The Travancians summoned creatures flooded Eden's world. The heroes and remaining Homunculus found themselves standing upon the threshold of the Vault of the Demiurge. She sat stone faced upon her throne, siblings and father chained and silent at her feet; one of her sisters was strung up above her head, an iron collar binding her to the Demiurge’s throne, relentlessly sapping her power. One by one, she sent her siblings--hollow shells of their former selves--in to fight the heroes, and one by one they were defeated. With a scoff, the Demiurge rose from her throne and spread her golden wings. She would handle this nuisance herself. As she brandished her swords, hurling entire universes at her adversaries, pain exploded in the back of her head. Yet another trick. Lois smiled knowingly as Aguara’s divine power, coalesced within her like an explosive and detonated in full force. It was just a moment--a brief whisper of time--that her power loosened, and Lilith broke free of her chains.
Gilgamesh stood upon the jagged peak of the world’s tallest mountain, all of Arawyn spread out beneath him. Behind him, his students trained in a school carved out of the rock face. Each dedicated warrior climbed to the top of the mountain through their individual strength and skill, unaided by magic, to try and earn the opportunity to learn from the legendary sword master. After the hundredth would-be student had been slain after portaling straight to the top, many accepted that hard work and mettle were the only ways to prove themselves to Gilgamesh; people who took shortcuts would be cut down before having a moment to explain themselves. He turned and walked back to his students as they finished their morning warm ups, a slight smile playing at his lips.
The denizens of Homunculus City frequently ask after Belberith. Truly the son of his father, the citizens look up to him as their beloved creator, a father of their own even. It is with sighs of frustration that Belberith’s copies explain that he will be gone for quite some time. Although the The Father has done his best to turn over a new leaf, good intentions often pave the road to The Abyss; he dutifully follows after his father, cleaning up the various messes that he leaves behind in his wake. Somebody has to do it, Belberith’s copies often relay with a slight annoyance.
Life soon returned to normal within the city, and with normalcy came stagnation. The youngest of The Brothers, Bartholomew, craved a life that the city would never satiate. It was with a willful heart that he surrendered his powers and gifts, starting over as the legendary heroes he looked up to had before him. It was with much fanfare and celebrating that he left behind his life and position within the city’s government and set out to find his own adventure within the world. There are often still whispers about Lawrence funding his travels.
As Yoyo stepped into The Demiurge’s Vault, she began to collapse as she felt her powers withering away. It was with reassuring hands that Van helped her back to her feet.
“You aren’t defined by your powers.” He reassured her. “Finding the strength to stand against Eden, to stand against your sister when all is lost. That is true strength.” Van helped her walk towards the yawning fissure in space that separated Yoyo from her family. Though Eden beckoned to her, urging Yoyo to stand behind her family once more, Travancians rallied around her. They united around Yoyo, yelling that she had a family within Travance, a stronger bond than Eden could ever hope to hold with her. Tears welled in her eyes as the heroes’ kindness touched her, filling her soul with light during her family’s darkest hour. Her resolve strengthened. When the fight was over, the conflict resolved, she was determined to spend her days with both of her families, new and old.
The new citizens of Homunculus City celebrated the joyous occasion of the twins returning home. Through their combined powers, crumbling infrastructure damaged during Eden’s reign were swiftly repaired. Gamora particularly took to crafting all manner of weapons and jewelry; her customers often think that sometimes she goes a bit overboard when adding spikes, but no one can bring themselves to complain. While toiling at her forage with Ineyedia faithfully by her side, a blue metal work flower rests above her heart, shimmering in the embers’ glow.
Fire crackled within a brick hearth as Prometheus knocked back a strong Hibernian brandy, a satisfying heat blooming in his chest. Somehow--despite his reluctance to work with the sometimes hot headed and violent heroes of Travance--the plan had worked. Eden had been subdued, his siblings were freed, and the world no longer perched precariously on the brink of destruction. He refilled his glass with a smile. During his time in The Underground, he’d had his doubts and fears and uncertainties, but somehow the Travancians had come through for his family.Prometheus thought on the power and potential his allies had willingly poured into him, keeping him alive during the battle against Eden. He would never forget that.
He drew a Coastadori cigar out of his robes and furrowed his brows as he felt around for his matches. Finally, with a resigned sign he muttered to himself, “What’s a few months off my life anyways? I’ve earned this.”
With a snap of his fingers, a lick of flame answered his call, the cherry of his cigar smoldering in the dimly lit room. The flare came easily, though it flickered weakly before extinguishing in his hands. For a moment, his eyes widened in shock before melting away into an expression of childlike delight.
“Huh… That didn’t hurt.”
Life within a cage tends to change a man’s perspective. After five years of torture, of humiliation, of seeing the world torn asunder from behind the bars of captivity, the city began to feel a bit too claustrophobic for Brutus. His departure was quieter than most would have expected, but it wasn’t a solemn affair. He forges his way across Arawyn, enjoying the little things that different walks of life have to offer and fighting to ensure the freedom of those around him; the freedom he was once so callously denied.
The day his powers began to fade, Brutus let go with a moment of hesitation. There were more important things he had to hold onto: power, persistence, and the perspective of a prisoner freed. Climbing his way up from the very bottom, Brutus is beginning to feel optimistic about life for the first time in awhile.
Through power and control, Lilith has grown into the (Mostly) mature adult that her father had always wanted her to be. Unwilling to part with her powers after so many sacrificed themselves to teach her control, she has come to terms with the extraordinary life she leads. Nurturing and strengthening her bond with the Esper Mercy, many within the city have come to look up to Lilith as an ambassador between humans and homunculus. Her gentle, yet firm hand helps guide Belberith’s younger creations towards a peaceful future, maintained by souls natural and artificial alike.
What little of her time doesn’t go towards preserving the world’s future or picking up the broken pieces of her family, many of the city’s citizens gossip about her catching and collecting stray dogs.
In the Year 3325...
Somewhere far away, many a millennia after the war against Eden quelled and quieted, a young woman stands on the edge of a sweeping, grassy plain, a spray of wildflowers at her bare feet. Her long hair spills onto the ground as she crouches to pick handfuls of forget-me-nots, glimmering like starlight in the midmorning sun. As she began nimbly weaving the blossoms together, a sudden clattering of plate armor drew her attention.
“A pleasant mornin’ to you, my girl.”
The woman’s eyes softened warmly. “A pleasant morning, indeed. I don’t believe I know you; have we met before?”
He stood in complete contrast to the pale woman’s slight frame and gauzy robes; stout and clad in immaculate armor, the man ran a hand through his intricately braided beard thoughtfully. “Not quite. My archangel, Edmond, has told me a lot about.”
At that, her face lit up, “You’re friends with Edmond? Gosh, it has been ages since the two of us last spoke. Has he said good things about me?”
Brazen heaved a hearty laugh, and extended a large, rough hand, helping the woman to her feet. “He has told me about everything you’ve done for this world, the potential that flows through you. We’ve been watching you for a very long time now, and there is an important question we would like to ask you.”
“We?” She tilted her head quizzically.
“There is a special place for people like us: Eodra. Only those who are deemed worthy may stand within its halls and watch over the people of this world. People like me… and people like you as well. The gods and goddess of this world have watched you for a very long time, and we finally feel that you are ready to join us. Would you like to come with me?”
Brazen extended his hand to Icarus once more. She wrung her hands nervously, expressions of shock, apprehension, and deep thought ghosted across her pale face until--finally--she took his hand.
“I would love to.”
Cinnamon sits in a small office, sifting through towering stacks of paper. Though the fighting has stopped and the dust has settled, work hasn’t slowed down in the slightest. As more and more citizens are created, a stronger demand for workshops and education arises; learning humanity isn’t a simple matter. The city’s backbone and pillar while Belberith travels the world, Cinnamon works tirelessly to ensure new homunculus will adapt to normal, everyday life, and that the city remains safe until Bel’s return. Its true protector.
A hero’s life isn’t for everyone. After too many close calls and too many near death experiences, Lawrence has no interest in life outside the city. Managing finances, offering financial support, and nurturing a booming trade is a much quieter and safer life that far suits his fancy. Between managing finances and planning his wedding with Swift Glitterleaf, his bride to be, Lawrence can’t quite say that life is as quiet as he’d hoped. For all the stories he's read on heroes, he probably doesn't realize he just rode off into the sunset towards his own happy ending.
There was a pattern: Ludwig appeared in Travance as a great calamity loomed over the world. It was a tradition he would continue without fail. After returning to the city, Ludwig spent the majority of his time minding the rebuilding efforts. Time passed, life within the city grew stable, and he dedicated his time to reaching out, writing to several Travancians on the regular. It was the first time that Ludwig had initiated contact--at least via the written word. When it came to contacting Tobias, Meander, and William Sterling, the missives went on at length about the the scientific and the philosophical, often times intertwining; the words came easily, and his pen flowed across his parchment without having to stop and think. When it came time to pen a letter to Reno, however, he was struck with a sudden case of writer's block. While the other letters had come to him so easily, he was shocked to suddenly find himself at a loss for words.
Before leaving Travance, his last words to her were, "I have nothing left to teach you. You have already become who you need to be." She knew well of his upbringing, but he knew hardly any of hers; in a spontaneous bout of irony, Ludwig engaged in small talk for the first time ever.
Transitioning to daily life hasn’t been without its struggles. Many are reluctant to trust the homunculus after Eden’s rule; the city has had its work cut out. Through the political tension and fear mongering among less informed humans, collective sighs were breathed across Homunculus City as Valius took up the mantle of king once more. Every waking moment, he dedicates himself to the betterment of his people and their land, picking up from where he once left off.
Though committed to his role and the homunculus who look towards him for guidance, King Valius sometimes feels the world calling to him while strolling through the city’s gardens. He sets his own selfish desires--his want to explore and fight and laugh and journey--only allowing them to escape during his brief moments alone.
As his sister fell to her knees, Abel reflected upon the events that brought him to this future. He was a changed man, one who hoped to forge a better future for his kind, though his past deeds nagged him: the amount of blood he spilled, the dishonorable acts he committed with the aid of his power weighed heavily upon his shoulders. There was no guarantee that the cycle was broken.
He wanted so badly to continue standing by humanity’s side, to fight alongside them, laugh with them, be with them but he knew practicality was needed. While helping to rebuild life in the city, Abel commits to his studies of life and death the best way he can think: by living a normal life. Deciding to surrender his powers didn’t come easy, but once he’d settled on the idea, life began to feel a bit lighter.
Weeks passed as Collin searched tirelessly for his body. The journey’s hardships took its toll upon him, but soon his tireless effort paid off. Anyone who tried speaking with Collin after he had reunited with his body found that he retained no memories of Eden’s reign. He would only ramble on ad nauseum about forging an age of enlightenment for all of Arawyn’s alchemists and scientists. In spite of his memory loss, he appears to be very happy.
Upon a secluded hill, in a place where the sky spread out freely in all directions, Lazarus sat in meditation and prayer. His powers being used against his family, his loved ones, it was a reality that he had trouble coming to terms with. Alone, with the wind at his back, he prayed to the divines, pleading to be stripped of his powers. The artificial angel spent weeks, months upon the hilltop, waiting for his call to be answered. The gods never intervened, and his powers remained.
One by one, The Demiurge’s siblings worked to free one another; as the iron collar was broken from Icarus’ neck and Lilith lifted her down from the throne, their eldest sister’s power began to diminish. Humanity’s battle against her was not quick, nor bloodless, but soon her swings came slower, sloppier. As she limped back to her father, bloodied and broken, he took back Chronicler’s book, and read the ending humanity had written.
“And then what happened papa?”
Heimdell smiled, though there was a distant sadness in his eyes as he turned the story book’s page. “Humanity had decided that all homunculus--the perfects included--had earned the right to live, and that they themselves could choose whether or not they would keep their powers.”
“What about his oldest daughter?” The young girl stared up him with eyes sleepy and half lidded.
“The Demiurge had committed crimes against the world, the scale of which had never been witnessed by mortal eyes.” Heimdell paused for a moment. “But the humans took pity upon her young soul, and instead stripped her of powers. Though many would see her dead, they allowed the father to carry his broken daughter off into the void; they haven’t seen either of them together since.”
He snapped the book shut and gently set it on the bedside table, smoothing his daughters hair before helping her to lie down in bed.
“Is all of that true, papa?” She asked with soft awe. “Did the heroes really do all of that?”
“Of course, my dear. Every word of it is true.”
She grew quiet for a moment, thoughtful, and finally looked up at her father, “Do you think I can grow up and be like them someday? As brave as the heroes who defeated The Demiurge? I fear that, maybe, I won’t ever be strong enough.”
Heimdell squeezed her hand with a fatherly reassurance, crinkling the 01 emblazoned upon her skin, “My dear Eden, you’re already perfect the way you are.”
They smiled at one another as the father leaned over and blew out the bedside candle.