(This is a deep lore entry designed to add to the narrative of the setting)
The Epilogue of Klarington Everest The Time Reaver, Fall of 1253
[CW: Forced restraint]
During this time in history, Klarington Everest, also known as the Time Reaver, lived in a beautiful wood cottage on the very top of an evergreen mountain. He lived there with his wife Livia, who was once the Dark Queen of Evernight, Ariana. The life of Ariana ended long ago with a powerful onset of amnesia and muteness. Klarington had found her in this state and rather than kill her, he took pity on her and eventually they fell in love. Livia had been living a blissfully ignorant, peaceful, mundane and happy life with him for the better part of the last fifty years. Klarington Everest had been cursed with the Mantle of being the Time Reaver, a powerful entity of time. His life and love with Livia was true, but he kept the exotic details of his life a secret from her to protect her from them. To her, Klarington was a normal, kind and loving husband. The two had shared an enchanting storybook love, filled with kindness, compassion and simplicity.
As time passed, Klarington was not growing older in appearance. Livia was ageing because her own mind believed her to be mortal. It was now 1253 and Livias body now appeared in her seventies while Klaringtons appeared to be no more than half of that. The awkward situation was far worse than this though. Livia’s mind and health had aged to the point of disease and deterioration. She had been bedridden for the last several years and during some days her stare was blank as if she had not even recognized who he was. Klarington often thought about how hard this must be on her, and so he never realized just how hard the situation was weighing on him. Emotionally he had to watch as his love, whom he sacrificed everything for, die a slow and terrible death before his eyes. He was the Time Reaver, his power seemingly limitless; why then could he not do more for her? During the last several decades Klarington felt a decline in his more menial spells and abilities. His powers became less about what he could do, and more about what Time wanted him to do. Simple spells such as the abilities to calm her pain or put her to sleep now eluded him, yet he could travel the multiverse with the flick of his wrist, how ironic it was that such great power was so useless to his situation, and smaller simpler powers could have saved him so much pain and heartache.
During this stressful time, one dangerous thought continuously surfaced in the back of Klarington’s mind. It was a simple idea that had come to him decades ago, but the thought was so risky that he would dare not try it. If he could simply remind her of who she was, would she remember, allowing her mind to reclaim her health and immortality? If it worked and she stayed as a good person, the two could live together happily forever. If she remembered and reverted to her original nature of evil, she would kill countless lives and reign terror and darkness upon the world. The woman she was now could harm no creature no matter how small, and so he could not bear the thought of causing her the suffering of evil for herself or for others. This act was never worth the risk he thought as he constantly pushed it further from his mind. As the years passed however, hopelessness and sorrow would saturate his soul and weaken his resolve and judgement.
*. *. *. *. *
Klarington was in his study working on a puzzle, when he heard the bell ring. It was the bell he placed on Livia’s nightstand to call for him. “I’ll be right there!” Klarington called out to her. It was a simple puzzle box, with no great importance, but his mind was flooded with so much heavy knowledge that he needed mundane things to push away his thoughts and allow his awareness the space to enjoy some semblance of life.
Just as he had completed the puzzle, a crashing sound came from Livias Room. The puzzle box slipped from his hands onto the floor as he raced around the corner to see what the noise was. He found his wife laying on the ground, she had fallen out of bed and was thrashing around wildly. Klarington rushed over and scooped her up to place her back on the bed. As he did so, he could hear the bones in her body creaking and possibly even breaking from the movements. She would not stop flailing, she was screaming the sounds that a mute screams; hollow wails of labored breath with the hints of a trapped and distant noise. He tried so very hard to calm her but this fit she was having would not stop. She was thrashing her arms, her nails scratching him at every swipe, her own bones fracturing as she did so. If he didn’t restrain her, she would cause herself irreparable harm, but restraining her also risked the same. He felt he had no choice and so he held her tightly in place. She still kicked and wreathed her body; she continued to scream her silent screams, spit, sweat and blood showering them and the area around them. He could hear the bones in her wrist crack as she tried to wrestle free from his grip. The look in her eyes was sheer horror to behold and crushed Klaringtons heart. Did she not know where she was? Did she not know him? He could not understand what she was thinking, but he suffered from this moment every bit as much as she was. Time was cruel and it felt like this would never end.
He couldn’t bare to restrain her like this, and his grip faulted for just a second, enough that she flung herself back onto the floor. This time he knew he heard her leg break. He ripped the sheets off the bed and threw them down, rolling her quickly onto the softer surface. He had to restrain her again, he had no choice. He held her as tightly as he could and she wreathed in such pain and agony that Klarington could no longer bare it. He felt like he was killing her, and that if he let go she would kill herself. His senses and emotions where severely overwhelmed and desperately drowning. His mind wreathed with pain and sorrow. He embraced her hard and found himself whispering to her “You are Ariana, my love”. The thrashing did not faulter, she bore no reaction and the fit continued even worse than before. Klarington coughed and cleared the bile out of his throat, stating again, firmer and louder. “You are Ariana” he told her. Nothing changed. The sounds of her pain where so deafening that It crushed his soul and shattered his senses. This time he snapped with desperation and screamed as loudly as he could “YOU ARE ARIANA, THE DARK QUEEN OF EVERNIGHT!”
At that very moment the struggling and sounds stopped; all resistance from her had abruptly ended. He cautiously lessened his embrace and withdrew at arm’s length to look at her. She was motionless, her eyes shut. Klaringtons heart pounded firm enough he could feel the pain in his chest with each thump. Was she dead? No. There was movement behind her shut eyelids. Was she remembering? He closely examined her body. Was she getting younger? It was hard to tell, but she no longer appeared in pain. Then her eyes slowly opened, revealing her soft, light brown eyes. She stared up at him but he could not gauge her emotions. He felt something else, a rushing breeze of power over them. He heard the horse outside ninny loudly. The strange breeze broached out of the metaphysical and into the physical. He could now feel his own hair blowing gently behind him. Klarington heard another animals call from outside and then another. It wasn’t till he heard the thump behind him and turned his head to see his dog laying lifeless, did the horror strike home. “No…” he whispered. He turned back to her and saw her eyes again, this time notably a much darker shade of brown. She was siphoning the life force around her. “NO!” he shouted. He had seen countless versions of their future, and this was a thousand times the worst, and it was happening. The Dark Queen would regain her power and subjugate a crippled and weak world. She would rule unchecked and sunder life as we know it, renaming the world, death.
Klaringtons abject horror was interrupted by the screams of countless farm animals outside and the thuds from lifeless birds falling onto their roof. He could feel the evil energy pass by him and into her. The same Time that owned his life, kept him safe from her draining winds. He had seen this before, the Eon Crossroads that he never wanted to be at. A choice so terrible and gut retching it could destroys a man’s soul for a lifetime… His hands wrapped around her throat and squeezed; hard. Her eyes where pitch black by now and gazed deeply into his soul forcing his eyes upon her as he did the deed. In some timelines Klarington could not bare the weight of this act and the world falls into darkness. His knowledge of this truth gave his hands strength in this moment but at the full cost of his heart. Tears streamed down his face and his nose drained into his throat, gaging him the whole time. His heart shattered a thousand times inside his chest. He had never felt this before. No experience had ever compared. This would be the worst moment in his life which was for all of eternity. He pushed his mind further and further away in hopes that he would not remember this and he mentally blacked out…
When he saw light again, his hands where still around her throat, but she was motionless. Her life force had clearly expired and she was unmistakably dead. It was far better in the darkness, for the light had revealed what he had done and his emotions overtook him almost immediately. His face was set in horror, contorting as he gagged and gasped for air. In a primal state, barely human, he crawled away from the body and struggled to stand. The unending tears blurred his vision, he gagged on his own spit as he staggered around the house, ending up in his study. He grabbed at his worn grey robe, stumbling to put it on. Leaving the room he tripped over the puzzle box and knocked over a lit candle in the process. He did not notice it and he walked outside the house.
The stench of death permeated in the air. Every living creature on that mountaintop was dead. His thought quickly drifted back to his wife as she was before. He loved her more than anything in the world. He sundered time for her, and made a pact that would curse his soul for her. He wanted nothing more than to be with her, now beyond this world. He lifted his head and stared far ahead through the trees. The sky was beautiful and he ran towards it as fast as he could. He raced past the pines, jumped over roots, feeling every last step on the land, every leave and pine needle beneath his feet, every branch that brushed against him. He felt the breeze on his skin and saw the sky coming ever closer and ever brighter. “I’ll be right there” he choked through tears as he sped up upon the peaks edge and then he launched himself off the mountain with every ounce of strength his legs could muster. He felt the air rushing past him and for a moment it would comfort his pained soul. “I’ll be right there”. In his thoughts he saw himself walking into her room and she was sitting on the edge of their bed, healthy, young and beautiful. She was smiling. He sat down beside her and she took his hand and smiled back. “I love you” she said, though she had never before spoken a word as Livia. They got up together and walked towards an open door. It was filled with light and love.
A force hit Klarington so hard it knocked all the breath from his lungs. Livia was absorbed into the light and the door slammed shut. He opened his eyes, and saw falling bedside him a dead dire eagle. He had slammed into it during his fall, killing it instantly and disrupting the speed at which he dropped. He hit something again soon after, and again, each time his momentum to the ground lessened and then he landed hard in a large evergreen bush with malleable branches and soft foliage. What? happened? WHY?! Klarington pulled himself out of the bush and crawled around on the ground frantically looking for a long thin stick. Finding one, he held it hard and aimed for his eye intent to push it through as strong and as deep as he could, but at the very same moment a large raven swooped and ripped it from his hands. He looked down and grabbed another and jammed it as hard as he could towards his eye but the very wood of this stick decayed into dirt within a fraction of a second. “WHY?!” Klarington screamed “Why won’t you let me die!?” He knew the answer even though he had asked it. “I HATE YOU!” he screamed with so much primal rage that it bloodied his throat.
He closed his eyes to be still and to let the rage to pass, but it did not. He slowly and deliberately stood himself up off the ground and brushed himself off. Breathing as heavy as the scariest of beasts he looked up at the mountain, now burning and engulfed in flames. He stared at it blankly and felt nothing. He was in a shock so extreme that he was numb to everything and Klarington Everest would not pull himself out of this despair for hundreds of years to come. “I am done with this world.” he growled as he pulled his hood deeply over his head and wandered into the east…