Lyanne felt it, and so did Jacen and Aylin. Shau Rayne must have felt it too, because like the three young martial artists, he stopped in his recovery. Lyanne dropped her guard and looked up at the waterfall behind them. It had frozen in time. The birds in the sky had slowed, and the clouds no longer moved.
"He's gone. Dead." Jacen sighed. "It's over."
Aylin placed her hand on the young man's shoulder. Jacen touched his lover's slender fingers. "What happens now?" the willowy young woman asked.
Shau Rayne ripped off a part of his cloak and bound a cut Lyanne's knife had made. "We disappear."
"Impossible." Lyanne's fire red hair waved in the wind as she shook her head. "He poured his heart and soul into this. No way we're going to disappear."
Shau Rayne looked at her sadly. "He poured his soul into us. And that's why he's gone." The man laughed bitterly. "We've been enemies for so long. I always knew we'd die together. That's what He told me. But I didn't think it would end like this."
"It's not ending!" Lyanne shouted. "No way it's ending!" She fell to her knees. "Damn you! End our story! We've earned that much!"
Aylin had tears in her eyes, and Jacen held her close. "I don't want to die…" she sobbed.
"Don't worry," Jacen whispered. "We'll die together. I promise."
Lyanne rushed at Shau Rayne. "You killed everyone in my village! I'm not letting you get away with it!"
Shau Rayne held up a hand and easily stopped her punch. "I only killed them because He told me to. It was my destiny. I was merely a pawn."
Lyanne used her left hand to draw her knife, her Fang. "I don't care! I swore vengeance! I'll keep my word!"
Shau Rayne kicked out her legs, knocking her to her knees. "You don't really want to kill me anymore. I can see it in your eyes. He wanted you to kill me. But He's gone now."
Lyanne screamed in anger, and began to sob. "That bastard!"
Shau Rayne placed a hand on her shoulder, like an older brother. "I know. I too am angered that our story was not given the chance to be finished." Jacen and Aylin drew closer, and helped Lyanne to her feet.
"C'mon," Jacen said softly. "We might not have much time left. Let's make the most of what time what we have left."
Lyanne glared at her companion. "Why?"
"Because I don't want to go into Oblivion with any regrets."
Shau Rayne looked at Lyanne, dead in the eyes. "I'm sorry for what I have done. Truly, I am. Please, can you forgive me?"
Aylin nodded. "I can."
"I can." Jacen added.
Lyanne looked at her bare feet. "I forgive you."
And with that, the world changed. The trees around the forest clearing turned monochrome, and the ground became less substantial. A mist rose, and obscured everything.
Shau Rayne, Aylin and Jacen closed their eyes, peacefully awaiting their deaths. But Lyanne would meet her demise with a brave face, eyes wide open. Clots of earth began to dissolve, and the trees disintegrated. Rocks crumbled to dust and blew away. The waterfall evaporated in an instant. Then, the stone slab they stood on turned into golden sand and drifted towards the heavens.
All that was left was a white expanse.
This is it, Lyanne thought. The end.
But Oblivion did not come. No Void engulfed them. No suffocating blackness. No isolation. No change at all. The other three still stood beside her, serene and angelic. "Jacen? Aylin? I think… this is it."
The two opened their eyes, and surveyed the white expanse before them. Shau Rayne also opened his eyes, and smiled. "This is perfect!"
Aylin also looked around. "Nothing's here…"
Jacen's fist clenched. "I thought it would be instantaneous. I didn't think I'd starve to death."
Shau Rayne smiled wider. "We won't starve! Look!" The three followed where he pointed, and saw a rose growing from the white. "I did that!"
Lyanne blinked. "What do you mean?"
"I made it. Look." Around the rose, an entire meadow sprang up. "Don't you see? We're the Authors now! We can make our own destiny!"
"We don't have to fight anymore!" Aylin exclaimed. Wherever she looked, trees sprang up. Jacen blinked in surprise, and willed a bubbling stream into existence.
Lyanne gasped, and a large boulder rose up under her feet, raising her twelve feet in the air. "It's not really the end at all, is it?
"It's just the beginning, all over again."