I have a feeling this might be a sad one but I'll gather my courage and ask about Speak with Deadssek!
Hallo! I'm glad you asked. It's definitely sad for a bit, but I'm a sucker for a happy ending, so it has one of those too. @thededleadragoria also asked about this title, so here goes for both of you:
The fulcrum of this WIP is that the Mighty Nein canonically do not know that Essek isn't consecuted. What a juicy little tidbit Matt gave us in fireside chat!! I began this fic pretty far into the final Aeor arc with the premise that in the final battle, Essek dies, and the Mighty Nein are suddenly confronted with their incorrect knowledge in a big way.
The canon version of 140 completely sucker-punched me and got me distracted by a bunch of new ideas, but I may still return to this some day!
Here's a snippet:
“But what if-- what if his soul is already in a beacon somewhere? What if he’s already been reborn as-- as-- one of those eyeball-butt cats, or something?! What if bringing him back doesn't even work?!” Jester stressed. “You guys!!!”
Beau chewed her lip. “Or like, what if he’d rather be reborn? Get a fresh start. Stop having to look over his shoulder all the time.”
Jester frowned thunderously. “Only if he promises to find us in his next life, because he’s our friend now, and there’s no takesie-backsies. I want him to come back.”
Caduceus leaned on his staff. “Well… there’s always Speak With Dead. We could ask him what he wants.”
“We should ask,” said Caleb quietly, his first words in some minutes.
“Oh, but that spell on someone we know, though? That’s so weird,” Veth said, reflexively crossing her arms, her nose wrinkling. “I’m used to it being enemies and people we don’t care about. It’s weird if it’s someone we know.”
“It won’t be him,” Caduceus replied. “It’s just… an echo. Of everything he was.”
“An echo seems… appropriate, in a way.” Caleb added, a twist of his face that in a better time, might have been humor. He swallowed thickly. “We need to do this. We need to ask.”
Veth made a face, but didn’t argue.
The Mighty Nein shuffled into motion, gathering closely around Essek’s body. Jester knelt to cushion his head and shoulders in her lap, and gently brushed his hair back from his forehead. Caleb stayed a little ways back, his hands buried in his coat pockets, the tension in his shoulders strong enough to wind a watch.
There was an element of habit in all these proceedings - they had used Speak With Dead many times before, and had performed resurrections too. But along with the muscle memory came a disjointed feeling, like putting on two mismatched shoes. Everyone was uneasy, connected by an unspoken worry: what if Essek asked to stay dead?
It took only a moment for Caduceus to set up. The scent of incense from the Blooming Grove was earthen, warm, and out of place in the frozen tomb of Aeor, a reminder of the world outside and the people they had risked everything to protect. A murmured chant in an old tongue and a few gestures were all that was required to finish the casting.
With the final words, the horrible stillness of Essek’s ashen face was interrupted: his lips parted and he drew in the breath provided by the spell, but immediately it was horrible in a new way, as it was a false breath, and his eyes remained flat. Dead. Empty.
“Hey there, Essek,” Caduceus began.
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