Here's a short story I wrote for a game contest. Let me know what you think! :)
by Lauri Pierce
The age of the Lich King remains. No one has been able to withstand and defeat him, though many have tried. As a last resort, an alliance between the Horde was sought but swiftly denied.
Cities have been overthrown by his minions. Stormwind, Orgrimmar, Dalaran, Shattrath, and others -they have all fallen to his forces that grow stronger each day.
No place is safe anymore.
The redemption of the Death Knights had given us all hope. We thought it to be a sign of the future that all would be well and that evil would be quenched. But one day their strength and power was somehow drained from them, leaving them helpless and mortal, and all of us confused. The only thing we were certain of was the Lich King’s involvement.
He proceeded to slaughter all our healers, removing our only means of resurrection and assured defense.
Everywhere I go, the land is strewn with bodies -permanent marks of the Lich King’s rule. The Death Knights can be found among them; nothing more than hopeful memories of what could have been.
The blood of innocent lives cries out from the ground, and only I can hear them. Grief follows wherever I go.
I am the last priest.
Rain pours from the shrouded sky as I tread through the dying lands of Ashenvale. Each step brings with it more cries and pleas for mercy, so I proceed slowly.
My throbbing head can’t take much more. The voices are many and weigh heavily upon my heart.
I’m a priest. I should have saved them. Why couldn’t I save them? Just as the dead pose their questions, my own beg to be answered.
I raise a hand to heal myself but it flickers weakly.
Leaning my back against a tree brings a fresh wave of voices. I can do nothing but crumble to the ground amidst the roots. My staff falls to my side as I rush to cover my ears, but it doesn’t stop the voices. They only get louder.
A curse escapes my lips. Will this ever end? I wonder. Or am I doomed to die from insanity?
Thankfully, the roar of voices dims. I drop my hands to my sides.
My legs and arms feel like thousands of gold bricks. My neck is sore from the burden of my head, which I cannot lift anymore. I’m finding the same is true of my eyelids. All of a sudden, it’s hard to keep them open.
Black begins to cloud my senses.
No! I must keep going! my mind screams. My arm flinches like that of a dying animal’s when I attempt to move. It’s the last thing I feel as everything disappears.
He’d heard it. Something had moved. Tika’s ears perked up, meaning she’d heard it, too. Gripping the bow tighter, Evick tugged at the arrow and they both continued their silent creep through the trees. The first sign of food would be theirs at long last.
Another decaying body crossed their path. Tika sniffed it for life but snorted to let Evick know there was none. No matter how hungry we get, we will never stoop to eating another person, dead or not, Evick vowed again at the sight, even as his stomach groaned. He urged Tika forward with a jerk of his head.
More bodies could be seen ahead of them, dotting the ground. Evick realized they were nearing Silverwing Grove. The outskirts were fine, but they wouldn’t dare go into town for certain that the Lich King’s minions would be watching.
Filthy scourge, Evick thought. His jaw clenched at the thought of them and their master.
When the bodies increased in number, Evick motioned for Tika to turn back. He knew they wouldn’t find anything edible in or near that massacre.
Lowering his bow, they turned around. Tika’s ears perked up again, but Evick hadn’t heard anything. She started sniffing the air. He followed the direction she was looking and saw a body slumped against a tree.
It was female. Human. He hadn’t seen her before, not to mention she was a little out of her territory. Then again, so was he.
Tika neared, still sniffing. Then she turned to him and started whining.
This one was alive.
Evick put his bow at ease, approached, and crouched beside the girl’s still form, examining her.
Her breathing was faint, but it didn’t appear she’d been injured. At least, from what he could see, she hadn’t received any bodily harm. Evick thought it to be strange.
The pack around her waist looked empty. Tika nuzzled it, and Evick concluded there must be some food inside. He pulled Tika back so she wouldn’t wake and startle the woman.
A staff lay adjacent to her. Evick noticed a single, scarlet ribbon wrapped around it from top to bottom -the mark of a Searcher. Picking it up, he looked from it to the girl and back again.
He’d only heard tales of Searchers. Of how they vowed to do what was right and good in every way. Sometimes it seemed almost unrealistic with all the evil in the world, yet he’d heard stories of their kindness and sacrifice to help even their enemies throughout his travels.
Evick had always just assumed those who had spoken of them had been wrong -merely weaving tales- but here was his proof. Before him was a Searcher herself. Unless she’d stolen it from another’s remains, which was unlikely considering it was the only valuable thing she had in her possession.
Evick stood with staff still in hand. Should he get her to safety? Or should he just leave her here? The Lich’s minions would surely find her.
A twinge tugged at his heart at the thought of leaving her to face assured torture and death. Did she deserve it? No, no one deserved such horrors! But, why did he care? She was one of them -the Alliance. His people had been fighting against them for as long as he could remember. Sure, they were all dead or had fled, but did that change things? He was still a Horde.
Evick stood and released a high pitched whistle through his teeth for Tika -something only she would hear. Then, Evick leaned the staff against the tree and turned to leave. He wouldn’t deny her her only means of defense at least.
But Evick couldn’t get his gut to stop clenching or his body to move any farther.
Tika appeared at his side and looked up at him with those knowing eyes. She knew him better than anyone, even himself at times. The corner of his mouth twitched and she whimpered, looking back at the human girl.
Evick turned just as the sun peeked through the gray sky to illuminate her staff.
The ribbon glistened.
Evick released a deep sigh. I have no doubt this girl would do the same for me if I was in danger. Enemy or not, that’s what she’s lived for. He looked to Tika to try and talk him out of it, but her catlike features only smiled. Besides, what did he care about the Horde?
Throwing his bow across his back, Evick retrieved the staff and secured it in the same place. Then, gently, Evick lifted the human from the ground. She squirmed but nestled against his chest and relaxed again. He paused at her warmth and waited for her breathing to steady before moving.
Tika led the way to the cave. Eating would have to wait for a little while longer. His stomach growled at the thought, and Evick hoped he wouldn’t regret this.
Crackling is the first thing I hear. Paired with the occasional pop and hiss and the warmth upon the side of my face, a fire is my best guess. I open my eyes. Blinking for them to adjust, I witness the flickering images of the game of hide-and-seek the shadows play on the rocky ceiling above me.
I turn my head to see more of my surroundings. To my left is a small fire. By the dome shape of the rocks, it appears I’m in a cave.
My head swims. I move one of the hands folded across my chest to rub it and send a spark of healing through the tips of my fingers. The nausea vanishes.
Slowly, I sit up.
I breathe deeply at the motion. Bending my straight legs to aid me, I grab on to them -my weakness still evident.
Thankfully, there are no voices nearby to greet me.
Once all feels calm in this new position, I look around some more. There is a skinning rack on the opposite side of the cave.
But something isn’t right. The last thing I remember is falling asleep against a tree. Nothing concerning a cave, a fire, and a skinning rack.
What am I doing here? More importantly, how did I get here?
Glancing to my right, I find my bag and my staff leaning against the wall. I pick up my bag and rummage through it. All my food is still here. My stomach growls at the sight, so I pull out a loaf of bread and tear off a piece.
I shift to face the fire as I take a bite.
The flames dance for me and I begin to feel peaceful. It reminds me of my dream.
It was strange. I’d actually felt true peace. Nothing close to what I feel now -this is only a small glimmer of what it was like. But, it was real.
The Lich King had been defeated. The alliance with the Horde had proven useful and it saved the world from his deadly rule. I could feel my body sitting taller as I recalled it.
I turn to the entrance of the cave and witness the darkness that still shadows the land. My shoulders slouch. Who was I kidding? Nothing had changed. There was never an alliance with the Horde, and the Lich King was still in control. It was all a dream to torment me some more.
I’m still alone. The thought snuffed out my candle of peace. I wept between my knees.
Sniffling, I wipe my eyes on my soiled sleeve. That had felt good. It had been some time since I was able to cry in solitude.
The cave seems darker to me than before, but the fire is still just as strong.
Movement at the entrance makes me jump. A two-legged figure fills the only way out. I blink frantically, trying to see their features and make out who it might be. Then I wonder how long they’ve been there.
Another figure appears. This one is some sort of creature. Four legged. A pet? It is the first to approach.
When it nears the light, its feline face comes into view. Its head hangs low and its ears droop. Its long, striped tail is tucked between its hind legs. Almost within reach, it grovels, crawling the rest of the way on its belly.
A smile tugs at the corner of my mouth. Either this cat is trying to be cautious and not seem threatening to me, or it craves the hunk of bread still in my hand. Somehow, I feel it is both.
It stops beside me and looks up at me with a pair of gentle golden eyes. I hold up my empty hand. Its soft, warm nose brushes my fingers as it smells. Then, it lowers its head to its front paws. Tentatively, I place my hand on its head and stroke its silky mane.
I can feel the creature begin to purr, and my smile can’t contain itself any longer. Under its spell now, I give it the rest of the bread in my hand. It had won me over.
Looking up, I find the other figure standing by the fire. The solemn glare of a male Blood Elf watches me.
My smile fades, and I shrink back. The deep-seeded fear I feel spreading through every inch of my body makes my heart pound faster.
He looks at me for a moment longer then crouches to lay a log on the fire.
It dawns on me that if they had intended to harm me, surely they would have done so by now. My heart steadies. But they have not. In fact, it appears they are helping me.
He leans his bow and quiver against the cave wall then slumps against it. As I watch him, I hear a growl. He places a hand to his stomach and wearily closes his eyes.
I grab my bag and pull out the bread. Slowly, I stand up and move his way. He examines my every move, especially what I carry in my hand.
Kneeling at his side, I tear off a huge chunk and hold it out to him. He eyes it hungrily, but doesn’t move to receive it.
“Take it,” I say with clumsy Thalassian.
I can see the surprise spread across his face. He accepts it and rips into it hungrily.
I pull back to my place by the fire. Tearing off another hunk, I toss it to the cat, then munch on the piece that is left.
“Tika,” the Blood Elf says, pointing to the cat. His rich Thalassian puts mine to shame. “Tika.”
I look at the cat and repeat. She straightens and her ears follow. A low rumble sounds in her throat. It must be her name.
I grin at the elf. He points to himself and says, “Evick.”
I have a rougher time with this pronunciation. “E-Evi-Evick. Evick.”
The corner of his mouth lifts with approval and amusement.
I lay a hand to my chest and give my name. Charlisse. I had learned that in Thalassian it meant healer -how appropriate. Yet, I wasn’t worthy of it.
Evick looks at me strangely. My thoughts must have shown in my features.
“You are a Seeker?” he asks. The word for Seeker is the same word for Searcher in his language, but I understand.
“Yes, I am.”
Something flickers in his eyes. Trust, perhaps? Or certainty? If I tried to explain it, he resembles what a child might look like when told their favorite fairy tale was true all along.
“Where are we?” I ask to veer the subject away from me.
“A cave in the center of Ashenvale,” Evick says without hesitating.
I look about the room and find the skinning rack again. There are a few bags nearby that I hadn’t seen before. “Do you live here?”
I raise an eyebrow. “Why?”
He doesn’t respond immediately, but looks contemplative. Looking down, he toys with his bread.
“No one knows about this cave. It’s not charted on any map,” he says. “Figured this would be the least likely place for anyone to find me. The Lich included.”
“What about your family? Do the Horde know where you are?”
Evick’s brow furrows. “Don’t have a family. And what family I thought I had in the Horde, I couldn’t have been more wrong about.” Evick’s brow furrows.
I can feel my eyes open wide in surprise. “Wh-why? That’s not exactly something you hear every day.”
The muscles in his jaw flex before he replies, “When they made a decision without thinking of anyone else but themselves and their pride, I knew I couldn’t be a part of them any longer.” He still wouldn’t make eye contact with me.
“What decision was that?” I ask, timidly. By his reactions, I don’t want to overstep my bounds.
Evick leans forward. His light green eyes, gentle yet smoldering with renewed zeal, hold mine. “They couldn’t put aside past issues with your kind to save the innocent lives of the women and children of ours.” His Thalassian fluctuates with indignation.
My jaw drops.
The alliance! This was about the alliance we’d petitioned for with the Horde. I can’t believe it. Evick had been against their decision.
Something inside stirs. I feel my insides awakening. It’s like I’m being reborn.
And my dream. What if it hadn’t been a dream from the past but a dream of the future? What if it had told me of this very meeting and what would come of it?
My heart blazes with rediscovered purpose. I can feel my power rush through me again. My hope returns and joy is not far behind.
“Evick,” I begin, practically gasping for air. “What if I told you that this meeting was not by chance?”
I receive the strange look I expected.
“Just hear me out. What if you and I have survived and have been united for a reason? It seems harder to think otherwise, doesn’t it?”
“I don’t follow you.” His brow is still raised. He probably thinks I’m a lunatic. If I didn’t know what I do, I’d probably think the same thing.
“I had a dream,” the Thalassian flows like water from my lips. “A dream that showed me a different ending than the one we are living in now. There was an alliance, and the Lich was defeated. And peace... There was peace throughout the land.”
Evick glances to the entrance.
“And then I awoke to you. Surely, that can’t be coincidence!” I finish.
He doesn’t respond. Tika still sleeps by my side. I can feel the warmth rising from her body as her form rises and falls.
“You can’t possibly think that the two of us can defeat the Lich King when whole legions have gone against him and failed?” Evick asks flatly, drawing my attention back to him.
I open my mouth, but can’t say a word. He’s right. What I was saying was nothing short of suicide. I can feel my flame begin to wane.
“Never mind. Forget I said anything.” I lay on my back, uncertainty creeping over me again. “Let’s get some sleep.”
Evick may not know what I have seen, but I do. It was real. He would just have to see for himself. We both would.
Evick woke with a bitter feeling inside. He hadn’t slept well. By the look of it, he hadn’t slept long either. It was barely dusk.
He wanted to believe what Charlisse said. He did. But, in the face of the impossible, it was hard. Sure, he hadn’t seen this dream of hers for himself, but what difference did it make? Reality was reality, and there was no way that two people could do something that hundreds of thousands hadn’t been able to accomplish.
Evick sat up, laid his arms over his knees, and huffed with frustration.
He turned to Charlisse, who’s back was to him. Tika still laid beside her.
How do I know I can even trust her? he thought, attempting to reason the issue away.
He worked it over for a few moments and immediately did away with the thought. Evick knew he could. Tika knew, too. There was no solid ground for such a ridiculous notion.
So, okay, he began, resting his forehead on his palms. Since I’ve obviously already examined how wrong and preposterous she might be, what about the other side of it? Could she be right? And, if so, how would I know?
Evick jumped when Tika pressed her plush head into his arm. He rubbed it and she curled up next to him.
The fire crackled dimly as his mind spun.
Then, Evick tensed. Tika did the same, her ears on full alert. Something had changed.
A low buzzing sounded in Evick’s ears. It disappeared at the sound of a voice -low and smooth, like honey, but dark and mysterious. “Where once was lost, it now is found.”
Tika stood and growled. She could hear it too.
Evick gained full height and retrieved his bow and quiver. Stringing an arrow, he inched toward the entrance.
“You thought you could hide from me, didn’t you?” The voice was unmistakable now. It was the Lich King.
Evick’s heart raced.
The darkness outside had lifted enough for the fog to be seen, but nothing else was visible. The fog was dense, and Evick could barely see the grass he stepped on upon exiting the cave.
“I see you,” the Lich teased.
Evick stopped, Tika snarling at his side. The feeling of doom was enough to topple someone, but Evick stood his ground. Listening. Waiting.
A faint clinking echoed nearby. Evick closed his eyes to listen.
More sounds joined in. The sounds of starving ghouls with their every move a plea for more to feast on to satisfy their eternal hunger. The hushed, airy passing of phantoms over the ground, neither touching nor moving without it. There was the clattering of the bones of undead and much more, though the rest was hard to decipher.
What Evick knew for certain was the Lich was not alone.
But where was he?
It sounded like he approached from the south, but with all the other noises, it was hard to pinpoint it -one sound seemed to come from all over. And the visibility issue wasn’t helping. Evick had nothing to lock on to.
All movement ceased. Evick’s eyes flew open and darted about for any signs.
The wind picked up and the fog stirred. Slowly, things became visible. The fog lifted from the ground; trees spotting the glade appeared, still hazy. Somehow, the Shady Nook offered its fading beauty as strength and comfort.
Whatever happens... Evick solidified.
Loud steps, paired with the moaning of armor, announced movement again. A form appeared in the fog ahead, tall and dark. Evick lifted his bow as the Lich King broke through the fog and stopped.
The Lich released a sadistic chuckle. “Now do you see me?” he whispered.
Tika fidgeted, and Evick eased his bow to place a hand on her head to calm her.
“What do you want, Lich?” Evick asked in poor Common language.
“I want the girl. And I want your head on a stake, but that’s irrelevant for now. Where is she?”
“Not here,” Evick lied. The image of her sleep being interrupted by this monster made his blood boil. “What could you possibly want with her?”
The Lich King moved unnaturally, bending his head to the side and twisting one of his legs inward then back to normal. “That’s my business. Now, where is she?”
“As I’ve told you already, she’s not here.” The words still came slowly for Evick.
“Do you honestly consider me to be so ignorant? I sense her warmth inside. I can kill her now if I choose.”
“Do I?” the Lich challenged.
Evick didn’t respond but remained emotionless. He knew he was lying. If the Lich was powerful enough to kill them just like that, neither of them would be here right now. He may be able to get into people’s heads, but he couldn’t accomplish much more than that without help.
“You don’t know who you’re toying with, boy,” the Lich said, angrily, as if reading his thoughts.
He raised an arm and the wind increased. It blew clear the fog and there, behind him, stood an army of death as far as the eye could see. Evick had his proof concerning the Lich King and the extent of his power.
Everything Evick had heard was there and then some. There were also tainted races, glowing with red toxin that controlled them like puppets. Abominations, large and towering, wielded balls and chains in both hands. Their distorted features warped with pleasure at the sight of their intended prey. And flaming riders on ghostly chargers blazed with vengeance, allowing fire to spread to the surrounding trees.
All eyes were on him. Evick held his position.
The Lich King raised his massive sword, which began to glow. “Last chance. Give me the priest, and I may spare your life.”
Evick stared at him, silent. He had a notion to laugh at the ridiculous offer, but kept it to himself.
Tika twitched and hissed again at the threat to her master. Evick turned and whistled for her to settle, which she did.
He returned his gaze in time to see a blue ball of ice rushing toward him. Evick closed his eyes for the impact, but it never came. A shield surrounded him and Tika when he opened his eyes. He turned to see Charlisse moving out of the cave with staff in hand. She positioned herself on the other side of Evick and glared at the Lich King.
His army shuffled impatiently at her appearance, and the Lich signaled with one hand for them to stand down.
“It’s just like you to attempt to kill someone when their back is turned,” Charlisse said. “True sign of a coward.”
“You’d do well to hold your tongue, priest,” the Lich King responded, tensing in his place.
“Or what? You’ll kill me when I’m not looking? If I die by a coward, then so be it, but that makes you no less than a coward.”
The Lich clenched his fists, anger seeping from him like blood.
“What do you want, you sorry excuse for a villain?” Charlisse asked brazenly.
Evick turned to her, eyes wide. Is she mad? She winked in reply. No, she must only have a death wish.
Here they were. Evick realized this agreed with what she’d told him -that they would fight together against the Lich King. Evick knew inside she was right, but she’d spoken of peace. How could they defeat the Lich and his army? It was one thing to fight against him, but quite another to actually win the battle.
The Lich King charged another attack. Evick raised his bow and aimed for his head. Charlisse lifted her arms, eyes to the heavens in submission and prayer. She glowed with light but something more.
The Lich released his attack, which careened toward them. Charlisse opened her eyes and released a golden fire. The two collided.
Charlisse stood panting as the ice and fire consumed each other and exploded into shimmering raindrops that refreshed them as it showered them in a cool blanket.
“You really didn’t think I was much of a threat, did you, Lich? Being inside my head told you that I could hear and feel the dead crying out to me. All the dead you have produced.” Charlisse gasped for air. “And it kept me at bay. You knew it would. All those voices, weighing me down with every step I took. So you thought it would slowly drive me insane and kill me all on its own. The best way to torture someone is always just inside their own head.
“But, what you didn’t think to examine was how one unsuspecting life could make a choice and decide to do what was right even in the face of so much wrong. And how that choice would change everything.” Charlisse stood taller, then reached out for Evick’s hand.
He supplied it and could instantly feel the life charging through him. Evick felt more alive than he ever had. He was no longer hungry, alone, hopeless, or afraid. Evick felt stronger than he had for some time.
Charlisse smiled at him.
“That was your down fall, Lich. And now it’s going to cost you,” she said without turning from Evick.
Charlisse closed her eyes and began to sing. A song so sweet and gentle, so full of life and love, it caused the trees around them to stand taller and the sun to burst through the clouds with more radiance than ever before witnessed. It illuminated the Lich King -something he didn’t seem to like.
Evick watched the Lich writhe. His limbs contorted and twisted like some sort of machine losing control. His army began to back away as he dropped to his knees.
Charlisse began to pulse. Small rings of gold that grew larger and larger until they were enveloping the army even as they tried to flee. Skeletons separated and dropped to the ground in piles of bones. The flaming riders were quenched and vanished. Abominations fell apart and
crumpled to the ground, and the phantoms disappeared in dark puffs.
The Lich King yelled in pain as he clawed the ground.
Charlisse opened her eyes and began to move closer to the Lich, taking Evick with her. Things happened around them as they moved. Plants forced through the barren dirt and grew. Some even blossomed. Trees produced fruit again as well as flowers with colors more vibrant than in years past. Animals came out from their hiding places to race about without fear.
Life was returning. Evick laughed at the irony of it.
They stopped before the Lich King and the pulsing ceased. He gasped.
“Please,” the Lich King pleaded with hoarse vocals.
“You were once a mighty warrior for good, truth, and justice, Arthas. I’ve been commanded to call you by your real name now for no more shall you be the Lich King. No more shall you rule darkness and death,” Charlisse said.
“But, that is who I am,” he said calmly and hopelessly. “There are no second chances for monsters like me.”
“That is not true. I knew your father. He was a man of second chances, all of which he wanted to give to you. But you never accepted them. Just as you were called by the Lich King and chose to answer, you chose to ignore forgiveness and love and, most of all, truth. But, no more.”
Charlisse raised Evick’s hand and laid it on Arthas’ head, covering it with her own. The enchanted helm vanished and the pale face of Arthas became seen. He hung it, even as his white
hair stained brown from root to tip.
“No. No more shame for you, Arthas. You are a new creation. All is forgiven, but the choice is still before you. Will you accept forgiveness and do what is right? There is much in store for you if you do. Things even greater than promised to you by the Lich King.”
Arthas could only nod. The enchanted breastplate vanished and the rest of his armor dropped to the ground and shriveled.
Evick removed his hand when Charlisse did, and Arthas stood. His skin was a healthy shade again, and his eyes were no longer gray but a shocking blue. Arthas looked from his hands to the rest of his restored self, and he smiled.
“I will,” he agreed verbally this time. “With all that is in me, I will.”
Evick found himself smiling back and turned to see Charlisse doing the same.
“Now you are charged with righting your wrongs and ruling as True King this time, Arthas. A task I know you will fulfill without fail.” Charlisse then turned to Evick and spoke in Thalassian. “And there will no longer be a wall between our people, Evick. We will help you restart and rebuild the Horde, but there will be peace and unity between you and the Alliance.”
“I’m glad to hear it. Let it be as you say,” Evick replied.
I’d like to tell you that all went perfectly from that point on, but that would be a lie. We managed to rebuild both the Alliance and the Horde, and Arthas and Evick were set in place as the United Kings of what is now called Harmitia. I was also able to resurrect the murdered healers who then helped me resurrect all others. Things were looking good, and Arthas was fulfilling his promise to undo what he’d done.
But, if I left it there, it wouldn’t be true to life.
Arthas struggled with the voice of the Lich King for as long as he ruled, which was to be expected. It made him a stronger King in fighting against it daily though, and he did, succeeding
There was also an incident in the Horde concerning King Evick. Someone called him a softy, condemning his good nature, and Tika attacked them for it. But no one died, and, more importantly, no one said another word about the King from that point forward with the tigress Tika around.
As for me, I was named High Priestess, which, if you ask me, is going a bit too far. After that day, something left me. I was still the same person I had always been, but hearing about all I had said and done stunned me. It is what it is. Or, in this case, was what it was.
Now, I oversee all other healers and keep order and peace throughout the land. And Arthas, Evick and I are held in very high regard. What happened on that day is told around the world. Flattering, I know, but it gets the truth to be known.
So, yes, things really are very good. We all have our ups and downs, and I’m sure forever will, but we get through them, learn from them, and move forward.
Most importantly, we are all more joyful. Even Arthas who from time to time is caught dancing in the streets with the biggest smile upon his face.
The son has returned home. His father would be so proud.
What is the overlying theme for this compilation of the past? Well, isn’t it obvious? Good will always triumph over evil in the end.