Endgame/Forever is a Long Time Coming

Amanda Fletcher had submitted "Janice's Story" as a final episode for Sylvia, well before the third episode had even been written.  The story also ended with Allisandra stealing Jana's remaining wishstones in order to keep her gender.  From here, Amanda had an arc planned where Jana would be chasing her to get them back, all the while, Allisandra would be getting wishstones herself, and not being too gentle about it.

While I normally don't like writing stories until I have a clear ending in mind, Wishworld was me trying to act as a "producer" versus a primary writer.  I had an basic "loose arc," and was accepting submissions with continuity chapters to keep it all together.  One of the goals was not to tie down the ending, and "Janice's Story" tied down a major ending story point and set up an endgame.

There was...heated...discussion about this, that resulted in Amanda withdrawing her story (which was sad, as I thought it was hilarious).  However, some of her plot points had creeped into my head and were already weaving several of her ideas into an endgame scenario.

Working with her, we came up with a new ending arc. 

In the original "loose" arc I'd originally come up with, Sylvia would have died, giving up her wishstone.  With the iron shield her father had made for her (in the unwritten "Father's Day" story) and the forty-two stones she'd collected she would have created a magical thingy that reverted everything (like I said, it was a VERY loose arc).

Considering Amanda had written more in the Wishworld than anyone but me (and she probably did), I took her on a co-creator.  The new arc had several far reaching changes, and elements showed up pretty quickly in the stories. 

The first was WHY the world was created.  Taking the dragon story from Mee Lein in "The Frozen Daggers," we decided the world was created to bring one of the dragons back to life.  The first major step in that was consolidating the world's energy into a form that could reawaken the dragon.  When the world changed, this turned into 42 wishstones scattered around the world.  As the stones got consolidated, their energy grew.  Enough would wake up the dragon.  The first inklings of this were the "six golden eyes" Sylvia sees in "Homecoming" and the Dragon's point of view in "A View from the Other Side."

Allisandra and Vengeance would be promoted to major characters on par with Sylvia and Jana.  Allisandra would become Jana's main rival.  While not directly against her, and often helping her, their goals often were at odds with each other, especially as Allisandra would not want to give up her gender.  One thing I wanted to push on Allisandra was how, as much as the Frozen Daggers was her creation, she wasn't in charge of it, and kind of trapped in the structure she created.  Both her newly expanded role and hint about her being trapped show up in "A Message from Home."

Vengeance's arc story was not really expounded on (around this time, real life events were cutting into the time I had for wrtiting), but he would have had a large part during the ending.

In the new arc, Sylvia would have died roughly three quarters of the way through the series, leaving Jana with her wishstone, and otherwise alone.  Allisandra would have come in at this time as her friend, but in the end take most of her wishstones.  Allisandra's need to remain female overrode her friendship.  The next few stories wouldn't so much be a chase, but a last ditch effort by Jana (and Allisandra) to get the last of the wishstones. 

The final episode was "Forever is a Long Time Coming" (a title stolen from the Transformers, but a darned fitting one, I think).  Most of this was based on talks Amanda and I had, but I don't think I've ever actually put it down since we came up with it.

Jana only has about 30 stones, the other eleven in Allisandra's hands.  Going back to the ruins of the restaurant where this began, Jana attempts to undo the world using only the 30 stones she has with a ritual Sylvia had taught her.

But remember what I said about consolidating the stones awakening the dragon?  Having thirty of them and a ritual brings the dragon to life.  Jana's clearly out of her league fighting this near demon, but with only 30, he's still not at full strength.  The dragon aims for Allisandra and her eleven stones, knowing full well that Jana, directly behind him, will follow him attacking all the way.

The final scene has both Allisandra and Jana fighting the dragon.  While they're putting up a good fight, it's not good.  Allisandra can't deal with the heat coming off of the dragon, Jana is simply not strong enough magically to take him down.

In the end, Vengeance, who has been watching from within, realizes that if this Dragon wins, his own quest to take over the world would be in danger finally joins the fight.  It's a good fight, for the wrong reasons.  "If I can't have it, no one will!" With all three, fighting, the dragon gets near death, but then so do our two and a half "heroes."

Jana, not quite grasping that it was the stones that brought the dragon to life, takes her stones back from Allisandra and channel the enrgy from them to destroy the dragon.  Instead, they revitalize him.  Not much, but enough to make the battle unwinnable.

Vengeance realizes should the dragon win, he could not rule his domain or any others.  Using his magic, he attracts the attention of the dragon.  He's unarmed, and simply walking up, unafraid to him.  The dragon, seeing a pest inhales to blast him with fire...

...at the same time, he yells "If I cannot rule, no one will!"  Just as the dragon breathes fire, he gives up his wish to rule his domain as he sees fit.  His wishstone comes out and he is hit dead on by the blast...the blast cracks Vengeances wishstone, and his wish begins to undo itself, causing chaos around them.  The dragon, being large, is hit by flying debris the size of boulders.  Jana and Allisandra, being much smaller, hide behind structural supports that almost give under the strain.

Vengeances wish disintegrates around him, weakening the dragon.  The flying debris, weakens him further.  The cracked wishstone, weakens him mortally.  He's not doing so good.  Allisandra and Jana come out from behind the quickly ruining supports, and finish the dragon off. 

With the dragon's death, the world begins to split into two realms, shadowing, flickering and echoing off each other.  Jana is shadowed by her eight year old self.  Allisandra by her old self.  The servants hiding around the area's shadows dissapear, and then they themselves are gone.  Allisandra, realizing this means the worlds are reverting, braces herself to become her old self again...

...and slowly, the maelstrom dies down, and she's still female, and still an Ice Mage.  Jana remains here, too.  They're in the ruined Castle Vengeance.  They run over to wear Vengeance lay dying.  In his place, though, is a young nine year old boy.  Vengeance was always just a young child who had been bullied...and wanted to rule those who had hurt him.  "If I cannot rule...no one will" are his last words.

They look around, there are still people around, but not nearly as many, and most seem surprised to be here.  They both look around for their gemstones, and find most of them:  they are all grey and cracked.  No power remains in them.  They rush out, but not before Jana finds Sylvia's cracked grey wishstone, and cross a mirror.  They both look in...and see their old reflections staring back.  But behind them is their old world.  Looking around, faint glimmers and shadows of the old world are still visible...if you concentrate.  But don't seem to actually BE there.  The people behind them in the mirror appear to be groggy, and shocked, but not hurt.

They decide to deal with this later and leave out into what was left of the villiage.

Several days later, they both sit at the edge of a river, under some trees, watching the water go by.  They remark that the world seems to have even less people in it now, but that those who stayed are happy to be there.  Jana mentions Allisandra seems to be, as she's herself.  Allisandra saays Jana seems to be as well, as she's grown into strong woman  (by this time, she's accepted and "integrated" her hunter-self). 

Jana: "Maybe those who wanted to go back went back when the old world reformed?  And those who wanted to stay stayed?"

Allisandra: "Without ever going back to the old world, I don't think we'll ever know.  And I for one, am quite happy here."

Jana: "You know...so are we-- so am I."

...but weren't there TWO dragons in Mee Lein's story?

...I'll leave that to Amanda to tell one day. :)