[ My arch nemesis and I provided each other with some writing prompts. This is the first she gave me. The limitations are it must be serious and canon to the story in which both our characters appear. Her prompt is below:

If my fragments for The Lodestar’s Lament are canon, (which I might make them) without the alternate ending – Mage has successfully totaled the island by using the Hook’s piercing tip to scratch open the rift at the bottom of the sea. Its pieces are either being crushed in a black hole or scattered to the edges of the universe in all cardinal directions. Her reaction? ]

It is a strangely silent Armageddon. The captain is uncertain whether this pleases or disappoints her. She is tired of feeling anything at all, honestly.

Mage watches from the deck of the Jolly Roger as the ruined island is subsumed back into the universe which birthed it, fragments drifting into a sky the color of burst galaxies and firework graveyards, and the heart of the island sinking down into a darkness that devours everything it touches. Only Mage’s power keeps the hungry nothingness from sucking in the floating pirate ship – and this, too, she will finally gift back to the world in which it belongs, and must stay, when she no longer needs its statement.

As the last of the island succumbs to the black hole’s pull, Mage turns and asks, “Is it enough?”

Behind her Tanim and Daren stand like motionless sentinels on either side of a stranger, one who has never before set foot in this world. She seems somehow a child of seven and thirteen at the same time, pudgy and pale, her long black hair a tangle of snarls and her blue-gray eyes filled with tears. She clings to a worn stuffed calico cat, so out of place on the black deck of the infamous ship.

“It was supposed to be,” the girl replies, “but…it’s not. Why isn’t it?”

Mage smiles sadly and comes to kneel before the little girl. She smooths her hair with a hand no longer twisted and blackened by the Hook; already she is returning to the one she was Before. “Nothing brings back lost family, my dear,” the captain tells her charge. “But fear not. We are your family, and we cannot be taken from you.” Glancing briefly up, Mage exchanges a look with the two men that seems to add though you can be taken from us.

“Captain, it’s over,” Mage straightens and follows Tanim’s gaze to the bruised darkness which once contained a place she might, given time, given grace, have called home. For a moment she does not speak, only stares at the reclaimed emptiness of space, then bows her head and utters something beneath her breath in a language none alive still speak.

With a sigh that forces itself into a pale smile, Mage turns back to the girl and lays a hand on her shoulder. “Come along, little one, let us leave this place. It is time for me to become The Wanderer again.”

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