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Paragon Forgotten Chapter 32

On Ethereal Realms -

Everlasting Earth: paradise. Home of the Aspect Gods. Where all mortals go after they die. 

Underrealm: damnation. Home of the Undergod. Murderers go here after they die.

Nethers: a graveyard for immortals


Neleci. Thaen. Father.

Like a cadence, he danced to them.

Cohthel stared at the wall. Breathing. In. Out. In. Laying naked on the battlefield of emotions where the vultures of Father, Thaen, and Neleci picked him clean. They didn’t come spread out, giving him time to deal with each of them personally. They came at the same time, rip, rip, ripping him open.

They lurked outside his bedroom door. He’d open it and see the hallway Father built and Thaen traversed a hundred times. He’d close the door again and see the place where he stood when Neleci drew Thaen’s name and kissed Cohthel instead.

Nowhere safe from the vultures tearing at him with little bleeding rip rip rips to empty him until nothing remained but an animated husk of oblivion.

“I’m sorry,” he told Torc Thoraus that morning after he woke with frostbite on his cheek where Thaen left him in the grass, beside the murdered Ranger Bladehand. As if he’d split open the ranger instead of Father. As if he enabled Father to outrun his captors.

They planned to capture Father and bring him to Torc Thoraus who would negotiate Father’s life in exchange for information on the Dreamer. With both Father and information gone now, Cohthel shouldered the responsibility, stood before Torc Thoraus as if standing before the executioner in Father’s place.

Cohthel could tell the torc nothing more. Not that the torc wanted to hear it anyway while he drafted a condolence letter to the family of the murdered ranger.

Now Cohthel remained sealed in his room, numb, hollering through his bedroom door, “I haven’t seen him since the day after the caravan arrived!” at Mother who’s muffled voice said Thaen’s parents had come over inquiring about their absent son.

Markie knocked on his door. “Cohthel?”

Cohthel did not respond.

He knocked again. “Cohthel.”


The next minute brought Markie to Cohthel’s bedroom window. Cohthel had neglected to lock it and retained no energy to rush to it now. Markie slid the pane open and climbed inside. He sat next to Cohthel on his bed, but far enough away Cohthel would have to make intentional effort to touch him.

Markie held vigil next to Cohthel, neither speaking. Neither moving. Cohthel didn’t look at him, because Markie wasn’t there. Instead, if Cohthel looked, he’d see instead a fence line, a glowing R’th rock, or a map. Cohthel didn’t know which one he needed right now, so he took comfort in all three, clinging to them as lifelines while Rodrue’s last words revolved around and around his fear.

Rodrue said death was better than denying your self-worth. Cohthel didn’t know what that meant. Not until two days later when he found the explanation under his bed.

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