She missed them already.
This was the realization Charity had as she walked up the path to the Torrington estate, already wondering what antics the others would get up to today.
She had shown courage, she knew. In facing Mortivox, and later against Leon. Being scared to death, and doing the right thing anyway. And who knew? Maybe her kindness towards Maldea made a difference in how Maldea treated them at the last. She hoped so.
Charity looked up to see her father at the entry, the door wide open behind him. She smiled and flew the rest of the way, then set down her pack and threw her arms around him.
“No, Dad… We’ve done what we needed to do. This time, I’m here to stay.”
She felt a sigh of relief as he hugged her tight. “I’m glad. We were worried sick, but we’re all so proud of you.”
* * *
After dinner and a long conversation wherein Charity updated her parents and the longest-tenured staff on all that had transpired, leaving nothing out, Charity finally found herself back in her bedroom. Her eyes immediately fell upon the scroll on her dresser, its wax seal still intact.
She lit a fire in the fireplace, and tossed it in. She would have no need of it for a very, very long time yet.
Her eyes next settled on a large empty glass display case, brought in after her last visit as she had requested. Loosening her quickchange cloak, she hung it up in the armoire — it would need its own display one day, but for now she still planned to use it. Although, as she hung it up, she thought, maybe I really don’t need to hide anymore.
She loosened her enchanted belt and detached from it the scabbards holding her now-nearly priceless daggers. She set the belt inside the display case, and used a few of the small stands that it included to hold her daggers as well, with their scabbards set next to the belt. She then carefully placed the rapier and longsword she had taken from Mortivox’s treasure hoard in the display as well. Souvenirs from the most frightening fight of her life.
At least, she certainly hoped she would never face anything so fearsome in the very long time she now had left.
She wrote on notecards of fine parchment, in her best writing, a brief description of each item, and placed these in the display case as well. Completing the arrangement of her little display, she looked over her work. Two absolutely breathtaking daggers sat above their scabbards and a belt that seemed to almost pulse with magic, and two exquisitely crafted swords from a bygone era. One day this display would be moved into the halls, but for now, it was still her gear. She would want it close by, in case some poor fool tried to break in.
Oh — almost forgot something.
Reaching into her pack, she produced a tiny glass vial, smaller than a potion. In it sat a tiny pile of soot and ash, little more than an ounce. This she placed in the display case as well, and on its notecard she wrote:
The Ashes of the Revelation Quill.
Once a feathered quill pen, this quill was the object of Lady Charity Torrington’s initial search which brought her into contact with the group of women she adventured with. The Quill allowed the women to write a question, which it would then appear to write an answer to of its own free will. It was in truth controlled by the enigmatic Maldea, an ancient being serving penance for her past transgressions at the behest of the gods. This served to provide the party with invaluable intelligence throughout their quest.
With the party’s final victory, Maldea’s penance was deemed fulfilled, and the Quill reduced to ash within this vial. In the end, Lady Torrington was able to shake hands with the god who had provided so many valuable answers in the course of their campaign against the Dragon of Undeath.
Wow, Charity thought, looking over the nearly-full notecard. Sounds like I’m writing a book. Then with a chuckle she added, Maybe I should. I do have a long time. Something for history… but also something I can read to my future kids and grandkids.
* * *
Charity had been named a Knight-Errant of Taldor upon her return from the battles with Mortivox and Leon. In time, she succeeded her father in his dukedom, becoming a Duchess of Taldor while continuing to serve the military in an advisory role. She was later hand-chosen by Queen Eutropia to become a governor, and helped guide the declining nation back into a position of influence.
Through the centuries, Charity served as a close friend, advisor, and bodyguard to several successive monarchs of Taldor, helping to ensure continuity from one administration to the next. She also kept Miyako at her side, who also served as head housekeeper of the royal household and secret bodyguard. Miyako herself thwarted at least two attempts on monarchs’ lives as well, before passing away of old age herself about fifty years after Agatha’s passing.
As governor, Charity’s jurisdiction included the town of Zimar, which she spent considerable effort reforming. Zimar eventually became home to several centers for philanthropy and learning. At the center of Zimar was Lei Lin Square, home of the Lini Gloomdust School of Higher Learning, the Chiro School of Self Improvement, and Harkness Museum of History. The Harkness Museum housed historical artifacts such as the chest that had held the Revelation Quill on board the Traveler, the ashes of the quill itself, and Charity’s daggers, cloak, and gear, as well as relics of Numeria, Squiggles’ top hat, and other assorted oddities from the group’s travels. The museum also maintained accounts of the group’s deeds, including the heroics of the “Great Serpent of Whistledown.” Not far from Lei Lin Square was the Melda Center for Rehabilitation, and the Chiro Refuge for the Homeless. Charity took particular pride in giving this last one her friend’s name, feeling confident she would have been pleased with the choice.
When the age of technology took hold some centuries later, Charity ensured that the most heavily armed fighter jets carried some form of the name Agatha Harkness, whether the models themselves were named for her, or their armaments were. The name seemed especially appropo since these ships were commissioned jointly by Taldor and Andoran, thus allowing Agatha Harkness to fight for her beloved Andoran once more. Charity also successfully named an aircraft carrier The Traveler. When some said the name seemed too plain, Charity retorted with a suggestion of Floaty McBoatface. Her initial recommendation of The Traveler was quickly accepted.
Toward the end of Charity’s long life, Taldan officials suggested erecting a statue at the site that had once been the Torrington home in Oppara. Charity vetoed the motion, saying she would rather it be placed where her friends continued to do good by their namesakes. Thus upon Charity’s eventual passing, Lei Lin Square in Zimar became home to the Torrington Memorial, with a statue of the assembled party erected in its center.