I've written before about my writing process, inspirations for The Ascension Legacy series, and some of what I've dealt with to bring the first two books in the series to market with the 3rd on the way. But what I've never written about is much of the story itself. True, I do post chapter summaries for the most recent release every Monday for however many weeks there are chapters, usually 15, but nothing too intimate or foretelling about what the other books hold.
The entire series is written already so it isn't like I'm holding back because I don't know how things unfold or because something might change between now and when those books are released. The story is done and I'm happy with how it plays out from start to finish.
The fact of the matter is that I did change the ending multiple times throughout my writing process. I had several different visions on how I wanted the story to conclude. Some were replaced with something different because they seemed to cliche, some were replaced because it seemed too far fetched given the story preceding it, and others were replaced because they seemed too obvious or unfulfilling. At one point, I even considered having a happy ending where Riorik finds his missing father and returns home where his father is absolved of the allegations against him and everyone lives "happily ever after" like it was some type of modern-day fairy tale.
However, in the end, I settled on something else. Is it a happy ending? Is it a sad ending? Is it a fitting ending? I won't say. To each reader, the ending may bring about a different reaction. Some may hate it. Some may love it. Others may be ambivalent about it.
I will say I wanted something that might be slightly unexpected. A twist but not one that is too wild or completely out of left field and inconsistent with the story. For astute readers, there is foreshadowing throughout the book that prepares you for the end but the goal was that it would all be very subtle so the ending was something of a surprise but one that makes you go, "Oh, I should have seen that coming."
During the development of the story and early draft reviews, I had several people read the drafts and none of them figured out the full extent of the ending in advance. Some were close but nobody saw the full picture in advance, which was my goal. Nobody seemed to take umbrage with my final choice of endings which leaves me confident that while it may not be the best ending to a story, it is a good one for mine.