Devyn’s Final Breath
Devyn coughed as he inhaled the dust and debris that permeated the air from the battle that raged all around him. He lay prone on the battlefield, too weak to move and slowly bleeding out from the multiple wounds that peppered his body. He knew this was the end for him. He could feel the life slowly draining from his body, and while he did not necessarily fear death, he had never imagined that he would find his end on this cold and desolate plane. His greatest regret was failing his friends, and his final wish was that they and the fleeing arakkoa would reach safety before the line of defense was broken. Tears fell from Devyn’s eyes, rolling down his cheek and settling in the dry dirt beneath his face. With the last of his quickly fading energy, Devyn attempted to turn his face to assess the progress of the migration through the portal, but impending death had made even this simple act impossible. His strength had failed and his time had come; however, the magic and energy that smoldered within him continued to churn and resonate, oscillating to an almost fevered pitch.
Devyn’s vision began to blur and fade. He was no longer able to form any coherent thoughts; however, memories of his life raced through his dying mind like a stampede. And in the background, like the rhythmic crashing of waves, the magic within him thrummed, growing more intense with each cycle.
He felt the joy and excitement from the day he first met Jaydon; he reveled in love when they had shared their first kiss, and he wallowed in overwhelming sorrow upon learning that his father had arranged his murder.
He also saw his new friends, the friends that had taught him to move passed his despair and desire for vengeance, teaching him to live again. He saw tiny Alvyn whose gentle kindness and genuine compassion had taught Devyn to protect those who needed it most.
He saw eccentric Robbie whose unpredictable nature had solved many problems through ingenuity and instinct, and whose death had left a lasting scar on Devyn that had never truly healed.
And, he saw Bort. The gruff dragonborn had interfered with many of Devyn’s romantic attempts; however, despite the adversarial way that Bort had interacted with Devyn, there had been a subtle underlying tenderness in his actions that Devyn had always cherished.
And, finally, there was a memory that had been the single most important event of Devyn’s life. Devyn saw the day that he had sought vengeance on his father, and his powers had awakened, exploding in a conflagration of light and fire that had almost incinerated his father’s study.
Devyn’s breath began to grow ragged under the auspices of his most important memories. As his chest stilled and his eyes glazed to the sightless gaze of death, the magic within him continued to burn more intensely as though it wailed in despair that the culmination of Devyn’s full potential had never been realized.
Devyn wandered alone in the darkness, confused and uncertain. He felt as though he needed to go somewhere, but he could not find his way in the darkness. He knew he was dead, and he could feel his spirit being beckoned by a warm familiar presence. But the cold and lonely nothingness that engulfed everything prevented him from finding that harbor of safety that called to him. Furthermore, the magic within him continued to beg for release, growing more intense with each moment. But something about this plane was holding it back, as though he was cut off from his natural state. As he continued to wander, he became increasingly panicked and frantic, terrified that he would spend eternity trapped in this formless abyss. Suddenly, when it appeared that all hope was lost, he felt a warm and loving hand grasp his and lead him gently forward. Looking down, he could see that he was grasping nothing, but he could feel it. The touch of this hand was enough to quell Devyn’s fear and anxiety, and he allowed himself to be led unquestioningly to a portal of glowing light.
As he entered the portal, he felt as though his spirit began to race through a streaming tunnel of glowing energy. The magic of the portal seemed to tear at him, exciting and accelerating the magic already singing loudly within his soul. Finally, as the fire within him reached its long awaited crescendo, radiant light burst forth from him, searing him to his core. The dull shell had finally been burned away, and his true self now shone like the sun, an embodiment of light and fire. As he approached the light that signaled the exit to the magical corridor between worlds, he was surprised to see that his path was about to intersect with another. As the two streams crossed, time seemed to slow, and Bort floated before him. Devyn did not understand how this was possible; perhaps the hand leading him had brought him to Bort, or perhaps it was a gift from the gods. Regardless, it gave him an opportunity to say a final farewell to his friends.
Devyn locked eyes with Bort. Given his recent transformation, Devyn had no idea how he appeared to the dragonborn, and he was unable to determine if there was any recognition on his scaly face. Devyn said, “Bort, it’s me, Devyn.” To his surprise, he was speaking in Celestial. Perhaps due to the trauma of death or his recent transformation, he was a bit disoriented and speaking in Celestial just seemed more natural. Despite his best efforts, he could not form words in the Common tongue. Undeterred, he pressed on, hoping that somehow Bort would understand him.
“I get it now, and I’m ok. I let my anger and hate rule me for so long, and it was destroying me. But, because of you…and Alvyn and Robbie…you saved me. You showed me how to live again. I think without you, my hate would have consumed me. But now, because of the good you brought out in me, I think I’m finally who I was meant to be.”
He continued to study Bort’s face, but there was still no indication that he understood anything he said. To be fair, though, a look of incomprehension was not a look foreign to Bort. Devyn pressed on, as he could feel that his time was waning.
“Don’t be sad for me. I think I’ll finally be able to find the happiness and peace I’ve wanted for so long. Tell Alvyn…that I’ll miss him…and that I know he’ll do great things. He’s stronger then he knows. I’ve always seen it, and I hope that one day he’ll see it too. And you, Bort…”
Devyn reached out his hand and placed it on Bort’s cheek, the light radiating from it bathing his face in a warm glow. “I’ll miss you too, perhaps more than I should admit. As much as you fight it, I see a goodness in you, a desire to help others that you try to suppress. Let it out, Bort. Allow yourself to do the good I know you are meant to.”
He suddenly felt a huge pang of sadness and regret. “I’m sorry…sorry that I failed you and Alvyn…Sorry that I’m leaving so much for you to do. But…but even if I’m not there with you…physically, I mean…know that I’m still with you…I’ll always be with you…”
Suddenly, time began to return to normal, and slowly, he felt a force pulling at him, drawing his hand away from Bort’s cheek. As he and Bort were drawn away from each other, he said, “Good bye, Bort. I’ll tell Robbie you said hi.” Devyn began to accelerate again through the magical conduit, but he knew that, unlike Bort, he would not arrive back in the Dessarin Valley. He began to see a light at the end of the tunnel; however, he had no idea where this path was leading him. He felt a sense of joy and relief as he saw a figure waiting to greet him, an elegantly dressed elven woman. As he emerged from the portal to stand before her, he suddenly realized that he could now see as well as feel the hand that had been guiding him. Jaydon stood before him, squeezing his hand a bit tighter now that he realized Devyn could see him. Devyn embraced them both, feeling a joy and peace he had not felt his whole life. He was finally home.