Despite what Selene thinks, I didn’t die. At least I don’t think I did. I will organize my memories of that time here lest it drift away like a dream long since passed, leaving only the vaguest of memories.
The vampire brothers were laying waste to us. The had captured Taryn’s mind and were using her against us. Fenn had trapped Taryn in a wall of force for our protection, but his offensive magic had otherwise been nullified by Rasputin’s counterspells. Selene and Koyo were going toe to toe with the vampires, when Koyo attempted to disengage. I had made my way to the World Engine and was trying to disable it.
Twice Rasputin tried to disintegrate me. I could feel my flesh trying to come apart but I willed my body to remain collated. Koyo tried to make it to me when her tiny, bloody body finally dropped between me and one of the vampire brothers.
I flew into a rage. I could feel the fey power of the First World well up inside of me and I assumed the glorious shape of a chimera, the great and wonderous beast, an act of worship to Magdh, goddess of paradox. I roared from atop the World Engine and the vampire lunged at me.
When you can’t hear, your other senses become heightened. I could smell the faint odor of death and old blood from the vampires amid the ozone from the World Engines arcing energy crackles. Time seemed almost to stand still as I prepared to unleash my righteous fury on the vampiric fiend. Selene was trading blows with another vampire, Taryn hammered her swords against the force bubble she was trapped in like a rabid dog, Fenn threw a ball of fire at the third vampire that had transformed into a swarm of bats after being blinded by Koyo, and Koyo lay dying 20 feet from me.
Then the world started to collapse. Before I could unload on the vampire before me, Rasputin struck me a third time with destructive energies and I could no longer hold myself together. My form seemed to become malleable and I could see my shoulder and one of my chimeric heads turn to dust. Everything went black.
For the briefest of moments I recall seeing Nesteruk. He walked out of the darkness like a passing stranger on a misty highway. He spoke but his words I cannot remember. He placed something in my right hand before disappearing back into the void around me.
Then light began to break around the edges of what had become my reality. Purple bolts of arcane energies splintered the darkness which seemed literally to retreat into my body as the light grew and consumed it. A silent concussive force rocked my body as the last of the darkness escaped the light and fused with me. The unopposed purple light was so bright that even closing my eyes couldn’t stop it from blinding me.
I felt a familiar weight on my left shoulder. “His shadow and flesh are a perfect union which cannot be undone. The Twilight Prince has returned. Behold. Darkness rises.” It was Seph speaking into my mind.
As the veil was lifted from my eyes, I could see my friends had won the battle. Seph informed me of what had transpired after Rasputin had seemingly destroyed my body utterly. He had stayed with Fenn and used my wand to heal his wounds enough to keep him in the fight. Taryn had broken free of her enchantment at the sight of her comrades falling and helped turn the tide finally killing Rasputin. Seph again acted in my stead and completed my work by disabling the World Engine. In doing so, he had discharged a torrent of energy followed by a coalescing of the darkness that pervaded the room. It was from this that I emerged.
The shock of it all left me stunned for several minutes. Imagine remembering the moment of your birth. There was darkness, then suddenly light. I was somehow alive yet not in that limbo. Where had I gone?
I looked down at my right hand to see what Nesteruk had given me and saw that it was a carved wooden block painted to look like Baba Yaga. My eyes finally glimpsed Koyo, still lying lifeless on the floor, and I looked back at the sculpture in my hand. Was it worth it? For this? I felt like smashing it on the floor, but was interrupted by Selene who blessed me with her healing hands (in part probably to make sure I wasn’t some kind of figment or phantasm).
I scooped Koyo up in my arms. She was braver than I ever would be. She spent years alone and far from home on Triaxus before we found her. She was looking for a way back to Golarion and was willing to aide our quest to get there. When I finally had the power to bring her home, she refused as she felt she owed it to us to see us through to the end. If you had ever met Koyo, you’d understand how hard it was to argue with her. Now she would never get a chance to do that.
But she still had a second chance to go home. By the time you read this, Koyo, you will be back on Golarion and we will be on what I hope is the final leg of our journey. Since I knew I could never convince you to part from us, I apologize for never saying goodbye. Fenn and I plane shifted and teleported back to Golarion with you where we returned you to life in the same manner by which I had resurrected Fenn. I leave you with this journal. Between its account and your living testimony, our story may yet go on, even if we should never see each other again. I will miss you, my dear friend. May we someday meet across the stars once more.