Well that’s it over then. Despite our preparation and righteousness being on our side I wasn’t certain any of us would make it. I certainly wasn’t expecting all of us to make it, especially given Noctine’s best efforts to get himself killed. Although I can hardly fault such bravery, such loyalty. No hesitation in throwing himself in front of that corrupted shard. If only I was capable of having such virtue. He’s gone now, off to make an inquisitor of himself I imagine. He got what he wanted, at Drake’s side at long last. Tapt and his lot went off with him as well, although his choice in the matter was rather limited. The bureaucrat and the primitive went off to the Inquisition as well. Can’t see them getting as far as Noctine but this adventure has been full of surprises, maybe they will prove me wrong. Not that it affects me much I suppose. The zealot witch goes back to her convent but not before telling me that if I am ever need of assistance she will help. I don’t doubt her effectiveness, not after hearing what she did to Avund, but I think I’ll pass. I don’t want her to attempt to “use my corruption as kindling” to burn my soul. Mordecai has stayed on with the Harlockes. A sensible decision as ever. He’s been through sheer insanity and came through the other side his normal self. I couldn’t ask for a more reliable and stable right hand. Although when it comes to “specialists” like him I prefer to let them act as they will, let them use their skills to their best effect.
As for me well, it scarcely could have gone much better. The traitors are dead. I have returned to captaincy and have moved back into my quarters. No more vents for me. Now that I don’t have to worry about secrecy or the investigation I can spend more time with Sabanth, which is… nice. I couldn’t ask for better officers either. They may be rather eccentric but they get the job done. Not to mention that out here, on the edge, under a Rogue Trader’s authority, I’m much freer than ever before. There’s no end to our adventures, challenges to overcome and or loot to plunder. Although pure material wealth doesn’t terribly interest me much, especially given that whatever I can’t get on my own initiative is provided by the Harlockes. However, every now and then there will be something that catches my eye, something that Ventium wants safely secured. My already expansive collection grows little by little and I have no end of research projects. I’d say there wasn’t enough time in the day given how much needs done but that isn’t strictly true is it? The nightmares are worse than ever, even with the Quins dead and buried but my… sleeping aid always makes it fine in the end.
Best of all, I can be Alistair again. I can sit down with a fine whiskey and read a good book. I have a home. I have friends and loved ones. I have wealth, power, entertainment and adventure. I’ve had my adventure, the plot has concluded, loose ends tied, we all go our merry way and a happy ending for all, right?
Most days I end up staring at the pendant. I should probably get rid of it but I can’t think of an appropriate way so I just kind of hold onto it. I know Rimwena would not approve of what I’ve become, of what I do. I tell myself that I do what needs to be done, what no one else can do but it all feels a little hollow. True, but hollow. Some days I ask what was even the point but I’ve come too far now to allow my own doubt and self-pity get in the way so I ignore it. Although I’d argue I don’t really have any choice but to commit. It could be said I’m not wise, but I am certainly not stupid. I know exactly what I’ve done. I know the fate of others who have followed this exact same path. I know that my time is limited. I intend to make the best of it, to live and fight without reservation, so long as I still stand. I don’t know how, when or where I will finally fall but not a day goes by that I don’t prepare for it.
It’s funny, I always wanted to be a swashbuckling heroic pirate type like in those tales I used to read as a bairn yet I’ve set myself to be the villain of this sordid tale. Although, if you allow me to paraphrase an infamous fanatic, in this galaxy the difference between heroes and villains largely depends on where one is standing at the time.
All you need is a change in perspective.