Noviel sat on the edge of the ruined lookout, feet hanging off as she stared out into the sea. The cool breeze tousled her hair as it drifted by. Waves made a soft, rolling crash as they hugged the sand and the rocks several hundred feet below. Sea birds made their nest on the cliff face, and a few more perched on the stonework of the tower with no knowledge of the sacrilege they committed by taking roost here. Or would be committing, if Tear still had a throne, a king, a country, or a people.
This was the last piece of that forgotten time she could find. She doubted whether many people in Therros would know this ruin for what it was: the site where the apocalypse began. The one she herself had started.
Not that she had any memory of that, of course. She and the rest of the Arbiters had to give away a piece of themselves to perform their foolish errand. She gave away her memory of what had been, and now she could hardly remember anything older than a few weeks.
She pulled out her notebook. The latest one, for Noviel had had many over the centuries. The first page: ‘The Bell Tower”, followed by a set of instructions of how to find it, when she inevitably forgot. This notebook was what kept her on her path. She refused to lose her way, like many of the others did.
With a sigh, she closed the book and rose to her feet. This place always had an odd familiarity to it, even though every time she visited the sight was brand new. That was one small benefit of the curse, at least.
Time to go. There was always work to be done. Too much work to be done. With Nera on the brink of collapse, and Amoria preparing for war, it was hard to find the time to search for the other Arbiters. Couldn’t they see that they needed to unite to stop the looming threat? Sephiran didn’t think so. And he was dead now. She prayed the others wouldn’t be so foolish.
Of course, the heroes would be aiding her. Where had they gone? She consulted her notes, but there was nothing written about which direction they were headed when they set off. How stupid of her not to write that down!
Noviel glanced down to the floor of the lookout. There were missing grooves between the stonework, with a large gap in the middle. The only piece of the Tear Catch that had been returned was her own shard. Besides the shard the heroes carried, Sephiran’s, the rest would still be with the Arbiters. Ideally, once they found all of them they would bring the pieces here. This was where the journey began, but it would also end here, one way or another.
Fixing a mistake. That’s what her duty was. In the end, it didn’t matter if the others really understood. Their compliance would certainly help, but it wasn’t necessary. Noviel looked up. In the center of the tower, despite the rust and overgrowth, a large bell watched over the rest of the ruins. Though no cord hung down from it now, , and while she couldn’t remember having seen the bell before, somewhere in the back of her mind she knew what it would sound like when it rang again someday.