Vilya leaves Veth and the Nein and the island and the other life behind. Home is just a few more steps away. The tree trunk opens to reveal the image that has simmered in her dreams these past few nights. The open air, the mountains, the trees. The people.
She takes a breath and steps through to rejoin her family.
Keyleth is tired. She’d spent the morning in Whitestone, Vesper’s birthday. She knew she wasn’t supposed to pick favorites, but Vesper was her favorite of the de Rolo children. It was all fair as Percy and Vex had been busy ensuring each member of Vox Machina could have a favorite amongst their brood.
The whole gang had been there. Birthdays were important. Vex, Percy, and the kids. Pike and Scanlan with well wishes from Kaylie. Tary. Grog. Sweet Grog. He’d challenged her and ensured she drank enough that Derrig had to steady her hand as she performed the incantation to bring them home to Zephrah.
She’d shaken her head and smoothed her mantle and settled back into her role. Another meeting, another council. It is routine and mostly unnecessary, but enjoyable. A good excuse to enjoy each other’s company. Her father laughs. Keyleth smiles. A familiar raven perches on a nearby branch.
And then she feels it.
A subtle vibration under her feet that threads its way into her heart. Her head clears instantly. The air crackles momentarily with magic. Heads turn to the old tree just beyond the cherry blossoms. The one her mother taught her to climb. Danger? A light burst forth from the bark, splitting its way down the trunk. Keyleth’s hand tightens on her staff. She takes a glance back at the raven. It’s still, calm and nods at her. She turns back and remembers who she is. She is Keyleth of the Air Ashari, Voice of the Tempest, Wielder of the Spire of Conflux, Member of Vox Machina. She’s overthrown evil, completed her Aramenté, become a leader. She’s grown. She’s loved and she’s lost.
She takes a breath and steps forward to protect her people.
The light fades and for a few moments Keyleth can see beyond. She sees a fire and people drinking and singing. A blue tiefling and a young woman in monk vestiges entreat a scruffy red-headed man to dance. A halfling woman hands out flowers. A pink blossom to a tall firbolg. Blue to the half-orc man. And white to the woman with eyes that hold a shadow of pain with which Keyleth is all too familiar. And then there’s a woman, sunburned skin and dark hair. For a moment, Keyleth thinks she’s looking at herself. And then she looks down, to the leg that is beautifully formed from vines twisted and braided and knotted. She looks up. Those eyes…
She hears a gasp behind her as the pieces click together in her mind. The raven caws. That face…
It’s mere seconds but Keyleth feels frozen in time, her mind and memories swirling around her. All they found was a single leg…
It is there, the word, the name, in her head and on her tongue, but she is suddenly so afraid. The heaviness that has sat on her chest for 20 years lightens. The hole in her heart that she’s built walls around warms, and she doesn’t know if it’s opening or closing. Her hand flies to her chest to ease the pressure. She takes a glance back at her father. He’s crying, but he’s calm as he nods at her. She turns back and remembers who she is. She is Keyleth of the Air Ashari, daughter of Korrin and… Vilya. She is Chief T; she’s Antlers; she’s Minxie. She’s awkward and stubborn. She’s still a bit of a light weight. She’s grown, but she’s never felt so young. She’s Kiki.
She forgets to breathe and starts to run.
“As Vilya steps through and into this space, the people back up. And the female figure clasps her chest. And begins to run for her. And the doors close.”