For four years, ever since the dream of the red city and the blue, we knew it would come. For three months, ever since the dream of Nanshe telling me what we must do.
And yet we always thought we would have more time before we had to be ready.
We very nearly were ready, that night that the earth shook.
I gathered up everything that I had been crafting and collecting, and went to find my family. I hugged Marie and Luc very tightly, and told them that I loved them. And then I told Valmont, and held him for as long as I could. We were both so full of fear and hope and love that we could barely find words, but we did not need to speak to know how the other was feeling. "I love you," I said once more, and kissed all of my family.
I dared not think of what might happen if I did not come back, what might happen if I failed. I could not think of that.
And then I ran.
Down to the river I speed, between the crashes of thunder and tremors of the earth. 'It is already raining,' I think, with a giddy, hysterical gasp of laughter. Do the Adversaries know that they have done some of the work for us? Do they care?
I know that I do not need to send word to Syl or Chester or any of the others who have been working on this great spell. Our magic has been twined so closely together over the last few months that I can sense them all, if I listen hard enough, and I know that they are all coming.
One by one we arrive at the banks of the river, just as we have planned to do for so many months. A little thrill still runs through me when I see everyone gathered. There are so many! So many who have come together for this cause, who never might have even spoken to each other were it not for their love of Excolo, and desire to keep it safe. Even if we are not all friends with each other - for Syl and I still are not, even though our respect for each other has grown as we worked together - we all love Excolo, and that is enough.
I have brought silver and mistletoe for protection - the same things that Chester taught me about in my very first lessons with him! I spread them in a wide circle around us to shield us from as much harm as possible while we work.
Our magic winds together, and we start to draw Nanshe's essence out of the earth, out of the water…
The instant that my magic touches the river, I can tell that there is something different. Not just Nanshe's essence that we have been concentrating in the water - there is something else. More divinity, more power. Something new and fresh, something that feels like spring and growth and fertility. I do not know its source, but I know at once that it is good. The new power flows into our spell, filling it with new life.
I am so deep into the spell that I do not even notice the thunder anymore. I see nothing but our threads of Power; I feel nothing except the growing magic and the rising tide of Nanshe's essence, each of us adding our own strand to the spell. Water and earth and fire and air and divinity, all coming together as one.
Air is mine - as we draw Nanshe's essence into the sky, I send out more and more threads of my own Power. We bind our Power together to make a bridge between the earth and the heavens, between the water and the sky.
The bridge is Nanshe, and the rain is Nanshe, and the earth is Nanshe. And now we are Nanshe too, as her divinity washes over us in the rain. I smile as the rain touches my skin, for now I know that we will succeed.
We have helped Nanshe give the gift that she wished to give to the people of Excolo: herself.
Est deus in nobis.
[Open to anyone working to stop the apocalypse]