The Eternal's Last Request
by Joshua Babcock
My name is Sofi. I did not always wish my father dead. For most of my young life, I served him faithfully, dutifully, as his chronicler. My fatherâ€™s name is Kratos. Throughout the width and breadth of Bahkshir, he was known as the Eternal.
I have been privy to many of Kratosâ€™ famous stories, either seeing them unfold myself or having them told to me from a firsthand perspective. My father never told me the tale of his genesis.
For generations, Kratos protected the countryside of Bahkshir from the Bahkshirin Sea to the mountains we call the Cradle of Antreous. He conquered the undead armies of the Beshevite necromancers, sealed away the malicious Archduke of Vengeance, and defeated the reptile goddess Severina. He was responsible for dispatching Orgus, the master of the onyx golem, and the demon steeds of Celops. There are thousands of other tales as well, and they have all been writ elsewhere, some even by my own hand.
Much of the courage and unquenchable altruism that my father had personified was dashed when the armies of the western Kingdom of Naskil arrived. They were headed by the great magus Malnorant, Tome of the Time-Siege gripped tight in his withered hand.
Kratos the Ageless had met with nothing but victory in his previous adventures. Yet, against the powers of the Tome, he found himself as weak and defenseless as we mortals.
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"The Eternal's Last Request" is roughly 5000 words.
Joshua Babcock's story "Compromise" appeared in Kenoma Magazine and his "Tome of the Time-Siege" won second place in Gom Publishing's The Best New Sci-Fi & Fantasy for 2004 contest. His story "Angst and the Armageddon" is upcoming in Forgotten Worlds. Babcock is a graduate of Vassar College and teaches at a school for students with dyslexia. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and six cats. He can be reached at email@example.com.