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Farina's Pegasus

By the Hand of Mila - Feedback Wanted (SoV, SPOILERS)

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After finishing Echoes, one of the cutscenes in particular moved me so much, I felt compelled to write it out myself, as a sort of writing warm-up. That's why I'm calling it a semi-fic. I have added some dialogue and small actions to the cutscene, but not much else in the way of extras. I'm not a hundred percent sure content like this would be accepted on fanfiction.net or AO3, so I figured this was the ideal place for feedback.

I'm most interested in how I did on a technical level- things like do I have a good range of vocabulary, are my descriptions effective, can you visualize what's going on? So, if anyone wants to give this a read, I would be very grateful and also probably willing to read something of yours in exchange (provided it's roughly the same length).

Two warnings here. First one is for spoilers, if you haven't finished Echoes and think you may want to play it someday, don't read this. It's one of the best moments of the game, possibly objectively, and knowing what happens beforehand will spoil your experience. And second, I am warning for some violence, but nothing too graphic, so I'd say 13+ is appropriate (though if you're under 13 you're probably too young to be on this website afaik).

Anyway, click below for the piece. Word count is 1336

Spoiler

Title: By the Hand of Mila

 

The largest chamber was dark and cold, a stark contrast to the humid cave. An eerie glow in the center threw tall shadows around every rock spire. But Alm wasn’t daunted by this- he had grown used to far less comfortable circumstances in the past months.

 

Yet, no amount of preparation could have steeled Alm for what awaited by the stone-bound head of Mila. Celica’s saffron hair swayed in the breeze, but her body was so still that she may have been a standing corpse.

 

“Celica! Thank the gods you’re still here!

 

As if to receive her, Alm opened his arms. Celica remained silent, her chin dropped to her chest, frozen for a heartbeat before her face jerked upwards and the prince saw not a kind smile, but a wicked scowl.  Celica’s narrowed eyes had such a hollow, lifeless look that the truth hit Alm like a blade.

 

“No, this isn’t you… You weren’t lying to me, you really were going to give her life to that monster? Why, Celica?!”

 

Before he could get a step closer, Alm had to dodge a blow from Celica’s blade. Unwilling- unable- to strike back, the prince held off Celica’s swipes and slashes with his shield, calling to her as if she were far away, though he could have reached out to touch her face.

 

“Celica, snap out of it! It’s me, Alm! Don’t you remember?”

 

There was a pause, a flicker of Celica’s old self in her eyes, though her weapon was still raised. Alm lowered his sword and persisted, “We’re going to defeat Duma, together! Your forces and mine, surely all of us together can do it! Please, Celica, I know you’re in there somewhere! You’re stronger than anything!”

 

Then, the voice that spoke was different-

 

“Alm, it’s too late… you have to… stop me before I kill you-!”

 

Then the princess slashed downwards, with all the strength she had gained. Alm dropped to the ground as the sword sliced the space where his face had been a split second before. His weapon fell to the ground as he struggled to his feet.

 

“Are you crazy? You know I can’t do that! I won’t!

 

“I’m… so sorry… You have… to!”

 

Celica’s chest heaved under her armor, as one about to drown. She tried to shout, but Alm could understand no more. He knew that she was right- Duma’s spell could only be broken with death. That was how he and the Deliverance had managed to make it this far, by making their blades bloody with Duma’s witches.

 

You, bearer of Duma’s brand…
Grasp falchion now in your hand…

 

Was that Mila’s voice? It couldn’t have been, the statue hadn’t moved at all, but there was no choice now. Celica was bearing down on the prince, the spell breaking what remained of her resolve. If Alm’s closest friends and allies had not been waiting for their leader, he would have let Celica strike him down.

 

When this is all over, Alm thought with a resolve as cold and hard as ice, when we’ve slain Duma and led the Deliverance out of this terrible place… I’ll join you, Celica.

 

Once Alm’s fingers grasped the hilt of the sacred blade, the rocks around it crumbled like dry sand. He pulled with all his strength, and it came free of the stones, shining with a golden radiance. Somewhere behind him, Alm heard a gasp.

 

“Impossible! How is the boy able to free the blade?”

 

Alm recognized the voice as Jedah, but he had no time to brace for a second attack. Celica, momentarily blinded by the flash of the freed Falchion, thrust out her sword and charged. 

 

Trust in Falchion!

 

Yes, that must have been Mila! Alm knew he’d heard it before, though he could not place where or when... With Falchion held out, he lunged forwards, even though every muscle, every bone, every fiber of his body told him not to.

 

Hraaaaaaaah!-

 

Celica’s cry cut off as Alm’s blade pierced her chest. Drops of blood splattered the ground in front of her, and again a silence filled the chamber. More blood came in a trickle as Celica fell to her knees, gasping in vain, her chest rattling and mouth gaping in fear.

 

“Gods, no…”

 

Alm didn’t recognize his voice as his own. Dropping Falchion as if it were a training blade, he knelt to Celica’s creased form and grabbed her shoulders, shouting in her face, “Celica! Celica, please! Say something! 

 

Alm’s only answer was a soundless sigh. A sickening dark patch was growing at Celica’s chest and the prince could feel the horrible warmth of blood under his gauntlets. Celica’s gaze wavered, looking for a moment into Alm’s eyes, then her head slumped backwards as the life left her body.

Open your eyes… Don’t leave me! You can’t! Celicaaaaaaaa!”

 

No longer able to deny the realness of his murder, Alm rested his forehead against Celica’s and broke into sobs. The entire world didn’t exist now, only the raging torrent of grief that had been forming since that battle on Zofia Castle. Alm didn’t care that Jedah could conjure hordes with a snap of his gnarled finger, that there could be a throng of Terrors creeping beyond the bonfire’s shadows. There was no good left in any world without Celica, even if he hadn’t been the one to take away her beautiful life.

 

And then, above the petrified head of Mila, golden light blazed in the chamber, the same that had come from the freed Falchion. It grew brighter until Alm had to cover his face for fear of blindness, and then the most wondrous thing happened as he let go of the princesses’ body.

 

Celica’s form, still impaled on the legendary blade, rose into the moonlight as gently if she were being lifted by invisible hands. Mystified, Alm watched as six balls of pulsating white light circled around Celica’s body. Slowly, almost invisibly so, the Falchion lifted from her chest, and the stains around the wound vanished as it knitted itself.

 

Then, the light faded as quickly as it had come. Alm had just enough time to catch Celica as she fell a few feet, landing gently in his arms. Nestled there, her eyelids fluttered, as if she were waking from a very deep sleep.

 

“C-Celica…?” Alm whispered, not sure if he dared believe what had happened. The princess lifted her head at his voice, and her lashes parted. 


“Alm…? Is that… you?”

 

Unable to speak, Alm simply nodded, and didn’t realize he was smiling until he felt Celica’s fingers rest on his cheek. Convinced of his realness, she smiled too, with no trace of the evil spirit within her now. There was only kindness in her wide red eyes.

 

Alm didn’t move, he simply held Celica close, calm outside, not betraying the raging storm of emotion within him. This had to be a miracle, the kind that happened in dreams or fondest fantasies, but that didn’t matter now, Alm thought as he laced his fingers with Celica’s. All that was important was that she was restored, by Mila’s benevolence.

 

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Damn..what a read...That was a great cutscene in SoV..and you made it way better. 

I don't think I can give you any feedback, you did it really well.

Am I giving you too much praise? Is this annoying? Sorry if it is.

Good Job FP. :3

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7 hours ago, Emperor Chiam Longblade said:

Damn..what a read...That was a great cutscene in SoV..and you made it way better. 

I don't think I can give you any feedback, you did it really well.

Am I giving you too much praise? Is this annoying? Sorry if it is.

Good Job FP. :3

Thanks a lot for reading it! And no, of course it's not annoying, I'm always grateful for any feedback on my work. If there's anything you have that you'd like me to look over (as long as it's... I'll say, max 3000 words right now) you can send me a message and I'll get to it once I've got time. The dog I'm looking after doesn't seem to like it when I pay attention to anything other than her.

And also, since we're in spoiler territory... I may as well talk about my original intents for this fic.

Spoiler

I really wanted to write a fic about how the rest of the game would have played out if Celica didn't get revived, at least not immediately. I couldn't get very far with my predictions because there wasn't a whole lot of game left, but, I would imagine a couple possibilities-

1. Alm presses on, with a heavy heart, slays Duma (Celica as far as I can tell is not completely necessary to slay Duma, Alm's Falchion is all it takes) and takes the throne as king of Valentia. This in itself, though, I still think I could make interesting because of how much the poor guy's been through, he definitely wouldn't be acting rationally, I just don't really have any concrete, fleshed-out abilities.

2. Alm slays Duma, but after the fell god is defeated, he either takes his own life (as I really briefly and hopefully subtly alluded to in the fic) descends into madness/despair. 

3. Alm gives up where he stands and, like the bad ending of Awakening, the whole of Valentia falls into a dark future. 

4. Celica does get revived, but not until Duma is slain. I feel like this would be the easiest and most fun to create, since I don't have to change a whole lot, so it could be fairly short.

I mean... I could always write all four, I guess? A bunch of alternate endings? I love this game enough for it, but my spare time disagrees. :(:

 

Edited by Farina's Pegasus
added more discussion

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I second the previous commenter, but perhaps you should have not ended it there. Anyone not familiar with the source material would wonder "what happens next?" If you would have gone just a bit further, and ended it right before Alm and Celica go to face Duma, that would have been better. Include Jedah in shock that his witch was restored and storming away to Duma's altar.

I love it when people offer to read my stuff, whee! I don't think this is too long...

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OGS9v6kodB63x0QMgoqS39OPllkYnYcVAtl2zB7lKGs/edit?usp=sharing

PM me your thoughts. Xenoblade, but...an AU, and quite the tweaked one too.

Edited by Dragoncat

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25 minutes ago, Dragoncat said:

I second the previous commenter, but perhaps you should have not ended it there. Anyone not familiar with the source material would wonder "what happens next?" If you would have gone just a bit further, and ended it right before Alm and Celica go to face Duma, that would have been better. Include Jedah in shock that his witch was restored and storming away to Duma's altar.

I love it when people offer to read my stuff, whee! I don't think this is too long...

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OGS9v6kodB63x0QMgoqS39OPllkYnYcVAtl2zB7lKGs/edit?usp=sharing

PM me your thoughts. Xenoblade, but...an AU, and quite the tweaked one too.

Good idea, I honestly did feel like the scene after this one in-game was a little underwhelming, anyway. That said, though, I'm contemplating which (if any) alternate endings of this that I mentioned I may write. I don't think I will post the story just as-is anywhere, since it's not really a fanfic.

I'll give your work a read, but I will say that I don't know anything about Xenoblade so I'll be analyzing it on just technical level, if that's okay.

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10 minutes ago, Farina's Pegasus said:

I'll give your work a read, but I will say that I don't know anything about Xenoblade so I'll be analyzing it on just technical level, if that's okay.

That's perfectly fine. 

Male lead has silent letters at the end of his name btw, the L and T are not pronounced. Took me awhile to pronounce it right in my head too.

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