Epilogue: Final Entry

Two years passed.

The cemetery was quiet this afternoon. It was unusually warm for the first day of spring. I passed by many graves, many stories, many memories, none of them mine. I finally arrived at the beech tree on the hill, and simply stood there, staring. The sky was cloudless, and the blue of the atmosphere and the green of the grass seemed perfect for today. I silently placed one rose on each grave, and sat down on the knoll. Elinee, Riley... thank you for showing me what Justice really was. I hope you can forgive me for everything that I have done... Please wait just a little bit longer. It's not my time yet…

I heard footsteps from another part of the cemetery and turned my eyes in the other direction, spotting a familiar young lady. I had seen her before, but there was something different about her now. The last time I had seen her, she looked as if she carried the burden of the world on her young shoulders; now, those shoulders were as light as the breeze that barely pushed against my dark gray hair. In the stead of her ever-present walking stick were two bouquets of flowers. She stopped before two graves, placing one bouquet at the foot of each tombstone. Folding her hands before her, she stood perfectly still as the wind picked up.

I let out a breath, continuing to watch her. Suddenly she turned her head, and saw me. She smiled faintly--she wasn't but a few yards away. Something else was different about her--the dark glasses she had always worn were gone. In their place was a set of gold-rimmed spectacles, which only accented her shining yellowy eyes. She raised her hand and waved slowly. I raised the first two fingers on my right hand in a lazy reply, then turned my focus back to the graves that I had come to visit. She too turned to pay her respects, and didn't see my smile. After that day, I would often see her visit those same two graves. One day, when she was not around, I decided to see who she was paying her respects to. The two tombstones read:

"R. I. P., Agitha (and Roland) Nostrum.

May your souls ascend to Heaven on the wings of angels.

May your child always be beautiful and loved in your eyes."

When I was sure that nobody was looking, I placed two extra roses at the head of each grave. Then I turned around to leave, silently vowing never to pervert justice again. At my feet, I saw violets beginning to bloom.

Years passed, and decades passed. The Heroes each went their own way in life, and one by one, slowly aged as they weathered through time. But many years after their travels, their stories lived on in the annals of literature and storytelling. And on a dark night, if the fire was right and the storyteller was in the right mood, people could still hear the tale about how eight extraordinary people defied reality and created a new legend and a new hope for future generations.

Even though the world continued to tell itself that it had grown out of such childish pastimes, it would still be guilty of uncovering old myths and legends, telling and retelling them to anybody that would listen. For in their own time, the Eight Heroes--Cassandra, Kristopher, Daria, Khartoum, Hawking, Major Lee, Hero, and Ivy--had made it possible for themselves to be known, now and forevermore, as legends.

The End

So, my dear reader, how did you like it? What parts tickled your fancy, and what parts truly made you think? Were you moved? Were you inspired? Were you entertained? What judgments do you have? What parts did you think were fact, and which were fantasy? If I have spurned, even the tiniest of sparks of wonder and awe within your mind, then I have done my job. So until another time, when I shall once again treat you to a tale of mystery, horror, love, and legend, I must bid you farewell.

Yours truly,

High Scholar Ivan Jasper Wrenwold

Paraph Library, Paraph Kingdom

This work is dedicated to my dear mother

And of course, to all those who still believe in legends.