~ A Final Reading ~


J. Edward Tremlett

The chief irony of Doomsday's approach is that everyone's seen it coming, in a manner of speaking. So most of us stopped worrying about it a long time ago.

You've seen it coming, too. Don't deny it. It's part and parcel of being what we are, here.

You don't have to look further than your own Shadow for a taste of Oblivion. It's hardly possible to exist for long in the Underworld without going close to The Void, courtesy of a Harrowing. And if you want another taste of nothingness, well, you can ask the Harbingers what it is that turns their eyes black. Either that or go soak your head in a Nihil for a while.

The bottom line is that, every day, there are pointed reminders of how fragile our new existence is, and how easy it is to slip and fall into nothingness. As a result of sharing space with our own dark reflection, and living over what one noted Wraith called "the mother of all volcanoes," all but the most oblivious are at least subliminally aware of their eventual doom.

That's right. Doom. We are doomed. Deny it all you like, fight it as much as you can, but sooner or later we are either going to fade away, fall down or disappear one time too many. And we won't be coming back.

With that surety comes a sense of acceptance that borders on the blasé. It's a condition some have compared to the Quick who have to live in a war zone, and I agree. Have you ever seen the deadened look of someone who's lost most of their friends to a pointless, stupid war they can't escape? Turn right around and look at your Circle, then - you'll recognize that same look in their eyes. And you'll see it in far too many other wraiths, too.

So, while Maelstroms stir up panic, and the sight of a Spectre is justly feared, the notion of Doomsday hardly raises more than an embarrassed chuckle when mentioned.

Sure, the Oracles have been predicting Doomsday since time out of mind. And every time a Great Maelstrom races across the Underworld people hold hands and wonder "Is this it?" But eventually people fall back on the old, Biblical injunction that none shall know the hour, and then go back about their business as best as they can.

Even in the face of this last one - the worst one yet - no one is wanting to hear talk of The End. Not even when word came to us that the Legions were no more. Not even when we saw the dead walk with our own eyes.

Not even when we...

Last dispatch (Unfinished) by Sam Greely, of Renegade Independent Press.