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Destiny, or the echoes of Fate

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From the moment she meets Lord Nasher, she can feel it. She has sensed it, almost abstractly, before; but after that encounter, it is inescapable. She ghosts in the footsteps of another. A different hero from an different time, but one, she is sure; sure like she has been about almost nothing else, an unreasoning, evidenceless, absolute certainty, that has the same face as she. She does not know how this could be. Surely, the Hero of Neverwinter; somehow, instinctively she know that is it this one, this hero that she resembles, the Hero that saved Neverwinter from the plague all those years ago, the one from the Luskan War, the one that had been connected with the traitor Aribeth, could have no relation to her.

Despite this seeming impossibility, she sees it the moment the Lord of Neverwinter lays eyes on her. From then on, the weight of her destiny, one she has felt all her life, until she does not know what a life of freedom from that burden, freedom for an inescapable sense of ultimate duty would feel like, seems to be doubled. The very air of the city seems to wrap around and smother her. Or perhaps, she thinks, it is not the air, but this expectation, these ghosts that she cannot strike at, even with an enchanted blade, the ghosts she cannot chase away. Even as she stalks quietly around the city in the dark; she is always restless, come night-time, and the elfish lack of need for sleep does not help - she almost feels as though she is retracing someone else's footsteps, wandering along old paths that have been visited by another's feet.

Not for the first time; she has considered this before, but not so seriously, it has never mattered, she wonders where she is from, and who exactly her forebears were. She knows that Lord Nasher was shocked by her face. She knows that he does not see her, but instead another, removed by time, war and countless regrets. Her father, foster father she corrects, has never spoken of her mother or her parentage, save once. That once only raised more questions for her, especially now. Being told that one shares nothing in common with one's mother except race, and now this certainty that she has another's face, she does not know what to think anymore.

Her eyes shut in pain. This feeling; almost one of doom; did not something ill happen to that Hero, she recalls something about leaving the city, running away, slipping from the gates in the dead of the night, an escape, weighs heavy on her already overburdened shoulders. She is haunted. Haunted by this past ghost that others have gifted her with. Even now, trapped by their memories, and not her own, her steps are altered, guided, forced into another's. Is it not enough that she is already trapped in this destiny of fighting an ancient evil? This King of Shadows, that even the githyanki; damn them, and damn the Luskans, she thinks, uncharacteristically vicious and angry, seem to fear. She has a fragment of some extra planar sword in her chest, and- she cuts that train of thought.

Enough, she thinks, enough. No good will come of dwelling about the winding paths that have been thrust upon her. Without this strange connection, even. Suddenly, she burns, burns with the feeling of a lack of knowledge, and the need to know. She races for the house of records.

She only vaguely notices that there are guards in front of the building once more. Foolish, she thinks, that they would suppose that she would be unable to access this place without anyone noticing. Even without being a rogue, she is of Oghma and it is hardly as if her deity would deny her access to knowledge no matter the mortal's thought on securing that knowledge.

She enters, and somehow, she knows where to go instinctively. It is a place deep in the records, deeper even than the room she visited before. Even as she breezes past the trials, and heads in the the underground chamber, that other presence seems to haunt her steps; or perhaps she is haunting its, and she walks on. Back, back, deep, deep. The room she arrives in is cloaked in dust. Unerringly, she heads for a particular shelf at the back on the room, movements guided by some higher force; this is not the first time her god has directly interfered to lead her, it will not be the last. Her hands pluck a book from the shelf. It is an unassuming book, nothing much to look at. Almost a journal, to speak the truth, she thinks.

As she opens and reads it, she realizes that it might as well be. The recording is informal at best, just the observations of some unknown party; perhaps a noble, or someone working in the temple, she cannot tell. Mentions of Aribeth, and an unnamed mercenary under her command are scattered throughout the text. She flips through the pages and then the book falls open naturally, revealing a couple on sketches and rough ink paintings. One of Aribeth, she recognizes the face from the portraits in the history books, and - her heart stops. There are no real records of the Hero of Neverwinter. Whether this is the doing of the war, Lord Nasher, or the mysterious Hero them self is indeterminable. But, but- here is a rough, but inked drawing of that selfsame hero.

Her own face stares back at her.

Vaguely, somewhere in the part of her mind that has not shut down in distress and panic, she understands that this is not her, but that there is some undeniable connection that can be explained somehow, some time, and that just because they share a face does not mean that they will share a fate-

This person is and is not her, and she does not even know who she is, and nobody knows who this person is, and-

She cannot cope. She knows that she put the book back in it place and left that room, as if no one had ever been there, tore across the city, and now she is perched on the roof of her uncle's inn.

She and the other are displaced by years. Years, wars, destruction, and a city rebuilt. But still, that untold story, that untold fate, ending, echoes out over all that to reach her. The words from the book leak into her head along with that picture. An elf, a moon elf; though the author states it not, the description is enough, a rogue that took up the calling of a wizard, just like her. Young, even by human standards, and unthinkably so for an elf; just like her. An outsider to the city, brought in to save it, an unknown, just like her.

The mantle of destiny, duty, fate that she bore grew intensely heavier. Her doppelganger has been here before, she knows. She feel the weight of all the responsibilities and expectations of the city, and beyond, and suddenly the thin, brittle shell that separates her destiny from her cracks and all but shatters under the pressure. She almost cries out. She is drowning, drowning under all this and she barely knows who she is anymore. Her identity has been lost somewhere in the waves of battles, those fought with magic and steel and those not, and now she is lost.

No. No, she cannot be. She frowns, pulling herself together, no matter how much she wishes to find her father, or at least someone to hold her hand and assure her it will be fine, that is not possible. So, as she sits there, gloved hands clenched tightly in her cloak, she pulls the tattered pieces of her soul and psyche together around her and puts them back together. It does not matter; she thinks, it does not matter. There is undoubtedly some being laughing at her right now; poor mortal, what else can we throw at her, and she does not doubt for a moment that she and the previous Hero of Neverwinter are connected in some way.

But right now, it does not matter. There is another path she is walking now, one that leads to a being that is named the King of Shadows, whatever that maybe. She does not know her ultimate destination, but that is far from here, and right now, she needs only to consider what she will do tomorrow, the day after and the day after that. One step at a time.