Sirens were a fairly common sight at least around Danessa, and Kaya was there with them.
As Leila began founding the Guardians anew, Jaymes approved. The former assassin had found a better path in her life… one that would lead to her being comfortable and protecting those in need rather than seeking out vengeance. That didn’t mean that vengeance didn’t need to be delivered, however. Some of their followers were still captives, priestesses that had been too well restrained or followers that had been taken for crimes. Those men and women needed a savior… and Jaymes and Kaya were instrumental in getting things set right. They called him the Sword of the Church as he traveled, finding places that the followers of Karn had not relented, and freeing any captives… and Kaya was there with him and his soldiers.
Jaymes would still age as the years passed but he spent them with his loving Kaya. Most of his life would be spent by her side whenever possible as he travel across the world, seeking after any who were still in bondage. Between raids, he would travel to the other temples of Ariadna to ensure their protectors were ever vigilant. They would not be caught off guard a second time.
After his last trip, Jaymes returned home to Danessa to find Kaya. His lips turned into the biggest smile as he ran over to her and wrapped his arms around her. Their lips pressed together as Kaya actually lifted Jaymes off the ground and pressed him against a nearby wall, the two of them laughing as she easily picked him up.
“I can’t tell you how much joy it brings to my heart whenever I return and you are still here,” Jaymes said when their kiss broke. “Every day that you are with me is a blessing. I wouldn’t trade this for the world.” Jaymes brushed his fingers through her hair, bringing Kaya close to kiss her on the lips. She curled her arms around his back, hugging him close to her.
Later that night, alone in their chambers, passions rose as their love blossomed like it often did. His hands moved down to his trousers to push them down his legs. His cock free from the confines, he pushed it between her legs to press the head of his cock against her pussy lips as Kaya eagerly stripped herself. He groaned when his cock slipped inside of his darling wife.
Jaymes pressed her up against the wall, making love to her. His cock glided in and out steadily. Kaya moaned with passion, kissing Jaymes as she felt her orgasm approaching. She pushed him off the wall, sending him down to the bed as she rode him down, her wings guiding their descent as she writhed her hips on top of him, both her hands against his muscular chest. She trembled as she felt a rushing wave of ecstasy flow through her… Her pussy gushed around his shaft, soaking his cock and balls.
The sudden squeezing of his wife’s pussy around his cock caused his own orgasm to reach its crescendo. His cock thrust deep into her, pulsing with need. Warm jets of his hot cum spurted deep into Kaya. She moaned in pleasure as she kissed Jaymes.
“We shall remain together for as long as the goddess allows us to love each other.” She lovingly brushed her hands through Jayme’s hair. She felt certain that Ariadna loved them as much as she loved Jaymes, and would certainly allow them to stay together. She didn’t know how long her lover would live, or what would come after that, but Jaymes would live a bless, fortunate, and long life. Their love would spring eternal and poems would be written about their love that would be passed down through the ages… a symbol for peace and prosperity.
Above in the heavens, Taelin did not return.
At first, Ariadna prepared her arguments and steeled herself, ready to make her case… ready to defend her actions and insist on the truth. She was ready to force the father of the gods to see the truth… but he never returned. He was gone… vanished without a word to anyone. At first Ariadna was frightened. Then she was angry. Then she was confused. Then, eventually, as the world continued moving, she began to accept that, even if she wasn’t sure what had happened, Taelin wasn’t coming back.
He wasn’t the only one missing, either. More than one god had gone into hiding during the fighting, fearful that Ariadna might take vengeance on those who had stood by or not fought for her, only slowly emerging as they realized how that wasn’t going to happen. One god, however, did not. Uuram, the God of Forge, never did appear. In time, Ariadna realized that if the world and the heavens and the relationship between the gods were to be rebuilt, it was going to have to her she who did it.
She had a million questions for Taelin… what had happened at the end there. Why she felt the way she did. Why she felt so damn… strong… but he was gone. Ariadna, Goddess of Fate, was going to have to figure it out on her own.
Taelin did not so much or sit or hang or float so much as he simply “existed” in a featureless white void that seemed to stretch forever. His eyes stared ahead, unfocused, as he seemed to look at something that wasn’t in front of him. He looked older now that he had the last time he had seen Ariadna… his beard longer, his face more wrinkled, his eyes deeper and more tired. For all that, though, the old man did not look fragile. Indeed, there was a solidity to him that could hold up mountains.
A woman popped into existence behind him. She looked far his younger with long dark hair that went all the way to her feet, falling in straight, silken sheets down her back. She looked young indeed… unless you met her eyes. Black on black, they carried a weight that was ever bit the equal to be found in Taelin.
“Success?” she snapped, her voice holding tightly restrained frustration. “Success? This is your idea of a Success Locleos?” She shook her head in disgust. “You tied your horse to the wrong shard and her reunification banished you from her world. I would hate to see what your idea of failure looks like.”
“She is back together,” ‘Taelin’ said, his voice even. “That was the objective, was it not?”
“The objective,” Allolyre hissed between clenched teeth, “was to begin bringing Oppal back and onto our side. The objective was to prove our good intent and good will. How is that going Locleos?”
He shrugged, seemingly unconcerned… though the worry in his eyes belied the truth. “And we did come one step closer to bringing back Oppal. Ariadna reunited her splinter… it worked. There will be other opportunities. More shards. Oppal will not be reunited in a day.”
Allolyre sighed. “So what went wrong?”
“Zaasteroth,” Locleos said, voice a subtle growl. “He was there, somehow. Becoming’s servants slipping into the world.”
“And how did you allow that?” Death asked.
“It’s not my world, sister,” he said. “It was Mischief’s. I can’t keep Becoming out… only she can. Somehow, I suspect that he might have arranged for the truth of the my scroll to be known, for me to be tricked over who was the destructive shard this time. He knew that was what we were looking for. Then, once he got what he wanted, he just… leaned on the right people, one step at a time.” He sighed. “There will be more.”
“For how long?” Allolyre asked. Her voice didn’t betray her concern. It didn’t have to. He understood.
“As long as it takes,” Stasis answered. “As long as it takes.”
2 thoughts on “Turn of the Wheel – Epilogue”
All good things must come to an end, and so we come to the wrap-up at last.
Ok, so let’s get this over with.
You know, there was going to be some lighthearted joking here when I first read it, which in hindsight wouldn’t have been fair. It’d been long enough since Hope that I’d forgotten how I really feel about this character, but thanks to you and Cai I remember now.
So good job, Zaasteroth; well done on saving Kaya. You masterminded a plan leading to the death of billions, raped three angels and are in general responsible for one of the worst story-reading experiences of my life, but you know, you saved one person here and showed such heroic restraint that you didn’t even delay her by pinning her to the ground and raping her.
*sigh* Moving the fuck on…
In hindsight, I guess it was a good thing we talked about some of the minor characters. I remember getting very worried about Lyn (the priestess of Ariadna who was still in a catatonic state at the end of Nira’s intro chapter), and you reassured me that she recovered and was alright. You mentioned she was covered in the epilogue and I felt a little foolish for asking…but it turns out minor characters aren’t covered in the epilogue, so it’s a good thing you told me back then! 😉
As for our leads…
Nira getting the promotion to High Priestess is a wonderful thing. I’ve probably said this before, but it’s great to see how far she’s come, starting out as the fake priestess who wanted to help but couldn’t use any actual divine magic, all the way to this. Her marriage to Leila was very sweet (the two of them were always cute), especially with Ariadna showing up in person.
Lady Amellisan’s story ending is one that I couldn’t have guessed at, but actually works perfectly. She’s always been the heart of the team, but in spite of being as devout as a priestess, she never really was one. She was, however, a woman who could affect people a lot with her speech, and in her intro chapter it was made clear that she was dedicated to using her power to help people as much as she could, so accomplishing sweeping change like reuniting a fragmented empire, and doing so peacefully, and then even becoming Empress Amellisan! Considering what we’d seen through the story, it was actually really heartwarming to find out that Emperor Omar was a genuinely nice guy. It strikes me that out of the Lights in the Void stories (excluding The Black Flag, which I haven’t read yet), A Turn of the Wheel has probably the most nice or at least normal male characters. There’s Jaymes, of course, and now the Emperor, but there were also the guardsmen who helped Ariadna rescue Amellisan back in her intro chapter. It may seem strange that I mention minor characters in their one moment, but depending on what it is that they do, that one moment can have a far larger impact than you’d think.
Something else that I love, but might not be readily apparent to others, is Amellisan getting to have children. Now, under ordinary circumstances I wouldn’t bring this up, since having children is hardly something one needs for a complete life, but in Amellisan’s case it holds special meaning. Becoming a parent is a decades-long commitment, and it isn’t the sort of thing you do if you think you’re about to die. Aside from just getting to know the happiness of raising a family, the fact that Amellisan undertakes the long journey of being a mother shows that she’s looking toward the future now. She’s always thought about the future of others, but now, possibly for the first time since she was born, she gets to look forward to her own future.
And that brings us to Kaya and Jaymes. They have a bittersweet ending, to be sure, as he’s still aging and she isn’t, and I don’t know what’ll happen when the day comes when he dies. But then, maybe that’s the point. Not knowing what happens means not knowing that anything bad happens, and maybe it’s like the end of Dig Two Graves: I need to have faith in an uncertain situation. Nonetheless, for now they still work together, and they have each other.
This brings us to the epilogue epilogue, and it’s here that I have some questions. So most of the gods come out of hiding eventually, but two don’t. Taelin doesn’t reappear, which is because he was Locleos in disguise, but it’s also mentioned that Uuram, the god of the forge, didn’t reappear either. Was that Alolyre in disguise, or is something else going on?
Locleos’s goals are simple enough to understand (reunite the shards of Opal and bring the god of Mischief back), but it is difficult to discuss Zaasteroth and what’s going on at the end here without going into Deep Spoilers territory, so I’ll say only that part of what Zaasteroth did here makes sense and fits with his established behavior, but I’m not entirely sure if what he does after that is too…non-cynical for him. We’ll have to see how this plays out in future stories, and see if I’m wrong about what exactly he’s doing here.
Thank you so so so much for reading and sticking with this. I’m glad I could satisfy you, and… and I’m a moron who forgot to write the whole bit with the chapter 4 priestesses!
For now, assume they are some of the ones that return to the temple as Nora begins building it.
You nailed on the head exactly what I was going for with Amellisan’s ending… not only doing the same good work in uniting people she always did but on a grander scale, but getting to claim a bit of that future for herself now that, for the first time, she thinks she is going to have one.