The final chapter (excluding the epilogue).
Chapter 36. Sky Diamonds
Erin sat at the dinner table in the Luran household. She was surrounded by friends and laughter. It was just over a week since they'd sent the Erizul Guild away and spirits had been higher than ever. The knowledge that, at least for the moment, they were safe was a great feeling.
They'd decided to have dinner together before Chad and Sevadus went back to Skol Prida, so that Chad could return to his job and write the article he'd set out to write.
"The plan is to have an article that documents the beginning of all of this, then if people are interested they can get the book," Chad had explained before dinner, "I think Vechs' story deserves to be told."
Erin smiled sadly, "Yeah, I think it does."
Sevadus had agreed to settle down in one country for a while so Chad could work on his book. Chad was going to write and Sevadus was going to explore Skol Prida and learn more about it.
Skereth and Erin, on the other hand, planned to live in Obrary. Erin had already found a seeker agency and was going to take up detective work again. She was looking forward to solving mysteries like she used to, just this time no one would think she was a little bit loopy.
Everything was slowly but surely falling into place and the group was glad to be done with the adventure those pages had taken them on all those months ago.
"If you could do it all again," Chad begun as he sat down at the table, "would you?"
Erin considered it. They'd been to hell and back, but she would never have learned what had happened to her parents, never have met Skereth, and Chad wouldn't have met Sevadus. But Vechs would still be with them.
"I wouldn't do it all again," Erin said, "I wouldn't go back in time and try to change anything. I think to some extent it was fate what happened. Not necessarily how it happened, but what happened. I don't know if you have full control of what happens to you, but you have some say over how."
Skereth kissed the top of her head and sat down next to her, "That's kind of poetic."
"I suppose it is," Erin shrugged, "I'm not saying I'm glad we lost Vechs, because I miss him so fucking much. But I think that maybe he wasn't meant to live a long time."
Chad sighed, "I reckon you're right."
Meria and Kerin set down plates in front of their guests, "We should remember Vechs for the brave, funny, caring man he was," Kerin said, "remember him with a smile and try not to let losing him get us down. I imagine that's what he'd have wanted."
"Yeah," Erin agreed.
Once everyone has sat down Chad raised his glass, "To Vechs Davion, a man who drove us all crazy, but we will all miss having in our lives."
"To Vechs Davion," everyone said in unison.
The group settle into a peaceful silence as they ate the food Meria and Kerin had prepared for them. As they ate, Erin couldn't help but wonder where Vechs was. She knew he wasn't dead, but he certainly wasn't alive. It had become a coping mechanism for her to think of him as dead rather than as the zombie Blame had turned him into.
She hated admitting that to herself, but the denial was easier than the truth. She didn't know what had happened or would happen to Vechs, all she hoped was that he would be okay and one day be at peace. Part of her wanted to suggest that they go and look for him. But she wasn't emotionally ready to do that. Erin wasn't sure she would ever be ready to do that.
Erin and Skereth cleared the table once everyone was done and got the plates for dessert. Erin had made their dessert using ingredients that seemed to work like the ones she knew on Earth. She had made a cheesecake and her friends were all eager to try it.
She placed the platter in the centre of the table and carefully cut the cheesecake. Once everyone had a slice she served herself some and sat down. She looked around at her friends who were eyeing it warily, "I tested the recipe yesterday in a smaller version, it tasted good. Go on, try it."
Skereth took the first try and did a face only Erin had seen out the group, "This is so good!" She said and proceeded to eat the cheesecake at top speed. The rest of them didn't need telling twice and began to eat. The cheesecake was a big hit and everyone demanded Erin give them the recipe.
"Okay, I have another question." Chad said while he and Erin washed up.
"Do you wish you hadn't come here?"
Erin stopped washing the plate she'd been cleaning and stared into the bubbles, "Honestly, sometimes I do. I love everyone I've met, but life would be so much simpler if I'd stay on Earth. Does that make me a bad person?"
Chad shook his head, "No. I'd say that's a fairly normal reaction to what you've been through."
"Why'd you ask?" Erin asked as she handed Chad the plate.
Chad took it and started to dry it, "I was thinking about including quotes in the book, with your permission, of course."
"That sounds like a good idea." Erin said with a smile.
"What do you think Vechs would say if he was here?" Chad asked.
"Something goofy followed by something more serious," Erin said softly.
"Yeah," Chad put the plate away in one of the cupboards, "that sounds like Vechs."
"I still miss him." Erin whispered.
Chad squeezed Erin's shoulder, "So do I. He drove me insane, but I miss being driven to my limit."
"We'll be okay, though," Erin looked at Chad, "won't we?"
"If we believe anything else we will probably lose our minds."
Erin nodded in agreement and returned to washing up.
Later when she and Skereth were walking home, Skereth took a detour to a small hill near where they lived. Skereth lay down and Erin lay down next to her. They looked up at the stars in silence. The beautiful twinkling lights made patterns in the inky blue sky, like someone had spilled glitter on the universe.
"What do you call those?" Skereth asked.
"The lights in the sky."
"I call them stars,"
"Huh," Skereth shuffled closer to Erin, "that's a good name."
"What do you call them?"
"We braks call them sky diamonds."
"I like it," Erin smiled, "it fits."
"I think so." Skereth agreed.
They were silent again for a little while before Skereth spoke up, "Do you think about the future?"
Erin chuckled, "You're talkative tonight."
Skereth rolled on her side to face Erin, "Yeah, I guess I am. So, what do you think about?"
Erin rolled to face Skereth, "Sometimes about what I'll do tomorrow, sometimes about what I'll do in three years time. What about you?"
"I think about family," Skereth whispered, "I used to be terrified of the future, but with you I'm much less scared."
"I'm glad to hear that."
"You make me brave, Green Eyes,""And you make me feel safe."