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So, these guys really liked Herbie, to say the least. Which meant they had great taste, as far as I was concerned. I told the story again, several more times while walking through the crowd with him held out, so they could all see the rock that had stripped Fossor’s power away from him. They all wanted to have a chance to touch the little guy, but they were incredibly gentle, and almost reverent, as they did so. No, there was no almost about it. They were absolutely reverent. They barely brushed their fingers along my handsome rock, whispering amongst themselves about how important he was. He was the object who had saved them. Yes, I had killed Fossor. But Herbie made it possible. And more than that, Herbie had literally saved these people. They were alive because this little rock had broken Fossor’s connection to them. Each and every one of them knew that, and wanted to see the rock for themselves.
Oh and they thanked me too, and Mom, of course. They thanked all of us, repeatedly. But really, Herbie was the star of the show, exactly as it should have been. Also, to be perfectly honest, I was pretty sure they were in awe at the idea that they were touching a rock from another world. And honestly, I understood that too. It was easy for me to overlook how amazing this entire situation, traveling to other planets like this, was after everything I had been through. But seriously, it was incredible. And these people, even discounting all the Fossor stuff, were living in what amounted to a just slightly better than a medieval-level technology level world. They had known about other planets, but they weren’t allowed to actually know them, see them, develop their own technology any further, or anything like that. Fossor had intentionally kept them at this level, had forced them to be slaves in basically every possible way. Whenever one of them started to develop better ideas, he stamped it out, took them away to work for him or just killed them as an example for everyone else to toe the line. And from what I’d heard, that included anyone who expressed too much interest in the stars or other worlds. They learned to keep their heads down and simply exist with their lives, the lives of everyone on this world, being fuel for that bastard’s magic and power.
But no more, that was over now. The piece of shit was dead. And these people could move on. They could actually start developing their world, their society, everything. I couldn’t wait to see what they actually did with it, with themselves. Was that what it was like to be a parent and want to see what your child grew up to be? Only this was with an entire world. A whole planet’s population, all of whom knew even better than my mother and I did about what it was like being under Fossor’s thumb and forced to play his fucking games.
I wasn’t the only one retelling the story either. Around me, I could hear the others being asked questions. These people wanted to know every last detail of the whole fight and everything that had led up to it. It made me wonder how hard it would be for us to share our memories of the event. If we could let all of these people, everyone in the world, see the moment that Fossor died, from every possible point of view, would that help them move on faster? Would it get rid of any lingering doubts they might’ve had about his death? It was something to think about, and we even had Sariel here to help with that.
Yeah, once it was clear that these people were okay with our presence, to put it mildly, the others came in as well. We introduced everyone, and now the people of the city had even more points of view to get stories from. Eventually, I found myself standing out of the way, watching everyone else talk to these people throughout the courtyard and the streets beyond. There were scattered groups everywhere, listening intently to every word my companions said. Glancing to the side, I saw that girl, Beilela, standing there. She was staring at me and I stepped that way. “Do you mind if I ask why that guy called you ‘The One Who Said No?’”
She visibly blushed and tried to shake it off. “It’s nothing, really. I just got tired of doing everything that monster wanted. I mean, we were all tired of it, but I guess I decided I’d rather die than do it anymore.” Her voice was soft, and she seemed to scrunch in on herself a little bit. “I’m not the first one, other people said no sometimes. And then they died. It was just… seeing all the bells ringing, seeing everything that was happening, it made me think there was hope for a second. But then they said, even if you killed him, whoever was fighting him, I mean, he’d kill all of us first. That made me realize there was no hope for us at all. Nothing we could do.”
She went silent for a moment, her face twisting a bit. “Almost nothing, anyway. The only thing we could do was choose whether to live under his foot, or refuse and die, so I did. I chose. I said no. I thought I was going to die. I thought he’d kill me for that, or make it even worse. But I said no anyway. And then he didn’t kill me.”
Her eyes looked up to find mine once more, an incredibly powerful, if unstated emotion behind that gaze. “You killed him instead.”
Swallowing, I held up my rock. “I did, but Herbie’s the reason he wasn’t able to kill any more of your people. He helped cut off Fossor’s power.”
She looked at the rock, then reached out to touch it gently while looking at me again. “Thank you. All of you. You have no idea what this actually means to my people. No idea how much you’ve done for us.”
Managing a slight smile, I reached out to squeeze her shoulder. “I think I have a very small idea. Believe me, my mother and I know what sort of evil he was capable of. At least, in the short term. I can’t even imagine living in a society that he built over all these years.”
The two of us stood there for a moment before I saw various conversations starting to wind down a little bit. People were starting to talk about preparing a feast. A couple even seem to reflexively say they had to save their food for when he came back for his own feast, but quickly silenced themselves with realization. A realization which came with assorted smiles. It was like every time they had occasion to forget that the monster was dead, they got to be happy all over again when they remembered.
But before the talk about eating could go too far, I excused myself from Beilela and quickly walked back to the front. My mother was there, and I leaned up to whisper something in her ear. She smiled and nodded immediately, then magically raised her voice to get everyone’s attention. The scattered groups returned, and were staring up at us once more. Mom put her hand on my shoulder and nodded for me to go ahead.
So, I took a breath and spoke inwardly. Are you ready for this?
Not really, came the soft, silent response. I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be a part of any of this.
Yes you should, I insisted. It’s your choice, I promise. But you absolutely should be here. The people should know you.
There was another moment of hesitation before I felt her uncertain agreement. So, I started to speak aloud once more. “You all heard about what happened with Fossor. You heard about how we stripped his power and killed him.” There was an assortment of cheers from the crowd, even if they still looked around reflexively as though still half-expecting to be punished for celebrating that piece of shit’s death. It was going to take time to get them accustomed to the idea that he would never be punishing them again.
Shaking that off, I continued. “But it wasn’t just us. We couldn’t have done any of this without the help of someone who was even hurt by him even more than any of us.” Focusing, I held my hand out and summoned Rahanvael. That sent a few scattered gasps through the crowd, but I had made sure to mention in my story that one of the reasons Fossor had taken me was because he wanted to teach me necromancy. So, it wasn’t a total and complete shock. I had not told them that I literally absorbed his power just yet. I wasn’t sure how they would take that or how superstitious they would be. The time would come later for that sort of conversation.
Right now, I just summoned the girl’s ghost and held my hand out to indicate her. “None of you know this girl. Her name is Rahanvael. She was Fossor’s very first victim. She was also his sister.”
I let that little bomb go off through the crowd and waited a moment for them to react. Then I told the story about what had actually happened all those years earlier. I’d heard it enough times from the girl herself while trying to think of a way to beat that monster that I could recite it from memory. I told them about his family’s trip to that temple to say goodbye to their mother’s ghost, about how Fossor had demonstrated his power for the first time, and about how their father had shut him down. Then I told them about what happened years after that when he tried to make his sister immortal by killing her and putting her ghost back in her body. I told them about his father attacking him when he saw what Fossor had done, about the boy going to prison for it, and how he had escaped.
I told them everything, the full and true story about the origin of the man who had forced them to see him as a god. I told them everything so they would understand just how mortal he had actually been. I wanted them to see him as a person with a strong power, not a god. And throughout that, I told them the true story of Rahanvael, his sister. I told them about how she had been tied to him after her death, and had hidden from him. I told them about how she had come to me, about how much she had contributed to his eventual death, to the point of helping to hold him in place for those final couple of blows.
When I was finally done, everyone was silent. The girl in question flinched and shuffled her feet a little bit before looking up to quietly say she was sorry. But the words had barely begun to emerge from her mouth when one of the priests stepped forward. “Your name is Rahanvael, and you have come from the time before him. Does that mean that you remember?” He hesitated before clarifying. “Does it mean that you remember the world as it was before he was here?”
After a brief pause, the ghost girl nodded slowly. “I–yes, I still remember what the old world was like.”
Her answer sent even more hurried whispers throughout the crowd. The priest let that go on for a moment before holding his hand up for silence. His eyes, and the eyes of everyone else in the town, were focused on her as he voiced their real question, the question all of them had. “Would you please tell us about it? Would you tell us what our world was before he took over? He destroyed all records, killed everyone who could have passed the story on. He destroyed our entire history, all of it aside from the duty of serving him. We know nothing about who we were, or where we came from.”
Oh, boy, were there some wild answers to that. We had the story of their world. The girl could tell them a lot about it, of course. That was the more important story for their culture and history. But there was also the story of how they had actually come to be here, and who their… sort of cousin type people were? I wasn’t sure what the right term for the modern day Seosten would be. They both came from the same origin, but the Seosten we knew were completely different from these people. They had altered themselves so much over the millennia that I wasn’t exactly sure how much they still had in common, genetically-speaking. But whatever the answer to that, they still came from the same place. They deserved to know the full truth.
Obviously, we would have to get into that as well over time. There were a lot of things we were going to have to take care of and help these people with before we left. But I was just happy that we could have that chance.
Rahanvael, for her part, only hesitated for a second, and I could feel the rush of emotions that ran through her before she nodded. “Of course. I’ll tell you anything you want to know about the old world.”
That clearly made everyone happy, and I saw a tiny smile across the girl’s face. She had really been expecting them to project all their hate and anger onto her because she was Fossor’s sister. But I was relatively certain that, if absolutely anyone in this universe would understand what it was like to be under his control, and not have any say in it, to be subject and part of the atrocities he committed without actually wanting to be, it was these people.
Obviously, there would be those who disagreed and might turn the fear of that man onto her. But they wouldn’t be the majority. And it would take a while. For now, I was just glad that she would have the ability to tell her own people the true story of their world. Even then, some of them came forward to ask her questions about what happened with him. They’d gotten the story from me, my mother, and everyone else here, now they wanted to hear it from his own sister. She looked surprised that they wanted to talk to her, but I gave a little nod of encouragement while pushing a bit more power into her, so she could speak louder and glow a bit brighter. She deserved to be able to hold everyone’s attention. Not that it looked like she actually needed any help with that, considering the way the whole city was staring at her and hanging on her every word. But still.
Watching that go on for a moment, I took a few steps back so the people could focus on her. Soon, I found myself standing next to my parents. Dad’s hand ruffled my hair as he beamed at the sight of all those people. “You did good,” he murmured. “Both of you.”
“We all did,” I insisted, reaching up to grab his hand with both of mine while leaning against my mother. “Now we just have to help these people move on.
“And let that piece of shit vanish into the void where he belongs.”
In the end, Sariel did, in fact, help us take our memories of Fossor’s death, copy them into these crystals she created, and made it so anyone who wanted to could touch the crystal and get what amounted to a download of those memories. It took awhile, but she made enough for every city on the planet to have a full set.
Yeah, every city. We spent the next couple weeks traveling around, visiting everyone we could and going through basically the same thing we had in that first one. Well, all of us aside from Robin, Judas, and Stasia, anyway. They stayed in that first village, working to find their own quarry. That Tuuenfa guy knew Rasputin, as promised. But the area that Rasputin was in was quite a bit larger than expected, to the tune of thousands of miles of wilderness. They were working to narrow it down.
As for the rest of us, we went to city after city, usually several in a single day. Some cities were close to others, so we were able to visit one of them and have the populations from three or four show up, which sped things along a bit. But still, it took a lot of time and a lot of repetition. Not that we minded. I was pretty sure I’d never get tired of talking about Fossor’s death. Especially with these people.
Each time, we made sure they got the whole story about what had happened, were able to take those crystal memories and knew how to use them, all of it. They also kept wanting to give us food and other gifts, which we politely accepted the former and mostly insisted they keep the latter to rebuild, though we agreed to take some of the gifts if it looked like something they could easily reproduce without losing too much. But anything that was precious to their world like metals and gems they would need, we wouldn’t take. Rebuilding their entire society was already going to take enough as it was.
The other thing we did in each city was give them a set of communication devices they could use to talk to every other city on the planet. It was essentially what amounted to a computer with a camera and video chat set up, with a power source that would keep it going for decades. Athena had made it clear that she was going to keep coming back here to set them up with more things and help them learn how to run it all as they were given a fast track into the sort of technology level they deserved to have after all this time. But she also wanted to be careful not to dominate everything for them. The choices of how to develop the world was going to be up to these people, not us. But she was absolutely going to do everything she could to protect them, especially after hearing the true story about where they came from.
That was another thing we were going to have to get into with them soon enough, along with the whole concept of there being a bunch of Revenants locked up somewhere underground. Another thing that we needed to do something about too.
But for the moment, we were just taking it one step at a time. And right now, the current step included my parents, Sariel, Tabbris, and me standing in the house belonging to the town priests in that first city we’d visited. Beilela was there too, standing in the corner while all of us watched the large monitor we’d installed. It took up the entire wall, and was divided into dozens of smaller screens with a face on each of them. The faces of elders from the other cities. They were all having their first real meeting ‘face to face,’ such as it was. Obviously, they were a bit overwhelmed by the concept of being able to talk to and see each other like this, but not as much as an actual renaissance or medieval village would have been. They knew this stuff existed thanks to Fossor using it. They were just shocked that they could.
Rahanvael was here too, because they wanted to talk to her. When she came into view, every person on the screens, all those priests and elders, stared at her, making the girl flush visibly despite being a ghost.
“You are Fossor’s sister,” Tuuenfa announced, speaking for everyone else since he was physically present. The other priests in all those other cities murmured a little.
“Yes,” the ghost girl confirmed with a wince. “If you’d like me to leave–”
“No,” Tuuenfa interrupted. “We wish to speak about our… world’s name, given Fossor ordered us to be known simply as… his world.”
Looking taken aback and horrified by her own mistake, the ghost immediately blurted, “Oh, I’m sorry. I can’t believe I never told you. I never–of course, this world was called–”
Once again, Tuuenfa interrupted. “Please, wait. There will come a time for us to know the name of the world that was. But that is not our world anymore. Fossor destroyed it, and we cannot be them. We must move on and create our own world, one which is not bound to that which came before. We must learn from that world, and from what we were under Fossor, to become our own people. But we must also never forget our ties to that land. We were once known as Fossor’s world, Fossor’s people. But no more. From now on, we tie ourselves to the last remaining piece of the world that once was, she who is here with us now.”
Realizing what he was saying, both the ghost girl beside me and I gave twin gasps. I found my voice first. “You mean…”
“Yes,” came the calm, yet powerful response.
“From this day forward, this world will be known… as Rahanvael.”
There we go, now that world has a new name everyone can use instead of calling it Fossor’s World! And it turns out Rahanvael (the person) is sticking around to help the people learn about where they come from. That’ll be good for her. And what’ll be good for this story is if you go ahead and boost it on Top Web Fiction by clicking right here! Thanks for that and for reading, and your tags are: And So In The End Fossor Truly Succeeded At Making His Sister Immortal., Beilela Tren, Felicity Chambers, Flick, Herbie, Joselyn Chambers, Larifke, Lincoln Chambers, Rahanvael, Sariel, The World Was This Close To Being Named Herbie, Tuuenfa
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Sorry guys, wrong title on the chapter at first. It’s fixed now.
Well, if there are any moons around the planet, they can rename one of the Herbie at least.
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I was thinking capital city myself.
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I was thinking the Spaceport. Since Herbie brought them to the age of reaching for the stars.
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Herbie can totally be a moon!
And So In The End Fossor Truly Succeeded At Making His Sister Immortal.
No. No. No. He does not get a victory. Shut up.
Also, she thought they would hate her for her connection to him, but they went and named the planet after her. Definitely not the expected reception.
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That’s very fair, I just couldn’t resist pointing it out. And definitely not what she expected, no. She deserves it though.
Fossor: I liked it better with the name it had previously!
Rahanvael: *transcends the laws of Heaven and Hell to slap him upside the head*
Fossor: AH! Wait! Teach me how to do that!
Rahanvael: *goes back to the living world*
Fossor: You don’t understand! I need to get out of here! Those fuckers in Heaven just won’t stop! 😡
Tribald Kline: *starts up the karaoke machine* Let’s see how well I do 🙂
Kushiel: *sprints for the exit to the living world in ghost form, having only come down here to get her Megamind DVDs*
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Those are very important to have, of course