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Ottservia

Fire Emblem Awakening: One Last Chance

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So here's a little fic I've been working for a while now on Ao3 and Fanfiction.net and I'd thought I'd post it here as well. It's a story revolving around the future kids and exploring what their lives were like before jumping back in time as well as chronicling the events that lead up to that point. Now any and all feedback is very much appreciated and should be put into the feedback thread which I'll link to in the spoiler.

Spoiler

 

Anyway without further delay here is Fire Emblem Awakening: One Last Chance

Chapter 1: A World of Despair

The blood red sky loomed over the fires of a burning village. A demonic chorus of moans harmonized disgustingly with the screams of terror echoing through the wind. A teenage girl with long blue hair and a tiara backed further into the alleyway. Two purple and monstrous humanoid figures stood before her and blocked her only exit. The one in the front wore nothing but arm gauntlets and torn up brown pants. Its abdomen was well defined and muscular and it looked clearly strong enough to cleave a building in half with the axe nestled into its hand. The one behind it, however, was thinner and wore much more clothing as torn up as it was. Instead of an axe, this one opted for use of a long silver broadsword. However despite the differences a couple things remained the same. Four glowing red dots glared at her through the decrepit old masks mard with rows of jagged teeth. A purple mist billowed forth from their bodies and oozed onto the floor.

 

Several ragged breaths escaped her mouth in seconds. Thick drops of blood trickled down from the endless amount of scars coating her body. Pain seared through every point of her body. She gripped her sword and winced as her legs spread into a fighting stance. Her body was beginning to reach its limit. A tug at her shirt prompted Lucina to look down. A little girl with short brown hair gazed at her. Her eyes sparkled with tears glistening in the glowing flames around them. A mix of blood and dirt stained her small brown dress. 

 

She smiled down at the girl. “Don’t worry, I promise everything will be okay”

 

The girl smiled back but not soon after a sharp growl pulled their attentions forward. The sharp edge of the axe met her gaze and immediately her sword darted through the air. With a clang of metal, Lucina blocked the risen’s strike. Her teeth grinded against each other as her feet slid backwards from the force of the strike. “G-get back, now!” She ordered.

 

The child simply nodded and ran further back into the ally. Lucina took a deep breath and after mustering her strength, rammed her shoulder straight into the risen. The undead monster staggered back and wobbled for a bit before swinging its axe once more. However, this time Lucina expected it and swerved to the side causing the axe to crash into the ground. Now without any hesitation, the young lord lined the tip of her blade with the center of the risen’s chest and lunged forward. The risen’s entire body halted for moment as it glanced down at the long golden blade protruding from its chest. Lucina gripped her sword’s hilt and with a yell pulled the blade up and through the risen’s neck and face. With a shriek of pain, the undead monster dissolved into a purple vapor. Heavy ragged breaths puffed into the air as she winced from the pain pulsing in her arm. Alright that’s one down. She looked up and for a moment her heart stopped. Nothing but flames and corpses met her gaze. Where’d the other one go? 

 

“Heeeelp!!!” A painfully familiar high pitched voice rang through her ears.

 

Her eyes widened at the realization. Quickly she spun around only for her heart to sink. a large purple mass loomed over the small girl quivering against a hard wall of cobblestone. There’s no time! Lucina charged the risen only for a sharp pain to cause her to faceplant into the stone pathway. She tried to push herself back up only to be met with more throbbing pain. She managed to lift her head and met eyes with the terrified girl. At that moment timed slowed to a crawl as the world around her crumbled. Tears filled the girl’s eyes as her lips began to move. 

 

“You promised” she said as the risen’s sword began to fall upon her.

 

Her heart stopped at the utterance of those words. A torrent of despair slammed into her body and whipped through her anxious mind. There was a loud scream, followed by blood spatter and then silence. The promise was broken. The two halves of the girl’s body slumped to the ground as a dye of crimson dripped from the risen’s blade. 

 

Her stomach yanked at her throat as she suppressed the bile rocketing upwards. Her eyes screwed shut as she turned away from the sight. She couldn’t stand death. The mere thought of it filled her dread but it was something that was all too common in this despair ridden world. However, slow footsteps pried her eyes open and back towards the risen slowly advancing on her. Her heart began to sprint through her body as every instinct in her body screamed at her to move. Though any attempt to do so was only met with an excruciating pain. Was this it? 

 

Suddenly, A loud shriek of pain pierced the sky as a javelin whizzed through the air and struck the risen clean in the face.

 

“Bullseye!” Lucina heard a familiar voice shout out.

 

Large feathered wings slowed to a stop as a bright white pegasus landed beside her. A young girl in pegasus knight armour with short hair in pigtails colored in the exact same shade of blue as Lucina’s own rode atop the mighty steed. 

 

“The great hero Cynthia Strikes again!!” the girl said as she hopped off her pegasus. “Woah woah woa-ahh!” Her arms flailed about in the air before she fell face first into the cobblestone path. 

 

Lucina sighed at her sister’s clumsiness. 

 

“Owww” Cynthia whined as she pushed herself up and twirled around. “you okay Lucy?” She asked with an outstretched hand.

 

“I’m fine, thank you Cynthia” She said as she was pulled to her feet. 

 

“Are you sure?” Cynthia raised an eyebrow, “cause it looks like you can barely stand!”

 

“I’m fine really” Lucina reassured as she sheathed her sword. She then turned back to Cynthia, “Besides I thought I told you wait for me back at camp” 

 

Cynthia’s eyes glided to the floor, “Yeah I know but you were taking so long that me and snowflake got worried and besides...” She faced her sister once more as she struck a heroic pose, “A great hero is never idle!”

 

Lucina’s heart fluttered a little at her sister’s beaming smile. She’s just as cheerful as ever. The young lord sighed, “Alright I suppose it’s fine”

 

“Sooo where’s that woman’s daughter you went to go save?” Cynthia asked as her eyes wandered about the alleyway.

 

The question stabbed through Lucina’s chest as no answer followed. Cynthia’s pigtails drooped as her eyes landed on her answer laying behind her, “Oh…”

 

“We should go back” Lucina said.

 

Cynthia simply nodded as she helped her sister onto Snowflake’s back. In no time at all they were airborne.

 

--------

“Wh-what do you mean you couldn’t save her?” A village woman in tattered clothing and brown hair stared at Lucina in disbelief.

 

“I’m so sorry I…” Lucina hesitated for a moment as chains began to wrap around her heart. “...the risen overwhelmed me...th-there was nothing I could’ve done”

 

Pools of tears began to sparkle in the woman’s eyes. Lips and eyelids quivered uncontrollably. Hand-like gates erected over her face as a loud heart wrenching wail of despair exploded into the air. Lucina’s heart sank as she watched the scene unfold before her. Her fingers wound tightly into a fist as her nails dug into her palm. The slaughtering of that girl clawing at her mind.

 

“Emily!!!!” The woman cried out her daughter’s name.

 

“I’m so sorry” is all Lucina could say as she moved a hand to the woman’s shoulder. 

 

The distraught mother swatted the lord’s hand away. “Sorry?” She said before glaring at Lucina with her tear ridden face, “YOU’RE SORRY?!?!? SORRY WON’T BRING EMILY BACK!!! SHE WAS ALL I HAD LEFT IN THIS DAMNED WAR TORN WASTELAND!!!!” She shoved her finger in the young lord’s face, “AND YOU LET HER DIE!!!! IT’S YOUR FAULT SHE’S GONE!!!!”

 

Lucina could only stand in silence. There was nothing she could say. The woman was right after all. If only she hadn’t been so weak, then perhaps she wouldn’t have failed to save little Emily. 

 

“Hey! Lucy tried her best ok!” Cynthia suddenly interjected as she pushed herself in between Lucina and the village woman. 

 

“Cynthia” Lucina whispered to herself.

 

“Well she should’ve tried harder!!” The woman spat as her glared smouldered down to the younger of the two sisters. “It’s baffling to think that she is the heir to the exalt name!! Had lord Chrom been here instead, this never would have happened!” Her glare then rose back to Lucina, “He was a strong and model leader that cared for his people” She pointed at Lucina once more, “She is weak and will never be the exalt her father was!”

 

Those last words slammed into Lucina like a hammer smashing through plated armour. Again the woman was right.

 

Cynthia’s face scrunched into a glare “Well I’d like to see you do better! You probably wou-”

 

“Cynthia that’s enough” Lucina grabbed onto her sister’s shoulder.

 

“B-but Lucy-” She looked up and her pigtails immediately drooped into a whimper as she looked into her older sister’s hard stare.

 

The young lord then addressed the village woman, “I apologize about her”

 

The woman merely scoffed and turned to fade into the darkness. 

 

Cynthia swatted Lucina’s arm away as she turned to face her older sister. “Lucy why’d you let her get away like that? She was saying so many mean things about you so why? Why didn’t you say anything?”

 

Lucina looked down at her sister’s wide eyes that sparkled with concern. Those same eyes that sparkled at her when their father died. “Because she was right” Lucina said without a hint of emotion in her voice.

 

“Whaaa?” She reeled back in surprise, “Don’t say things like that Lucy!” Cynthia grabbed Lucina’s shoulders and began to shake her sister, “You’re the exact opposite of what that lady said! You’re super strong and a fantastic leader! Father would be nothing but proud of-”

 

“ENOUGH CYNTHIA” Lucina shot out. The shaking came to an abrupt stop as Cynthia let out a terrified squeal.

 

Lucina brushed off her sister’s hands, “I am weak” She said, her voice laced with venom. She put her hand to her chest, “I failed to save that girl because I was weak! All I could do was watch as she was mutilated right in front of me!

 

So no, I’m not as strong as Father so please repent from telling me otherwise!”

 

Cynthia’s eyes dropped to the floor as she noticed a couple tears drip from her sister’s chin. Maybe she had gone a little too far. Lucina took a deep breath and began to move a hand over to her little sister’s shoulder only for her sprint away into the darkness. And just like that, her heart slammed into the abyss. Her eyelids began to twitch as her vision began to blur in a foggy haze. Hand-like gates covered her face as a desperate wail began to crawl out of her mouth.

 

“F-father why did you have to die?”

Edited by Ottservia

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Chapter 2: Weakness

Lucina gripped the thin sheet and tried to wrap it even tighter around herself in a vain attempt to stay warm. Her eyes crinkled shut as memories of the previous day continued to gnaw at her mind. 

 

You promised

 

The look of terror and despair written in her eyes followed by her blood dripping off that cursed blade like the tears off her chin. Those venomous words and heart-wrenching sobs wrapped tighter around her chest like a snake suffocating its prey. From there, more memories began to bubble to the surface. One where the neck of a poor woman was shredded by a risen’s jagged teeth. The indescribable screech of pain that erupted in the air still rang in her ears. Another of a man whose corpse laid in a pool of blood that gushed from his missing limbs. Lucina heard the scream but by the time she arrived...it was too late. Those were only a few of the many brutal deaths she failed to prevent that day. 

 

She only had herself to blame for why those deaths occurred. It was because she was too weak to save them. She was too weak to get there in time. She was too weak to kill those risen before it was too late. She was the crown princess of Ylisse and yet she failed in her duty. How can she ever hope to live up to the legacy her father left behind? Or the legacy of her aunt emmeryn? Who took the mantle of exalt far before she did. She rolled onto her back and looked up at her tent’s black void of a ceiling. Perhaps she should just...

 

“Ahh that’s cold stop cuddling me you fluffy wyvern” 

 

Lucina’s heart nearly leaped from her chest at the sudden sound of her sister’s giggle. She shot from her bedding as her head darted around the tent before landing on Cynthia curled up next to her. Lucina sighed as a soft smile curved across her lips. She says the weirdest things in her sleep. It makes her wonder what it is her bubbly sister could be dreaming about. How she could sleep so peacefully like that despite everything that’s happened always astounded the young lord. Though Cynthia couldn’t even begin to imagine the lofty expectations Lucina is burdened with. Cynthia then scrunched up tighter with a shiver. Lucina immediately ripped the thin sheet from her legs and gently placed it over her sister. There that should be better. 

 

Lucina turned her head towards the flap of the tent and pitch black void outside. Perhaps some fresh air would allow her to clear her head. Rising to her feet, she grabbed her sword and moved outside.

-----

“This looks like a good spot” Lucina said as she looked out around the pitch black grassy field. She looked back to see a faint orange glow in the distance. Far enough from everyone so that she wouldn’t be a disturbance but close enough to dash back should something happen. 

 

She unsheathed her sword and held it in front of her. The darkness around her scattered away in the sword’s glimmering radiance. She looked into the peculiar mark nestled into her left eye which gleamed off her sword’s blade. A ‘U’ with wing-like appendages growing from the tips and a tear-shaped circle dropping into it. Looking at the mark always seemed to put her at ease. It was the brand of the exalt and proof of her royal lineage. It filled her with strength as if her father was once again watching over her. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Her body did the rest as it involuntarily sunk into a fighting stance. Her sword glided through the air and instantly, she was transported back to those sunny days in the royal training field. 

 

-----

A loud clunk flung into the air as a small intact log slammed into the ground. Much like that log, Lucina’s heart sank. Tears welled in her eyes as Falchion slipped from her hands and clamored to the ground. How? Why? Even after all the training, she’s done, she’s still not…

 

“Now don’t cry Lucina” She heard her father’s voice. 

 

“B-but I trained so hard!” She said as looked at him with eyes full of tears. “I-I don’t get it, shouldn’t I be strong enough to wield Falchion?”

 

He looked at her for a moment and sighed, “There’s more to wielding Falchion than just strength you know”

 

“H-huh” She sniffed as she raised an eyebrow at him. “Wh-what do you mean?”

 

Her father reached for Falchion and held it in front of them. The golden blade sparkled radiantly as it bathed in the sunlight. An almighty aura seemed to fill the air as she gazed upon the legendary sword. He then guided his daughter’s hands as she wrapped her fingers around the sword’s hilt. “When you hold this sword how do you feel?”

 

“I…” She trailed off unsure of how to answer, “...feel strong like I can do anything”

 

Her father nodded, “and why do you think that is”

 

“It’s because it’s a legendary sword right? Forged by the divine dragon Naga” She looked back at her father.

 

“While that is true, that’s not quite right”

 

“It isn’t?” What was her father trying to say?

 

“Here now what happens when I do this?” He removed his hand from the sword as Lucina nearly fell forward due to the sudden weight shift.

 

“W-waoh” Lucina said as she managed to steady herself and hold the golden blade.

 

“A little heavier without me helping, isn’t it?”

 

She nodded, “But I’m strong enough to hold it by myself”

 

Her father smiled “that’s true but it was easier with my help, right?”

 

She nodded.

 

He looked back to falchion, “The weight of this sword carries with it many things: your life, the lives of those you choose to protect, the lives of people long gone, the lives of those you’ve cut down, the decisions you’ve made, as well as the legacy of those who came before

 

It is a weight far too heavy to bear by anyone alone but it is the weight one bears when wielding Falchion. To wield Falchion is to be strong enough to carry that weight. To accept it and all the hardships that come with it” He moved his hand under his daughter’s arm to support it. “But you need not carry this weight alone. Your friends and family can support you and make the weight far easier to carry”

 

Lucina gazed at Falchion. Accepting the weight of the sword huh.

 

“Do you understand Lucina?” He looked down at his blue-haired daughter.

 

She gazed back and nodded, “Yeah...I think so...”

 

Her father smiled, “good, now do you wanna try again?”

 

She smiled back “yeah”

-----

“Hyaaa!” Lucina cried out as she slashed at the small oak tree before her. Splinters of wood scattered to the air as her sword tore through the bark.

 

She sighed as she inspected her handiwork. A shallow cut and messy too. Normally, the tree would be nothing more than a shallow stump after a slash like that but this time the sword barely scratched five centimeters past the surface.

 

She took a deep breath. She had to try again. If she couldn’t slice down this tree, then how could she ever hope to be strong enough to protect anyone? She had to get stronger to carry the burden left to her. A burden only she could carry so that others wouldn’t have to. Only she could wield Falchion. Only she could perform the awakening and slay the Fell dragon. No one else could so she had to be strong in order to be the light everyone would look to. A light Cynthia could look to and live the life she never could. A life without hardship or worry. A life full of nothing but peace and happiness. And if Lucina herself would have to suffer the weight of this burden to secure that life, then so be it.

 

Falchion glided in the air as Lucina swung the blade a few times. She paused for a moment. Something felt off. She couldn’t put her finger on it but something about her movements felt delayed or sluggish like her sword suddenly became heavier. She shook her head. Perhaps she was imagining things. She looked to the tree once more. Her legs spread as her body sunk into the proper stance. A slight dull ache caused her to wince but she ignored. She took a deep breath. This time for certain. 

 

Her fingers wrapped tighter around Falchion’s hilt but just as she was about to swing a familiar voice echoed from behind.

 

“Isn’t it a little late to be doing any sword training?” 

 

Lucina spun around to see a white-haired girl with long twintails in a brown mercenary uniform walk into view. “Oh Severa, good evening”

 

Severa scoffed, “Well it was a good evening until YOU went and ruined it!” She took a few steps forward and pointed a finger in Lucina’s face. 

 

Lucina raised an eyebrow, “How could I hav-”

 

Severa cut her off with a loud groan, “Do you have ANY idea how long I’ve been looking for you?!” 

 

“I…” Lucina trailed off unsure of how to respond. 

 

“Geez, you shouldn’t just wander off like that ESPECIALLY as our leader!” She said as she leaned in closer to Lucina. “What if you got ambushed and killed!? What then?!”

 

Lucina’s eyes darted away from Severa’s sharp glare, “My a-apologies I…”

 

“You what?!” She raised a furrowed brow, “would’ve fought them off with injuries like those and gotten killed?!” She gestured down to many scars lining Lucina’s body. “Gawds why do I even bother?!” 

 

“Sorry Severa, I did not mean to cause you any unnecessary concern” 

 

Severa scoffed and reeled back with folded arms. “Whatever, apology accepted I guess” Her eyes glided to the side. “Just don’t do it again! Got it?!”

 

“R-right” was all she could say. Severa was right. If she had been attacked in her current condition, She had hardly any doubt that the risen could’ve killed her. And if she were to die, then…

 

How careless could she be?

 

Lucina sighed, “was there anything you wanted to speak with me about. You spent all this time looking for me after all”

 

Severa’s eyes darted to the floor as she heard Lucina’s words. “th-there was…” she hesitated for a moment. “...s-something I needed to ask you” 

 

“What did you want to ask?” 

 

Severa remained silent for a moment with her eyes still aimed at the ground. 

 

“What did you want to ask me?” Lucina asked again as she cocked an eyebrow.

 

“Wh-when you were out d-did you f-find…” She paused, “anythingrelatedtomorgan!” 

 

“I’m sorry could you repeat that?” Lucina asked as she raised an eyebrow and leaned in a little closer to Severa.

 

“Gah whatever it was a stupid question anyway!” She spat as she turned to move back towards the camp.

 

“Severa wait” Lucina moved over and grabbed Severa’s left hand.

 

The young mercenary glanced back at Lucina, “what are you-I said forget it okay!”

 

Lucina shook her head, “No Severa, you’re my friend so I would never consider any question of yours ‘stupid’” 

 

The two girls locked eyes for a moment. Something red seemed to smear across her friend’s face but she immediately turned her head away. “Alright fine”

 

Severa yanked her hand out of her friend’s grip and slowly turned around while her eyes still stuck to the floor. “I w-was wondering if you found anything related to Morgan while you were out”

 

The young lord merely remained silent at the sound of those words. She had no answer to give. Her eyes glided to the floor. She found nothing that related to Severa’s younger sister at any point. A loud silence washed over them. How could she tell her friend that she found nothing? She knew how much Morgan meant to her. She let out a deep sigh and looked at Severa.

 

“Severa I…” As soon as her gaze to Severa’s face, something in the distance caught her eye. Two glowing red dots seemed to pierce through the darkness and began to grow larger. “Severa behind you!” Lucina suddenly blurted out causing her friend to spin around to face the large purple mass of decayed flesh looming over her.

 

A massive ear-splitting roar erupted in the night sky from the risen. A glint of silver sparkled in the darkness. A cloud of dust and dirt plumed into the air as both girls leapt away from the attack. Lucina looked to Severa who had already pulled out her sword. A trickle of crimson leaked from her arm. 

 

“Are you alright?” 

 

Severa nodded, “Yeah, you?”

 

“I’m fine”

 

“Good, now let’s show this thing what for!”

 

Lucina simply nodded. “I’m by your side”

 

Severa charged the risen who once again roared and charged back. Sparks flew into the air as the risen’s ax met Severa’s sword. Severa grit her teeth as her feet began to slide through the dirt. As much of a weapon advantage as she had, the risen pushed back with sheer brute strength. 

 

“Allow me!” Lucina charged forward and gripped Falchion in preparation to strike. 

 

The risen looked up for a moment and noticed the blue-haired exalt. “Hyaaaa!” She cried out as she swung Falchion with all her might intent on cleaving the monster in two. However, what happened next even she didn’t expect.

 

Falchion failed to so much as scratch the risen’s hide. Her eyes widened and her hands began to tremble uncontrollably. Why? Why won’t Falchion pierce this monster’s flesh? Why? A pale deathly hue draped over her skin as her father’s words echoed in her mind. 

 

Falchion is a legendary blade only a chosen few can wield. If one is unworthy, then the blade will be as dull as a stone.

 

At that exact moment, her entire body halted. Her throat twisted around itself which prevented any breath from seeping out. Arms, legs, and heart all froze in place as if she was a statue. Her arms suddenly felt heavy. Did Falchion deem her unworthy? Why? What did she do to betray the blade’s faith? Was it because she was weak?

 

“Lucina move!” Severa’s voice suddenly yanked her back to reality. 

 

Her eyes locked with the risen. Those sharp red glowing eyes pierced through that disheveled mask and into her soul. This was it. This was where she died. The monster let out a bloodcurdling roar as a glint of silver met her gaze. Life flashed before her eyes. I’m sorry Father.

 

Suddenly, Lucina felt a tug at her shoulder. Next thing she knew her rear slammed into the ground with her eyes wide and fingers wrapped tightly around Falchion’s hilt.

 

Edited by Ottservia

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Chapter 3: Failure

Falchion is a legendary blade only a chosen few can wield. If one is unworthy, then the blade will be as dull as a stone.

 

Lucina stared blankly into the dull gleam of the sword in her hands as the previous events continuously replayed in her head. Was it really true? Did Falchion truly? No, She mentally shook her head. Perhaps it was her stance or perhaps she didn’t put enough force into her thrust. Surely it wasn’t because Falchion….

 

She’s weak! She’ll never be the exalt her father was! 

 

Lucina bit her lip as those words bounced around the corners of her mind. However, if it were true…

 

“Hey Lucina!” She heard a familiar voice call out to her, “Hellooooo, anyone in there?! Answer me!”

 

Torn from her thoughts, Lucina looked up to see the dark outline of her friend standing over her.

 

“S-sorry Severa” Was all she could say as her eyes slumped back to the floor. It may have been hard to see, but Severa’s contemptuous glare still bore into her being.

 

Severa scoffed and rolled her eyes, “‘Sorry’ doesn’t even begin to make up for that pathetic display” She whipped one of her pigtails over shoulder and once again glared down at the young lord, “What’s wrong with you?! First there’s that pathetic excuse for an attack and when it fails you don’t have enough mind to dodge! Gawds could you BE more inept?!”

 

“M-my apologies I…” She hesitated for a moment, “...was lost in thought” She finally finished, her eyes gliding down towards Falchion.

 

“Are you daft?” Severa folded her arms while raising an eyebrow, “Why would you ever let yourself get distracted in battle?!?! You could’ve gotten yourself killed you idiot!!!” She shouted, glaring daggers down at the young lord.

 

Severa’s words were like a dagger plunging deeper and deeper into her chest with every remark. She didn’t try to struggle as there was no point. There was nothing she could say to remove the blade no matter how much pain it caused. She failed to do anything to that risen. She couldn’t do anything to stop it much like how she couldn’t do anything to stop the countless amounts of deaths that occurred earlier that day. All she could do was sit there and watch like the pathetic helpless lamb she was.  

 

The young mercenary let out an exasperated sigh, “You better be damn grateful I’m here to save your sorry ass” 

 

“S-sorry” the word came out light and immediately stolen by the breeze.

 

“Whatever, it’s fine” Severa said, extending an open palm to the young lord. 

 

Lucina’s eyes glazed over the scarred and swollen hand before gliding up to Severa’s snow white hair once more. 

 

“We’re…” The mercenary trailed off as her usual sharp tone softened like the silky grass beneath them. “F-friends after all”

 

And just like that, Lucina’s heart began to rise from its murky depths. Her lips curved a soft smile as she grabbed her friend’s hand. 

 

“thank you, Severa” She said as she was pulled to her feet.

 

“J-Just d-don’t get the wrong idea!” She immediately spat, ripping her hand away and crossing her arms once more.”N-Next time you make such a bone headed mistake don’t expect me to care enough to come rescue you again!” Her white tails whipped through the air like a Pegasus’s wing beat as she turned around.

 

“A-Alright?” Lucina said as she sheathed Falchion. 

 

“Anyway we have more important things to do than stand around here” She made a quick glance back, “you can walk right?”

 

Lucina made a quick glance down at her torn up boots and leggings. Blood mixed with dirt and ash drenched the once beautiful blue cloth with a puke colored crimson. Slowly, she tried to take a step. The slight dull ache then erupted into a hurricane of searing pain enough to make even a bear whimper like a newborn cub. Her face crinkled inward as her body wobbled like a top in a desperate attempt to stay standing. Her vision blurred for moment and after a loud thud, she found herself colliding once more with the cold soft grass beneath her. 

 

“Geez” Severa groaned, turning around and once again stood over the young lord. “Am I going to have to help you up all day?! Gods you’re almost as bad as Cynthia” She said with a roll of her eyes.

 

“S-sorry” 

 

“Well you two are sisters after all” Severa knelt beside her friend and slung Lucina’s arm over her shoulder. “And would you stop apologizing! I said it was fine alright!”  

 

That’s right, they were sisters. “Cynthia” Lucina whispered to herself. 

 

She thought back to her sister’s sleeping face and how peaceful she looked. Was she okay? Did risen get to the camp? Surely if one attacked herself and Severa, then…

 

As if on cue to answer those questions, a loud horse like shriek of pain suddenly reverberated through the air. That sounded exactly like, Lucina’s heart sank at the realization. Without any thought or hesitation, the blue haired exalt scrambled to her feet and began to sprint towards the camp.

 

“Hey Lucina!” Severa cried out as she was shoved to the ground.

 

However, Lucina ignored her white haired friend. Her body once again flared up in pain as the snake around them constricted harder and sank its fangs deeper into her flesh. It wasn’t long before she found herself once again skidding into the dirt. However once again she mustered her strength and tried to stand. Please be ok.

 

-------

A symphony of agony induced screams and groans filled Lucina’s ears as she arrived at the scene of the carnage. Glowing embers illuminated the ground. Each breath she took felt like her last only to be strangled by the clouds of smoke billowing into the air. A burning stench of decayed flesh and blood slammed into her nose. However she remained unfazed as her cerulean eyes darted around the now ruined campsite.

 

Please be ok. Please be ok. Please be ok. The sight of her sister’s mutilated body covered in bloody arrows flashed through mind. She shook her head. Cynthia had to be fine. She has Snowflake with her and there’s no pegasus as fast and nimble as her. Even still, She looked down at Falchion.

 

Father I promise I will not fail!

 

Through the cacophony, a sharp audible growl tugged at the young lord’s ear. Instinctively, her hands fell to Falchion’s hilt. Gritting her teeth, Her body begrudgingly spun around to view the oncoming threat. Through the flickering flames, a monstrous humanoid figure came into view. Eyes that gleamed like the color of blood dripping from her body glared at her through the darkness. She gripped Falchion’s hilt as her body nestled into a fighting stance. The fangs of pain sank deeper and rang through her body. She had to end this quickly given her current state. One strike is all she had enough strength for. If she couldn’t slay the risen with it, then...No she wasn’t gonna fall here. 

 

She narrowed her eyes and carefully examined the risen charging her. However something seemed off. Although hard to see, The risen’s arms flapped and twisted around wildly through the air. Its mangled up legs made a cracking noise with every step it took and bent in ways beyond the imagination. It moved with little regard to any kind of coherency as if attached to the strings of an amateur puppeteer. It was almost sad to see this creature struggle in such a way. She mentally shook her head. What was she thinking?! What reason would she have to pity these monsters. 

 

“U...les...e...alt” A gargled female voice spoke, pulling the lord from her thoughts. 

 

Something about that voice sounded eerily familiar. Lucina, however, had little time to ponder why as she watched the risen lunge at her. Immediately Falchion flew from its sheath and glided in an arc towards the oncoming mass of decayed flesh. It was then she remembered a reason to pity these creatures. A chain anchor wrapped around her heart and yanked it down back into the murky depths of despair. Her stomach coiled around her throat as a dozed frogs were nearly squeezed out of her mouth. Through the orange glow of the surrounding embers, The familiar face of a particular village woman came into full view. Her arm fell limp and in a moment’s time she found herself tackled to the ground.

 

Falchion spiraled out of her now loosened grip and slid across the floor. Lucina’s eyes snapped shut in pain as a warm liquid pecked at her cheeks. She looked up and her vision blurred with tears as she noticed a cluster of them forming in the risen’s eyes. The risen’s face plunged downward toward the tear ridden princess. Its fangs craning open in order rip into its victims neck. Instinctively, Her arms moved to the monster’s chest and with all her strength tried to push it away. More and more blood dripped from her arms as the continued pressure pulsed through her chest. 

 

“Yo...r...f..ul...t” She shuddered as the risen spoke once more in that heart wrenching voice.

 

You’re fault

 

Lucina’s heart halted and with it the rest of her body. Memories of that young girl flooded her head. Her terrified scream and subsequent mutilation gnawed at her arms until they began to slide back to her sides. It was her fault. Everything about this situation was her fault. She failed to save that girl. She failed to save this woman. She failed to save her sister. She was weak and nothing but a failure to her family’s name. Now soon she would fail to continue breathing.

 

A blurry jagged mess of decayed flesh moved slowly downward. Something sharp poked at her neck as a swirl of darkness began to envelop around her. Like a breath to the wind, her senses began to dull. The once loud and clear cries of agony muffled through her ears. Her eyelids felt heavy as all she could feel was the cold wind whisking her away.

 

“Lu...cy!!” She heard a voice call out.

 

Was that Cynthia? The purple mass above her dissipated under a stifled shriek of pain. 

 

“L….cy r….o….k? C….me….ge…..u….p!! pl…...a….s!” 

 

A mess of blue and a familiar symbol met her gaze followed by the black and empty void. A warm liquid pecked at her cheeks and then nothing.

Edited by Ottservia

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Chapter 4: Familiar Longing

 

“Hey Lucina!”

 

Severa felt her friend’s hand squeeze her shoulder followed by a forceful yank backwards. The soft bed of grass brushed against her back as her head smacked into the dirt. Damnit Lucina what the hell was that! She clutched the now throbbing bump on her head and forced herself to sit up. Everything spun around for a moment as a blurry blue mass flopped about and faded into the darkness. Severa shut her eyes and shook the world back into place. The distant cries of terror and agony rang across the field and continued to inter-mix with the discourse of demonic groaning.

 

Gods, what is she thinking going off on her own like that?! She can barely stand let alone fight! Is she trying to get herself killed?!?!

 

“Ugh that idiot!” Severa swept herself to her feet and after quickly checking herself for any major injuries, ran after her supposedly suicidal friend.

 

The demonic discourse only amplified as the orange glow in the distance expanded into a full on beacon of chaos. A burning sensation began to continuously prick at her left hand and only intensified as she grew closer to the carnage site. She clutched her arm as the pain spread and reawakened the the cut just under shoulder. Gods why does she even care? Everyone at the campsite are likely already dead and turned to risen anyway. The same likely goes for Lucina by this point. There’s nothing left to save so then why does she continue to run? Her legs began to slow down. Honestly they should just give up. What’s the point of saving people if they’re just gonna die soon after anyway? They’re parents couldn’t save anyone so what makes them think they have a chance?

 

“Se….” A soft distant voice pulled the young mercenary from her thoughts.

 

Severa slowed to a stop and darted her head around the dark void. What was that? After a few moment’s silence, the pain in her arm intensified. Her sleeve crinkled tighter into her fingers as she winced and look down at the pulsing limb. A faint purple glow sparkled from under her glove. Well that would explain the pain, Her nails continued to dig deeper into her arm until a thick scarlet liquid trickled out. Ugh why won’t that thing ever stop causing her so much agony.

 

“Lucy!” Another voice along with a bone chilling shriek of pain, tugged at her ears.

 

Her head swerved to the side to see Cynthia flop off her pegasus and scramble to her sister’s side. A risen squirmed and screeched in pain from the spear lodged into its abdomen before growing stiff and dissolving into a purple mist.

 

“Lucy are you okay?! Come on, get up!! Please!!” Cynthia pleaded, shaking at her sister’s motionless body. A torrent of tears glistened in the gleam of the firelight and crashed onto Lucina’s clothes. Snowflake trotted next to her and nudged at her master’s face with her own.

 

Well you two are sisters after all, Her own words nipped at her as she watched the scene unfold before her.

 

A soft breeze brushed through Severa’s snow white hair. Her arms slipped back down to her sides as the tension in them melted away. The world around her drained away. There was no groaning, no screams of agony or fear, no decayed stench, no pain in her arm, nothing. All that existed were the luminescent embers and Cynthia’s loud grievings over her sister. Light blared into her eyes, glistening with puddles of tears. She blinked for a moment and saw something incredible. Strands of deep crimson replaced the cerulean hue in the distance. Once light silver pegasus knight armour became a large black overcoat speckled with small purple circles. There she was grieving furiously before her eyes.

 

Her legs began to move on their own. First a couple hesitant steps then turned into a small sprint. Don’t cry everything will be ok. I’m here for you. I didn’t mean what I said. I’m sorry Morgan.

 

“Severa! You gotta help me!” A familiar squeaky voice spoke up as she approached.

 

‘Morgan’s’ head shot up to look at Severa. Her feet dug into the dirt as she staggered to an abrupt stop. Their eyes met and there she saw it. A peculiar mark nestled tightly into her right brown eye. Just like that, much like the illusion it created, her heart shattered. Short red hair morphed into blue pigtails as the firelight sparkled across the steel pegasus knight armour. The hell-like symphony rang out as clear as the tears running down her cheek. Severa’s arms quickly became a gate that stood crossed over her chest. Her gaze swirled to the ash black bed of grass. Gods that face made her want to puke.

 

“Lucy she’s...she’s….”

 

Cynthia’s sniveling persisted as she choked on her own breath. “S-Severa! P-Please…. I don’t….I don’t know what to do!”

 

Severa’s nails dug into her arm as her teeth grinded against each other. Her left arm once again burned with a faint purple hue.

 

I don’t know what to do! Six words, six painfully familiar words rang through her head.

 

Why can’t you ride? Your mother was riding her Pegasus at just 10. Why aren’t you like her? Why aren’t you trying? Shouldn’t you know how to do this?

 

I don’t know. I don’t know!

 

Gods just shut just up!” An icy javelin shot from her mouth.

 

The ear grating sobs came to an immediate and utter halt as Severa whipped her head and stabbed Cynthia with an unholy glare. “You think that worthless crying is gonna solve anything?!?!

 

“I….I…” Cynthia stuttered as her drenched almond brown eyes darted away from Severa’s venomous gaze. Snowflake stomped her hoof and shot her head towards the white haired girl.

 

However, Severa pressed on, “Grow up!!

 

Cynthia shot up and reflected her own glare at Severa. “Well it’s not like you’re doing anything to help!!” She took a step forward, “At least I’ve done something!! all you’ve done so far is be a jerk!!!

 

For a brief moment, Morgan’s face flashed over top of Cynthia’s once more. Severa grit her teeth, even their words are similar.

 

Severa pointed down at Lucina’s unconscious body, “If not for me that moron you call a sister would be nothing but-

 

“Waaah!!!” Cynthia cried out as her body flew forward and rammed into Severa.

 

The world spun into darkness as the throbbing pain of once again being slammed into the dirt rang through her body. A horse-like shriek of pain pierced her ears as a resounding thud followed suit.

 

Severa groaned as her head once again throbbed with a nauseating pain. What the hell was that? The mercenary opened her eyes as everything spun back into place. She lifted her head to see Cynthia’s face squashed into her chest. Smudges of red smeared across Severa’s face before quickly fading into her signature scowl.

 

“Hey! Get off me would you!” Severa spat.

 

A groan vibrated from Cynthia’s mouth as her limbs bent and craned herself up. A puff of steam erupted from her tomatoey face as she immediately scrambled off to the side. “S-sorry Severa!”

 

Severa pushed herself up and rubbed the fresh new bump on her head. “Can’t go five minutes without face planting into something can you?” She scoffed.

 

Cynthia’s face scrunched into a glare, “I’ll have you know I was pushed tha-” Cynthia’s eyes widened as more tears began to glisten from her eyes, “Snowy!” She cried out as she scrambled passed Severa and to her downed pegasus.

 

Rivers dyed in a deep crimson flowed endlessly from the glimmering silver arrow lodged into the winged beast’s side. Its stomach rose and fell in a slow and stilted rhythm as it lay there beside Lucina. Blood stained feathers drifted to the floor from its somewhat crooked wing that hung in the air.

 

“What happened?! are you ok?!”

 

Snowflake could only let out a weak whimper in response. Severa’s heart sank at the sight. Snowflake really did care for Cynthia much like how Aurora cared for herself and morgan before.... Severa bit her lip. The click of a bow stung at her ear. Her heart stopped for a moment as a glance behind revealed two piercing red eyes hovering above a silver twinkle.

 

“Hold on! Let me just remove this….” Cynthia trailed off as she wrapped her hands around the red stained arrow.

 

“GET DOWN!!” Severa cried out as she dove over to Cynthia and pulled her face into Snowflake’s bloody abdomen.

 

For a brief second afterwards, a faint silver glimmer soared overhead and drilled into the dirt.

 

“He….! S..ev….era wh…..a wa….s-” Cynthia muffled, her face still smeared into her pegasus’s side.

 

Severa looked up and glanced back at the pair of glowing red eyes, “Just shut up and stay down” She ordered as she spun to her feet and immediately pulled out her sword. She wiped the blood from her face and narrowed her eyes at the pair of glowing red orbs floating in the distance.

 

Another bow click followed by a twinkle of silver flashed in the air. Severa darted to the side and winced as a fresh pain stung at her abdomen. Fifteen seconds. Fifteen seconds between the second and third arrow. Fifteen seconds before the fourth is fired. Fifteen precious seconds to counterattack. After a deep breath, the white haired mercenary charged forward. Her left arm once again flared up in pain as she closed in on the undead archer. Nails drilled into her palm as she began to slow down. In the dim glow of the fire light the risen began to ready another arrow. About four seconds left, Severa grit her teeth and lunged forward. Severa let a war cry which caused the risen to pause for a moment and stare at the white haired girl. She twirled the sword into an icepick grip and slashed upward.

 

A blood curdling roar of pain pierced the sky as the risen staggered back and clutched the fresh new scar lining its chest. Now for another! Her feet dug into the dirt as she once again spun the blade between her fingers and this time glided her blade in a horizontal arch at the risen. A gust of wind sliced through the air as the undead archer leapt back. Damnit! Severa gripped her sword and prepared to lunge once more when…

 

“Severa watch out!” Cynthia’s voice rang out from behind.

 

The crackle of electricity pricked at Severa’s ear as her head darted to the side. Sparks of yellow and blue glimmered through the darkness before exploding into a bright yellow spear of energy that rocketed towards her. Instinctively, she leapt away from the attack as a pillar of flame erupted from the ground from where it struck. She turned to face the source of the attack before a familiar twinkle entered her peripheral. Not even a second later, a monstrously sharp pain bore through her side. A near deafening wail of pain shot from her mouth. Her feet stumbled through the ash and blood ridden field as blood stained breaths heaved from her lungs. She glanced down at the mess of blood leaking from the shining silver arrow protruding from her side. Everything began to pulse with a blurred haze as she moved her gaze toward the archer outlined in the fire’s glow.

 

Severa winced as she pulled the arrow from her side and tossed it to the floor. Something wasn’t right. Since when did risen of all things get smart enough to employ diversion and team attacks like that? As strong as they were, only risen born from soldiers had any kind of tactical sense but even then they could never coordinate their attacks together like just then.

 

The risen cocked another arrow which caused a familiar click to crackle in the air. Severa’s eyes narrowed. She had about three seconds before that arrow flew and another two before it landed. Three. Tw-.

 

“Gyaaa!” Severa’s head darted back to see Cynthia running towards her. Her arm poised above her head, ready to launch the javelin in nestled tightly into her fist.

 

However, an immediate moment later the young princess found herself face planting in the dirt as the javelin spiraled out of her hand. Gods now wasn’t the time for her pathetic-

 

A familiar click caused her gaze to shift back to the risen ready to fire another arrow. In a fraction of a second the arrow launched into the air. However before Severa had a chance to even attempt to dodge, she noticed the arrow vear slightly to the left. Wait at that angle the arrow wouldn’t hit her but instead hit….

 

Cynthia

 

Severa’s heart momentarily stopped. Without any thought or hesitation, the young mercenary threw herself into the arrow’s line of fire. Gods what was she thinking throwing her life away a second time trying to save these blue haired idiots?  The tip of the silver arrow glimmered clear in her eyes as it flew towards her head. She thought back to her mother. It seems even in death, she’ll never be able to escape her shadow.

 

“No!” She heard a faint voice cry out.

 

Not a mere second later, Severa shut her eyes as a blinding light exploded in front of her. She cried out in pain as a small jolt of electricity zipped through her body and with a loud thud her body slammed into the ground.

 

Severa opened her eyes to the double spinning world around her. The light of the rising sun peeked through the droll gray clouds swirling in the horizon. She peeled herself from the ground as she shut her eyes and tried to shake the world back into place. Wh-what just happened? Her gaze shifted around the grassy field and landed on the silver arrow tangled in short black whips which crackled in electricity.

 

“Are you alright?” Severa turned to see Cynthia kneeling beside her.

 

She merely nodded as she continued to try and process the situation. An erratic moan then averted her attention back towards the risen though something was strange. Purple mist fumed from every opening in its body like the smoke of the fires around them. Limbs, torso, and neck all bending and twisting with a crunch by each passing twitch. The two girls could only watch in utter bewilderment and pity at the monster. After several minutes, the risen screeched in an bone chilling cry as it burst into a puff of purple smoke.

 

The nearby cloaked figure closed the tome in their hands and disappeared in a flash of purple light. The faint cry of a pegasus rang from the sky.

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Chapter 5: Sisters

 

“Come on where is it?” Severa muttered to herself as she dug through a pile of charred wood and ash. It had to be around here somewhere.

 

She moved another small charred plank and underneath a blotch of white caught her attention. Was that it? She brushed away some of the surrounding ash piles and reached for the soft-looking white patch surrounded by a dust storm of black. She pulled it out of the pile and frowned as she brought it to her face. Specks of dust sprinkled off of the bright white tuft of plumage in her hand. She tossed the feather to the side as it gently floated to the ground beside her.

 

Severa let out an audible groan. Where the hell could that thing be? It couldn’t have burned, could it? No, She shook her head. It had to be around here somewhere. She looked over the pile of blackened ash that was once her tent. She just had to keep looking. She had to find it. If she couldn’t…

 

She winced as her left hand began to nip at her again. Who was she kidding? If she couldn’t find it now, she’d never find it at all. And what if she did find it? What good would it do? Why did she care so much about that stupid doll anyway? She looked at her hands covered in a sheet of soot and ash. Her sister’s face flashed through her mind. She let out a sigh as a whispering breeze brushed through her hair. A swirl of black ash coated the white feather as it drifted through the air. Might as well go see how Cynthia is holding up.

 

The white-haired girl rose to her feet and brushed herself off. She took one more look at the smoldering piles of ash in front of her before turning to walk back to their new campsite. A black feather swayed in the wind behind her.

 

“Severa!” She heard Cynthia call out as the young princess ran up to her. Sparkles of tears splashed into the air behind her.

 

Severa stopped as the young princess suddenly tripped and face planted into the dirt. She rolled her eyes before giving an exhausted sigh, “You really can’t go five minutes without falling over, can you? You’re pathetic”

 

Cynthia let out a muffled groan before peeling herself from the ground. She wiped the dirt from her face and shot a scowl at the mercenary. “What did you say?! I am NOT pathetic!”

 

Severa crossed her arms and scoffed, “Says the girl who trips more than 15 times a day”

 

“That was ONE day!” She shouted back. “I’ve gotten better about it since!”

 

Severa smirked, “What was that your 14th time greeting the dirt today?”

 

Cynthia crossed her arms, “I’ll have you know it was the 10th” She boasted.

 

“Wow, a new record” Severa said sarcastically as she tried to suppress a small fit of laughter climbing out of her chest. “Maybe tomorrow you’ll walk an entire 2 feet without making out with the ground”

 

Cynthia let out a frustrated cry, “Fine! A hero doesn’t need help from a villain like you anyway!” She turned around and began to stomp back to their little makeshift camp.

 

Severa laughed, “Call me a villain all you want but you’re worthless without my help”

 

Cynthia stopped and turned around to face Severa once more, “Nuh-uh! A strong hero like myself doesn’t need help!”

 

Severa rolled her eyes and turned around, “Whatever you say just don’t come crying to me later alright”

 

Cynthia scoffed, “I won’t need to! You’ll see! I can help Lucy all by myself!” And with that, the young princess stormed off.

 

“Pfft what a loser,” Severa said as she went back to searching through the pile of ash.

 

Once again her left hand illuminated with a faint purple sparkle. The last couple of words Cynthia spoke began to poke at her mind much like the dull searing pain on her left hand. She’s heard those words before oh so many times has she heard those words.

 

----

“Hyaaa!” A little white haired girl cried out with a hand outstretched towards the training dummy before her. She frowned as nothing happened. Why didn’t it work?

 

With a scowl, she waved her hand again but once again nothing happened. Her scowl sharpened as she tried again and again and again. However each time nothing happened. A frustrated groan vibrated into the air, “Why can’t I cast one stupid thunder spell!” She cried out.

 

What was she doing wrong?! She was doing it exactly as she was taught so then why? Why won’t this stupid thing work for her?!

 

“You’re not focused enough” She heard a familiar voice speak up.

 

The little girl turned to see her younger sister walk up to her, “What?! No! I was completely focused!”

 

“Well, then how come it didn’t work?” Her sister asked innocently as she cocked her head, “Papa says all you need to do is focus and it’ll work”

 

“Well, it...I…” The young girl didn’t know how to respond. Her sister was right after all. She then looked at the tome in her hand. “Obviously it’s because the stupid tome must be broken or something!” She said as she waved the tome about wildly in the air.

 

“Really? It looks just fine to me” Her sister said as her eyes followed the mystical book. “How can you tell it’s broken?”

 

“I-I just can okay! Why else wouldn’t it work?!”

 

“I dunno”

 

“All right then if you’re so sure, then you try it!” She said as she handed the tome over to her younger sister.

 

“Alright” The little red-head chirped as she grabbed the tome. “Oh, but could you hold on to aura for me then?” She pulled a small white stuffed Pegasus from her cloak.

 

Severa glanced down at the toy, “alright” She said as she grabbed it from her sister.

 

Her sister smiled “great now make sure nothing happens to her ok?”

 

“Yeah whatever”

 

“Alright,” The redhead said as she moved into a combat stance and faced the training dummy.

 

The youngest of the two took a deep breath. She stroked the book with her free hand as a faint yellow glow sparkled between her fingers. Her hand weaved through the air as she moved it in front of her face. She stood still for a moment as the glow in her hand grew brighter until whips of yellow strings began to dance around her palm. Quickly, the young redhead closed her fist and with a wave of her hand shot a small ball of electricity that slammed into the training dummy. A plume of smoke erupted into the air.

 

The young white-haired girl looked on in disbelief at what just happened. How did she do that?! She made it look effortless as if she’s been doing all her life!

 

“It seems to work fine for me,” She said inspecting the tome.

 

The older sister scowled, “Gimmie that!” She yanked the tome from her little sister’s grip.

 

“Whoa hey, what’s going on here you two?” The two girls turned to see their father walking up to them.

 

“Daddy!” Morgan’s eyes lit up as she plucked Aura from Severa’s grip and bolted towards him. Her little arms wrapped around his waist. “Did you see that daddy?!” She beamed her signature bright smile at him.

 

“I sure did,” He smiled back and ruffled his hand through her hair, “That was a really good shot, Did Severa help you with that?”

 

Morgan shook her head, “Severa was having trouble with her tome so I was trying to help”

 

“Really? so you did that all by yourself then?”

 

“Uh-huh,” the little redhead nodded.

 

“That’s quite impressive, why at this rate you’ll be as much of a mage as I am!”

 

“Really?!” Once again Morgan’s eyes lit up.

 

Their father simply nodded. “Yeah with your level of natural talent anything is possible”

 

“Little show off” Severa grumbled to herself as her eyes glided to the floor. “I can do that too”

 

Their father looked up, “What was that Severa?”

 

Severa looked back at him, “I said I can pull that off too!”

 

Morgan raised an eyebrow, “Really? But earlier you-”

 

“That time was different! I j-just wasn’t trying is all!”

 

Their father let out a soft chuckle, “Alright Severa would you like to show us now that you’ve warmed up a little?”

 

She nodded, “Yeah, you’ll see I can do it all by myself!”

 

Severa turned around and sunk into a combat stance. She took a deep breath. No big deal, she could do this. All she had to do was do exactly what Morgan did. Alright just focus. Her hand glided over the thunder tome. She took another breath. Focus on the energy around her and let it flow into the tome and then her hand. A faint yellow glow began to sparkle between her fingers. She could do this. She moved her hand in front of her as sparks of electricity began to dance around her palm. Okay this was it. She had to prove that she could do this that she was just as talented as Morgan. That she wasn’t just a disappointment. She closed her hand and waved it forward...

 

——-

Severa sighed as she moved another charred plank to the side. She clutched her side as the newly bandaged wound began to ache. Why did she care so much? She should be glad she’s gone. No one left to upstage her. No one left to look after. No one left to remind her of…

 

Her lips quivered as she rubbed the droplets of tears forming in her eyes, “...how worthless I am” The words came out light as the fresh morning breeze whisked them away.

 

Call me a villain all you want but you’re worthless without my help

 

I won’t need to! You’ll see! I can help Lucy all by myself!

 

She clutched her head as those words began to eat away at her mind. The glow on her hand grew brighter as the pain intensified. What does she care? It’s not like it’s her problem! She should just let her fail maybe then she would know what it’s like! What does she care what happens to her anyway?!

 

Lucy are you okay?! Come on, get up!! Please!!

 

Well you two are sisters after all

 

Please don’t go! I don’t wanna be alone again!

 

“I don’t wanna be alone again” She muttered to herself.

 

For a moment, Severa just stood there as the quiet breeze whispered those words into her ear. She let out a sigh before turning around towards the camp. She only walked about 2 feet before she felt something catch her foot. A wash of pain spread across her body as she face-planted into the dirt. Great now it was rubbing off on her. A groan vibrated from her mouth as she peeled herself from the ground and glanced behind her. She raised an eyebrow as she noticed something white and fuzzy poking out from under her boot. Was that?

 

She quickly scrambled to her feet and picked up the object. It was soft like a pegasus’s hide. She brushed off the dirt and sprinkles of ash. After a brief inspection, tears began to fill her eyes as she brought the familiar stuffed animal to her chest. She found it.

 

-----

 

“Geez, all this fussing over a simple fever” Severa said as she placed a wet cloth on Lucina’s forehead. “You really are pathetic”

 

Cynthia crossed her arms and pouted, “Well it just happened so suddenly and we were all out of vulneraries s-so what was I supposed to do?!”

 

Severa sighed, “Well whatever she’s better now but I dunno if that’s gonna last for much longer” She looked back at her friend’s unconscious body.

 

Her heart sank at the sight. By the gods, Lucina never looked so pale. Her skin was almost corpse-like in color with the only indication of life being small puffs of breath that would escape her lips every so often.

 

“Wh-what do you mean?!” Severa glanced back at Cynthia. Tears began to pool in the youngest princess’s wide eyes as she looked at Severa. “Lucy’s gonna be ok right?”

 

“I don’t know” She breathed another sigh.

 

“So Lucy’s gonna…” She trailed off as her eyes began to screw shut as a near vomit of tears began to ooze from her eyes.

 

“Oh calm down would you!” Severa snapped, “I didn’t say that!”

 

“Th-then...wh-what do...we do?” Cynthia sniffed as she tried to wipe the tears from her eyes.

 

“Well we gotta find a healer and fast”

 

“B-but snowy still can’t move a-and we just can’t leave them here”

 

“I know that you idiot!”

 

“So then how do we look for help?”

 

Severa didn’t answer. How could she? Neither of them could fend off a horde of risen on their own especially in their current condition so splitting up was out of the question. The closest town was gods knows how far away so they couldn’t do that and a fire signal would only attract more risen. They really were out of options.

 

“I...I don’t…” She looked at Cynthia’s sniveling face. It looked like the dam in her tear ducts were on the verge of bursting. Once again Morgan’s face flashed over top of Cynthia’s.

 

The white-haired girl reached for the stuffed pegasus at her side and handed it to Cynthia.

 

“Wh-what’s that?”

 

“Th-this is A-Aura a-and…” Severa’s cheeks turned beet red. Gods what was she doing?!

 

Cynthia looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

 

Severa shook her head and took a deep breath, “and he promises that everything will be okay”

 

Cynthia’s face lit up as her pigtails perked like cat ears. “Thank you, Severa” She said as she hugged the small stuffed animal.

 

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Chapter 6: Light

 

Where am I? Lucina thought to herself as she walked through the endless black void. Was she dead? Was this the afterlife? Why was she walking? And to where? A billion questions began to swarm her head. Was Cynthia okay? And what about Severa? The last thing she could remember was…

 

“U...les...e...alt!” A familiar voice rang out across the dark void and pulled the young lord from her thoughts.

 

Her head darted around as she tried to locate the source of the voice. However, all she found was darkness.

 

“You’re fault!” the voice shouted again from all directions.

 

She stopped as her stomach twisted at the sound of those words. It was her fault.

 

“You’re fault!” The voice began to repeat the phrase and grew louder every time

 

“You promised” a new voice spoke up and repeated once again alongside the other.

 

Soon after, more voices began to join the symphony. Agonizing screams of pain stabbed her eardrums as low moans and groans breathed down her neck.

 

“H-help me please!” “Gawds could you BE more inept!” “It hurts...please make it stop!” “I-I can’t move!” “My daughter! She’s still back there you have to save her!” “She’s weak!” “Well, you should’ve tried harder!” “She was all I had left in this damned wartorn wasteland!” “It’s all your fault!!”

 

Lucina’s hands moved like gates to quickly shelter her ears. Each word began to coil around her throat as air struggled through her windpipe. A million needles stabbed and twisted through her heart. Her body began to curl into a ball as she slumped to the floor with her eyes wound shut. Everything was her fault. It was all her fault.

 

“L-Lucy” She suddenly heard her sister’s voice.

 

For a moment, the voices began to quiet down as Lucina opened her eyes and glanced behind her. She squinted as a glimmer of light began to tear through the darkness. She rose to her feet and began to slowly stumble towards the light.

 

Was Cynthia alright? She had to be but what if…

She stopped in her tracks as the sparkling light in the distance began to fade away. The voices once again grew louder and stabbed at her chest.

 

“L...u...y” Her sister’s voice spoke up once again but fainter this time, “He...l...p”

 

Lucina gazed up at the dull light once more. Cynthia needs her. Her legs once again began to move on their own towards the dull fading light that glimmered in the distance.

 

“Lucy...He...p” Cynthia’s voice grew louder and more clear as she continued forward.

 

Don’t worry Cynthia! I’m coming!

 

She dashed headlong towards the light as her hand stretched out to grab it. However, as soon as she did…

 

“L-Lucy...h-help?” Cynthia said weakly as she lay there in a thick pool of blood and covered in arrows. The golden blade Falchion plunged into her chest, “Wh-why didn’t you h-help?”

 

Lucina’s hands immediately wrapped around her mouth as she looked down at the horrific sight. Intestines coiled around her throat and squeezed as if a noose hung around her neck.

 

“Why di...dn’t….y...u..h..help?” Cynthia vomited blood before her body went limp.

 

“H-help me please!” “Gawds could you BE more inept!” “It hurts...please make it stop!” “I-I can’t move!” “My daughter! She’s still back there you have to save her!” “She’s weak!” “Well, you should’ve tried harder!” “She was all I had left in this damned wartorn wasteland!” “It’s all your fault!!”

 

All the previous voices came rushing back as Lucina stumbled back and fell to her rear. N-no th-this can’t be happening. Th-this isn’t happening! This isn’t happening!!

 

------

Lucina’s eyes shot open to the now hazy world around her. Her heart raced alongside the frantic breaths rising from her lips. Sweat poured down her face and onto the piece of cloth beneath her. She blinked as the fog cleared away from her surroundings.

 

“Where am I?” She asked to no one in particular.

 

Lucina winced as she tried to sit up. She gazed around at her surroundings. She looked to be in a large tent illuminated by the various candles strewn about the floor and ceiling. A pile of various flasks, as well as stacks of paper, rested on a desk stationed at the far end of the tent. Healing staves lined the walls and two other beds stood beside hers.

 

She glanced down at her body to see it almost completely swathed in bandages aside from maybe her small clothes. Was that all a dream? And why was she in a medical tent? The last thing she could remember was…

 

L...cy r...o...k? C...me..ge...u...p! pl...a...s!

 

That’s right, Cynthia! Was she okay? Lucina tore off her covers and immediately tried to dash towards the exit only for a sharp pain to pull her into the dirt.  A mess of noise rang through the tent as a couple empty flasks and staves fell to the floor. Lucina let out a groan of pain as she slowly peeled herself off the ground. She looked back down at the white chains that coiled around her body and bit her lip.

 

“Did you hear something?” a familiar voice spoke up from outside.

 

“Sounds like it came from inside” Another voice spoke this time male.

 

“Really?!” The familiar voice spoke as Lucina heard a light thud followed by a splash of water.

 

“Hey, Cynthia! Great, now I gotta fetch some more water”

 

The tent flaps flew open as a certain blue-haired girl with short pigtails rushed inside. Lucina gazed up at her sister as their eyes locked. For a brief moment, a loud silence overtook the room as their respective brands began to flood with tears.

 

“Lucy!” Cynthia cried out as she threw herself forward and wrapped her arms around her older sister.

 

Lucina flinched at the sudden embrace as her sister began crying profusely into her shoulder.

 

“Y-you’re o-okay…” Cynthia managed to get out between sobs.

You’re okay

 

Those two words sent a soft warmth to surround her chest. There she was, her younger sister, alive and well and sobbing into her arms. She fretted over nothing it seems. A soft smile curved on Lucina’s face as her arms began to gently wrap around Cynthia.  Perhaps she wasn’t such a failure after all.

 

-----

Severa bit her lip as she stood just outside the medical tent. Cynthia’s sobs rang clear into her ears like nails that screeched down a chalkboard. A few tears rolled down her cheeks as she gripped her left hand that seared with pain. It wasn’t fair! None of this was fair!

 

“E-Everything...w-will...b-be…” She began to mutter to herself, “...o-okay…”

 

She repeated the phrase over and over as its meaning dug deeper into obscurity. Those words she said to Cynthia and now to herself. Will everything be okay? How could she know for sure? What if everything got worse? She was never gonna find her and if she did…

 

“Are you alright?” The pain in her hand chomped down even harder as a dark voice rang in her head. “Shouldn’t you be happy? Everything is fine”

 

“Y-yeah...I’m alright....” She whispered in response.

 

“Are you sure?” The voice asked again, “Maybe you should just….”

 

“No, not yet” She cut off the voice, “Just a little more, we should see something soon...Everything will be okay…”

 

The voice faded away and with it, the searing pain in her left hand also disappeared.

 

“Where are you, Morgan?” She whispered into the air. “Please be okay…”

 

------

 

“So that’s what happened” Lucina tightened her grip around her thin sheets. So it wasn’t entirely a dream after all.

 

“Yeah more or less” Cynthia nodded, “We’re lucky Brady and Gerome arrived when they did”

 

Lucina nodded, “indeed we’re lucky to know them” She looked up towards the roof of the tent, “though now I’m worried about the situation in Ylisstol”

 

Cynthia raised an eyebrow, “how so?”

 

“It’s been almost a week since we left and I told the council we’d return within two days” Lucina sighed, “They’ll most definitely be cross with me once we return” Her eyes then glided down to Falchion propped up against the side of the tent.

 

And how would she even begin to explain what happened with Falchion? Cause if it is true that the blade has no longer…. She gripped the cloth in her hands once more.

 

“Oh, who cares what those old geezers have to say!”

 

Lucina’s gaze snapped back to Cynthia who shot a beaming smile at her older sister.

 

“I mean you’re fine right? So it doesn’t matter how angry those stuck up advisors get so as long as you’re okay everything will be okay”

 

Lucina looked at her sister for a moment as her infectious smile began to tug at her own lips. She was right, everything will be okay so long as they’re both okay. A soft smile curved onto Lucina’s face, “Thank you, Cynthia”

 

 

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Chapter 7: A Crash Too Hard To Take

 

A cacophony of murmurs and shouts echoed through the conference room. Several people in various forms of dress from heavy armour to long sage-like robes all sat across from each other at the large round table. Lucina along with her sister sat in silence as the adults bickered endlessly around them.

 

“We barely have enough resources to feed ourselves, let alone this new influx of refugees from the north!” A man draped in a large sage-like robes shouted across the room as he slammed his fist on the table. “At this rate we’ll die of starvation before the Risen can even touch us!!”

 

“So then what do we do with these people?!” An older woman in proud pegasus knight armour shot back, “Abandon them?! leave them to die to the hordes of risen resting just outside the city gates?!”

 

“Well it’s either the risen or starvation!!” He snapped back. “And I’d rather us not be dragged to death along with them”

 

“So you would sacrifice the lives of innocence for the sake of your own preservation!” A new voice interjected, this time from a larger man in large bulky blue armour. “What would Lord Chrom say to that?! It would be a disgrace to his very legacy!!”

 

Lucina flinched at the mention of her father. Her eyes slid to the ground as her hand curled into a fist. She knew she had to say something. She had to act like the exalt she was and try to bring order to this chaos. She took a deep breath but as she opened her mouth to speak a loud audible laugh shot a javelin of silence through the room. Most of the bickering nobles looked over to see a large older man in bulky scarred general armour laughing hysterically.

 

“And what might be so funny?” The pegasus knight raised narrowed her eyes at the man.

 

“Disgrace his legacy?” The man stopped to compose himself, “Pah don’t make me laugh! What legacy?! The only legacy that naive little princling left behind is that pathetic excuse for an exalt sitting over there!” He pointed a finger at Lucina which might as well have been the same as running a spear through her chest. “The moment his legacy was disgraced was the moment she ascended to the throne”

 

Lucina’s nails dug into her palm as those words wrapped tighter around her neck. Air seemed to struggle through her windpipe as she stood there in silence. Her heart began to descend rapidly into the bottomless abyss.

 

“Stay your tongue general!” The pegasus knight snapped at him, “Like her father, Lady Lucina is the one capable of wielding the divine fang, Falchion, that alone should prove her worth!”

 

Lucina bit her lip at that statement as her eyes glided down to Falchion nestled tightly against her hip. Memories of the previous battle clawed at her mind. Should she tell them?

 

“You would do well not to question the divine mother herself”

 

The general simply scoffed as he relaxed back into seat.

 

Lucina breathed a sigh of relief as the man was silenced. She could avoid telling them of what had happened at least for now.

 

“I dunno, General Adam seems to have a point” A new more youthful voice spoke.”should we really put our faith in the word of the divine mother?

 

All eyes turned to glare at its source, a fairly young man dawned in proud sage-like robes sat at the far end of the round table. He looked to be not much older than Lucina, herself, actually.

 

“Explain yourself, Now!” The eldest sage said with an icy glare aimed directly at the young man.

 

He was like a cornered bear with several spears and arrows pointed directly at him and ready to strike. However, despite that, he managed to smirk, “Well think about it, was it not the failings of the previous exalt that put us in our current predicament?”

 

Lucina’s stomach twisted at those words as a spear drilled through her chest. Her nails dug into her palm as a rush of steam coursed through her veins.

 

“What kind of question is that?!” One of the war monks shouted as he pointed at the sage, “Lord Chrom was a brave and proud warrior and king and was killed because he was caught off guard by-”

 

“And how do you suppose he was caught off guard?” The young sage interrupted, “the rumors say he was betrayed by the one most closest to him but honestly had he not been so naive and trusting maybe that wouldn’t have happened”

 

All the glares in the room fell to the floor as they reflected on the meaning behind his words. A few whispers spread across the room as the javelin was driven deeper into Lucina’s chest. Each word out of that man’s mouth caused her blood to boil. Her father was great and kind man. He was strong and taught Lucina everything she knew about what it meant to be a true exalt. To hear this dastard talk about her father in such a way...She just wanted to rush over there and slice him in two on Falchion’s blade.

 

“Lord Chrom died a foolish death” The sage continued.

 

Lucina struggled to sit still as every fiber of her being vibrated with a fiery rage. All she could see was red as her sweaty palms reached for Falchion’s hilt. The only thought she could muster was to run over and cut the man into as many pieces as possible.

 

“He was a failure and left behind a failure of a daught-”

 

YOU SHUT UP RIGHT NOW!!!!” Cynthia shouted out as she shot an unholy, almost demonic, glare at the man.

 

The whole room fell silent as dozens of shocked expressions turned towards the youngest princess. Even Lucina was suddenly pulled from her thoughts as she turned towards her sister.

 

She slammed a foot on the table, “Our father was not a fool or failure or whatever nasty things you wanna call him! He was a true hero! He was strong, kind, and fought for what he thought was right! He was everything a true hero should be!”

 

.“Cynthia…” Lucina looked over at her sister.

 

“A-and Lucy is just as strong and heroic as he ever was! You’re just jealous of how much better they are! So stop bad mouthing them or-”

 

Lucina grabbed her sister’s shoulder causing her to look back at the older princess.

 

“B-but Lucy…”

 

Lucina simply shook her head, “That’s enough”

 

Cynthia’s pigtails wilted like a dead flower, “Okay…” She nodded before sitting back down.

 

The eldest sage breathed out an exasperated sigh, “Well it’s clear that the recent news of Regna Ferox’s downfall has us all stressed so let us rest for a spell to clear our heads and continue this discussion tomorrow”

 

Everyone in the room all seemed to nod in agreement.

 

“Good, you are all dismissed”

 

-----

“Who does that guy think he is anyway?!” Cynthia let out a huff as the two sisters walked through the castle halls. “Talking about you and father like that just makes me so mad!”

 

Lucina remained silent as her sister continued to rant. The previous events still stormed through her mind. The sage’s words still stung at her ears. Her fist curling up at the thought but there was something about his words she couldn’t quite shake. It was very unlike her to get so angry even with comments like those. So then why? Why did every word out of that man’s mouth fill her with so much anger and hatred? So much so that she almost...She glanced down to Falchion.

 

“Hey Lucy!” Cynthia’s voice suddenly yanked her from her thoughts, “Helloooo, anyone in there?”

 

Lucina blinked as the world came rushing back. The two girls had stopped just as they reached the throne room. She looked down at her younger sister who looked at her with eyes wide with confusion and concern.

 

She shook her head, “What is it Cynthia?”

 

“Oh nothing it’s just that you looked really out of it there” Cynthia said, “Are you okay?”

 

“I-I’m…” She hesitated for a moment, “fine…”

 

“Are you sure?” her sister tilted her head “I mean they said some pretty nasty stuff in there”

 

Lucina’s eyes glided down to Falchion, “Y-yeah…”

 

Cynthia put her hand to her chin and narrowed her eyes at her older sister. A sweat dropped from Lucina’s forehead as her little sister stared so intently at her for the next several seconds.

 

“Alright if you say so” Cynthia bounced back with a warm smile.

 

Lucina breathed a sigh of relief before curving a soft smile.

 

“So how is Snowflake doing?” Lucina asked, trying to change the subject. “You’ve been taking good care of her, right?”

 

Cynthia’s eyes grew wide at the sound of her mount’s name, “Oh crap I almost forgot!” She suddenly blurted out.

 

“Forgot what?”

 

“I haven’t fed Snowy yet today!” The little princess began flailing her arms in the air, “Oh gods she must be starving by now! Sorry Lucy, I gotta go!”

 

And with that, her little sister sprinted off further into the throne room.

 

“Wait Cynthia, the stables are-”

 

Lucina’s plea fell on deaf ears as a loud crash followed by a thud echoed across the room.

 

“...back the other way…”

 

 Lucina sighed before rushing over to help her little sister.

 

“Owww…” Cynthia whined as she rubbed her back in pain, “That one’s gonna leave a mark...who even put that vase there to begin with?”

 

“Are you okay?” Lucina reached a hand down to her little sister.

Cynthia looked up at Lucina and smiled, “Yeah I think I’ll be okay” She said as she was pulled to her feet. “Thanks Lucy”

 

Lucina smiled, “just be more careful alright”

 

“Don’t worry, I will” Cynthia dusted herself off. “So where are the stables again?”

 

“They are back that way” Lucina pointed to the hallway they emerged from, “we passed them on the way here”

 

“Right” She nodded, “Thanks Lucy” She said before running off.

 

“She’s so full of energy” Lucina muttered to herself as she watched her little sister.

 

The young lord then let out a deep sigh before looking at the golden throne mounted in the center of the room. The throne that once belonged to her father and now to her.

 

The moment his legacy was disgraced was the moment she ascended to the throne

 

Like her father, Lady Lucina is the one capable of wielding the divine fang, Falchion, that alone should prove her worth

 

Those words began to rattle in her mind as she looked down at Falchion nestled tightly against her hip. She breathed another sigh as she turned and continued down the hallway.

 

----

Lucina peered into the dull reflection of her left eye that gleamed off of Falchion’s blade. The image was blurry and unclear as if a dark fog obscured the once bright light that glimmered clearly off the blade. Before when she looked at the blade, it would fill her with confidence and comfort as if her late father was once again watching over her. However, when she looked at it now, the only thing that filled her chest was not the warm light of hope but rather the cold sting of despair. When she looked into that blurry reflection, all she saw was blood. The blood of those she was forced to kill. The blood of those she failed to save. The crimson ocean born from their deaths drenched all across her blade and stained its once brilliant glow.

 

The young lord sighed as she put Falchion back into its sheath, “father please tell me, what would you do?” She asked the clearly weathered tombstone sitting in front of her.

 

An air of silence brushed through Lucina’s long dark blue hair as the tomb gave no response. In the next several moments a loud silence stabbed at her ears. Her hands balled tightly into fists.

 

“Why don’t you answer?” She asked as her heart began to sink. “Please… just answer me…”

 

Once again the tomb stone didn’t respond.

 

She grit her teeth as a couple tears ran down her face, “What that man said…” She hesitated for a moment, “They weren’t true were they?”

 

Once again there was nothing but silence.

 

“They were true weren’t they?!” She suddenly snapped at the grave.

 

No answer.

 

For a moment, she glared at the tombstone before breathing out a sigh, “my apologies I should not have shouted” Her fists began to unfurl themselves as her eyes glazed over the ground, “It’s just that…I...” She trailed off, “I… I don’t...I don’t know what to do”

 

Once again the tombstone was silent.

 

“I’m just….” Her eyes glided to the floor, “....so lost and confused”

 

An anchor began to wrap around her chest as a fog of tears pooled in her eyes. “No matter what I do it just doesn’t seem to be enough! The risen just keep slaughtering more and more people and I can’t seem to do a damn thing about it!!!” Her voice began to crack as quick breaths escaped her lips.

 

Gods I’m such a failure!!!” Her hands clung to her face as the dam shattered and a flood of tears rushed from her eyes. “I’M SUCH A DAMN FAILURE!!!!

 

Once again the tombstone remained silent at the sound of the heart wrenching sobs. It offered no advice nor any console. It just stood there in the dirt.

 

I’m just so weak! It’s all my fault so many people died! If only I had been stronger!! Then maybe they wouldn’t have…” She sniffed as her hands slipped off of her drenched and swollen eyes, “then maybe Falchion wouldn’t have…”

 

She looked at Falchion once again as a loud silence echoed around her, “....Th-Then maybe Falchion wouldn’t have.... deemed me unworthy to wield it...” She finally said.

 

A chilling breeze swept through her hair as those words were tanked into the air. Those words felt like vomiting tar from her mouth. Intestines coiled around her throat and strangled her windpipe. Her heart stopped as it rapidly dived into the bottomless abyss.

 

“Papa please...what should I do….”

 

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Chapter 8: The Way Things Used To Be

 

 

Cynthia quickly weaved through the many groups of people and tents strewn about all across the castle’s outer courtyard. A cacophony of chatter and crying children permeated the air like a cloud of smog over the crowd of people.

 

“Now where was it again?” Cynthia stopped as her eyes waded through the mass of people around her.

 

Maybe she could ask someone? She shook her head. A true hero doesn’t need to ask for directions. A true hero can find her way all on her own. She crossed her arms and pondered for a moment. She was there yesterday so if she could just remember the relative location and retrace her steps…

 

“I got it!” Her face lit up like the light bulb over her head, “It’s in that direction!” She said as she pointed toward her left. “Leave it to the great hero Cynthia’s brilliant deduction skills to help guide the way” she boasted before sprinting off in that direction.

 

Don’t worry Snowy I’m on my way!

 

After a couple of minutes of running, Cynthia’s face lit up with a proud wide smile as the stables came into view. Her legs sped up into an even faster sprint as her small pigtails began to flap in the wind behind her. However, the next thing she saw wasn’t the peaceful stables full of hay and horses, but rather a void of black as her eyes snapped shut in pain. Her legs involuntarily stumbled back as she felt the soft bed of grass brush against her butt. What just happened? She rubbed her forehead in an attempt to quell the loud sharp pain that rang through her skull. A barrage of murmurs and whispers assaulted her ears as the world came rushing back. Slowly, the youngest princess opened her eyes to a blurry mess of brown and white sitting in front of her.

 

“Geez, what kind of idiot doesn’t watch where they’re going!” A familiar voice spat out.

 

Cynthia blinked and shook her head as the blurry blob cleared away. In its place was a clearly annoyed Severa that scowled back at her with the intensity of an angry grizzly bear.

 

“Should’ve known” Severa pushed herself to her feet and dusted herself off, “Gods would it kill you to actually pay attention for once!” Severa crossed her arms and once again shot her cold hard scowl down at the little princess.

 

Cynthia flinched as her eyes slid away from Severa’s sharp glare. No, a hero had to stand up for herself. She jumped to her feet and glared back at the white-haired mercenary.

 

“Maybe you should speak for yourself!” Cynthia snapped, “you were the one who bumped into me!”

 

“What are you some kind of idiot?! It’s obvious you were the one who rammed into me!”

 

“Oh yeah then prove it!”

 

Several seconds passed as both girls continued to glare at each other. Dozens of eyes looked over at the commotion as more whispers spread into the air. A course of lava surged through Cynthia’s veins. No way was she gonna let Severa get away with insulting her a second time this week! A hero does not yield in the face of a villain!

 

“Gods you’re such a moron” Severa pinched the bridge of her nose as she breathed an exhausted sigh. “I don’t even know why I bother”

 

“What?!” Cynthia roared, “I am NOT a Moron! You’re a moron!”

 

“The pegasus knight who forgets to feed her pegasus is calling me a moron?!” She laughed, “It’s almost pitiful”

 

“Well, that…” Cynthia trailed off as she looked to the ground, “Okay well I’m forgetful sometimes but at least I was able to become a pegasus knight” Her eyes shot back at Severa with a determined look. “Last I checked you failed the qualification test seven times! So much for being the great Cord-”

 

For a moment, Severa seemed to flinch only for her eyebrows to furrow into an ice-cold and venomous glare that stabbed at the young princess. Cynthia took a step back as Severa began to bare her fangs.

 

Just shut up!! I would rather drink boiling tar than prance around in the sky on those stupid freaks of nature!” Severa’s face flushed a bright red as those words were fired from her mouth.

 

“Then why are you at the stables then?!” Cynthia snapped back, “You don’t even have a mount!”

 

Severa’s eyes darted to the floor, “Well...I…” She said before her face scrunched into yet another scowl that she shot at Cynthia, “Like I need to explain myself to you! I-I…” She hesitated for a moment and turned away, “I was just passing through okay! Gawds, why the hell do you care so much?!”

 

“Well, it’s obviously because…” Cynthia paused for a moment. Why DID she care so much? He glare seemed to melt away as she began to ponder the idea.

 

“Typical, but what else should I expect from a moron like you” Severa scoffed.

 

“Hey! I told you I’m not-”

 

“Yeah whatever” Severa dismissively waved her hand at the young princess, “I don’t have time to deal with any more of your idiocy so I’ll just be going now”

 

“Hey wait! We’re not done here, you know!” Cynthia said as she watched Severa disappear into the crowd behind her. She crossed her arms and huffed, “What a jerk, seriously would it kill her to be nice for once?”

 

Now, what was she doing here again? She put her hand to chin in thought.

 

“Oh right! I needed to feed snowy” Cynthia said before she ventured further into the stables.

 

------

“Now that’s strange…” Cynthia tilted her head as she noticed Snowy already eating out of her designated food trough, “Seems someone’s already fed you”

 

But the question was, who? The youngest princess crossed her arms and pondered for a moment. It was time for her brilliant hero deduction skills to get to work. It couldn’t have been Lucy. It’s doubtful Owain even knows what pegasus feed even looks like and All the other pegasus knights seemed to be busy.

 

“So who could it have been?” She muttered to herself before a puff of hot air swept past her face as Snowy’s snout began to nuzzle against her cheek.

 

“H-Hey stop that!” Cynthia giggled, “It tickles”

 

She wrapped her arms around Snowy’s neck and began to stroke the pegasus’s snout getting it to stop. “Well whoever it was I need to thank them like a real hero should,

 

Right Snowy?” She smiled at her pegasus.

 

“But who could it have been?” She asked to no one in particular, “Can you tell me who it was?”

 

Snowy simply let out a low nicker in response.

 

“Really?” Cynthia raised an eyebrow, “Are you sure it wasn’t somebody else?”

 

Snowy nickered again in reassurance.

 

Cynthia paused for a moment as she looked to the floor. Severa huh, well that wasn’t what she was expecting. It was only a few moments ago that Severa said:

 

Just shut up!! I would rather drink boiling tar than prance around in the sky on those stupid freaks of nature!

 

“I didn’t think she was capable of anything nice, then again…” She trailed off as memories of the previous battle raced through her head, “She was the one who saved us from those Risen…”

 

Cynthia fell silent. Still, this would be the third time Severa has helped her do something she couldn’t. She helped her when the Risen attacked the camp and helped take care of Lucy when she had no clue as to what to do. She looked towards Snowy again. And now, She helped feed Snowy because of her own forgetfulness. Why did she feel the need to help her all those times? Cynthia could’ve done all those things all by herself. It’s not like she’s a kid anymore no matter what others may say. So then why must people keep treating her like one? She even needed help from Lucy earlier to help find the stables. Why do people always feel the need to help her? Sure, she’s a little clumsy and forgetful. And okay, there was that one time she rushed into a hoard of risen only to find herself surrounded but she still could’ve handled it by herself.

 

------

 

“You have to stop rushing off on your own like that!” Lucina thwacked the backside of Cynthia’s head, “Do you know how worried I was? You could’ve gotten seriously hurt or worse!”

 

“Ow…” Cynthia whined as she rubbed the back of her head, “I’m sorry okay...I was just trying to help”

 

“I don’t care what you were trying to do! It was still reckless” She snapped as she shot her younger sister a stone cold stare, “this isn’t a game anymore Cynthia so you just can’t just rush into everything without thinking and I can’t always be there to help you when you get yourself in danger”

 

“Yeah...I know…” Cynthia’s eyes turned to the floor as her pigtails began to wilt. “Doesn’tmeanyougottabesoharsh”

 

“What was that?”

 

“N-nothing!” Cynthia shook her head.

 

“Honestly you can be such a handful sometimes” Her sister let out an exasperated sigh, “Just promise me you’ll be more careful, alright?”

 

“Alight...I promise…” Cynthia said with her eyes still stuck to the ground

 

Lucina smiled, “That’s good to hear”

 

----

Cynthia sighed. All she wanted to do was help but in the end she ended up being the one who needed help instead. She wasn’t gonna be all that great of a hero if people need to constantly help her all the time. A true hero gives help to others and is not the one to receive help from others. But even when she tries to help someone, they just tell her to stop.

 

I am weak… I failed to save that girl because I was weak! All I could do was watch as she was mutilated right in front of me!

 

So no, I’m not as strong as Father so please repent from telling me otherwise!

 

Cynthia wanted nothing more than to tell her that she was wrong and that she was strong. She just wanted Lucy to feel better and to see her smile again like she used to back when...Cynthia sniffed and rubbed away the clear mist of tears forming in her eyes.

 

“B-Back when mama and papa were still alive…” Droplets of tears began to fall to the floor as a flood of memories began to race across her mind.

 

Even if she couldn’t remember their faces, she could still recall her mother’s gentle touch as she helped her off the ground or her father’s hearty laughter along with his striking blue hair. All of those small scattered scraps came together in a painful burst of tears and sobs. Everyone seemed so much happier back then, so what happened? Why did it all end so quickly? Why did they have to leave and break their promise?

 

“Why….” Cynthia managed to sputter out in between sobs, “Why won’t everyone just be happy like before?”

 

A quiet breeze brushed through her hair as those words were carried off by the wind. After a moment, a puff of white hair kissed her cheek as Snowy once again began to nuzzle her with its snout.

 

“H-Hey stop that Snowy please!” She giggled as she tried to push her pegasus away. “Th-that tickles”

 

Snowy, however, didn’t relent and for the next few minutes nuzzled her master which ended with a lick to the young princess’s face.

 

She smiled back at her mother’s former pegasus, “Thanks Snowy”

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Chapter 9: Mistake That Remain

 

The stench of pegasus and horse droppings permeated the air as Severa walked through the stables. Her face scrunched into a grimace at the smell as she covered her nose. Gods, she had forgotten how rancid this smelled and it wasn’t just because of the poop. A number of other wretched fumes infiltrated her nostrils from blood, mold, and many others. When was the last time this place was even cleaned?! And that’s not even mentioning the animals! Still, there was something oddly nostalgic about the stench of these unkempt stables and everything else really. The chatter of people, the grunts and neighs of their mounts all echoed through the air. Her eyes wandered about as she saw many soldiers going about their business. Troughs being filled with oats or water or the sight of a brush as it gracefully glided across that white silky hide. For all the things she hated about this place, all these sights, sounds, and smells always seemed to put her at ease.

 

She used to come here all the time when she was little. At least twice a week, she would wake up early and rush over here with Morgan. The both of them would help take care of their mother’s pegasus, Aurora. Feeding, grooming, and cleaning were all things the two girls did. Sometimes they would even fight over who was on poop scooping duty with a game of rock, paper, scissors. Morgan would win most of the time but there were times when Severa was able to pull out a win. Lucina and Cynthia would also show up on occasion and all four of them would laugh and play until they were told to get back on task by their mothers. Afterwards, their mother would begin basic training lessons like lance fighting and most importantly pegasus riding.

 

Severa stopped and sighed. But now, she was here alone with no pegasus to look after. Not like she cared, it was all a big hassle anyway. She looked down at her right hand where a ring decorated with a large ruby clung to her finger. The gemstone sparkled in her eyes for a moment before a faint whimper pulled her from her thoughts.

 

The white-haired girl’s head darted to the side. To her right, a pegasus’s head hung low over an empty food trough as saliva drizzled endlessly from its mouth. Poor thing must be hungry. She scoffed and looked away. It wasn’t her problem some moron forgot to feed her pegasus. She then turned her head towards the pegasus again. The pegasus looked back with what could only be described as slight puppy eyes.

 

“Ugh fine! I’ll feed you!” Severa groaned as she walked over to grab a nearby sack of oats. She walked over to the pegasus as its head perked up at the sight of someone with food coming its way.

 

“Just don’t think I’m doing this because I feel sorry for you, got it!” Severa snapped a scowl at the winged beast as she poured the food in the trough.

 

The pegasus could only sound a neigh of approval as it dug into its breakfast.

 

“Yeah yeah just eat up” Severa rolled her eyes at the sight, “Geez, what kind of moron forgets to feed her pegasus”

 

A new horrid stench punched Severa square in the face which prompted her hands to cling to her nose once more. “Gods, and when was the last time anyone cleaned your pen!?” She then took a moment to sniff and cover her nose again, “Or you for that matter?”

 

For a moment, Severa simply stood there with her arms crossed. She groaned in defeat and sprinted off. In a moment’s time, the young mercenary came back armed with a rake, a wheelbarrow, a broom, and a few brushes. In no time at all, Severa fell back into her old routine. Piles of manure and hay were shoveled into the wheelbarrow at a rapid pace. Piles of dust and dirt were swept off to the side before the bristles of a brush glided across the pegasus’s silky white hide. Gods, what the hell was she doing?! Why was she cleaning up after someone else’s mess?! This wasn’t her pegasus! So why did she care so much?!

 

However, as Severa continued to brush, she stumbled upon her answer. Around the pegasus’s abdomen was a small scar as if an arrow had been shoved into it. A silver arrow to be more specific. Severa groaned as she realized whose pegasus this was.

 

“That scatterbrained klutz...” Severa grumbled under her breath, “She better be damn grateful to me when I’m done…”

 

“Is that really Severa?” She heard a female voice, ask.

 

“I think it is” another voice spoke up, “What’s she doing taking care of that pegasus? Didn’t she fail the qualification exams?”

 

Severa stopped as her eyes moved to the floor

 

“Yeah, seven times in fact” the other one nodded, “and each failure was more spectacular than the last”

 

“Really?”

 

“I heard that on her fifth attempt she couldn’t even get the pegasus off the ground for a solid five minutes and when they were finally airborne, she crashed into a nearby lake and almost drowned her pegasus”

 

Severa remembered that one. Well she remembered all seven of her failures. They were like a nagging ache that always stung at the back of her mind. That one in particular though, it was the one that stood out from the rest. It was the first one her mother didn’t attend.

 

The other knight laughed, “Wow what a klutz! For being the oldest daughter of the great Captain Cordelia, you’d think she’d at least know how to fly straight”

 

Her friend giggled, “Yeah, it’s a good thing she wasn’t around to witness it. If I saw my daughter fail that bad, I would just die of embarrassment”

 

Severa’s grip tightened around the brush in her hands like bear trap clamped around its helpless victim. Every wretched sound from their mouths made her want to just regurgitate a sea of lava in their stupid pretentious faces. Her knuckles turned white as a slight crunch sounded from the brush in her hand. Snowflake went stiff as a corpse as it sensed the fury that boiled in the girl beside her.

 

“Would they just shut up…” Severa grumbled under her breath.

 

“Well perhaps the reason she didn’t attend was to spare herself the embarrassment. I know I would”

 

SNAP!!

 

And just like that, the flame exploded into a raging hellfire and her left hand erupted into bright purple glow.It took every ounce of restraint she had to stop herself from just running over there and knock them both flat on their asses. Her left hand vibrated with pain and anger as blood leaked from her palm.

 

“Oh come now that’s a little har-”

 

JUST SHUT UP!!!” Pieces of the now broken brush dug into her palm as Severa shot a glare over at the two stunned pegasus knights. “NO ONE ASKED FOR YOUR DAMN OPINION!!! SO J-JUST GET LOST!!

 

One of the knights crossed her arms, “Well why should we huh? We have our pegasus to take care of! If anything we should be the ones telling you to get lost!” She turned to her comrade, “right, Janette”

 

Janette nodded, “Yeah, if you don’t wanna hear it just get up and leave! Failure wannabe knights like you don’t belong here anyway!”

 

Her heart began to sink at those words. They were right. She was a failure. She swallowed the lump in her throat and kept her glare. She couldn’t show any weakness no matter how much their words hurt. It would only prove them right. The broken pieces of the brush slammed to the ground as Severa tried to wipe the blood from her hands. She was alone without anyone to back her up.

 

“Fine! Whatever! The smell of this place was making me sick anyway!” She snapped and stormed off towards the exit.

 

“Sheesh what’s her problem?”

 

“Pay her no mind, She’s the one who should’ve minded her own business in the first place.”

 

“Yeah”

 

Severa clutched her left arm that once again stung with a familiar pain. Her eyes stuck to the floor as a few tears dripped onto the dried up dirt. A million voices sliced layers in her head.

 

Why aren’t you more like your mother? Why do you even bother? You’ll never be as good a knight as your mother! Well of course she could do it! She’s Cordelia’s daughter after all! What’s wrong with you?! Cordelia never failed this bad when she was your age! See? Your sister can do it so why can’t you?

 

They’re all the same. It’s always Cordelia this or Morgan that. What’s so great about them anyway? Some geniuses, all they did was get themselves killed. Good riddance to them too. She was far happier without them or her good for nothing father.

 

Severa had just exited the stables when a loud sharp pain rang through her skull. Her legs staggered back as she fell to her rear. What the hell was that? She let out a groan and rubbed the fresh new bump on her head.

 

“Geez, what kind of idiot doesn’t watch where they’re going!” She spat out as the world faded back into existence. Severa frowned as those dark blue pigtails came into full view. “Should’ve known”

 

What the hell was she doing here? She had enough headaches to deal with.

 

Severa rose to her feet and dusted herself off, “Gods would it kill you to actually pay attention for once!” She crossed her arms and glared down at the youngest princess.

 

Cynthia seemed to flinch for a moment. She looked away before she jumped to her feet and like before shot her own glare back at Severa.

 

“Maybe you should speak for yourself!” Cynthia snapped, “You were the one who bumped into me!”

 

“What are you some kind of idiot! It’s obvious you were the one who rammed into me!”

 

“Oh yeah then prove it!”

 

Several seconds as the two girls continued to glare at each other. An echo of whispers swayed with the breeze as dozens of piercing eyes were aimed in their direction. It was a cold familiar gaze that Severa couldn’t help but recognize. Eyes that saw straight through her and judged her every action. She clutched her burning left hand and tried to ignore it. She sucked in a quick sharp breath. She just had to focus on Cynthia and put this scatterbrain in her place.

 

“Gods you’re such a moron” Severa pinched the bridge of her nose as she breathed an exasperated sigh, “I don’t even know why I bother”

 

“What?!” Cynthia roared, “I’m NOT a moron! You’re a moron!”

 

“The pegasus knight who forgets to feed her pegasus is calling me a moron?!” Severa forced out a laugh, “It’s almost pitiful”

 

“Well that…” Cynthia looked to the ground for a moment, “Okay well maybe I’m forgetful sometimes but…” She shot her glare back up at Severa, “At least I was able to become a pegasus knight! Last I checked you failed the qualification exam seven times!”

 

Severa’s heart immediately crashed into the ground as her body flinched at those words. Her eyes scrunched into a sharper glare like a snake about to lunge and inject a lethal venom. Even this stupid klutz just HAD to remind her.

 

Gods would you just shut up!! I would rather drink boiling tar than prance around the sky on those stupid freaks of nature!” Her face flushed a bright red as the blood in her veins nearly boiled over.

 

“Then why are you at the stables then?!” Cynthia snapped back, “You don’t even have a mount!”

 

Severa’s eyes darted to the floor, “Well...I…” She said before her face scrunched into yet another scowl that she shot at Cynthia, “Like I need to explain myself to you! I-I…” She hesitated for a moment and turned away, “I was just passing through okay! Gawds, why the hell do you care so much?!”

 

“Well, it’s obviously because…” Cynthia paused as her glare began to melt away.

 

Severa crossed her arms, “Typical” She scoffed, “but what else should I expect from a moron like you”

 

“Hey! I told you I’m not-”

 

“Yeah whatever” Severa yawned, “I don’t have time to deal with any more of your idiocy so I’ll just be going now,” She said as walked around the blue haired princess and into the crowd behind her.

 

“Damn scatterbrain” Severa grumbled under her breath as a couple of tears streamed down her cheeks.

 

---

 

but at least I was able to become a pegasus knight, Last I checked you failed the qualification test seven times!

 

Wow what a klutz! For being the oldest daughter of the great Captain Cordelia, you’d think she’d at least know how to fly straight

 

Well perhaps the reason she didn’t attend was to spare herself the embarrassment

 

Those words echoed ad nauseum through Severa’s mind as she made her way along the long path on the city outskirts. There were no more people just herself and the sound of her footsteps as she continued to walk on this dirt path.

 

“Like I care about being a stupid pegasus knight” Severa grumbled to herself, “Just because my mother was one that doesn’t mean that I have to”

 

Why would she ever want to follow in her mother’s footsteps anyway? Become the woman who abandoned her children for a man that would never love her back? No thanks, the thought alone made Severa want to vomit. She’d rather eat dirt than be compared to that pathetic excuse of a knight. She was fine being just the way she was.

 

Severa paused for a moment.That’s right, she was fine just the way she was. She didn’t need anyone’s approval. She didn’t need anyone’s help. She didn’t need anyone by her side. She was fine all by herself.

 

She continued walking just a little more until she reached a large villa that rested on the top of a small hill. She moved past the gate, up the cobblestone path, and stopped in front of the large double doors. Severa took a deep breath and pushed them open. She never bothered to lock it. Ever since her father died, people avoided this place like the plague.

 

“I’m home!” She called out to the dark and empty void that was her home.

 

There was no response. She sighed. Of course there wasn’t any answer. What was she expecting? The white-haired girl removed her boots and made her way inside. After she lit a few candles, she unbuckled her sword and shield and placed them on their designated racks. Severa took a moment and looked at the large family portrait that hung over the fireplace. There they were. Her whole family. Her mother, father, sister, and herself all smiled brightly as the sun’s light shimmered around them. She remembered that day. Their parents had finally come home after the Valm war and had a day off to spend with them. She and Morgan played chess that morning. Morgan won of course but Severa was so close. If she hadn’t moved her rook, then….

 

Severa shook her head. Gods why was she thinking about that?! None of that matters right now. They’re gone and nothing can change that. But still…

 

She looked up at the portrait one more time then immediately ripped her head away.

 

“Wow Severa! You did that all by yourself? I’m so proud of you!”

 

Severa smiled, “Thanks mama”

 

A few tears ran down her cheek as that memory flashed through her head.

 

-----

 

“Oh come now what’s the matter?” Her mother knelt beside her and placed a hand on her shoulder.

 

Severa glanced up at her mother with tearful eyes, “I-I….m-messed something up…” She sniffed, “A-and all the knights laughed a-and c-called m-me...a...a…” She stuffed her face back into her arms and continued to sob.

 

“What did they call you?”

 

“Th-They called m-me a-a failure! A-and th-that i-it w-was a....shock that I was your daughter”

 

“Well that wasn’t very nice of them”

 

“Y-yeah b-but they were r-right”

 

“Now that isn’t true” Her mother said, “Where did you get that idea?”

 

Severa lifted her head and tried to wipe the tears from her eyes, “W-Well I’m always messing up” She sniffed, “I try and I try but I can never seem to do anything right unlike you…I am a failure”

 

“Severa…you’re not a failure” Her mother said as she helped wiped the tears from her daughter’s eyes.

 

“B-But then why do I keep messing up? You don’t mess up”

 

Her mother giggled, “Severa, it’s because you’re still learning”

 

Severa blinked, “Still learning?”

 

Her mother nodded, “No one starts out perfect, honey, everyone makes mistakes no matter who they are or how old they may be”

 

“Even you?”

 

“Yeah...even me…” Her mother paused for a moment and then smiled. “so don’t fret over it too much just take everything at your own pace and you’ll get it eventually”

 

Severa’s chest filled with warmth at the sight of her mother’s smile. Her lips curved a smile of her own as she beamed back at her mother, “Thanks mommy, I think I feel better now”

 

-------

 

Severa’s nails dug into her palm as a fog of tears began to fill her eyes. Her left hand burned a vivid violet and almost engulfed the entire room around her.

 

“I-I’m sorry…” She mumbled out, “...mommy...”

 

Who matters more to you, me or Chrom! Why don’t you MARRY him?

 

Those words began to claw at her mind as she recalled that fateful day. Those were the last words she said to her mother before she left on that last mission. The mission she would never return from. Her heart shattered as it slammed into the bottom of the abyss.

 

“I’m sorry….please come back….” She managed to get out as she covered her face to try to stop the rush of tears, “I….I didn’t mean it...so please...come back...I’m sorry....daddy and Morgan too...Why….why did you all have to leave me all alone?”

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Brand of Darkness

“Why did you leave me all alone?” Severa whispered to herself as her tears began to dry up.

 

No answer followed the question as those words were stolen by the stiff air. A loud silence screamed into her ears as she sat alone. Her red swollen eyes sparkled in the glow of the fireplace as she looked down at the ruby-encrusted ring in her palm. It was warm and comforting amidst the cold unending darkness around her. After all, it was the only thing she had left of them. A symbol of her parents’ love now left to her. 

 

“I’ll be back, I promise” 

 

“I have to go in order to protect what matters most to me”

 

Her mother’s voice rang through her head. What was the thing that mattered most to her? It had to be Chrom because it couldn’t have been Morgan and especially not her. After what she had said that day, it could never be her. She snarled at the ring and tossed it across the room. Her mother didn’t care. She never cared and why would she? It’s the reason she left after all. She scoffed to herself. Why would anybody care about a failure like her?

 

“No Severa, you’re my friend so I would never consider any question of yours ‘stupid’”

 

For a moment, Severa remained silent as those words buzzed through her head. She scoffed. Yeah right, like Lucina has any reason to care about her. After all, she’s the reason...

 

“That my parents are dead”  Severa clutched her head as a cold dark voice rang through her mind. The back of her left hand flashed a bright purple light. 

 

 It’s her fault that my parents are dead “ The voice repeated.

 

“It’s her fault that my parents are dead…” Severa whispered to herself as the headache subsided and her hands slid back to her side.

 

For a moment, she simply sat there silent and unmoving. The back of her left hand pulsed with a faint purple glow beneath her glove. Severa shook her head. What was she saying?! Lucina had nothing to do with that though…

 

She shook her head again. What was wrong with her?! Why was she even having such twisted thoughts?! Her eyes then drifted down to the back of her left hand. The bright purple glow danced in her clear amber eyes. It was mesmerizing in a weird way. Quickly, she pulled off her left glove and gazed at the large purple mark at the back of her left hand. A large curved ‘V’ with a twisted shaft at the bottom. Six eye-like ovals were skewered on both sides each with a circle in the center. Her blood ran cold as she immediately tore her eyes away. She wanted to puke just by looking at it. Something about that mark felt off. It was as if it was staring back at her and stared deep into the depths of her soul. How it taunted her with its gaze so cold and unrelenting. Where did this mark even come from? She’s had it for as long as she could remember. 

 

Morgan had one too, on her right shoulder. It never seemed to bother them back then but the same could not be said of their parents. Her father, in particular, made sure to tell them to keep it hidden at all costs. They never questioned why but it was always odd to see the disgusted or even terrified looks of those who did manage to accidentally see it. She could still remember them. The utter look of contempt still sent chills down her spine and all because they saw this stupid mark on the back of her left hand. Her eyes drifted to look at the mark once again as it pulsed a bright purple hue.

 

What the hell was this thing? 

 

----

A figure in a large hooded cloak made their way down the dark hallway of the dragon’s table. Their left shoulder burned with piercing violet light. They stopped and sighed. They looked up at the massive pair of doors that stood before them. This likely had to do with what happened in that village. Memories of that battle flashed through their head. Why did they hesitate? They had every opportunity to kill them but…

 

They shook their head. What’s done is done and there wasn’t much they could do about that. They let out a sigh. Fath-no Lord Grima was definitely going to be cross with them for their failure. They clutched their shoulder as a screeching pain burned through their skin. They stood silent for a moment and took a deep breath as the pain slowly faded away. A twist in their stomach caused the butterflies to scatter. Slowly, they opened the door and entered their master’s chambers.

 

An ominous breeze swirled through the air and tugged at their hood to reveal a head full of short red hair. Slowly, her heart began to beat as each breath felt like her last. The hairs on her neck sprung to life as her legs quivered with each every step. Eventually, she made her way to the other end of the room. Sweat dripped down her face as she stood in front of the massive throne. 

 

 Morgan… ” She heard a dark booming voice address her by name.

 

“Yes, lord Grima”

 

 Look at me when I speak to you child!! ” Grima commanded in a dark yet almost fatherly tone.

 

“Yes, sire…” Slowly, Morgan lifted her head.

 

A humanoid figure draped in shadow loomed over the young redhead. Two blood-red eyes shot down and hit Morgan with a hard contemptuous glare. For a moment, her heart seemed to stop and she almost tore her eyes away. Thankfully, she caught herself and looked back up at the two glowing red eyes that shot daggers into her heart. The light of the crimson moon dripped through the stained glass behind him like blood from an open wound. The outline of a dragon’s head made its way around the humanoid figure as three more blood-red orbs broke through the darkness. 

 

 Do you know why I summoned you here? ” He asked.

 

Morgan swallowed the lump in her throat and began to speak, “B-Because I…” She hesitated for a moment. Those eyes continued to drill into her heart. She knows she disappointed him and those eyes only made it worse. 

 

 Out with it child!! ” He snapped.

 

Morgan flinched as her whole body seemed to freeze over at those words, “It’s because I f-failed, right?”

 

There was a cold silence as those words hit the air. Morgan stood firm as she looked up at her lord’s contemptuous glare. For a moment, he said nothing before a dark chuckle sent a rattle through her spine.

 

 That is correct, ” He finally said, “ I’m quite disappointed in you, child, ” He said with a tone similar to that of a parent scolding their child. “ I thought I gave you explicit orders to kill those wretched children of Naga 

 

“My apologies Lord Grima, I…” Her eyes darted to the floor. She felt her heartache as flashes of snow-white hair flooded her mind. 

 

 Do you not value your Loyalty to me? Morgan ” 

 

Morgan’s heart momentarily stopped as she heard those words. Her eyes shot up to her lord’s blood-red glare. 

 

“No, milord it’s not that, my loyalty to you is unshakable”

 

Grima’s eyes narrowed, “ do not forget who you are speaking with, child. I do not take kindly to lies ” 

 

“Well, I…” Morgan hesitated as her sister’s face began to circulate through her mind. 

 

 As I thought ” Grima scoffed, “ regardless, you have failed me and I have no need for unloyal servants who are going to fail me 

 

A chorus of moans and groans echoed through the across the room. Morgan looked around as dozens of red glowing eyes shot at her through the darkness and surrounded her. Her heart began to race as her wide eyes shot back up to Grima’s blood-red stare.

 

Another dark chuckle sent shivers down her spine. “ The risen are beautiful, aren’t they? Perfect obedient soldiers and all it takes is a mask and a corpse ” 

 

Morgan looked around as dozens of undead humanoid monsters began to crawl out of the shadows and into the blood-red light of the crimson moon.  A purple mist billowed from every opening in their bodies. Puncture wounds, gashes, scars, a broken jaw, there were plenty of places for that mist to drip out like blood and crawl along the floor. Morgan’s muscles went stiff as she scanned the area around her. The upper part of her shoulder erupted into a blinding purple light that burned across her skin. Judging from the pain she felt, there were at least seven dozen risen surrounding her. She bit her lip.

 

Damnit

 

 and unlike the worms from which they spawned, they do not fail to follow any order given to them! ” Grima let out a maniacal laugh, “ although, for their obedience, there is one flaw… 

 

One risen lunged at Morgan. It’s ax glimmered in the light of the moon as it swung down at her. Morgan pivoted to the side and pulled out a thoron tome. Her hand sparkled with a ball of lightning as she immediately shot a beam of lightning at the risen’s head. A sharp growl tugged at her from behind. Before the risen’s body could dissolve, she grabbed the beheaded corpse and threw it at the risen behind her. She steadied herself and fired another beam of lightning towards the now cloud of mist in front of her. A loud screech of pain shot through the air which signaled her success.

 

 They are incredibly stupid but that makes this game a little more fun, doesn’t it? ” He chuckled again, “ Now then, let’s see if your wits can help you survive when the odds are against you! Prove to me you are more than the worthless worms that created them! ” He laughed again as more and more risen began to charge at Morgan.

 

-----

Severa covered her mouth in a wide yawn as she rose from the kitchen table. Slowly, she walked through the glittering red light of the moon that flooded into the house. A sting in her hand caused her to wince. She stopped and clutched her left hand as it continued to burn away her skin. Gods, why did this thing have to hurt so bad?! What was it? And why did it flare up like this?! It felt like her hand had been dunked in scalding hot water as it burned with the intensity of an arcfire tome. Severa’s teeth grinded against each other as the pain only escalated until it suddenly stopped. 

 

Severa let out a deep breath as the pain began to subside. What the hell was that?! She looked down at the mark on her hand as the purple light faded into the darkness. This thing was full of mysteries, wasn’t it? Though, something about that pain felt different. She couldn’t pinpoint exactly what but something about it felt or rather sounded like a cry for help. How weird.

 

Severa let out a sigh, “Whatever…” She mumbled to herself as she continued walking.

 

She walked alone in the darkness. The cool night air brushed through her bangs as she let out a large yawn. She took a moment to wipe some water from her eyes. A dull pain stung at her foot causing her to stop. She lifted her foot and looked down at the small ring sparkling on the floor. She reached down and grasped the ring. The small gemstone glimmered in the light of the crimson moon as she held it in the palm of her hand. 

 

“Who matters more to you, me or Chrom! Why don’t you MARRY him?!”

 

“Severa I…”

 

A couple tears dripped from Severa’s eyes as she began to recall that day. Quickly, she wiped her eyes and closed her hand into a fist. There was nothing she could do about that now. Her mother was gone and she had to accept that. Still, those memories didn’t sting any less. For a moment, Severa stood there silent as her snow white hair drifted in the darkness. Memories of all the times she fought with her mother began to ravage through her head. Morgan’s fearful sobs still rang in her ears. Severa sighed.

 

Why now?! Why did she have to remember all this stuff now?! She pulled at her hair in frustration and ran over to her room. They’re all gone so she should just forget. She should just forget about all of them. Her mother, father, and her sister were all dead, and they were never coming back! She yanked open the door and marched inside. She tossed the ring to the floor and flopped onto the bed. Even the bed was cold. Severa rolled to her side and scrunched inward. She looked up at the large tactics book that laid on her night stand. 

 

“H-Hey um, Sev…”

 

“What is it?”  Severa asked as she looked down at her sister from her bedroom door.

 

“C-Can I sleep with you tonight?” Morgan asked as her eyes shifted to the floor. Her fingers pressed up against each other and hovered close to her chest.

 

“Aren’t you old enough to sleep by yourself?”

 

“B-But I…” She hesitated for a moment, “I...I was just thinking about mom and dad and I just felt, y’know a little lonely…”

 

Severa’s heart sank at those words. She was quiet for a moment before letting out an exasperated sigh. “Alright, fine but only this one time, got it!”

 

Morgan looked up and smiled, “Really?! Thanks Severa”

 

“Just don’t get the wrong idea okay! I’m not doing this because I felt bad for you or anything! I-It’s just that I’m your sister a-and I have to look after you, that’s all!”

 

Morgan giggled, “Well you’re the best big sister a girl can have!” She said as she moved in to hug her older sister.

 

Severa’s heart twisted as she recalled those memories. 

 

“You’re the best sister a girl could have…” She whispered to herself.

 

What a lie that was! Once again, a mist of tears formed in her eyes as she recalled that day. All she heard was a scream but when she got there all she found was a bloody tactics book and her stuffed pegasus. There was no body, no weapons, nor any risen in sight. It was on that day that Severa realized that she was truly alone…

 

Severa scrunched in her body further, “Morgan…” She whispered, “Please come back...wherever you are…”


 

-----

Morgan’s lungs nearly collapsed with every breath. Rivers of blood ran down and dripped into the ocean of purple vapor below. Cuts, gashes, scrapes, bruises, and other wounds all screamed in agonizing pain as they tore across her body and coat. A tattered spellbook hung from her arms. 

 

A low groan tugged at her ear. Her head immediately perked up as she rolled across the floor to avoid a risen’s ax. She quickly went back on the offensive and tried to summon electricity in her open palm only for it crackle once and sputter out. The risen’s neck cracked as it turned its head towards Morgan once again. The beast then lunged at her once more. Thinking quickly, she threw the book at the risen’s face which disoriented it enough for her to reach into her coat. A lightning bolt-shaped blade crackled with electricity as Morgan stabbed upward. The risen screeched in pain as the Levin sword tore through its decayed flesh. She ripped the blade from the beast’s abdomen as it fell to the ground and dissolved into a purple mist. 

 

That was the last of them, Morgan thought to herself.

 

A familiar dark chuckle rang through the air. Morgan looked back at the large throne that shimmered in the moon’s blood-red light. 

 

 Excellent, I’d expect nothing less from my most faithful Grimleal! ” He laughed, “ It seems you have proven yourself worthy of a second chance 

 

Morgan’s eyes lit up at this, “R-Really?!”

 

He chuckled again, “ Of course, would I lie to my own daughter 

 

That last word sent a shiver down Morgan’s spine. She flinched as a small tug of warmth filled her heart.

 

“Thank, Fath-” Morgan stopped as she saw those two familiar red eyes glare down at her with the intensity of a million suns. It was cold and haunting as if she was a cornered rat about to be devoured whole by a wyvern’s gaping maw. 

 

 DO NOT FORGET WHO I AM CHILD!!! ” 

 

“M-My apologies lord Grima”

 

He scoffed, “ good, now then I want you to test out a new special risen for me 

 

“Special?”

 

Grima grinned, “ Yes, special, this risen is somewhat different from the others. I took the liberty of modifying this one myself ” He waved his hand as a swirl of mist began to rise and form a very familiar shape.

 

Morgan’s eyes went wide, “T-That’s…”

 

Grima chuckled, “ Indeed, I want you to take this risen along with any others you can find and lay waste to Ylisstol 

 

Morgan nodded, “I understand” She bowed her head, “Lord Grima, I swear I won’t fail you again”

 

 I will not tolerate failure! slaughter everyone! Do not leave a single one of those worms alive! 

 

“Everyone?” Morgan looked back up at Grima.

 

 You seem hesitant, did I not make myself clear? 

 

“You most certainly did milord, it’s just…” Her eyes glided to the floor as her stomach coiled around itself. 

 

 Out with it child! 

 

Morgan shook her head, “It’s nothing, I will carry out your orders as requested, milord”

 

 Good, now go and carry out your god’s will 

 

“Right away, Lord Grima” She nodded as she turned to limp out of the room.

 

She stopped just outside the giant double doors as a single tear ran down her face.

 

“I’m sorry, Sev…” She whispered to herself. 

 

The doors slammed shut behind her and she was swallowed by darkness.

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Chapter 11: Fragile Smile

 

A loud inhuman screech pierced Inigo’s ears as he cut down yet another Risen. He winced and grabbed his shoulder as a resounding pain rang like a bell up through his arm. A small cloud of mist formed from his ragged breath. He looked down at his blood-soaked hand. His fingers looked like sausages with how swollen and red they were. He couldn’t tell what hurt more, his wounds or the frostbite. He moved his attention towards the bloody mess of chaos before him. A massive horde of risen was scattered across the blanket of red snow. Soldiers limping and carrying each other with a whole assortment of stray limbs buried in the snow. Arms, legs, torsos, even heads, and full corpses were only a few of the things you’d find amidst the chaos-ridden wasteland.

 

Inigo grit his teeth. Everyone was nearing their limit and the risen’s numbers were only growing. The few healers they did have already had their hands full on the villagers, and even then all they could really do is provide first aid. They certainly were relentless. There had to be a way out of this situation. He gripped the hilt of his sword. What would his father do?

 

A low growl tugged at his ear. Inigo spun around as his blade clashed with the risen’s blade behind him. He pivoted his foot and with a short mid-air twirl glided past another one of the risen’s slashes. Gripping the hilt of his sword, he slashed at the risen. The masked monster screeched in pain as the blade tore through its rotten flesh. It then quickly spun around and slashed at the raven-haired boy. Inigo raised his sword to block only to grunt in pain as he was sent tumbling through the snow.

 

Inigo gasped for air as he ripped himself from the thick snow layered ground. His body shivered and his mouth filled with the taste of liquid iron. The whole world around him became shrouded in fog as he looked up to see the blurry mess of red and purple charging towards him. 

 

“DAWN’S EDGE SLASH!!” A familiar voice exploded into the air. 

 

At that moment, a young blonde boy in a yellow myrmidon uniform charged at the risen. A monstrous roar of pain exploded into the air as the risen dissolved into a purple mist. 

 

“Haha! Stand down foul missionaries of hell for you are no match for the great Owain Dark!!” The blonde boy shouted as he struck a weirdly over-dramatic pose.

 

He never changes, Inigo smiled at the sight of his friend’s theatrics.

 

Inigo rose to his feet and walked over to Owain.

 

“Ah if it isn’t my dear old rival! Inigo of the Indigo Skies!!” Owain said with another dramatic pose.

 

“Thanks, Owain, You really helped me out there,” Inigo said with his signature smile.

 

“Your gratitude is unnecessary my dear rival for I only did it so that we may clash swords once again! I am the only one who should have the privilege to take you down!” 

 

“Never change, do you Owain?” Inigo grinned, “But enough with the theatrics, alright? This is serious”

 

“R-Right sorry about that” Owain said as he dropped his pose, “So what are we gonna do about this then?”

 

For a moment, Inigo froze. He didn’t know how to answer. What should they do? What could they do? He glanced back at the scene of carnage behind him. There didn’t seem to be many soldiers left and the few that did remain didn’t look too far off from walking corpses themselves. He had to calm down and think things through.

 

Inigo took a deep breath and looked back at Owain, “First of all, we should regroup and make sure all the injured are accounted for and after that, we should head for the border gate where we can rest and call for reinforcements”

 

“Right” Owain nodded, “It’s definitely not gonna be easy though especially with that many risen on our tail”

 

“I’m sure we’ll manage, we have the great and powerful ‘Owain Dark’ on our side after all” Inigo said with a smirk.

 

“Inigo! I thought you said this wasn’t the time to be fooling around!”

 

“You’re right, I’m sorry,” He said as he turned to face the horde of risen, “Anyway let’s not waste any more time, there are people that need our help”

 

“Yeah, let’s go!”

 

And with that, both boys ran into the horde of risen before them.

 

---

“And there we go,” Inigo said as he tossed another limp corpse into the massive rotting pile of flesh, blood, and bones. 

 

He took a moment to look at his blood-drenched hands and gazed up at the top of the pile. How many did that make now? 30? 40? He lost count a while ago. All these people he failed to save. Friends, acquaintances, family, people he never met. All with their own hopes, dreams, and lives of their own. Now they were nothing more than faceless blobs of rotten flesh piled on top of each other as rivers of blood flowed endlessly to the floor. 

 

Inigo sighed and looked back to a female soldier holding a torch, “All right that’s the last of them”

 

“Right...” The soldier nodded as she threw the torch and the pile of corpses was set ablaze and quickly tore away the darkness around them.

 

His heart sank at the sight. He knew it had to be done but even so, this was no proper burial. He gripped the cloth around his abdomen as his stomach twisted at the smell of burning human flesh spiraling into the air. So many innocent lives lost because he wasn’t strong enough.

 

“Damnit,” He cursed under his breath.

 

“Lord Inigo, are you alright?” He heard a voice ask.

 

Inigo looked back to see a young pegasus knight with short white hair standing beside him. Her wide eyes were rife with concern.  

 

He smirked, “Never better actually, what about you? Your leg feeling any better?”

 

“It’s feeling fine now, thanks,” She said with a soft smile.

 

“Well, that’s good to hear,” Inigo said with his trademarked smile, “You took quite a fall back there so I was a little worried but all's well that ends well right?”

 

“Yeah…” He saw her eyes drop to the floor.

 

For a moment, neither of them said a word as the crackling flames continued to peck into the cold air. 

 

“Come on, Vanessa,” Inigo spoke up, “why the long face? It’s such a shame to see such a cute face like yours all mopey like that, you should be smiling instead”

 

This caused her to blush, “I’m s-sorry, I….” She hesitated for a moment, “It’s just that so much has happened. Ferox has fallen, my family and everyone I knew is dead and turned into those things. I…” Her body started to shake as she wrapped her arms around herself, “I just...My own sister attacked me in the battle earlier!! I recognized her instantly even with that mask...I’m sure it was her” Her voice started to become raspy and unhinged. Her eyes shot wide as she took a step back.

 

“Vanessa, calm down” Inigo placed both hands on her shoulders. “Just take a deep breath, alright”

 

For a moment, Vanessa stood still. The cold puffs of mist exiting her mouth began to slow down. The shaking stopped and she took a deep breath.

 

“Sorry about that,” She said as she recomposed herself, “that was unprofessional of me to do in front of the current khan”

 

“No need to apologize,” Inigo said with a soft smile, “A lot has happened recently, I of all people should be able to understand that”

 

“Lord Inigo, tell me, how can you remain so calm during all of this?” She looked him in the eye, “How can you still be smiling at a time like this?”

 

Now it was his turn to hesitate. In truth, he was just as distraught as she was but he couldn’t tell her that. No, he had to remain strong and composed for her sake, for everyone’s sake. He was their leader, after all.

 

Inigo quickly flashed his trademarked smile, “I simply just look at the bright side of things. For as bad as things are now, you just have to keep smiling and things will get better eventually, so smile for me”

 

A small smile curved along her face, “Thank you, Lord Inigo. I feel a bit better now”

 

“See? Was that so hard? You’re much cuter when you smile you know”

 

Vanessa giggled, “Oh stop it, you insatiable flirt”

 

“But I got you to laugh, didn’t I? I’d call that a victory at least”

 

She smiled again, “Fine, you win this one”

 

“That’s what I like to hear, now maybe when this is all over you and I could go out for some tea, perhaps?”

 

“I’ll think about it,” Vanessa said as she started to walk off, “but for now I have a pegasus to take care of”

 

“Well I’ll see you around” Inigo continued to smile as he watched her disappear into the darkness.

------

Inigo let out a heavy sigh as he finished up the last move in his routine. It was still far from perfect. He still needed to learn to better stick the landing after that first twirl, and his form in that last part was just so sloppy. Though he could feel himself improve if only a little, his movements were starting to flow better during the climax of the dance at least. 

 

“So mom, what did you think?” he asked a small golden chain on a nearby tree stump. 

 

For a moment, he closed his eyes as his mother’s voice flooded into his ears.

 

“You should probably position your foot a little more firmly when you land. Also, your center was off on that last move. Move your arms out a little more so you can balance yourself”

 

He remembered those days. The days were always so warm and bright back then. Her bright smile, whenever they practiced, was always so gentle like that of the sun’s rays that once caressed his face. Inigo opened his eyes to see nothing but darkness in front of him. But those days were over now. He wrapped his arms around himself to try and keep warm. Inigo heaved out a large sigh and flopped back onto the snow-covered ground. How long could he keep this up? Eventually, somebody would see through it. ‘Looking at the bright side of things’, how funny. How could he look at the bright side of anything in this unending darkness?

 

He heaved another sigh and looked up at the pitch-black sky. How could he ever know things will get better? It all just seemed so hopeless. They barely got out with their lives in that last battle and things were only gonna get worse from here. How could he just keep smiling through all of this? Inigo didn’t quite know himself. His parents were dead, his home was destroyed, and countless innocent lives were lost. All because he was too weak to prevent it. It was pathetic. He was too weak to protect anyone. Not his mother or his country. His father would be disappointed not that he wasn’t already. He was no warrior. Inigo closed his eyes again

 

“So this is where my rival has slinked off to!” Inigo shot up and turned back to see Owain walk into view of the glittering red moonlight. “What a pitiful sight to see you in”

 

“Owain?! What the hell are you doing out so late?!” Inigo jumped to his feet and brushed off the snow from his clothes. 

 

Owain grinned and put his hand over his face in what Inigo could only guess was supposed to be an intimidating pose. “The deathly hollows of the night yet lurk but my power has been diminished so I must ask yet another grand warrior to fend off these hellish ghouls until my power is restored”

 

Inigo smiled at his friend’s theatrical antics, “my turn already, huh? Alright just give me a moment then” Inigo said as he went to grab the golden chains from the nearby stump. 

 

For a moment, he looked at the small golden chain in his hand as it sparkled in the light of the blood-red moon. 

 

Mother, what should I do?

 

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“MAMA!!” A young Inigo cried out as he sprinted over to his mother.

 

He gripped the cloth of her shirt and rubbed his tear-stained face into her stomach. It was such a warm and familiar feeling that always gave him comfort.

 

“Oh, Inigo what’s wrong?” He heard his mother ask with a soft and gentle voice. 

 

Inigo only sniffled in response as he continued to squeeze her waist like the scared child he was. 

 

“Mama...I…” he sniffed before digging his face deeper into her abdomen like the scared child he was.

 

“There There, Inigo,” He heard his mother’s voice once more as he looked up to see her gentle smile shining down on him. It was warm like the sun’s gentle rays that shimmered through the windows. “Everything is going to be alright”

 

She wiped a few tears from his face as he slowly withdrew from the embrace. 

 

“Better?” His mother asked as she knelt down to meet him at eye level.

 

Inigo simply nodded.

 

She smiled and placed a hand on his shoulder, “now, what’s the matter?” She asked in a sweet and gentle voice.

 

Inigo took a moment to wipe his nose before speaking.

 

“Mama, d-do you think I’m weird?” He asked as his eyes slid to the floor.

 

“Now why would you ask that?” She raised an eyebrow, “of course I don’t”

 

“Well earlier the other kids said I was weird because I wouldn’t play with them”

 

“Well did you want to play with them?”

 

Inigo nodded, “I did but every time I tried to talk to them I would…” He looked away, “I dunno, freeze up and they all looked at me funny. I just felt so scared”


 

“Inigo…” his mother then wrapped her arms around him once more. 

 

“Mama?” He cocked his head, “why are you crying?”

 

His mother pulled away, “I’m sorry, it’s just you’re more like me than you realize”

 

“Really?” Inigo blinked.

 

His mother nodded, “I have a lot of trouble talking to other people too”

 

“Y-You do?”

 

She nodded again, “yep, in fact, you’re just as shy as me when I was about your age maybe even more so”

 

“But you can talk to other people just fine,” Inigo said with wide eyes, “How do you do it?”

 

His mother smiled which once again put his mind at ease. Yet again, it was so warm and comforting. 

 

“Well if you really wanna know there is one piece of advice I learned from a friend once that might help”

 

“What’s that?”

 

“You should try and talk to girls”

 

Inigo blushed, “G-Girls?!”

 

His mother nodded, “Yep, but you gotta make sure to greet them with a big smile, like this” His mother’s lips grew into an even bigger smile.

 

“Like this?” He said as he tried to force a smile.

 

“Yeah just like that,” His mother laughed, “Smile just like that and you’ll have plenty of friends in no time”

 

“I will?”

 

His mother nodded, “of course, a smile brings confidence and can brighten anyone’s day so just smile and I guarantee you won’t be so scared anymore” She said with a smile.

 

A familiar warmth filled Inigo’s chest as he smiled right back. A bright smile almost as bright as the sun.

 

“Thanks, mama”

 

------

 

Inigo looked down at the small golden chain in his hands and smiled. Though just like the sun that once sat brightly in the sky, his smile faded behind the ashen gray clouds. He breathed a heavy sigh as memories of that day began to fill his head.

 

“INIGO GET DOWN!!!!”  

 

It all happened so fast. One minute he was running and the next he was on the floor. His mother’s bloody corpse resting on top of him. She felt so cold and numb. It was nothing at all like it was before. He once again looked at the golden chain that sparkled in his hand. It was the only thing left he had of her. He had to abandon her grave when the capital was taken. 

 

He took a moment to pull his sword from its sheathe. A long curved blade extended out from the hilt swathed in red cloth. He took a look at the blade which had certainly seen better days. Several chips and other such marks covered the sword’s once glimmering steel. He ran a finger along the blade’s edge and winced as blood dripped from the fresh new cut. For as dull as it looked, it was still functional, at least. Well functional enough, anyway. It was once his father’s sword after all. It would take a lot more than a few hundred risen to break this blade. 

 

Inigo sighed as the cool winter breeze brushed through his hair. Still, how much longer could it really last? How much more could this sword take before it would inevitably break? He covered his mouth in a wide yawn before raising his arms to stretch.

 

“Well, no use moping about all that right now, I suppose,” He said as he sheathed the worn-out blade, “It’s about time to get everyone moving”

 

He looked out from the balcony towards the endless horizon. Snow drifted down from the ashen gray clouds onto pure white blanket underneath. They still had about half a day’s walk until they reached Ylisstol. And with all the risen about, they had a long and arduous journey ahead of them. They’d be lucky to make it by nightfall from the looks of things. 

 

The cry of a pegasus caught his ear. He turned around to see a familiar face drop down from her pegasus and approach him.

 

“Ah, Vanessa don’t you look good on this fine, morning,” He said with a smile.

 

“Would you stop with that” She shot him a deadpan look, “You and I both know that I’m not the first girl you greeted like that today”

 

“Well, what can I say? I am simply incapable of speaking anything but the truth” He said with a wink, “And besides, the fact that you can answer like that means that you’re feeling a little better, right?”

 

For a moment, Vanessa only blinked before her lips curved into a soft smile.

 

“Yeah, I am, thank you, lord Inigo”

 

“And there’s that adorable smile I’ve been looking for”

 

At this, Vanessa blushed, “A-Anyway, I’ve come to give my scouting report”

 

“Oh right, so how does it look out there?”

 

Vanessa’s smile was replaced with a grim expression as she looked to the floor.

 

“As expected not very good. Due to last night’s battle, there are far more risen running about even more than yesterday” She explained, “To be honest, it’s a miracle they haven’t spotted us yet. I don’t even know how we’re supposed to push through with our current numbers and strength”

 

For a moment, Inigo was silent as he stared into Vanessa’s sullen eyes. His heart twisted before he put on his signature smile.

 

“Is that all?” He laughed. “You almost had me worried for a second there”

 

“Is that all?” She repeated his words back to him, “H-How can you be so carefree about all this? Do you realize the kind of situation we’re in? Aren’t you the slightest bit worried or scared?”

 

“Nope, not at all,” He shook his head, “So long as I can smile then there’s no reason to be worried or scared”

 

His lips curved into a bright wide smile as he spoke those words. A cool winter breeze drifted between the two.

 

“So don’t worry about it, alright?” Inigo patted her on the head, “We’ll find a way through this, trust me” 

 

“A-Alright, if you say so”

 

“Good, now smile for me, would you?” He said with a soft smile, “It’s a shame to see a cute face so glum all the time”

 

————

“And that is how I, the great Owain Dark, vanquished those dark missionaries from hell! With the power of the dance of the crimson flower!” Owain boasted as he struck an overly dramatic pose.

 

“Wow, that’s so cool!” One of the kids’ eyes sparkled in amazement.

 

“Yeah, You were amazing Owain Dark!”

 

“Come on tell us another one!”

 

“Yeah tell us more about your epic adventures, Owain Dark!”

 

Owain put his hand to his chin as he pondered their words.

 

“I dunno,” He said as he glanced down at them, “Are you sure you can handle yet another heart-moving tale from my grand adventures?”

 

“Of course we can!” one of the kids shouted, “Right?”

 

“Yeah!”

 

“We’re your dark apprentices, aren’t we?” Another one said as he raised a stick into the air.

 

A wide grin formed on Owain’s lips as he struck another overdramatic pose.

 

“Alright then! Prepare yourselves my dark…” He quickly shook his head. No that sounded way too cliche. He stopped and thought for a moment.

 

“Um, master Owain Dark?”

 

“Is he okay?” one kid whispered.

 

“I dunno”

 

Maddening pupils? Students of darkness? Corrupted Kouhei? Nah those just sounded stupid. He stood still as he continued to ponder the right phrase.

 

I’ve got it!

 

“Prepare yourselves my corrupted pupils of the blackened blade!” Owain struck his pose once again, “For now I shall tell you the tale of…”

 

Before Owain could finish his sentence, a small hand-sized ax came whirling towards him. Instinctively, Owain ducked and pulled his sword. He looked back to see the small ax slice through the tree behind him and lodge itself in another. A small cut formed on his forehead as drops of blood dripped onto the snow down below. He looked down at the kids all huddled together with terrified looks on their faces. He then turned his attention forward to see a river of purple mist flow out from the nearby forest. Several large purple humanoid monsters stepped into view. Their piercing red eyes glowering at them through that decrepit old mask that clung to their faces.

 

“You’ll protect us, right?” He looked down to see one of the kids tugging at the cloth of his pants.

 

He smirked, “Who the hell do you think I am?!” Owain shouted as he struck his signature pose, “I am the great Owain Dark! You have nothing to fear while I’m around!!”

 

“Yeah, go get him Owain Dark!” A couple of the kids shouted.

 

Owain’s feet shifted through the snow as he gripped the hilt of his sword. That’s right, Now was the time to really show what Owain Dark was truly made of. He took a deep breath before glaring down the risen once more.

 

“Papa?” He heard one of the kids say, “Is that you?” 

 

The boy crawled a little closer to the risen. His face lit up as he began to run towards the small crowd of walking corpses.

 

“No, don’t!” Owain called out to him only for it to fall on deaf ears. 

 

“Damnit!” he cursed under his breath before running after the boy.

 

“Hey, papa it’s me!” The boy said as he ran up and hugged one of the risen. “I knew you’d come back! Mama said you were gone but I didn’t believe her”

 

The risen looked down and twisted its head. The others simply charged forward towards Owain and the other kids. Its body twitched as it continued to stare down at the child with it’s glowing red and soulless eyes.

 

“Papa?”

 

The risen let out an ear grating roar as kicked the child and pinned him to the ground.

 

“Blue Lion’s Maw!” Owain shouted as he cut through another risen. 

 

He looked over to where the boy was pinned and bit his lip. He wasn’t gonna make it! 

 

“S-Sombody...H-HELP!! PLEA-” The boy shouted before the risen tore into his throat. 

 

Owain’s heart stopped as he watched the child’s head fall limply to the ground. The surrounding snow was stained a dark crimson red that leaked from the boy’s corpse. The risen’s devouring the piece of flash clasped tightly between its bloodstained teeth. 

 

“HELP!!” A familiar scream snapped Owain out of his thoughts.

 

He turned his head to see the rest of the risen closing in on the group of kids behind him. This no time for hesitation! He had to protect them! He won’t have a repeat of what happened that day.

 

“OWAIN GET DOWN!!!” 

 

He heard his father’s voice echo through his mind as he once again charged the risen.

 

“STAY AWAY FROM THEM YOU CORRUPTED FIENDS OF THE UNDERWORLD!!!!”

 

-----

“Inigo!” Inigo heard a familiar voice call out his name.

 

He looked over to see a boy with bunny ears and fur panting in the doorway.

 

“Yarne?” He said as he ran over to his furry friend. “My, you look awful, what happened?”

 

“What’s going on?” Vanessa asked, “I thought you were supposed to be on lookout duty”

 

“I-I was but then we were suddenly ambushed by a huge horde of Risen,” Yarne said as he continued to gasp for breath. “Everyone there is probably dead!”

 

“Well that explains the blood”

 

“It must be the Horde I saw earlier!” Vanessa bit her lip, “But how did they even get past the front gate? This fortress is supposed to pretty well-fortified!”

 

“Let’s not worry about that for now,” Inigo said as he began to run down the steps, “For now we should worry about keeping the rest of the refugees and the injured safe”

 

“Right” Vanessa nodded as she moved to follow him.

 

“Y-You two go do that” Yarne said as slumped down next to a wall, “I’m just gonna stay back here and give some moral support”

 

Vannessa turned back and grabbed him by one of his ears, “Oh no, you’re helping too! Come on!”

 

“Hey! Ow-don’t pull so hard! Taguels have very sensitive ears! Do you want me to go extinct!”

 

“Oh pipe down!”

 

Inigo chuckled as he heard the two argue. Still, it was strange that they were able to get past the front gate. He thought they had any entrance either sealed off or guarded. Something about all this felt off. This was no ordinary Risen attack that’s for sure. He had a bad feeling about all this.

 

I just hope Owain’s alright

 

-----

“Stage one complete,” Morgan said as she checked off an area in her tactics book, “now let’s see if we can lure them all outside”

 

She looked down at the fortress from her pegasus.

 

“I will not fail you again, Lord Grima” She muttered to herself, “Just watch me...”

--------

Author's Note:

Spoiler

Hey wassup, everyone! I'm sorry for the wait on this chapter but I was hit with a horrible case of writer's block and some irl mental health stuff. I'm better now though. This chapter certainly had a lot going on. I'm not entirely sure how to feel about it. Also Yeah I'm starting to introduce more of the other kids cause Yarne finally showed up. I'm not so sure what I want to do with him yet but here he is. Speaking of not knowing what to do with other characters, I'm not quite sure how I'm gonna introduce Nah into this story. I have vague ideas for how I wanna introduce the other kids like Gerome, Brady, Noire, etc. but with her, I'm a bit stumped. I'm open to suggestions if any of you have any though. Though with all that said, I hope you enjoyed that chapter and take care.

 

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