Chapter 23The Epilogue/Eulogy
From the top of the fortress on Returned Island, Dornim watched out over the many gathered below. Along with him were the rest of Afterstorm, all dressed ceremonially in black. Locke had his arm in a sling, Terra had had some stitching, Gau had been placed with a head bandage but refused to wear it, and Cyan had brought himself out of bed-much to his doctor's displease-and supported on a walker.
"It has been a long, hard time," Dornim began, "that we have paid the price for several times. None are more upsetting than the deaths of our friends and family, especially Edgar Roni Figaro, Clyde Arrowney, Umaro, and Otoshi Vector. If you would please give us a moment of silence..."
Everyone bowed his or her heads. The only sound was the sound of footsteps on the balcony. Terra looked behind her to see none other than Vulkrum Gestahl, fully dressed in black ceremonial robes, no longer with any face paint.
He walked past everyone on the balcony, everyone too shocked to move, and to the edge beside Dornim, who stepped away.
"I have come here today," his voice thundered, startling everybody below, "to talk about my enemies. I do not see these people or any of the deceased as any adversaries to be defeated, but as good people, who have given their lives for what they believe in. I wish I could say the same. So I come here to give my own honoring to those whom I have defeated, and those who have defeated me. I hope to say that this would never happen again, but there is no guarantee, so for now I just say, godspeed."
He turned, not looking anybody in the eye and made to leave. As he walked by, they heard clapping. No one knew who started it, but it grew, to where the whole assembly stood up in ovation. Vulkrum looked back, made a short concealed smile, and then left the balcony. None of the guards tried to stop him.
Locke looked back as his former nemesis exited the balcony. He lifted his good arm at that direction, confused and bewildered but not saying or doing anything. Celes put her hand on his cheek and turned him to face her.
"Locke," she said slowly, nervously, "I found out when I was in the medical ward with you. I-..."
"Yes." Locke looked at her seriously, worried, anxious. "What is it?"
"I..." she looked away, "I, I think I'll tell you...after this, after everyone leaves."
Locke continued to look at her, with the mixed expression still on his face.
Terra ran after him. "Vulkrum," she called.
He stopped and looked back at her. "What will you do now? Where do you plan on going?"
He looked away, his eyes distant. "I don't know," he replied simply. Then he looked up, and half-smiled.
"But for now I am sufficed in saying I shall restore my name with honor."