Author’s Note: This concludes my story for NaNo 2011. The last four chapters are basically stream-of-consciousness writing, and I’m not especially happy with them, but I got it done. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride! My final wordcount is 50,007 words. The story didn’t end up nearly as good as I’d hoped (probably due to lack of planning on my part), and it has a lot of holes in it right now, but I like to think that it didn’t end up as badly as I feared it would, oh, say, a week ago. I do still like the overarching story, so maybe someday in a month or two once I recover, I’ll pick this back up and work on patching it into a version that is a lot better. If I do, I’ll let you know. For now, thanks for reading!
“GREEYAYARGGHHL!!” “GRRRARRRRGGG!!!” “PRRARGGHHHRRRRR!” Percival’s three young children let out roars as the sun rose above their homely cave deep in the Cedarbrook Mountains. The three trollings were angry, and they had good reason to be angry. They were children of a Dungeon Troll, after all, and what good Dungeon Troll isn’t angry in the mornings?
“No!” scolded Percival sharply. “Doing it wrong!”
He opened his mouth wide and let out a loud, earth-shattering roar to demonstrate: “GROOOARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!” His wife, a terrible great ugly beast named Dolores, looked on proudly. They had met five years ago after Percival left Castle Whitefall for good; he had made sure that the new pigs were being taken care of well, but he found himself longing to be back up in the mountains again, where (despite how uncomfortable his last trip had been) he felt at home. Plus, he had finally gotten fed up with carrying around the Duke’s crap every morning, and there were no prisoners to care for, so one day he just left, heading back for the mountains. A few months later, he met a pretty (at least, by troll standards) young Mountain Troll named Dolores, and the rest (as they say) is history.
They lived in a small cave in the mountains, which Percival took immaculate care of. He made sure that the level of dirt and grime was appropriate for a troll abode, and he’d even had some rats imported from the forests in the hills below the mountains! All was as it should be.
As for the rest of the Kingdom, things had returned to some level of peace. The new king, Tallys Bennion, after a bit of a rocky start, had found his confidence, and demonstrated a fairly cunning mind. After he enacted several new laws and trade regulations that were making the Kingdom quite prosperous, the people forgot all about his parentage and his awkward, uncomfortable youth, and he easily became the most popular King the Kingdom had known. He was not, however, a White King. At his coronation, he declared that the Kingdom would shed the legacy of his uncle, and would no longer be the White Kingdom; and neither would he be the White King. And so, for the first time in the nearly six hundred years since the Awakening, the Kingdom was ruled not by a White King, but the Red King.
The Chimerae had not been seen since the tournament of champions. Angry, and accusing the humans of cheating, Sub-nakht-re had left the grounds and gone far to the west, where news came back to the Kingdom from time to time that the Chimerae were rebuilding their society. Tired of the endless fighting and war that their race had known ever since their birth, they became monastic nomads, travelling endlessly seeking wisdom and peace. Or so the rumors said.
As for Castle Whitefall, it was slowly returned to its former grandeur. The Duke Edmond remarried after several years, a pretty young woman who bore him several children, and threw many grand balls (much to the delight of the townsfolk). The Tao fields around the Castle, utterly destroyed in the final battle of the White King, had been regrown, but it would be a number of more years before they were able to produce Tao at the level they had before this tale. The skin and flesh of the White Dragon rotted away, covering the area in a horrific stench for many months, until finally all that was left were the bones of the massive skeleton, scoured clean by the rough winds and cold winters. The skeleton was now just a playground for the children in the town of Whitefall when their mothers were not paying attention to them.
Idriys resumed his post as High Physician to the Red King, where he served dutifully for many long decades, before dying in his sleep of some infection in his bones. He had saved many people from Death during his life, and was instrumental in identifying and curing many diseases that swept through the Kingdom. He was given a royal funeral, and was buried in the house of Kings.
At Tao’lin University, a giant monument was erected to Professor Cameron, and many stopped through to pay their respects to the man, who perhaps in Death was able to find more happiness than he did in life. Many more students passed through the halls of the University, and they went on to become great scholars and Warlocks; the science and magic of Tao was more developed than it had ever been before. However, the strain of Tao developed by Josiah so many years ago was burned, and all instructions for the making of it destroyed. It would be several centuries before the recipe for its creation was again discovered.
Finally, Josiah Burroughs, the Eagle, was not heard from again. Some said that he journeyed out to the east, joining with the Chimerae in their quest for wisdom. Others said that he killed himself, overcome with grief from his past life of murder and crime, but no body was ever found. Still others said that he changed his name and his identity once again, and lived out the rest of his life in relative obscurity among the citizens of the Kingdom. However, Uthar Killion, in his biography The Eagle and the White King, put forth the hypothesis that Josiah Burroughs, after losing the tournament of champions, returned to his birthplace, and the place where his mother still roamed, Rook Island, the nesting ground of the grey penguins, to live out the rest of his days alone. No proof of this was ever found, but it makes a fitting end to the story of the Eagle.
None of this particularly mattered, however, to Percival, Dolores, and their three children: Rupert, Royston, and their young daughter Regina. They lived in peace in the Cedarbrook Mountains, and Percival entertained them all with hilarious re-enactments of the day he smashed the “stupid Evelyn-woman into teeny-tiny bitses.” They lived as all trolls should live: scaring wayward travellers, eating the wildlife, keeping the caves and dungeons in the Cedarbrook mountains suitably frightening, and above all else, practicing their angry roars: “GRROOOOARRRRGGGHHHH!!!”