I must remember that though I walk by myself, I am not alone. Never alone. Not since that day, so many years ago, do I walk alone. No, I see them, before me, beside me, behind me. All those that taught me, all those that gave me something, all those that took care of me. Every last man, woman and child. Every last one of them, taken by my hand. Taken for just this moment.
Because I need them with me now. I need their power. I need their will. I need their presence. For now I face the mouth of hell. A massive gate carved of red bloodstone, guarding the hard granite castle behind it. In there is where I face my destiny, where the fate of the world will be decided. In there, I must face the man that would destroy us all. In there, I must face my brother.
I heard an echo of his laugh. He knows I am here. I hesitate.
I feel a touch on my shoulder and turn to look. It’s the ghost of my wife. Her eyes, which are usually sad and angry, smile at me. She has forgiven me, they say, for what I did to her. For what I did to all of them. They know the stakes now. They are with me. They all look at me now, and smile and nod.
Grimly, I nod back, and step up to the gates.