The General lay in his bed, the breeze from the open window rustling the silk canopies. His breathing was labored, and skin shone with sweat. He had taken his search to the depths of hell and beyond and faced off against countless fell beings along the way. He’d consumed foul magical elixirs to give him the strength to tear asunder the Abyss and bring back that which he had lost.
In the end, it was the dark magics and elixirs that finally pushed his mortal body past all limits, leaving him broken and chained to his bed as an invalid, his son and castellan carefully concealing his weakness to the others – but it didn’t matter any longer.
“What do I leave behind?” he asked, his voice being the only part of him that still had strength.
Ralben, in a chair across the room, opened his eyes and stretched silently.
“Quite a loud and colorful mark on history, I imagine,” he replied.
“My children have left the nest, my brothers and sisters scattered to the winds, and my love lost to me….”
“That about sums it up, yes.”
“So what, I ask again, do I leave behind?”
“A world without Her. A world She can never, ever touch again. And, of course, that…” at which Ralben waved his hand at the rows of shelves laden with tomes old and new. “You’ve managed to put together nearly all five-thousand years of the history of the Company. You’ve told your story – it’s only natural that it should end.”
“What will happen to them?”
“I’ll keep them,” replied the old castellan, “as I have since the first word was written in the first book of Mengst. They will be safe, as well as available for any who would read them.”
“Who are you Ralben…what’s your real name?”
“An age ago, I was called Arogho.”
The General broke into a hearty laugh then, which progressed into a painful wracking cough. When it had passed, he looked back to the man with a severe look.
“Care for my legacy, Wizard,” he commanded in a strong tone.
“As long as I draw breath, Warlord,” the other replied with a slight bow.
He took a long look at his bare feet sticking up from the blankets at the end of the bed, an odd look of wonder and curiosity on his face. He looked around the room, found his boots set beside the armoire, looked back to his bare feet, snorted slightly, grinned a devilish grin, and closed his eyes.
And thus, the General Debinani Rahl, Last Warlord of the Free Companies of Khevoran, found peace.
Well folks, the time is finally here. After careful consideration with the leadership, it’s been concluded that the Society in the form it’s really meant to be in is simply unsustainable on Catskills. As of now, The Ultima Online branch of The Black Rose Society is officially disbanded.
We’ve had a great 7-year run, and I for one am immensely grateful for the time and friendships that have been made along the way.
So don’t be a stranger! Remember many of us loiter about in irc all day in channel #BRS at irc.stratics.com, and we’re always trying out new BRS projects in other games (the current one that looks like it’ll be long-term is in Star Wars: Galaxies – Kettemoor server).
Also, it’s been proposed that we get the Annals edited properly and published in book form from Cafepress. If there are any volunteers willing to do a little editing work, please give a shout. If it happens, I’ll make sure that as many people as I can inform are informed.
If anyone is expecting to remain on Catskills, I will bequeath any assets I have to any current Society member. The offer will be open for three weeks, at which point all of my personal game assets will be liquidated.
From my heart, thank you all for the great times.