Oh yes, there will be blood.
I've talked about it before, but I'm nearing the point of no return for certain characters. This will be their final bow, and that realization is both humbling and terrifying.
One of the things that I set out to do as a storyteller is tell the story of a character without a bias. Even though my universe is a complete work of fiction, there is still a spark of truth that is set to the events. I try, in no uncertain terms, to show when someone has something interest to say, rather than presenting it as fact. The reader can determine whether or not it is important to the story, but the character, in revealing that portion of his or her nature, can clearly represent what is important to them.
Though this novel lies at the end of a trilogy, I've included new characters, several which show up as late as the final chapter. Some of them have been referenced to, and some have had no precursory introduction. Their lives are at stake as well during all the turmoil, and it would have been crude and disheartening if I didn't display just what odds they were up against.
Meanwhile, there are veterans of my saga who are forced to come to grips with their own mortality. My readership may already know of the kind of damage that can be done within several hundred pages. Some characters are not meant to make it through to the end. This doesn't mean that they weren't important. They had their role to play, as we all do. The best that they can do is have an impact on someone's life. In that way, they can leave some kind of lasting legacy.
There will be those who survive the horrors of battle. These heroes (and villains - though who is to say which is which?) will bear the scars of lost loved ones, of broken dreams and unfounded wishes. Of course, not all who survive war end up unscathed. Some survivors leave only a broken, maimed husk behind, the memories of their hellish encounters enough to rend their very sanity. Others walk away with only a fleeting semblance of hope, a rapidly diminishing black spot growing inside their hearts. If all that is evil in the world is left to fester, what hope could good possibly venture?
Yet, among the shadows, a new light dawns. There are those who fight, knowing that the odds are ever against them. Some press on, despite all the pain and torment that plagues their lives. Few laugh in the face of danger, tempting fate like some exotic lover. As long as their is a world to protect, to help endure, they will remain. The tales of those who fell too soon may be written in stone, or on tattered pages, but it is the blood they spill that leaves a permanent place in history. Oh yes... there will be blood.