The clouds of the previous night’s storm had completely faded from the sky, leaving only a pale blue mass of open air with tiny silver clusters. Perichor and the smell of old dust filled the young man’s nostrils as cool morning air rubbed itself against the worn skin not wrapped thoroughly in his dilapidated garment’s that had long passed their expiration date. Distantly in the trees several birds could be heard, professing softly to each other and embracing the arrival of spring. The surrounding cast upon Ideir a sense of pleasant memories from days long past. To his mind were brought the early summers of his youth as he would trudge around the woodland in search of locations and secrets he had yet to discover. Even the chill of the air could not chase away the joyous nostalgia he had momentarily lost himself in. However, the past is simply that, bygone days and hours that no amount of longing will bring back to light. The brightness and innocence of his days was now gone, before him was the way he must tread. And the way he would tread, shaping his future with the best of intentions. Or at least, all of the future he had left.
All that was left was to take a step, to place one foot in front of the other and continue until Ideir stood before the Gates, but the Temple of Time was a marvelous structure, one to cause awe and wonder and one to cause fear and apprehension. But it was neither the intricate marble carvings and awesome height nor the philosophy of the temple that caused the man to stay rooted. Weight of inexplicability fell upon him. Each leg of the journey, each step closer had become more painful. To bear the responsibility of such a great cause was a painful existence and to have to watch everyone around you suffer and sacrifice was intolerable, even more so when you knew that all of their hopes rested on you and that you would be the one who would have to make their lives better. The worst part was the part they did not know, they were not aware how he would no longer be around once this was all over, they were not aware how many nights had been spent in a panicked frenzy as attempted to calm his nerves and reassure himself that once he no longer existed, he would be incapable of caring about his existence. But he had come to terms with that. When Olara died he had sworn a small oath inside his head-he had sworn how he would never again fear the future he would not have, nor the present he had to face.
His shoe made a sound far louder than he had expected, the next step was softer and caused a small cloud of thick dust to rise, all though, his were not the only foot prints on the stairs. Dust made its way into his eyes and nose, irritating him. Exhaling he watched the little beads of dust dance chaotically as the air disturbed even further the still motion that had become their comfort. Waving a single hand he scattered the dirt further from his face as he continued up the steps. Each movement heavy and each second an hour he made his way past the open doors and into the great room. Finally he was within the great temple, after all of these years spent searching, fighting and struggling he was standing on the floor of the place where he would face his greatest challenge yet.
The great hall carved flawlessly of perfect marble smooth as silk and beautiful enough for even the highest of perfectionists. Only the old things scattered around the room could cause anyone to complain, and even so, it added to the building a lovely and withered feeling. But the swanlike beauty would only be taken in for a moment for after a quick glance one’s eyes would simply wander to the Gates of Destiny. Two doors combined, making a single magnificent arch, the doors themselves were ebony and gold, carved in a baroque fashion from thousands of generations and hundreds of civilizations. Ancient Sarthioun’s could be seen in pursuit of the great dragon, elegant boatmen from Tygora traveled slickly in their canoes. And youths from Imorheil traipsed around the summer woodlands in Bohnfiir. Every piece of knowledge that could be known was on that door in one way or another-the past, the present, the future and the eternal-all weaved majestically into a craft far too beautiful to be of any mortals design.
Ideir’s eyes widened and he could feel his heart jump inside his chest. The moment he had walked into the room he had skipped a breath but now he felt as though he could not breathe. Insignificance filled his body, how could anything not feel insignificant when standing before such a vast majority of significant things. When standing before the Gates as he did now, it was impossible for him to believe that anything in the world could be more important; the meaning of all things seemed to fade. He stood perfectly still, incapable of moving a muscle. The smell of dust faded and the temple around him disappeared when his mind was taken elsewhere. He was a top the glorious Peninsula of Armorn, long eroded away. Tall grasses brushed his arms and legs, but he did not slow, for he had run these plains his entire life, the smell of dry weeds and grasses intoxicated his lungs as he pushed onward wind lashing violently, while he hunted for the beasts even legendary at this time. Next were the great forest rivers, fresh and moving quickly, it was spring time and the water slushing its way onto him was only slightly chill. The taste of salmon fish jerky still lingered on his tongue and the piney smell mixed with moist earth and caused a fragrance so refreshing that every breath before felt wasted. Finally he walked woodlands, familiar to those he used to travel. He traveled the woods as the many before him had and he traveled as the few after him. Thousands of locations and millions of memories he visited.
Seconds, minutes, hours, days, moons, seasons, years, decades, lifetimes, and eternities he spent staring, motionless. Or maybe he did not even spend a moment. But the moment he drew his eyes from the gate, he knew far more than many hope to ever learn. Not even village elders who had lived for a century could hope to compare. All thoughts of insignificance were lost and realization of his quest was now before him. Before him stood the Warrior of Demesia, clad in red armor and quipped with the Spear of Siuim. This being that he’d always known would stand in his way-whose face he knew so well and yet had never seen. It was then that he realized his most difficult challenge would not be entering the Gates, nor would it be removing his own existence and it wouldn’t even be the power to shape the new world he planned for. For before him stood the Great Demon Warrior of Demesia but before him also stood his most cherished friend, before him stood Kilan, beautiful and haunting.
Silence was speaking for them, each knew the other so well that words were no longer necessary. A single glance could speak all of the words required, and so it did, and so they learned what fate had in mind for them. A single sigh, a single glance at her lovely russet hair resting softly on her crimson armor and a single sad, melancholic, devoted and lovely smile in agony; the last three things they would share. She had a goal, her will power was strong and her determination rivaled even his own and he would not give even as the very last of his life left him. Never before had Ideir felt so many emotions conflicting and never before had they been so greatly suppressed by his determination. His hand leapt to his hip grasping the cool suave metal of his sword the burden left his side and weighed in his hand. His senses dulled and sharpened at the same time, the removed everything unnecessary to the fight from his mind. A long blink and he began to charge forward, to whatever his destiny may be, but one thing he knew with absolute certainty was that either Kilan or he would win. One of them was going to die.