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Pitter patter.


As grey clouds darkened the sky, the soft sound of raindrops colliding with dirt and stone could be clearly heard throughout the cemetary. A dwarf kneels in front of a line of ornate tombstones, his hands clasped together in prayer. The dwarf's once wild, untamed black beard is now tinged with streaks of gray, and braided with metal rings decorated by various gemstones and dwarven runes. Across his shoulders he wears a flowing violet cape, dampened by the drizzle, the end of which layed folded in the crook of his bent legs. Opening his beady eyes, sunken in and dulled with age, he stands and bows his head, mud still clinging to his armored knees.


Footsteps coming from behind him cause him to turn, and he gives the approaching person a melancholy smile and a small wave. The elf returns the wave, stepping beside the dwarf without a word. Not looking a day over twenty years of age, the elf's black hair lay flat on her head, dripping water slowly. Her full plate armor made metallic, hollow plinks as the rain impacted it, providing an additional insrument to the symphony of dreariness whose music filled the air on that bleak afternoon. "Hey." said the dwarf, in a tone that displayed his happiness to see her, despite the solemn circumstances under which they were meeting. "The gang's all here."


Biting her lip, the elf nods, trying to force a smile, however small, onto her face. "How long has it been, Kraven?" she asks, looking down at the dwarf.

"Far too long... it's good to see you again, Naiya" he replies, giving his old friend a big hug. They keep this embrace for a short while, and then look to headstones standing before them. "It seems like only yesterday when we all met in that tavern... Hard to believe that 160 years have passed since then..." he mutters, tears welling up in his eyes. "I never thought about what kind of curse longevity gives us..."

Naiya nods in agreement, knowing this feeling all too well. "It's like watching a handful of sand slip through your fingers" she replies.

Kraven sighs joylessly as tear drops begin to gently roll down his wrinkled cheeks. He looks at his left hand, heavily decorated with gleaming gold and platinum rings, some adorned with various gems. One by one, he pulls them off until only six remain on his fingers. He tosses the rest into a pouch on his hip without a moment's hesitation, not breaking his gaze on his hand; while the other rings might have some monetary value, they were worth nothing compared to the ones still on his fingers.


Each plain, unadorned band was made of dull silver, with two letters scratched hastily into the topmost face of each one. Gingerly, as if he were accepting a newborn into his hands, he pulls off each ring and holds them in his palm. The skin underneath the rings looked ghostly pale in comparison to any other part of his fingers, a testament to the century and a half in which they hadn't been removed.

Handing the one inscribed "NA" to Naiya, he steps forward, placing the rings on miniature offering trays which jutted from each stone and speaking the names of the souls for which he had made them. "Aknier... Ascha... Helmut... Lyn... Theroian... I made these rings for you to keep you safe, to protect you from any harm which might befall you... Yet I find myself standing here, unable to help you in any way... So, to you, I give these rings... Perhaps they'll be able to protect you in death as I could not in life..."


Tears begin to stream down his face as he places Theroian's ring and steps backwards, taking Naiya's hand to console himself. "My fellow adventurers... My allies... My friends... you were the bravest, kindest, strongest, and most noble people I ever knew. You accepted and took care of me. If I ever was in trouble and needed help, I could count on you to get my back. I miss each and every one of you every single day... But at least you're in a better place now."

Through his tear-filled eyes, he looks up at Naiya, and notices her biting her lip, though tears continue to well up in her eyes. Trying to be strong, even at a time like this... Kraven brings his hand to his forehead in a salute, Naiya joining him a few moments later. Fighting through his tears, he speaks once more.


"Rest in peace."

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