The Beast was gone, dead or banished; over several days, the last of its spawn was hunted down and destroyed. They shattered the walls of the black city, and burnt the foul place to the ground, though it was clear the stain upon the Earth would never be washed away.

Aubrick found himself leader of the remaining men – with his companions all vanished down their own roads, he was the one the survivors called savior. Though he took no credit for their success, they forced it upon him nonetheless – and he led, because there was nothing else he could do, and he knew they needed strong leaders to rebuild their world.

He no longer had a home or a people, but they travelled south, to find the refugees and let them know the land was safe again. He regretted not having Rowen or Tailos at his side – not out of a need for a friend, but because they might know what magic could make the land alive again, could restore the desolation left in the wake of the war. The warmagi who had marched on the black city were of little help, though they promised to learn what they could.

All they had left was prayers, and what good were those with the gods fallen in the wind?

It would fall to Aubrick to restore civilization. To rebuild homes and cities and forge the survivors of a dozen fallen countries into a new culture, a new society, a new life.

It would not be an easy task. It was not one he wanted, though his titles were grand and his praises sung in days to come. But he knew it was a job he could do, and after all he had been through, that was what he needed. A task, to occupy his time and busy his mind. Turn him away from quests and companions and all that he had lost.

He would come to be the greatest king seen in all the long years of mankind, and under his rule a better people would rise from the ashes of the old world. He was wise, and just, and had the gift of foresight.

Many years later, he died beloved by his people, yet forever alone.