Talitha North is Kai Ratchford’s best friend. Over the course of the last nine months in game time, the party has exposed an Armageddon plan already in motion, failed to stop it two different ways, and invented an alternate solution of dubious likelihood for success. Since Kai quit the party, she has been flying all over the world to warn people about the Armageddon and try to make independent preparations to help some portion of the human race survive.
That alternate solution the party concocted involves evacuating as much of the planet as possible to an Umbral realm called “Rose”. “Rose” is Talitha’s maurader delusion, and it is unclear if it could survive Talitha being cured of her delusion – or if it is even possible to cure at this point.
At some point, there must be a reckoning between Talitha and Kai…
Talitha sets up portals across the world, connecting “Rose” and “Thorn” (her name for the real world), and the evacuation proceeds with minimal incident. Talitha keeps tabs on who’s gone over and who hasn’t and realizes that Kai hasn’t passed over. So Talitha goes searching for her.
Kai is working in her makeshift workshop in the plane. This song is playing over the speakers. The plane is parked somewhere near the Morocco surface complex. The second cataclysm is only days away, and you can see the asteroids whenever you look up into the darkened sky. The surface complex feels like a ghost-town. It is dramatically under-capacity. Very few people have chosen to stay behind rather than travel to Rose.
Kai and Talitha greet each other warmly, but things cool off quickly as Kai cuts to the chase (as she is wont to do). “What are you doing here Talitha?”
“You haven’t left for Rose yet.” Talitha explains.
“I’m not going.” Kai replies.
“You mean you’re not going yet. Right? Just making sure everyone knows and can reach the portals. Right?” Talitha pleads.
“What do you mean you’re not going?” Talitha asks, hurt. “This world will die. I’ll never see you again.”
“I’m sorry.” Kai says, more gently. “But I can’t. Even if this world is slated to die. I can’t abandon it.” She smiles wryly. “Besides, you’ll see your Kai as soon as you step through. I’m sure she’s waiting anxiously for you.”
“You’re… you’re my friend too.” Talitha says quietly.
“Goodbye Talitha.” Kai says, her voice cracking.
“Please…” Talitha starts.
“Go.” Kai snaps. “Get out of here. Run to Rose. Hide.” Kai throws her hands up in the air in a sign of helplessness and disgust.
“Fine.” Talitha snaps. “Maybe I will.” She storms out of the plane.
“Be the savior to humanity that I couldn’t be.” Kai whispers. A single tear rolls down her cheek. It hits a gift tag on her bench, smearing the words “To my best friend – don’t forget me.” The ink runs down onto the base of a small bronze sculpture of a single rose in full bloom.