Part 88: Epilogue - This Was Our Story
The forces of darkness were ascendant.
Undead minions of the King of Shadows, led by a Shadow Reaver, infiltrated Castle Never and attacked Lord Nasher. Only the quick actions of Calliope prevented Neverwinter from suffering an early defeat. For this and her previous efforts in defence of Neverwinter, Calliope was granted the title of Knight-Captain of Crossroad Keep. To her was given the responsibility of destroying the King of Shadows and driving out his legions of the dead.
Calliope sought allies far and wide - from the lizardmen of Highcliff to the druids of the Mere; from the mythical Wendersnaven to the stalwart Ironfist dwarves. United by a common enemy, these peoples would make their stand at Crossroad Keep. The fate of the Sword Coast lay in their hands.
The treachery of Luskan proved an unexpected boon. Sydney Natale, the Hosttower ambassador, possessed the True Names of the Shadow Reavers, which would allow her to undo the Reavers' immortality and finally destroy them. Her greed got the better of her, however, and she attempted to assassinate Calliope. The True Names fell into the Knight-Captain's hands - allowing her companions, Ammon Jerro and Zhjaeve, to undo the King of Shadows' sorcery and defeat the Shadow Reavers.
None of this would be enough, however, without the power of the Sword of Gith, the one artifact that would be able to harm the King of Shadows. The sword had to be reforged before Calliope could confront her foe... but none still alive possessed the knowledge of the making of such a weapon.
To that end, Calliope traveled to the far-off resting place of Nolaloth, an ancient crystal dragon that had battled the King of Shadows long ago. His spirit, still trapped with his remains, told her how she might reform Gith's blade.
The sword was not simply a physical object - it was an extension of the wielder's soul. If Calliope wished to reform the sword, then she would have to travel to the location of its sundering and will the sword back into a whole.
Ammon Jerro had shattered the sword in his battle with the King of Shadows, many years ago, in the village of West Harbor. There, by the scar in the land, Calliope looked deep inside herself and discovered the strength to destroy the King of Shadows.
But time was running out. Black Garius and his undead army had marched on and taken the village of Highcliff. With the King of Shadows' forces dangerously close to Neverwinter, Lord Nasher and his aide, Nevalle, had no choice but to ride out and meet Garius and his army in battle.
It did not go well. Lord Nasher was badly wounded and the Greycloaks were forced to retreat back to Crossroad Keep. There the forces of Neverwinter would make their final stand against their enemy.
Garius moved swiftly to corner the beleagured Neverwinter forces and push his advantage. His spells shaped his minions into horrific abominations that battered down the walls of Crossroad Keep brick by brick. Even the dawning of the sun could not deter his shadow army. And worst of all, Garius had an agent on the inside - Bishop, Calliope's long-time companion, betrayed his friends for a place at the King of Shadows' side.
Calliope was waiting for Garius, however. Armed with the Silver Sword and with the scroll of True Names, Calliope confronted Garius in battle and defeated him, sending him fleeing from the battlefield. Crossroad Keep had held - barely.
Inside the keep, Aldanon had figured out a way to send the Knight-Captain and her companions deep inside the Shadow Fortress of the King of Shadows. Using the Tome of Iltkazar, he opened a portal deep into the domains of ancient Illefarn - the swamp of Merdelain.
Calliope fought her way through hundreds of undead creatures, destroying the last of the Shadow Reavers and delving deep into the ruins of the Fortress.
There, in the King of Shadows' inner sanctum, she confronted Black Garius for the last time. But some of her allies were unsure of her path, and Garius' words twisted them away from the Knight-Captain's side. Bishop, Qara, Neeshka, the Construct... for one reason or another, they sided with shadow against their leader.
In the end, Garius and the traitors were defeated - but they had bought enough time for their lord and master, the King of Shadows, to emerge from his twilight prison and enter this plane fully.
It was a long and terrible battle, requiring every ounce of will, every strength Calliope possessed simply to survive. Yet her preparations were well-spent: the Ritual of Purification, the Silver Sword of Gith, even the efforts of her companions... these were enough to turn back the shadow and destroy the Guardian of Illefarn.
The mages of Illefarn had done too good a job, though. For the King of Shadows had been welded into the Weave itself - and his destruction caused a tear so great, so grievous, that a mighty shockwave exploded from his body, causing the Shadow Fortress to collapse.
The chances of the Knight-Captain and her companions escaping the sudden rockfall were slim.
Neverwinter survived the campaign of the King of Shadows. Beset by foes from all sides - from ancient Illefarn, from the towers of Luskan, even from the githyanki of the Astral Plane - the city had fought for its very life and won.
The Shadow Thieves of Neverwinter continued their trade in secret. Crossroad Keep prospered in the aftermath of the war, becoming a centre for manufacture and trade. Even West Harbor was resettled, in time.
But what of Calliope? What of the Knight-Captain? What of the Shard-Bearer, the Kalach-Cha, the Harborman of the Mere?
What became of her?
That is another story.